Monday, January 29, 2007

reign over me

also, why i <3 said the gramophone:
""Nightmares" is as dark as the title would suggest, grim pizzicato violins till the drums start to thunder and Craig B intones: "Only... love... can... save me now." (It begs for a Jay-Z remix. "Haha, I'm here! To save you! Now listen here as I show you the way; when Hova comes he comes to stay!") The track forsakes an emotional arc, preferring to be a statement of where-the-singer's-at (a bad place) and what-he-really-wants (love). Now before we scoff, consider how true this banality is for many of us. Where are we at? Places that are occasionally bad. What do we really want? Love. Aereogramme deliver "Nightmares" with all the drama the situation calls for: they throw themselves into this bad dream, play it like it matters. And it doesn't feel anything less than honest.

a monkey tale

[dedicated to mark] there once lived a young capuchin monkey, named ampersand, who worked in the HR division of a corporate barrel grinder maker, basin barrels. basin, while often recognized for innovations in barrel grinder technology, was most renowned for its direct model barrel grinder, an affordable, high-quality, customized barrel for both the professional performing organ grinder, and the at-home hobbyist. ampersand himself had a certain passion for his tiny, shiny lap-top barrel grinder, and had, over the years, collected many rare and hard-to-find music rolls to play on it. secretly, he sought to share this music with the world, with hope to encourage and sustain a growing community in music.

you should also know that, once, ampersand owned a pet lovebug, named hobbes, whom, ampersand believed, loved him very much (and whom ampersand loved equally in return). one day, hobbes escaped out the back door, and never returned. ampersand was heartbroken.

ampersand eventually came across a new lovebug, named stevie, who wasn't really a lovebug, but a hatebug disguised as as lovebug. ampersand had no clue until, one day, he came home from the barrel grinder factory to find that steve had chewed up some rods and levers on his beloved laptop barrel grinder. furious, ampersand threw steve out the window. despite ampersand's continued mourning the loss of hobbes, he is painfully reminded of steve's hatred every day, as he opens the laptop to play.

ampersand has travelled far, across a desert and into a rather structured jungle, to work for basin barrels, only to find he misses the thrill of his wild country days. while he's grateful for the change of pace and decent wages, he longs for the days of street grinding. soon, he thinks, he might return to to those cobblestone roots and working for bananas. for now, he pretends he's on a journey of epic, primatial proportions and continues to take what he needs from the experience of working for a despairingly smart, and profitable, barrel grinder company.

like a brand new rodboard for his beautiful little laptop at home. which happens to work like a charm.

to celebrate, he'd like to play you an oldie but goodie. per "found" request over at the girl across the street from the girl next door's place. i'd forgotten i gave a copy of this mix to her, but then again, i'm not surprised -- i gave a lot of close friends a burned cd-r of the mix. anyone i thought would understand. i know i gave colleen a copy, for she was my sophomore-year sister of slitwrist thinking; i'm sure greg got one, and i know nick and i spent a few speechless, summer hours on the couch, watching this mix have-at the itunes visualizer on our tv screen. it was a very personal project, born from the long and grey days of a february depression, and the music on the radio and on my laptop (yeah, same one) that helped me survive it. even as i listen to it now, i feel like it's a conversation with my old self, sitting in my old bedroom, the sights and smells of this room taking on the ones of memory...

before anyone else, though, i sent it to jeff. and this, brother, is where i invite you to finish the yarn i've begun spinning -- it's my favorite part. i'll be checking comments religiously, bro, so don't dally.

but without further ado: they don't love you like i love you. [even i've lost my original copy -- there's a zip file of the whole mix here, too. <3 ryan]

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

what goes up...

Suha: One day things will be better.
Taxidriver Suha: Sounds like you're not from here.

-paradise now [imdb]

in addition to upping the number of music blogs i subscribe to, i've started investing my internet time in digg, a user-driven website that links to and rates news articles its members find worthy of note. which is broadening the rest of my perspectives. it puts me back in touch with the technology news i used to pour over in my dad's waiting room, in magazines like popular science and popular mechanics (popular popular popular), which the nerd inside me is singing about. and with my being a mac guy, the growing... popularity... in steve jobs and apple give me a lot to read up on, too. but what i'm most happy (happy?) to hold digg responsible for is my finally-growing interest in politics and society. i used to pick up a newspaper and feel like i was drowning in too much talk i didn't know anything about. i've kept relatively afloat -- i know there's this big, shitty war in iraq, troops are dying, the world largely disapproves of our presence there, etc; i know we also have troops in afghanistan, so apparently the terrorists are still out there; i feel like, more or less, the middle east has just gone to shit; i know south korea [edit: north? thanks, jbu. told you guys] is out of its mind and possesses insanely dangerous weapons; i know congress was overwhelmingly republican and just rebalanced itself (i think), which is a good thing (i think); a woman and a black man are both hopefuls for presidency '08 (which, not for any sexist or racial reason, frightens me; who knows how this crazy, redneck country would react if either one wins) -- i've got the gist. and i've got teeny, tiny opinions on some things, but ones i would never voice because i still feel so ill-informed. somewhere along the line i turned into a very selfish person, and spend most of the day in my own head, only concerned with me and my own, which, when i do step outside and look around, doesn't really, substantially, amount to a whole lot.

i like to think i've kept a "work hard, play hard" attitude through life, but i've realized, sometimes that's all i do. i've become uncultured. i don't really read, other than about what's happening with the shins' new record or which project brad pitt is taking on next. i took my education for granted every step of the way, and while i remember a lot about the experiences i had (plays i was in, jobs held, friendships found and lost), my retention of anything textbook is pretty small. i guess my theatre courses were more about experience and training, from which i did learn a lot about myself, but i was burned out by the rest of academia. i mostly skated by. which, mostly, worked.

