Tuesday, August 29, 2006
10. The Pursuit of Knowledge
The old cliche "you learn something new everyday" is what I'm getting at. We think that someday we will define ourselves. Wether its by knowing who we are, by what we do or what we will ultimately become, we are constantly in the pursuit of finding ourselves. And through "knowing" we find this. He quotes the Bible in his text "On the Genealogy of Morality." I think it's a great way to think about our lives:
"...where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
We are constantly striving to do the things we want. And when we find what we want, we put our heart and soul into it. At least, that is the idealistic way of looking at it. But seriously, we strive to know more about the world, ourselves and what exactly it's all about.
"We remain of necessity strangers to ourselves, we do not understand ourselves, we must mistake ourselves, for us the maxim reads to all eternity: 'each is furthest from himself,'- with respect to ourselves we are not 'knowers'..."
To some extent, this is true. We will never fully know ourselves. Everyday things change. We don't ever fully understand the value of our daily actions and it seems that we like to think other forces are acting on us to bring out hate and love. As Epictetus said, some things are in our control and some things are not. But what do we truly know about the things that we do have control over?
"Rather, with the necessity with which a tree bears fruit our thoughts grow out of us, our values, our yes's and no's and if's and whether's- the whole lot related and connected among themselves, witnesses to one will, one health, one earthly kingdom, one sun."
We must realize what we do is our own. And in this, I can see my problems. I know I am insecure about myself. To some extent, it's all in my head. I feel insignificant, meaningless and a failure sometimes. I never thought that leaving the world of education that was my home since I was in pre-school would open such a huge void in my own self-esteem. But in saying that, I realize that isn't what it is. I feel empty, but going back to the top of this post, we are constantly learning new things about the world, others and mostly, ourselves. And it is in our treasure where we will find our heart. If our treasure is something far off, we are going to be constantly working for it. And that is hard. But it is that pursuit that should keep us milling about.
I am working on a script currently called "Lack of Expectation." It's been in the works for almost an entire year. It is the perspective of college life coming to a close. But I think I am going to just shut up and make it a full-length film. A two year story about the final days of schooling and the year to follow. In this, I call to arms my buddies who have been out of school longer than me to tell me what there last year was like. I know what its like, but its only been a few months. So things can change. I am going to beef up the story and opt to make it much more narrative than what it is now. However, those philosophical ideals and funny moments that come with things ending.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
The Sexional is done.
No more couch, no more parties.
HOWEVER! It didn't end without a fight. And here are the epic details of what I am coining as the best party I've been to at the Sextional since Tank Tops 1.
So it was originally gonna be an Earn Your Blue Ribbon party. But we couldn't get kegs of Pabst. And the tape wasnt working because of the humidity. Blah. So the first hour of the party, I was in a crummy mood. However, once more people showed up and the music kicked in, it felt like your averave Sextional party. In many ways it was pretty mediocre. A lot of people didn't show up, we got 2 kegs so that was a concern and it was HOT inside and the Balcony was crowded. I got ine the groove around 11. With a big help from "Sex Machine" by Mr. James Brown. The pong was being played, the dancing was getting done and I was sweating like a friggin dog. I did the smart move and started chugging lots of water. At midnight, the usual routine would have been some Vultures. George kinda shocked me with his noia about Cops coming and being too loud, so we moved the obligitory "Baba O'Riley" to the foreground of Vultures. It wasn't as glorious as times past, but its still the highlight of the night in many ways. So Vultures kicks into high gear and I hear rumblings outside. The whole night, the clouds were coming in and lightning was off in the distance. Then, as if GOD himself knew that ending the establishment that is the sextional was a bad idea, he let it all loose. The heavens opened and it rained like in the times of Noah. I hit the balcony to cool off with a huge rush of rain. Then I came back in and people started freaking on the balcony. I got concerned. But then someone said "HAIL!" And I was freaking out. IT HAILED! The final night, the heavnes opened up and threw ice balls at our faces to get us to stop partying. This led me to get everoyne off the balcony and give George the Mic. Well, not the mic, but you know what I mean. He then gave the final Sexional speech ever. It was great. I almost cried, but everyone was inside cheering and enjoying life to the fullest.
And it's things like that that make me think that although I'm not happy at where I am at right now, things are looking up. The sexional is probably the 2nd most important thing in my life (first being Noringo.) People who were there can attest to the true beauty of that night. I had people who had never been there before come to me and say "This is the last party? I can't believe I didn't come here sooner." There are no seperations at the sexional (for the most part.) Everyone enjoys each other, everyone enjoys themselves and life feels good.
So I now have no band, no relationship and no sexional. I am going to need some consoling.
I leave you with these words.
They watch me, those informers to the Fates
Called Fortune, Chance, Necessity, and Death;
Time, in disguise as one who serves and waits,
Eternity as girls of fragrant breath.
I know them. Men and Boys are in their pay,
And those I hold my truest friends may prove
Agents of Theirs to take me if I stray
From fatal ordinance. If I move, they move—
Escape? There is one unwatched way; your eyes.
O Beauty! Keep me good that secret gate!
And when the cordon tightens of the spies,
Let the close iris of your eyes grow great.
So I’ll evade the vice and rack of age
And miss the march of lifetime, stage by stage.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
So I turn to you, anyone who reads this shit.
What are your favorite philosophical odes, dirges and diddys? I want to make a mix but want you fellow philosophers to help me out. I have two songs that have to be on here. So you fill in the rest.
What I have so far:
XTC- Across This Antheap
Warren Zevon- Desperadoes Under The Eaves
More to come with your suggestions...
~Theory of Achievment
The idea that work, money and product is essential to life is inevitable. It also sucks. A lot of people do jobs they hate, hate themselves and are constantly worrying about money. And why is this? Well, let's think about the beard. And yes, that is my good friend Karl Marx (who in my philo text, I had him being played by Rutger Hauer in the new film The German Ideology. Oh the train of thought in Touey classes.
