17 January 2014

MAKE CAKE

Being desperately in love is both an unexpected gift and a hard-earned reward. Amazing, really.

18 December 2013

MAXIMUM-LEVEL HEY YES HELLO

You ever feel like you're cheating on yourself when you use more than one blogging service for totally different reasons?

I am cheating on myself. So hard. 

15 December 2013

MOVING QUICKLY, YES, QUICKLY, YES, HELLO, YES, YES, YES, YES.

One thousand pieces of ice fell out of the tree and skittered across the lightly crusted sun-snow and hit her car and hit my head. It was totally magic and a little bit scary but mostly just guffawingly new and weird and rarely seen. Her windshield wipers were even weird. One was bent bow-forward, making it useless and stupid. The sun was licking the snow all over and the ice from the trees just kept falling and falling and wouldn't quit. There was far more ice in the trees than I would have thought. 

It was the last day of a long week in front of each other. A good week, but a long week, and I was sick for the whole damned thing. Sick on her birthday. Took care of me for a week and then got sick herself. Stupid belated birthday joke. Faced the hard thing a little bit this week that happens when you love someone a lot, which is this: what do you do when you love someone a lot, but you just want them to fuck off for a second so you can be a person by yourself for an evening? She felt like that a little and I felt like that maybe a little, but I'm a goon and not too much bothers me I guess, until it does. And then it really, really does. 

This was a good thing though. Talking about what you want and what you need is hard. All the time it's hard, it's never easy, it always sucks, and it always feels like you're leaning too far over the edge of your relationship's roof, but it always (always), ALWAYS feels better at the end. You shit out a bad thing and it's fine. 

The snow had many moods. Chunky, slushy, soft, lazy, squishy, ice, rain, ice, soft. Toasters on the floor and belladonna fever dreams and uh uh baby oh

