Monday, May 23, 2011

We Have To Go Back

A year later. Thanks for the ride, LOST--polar bear cages 'n all. #WeHaveToGoBack

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Best Part Of The Approaching Election Season? New Terrible Ads.


So depending on who you talk to at 4 in the morning, the world may or may not be ending on May 21st. Upon hearing that the world is about reach an untimely end (I say untimely because the sun didn't supernova. Instead some guy came back to judge the living and the dead) most people reach one of two conclusions. The first of which being outright dismissal. However, the second option, exclusive to religious types, is also not one of panic. Instead, the religious types will probably spend the last few days of known existence relaxing, knowing that if you were a good person (or donated a lot of money on Sundays) your going to soon be playing mahjong with Jesus. So in a perfect world no one is panicking, well, except that lapsed catholic that was never able to escape his/her grandmother induced guilt. They're probably losing their shit right now.

However, there is a philosophical underlining to this event. As rapture nears, people begin to believe that they truly are powerless over the meaningful events in life. As this concept takes root, people exclusively apply it to the larger issues, generally excluding what they had for lunch yesterday while including things like who they love / when or where they will get run over by a car (it's a statistical inevitability.) However, while one is able to get lost in this type of thought, an individual cannot realistically believe that almost nothing important ever happens because you engineer it. Indicating that destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an ally with some sort of "psst" that you usually can't hear because you're in such a rush to or from something important you are trying to engineer. This realm of thought illustrates two extremes, while desperately seeking a middle ground. Not believing in a predetermined future, while not getting lost in trying to build one's perfect (yet inevitably doomed) future. Impending rapture is a product of these extremes, with some believing that one lacks the power to choose, while others focus on the concept of complete freedom. Both are frightening, both lead to disillusionment

Increasing numbers of people suffer from chronic disillusionment, but Solipsism is not the answer. Staying conscious to the world, dictating every action with a sense of mindfulness, may be the only way to try and live.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Life Aquatic

You learn a starling number of things while starring at the bottom of a pool.

This is how to kick your feet and move your arms. Moving in water is a different battle entirely.

This is how to concentrate intently on one thing for a period of time - it is very hard work.

This is how to have your body hurt so badly that you limp out of a congested pool and out into the foggy air. Gasping for breath.

This is how to sit in a hot tub. Soon you two will be the best of friends.

This is how to cheer when you find out that you made the team. But don't celebrate too much, your aching body won't appreciate it. Remind yourself that you enjoy being there.

This how to hide your tears while being yelled at during an intolerably hard set. You swear that water was just in your eyes. You swear.

This is how to feel lonely while swimming in a pool filled with people. You realize that loneliness is not a function of solitude.

This is how you say no to all future non-aquatic social interactions. Strangely enough, this is also the same way that you figure out that Nyquil is 50 proof.

This is how you go home and fall asleep while trying to complete homework.

This is how you explain to your mother (who finds you asleep on your homework) that you cannot possibly quit swimming. For your friends.

This is how you lie to yourself and say you swim for your friends. Or for the love of the sport, if you're having an especially proud day.

This is how, in a moment of stark realization, you realize that you swim due to some strange addiction. Put this thought off for later exploration.

This is how, after an especially tough loss, you see human beings sit in one place and just hurt.

This is how you realize that no single individual moment is in and of itself unendurable. You feel the bad and remember the good.

This is how you realize that it is permissible to have goals, to want things.

This is how you chase those goals, fantasizing about achieving them.

This is how you achieve some, not all, but some of those goals. You realize that wanting something is often more fun than having it.

This is how, that as the season begins to end, you will miss the way your body hurts, the way you almost fall asleep on the drive home, and the fact that the last thing you smell before you go to sleep is unadulterated chlorine.

This is also how you realize that you can fall asleep while screaming.

This is how you explore your previously discovered addiction to swimming. You decide that it isn't the camaraderie, the bad jokes in the shower, or even the superior physical fitness. No, you like the respect. The fictional respect that you imagine other people give you because you complain to them about how you woke up at 5am to go hop into a pool and swim back and forth.

This is how you learn that other people don't spend as much time thinking about you as you imagine they do.

This is how you catch an alligator. (This one is entirely unrelated. Just there to make sure you aren't skimming. You bastard.)

This is how when the season ends and you hang out with your (now) ex-swimming friends, all you an talk about are the memories.

