September 29, 2007

Be sure to stick around for the slow-motion recap at the end.

Advertisements

September 27, 2007

As most of you who read the free daily rag Metro know, there is a weekly segment on “Office Yoga”. Its purpose is to provide the reader with a series of low-profile, highly-effective means of relieving stress while sitting at your cubical. I’m not going to get into what I really think about Yoga, as I might buckle to the whims of West Coast Culture in the near future and you may see me floating, cross-legged on a cumin fireball, eating a bowl of couscous while reading the Bahgvad Dita. My fears of localized indoctrination aside, one segment of Office Yoga was so preposterously ridiculous, I had to write in to the author. Here’s the exchange so far:

Hi There,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank Sadie Lawrence for Metro’s “Office Yoga” tip last week, titled “Eye Yoga”. She provided many of us here at the office with a long, hearty chortle. Perhaps next week she’ll enlighten us with the benefits of fingernail clipping Feng Shui?
AP

Her Response:

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for your feedback. I believe the humor lies in the misconception that ‘yoga’ is just for toning the body. This often happens when words take on a conventional usage that somewhat strays from their true meaning. A ‘chortle’, in fact, is another kind of yoga altogether, the heartier the better.

In peace,

Mary

My response:

Touché.

However, if you say “chortle” is another type of yoga, I can only assume that you define yoga as anything you choose to assign it. That is unless you were being snarky – in which case, you win – in a bowl-of-water-and-cereal kind of way.

AP

We wait for a response.

In Peace,

Andrew

The longest album review ever

September 21, 2007

5-year old Live Journal ramblings aside, I’ve never been compelled to do a music review. In fact, I’ve never really been a fan of reading them, either. I rarely agree with the reviewer, and if I do, the piece is so stuffy that it seems the writer is using the review as a showcase for their own writing skills rather than to define and judge an album. I know you know what I’m talking about.

In recent years, few albums have succeeded in provoking a truly emotional response from me as a result of their insight, creativity, and overall listenability. Sure, there have been highlights. But nothing that made me want to put an album on repeat, permanently. Until now.

El-P’s new-ish full-length, called “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” is the single most powerful musical effort I’ve heard in a dog’s life. Known for being intelligently poetic and politically charged, El-P’s latest effort grabs the collective balls of conventional hip hop and stuffs them, en masse, into the garborator. That garborator turns on the second you press play.

The track, “Dear Sirs”, begins with frantic tapping of a typewriter that somehow mutates into a blazingly fast coup of heavy double bass drum goodness with no identifiable time signature—all while maintaining the furious resonance of writing an angry letter.

Dear Sirs,” He states,

If the pavement comes alive on Flatbush Ave with toothy smiles
Comprised of traffic cones and manholes become eyes

And continues on a tirade of his futuristic vision of something that resembles a utopian anarchy, yet seems to take place in the present.

And drugs no longer taunt me and flooze around my conscience
And every woman beating rapist is nailed securely in their coffins

This scenario is further elaborated upon while being perfectly captured and delicately framed with distorted guitars for another verbose half minute.

And the sniveling grimace mongrels of infected money slobbering pesticrats ignite
into a brilliant beam of light
And mercy is the rule
And the exception’s mercy too
And the desert comes in Brooklyn and the President goes to school

And, as if he’s either nearly run out of breath, or his gushing, bloody nose is warning him that another 10 seconds of this and his head’s going to explode, he ends with:

Time flows in reverse
Death becomes my birth
Me fighting in your war is still, by a large margin
The least likely thing that will ever fucking happen…ever

The sheer electricity of feverish contempt in his voice was enough to give me goose bumps. And that was before I could understand a goddamn word he was saying. This song clocks in at 1:34.

Another track, titled “Habeas Corpses (Draconian Love)”, appears to take place sometime in the distant future where the world is divided into traitors and those who dispose of them. Cage—a stunningly controversial artist with a sharp tongue and a bucket full of clever to cool you off with when stung—makes an appearance or two on this song. Together, they talk through a narrative where they act as traitor executioners when El-P falls in love with one of the prisoners he’s about to kill. The song starts on an eerie note with what sounds like a decrescending electric cello that just consumed a bucket-sized GHB and ketamine cocktail.

The two talk about their jobs.

Cage: “When I wake up and put this suit on, I feel escape begin
Expirations are needed, I facilitate the end

El-P: “There are two types of mornings/mournings in this life I can surmise
I wake early in the first to help supply the second type

After a bit of back and forth, El-P confesses his fixation on the prisoner and Cage attempts to wrap his head around the scenario.