11 November 2013

THE SUN AND THE RED HILL

The Niʻihau Incident (or Battle of Niʻihau) occurred on December 7, 1941, when Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi crash-landed his Zero on the Hawaiian island of Niʻihau after participating in the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was killed in a struggle with people on the island.
The island's Native Hawaiian residents were initially unaware of the attack, but apprehended Nishikaichi when the gravity of the situation became apparent. Nishikaichi then sought and received the assistance of three locals of Japanese descent in overcoming his captors, finding weapons, and taking several hostages. In the end Nishikaichi was killed by the wife of Niʻihauan Ben Kanahele, (who was wounded in the process), and one of Nishikaichi's confederates, Yoshio Harada, committed suicide.
The incident and the actions of Nishikaichi's abettors contributed to a sense in the American military that every Japanese, even those who were American citizens or otherwise thought loyal to the United States, might aid Japan, and ultimately may have influenced the decision to intern Japanese Americans during World War II. Ben Kanahele was decorated for his part in stopping the incident.
Niʻihau, the westernmost and second smallest of the primary Hawaiian Islands, has been privately owned by the Robinsons, a white kamaʻaina family, since 1864. At the time of the incident, it had 136 inhabitants, almost all of whom were Native Hawaiians whose first language was Hawaiian. In 1941 the owner was Aylmer Robinson, a Harvard University graduate who was fluent in Hawaiian. Robinson ran the island without interference from any government authority, and although he lived on the nearby island of Kauaʻi, he made weekly visits by boat to Niʻihau. The island was only accessible with permission from Robinson, which was almost never given except to friends or relatives of Niʻihauans. The handful of non-native residents included three of Japanese extraction: issei Ishimatsu Shintani and Hawaiian-born nisei Yoshio and Irene Harada, all of whom became involved in the incident.
Prior to the Pearl Harbor attack the Imperial Japanese Navy designated Niʻihau, which they mistakenly believed to be uninhabited, as a location for damaged aircraft to land after the attack. Pilots were told they could wait on the island and rendezvous with a rescue submarine.
On December 7, 1941, Airman First Class Shigenori Nishikaichi (c. 1919/20 – c. 10:00 am, December 13, 1941) (age 21/22), who had just taken part in the second wave of the Pearl Harbor attack, crash-landed his bullet-damaged plane, an A6M2 Zero "B11-120" from the carrierHiryu, in a Niʻihau field 19 feet from where Hawila Kaleohano (1912-1986), a native Hawaiian resident, was standing.[1] Kaleohano was unaware of the attack at Pearl Harbor, but knew from newspapers that the relationship between the U.S. and Japan was poor due to Japanese expansionism and the U.S. oil embargo on Japan. Recognizing Nishikaichi and his plane as Japanese, Kaleohano thought it prudent to relieve the pilot of his pistol and papers before the dazed airman could react. He and the other Hawaiians who gathered about treated the pilot with courtesy and the traditional Hawaiian hospitality, even throwing a party for him later that Sunday afternoon. However, the Hawaiians could not understand Nishikaichi, who spoke only Japanese with a limited amount of English. They sent for Japanese-born Ishimatsu Shintani (an issei), who was married to a native Hawaiian, to translate.
Having been briefed on the situation beforehand and approaching the task with evident distaste, Shintani exchanged just a few words with the pilot. He paled; the pilot froze. Shintani left. The puzzled Hawaiians then sent for Yoshio Harada. Harada, born in Hawaiʻi of Japanese ancestry, and his wife Irene (both nisei), constituted the remainder of the Niʻihau population of Japanese ancestry.
Nishikaichi informed Harada of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a revelation Harada thought prudent not to share with the non-Japanese natives. Nishikaichi desperately wanted his papers returned, which he had been told should by no means fall into American hands, but Kaleohano refused to return them.
Niʻihau had neither electricity nor telephones, but later that night, the Hawaiians heard a radio report about the Pearl Harbor attack on a battery-operated radio. The Hawaiians confronted the pilot, and this time Harada translated what was said about the attack. The owner of the island, Aylmer Robinson, was scheduled to arrive on his regular weekly trip from Kauaʻi, a much larger island just 17 miles (27 km) away, the next morning. It was decided that the pilot would return to Kauaʻi with Robinson.
Robinson did not arrive on Monday because the U.S. military had instituted a ban on boat traffic in the islands within hours of the attack. Nor did he arrive in the following days. The Niʻihauans, knowing nothing of the ban, were puzzled and very uneasy that the normally dependable Robinson had not been seen since the attack. The Haradas’ request to have the pilot stay with them was agreed to, but with a contingent of four guards. There was now ample opportunity for the Haradas to converse with Nishikaichi.
At four o’clock on December 12, Shintani approached Kaleohano in private with about $200 in cash, which was a huge sum for the Niʻihauans. He tried to buy the papers, but Kaleohano again refused. Shintani unhappily departed, saying there would be trouble if the papers were not returned, that it was a matter of life and death. Kaleohano was unimpressed.
Harada and Nishikaichi, not waiting for Shintani's return, attacked the lone guard who had been posted outside the Harada residence, while Irene Harada, Yoshio's wife, played music on a phonograph to cover up the sounds of the struggle. Three other guards were stationed to watch the Harada residence, but were not present at the time of the attack. The guard was locked in a warehouse, where Harada acquired a shotgun and the pilot's pistol that had previously been stored there. Thus armed, they proceeded to Kaleohano's house.
Having parted from Shintani only five or ten minutes before, Kaleohano was in his outhouse when he saw Harada and Nishikaichi coming, along with a 16-year-old captive that they prodded along with a gun. Kaleohano stayed hidden in the outhouse, and the conspirators, unable to find him, turned their attention to the nearby plane. Seeing his opportunity, Kaleohano burst out of the outhouse. He heard, "Stop! Stop!" and the boom of a shotgun, inspiring him to the utmost speed. Kaleohano alerted the residents of the nearby village, warning them to evacuate. Many could not believe that their good friend and neighbor, Harada, whom they knew so well and who had been living among them for almost three years, could do the things that Kaleohano related.
Then the captive guard escaped and ran to the village. The residents fled — the women and children to caves, thickets and distant beaches.
Kaleohano retrieved the papers, giving them to a relative for safekeeping. Then he set out at 12:30 a.m. with five other Hawaiians in a lifeboat, where they paddled the arduous ten-hour trip to Kauaʻi to inform the stewing Robinson of the events on Niʻihau.
Robinson had come to know that there was trouble on Niʻihau because the Niʻihauans had flashed signals toward Kauaʻi with kerosene lanterns and reflectors. The night before, in sheer desperation, they had lit a bonfire, the first ever. However, Robinson's pleas to be allowed to go to Niʻihau to see to the welfare of the inhabitants had come to naught.
Meanwhile, Harada and Nishikaichi headed to the downed plane, where Nishikaichi unsuccessfully attempted to make contact using the aircraft's radio. The two then torched the plane, and proceeded to Kaleohano's house and set it ablaze at about 3 a.m.
That morning, Saturday, December 13, Harada and Nishikaichi captured Benehakaka "Ben" Kanahele (1891 - 1962)[3] and his wife, Kealoha "Ella" Kanahele (1907-1974), also natives of the island.[1] They ordered Kanahele to find Kaleohano, keeping Ella as a hostage. Kanahele knew that Kaleohano was rowing toward Kauaʻi, but made a pretense of looking for him. He soon became concerned about Ella and returned to her. Nishikaichi realized he was being deceived. Harada told Kanahele that the pilot would kill him and everyone in the village if Kaleohano was not found.
Kanahele, noticing the fatigue and discouragement of his two captors, took advantage of the brief distraction as the pilot handed the shotgun to Harada. He and his wife leapt at the pilot. Nishikaichi pulled his pistol out of his boot. Ella Kanahele grabbed his arm and brought it down. Harada pulled her off the pilot, who then shot Ben Kanahele three times: in the groin, stomach, and upper leg. Ben Kanahele then picked Nishikaichi up in the same manner that he picked up the sheep that were commercially raised on the island, hurling Nishikaichi into a stone wall. Ella Kanahele then bashed him in the head with a rock, and Ben slit his throat with his hunting knife. Harada then turned the shotgun on himself, committing suicide.[4] Ben Kanahele was taken to Waimea Hospital on Kauaʻi to recuperate;[5] he was awarded with the Medal for Merit and the Purple Heart, his wife did not receive any official recognition.[6]
The next afternoon, December 14, the military authorities, the six Hawaiians who had rowed to Kauaʻi, and Robinson arrived together. The grieving Irene Harada and Ishimatsu Shintani were taken into custody. Shintani was sent to an internment camp and later rejoined his family on Niʻihau, where he attained U.S. citizenship in 1960.[6]
Irene Harada was imprisoned for 31 months, being released in June 1944. She was never charged with treason, nor any other crime resulting from her complicity in the affair. She maintained her innocence when speaking in English but said she felt sorry for the pilot and wanted to help him when speaking in Japanese for a Japanese audience.[7] She moved to the island of Kauai, where Mitsuo Fuchida, the leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor, visited her after his short trip to Niihau Island.[8]
Composer R. Alex Anderson was inspired by the incident to compose "They Couldn't Take Niihau, Nohow!" It was played on August 15, 1945, when Kanahele was decorated for the part he played in defending his country by Lieutenant General Robert C. Richardson at Army Headquarters, Fort Shafter, Honolulu.[9]
Historian Gordon Prange notes that it was "the rapidity with which the three resident Japanese went over to the pilot's cause" which troubled the Hawaiians. "The more pessimistic among them cited the Niʻihau incident as proof that no one could trust any Japanese, even if an American citizen, not to go over to Japan if it appeared expedient."[10]
Novelist William Hallstead argues that the Niʻihau incident had an influence on decisions leading to the Japanese American internment. According to Hallstead, the behavior of Shintani and the Haradas were included in a Navy report. In the official report, authored by Navy Lieutenant C. B. Baldwin and dated January 26, 1942, Baldwin wrote, "The fact that the two Niʻihau Japanese who had previously shown no anti-American tendencies went to the aid of the pilot when Japanese domination of the island seemed possible, indicate likelihood that Japanese residents previously believed loyal to the United States may aid Japan if further Japanese attacks appear successful."[
The coastal town of HashihamaImabariEhime, Japan, erected a 12-foot granite cenotaph in their native son's honor when it was still believed that he had perished the day of the attack, December 7, 1941. For many years Nishikaichi's remains were that of an unknown Japanese soldier, and it was not until 1956 that the circumstances of his death were revealed to his family and his ashes claimed by them. Engraved on the column is what was believed at the time: "Having expended every effort, he achieved the greatest honor of all by dying a soldier's death in battle, destroying both himself and his beloved plane... His meritorious deed will live forever."[12]
Both the remains of Nishikaichi's Zero and those of the old tractor he used to travel to the boat landing are on permanent display at thePacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.