So my text for this post is Marx's Alienated Labor. He looks at how our job will "devour us whole" until the person working becomes the commodity and the product becomes the focus.
"The worker becomes poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and extent. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he produces. The devaluation of the human world grows in direct proportion to the increase in value of the world of things. Labour not only produces commodities; it also produces itself and the workers as a commodity and it does so in the same proportion in which it produces commodities in general."
One thing Marx gets at further from this point is the whole Creater idea. God was the creater of man and now humans have more focus than God. His labor produced something alien to him and what he produced became more important. Such is our work. And it's true. Materialism is disgusting. I fall into this many times, but now that I am broke and can only spend minimal amounts of money on things (beer), we realize how important the products we make have taken over. Advertising, sales, marketing and such have become the new thing. Humanity is the biggest commodity out there. Although we buy a 6 pack of Rolling Rock, its not the selling of the beer that matters, its us buying it and spending the money on it that does. So we are the necessity in the transaction. Without someone to buy something, those objects are meaningless. But they have that market, so the commodity is what matters, and that commodity is now us.
Hal Hartley, again, nails this with his short film Theory of Achievment. His portrayal of Brooklyn, New York as the Paris of the 20th century, as a hub for art, shows how "unskilled, middle class, college educated, white, broke and drunk" starving artists have more to them then the business men and women of the world. But they are poor. They rove around, drink and, well are basically my group of friends.
These starving artists are always on the quest to find truth. Much like myself, I love reading, art and such to find answers to the unending questions and just like another Hartley short, Surviving Desire, it sometimes isn't the answers we need to worry about as much as asking the questions. The questions focus our "reading" of the world and we can get a better grasp of what it's all about.
So this labor reading I noticed is that pertinent to the rest of the focus of what I am going for in this series. So I gave up. Instead I am going to continue with other ideas and readings. However, I may come back to this after I work for more than 4 days.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
NEW MUSICAL OBSESSIONS!
1) that dog.- So most of you know I am madly in love with Juliana Hatfield. And femme rock of the 90s is quite addictive. So when I found out about two of the Haden sisters and Anna Waronker were in a band together called that dog., I new I had to inquire within. And that dog. is amazing. Yes it is lower case and with a period. Anyway, pretty standard for your various American female alt 90s rock groups. Much like Veruca Salt or my precious Juliana. Where they stand apart is the fact that they have the most excellent harmonies in their songs. Great hooks, fun lyrics and amazing violin/harmonies care of Petra Haden, they are 100% solid if you love 90s rock as much as I do.
Addictive Track: "Never Say Never" off of Retreat from the Sun (1997)
2. Final Fantasy- Named after the fabled video game, the solo project of the Arcade Fire's violin player, Owen Pallett. His songs are mostly centered around his beautiful arangements on the violen. His voice echoes Nick Drake in many ways with its soft mystique and his arrangements are the best I've heard. Beautiful, serene and contemplative music. There isn't much to add to that. His stuff isn't really highly produced as the backing drums or synth aren't that great, but thats not the focal point.
Addictive Track: "The Story of Win and Regine" off of Has A Good Home (2005)*
*Fun fact, this song is named after the two principle members of Arcade Fire.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Anyway, this is a throw away post more or less. Not entirely. This is a welcome to Sir Domenic to the fray. He has been named after Friedrich Nietzsche's seminole Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Also, Pat Hogan has joined the blogger team on a solo gig. Here is his. Named after Immaneul Kant's Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces. YEAA!
So yes. Until next time, ponder the beard, your job and existence.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Yes. I get lonesome. I am lonely. And it kinda sucks. I remember posting many moons ago stating "I love being single." Well, it may be desperation, but I'd like to think that its just something to help me mix my stagnant life up. And lonliness is the word to descrive the year of 2006.
So I've decided that in this area, there isn't much in the way of me meeting new people. And that's not good. It seems that whenever I meet people who either live far away or are friends of friends, I find the kind of girls that I see myself attracted to. Whereas living at home, hanging with the same people and hanging with people who have girlfriends, it just doesn't work or help the situation.
To those ladies who live far away that I could work with:either move here or let me know if I can move to your area. Seriously. Stop being great!
To those people I know who may be more well connected than I am: Keep me abreast of situations where there might be awesome people that I can meet, mingle and get to know. This needs to end soon.
I deserve to be happy, right? Well somethings are turning up. I finally landed a shitty temp job. That's a start. Maybe I can meet another temp. Than have a temp relationship. Whatever. I just need out of this house, this area, this lame life that has come down to nothingness. I will have money coming in so guess where that is going. Two things. My bank account to save for an apartment and beer. Mostly to the first of these two things. Trust me, friends, I may have shut myself off from the world this summer. I didn't see a lot of people I should have and I complained about it. And that is because money is the route of all evil. However, there are times to be had.
I understand that although some of these posts have seemed somewhat intellectual, for the most part I have been complaining in a general sense how shitty life is. I apologize, but I really need to get a giant wooden spoon shoved into my life to mix things up. I'd like to think that this coming Friday shall be the christening of the vessel of greatness. Blue Ribbon 2 is slowly approaching. And I must say, its going to be great. There shall be a great number of randoms there that hopefully will make the final party of the Sexional the best.
Anyway, I leave with this song:
Sometimes life surprises
Cuz you never expected to be that
That you never expect to see
Some things never change
Nothing's gonna change that
Some things you can't explain
Like why were all embracing conventional wisdom in a world that's just so unconventional
Made you turn around
But you never expected to see that
Thats what makes that sound
That you never expect to hear
Some things never change
Something's gotta change that
Some things you can't explain
Like why were all embracing conventional wisdom in a world that's just so unconventional
They dont know they're wrong
But you know that they never can see that
Thats what makes them strong
That they know that we'll never see
~Built to Spill
Saturday, August 19, 2006
"Ned: I want adventure! I want romance!
Bill: Ned, there is no such thing as adventure. There's no such thing as romance. There's only trouble and desire.