El-P: “I’m saying during the tenure of your gig, have you ever herded a pris
Who despite the traitorous label, makes you nervous as a kid?
Maybe beyond a date with the lead, there’s something else meant for
A prisoner with the beauty of 247290-Z

Cage: “Oh God, you gotta be joking, I get it she’s smoking
Go get a taste, I’ll hold you down for thirty, she must be purty, you’re open
Your secret’s safe with me, go on a raping spree
I gotta couple numbers of my own, just return the courtesy

Without pasting the entire song here and offending you with what some would call objectionable content, let me tell you this—It’s story telling at its finest. The production creates a very believable atmosphere, while the syllabic efforts of each artist ebb and flow with both smooth compliance and negative friction.

Unlike the product of today’s marketing machine-driven content, each track on “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” has a big, fat, juicy gem in it – if the song itself isn’t.

I should also note the unlikely collaborations that make their home on this record, too: Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of the Mars Volta; Mr. Dibbs; Aesop Rock; Mr. Lif; Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw and Head Automatica; Chan Marshall a.k.a. Cat Power; and the most surprising of them all—Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Given this is almost exclusively a rap record, it’s impressive to see the roster of very well-known rock musicians working with El-P.

This is easily the finest urban music record I’ve ever owned, and it’s likely one of the best of any genre.

Also, El-P has red hair. Heh.

Ok. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to post the story. Your relentless requests have become enormously tiring, so here it is: How I got arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

It’s Friday night. I’m at home assessing a freelance project I’m working on. I’m doing this because I don’t have much money, and because I wanted to get started on this project. But, mostly because I don’t have much money.

 

At around 11pm, the hunger pangs kick in. I peek into my fridge and quickly realize that any meal I could coax out of it would take at least half an hour of my precious time to prepare. No deal. I reach into my pocket and, much to my surprise, I pull out a 5 dollar bill instead of a handful of moths. Given my sloth-like appearance and complete lack of motivation to do much of anything, McDonald’s was decidedly my destination.

I walk out of my apartment, into the elevator, and then into the lobby of my building. There’s a rock about twice the size of my head sitting on the tiled lobby floor amongst a newly-formed blanket of glass shards. Coincidently, the previously glass doors no longer hold any panes. It takes a moment to compute, but it occurs to me that someone had thrown this massive stone through the lobby doors.

 

I could have left through the back doors, but that was beside the point. I try to open the doors, but the scattered shards make that impossible. I consider crawling through the door’s new speed-hole, but the few remaining, barely-attached pieces and the thought of being decapitated when passing through was more than enough to keep me considering other solutions. I think to myself “if I kick the door, the remaining glass will fall off and I’m free to leave!” So I do just that – kick the door, then crawl through.

 

Once out, with my head still attached to my body, I see a police car drive by. I wave my arms to get his attention and he slows to a stop. I lazily jog over to the car, and when about 10 feet away, he drives off. Confused, I look around, and see a bunch of people on the patio of the Korean restaurant next to the entrance of my building. I approach a young man who was closest to the front door of my building and ask him if he saw what happened. He stares at me blankly.

 

“Did you see what happened?” I repeat.

 

He blinks and stares some more.

 

“Hell-o!”

 

“No, I see nothing.”

 

“Ok, thanks.”

 

Just then I see another police car drive by. This one stops when I wave him down. He rolls down his window and I lean over to talk to him.

“Hi Officer. I just walked out of my apartment and it appears as though the front door’s been smashed by a large rock.”

 

“Yeah, I know. I was called to check it out.”

 

I put my hands in my pocket while he talks on his radio and another officer approaches.

 

“Put your hands where I can see them.”

 

I oblige and stand there while they chat. He asks me another question that I can’t quite hear so I crouch down so that I’m at eye level with him, when he suddenly shouts “I SAID put your HANDS when I can SEE them.” Without thinking, I had put my hands in my hoody’s pocket again.

The officers continue to chat when I hear the dispatcher over the radio say “We have a description. White male. About 6 feet tall. Grey hooded sweatshirt and camouflage shorts with a tattoo on his left leg.” Apparently the perp looks JUST like me. Wait. That IS me.

 

“That’s him. We got our guy.” Says the cop in the car.

 

“Are you sure?” Says the other officer.

 

“Yep.”

 

At that point, I’m being cuffed against the cruiser.

 

I say “This is fucking ridiculous. I LIVE there. I was going to get food! And I waved YOU down.” After taking down my information (name, address, etc), they read me my rights. I opt for city-provided council. I again say that I didn’t do it and that I was trying to report it, then decide to keep my mouth shut. After about 10 minutes of standing around, handcuffed for all my neighbours to see, I politely ask if the officer would put me in the back of the vehicle to save me the humiliation of everyone in the world seeing what an invalid I am until the situation is cleared up. They don’t.