(ARTICLE DIRECTLY COPIED FROM WIKIPEDIA BECAUSE I WANT ANYONE WHO VISITS THIS BLOG TO READ THIS THING IMMEDIATELY. THANKS WIKIPEDIA, YOU'RE A PAL.)

16 October 2013

PROOF OF PURCHASE

And then there's the feeling of surrendering to the flood of anxiety that grips you when you wake up late for class, after having just pulled an all-nighter to get all of the work for that class done (and you live in the city, so therefore, you're fucked).

16 September 2013

A WHISPERED CUT

If one were to assume that any and all decisions made throughout the course of one’s life were merely experiments, devoid of the burden of permanence, then the worry of recurrence would instead be a salvation. The struggle to find meaning or purpose would not be present in an existence that is destined to repeat itself. Conversely, if all things are but once, then there is automatically the potential for total paralysis of the self; and yet there is also the potential for lucidity. Life, reality, and our actions can all be seen as a sequence of images, independent of one another and yet existent only due to the images that precede them. If we were to see each image but once, constantly moving forward through the sequence, we would soon forget much of what we had seen; we might become distracted, or the images might be too much for us to take in. Despite this, we will only be present at any given point in our watching of the sequence because of what has come before; we could not jump ahead in the image sequence, or behind, or stay put.

Each image in a sequence can be seen only once; but, in the very existence of that image, the foundations for the next image have been set. In our actions in life, we hold a trifecta of potential effects, always at the cusp of a decision. There is the moment preceding action; the action itself; and the effect.

However, if all of life is a sequence of independent actions with no possibility of repetition, then how does one make a decision about anything at any time? What if the decisions that we make, after careful deliberation, turn out to be the wrong ones? The heaviness of life and the options therein turn into a cancerous burden. On the other hand if, as Henri Cartier-Bresson stated, “life is once, forever”, then the lightness of being can manifest as an experiential immunity; the inability of one to be affected by the unknown possibilities of the universe.