Ned: Trouble and desire.
Bill: That's right. And the funny thing is, when you desire something you immediately get into trouble. And when you're in trouble you don't desire anything at all.
Ned: I see.
Bill: It's impossible.
Ned: It's ironic.
Bill: It's a fucking tragedy is what it is, Ned."
Hal Hartley is a cornucopia of philosophical conundrums. And the constant theme of "Trouble and Desire" is not only ironic, it's a fucking tragedy. And as it states in another Hartley film "The trouble with us americans is that we want a tragedy with a happy ending." And that's where this next theme comes into play. For this situation, I turn to none other than the great David Hume and his text The Treatise of Human Nature. This good old text looks at passion and the will. And when we look at passion, there is no avoiding desire (which is a synonym for the word.)
Hume looks at passion as a positive and not a negative in the way that Hartley does. Hartley sees passion, romance and desire as something that leads us down the path of destruction. His viewpoint will be looked at a bit later, but for now, the positive look of Hume. So let's begin.
"Nothing is more usual in philosophy, and even in common life, than to talk of the combat of passion and reason, to give the preference to reason, and assert that men are only so far virtuous as they conform themselves to its dictates."
Yes. It's true. It is far easier to stick to reason. Be a businessperson, an accountant, something secure that pays well or gets you somewhere in the money world. Conform to the everyday mundane lifestyles that are easy to fall back on in a reasonable way. But who wants to live in a world where your hopes, dreams and desires take the backseat to security? A lot of people. One of them is not me. Hume continues to say how this is the main focus of moral philosophy. Reason trumps desire. He then states a bold statement:
"I shall endevour to prove first, that reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will; and secondly, that it can never oppose passion in the direction of the will."
Now that's a bold statement, Sir Hume.
In a nutshell, Hume proves that "reason alone can never produce an action." We use math to get us to some ends, but math without our thought processes and application is useless (damn straight.) There is a desire to find an answer, to discover the end result of a problem or a desire to use math to figure out things that will lead us to what we ultimately need or want. Desire is the driving force, reason is the equation that makes that desire come about. Both reason and desire are meaningless, but when both are applied together, it gives both inertia or meaning.
So what is the purpose of that? Well it gives me drive to follow the passions and desires that I find in life: music, film, writing, etc. But than we get into trouble here and that's where Hartleyism comes in.
Think back to the quote in the beginning of the post. We all want romance and adventure but it seems that those are more catagorized by what Bill says: trouble and desire. And there is that ultimate paradoxical event where we desire something, we get it, we get into trouble and then we don't desire things anymore. Now, this doesn't happen all the time, but in human exisitence, it happens more times than not. And thats no good. We fall in love, run into problems, and break up. We think we find a great job, he get stuck in a rut, and you either become unhappy or move on. This is a tragic look at desire. But it happens so frequently, that its hard to not think of it that way.
So the best way to approach the trouble and desire factor? Apply earlier thoughts. Think of what we can control as the good. We know what we have control over. Ourselves and thats about it. Then we need to see that we are not fully complete until close to death. We are constantly changing; a synthesis if you will. Continuly growing and fulfilling our desires. Sometimes we run into trouble, but that is out of our control.
Again, nothing is perfect in this thought. We run into problems and ideas that will always show that this is the hardest path, but it helps to think this way.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Snakes on a Plane.
So broke every low expectation for such a highly anticipated movie. The film, minus it's huge plotholes, implausibility scale, bullshit meter in the red and long winded opening exposition turned out to be better than I could possibly imagine. Ok. So why was it any good?
Well first things first, if you didn't see it sneak preview at midnight (or at 10 for any babies out there), then you aren't going to enjoy it. And here is why. Just like Pro-Wreslting depends on the audience for you to forget its "staged" and terribly overacted, Snakes DEPENDS 100% on the audience. And this was the best audience this side of EC-Dub. Before the movie, we were all lined up chanting snakes, high fiving everyone who was coming along the line, playing Catch Phrase, flying like planes and chasing each other like we were snakes on those planes and enjoying the fact we had to stand for 40 minutes. Then we had to sit in a extremely warm theater with tons of people. However, one brave soul named "Shaun" ran to the front pointed to one side to chant "snakes" and the other side to chant "plane" and the middle people yelled "on a". When the movie started, we all yelled at some douchetown fuck face who probably loves John Wayne (because if you've seen Running Scared, you know that John Wayne was a faggot) and screamed things at the sreen. When the snakes were released, I hit the proudest moment of my life. When the first person snake view came on, I freaked out and screamed "SNAKE VISION!" Of course, everytime they repeated this POV, everyone started to chant it. I loved it.
So here are the spoilers (but they really are to be expected.)
Snakes on a Titty. Snakes on a Dong. Snakes TF'ing an old lady and then biting her eye out. Snakes eating dogs. Snakes eating cats. Snakes biting throats. Anaconda's swallowing entire bodies. Snakes on CRACK!(yes that is in fact a line.) It's Purely Ridiculous.
Seriously. See it this weekend or don't bother. I swear to God it's worth it to see it with a full crowd of teenagers. It's the only way to fly.
P.S.-Blogger, suck my balls. Just let me upload this effing poster! Check the flavor text.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
I finally have work. I'm temping at some shitty company that I don't feel like talking about. It's sales. It sucks, but it will be paying a nice 10 bucks an hour for full time. Somehow I also scored some sweet hours. Noon to 9pm Mon-Fri. Interesting I know. It's in Thorofare. Whatever. I'm still going to apply to shit loads of real places so I can save better money and move out.
I'm turning 23 in due time. Ouch. Strange enough, I feel older for once. Its probably because I am out of school, but I can definitely start to see the age gap between myself and some of my younger friends. Things about maturity and such are definitly visible. Ugh. "I hope I die before I get old."
The Sexional is slowly approaching the end. Which means HUGE FUCKING PARTY. Here is a picture that shows the amount of joy that will be shared at this party. Be there. August 25th.