This is how you make jokes about how you may or may not have developed Stockholm syndrome for a particular coach.

This is how you realize that you weren't the only one addicted to the false respect of high school swimming. That you and all your friends, lonely as can be, developed a legitimate community in response to your shared suffering.

This is how you suffer withdrawal symptoms for something that is completely legal (and encouraged / celebrated).

This is how you miss something you're not sure you ever really loved. Yet, this thing had complete control over you, it consumed your existence for a number of years. You learn to shake its hand, look it in the eye, and finally walk away.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Photo Album

Here are some photos from my latest album. Here is the link for the rest of the 13 photo collection.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Endless Forrest. Endless Graveyard

Few things are more paradoxical than a very alive Pee-Wee Herman telling you that the thrill of crack can kill. For one thing, people only die of a thrill when they are 80 years old and willingly ride a roller coaster designed for Ritalin popping Mountain Dew pounding 14 year olds. Second, is that Pee-Wee Herman was probably using his Nancy Reagan dollars to buy enough crack to kill a small camel.

For the longest time, America has held an odd relationship with drugs. It's the uncomfortable syndrome where everyone is doing them, yet when politicians get lazy and face a reelection year, we inevitably find ourselves stuck in some kind of conflict, or if you subscribe to the alternative reality that is Ronald Reagan, “war” on drugs. Yet, drugs are not at odds with American ideology or values. No, they are just a natural extension of corporate capitalistic logic. Released into a free market based on laissez faire values, drugs become the perfect inelastic product, with the consumer initially wanting to exchange a set amount of money for a set amount of feeling. However, as the drug use continues, the consumer loses control, and that once fickle want makes the pivotal shift to an unsatisfiable need. This new level of desire for the product is the mark of perfect inelasticity, as the consumer, regardless of price, is unlikely to exit the market.

The rationale for outlawing drugs is usually reduced to their addictive quality, but in reality addiction is an integral component of the contemporary American zeitgeist. People constantly watch television, drink numerous cups of coffee, and spend countless hours at a job they swear they hate. However, all of these addictions share a common denominator, they allow us to choose what we love. Living in a predominately boring and alienated world, addiction allows us to inject some feeling into our lives, to drown our consciousness in something other than the immediate reality. This is ultimately why we develop addiction, to harbor the rare freedom of controlling what we feel. Yet, drugs differentiate themselves from everyday addiction (isn't it odd that such a thing even exists?), instead of allowing us to feel something in our daily lives, they enable us to numb.

As western society has grown increasingly competitive, isolated, and divide, the collective subconscious has amalgamated against this shared suffering. Similar to a sports team uniting against an especially hard workout or a malevolent coach, the people of the world, frustrated with their loneliness, have formed a community in response to pain. Addiction is integral to this, allowing the world to continue to function, as individuals lose themselves in an activity of their choosing. Out of a world of addicts, drugs are only singled out because as the individual may have initially chosen this feeling, want inevitably makes the monumental shift to need, removing them from real feeling entirely. Drugs are not only the perfect inelastic product, a natural extension of corporate capitalistic logic, but the unrivaled escape in a world of escapists. The real challenge is not overcoming addiction, but changing the way we think. Trying to remind yourself everyday to stay aware of what is real and important and essential.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Only Person Allowed To Cover This Song

Feline Jenga

The Peep Dust of Candy Land

If the big bang subscribed to Ockham's Razor, the world would have ended up looking a lot like Candy Land. Invented in 1945 by polio victim Eleanor Abbott, Candy Land is a realm like no other. Violence is non existence, pain is cast into the proverbial abyss, and all that remains is the quest to find the lost king.

Within the game, the adventurers progress by drawing randomly colored cards. Everyone is given equal opportunity. On this rainbow coated path of fun, the adventurers stop at various locales and landmarks. Queen Frostine and Gramma Nutt provide solace on the trail, while the Candy Cane Forest and Gum Drop Mountains harbor vistas so beautiful, so pure, that they could only exist within this fantastical realm. Even when the adventurers draw an unfortunate card and are sent back to these places, they are not upset. Instead they smile, knowing that they are still in Candy Land.

Yet, after 15 to 21 minutes the game ends, the king is found, and the adventure comes to a close. The color drains from the kid's faces as they are forced to clean up, hastily shoving the magic back into a cardboard box. Instead of simply relying on color recognition and searching for some fictitious king, the kids are suddenly faced with real world problems. Issues that no one that young should have to deal with.