But the lightness of being can become unbearable. Existence, human interaction, and even the enactment of desires can be seen as an empty exercise in frivolity. What can one do if one’s actions not only hold no weight, but neither do the relationships one fosters over the course of a life? How does one balance their desires with the knowledge that their desires ultimately do not matter?

The characters in Roman Polanski’s 1962 film Knife in the Water exist in a world that holds no promise of guidance. Every element of the film focuses on the transient nature of decision-making, while maintaining a level of objectivity that can only be sustained by the presence of the viewer; the act of watching the film shows us what transpires between the three characters in such a way that we begin to extrapolate what their future actions could be, with a level of objective understanding that the characters themselves could never possess.

Andrzej and Krystyna, a married couple, drive to a marina where their sailboat awaits them. The opening sequence shows a stillness between them that at first seems to be rife with bitterness; they do not talk unless they are in conflict of some kind. The conflict between them is never centered around any clearly tangible idea of contention until the end of the film; Andrzej’s explosive nature, in counterpoint to Krystyna’s overwhelming passivity, manifests its own struggle simply by the very nature of their interaction. Frustration and failure to communicate dominate their relationship, which makes it possible for the smallest, seemingly meaningless comments and events to take on a flavor of violence.

The opening shot - a long, drawn-out dirge of obscured vision through a heavily reflected car windshield - plays out with a strong resistance to being watched. The viewer is made to feel the distance between Andrzej and Krystyna by being separated from them twice; first by screen, and then by an obscured windshield. We are not let into their world, which they themselves struggle to participate in.

The dirge is broken by a sudden display of Andrzej’s aggression. Until later, under the presence of the hitchhiker amongst them, Andrzej’s attitude towards Krystyna is one of dissatisfaction, blame, bitterness, and control. The camera shows this to us by focusing squarely on Andrzej, in close up, whenever he raises a point of contention with Krystyna. His personal failings are directed at his young wife, and she reacts with an apathy that suggests many years of such interactions. Her unwillingness to meet his eyes in her own close up illustrates that she has long ago passed the point of exhaustion. She has been numbed by the monotony of her co-dependent relationship, and exists above it. Every inaction on her part is a decision; her relationship with Andrzej is thusly seen not as an invested course, but as a state of being for her body. Andrzej, on the other hand, deliberately places a weight to his unhappiness by projecting reasons and consequences on Krystyna; even if he does not blame her for the state of his personal life, he still directs his malaise at her, never realizing that his emotional disconnect is caused by this very attitude. Even in taking over the driving of the car can we see his inability to simply be. Unwittingly, he is fulfilling his own despair.

The sudden arrival of the hitchhiker throws Andrzej and Krystyna’s dysfunction into sharp relief, and the hitchhiker’s subsequent presence on their sailboat sets into motion the wild unraveling of a precarious state of being for the unhappy couple. From the very beginning of the trio’s interactions, a clear conflict grows. Andrzej flits between grudging acquiescence to Krystyna’s implied desire to help the young man, and condescending benevolence to the plight and inexperience of the hitchhiker. Andrzej’s caprice, Krystyna’s hands-off empathy, and the hitchhiker’s distracted countenance all highlight the weightlessness of their being. Krystyna has taken the state of lightness to an extreme; every action she takes, from expressing concern for the hitchhiker to swimming with a crocodile to her ultimate moment of passion with the hitchhiker, are not pre-meditated; they also do not seem to hold any special weight once enacted. For Krystyna, these decisions are merely moments that bring us to another image in the sequence, another action in the timeline. They are reality as it is - nothing more, nothing especially significant, nothing imperative over the rest.

However, this lightness of being eventually transforms for the trio into an unbearable state. What began as an easy and relatively carefree joyride on a sailboat quickly evolves into a battle of tension, with Andrzej and the hitchhiker both vying for the attention of Krystyna. While the antidote for this conflict is readily apparent (clearer communication), it is not easy to swallow. Clear communication requires a desire not only to be understood, but to understand your counterpart. Counterparts can take many forms; one’s spouse, one’s friend, the cashier at the post-office, the teacher and student, or the hitchhiker picked up and placed in your boat for the weekend. If one were only to care about themselves being understood by others, without a desire to understand others in turn, then aggression and rage would manifest. Violence erupts from these lapses in connectivity, which Andrzej and the hitchhiker demonstrate to great effect.

The boat becomes a prison for the trio. The disparity between desires and intention reaches a fever pitch when Andrzej pockets the hitchhiker’s most prized possession - a large knife. When the hitchhiker requests that Andrzej returns it to him, Andrzej antagonizes the young man. This conflict, set atop the floating cage of the couple’s sailboat, is the clearest indicator of the random and transient nature of the trio’s process of analyzing each other and their subsequent decisions.