I'm proud of that place. Look at the joy on the faces and the arms in the air during Baba O'Riley (aka the greatest party song ever.) I will miss that place more than you could ever know. I've missed it since moving out, but even more now on the eve of its demise.
Tonight was amazing. A bajillion thanks to Mr. Rocks for calling me asking me to come to the Foo Fighters Acoustic show. I told him I'm broke and he was just glad to get someone to take the ticket. Anyway, it ended up being the most amazing show I have ever seen. And here is why. First off, The Foo's are great songwriters and some of their best songs are easily convereted, if not enhanced in this acoustic atmposphere (ie- "Times Like These" and "My Hero" were probably better acoustic. Yes... even My Hero.)Then on stage I saw the one and only Pat Smear. Those who dont know him, he was in the band during Colour and the Shape. Then there was this cute, very small girl playing violin. And I thought it just might be someone special. Then I hear Grohl turn away from the mic and say her first name and I almost flip until she gets fully introduced. None other than Petra Haden, folks. Now, some of you may not be privy to the Petra. But thanks to Kevner and the whole Petra Haden Sells Out disc and The Rentals and That Dog, she got to add her skills to the Foos on both Violin and Mandolin. Then she did some sweet backing vocals on a little song called "Marigold." Yes. That song. Fucking Nirvana! THEN she sang lead vocals on "Floaty" and tore the house down. I was almost diven to tears. Amazing. Grohl was in regular foul mouther hilarious fashion as usual. He traded a Budwiser bottle for someones Draught beer and after he drank a sip of it, he said "What the hell is it?" They said "Miller Lite" and he gave it back! Amazing. He also made fun of Yuengling's name. But he said he liked it. Here were the highlight songs. Minus those already mentioned: "See You", "Big Me", "Razor", "Miracle", "February Stars", "Next Year" and of course "Everlong." "Floaty" was by far the standout as also was "My Hero."
Also, I forgot to mention that Frank Black opened which was awesome and somewhat awkward. He played about 10 songs with no break and never introduced himself or said anything in between songs. Just played great songs and left the stage. "Where is My Mind?" acoustic ruled my face as did a song that had this amazing lyrics called "I'm not Dead (I'm In Pittsburgh)"
Tomorrow is Snakes. Sweet Jesus.
Friday is birthday on the town. Come join if you want food and bev at The Bards downtown.
Saturday is DC with the sisters for Birthday fun and Aireoke. I might do a Priestess song for it, but if not, any Who track will do.
Until tomorrow, I will be doing some research for another more meaningful post.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
So all of this is about existence I guess, but even more so now as this newest post will be looking at Mr. Sartre, the existentialist. Jean Paul and his huge pipe have said many things about life, existence and the lot that are sometimes disheartening as he is an aetheist and I am not. But I can't help but read what he has to say and agree to some extent with what he says. There are several types of existentialists and not all are aetheists. And in this one phrase, I see why I feel sometimes at a loss or empty.
"Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world - and defines himself afterwards. "
As we slowly move through life, we are only existing and not yet in our essence. Yes, this is true. Again, our reality being defined by others (see the post on Leviathan) we seem to not become something until late in our life after we have accomplished things, and can be defined by what we have done.
This is refreshing for me. Right now I feel like a waste. But that is not true. The true waste is in thinking ahead of things I can't control. I am nothing as of yet, I merely exsist. That's a song lyric and it is killing me. Well, something along those lines but now I am pissed I can't figure it out. Anyway, moving on, its true that maybe I can focus on not what and who I am, but on the fact that I should be working on who I will become. Although sometimes its easier to think about being a Tralfamadorian of the Vonnegut world seeing life as a stretch of mountains and seeing each moment for what it is, well, we don't see things that way. We see the now. We can dwell on the past, but can't change it. And we can look to the future, but can't predict it.
Quietism is somehting Sartre brings up and he says this "Quietism is the attitude of people who say 'let others do what I cannot do." The doctrine I am presenting before you is precisely the opposite of this, since it declares that there is no reality except in action. It goes further, indeed, and adds, 'Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realises himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is."
This is much like what Woody Allen talks about in Crimes and Misdemeanors via a ficituous teacher who talkes about life and existence to such fruitful extents, but still in the long run commits suicide. Here are the two nuggets of genius Woody Allen expreses through this characeter.
"We're all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale, most of these choices are on lesser points. But we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, Human happiness does not seem to be included in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and even try to find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more. "
To an extent, this seems too true. But if we look at things as becoming and not a set standard of reality, maybe then things will be easier.
Here is his view on love and relationships.
"You will notice that what we are aiming at when we fall in love is a very strange paradox. The paradox consists of the fact that, when we fall in love, we are seeking to re-find all or some of the people to whom we were attached as children. On the other hand, we ask our beloved to correct all of the wrongs that these early parents or siblings inflicted upon us. So that love contains in it the contradiction: The attempt to return to the past and the attempt to undo the past. "
Another half truth in here. However, its not entirely true. Many people look for the opposite of what they are used to. I think I fall into the catagory described here somehow although I have led a pretty great life and don't usually dwell on past wrong-doings. However, I know its true that I am looking for someone to make the past seem undone. I have been hurt before, yes. Many of us have in relationships. But we must look at it as a growing experience that are the building blocks of our very essence.
The essence of our being.
So alas. Not much to add. But after tonights strange existential debacle and void, I figure that I will define who I am not by who I may be right now, but to what the potential of what I can become in the future. Maybe I can find someone of like mind to share these ravings with someday. Maybe some of you, my loyal friends who are probably the only people reading this, will share in this life and add to it. And maybe some of you will hold me back. However, I will take what I have learned already in the past that those things I dwell on that I have no control over, I cannot let them bring me down. Only the things in my control can I lament and embrace. All the different paths, causeways and tributaries of decisions I have made bring me to the sum total of my being.