We are all forced into a world of polio and struggle, a realm where the phrase "lines of peep dust" fails to hold a friendly connotation. But at the end of the day, for all its flaws, the contemporary world will always trump Candy Land.

It's real.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dark Flute

Every morning, Maelstrom takes a shower.
Let me rephrase that, Maelstrom wants to take a shower.
Yet, roaches are always in the bathtub,
scaring Maelstrom away.
What is up with that?

Therefore, before getting into the tub,
Maelstrom turns the water as hot as it will go.
Watching the scolding liquid dip down the drain.
Then a dead bird would suddenly hit his window.
Yes, this did happen everyday.

Not keen of grim mysteries, Maelstrom refused to take this as a sign.
Returning the water to regular bathing temperature,
Maelstrom would get into the shower.
Just as he was looking forward to cleansing himself of worldly filth,
a single roach would appear on the floor of the white tub.

This occurrence forced Maelstrom to sleep. He was finished.

Monday, May 9, 2011

In a Fountain and Under a Tree

Over the past few weeks, two ducks have taken up residents in various fountains around a certain west coast private university. However, these ducks, a male and a female, have transgressed from a cute oddity one observes on the way to class into a campus wide sensation, frequently sited as many people's favorite couple on campus. Here is an excerpt from one of their conversations.

Male Duck: The water is kinda cold in the fountain today. Want to go sit under that tree?

Female Duck: Nah, not really feeling the grass today. Can we stay here for a little while longer?

Male Duck: Of course. Shit, humans are approaching.

(humans approach)

Male Duck: Quack!

Female Duck: Quack! Quack!

(humans stop and observe the ducks)

Human 1: They're so cute.

Human 2: Look at how they just float together. Adorable.

Human 1: Favorite couple on campus by far.

(humans keep on walking)

Male Duck: I'm happy they're gone, I fucking hate quacking.

Female Duck: Ditto.

Male Duck: Why do you think they watch us, gawk at our every movement?

Female Duck: Because the world doesn't own us.

Male Duck: What do you mean? We are confined to select spots around a single college campus. These students have the entire world, they can travel, read, write down ideas and argue them for simple posterity. If the world owns anyone, it must be us.

Female Duck: The world may physically restrain us, but it has no jurisdiction over cases of the heart. The students have unparalleled access to the world, but they are forced to wait to love. All of them, thinking they are so young and have all the time in the world to love someone. Yet, these students know that this is not the case, cancer, AIDS, out of control motor vehicles, all lie just around the corner. The unlucky ones may even meet their end via all three.

Male Duck: Yet, we are not outside of the realm of loss and tragedy.

Female Duck: You don't have to tell me twice.

Male Duck: What does that mean? I'm not going anywhere, don't worry.

Female Duck: Stop with the magnificent lies, they will only make me weep. At night, when we are floating side by side, I snuggle up to you and utter a simple wish: that this feeling will last. Yet we all know that everything that sun shines on is fleeting. Time will pass and you will disappear.

Male Duck: How can you say that? Our love is pure, we have each other, and even if my feathered body fails me, you will always have the memories.

Female Duck: Memories can only tide one over for so long. How long does it take to forget someones voice, their face? Five years, six? For before I met you I was alone, and now I am the prettiest of weeds.

Male Duck: You must not think like that; try, fight to stay aware of the world around you, what is real, what is essential, what is us. At night, between the hours of twelve and four, when the night takes on that special kind of silence, the students stare at their generic white washed ceilings and wish for what occurs in this simple pond. They want to be emotionally awake, to survive the unimaginably pain of the day, and come home having their hearts feel eternally full, the lifeblood of another running through their veins. For you are no better then the young individuals that stare at this fountain everyday; wanting to love, but fearing the pain that it may cause you. Yes, one day you will awake and I will be gone, and it will undoubtedly hurt; but because we had this connection, both of us will be better for it. The students do not chose to stop and look at this pond, it is that they cannot look away. There is power in what we have.

Female Duck: You sure are preachy, aren't you?

Male Duck: You think this is bad? You should have seen me in grad school.

The following week I spied four male ducks sitting in a different fountain, no female in sight. All male orgy or simple guy's weekend? I'm not one to decide.


Sometimes you learn of a thing, an event, a moment, that puts everything into context.