The sequence in which the hitchhiker emerges from the bow of the boat is the breaking point for the trio’s journey. A standoff occurs between Andrzej and the young man, and in this flurry of shots it is made clear that there is no foundation of stability between them - they are literally floating, with no place to ground their power play. The shot/reverse-shot of Andrzej and the hitchhiker frames them against a cascade of clouds, and their positioning in each frame is unusual; they are set against the edge of the frame, weak and then strong, dominant and the defiant. Andrzej’s incessant, cruel toying with the knife finally results in the blade falling into the lake. In a flash, it is submerged - gone, drowned from view, as if it never existed. It simply ceases to be. There is no hope of retrieving it and no hope of making amends; immediately a scuffle ensues, and Andrzej flings the hitchhiker onto the sail of the boat. Krystyna, shocked into action by this sudden outpouring of violence, wildly attempts to hoist the sail back in and save the hitchhiker, who is suspended like bait above the water. His helplessness, whether a ruse or not, is keen in this moment; lying prostrate on the canvas and followed by the camera. The intercutting of Andrzej’s maliciously gleeful laughter at the young man’s plight cuts through the madness of the scene and shows us something else alongside the impending disaster; Andrzej is enjoying the moment of control. He is on a solid surface, his foe is flailing, and whatever consequence this action in the sequence may hold, it is far from Andrzej’s mind. In this moment, he is in power, and the weight of his actions is seen as meaningless and mean.

And then, just like the knife slipping into the depths, the hitchhiker is swept away, lost to the current. We do not yet know at this point that he can, in fact, swim, and neither do Andrzej and Krystyna. The apparent danger at hand quickly takes on the demeanor of a tragedy as Krystyna, in an effort to finally exert an active role in the sequence of events, rebukes Andrzej for his excessive use of force. She dives into the lake immediately to search for the supposedly drowning young man, and when there is no sign of him, the couple returns to three boat in the distance, at a loss for what to do. The boat has now become a place of conflict and discord; it’s original purpose is lost in the wake of the violence that has forever sullied it. Standing atop the deck, which is the scene of his crime, Andrzej is faced with the sheer magnitude of what he believes he has done; in an effort to escape from this sharply altered and corrupt reality, he dives from the boat and swims towards the distant shore. Krystyna is left alone, framed in the scene of the violence, the boat floating through waters which could hold the revelation of death in every inch.

This sequence clearly divines just how intense the unbearable lightness of being really is. Action, reaction; cause, and effect; Andrzej steals the knife, the lake devours it, blows are exchanged, and the hitchhiker is swept away. If one of the actions in this sequence had been altered, the subsequent actions would have certainly been altered as well, possibly changing the end result from one of total discord. This is not to say that each action is predetermined; A may equal B, but it may also equal C or D. But there is no way for any of us to know what could be. Seen in this light, the swiftness of this chain of events reads as insane chaos. Where once was a knife, there is a ripple, and where once was a hitchhiker, there is an absence marked by guilt. Andrzej, in his inability to reconcile with himself the finality of his actions, makes the only choice that he feels is available to him, and flees the scene of his crime.

The film ends on a note of total uncertainty. After it is revealed that the hitchhiker did not in fact drown, he shares the boat with Krystyna. They operate in a state of confusion and exhaustion, and then, while packing up his various effects in order to depart the boat, they find themselves upon each other in a kiss; the camera holds on Krystyna and the young man, sitting closely together while putting his things away, and then their hands touch while they both grab for the same item. The electric charge of their contact is seen immediately. They lock eyes on each other, the sail behind them undulates in a rhythmic pulse, and they press themselves together close and firm. Andrzej is not present, and so this action has no weight; they exist only in this image in the sequence, alone and separate, connecting for one time and then never again. There is only weight to this action when it ceases and they realize that their time together is over. Krystyna glides along the water in total kinetic unity with the momentum of the boat as the hitchhiker gingerly hops atop a scattered smattering of wood piles floating by the shore. His visual entreaties to Krystyna are unmet and fall into nothing. The boat is relentless in its forward movement, and the scenery whips behind the young man as he disembarks into unknown territory. The lightness of their time together is such that it has already dissipated; the sequence of actions moves inexorably forward, independent of their predecessors, and unbearably light.

And then the boat comes crashing into the dock. Waiting on the dock stands Andrzej, who makes not a mention of the young man or the damage to the boat, or to his guilt over what has transpired. Only when they are in their car, driving away, does Krystyna admit to Andrzej that the hitchhiker is alive, and that she was unfaithful with him. Andrzej refuses to believe her. Acquiescing his opinion on the matter to her admission of truth would be to relinquish his control over his situation and his tenderly honed sense of guilt, and as that is all that he can presently lay claim to, it would be unbearable for him to be swayed in his mindset. He remains determined to contact the police, but also remains motionless in the car at a crossroads.