And I remember what song the lyric from somewhere above was. It's a Four Tops song called "Without the One You Love (Life is Not Worthwhile)". Somewhat fitting to the post and somewhat not. However, like Levi Stubbs stated...
I'm not livin', baby, I only exist.
I am on a plane with good ol' Muller. And this ain't your average plane, it's GIGANTIC. I'm talking it's more like the inside of a house as there were various rooms, stairwells and such. Anyway, I'm sitting in my aisle when none other than Sam Jackson starts freaking out about snakes. However, not only are there snakes, there is a ton of water filling up inside of the plane. So Muller and Myslef join the ranks of Sam Jacks and some other brave passengers to try and fight the snakes. Sam Jackson dies early on of a giant snake biting his face. Muller and myself then take over the effort to kill the snakes and get to safety. Somewhere in all of this, the passengers started a strange cult with torches and clothes from The Village. They became strange worshipers of the snakes which quickly turned into a mass death by venom. Muller and myself end up being the only two surviving members of the plane and the plane is slowly crashing. Muller is fighting his way through snakes to find parachutes while I try to see if I can crash land the thing. Muller returns to the cockpit and helps me land the plane in a very bumpy and firey landing. We get out and somehow landed in a strange mash-up of a South Jersey farm and Roosevelt Blvd. And for some reason, the Foster family is on the farm and Jess Foster comes out to see if we are ok. We are and somehow the snakes are all dead. We then start walking along the Blvd which for some reason connected to 130. I called my parents to pick us up along the way. In the meantime, Muller and myself kick the shit out of some local kids playing basketball and then I wake up.
WTF is wrong with me.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
10. Muse- Black Holes and Revelations - These guys know how to make awesome rock music with the useage of heavy guitars, sweet synths and epic soaring vocals. The thing with this album is Muse decided to tinker with some new sounds. On the ridiculously epic track "Knights of Cydonia" (with an equally amazingly epic music video) mixes surf rock guitar, a catchy rock riff and horns a la Ennio Morricone Western scores and a Queenesque breakdown vocal harmony. The first single, which was "Supermassive Black Hole" has trippy robotronic vocals and another catchy hook that makes Muse a hit maker deluxe. It's pretty much standard Muse fair as their last album Absolution was also epic in nature. This album has some not as awesome tracks, but it is definitely worth it if you enjoyed any previous Muse stuff.
9. Adrian Belew- Side Three- One of the two guitar virtuoso's of King Crimson has released a few albums in the past two years. This album is filled with great catchy prog songs. Yes, catchy prog songs. Rather than the usual sweeping epic Crimsonesque songs, we get short, synthed out and quick songs filled with catchy hooks and sick rhythm. The sick rhythm is care of none other than Les Claypool (Primus king) and Danny Carey of Tool (who also has an album out this year, but didn't make the cut.) The song "And" is a different take on the grungey song off of Side One entitled "Ampersand." Although the guitar work is a bit cleaner, it still has your flares of Belew wailing. This album definitely shows a guitarist tinkering with things like synth and drum machines (espically on the song "Beat Box Car") for some great experimental pop songs.
8. Loose Fur- Born Again in the USA- Yet another supergroup of sorts. When Tweedy of Wilco and former Sonic Youth member Jim O'Rourke, you are bound for some great songwriting. The songs off of this disc echo the good old days of Wilco from their AM era. They are great moody alt-country songs. Damned if I don't get "The Ruling Class" stuck in my head with its catchy whistling in the background. Tweedy's songwriting is at it's usual high quality and the music is tight. Definitely worth a listen.
7. Pearl Jam- Many people have ragged on this album as either being "not like Pearl Jam" or just plain crap. Well, I must disagree. Their last album Riot Act was overall a dissapointment for me. So when getting this I was skeptical. And I truly like this album. Songs like "World Wide Suicide" and "Severed Hand", although not great Pearl Jam songs in the grand scheme of things, are excellent driving rock songs. The second half of the album is where it shines. "Inside Job", "Army Reserve", "Wasted Reprise" and "Come Back" are excellent tunes. It's a solid effort with some simple production that doesn't bog it down too much.
6. Thom Yorke- The Eraser- This album is pretty great, but it is a mood peice. You can't really listen to this at any time. For this reason, it looses something for me. It isn't versatile like other Radiohead albums, but this isn't a Radiohead album. It is in the vein of Kid A and Amnesiac but the songwriting isn't as great. However, that doesn't mean there are some awesome tracks on it. Quite on the contrary. The track "Analyse" is one of my fav songs that has come out this year. It has an interesting tempo that pulsates with different sounds. "And It Rained All Night" is also a sweet mood peice. I just hope when he rejoins the forces of Radiohead, there are more guitars involoved.
5. Paul Simon- Surprise- This was a surprise as I foudn out Simon was releasing an album produced by none other than Brian Eno. Now That is an interesting combo. And it works. A little too well. Paul Simon writes amazing lyrics and loves doing new things. Imagine your usual Paul Simon songs but with that great Eno flare. It's great. Songs like "How Can You Live in the Northeast" and "Everything About it is a Love Song" are touching songs with excellent ethereal sounds that you won't expect to come from it. It is as different from Graceland as Bowie's glam stuff is to his late 70's avante garde stuff. It's a welcome sound.
4. Built to Spill- You In Reverse- Doug Martsch and crew are back in full force. After a few years of touring and writing, we finally have a new BTS album. And in grand fashion, you get what you are expecting. Sweeping epic indie songs. That is my best description of BTS albums in general. Epic Indie. For proof of this, check out the lead track "Goin' Against Your Mind" or the track to follow "Traces." Both are lengthy with decent guitar workouts. Never do the songs lose their path from the main core melody. Catchy as hell with enriching lyrics to boot. "Conventional Wisdom" is definitely one of their best tunes to date.