 

Then, the person who originally called the police to report the crime shows up. Police ask “Is this the guy that did it?” He says “No. Definitely not.” They ask again “Are you 100% sure?” He says again “110%, actually.” And they un-cuff me, apologize explain that they were obligated, by law, to detain me. They gave me their cards, badge numbers and incident number in the event I had any follow-up questions or complaints.

 

It gets better.

 

They find the guy that called in the description and decide the little fuckface is due for a lesson. One of the officers asks me to stay for this, and, realizing what they’re doing, gladly agree.

 

“Sir, do you realize that the person that you called in a positive description of wasn’t the right person?”

He blinks.

 

“Sir, do you know that we just arrested this person, who lives in the building, for doing absolutely nothing at all?”

 

More blinking.

 

“Do you know that we could arrest you for doing that? According to his record, he’s clean as a whistle. Now, no matter what happens in the future, he’s always going to have at least a slightly different opinion of the police. You’ve also wasted nearly 20 minutes of our time while the real offender got away.”

 

Blinks again.

 

“We want you to apologize to him.”

 

“I sorry!”

 

I stare at him and say nothing. More than anything in the world I want to punch a hole through his face. Why? Well, he was the young man I originally asked if he had witnessed what happened. Something tells me that if I had hit him, the cops wouldn’t have done a thing about it.

 

That’s what happened on Friday night.

 

I learned a couple of things about encounters with the police that night. First of all, be courteous. Even if they’re infringing on your rights, you’ll get a lot further with them if you’re not a dick. The moment I showed a little bit of sass, they doubled it. They were within their rights to do what they did, but I didn’t realize it at the time. Being arrested for something you didn’t do feels like the greatest injustice in the history of mankind. But it really isn’t.

 

Secondly, keep your mouth shut no matter what. If you didn’t do it, it’ll be cleared up. If you did do it, well, anything you say can and will be used against you.

 

Thirdly, keep in mind that most of these guys are just doing their jobs. They go out, everyday, risking their health and lives. So, they have to take precautions. Sure, some use excessive force, or worse, their authority for personal gain – but that can never be assumed. Making their jobs easier in these situations will make your life easier overall.

More meat!

September 13, 2007

Oh, sweet Jesus.

52 Pick-Up

September 12, 2007

    In his blog today, a friend of mine, Jay Phil, asked what a good gift for a person with autism would be. I should be the last person to attempt to answer this question as I’m the WORST at giving gifts. I suck at it so bad that I’m better off not giving anything at all. I’m the type of guy to get his girlfriend a set of jumper cables for her birthday and not realize it was a bad idea. Regardless, Jay’s question was intriguing so I set aside my bowl of Kraft Dinner, wiped the sauce out of my chest and stomach hair, put on some pants and gave his query some thought. This is my answer. I know posting this seems just slightly self absorbed, but I’m genuinely proud of my idea. It’s not easy to be insightful when you’re dealing with something you don’t know much about. Intuition, however, is a different matter. Carrying on…

    Man, it’s really hard to try to answer your question without being a completely insensitive piece of shit. But I’ll try. Here we go:

    As I understand, there are many different forms of autism that vary in degree of severity. People with Asperger’s Syndrome–a form of autism–can fit in with the general public, hold down high profile jobs, and have no one any the wiser to their disorder other than the odd quirk. However, I’m assuming that you’re talking about a slightly more conspicuous, flailing-of-the-arms-and-repeating-of-nonsensical-phrases-and-words type of autism.

    My suggestion? A deck of heavy-plastic-coated playing cards. Why? Hours of fun. They can count ‘em, colour co-ordinate ‘em, count ‘em again, make castles, count ‘em again, add ’em up, count ‘em again, chew on ‘em, and more. Hell, they can even PLAY with them if they so choose. And, a high-end deck of cards can’t go for more than $10!

    So there’s my suggestion. You can thank me later.

For the sake of time sensitivity, you can view the original entry here.

September 11, 2007

Did a little Fall cleaning ’round these parts. I know it’s ugly, but the last theme was uglier, and so it shall remain this way until I can think of something I want to use as a header, or learn how to use this CSS thing that I think lets me use my own template. Or better yet, get my own domain.

I’ve deleted most of the tags as some of the search inquires that brought people here went way past amusing, through the treacherous mountains of Tlaclocl, and into a world that I haven’t been even tempted to peer into in moments of my most furious perversions. And I have some pretty furious perversions.

I’ve also updated the blogroll thing. It’s no longer called a blogroll, as that’s a stupid name for anything. It’s called “Links” as I link to some friends’ blogs, some blogs I read, and, of course, places I waste my time and my employer’s money. They’re all worth spending at least a few minutes looking at.