The motionless car is perhaps the only indicator in the film that Andrzej and Krystyna have reached a point in which they will be able to consider the cause and effect of their actions. What could the next image in the sequence of events be? This is the weight of life and the weight of decisions. The unhappy couple, only a few days ago on their way to another repeated process in the unbearable lightness of their lives, have been stopped dead in their tracks. Is their dilemma lightness or weight? Is the paralysis of the self caused by the presence of a tangible burden, or the total lack of one? If Krystyna has seen life as maddening in its weightless silence, and if Andrzej has seen life as imperious in its aggressive weight, then here, at the end of the film in a motionless car with untold possibilities for what the next image in the sequence could hold, their minds have switched modes - however briefly.

TOTAL SLACKER

Waking up at 4:37 PM on a Sunday is a pretty clear indicator that your life has become a bit over-fucked. Or under-fucked. Whichever one suggests a dearth of agency is the one I mean. Whichever one is bad. The bad one.

Been feeling stretched thinner than the devil on doomsday these days. It's been an unreal few weeks. From losing my apartment to losing a great gig to losing my girl to losing sleep to losing my mind, I think I've had enough.

01 September 2013

THE BONEYARD SHIFT

I firmly believe that before 10:00 AM, God is dead.
Or at the very least, cranky and vindictive.

NIGHTMARE TORNADO OF VAGUELY FUCKED EXHAUSTION

Six hours after returning my keys and making a glorious handshake faux-pas with an Orthodox Jewish real estate agent named Sarah, I closed the door to my apartment for the last time. Walking away for good from a homestead is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is always visceral.

Boy did she put up a fight. Took the better part of four days of unceasing work amongst four men to get everything packed up and spirited away. There was a new obstacle under every article we packed up; no hot water, no time, no tools, no convenience. Tadin and I between us spent maybe $100 on luggage-transport taxis alone since Thursday. 

I've never been bothered by hard work. This experience was difficult for a very different reason.

As of this writing, I am sitting in the kitchen of an apartment belonging to my good friends Frank, James, and Will, having just finished an edit for James (he's taking a shot at the Jim Henson grant). Last night I was at my friend Jen's place, finishing an edit for a short film we made (which you can watch here). And before THAT, I was:

Finishing the edit of a feature film,
Finding my way back to my Manhattan apartment all the way from Livingston, NJ in the middle of the night without any official transportation and no phone, 
Moving my brother into the city, 
Writing my thesis film, 
Editing/shooting a promo video for Caroline's (completely excellent) business,
Doing my laundry,
And,
Working my day job.

This was all happening as I was packing up my apartment for a one-month long stint of being homeless due to the universe reneging on the pretty sweet hand that I happened to have been dealt. 

25 August 2013

DOIN' EVERYTHIN'

One of my favorite people, +Kate Dearing, asked me to edit some how-to videos that she was making with her buddy Jacob (who's a solid dude, we got along friendly as pigs).

These are those videos. DOIN' EVERYTHIN'!

How To Tie A Tie!


How To Draw A Cat Eye!


How To Link Your Exchange Account To Your iPhone!


How To Take A Screenshot On A Mac!

ABSOLUTE SEX

I have waited many long years for something like this to happen. Very glad that it was one of my best friends, +Daniel Onoda, who made it.

I MET A SEDUCER

One of my newer songs. Working hard on revitalizing Seth and the Swan with some good folks in NYC this winter.

FORCED HANGOUTS WITH RABINDRANATH TAGORE

Bob Siegel called me at just after dawn, almost a month ago now.

"You need an editing job? Bumped into this fella who is making a feature doc on Tagore. His previous editors were boneheads and cut together a shitty film. He needs someone to fix it, make it good, make it work. Rate is pretty good. Told him you could do it. Lied through my teeth about how much of an excellent, beautiful fuckup you are."

So I said,

"Hey, thanks. I'd love to. What's the turnaround?"

Bob said,

"About a week."

Here I am, one month later, and I'm half done (it isn't my fault, I swear). See, his previous editors were fucking goons; when they gave my client the project hard drive, they neglected to include about half of the files. I found this out after an agreement of pay had been made.


Rabindranath Tagore. This would be a great project to work on, if it wasn't so awful.


What was supposed to be a week-long gig in which I'd be essentially doing body work on a wrecked car slowly transformed into a total re-cut of an inherently troubled film. It doesn't help that my client struggles with English, and I am utterly ignorant of a single word in Bengali.

A typical conversation would play out like this:

Me: "I can't edit that shot in, because it's not on the hard drive that you gave to me. It's not in any of the folders. It's just not here."

Client: "Can't you just get the shot from the timeline?"

Me: "... Pardon?"

Client: "If the shot isn't in the hard drive, just get it from the timeline and cut it into the project."

Me: "How many of your AOL disks have you kept?"

Client: "How many do you need? Will they help?"

Me: "Wow."

Client: "What?"

Me: "Okay, uh, an analogy for the situation is this: imagine that you're making dinner, and some of the spices (movie files) are missing from the cabinet (hard drive), so you go check if the spices are hiding on your dinner plate (timeline). It doesn't make sense. The timeline is dependent on the hard drive for its content - not mutually, and certainly not the other way around. You know what I mean?"