3. The Secret Machines- Ten Silver Drops- This album, although not as good as the predocessor, has some of the finest tunes written by the Secret Machines. The thing this album has to offer is the potential of making the Machines show even more intense. Although their recordings rule, a pumping epic song like "Daddy's in the Doldrums" will get exponentially better in their jam session style live show. "Lightning Blue Eyes" is probably the best pop song written in ages that will never get radio play. The usual fair. Great songs, sweeping epic riffs and hooks with meaningful lyrics. These guys are definitely one of the best bands of the decade.
2. The Fever- In The City of Sleep- Halloweencore at it's finest. Compared to Red Bedroom, this album takes The Fever into further depths of weird and catchy. It is a huge step forward as the songwriting has increased 10-fold. "Redhead" is probably the easiest to compare to the last album, but most of the other songs take on new sounds and different styles. "Little Lamb and the Shiny Silver Bullets" is a definite stand out with a much tamer and mellower feel than usual. It's just overall funtimes. It's a circus in your ears.
1. The Flaming Lips- At War With The Mystics-Yes, they did it again. Only this time, no concept. Yoshimi is superior to this album, however, that doesn't mean this album is bad. in fact, it's awesome. Unless Beck pulls out all the stops (which the first single "Cell Phone's Dead" might dethrone), this is the best album of the year. I am pretty much in love with every song on this album, but three standouts come to mind. "Vein of Stars" is a beautiful song about existentialism of sorts. It's the perfect song for staring into the sky at night and questioning everything. "My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion" fills me with hope when nothingness comes along and "It Overtakes Me/ The Stars are so Big...I am So Small... Do I Stand A Chance?" starts off as a fun jam and ends as a beautiful reflection peice. The singles are super fun and politically charged and the album flows great with each song being a great entity in itself. A good change from the last two albums being cohesive concepts.
Albums to come: Beck's The Informer (or Informant... I forget what it said on his website.) Electric Six- Switzerland, and I'm sure some nice surprises from The Rapture and hopefully The Shins.
So I haven't seen really that many movies that are worthy of me telling you about, but here is a quicky top 5 of some of the films I thought were great this year.
2. A Scanner Darkly
3. Inside Man
5. The Three Burials of Malquidas Estrada
The only other movies I've seen have been some sub-par blockbusters that aimed to please to a certain extent and some sub-par, but surprisingly better than I thought comedies. Let's hope things like Snakes, Science of Sleep and The Oh in Ohio can save this year. Plus we are slowly approaching Oscar months. So who knows whats gonna come crawlin' out.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Sheriff: Oh, you want my job?
Vic: No, we don't want your job! We just want a little protection!
Sheriff: Protection! Certainty! Assurance! Security!
Vic: (Lost) Well, yeah. That too, I guess.
Sheriff: (In a fit) You want confidence! A pledge! Safety! Guarantee! Promises! Expectation! Consideration! Sincerity! Selflessness! Intimacy. Attraction. Gentleness. Understanding. An understanding without words. Dependence without resentment. (Begins trailing off.) Affection...To belong...Possession...Loss.
Mike: Hey, Sheriff, everything OK at home?
Sheriff: (Weakly) Why do women exist?
Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to become as mediocre as possible.
Women are an elusive breed. Yes, there are exceptions to every statement ever, every generalization. But those generalizations, cliches and stereotypes, no matter how skewed they might be are based in some truth. Women are a confusing bunch. I truly believe that at one point in our long history as human kind, we spoke different languages. I blame our forbearers for the terrible communication breakdowns and the different trains of thought they we now have. That being said, I will go into why women do exsist and why, although they are a difficult species, they are great. It's a double edged sword.
I've been in only a few relationships in my life. I'd like to say I still have a shit load to learn. I feel like I have been in love. I had two excellent long term relationships that I truly look back on with full accomplishment and growth. Although both ended in some depressing ways, I feel as though maybe I can fully move on from the hurt that comes from the end of something so close. And females, well, I can't blame them, and you can't blame those individuals either. I can either blame Jupiter again or take Epictetus' advice and say that I'm not sad because what I wish had happened didn't, but rather I am happy that things turned out the way they did because I had no control on those circumstances. I'd like to say that I could have. But that is a lie. Nothing was in my control and maybe I have finally learned to appreciate the situation at hand. That is also a lie.
I am disgustingly dependent and it's not cool. The thing I like the most about females is the fact that I can have a different outlet for conversation. Yeah, I can talk to my guy friends about things, but there is something special about when you are in a relationship with a lady and there is some sort of other plane connection that makes for much better conversation about the philosophy of life, love and happiness. It's probably the thing I miss the most of my past relationships.
"A self is a relationship that relates to itself." So I guess I take this a different way than is meant, but I definitely feel a lot more comfortable with myself when I have a relationship that relates to myself. That is a stretch, but it's definitely true. I'm not saying I need to be happy with someone else. I am, for the most part, a happy, optimistic person. But I feel like I am ready after some time of searching both my soul and looking around the horizon for a new relationship, that it's time to get back in the game. Not that its a game, but I am looking for the next Ms. Right.
Females are confusing, but not so much that it annoys me. I get frustrated with the mixed messages that they can sometimes send, but everyone does that. It's just a matter of understanding and opening the lines of communication better.
That's really all I have to say about the women. Care to enlighten me, my female readers? I mean, I am obviously not a horrible guy. I'd like to say I'm well above mediocre. So prove me wrong that women are looking for mediocre. Let me find someone looking for someone who is above average. Yes, I am tooting my own horn, but I'd like to seperate myself from most men out there.
Friday, August 04, 2006
"Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions."
Epictetus' Enchiridion makes these statements which I try and take to heart. In life, we must know that we can't control everything. There is this thing hanging over our head called "the unknown." These are things we can't control, peoples reactions and everyday problems and events. Yes, we can somewhat control the things that happen, but only our actions we can take control of. The man with these words of wisdom is one of many of the great Greeks. And when it comes to death, he gives one of my favorite pieces of advice.
"Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. Death, for instance, is not terrible... but the terror consists in our notion of death that it is terrible. When therefore we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles. An uninstructed person will lay the fault of his own bad condition upon others. Someone just starting instruction will lay the fault on himself. Some(one) who is perfectly instructed will place blame neither on others nor on himself."
It's too easy to place blame when things go bad. But, alas, Death is upon us all. We cannot blame others for when death will reach our doorstep. It could come otu of nowhere or we could live to 104. Epictetus goes on with some more words of wisdom.
"Don't demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well."
If we are content with the way things go in our life, we will have a much more positive outlook on life. This is extremely hard to do. But, if we try the least bit, it might be worth it as our daily life will be somewhat more happy. If we appreciate what happens to us, we can move along this thing called life, not with ease, but with more appreciation for things.
The embrace of life.
4c: Meaning is differential.
So if we are to look for the good in life, why is it so freaking hard? Well the title of these past two blogs come from a Hartley film called Theory of Achievment". One character proclaims "to know we can die is to be dead already." And for the most part, he is right. We are dead right now. Nothing about us is alive minus all the bodily functions. But with the only certainty being death, we are somewhat dead. However, this is a really dark way to look at things. So I turn to another text.
4d: "The Sickness Unto Death"
The title for this blog and Soren Kierkegaard's work on life and death. So here is the parts that are important for the sake of this blog.
"The human being is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation which relates to itself, or that in the relation which it is relating to itself. The self is not the relation, but the relation’s relating to itself. A human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, the temporal and the eternal, freedom and necessity. In short, a synthesis. Synthesis is a relation between two terms. Looked at in this way, a human being is not yet a self. "
Still not sure what the hell is wrong with this man. But his whole point is that knowing we can die is the sickness of our lives. The fact that we are afraid of death is a hindrince to life. The kiss of death, the embrace of life. In this, he basically says that dying is the cure for this sickness and (since he is a christian) belives that true happiness will come in the afterlife. Dark dark dark.
Here is the best nugget of info from a reading that has very little synonyms in it.
"The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off in the world as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a lef, five dollars, a wife, etc. is bound to be noticed."
We will never know the loss we have when we pass on, but others will. It's hard when we know someone passes away. Really tough. It sucks when we lose something that is ours. But when we die, we will not know what happened. It's our greatest loss, yet we wont know it. Or will we? Who really knows. Its just a thought and another angle of this 4th topic.
4a. "The kiss of death, the embrace of life"
1. The quality of having no useful result; uselessness.
2. Lack of importance or purpose; frivolousness.
Sometimes, it seems that way. The idea of life. The fact that the only thing we know is creeping at our doorway at any moment is death. Nothing else is certain.
I had this post in mind a few days ago, spearheading my thoughts on death and the end of life and how to deal and what to make of our own deaths and why we are so afraid of it. Today this post just got a bit more personal. One of the most important people in my life has lost their father. And it is really hard to think about this. And then I think back to my thought that life is futile. I think of a new word and a new definition for life.
1. Remarkable or extraordinary.
It's true. Again, point one is taken into thought. As much as we don't know much about our lives, what the point is and all those negative thoughts we think of, there is truly something beautiful and unique about the human spirit. Anyway, beyond these thoughts I am going to tackle the subject of life, death and how us humans try to figure it all out with our minds that are too complex for our own good. Sometimes I wonder why we started things like religion and philosophy and trying to figure out the meaning of life rather than just take life by the balls and take it for what it is.
So my sources for this are going to go beyond a single text like the last one. Leviathan was great and all. There was a lot that I didn't put in because I am taking Hobbes' advice to some extent and seeing reality in others. But I will do that by reading some more text and listening to songs and watching films.
For death, there are a few things that will come into play. I will take Kierkegaard's Sickness Unto Death, Epictetus' Enchiridion and apply them the way Touey would only love. Also, I will look at some sociobiology that I learned from Touey. And I will look at some films by Hal Hartley and the song "Marquee Moon" by the band Television. And that is where I will start this post.
How does a art-punk band of the late 70's make the same points as Philosophers from ages past? Here are the lyrics of their song "Marquee Moon":
I remember how the darkness doubled
I recall lightning struck itself.
I was listening, listening to the rain
I was hearing, hearing something else.
Life in the hive puckered up my night,
the kiss of death, the embrace of life.
There I stand neath the Marquee Moon
I spoke to a man down at the tracks.
I asked him how he don't go mad.
He said "Look here junior, don't you be so happy.
And for Heaven's sake, don't you be so sad."
Life in the hive puckered up my night,
the kiss of death, the embrace of life.
There I stand neath the Marquee Moon
Well a Cadillac it pulled out of the graveyard.
Pulled up to me all they said "get in."
Then the Cadillac it puttered back into the graveyard.
And me, I got out again.
Life in the hive puckered up my night,
the kiss of death, the embrace of life.
There I stand neath the Marquee Moon
I ain't waiting, uh-uh
Now to some, these lyrics may seem not so philisophical. But if anyone has read one text by any philosopher, they know they speak in code, in thesaurusless worlds and in reverse statements. And for good reason. Life and death are complex themes that we deal with everyday. Here are my observations on the probably my favorite take on life.
The first verse eludes me just a bit. I believe it is a take on how we are all very paranoid of immenent danger and death. But in the chorus, we have the line "the kiss of death, the embrace of life... here I stand neath the Marquee Moon just waiting." So we know there is death. It's there. But the Embrace of Life is where the good comes out of it. All we can do is wait and while we are at it, we might as well embrace life. The second verse is great. the "Don't you be so happy and for Heaven's sake, don't you be so sad" is something I can relate to. You get to sad, you miss the life you have (where my head is at.) If you get too happy, you forget the fact that we are standing on a precipice that can crumble at any moment. Again the chorus, but instead of just waiting, we get hesitating. Much more normal. It's easy to be afraid of death (more on that in part B) than to just wait for it. The last verse is obvious a metaphor on dying. A very unusual and mundane metaphor. But it's great. Unglamourous on all accounts (although Caddys are awesome.) So after the last verse and before the music swells to a great chreschendo (one of the best in rock and roll) we get the chorus where Verlaine (lead singer) proclaims "I ain't waitin', uh-uh." Now I don't think this means he is going to do it himself OR that he isn't afraid of death. This goes back to the "Embrace of Life" part. He is ready to embrace it and enjoy it.