Client: "Ah, yes, well, um."

So now I am tasked with re-cutting this entire picture upon pain of forfeiture of payment. I've pulled more all-nighters in the past month than I ever have during school. Couldn't be more tired if I tried. Constant explanations of reality to the client, leading to rage. Glorious rage. After my client suggested (for the tenth time) that I put my entire life on hold and come stay at his house for a week so I can edit with him looming over my shoulder like a golem, I was forced to put my foot down very firmly on his fine imported rug.

Me: "No."

Client: "My wife will cook you dinner for a week."

Me: "I will pack my bags and be there tomorrow."

I am easily undone.

THAT SPECIAL BLOODBURN

He told me to slow down, calm down, breathe up a bit:

- It's so easy to get caught up in your wild momentum,

he said,

- that it can be real easy to forget why you move so fast in the first place. 

She said, this morning, over a cup of coffee and her first cigarette in six weeks, after arriving to class an hour late:

- You get me. You get it. What that thing is like; living for your parents, or if not for them then for what they lived for. It gets so hard to pull yourself out of your brain and your heart; this weird old raised-to-be-guilty feeling, like any choice you make that goes against what your parent's end goal was is wrong. It feel like -

she took a drag of her cigarette, getting ash on my boot:

- kind of like being guilty for feeling and thinking. Thought crime, heart crime. But I don't know how to tell my dad that his success was for him, not for me. I don't care about his money, I care about him. I care about my life. I want to do what I want to do, not what his hard work wants me to do. 

Another guy said to me today, as we were trying to avoid a bee near the cafe, in the middle of the afternoon while resisting the urge to smoke cigarettes:

- I guess I believe in God because I don't see the harm in it. And when I thought my brother was going to die, after having a curtain rod go through his neck when he was six while we were playing around in the living room, and then bringing him to the hospital only to have a nun hold my hand and let me cry and snot and throw up from fear all over her, that's when I figured that God can be good, or at least a help. I'm not a practicer, but I'm a believer.

He lit a cigarette, and then threw it away, looking disgusted, and continued:

- I guess, though, that if my brother had died, I might've gone the other way on that one. 

SETH AND THE SWAN @ FIGHT CLUB

Just found this old video of the old gang playing at Fight Club in 2008. Good lord, I was thin back then.

MADE A FILM, AGAIN

My latest film. I hope you enjoy it as much I enjoyed being done with the damned thing.

THE SUN AND THE RED HILL

The enemy was all around, and Nick had been shot. Above his head were the branches, covered with their cherry blossoms, reluctantly sighing off a few of their petals with the wind. The bark of the tree was pitted with signs of weather and insect bores and the skittering claw marks of squirrels and such.

A rider approached at haste without warning. Nick flinched as the horse continued without its rider, some unseen marksman having found his target. Blood pulsed, cream-like, from the dead rider's mouth.

Nick studied his own wound. He was very scared, and thought it likely that his death would come soon.

A rustling on the crest of the hill; an old man with a gun appeared, surveying the road. Spotting the dead rider, the old man hurried to his side, taking his pocket book and sidearm.

"Did you kill him?" Nick said.

The old man freezes, turning to Nick, who he had not noticed. He finishes looting the rider and runs off after the horse.

The sun sets, and the sun rises, and Nick is there. He studies his wounds, and cries and forgets them, and he watches riders attempt to flee by him only to be dismounted by the vicious rip of an angry bullet.

The spring ends and the summer heat is violent. The cherry blossoms on their branches are made desiccate and the felled rider has become home to a family of voles. The heat is too much, so Nick closes his eyes for the summer, and exhales an exhausted sigh of ice that brings winter down to the hillside.

The intense cold makes the roads almost impassable, so Nick watches very few riders fall into death over the crest of the hill. The sounds of the battle that gave him his wound seem far off now. The cherry blossoms are frozen.

Scuttling in the snow. Nick opens his eyes from a deep sleep and watches the old man eat the newest murdered horseman.

Nick blinks away the horrific image and is in springtime. The voles have returned to their skeleton home, now pleasantly covered in moss. The cherry blossoms have returned. Nick watches as a squirrel crawls out of the wound in his chest. It doesn't hurt him.

He stands and walks by the mound of dead riders, and off into the distance, and towards a place that he doesn't know. The bullets zip by his head, all of them missing. The cherry blossoms float through the wind.

REVISITING, YEARS LATER

Hindsight may be 20/20, but it's also drunk.

I have always had more ambition that I've known what to do with, but for a long time it was crippled by a dire lack of common sense. After turning down a stable and somewhat lucrative position as videographer for the Kirov Academy of Ballet, I asked my oldest friend Shori if he would travel to Maine with me for few reasons other than to shake things up.

He picked me up at a house in Philly that I didn't want to leave from, but damn am I glad he got me out of there. We drove through the night and the morning, arriving at Orien Longo's house in Cold Spring, NY. We couldn't drive anymore. Before we entered his home, we had an unusually satisfying breakfast at a deli/diner on the side of the road in the Hudson Valley. We felt strangely rejuvenated. We slept on Orien's living room floor. His mother woke us up and called us strange bears. She made us coffee and breakfast, and then Shori and I explored Cold Spring with Orien and Chen. Later, Chen took us to a studio he was using that belonged to a family friend and showed us a song he was working on. The whole experience being in a new place was exhilarating and my exhaustion was completely gone. We stayed up late into the night playing music together and catching up. We were soon joined by Aaron and Kolson, which gave us another second wind.

After finally passing out, we went on the road again. The Hudson valley was blazing with light as we drove through the early morning at the onset of winter. As the environment we traveled through became colder and darker and less populated, a growing sense of dread welled inside my heart and did not leave for the rest of the day. I don't know why.

We finally found my parent's house, a summer-in-winter home by a frozen lake they couldn't afford. We stayed for two days and then reached our final destination; an old office building (shack?) with no heat save a kerosene blast furnace thing in one room. We bought a nightstand lamp in the shape of Goofy that clicked like Satan when you pressed a useless button. It was strange.

I was obnoxiously and foolishly "moral" at this point. I refused to partake of any alcohol during the stay in our frozen home, much to Shori's chagrin and my future dismay. We hated each other after a month. We were planning three.

We were running out of money and therefore we were running out of rice pilaf and fucking guava nectar, so we tried to find work anywhere, even though it was short notice and would be short-lived. We applied at coffeeshops, gas stations, strip malls, restaurants, record stores, the Milk Room, and finally gave ourselves up to the good, sober-for-two-and-a-half-weeks folks at Labor Ready in a shitfuckhole of a town called Biddeford.

We woke up at 5 AM for a week straight and went to Labor Ready and wrestled with the concept of buying a cup of coffee and waited for hours for the possibility of manual labor being thrown our way for a good 50 bucks. It never happened. We met strange and interesting and terrible people, but we never got work.

My friends bought me an amp for my birthday. Shori and Ranin and I played a show in Boston at christmas.

Shori and I fought. I perceived him as being an apathetic, self-centered sot with unfair standards. He perceived me (as far as I know) to be an over-sharing, overemotional contrarian with a hyper-evolved propensity to exaggerate, if not blatantly lie, about the most meaningless of things.

We struggled with each other and got over it, repeat ad nauseum. We finally moved out of the office building and into my parent's house for a week or two.

During this time, I would see Shori every day, but I would not see him. He would not see me. We were either so tired of each other or so tired in general that our friendship and our path through life together took the far back burner to everyday interactions. I can't remember who broke this unpalatable ice first, but we snapped out of it somewhat. And then Shori left with my brother, and I was at home for another two months.

I have never in my life been more miserable than I was for those two months. I was alone, my semi-quasi-pseudo-sexy relationshit was falling apart before it began and I was broker than broke. I began talking to Omata and Orien about starting a dark NYC-rock band like interpol and moving to NY. I ended up hitching a ride with a man I hate to Pleasantville, NY, getting a job with KP's video production dungeon boys and turning my back on the snowfucked wasteland that is Maine.

My naiveté was absurd. The "band" suffered a bit of a hairline fracture when one third of us decided to join his parent's band instead of doing his own thing. Then the economy collapsed and I lost my job and excellent apartment.
But none of this really matters, not really. It's all a ride, one that I forgot was a ride and began to accept. I have gotten up at 6 AM almost every day for the last two years because I accepted defeat. I accepted the routine of a mediocre life. I accepted the "fact" that things between my blood brothers and wolf pack and friends and family could never be the same as they once were, that they could never be as good.

But it's horse shit. Shori is there. He is not dead. Despite the distance between us and the time against us, we have paralleled each other in so many ways and I feel more emotional, mental and lifelong solidarity with that motherfucker than anyone else in my life. Because of this, I can feel the most pain from him as well. Old habits die hard, and while we have grown up in many ways and have shed some old ways and changed some negative things, we have trouble breaking away from our programmed reactions to what we are perceiving to be bullshit. I still feel judged by him sometimes, and I still feel like he thinks half of what I say is false from the get-go.

And maybe he feels like he can't trust me to follow through with things I say I will do or want to do. Maybe he thinks I am a flake. Maybe he thinks I have forgotten the patterns.

But I haven't. And I know he hasn't. And I know that none of our friends have forgotten. Because life is a ride, and we can change it. Because nothing in the universe matters a jot, and because of that, everything matters. We need to take our blinders off. Because life is a ride, and we can change it with one choice, right now, between fear and love. Bill Hicks fucking knew it, but he's dead.

Life is too short to not smoke cigarettes or to hold grudges or to not ask questions. Life is too short to not shed our skins.