So embrace life.
End part A.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
So why look at moral and political philosophy to find meaning to life? It's just one of the many places to start a soul search and a questioning of ones self. So first I turn to a text I read many many moons ago in good ol' Freshman Year Touey. That is of course, Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan.
This is a cumbersome text, but it will be the beginning of point 3 on this on going series of self discovery. So here is point three.
3. Reality is relative.
Ok. So by this, I mean that what denotes what is real, what is reality and what is the "real world"? I hate the term real world. The only thing real about the world is the fact that it is here (refer to point 1.) Other than the sheer existence of our world, what makes it a world? What makes it Earth and not just a rock that got lucky to have the amount of water it has and the big, fat gas giant to protect it from space dust, comets and meteors? Well, one thing that Hobbes talks about is the meaning of things. Here is one exceprt.
"Though by men's actions we do discover their design sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them to our own, and distinguishing all circumstances, by which the case may come to be altered, is to decypher without a key, and be for the most part deceived; as he that reads, is himself a good or evil man."
What do we then gain from knowing the actions of others? This is an interesting point to an extent. We base our reality on the realities of others. So then no reality is actually based on anything. If I base my learning and understanding in other people, and they are inversely basing their understanding of things on me and others, where does it all lead? Hobbes continues:
"He that is to govern a whole nation, must read in himself, not this or that particular man, but mankind: which though it be hard to do, harder than to learn any language or science; yet when I shall have set down my own reading orderly, and perspicuously, the pains left another, will be only to consider, if he also find not the same in himself."
Alright. That's a bit clearer. It's not specific people but humanity in general. If we study what humanity is all about, maybe then we can get a broader understanding. I think maybe I should have been into anthropology.
I like how Hobbes points out that the study of man is harder than science or language. It sure as hell is.
Another thing that Hobbes points out about reality is the fact that what we think about, or as he says our "mental discourse" that we only have two ways of thinking. This goes into our learning to some extent. The first way he calls it unguided or "without design." Basically, most of my blogs are like this. No passion of thought and not based in any ends. Unlike past blogs, I now have direction and am thinking in the school of regulated by some desire thoughts.
So my final take on the parts of the Leviathan that I have read?
We base are reality upon others. Those other people are basing their reality upon ours. No reality is real. It is a relative subject. We perceive things differently. This is why men and women have horrible communication breakdowns at times. This is why countries and races have wars. Communication on reality is based upon nothing.
This isn't to say there is nothing to look forward to in life. As said by a great modern day philosopher: "Even if we find out that life is meaningless, we can still enjoy waffles and ice cream." ~ Drew Lazor
Point 4 will probably be based on Epictetus, Kierkegaard and death. Also, point 5 which will be called "On Women" is in the opening stages of development. Can't wait for you feminists to read that. My take on the female species. Grrrrrr. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
So 2006 is pretty much halfway over. All I can say is 'is it over yet?' Lord I wish it was. So this has been officially the shitiest year of my small, unimportant exsistence on this rare planet we call Earth. I've been reading a lot of philosophy and scientific shit recently with my head being in the gutter for 97.345% of this year. So here are my small theories on why although this year has sucked and is shitty, that it doesn't matter.
1. Our existence is sheer luck.
Ok, so what are you thinking right now me saying this? Well, since I have nothing else better to do, I did some wikipedia perusing of articles that aren't credible, but for the most part correct. Ryan Carey had an away message about Io, the moon surrounding Jupiter, today and I remembered back to my innocent days in 1994 when I was obsessed with space and the universe and saw the Shoemaker-Levy 9 Comet slam into Jupiter at the good ol' Phel's Planitarium. For some reason, I wanted to relive my past. As a young kid, I was awstruck at the beauty and the awesomeness of a giant broken apart comet slaming into the mass of gas. When I looked up this, I also found articles about Jupiter and one called the 'Rare Earth Hypothesis'. Although this hypothesis is unbalanced and not proven (nor could it ever be) it makes sense and makes me rethink my existence. How are we so lucky to be around? The fact that no life anywhere else is around in the solar system, the galaxy and for all intents and purposes the universe, why are we here? This made me appreciate things like art, music, comodities, technology, culture and language much more. It's pretty amazing to think that there is a great chance we are the only things out here in a vast wasteland of chaos. And we owe it all to Jupiter. I think that might start off one of my script ideas.
So feeling blah is pretty much the only emotion I have goin on right now. And here is a rundown from Jan-July that proves to you that my year has SUCKED. I am sure to leave out a shit load of things that are personal that shouldn't be posted, so it will seem vague. If you want details, you sick fucks, then feel free to ask me.
a) Love is dead to me. b) The female species is more complex than I thought (I blame Jupiter for this one.) c) I had a great internship oppurtunity that was destroyed because of e) mono. I don't know who I got that shit from, but it makes me dislike you much more. f) Whenever I become interested in someone, I get C-blocked by the powers at be, good friends, the earth itself (also blame Jupiter) and MONO! g) I was looking forward to grauation more than anyone I know. And now that the world is in front of my face, I get shit luck magee. I had great interviews with a few places. Two failed, one felt great until I was told that the Evening Bulletin is folding. WHAT THE FUCK!
So these are the first two parts of a series I am starting. As I am bored, unemployed and a slacker, I have picked up my old Philosophy text book and have started looking at some of those good ol texts and am going to make my analysis of life, its meaning (or lack thereof... I forget, is that one word or two?) and rant about life. I started with some science and will move to some thinking mans texts. First, starting with Kierkegaard The Sickness Unto Death and Hobbes' Leviathan. Until then, thank Jupiter for the world we live in.