anyway... i don't know what i'm trying to say. today is another off day. and after being in such a good mood almost all day yesterday. i text messaged jeff about ten o'clock last night, to say that i could almost feel the good chemicals at work in my brain. and i could, i wanted to dance. but today... eh. it's complicated. and i have no doubt that my continuing enlightenment of the state of the world, with its fighting and its dying and nuclear weapons, and its poverty and its heartache, has a lot to do with it -- i dream of saving the world, but the truth is, i'm the least capable candidate out of everyone. what can i do, play everyone a song on the radio? make everyone a mixtape? polyphonic spree for kim jong-il...

but to today's credit, it is beautiful outside. i wish i'd have woken up earlier and enjoyed some of it. i did wake up to old compadre mario's humbling account of a family wedding in jamaica:

"I felt very tourist, very American, bumbling blindly through this other world taking mental pictures and being laughed at in Portuguese. I wanted to strip off my clothes, tear out my braids, peel off my nationality. I wanted terribly to be anyone but me, drunk and stoned on the last night of my vacation, bloated on college pizza, paying for beers next to an open bar not knowing how to tell these people that I really was poor back home."

i've been out of touch with mario, though my admiration for him and his writing keeps trucking. we did just befriend each other on facebook... maybe a reunion isn't too far.

back to work.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

new favorite.

tech support call [from the idolator podcast. click here to subscribe]

i added them to my music blog bookmarks after evaluating stereogum readers' picks of 2006 a month back, but haven't really dug into idolator until tonight. you know by now my mindless morning schedule -- well, the past couple hours have been spent with idolator alone (and i only made it as far back in the archives as last tuesday). i haven't been this intimate with anything since... well, that's just embarrassing.
Like Vioxx and the Patriot Act, music blogs were supposed to improve our lives: At a time when only a handful of carefully manicured acts could sleaze their way into the top 10, the music blogosphere was going to serve as the great equalizer, deflating the MTV-assisted hype machines and giving the asleep-at-the-wheel music mags a run for their ad money. They were as DIY as the zine movement and as musically savvy as the college-radio jockeys of the '80s. Finally, the power was in the hands of the people--very nerdy people, mind you, but they were a lot better than the record execs whose biggest claim to fame was discovering Crazy Town.

For a while, it seemed to be working--without Internet support, it's doubtful that bands like Cold War Kids or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah would have ascended so quickly. But in the last year, the music-blog netherworld has become as homogenized and indistinguishable as the record labels themselves. What used to be a wildly unpredictable chorus of opinions has been solidified into a cabal, one that consists of a half-dozen or so self-empowered pasty white dudes daisy-chaining each others' opinions, all using an adjective-addled lexicon that's one part Lester Bangs, one part street-person crazy talk. Meanwhile, the bands are all starting to sound the same; If we hear one more band that sounds like a cross between Pavement and Talking Heads, we're going to stab ourselves in the eye with an aqua-colored Nano.
[idolator manifesto]
also of note, stereogum gets served and idolator's banned-from-blogs word list.

at this point in the post, it's just fun to say, "idolator." idolator idolator idolator...

fuck yeah!

headlights on daytrotter.
daytrotter is the indie rock shot at a peel sessions. no kidding. is it my place to be proud of these guys?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


[yeah, i know, i said i wasn't going to get on here when i got home, but seriously, come on...]

i'm listening right now to KUT, a local public station broadcasting from somewhere in university of texas' campustown. different from KVRX, in that it isn't a full-fledged "college" station, and you don't have to be a student to work there. i contacted the station manager at KVRX before i left champaign, asking about the place and what my chances of getting a gig were. she replied a couple days later and, to my disappointment, by not being in school, i had no chances at all. my days of masquerading as a student, after a year or so of not actually being one, just to work in student radio, were over. or, at least, i'm not confident i could pull off the stunt down here. but she did explain to me the coolest part about KVRX -- by day, the station is mild-mannered KOOP, another local, public access station; it isn't until nightfall that the frequency transforms into its student-run alternative ego. a lot of the daytime programming is your run-of-the-mill NPR crap, but they do reserve some airtime for music programming, which was where my opportunity lied.

but being the night owl i am, i'd love nothing more than to retire from my corporately-driven workday, circa 2am, into the arms of a worn-down rolling chair in a too-small studio and kill a couple of hours with a few listeners and a stackful of cds... and, by the looks of it, KUT is where that opportunity lies.

funny enough, one of the elderly security guards at the building i work at, is in a local jazz band and has a friend who works for KUT. i gave him my contact information a couple months ago, and he said he'd put in the good word, as long as i promised him and his boys some airplay if and when i got the gig. and if and when i do, i certainly will.

but the planets are aligning, the heavens parting, electricity is in the air -- my time is now. jeff's incredible girlfriend, sam, creative fairy that she is, has in mind some grassroots ideas for promoting KPRS, which couldn't possibly be more inspiring than it is. suddenly, i'm fucking excited about this again, and have a million ideas of my own. if i can really get this thing on its feet, maybe it'll help me get that job at KUT. or, if i let myself get carried away (soooo easy and FUN to do), who knows what else?? someone, anyone, pick me up and give me purpose!

so my question. that i pose to you. is: if i take my little idea and turn it into a nightly thing, would you listen? if i spent those six wasted hours at work secretly prepping an hour-long or two-hour show, and these five or six sleepless ones every morning, recording and editing the little monster, ready for your reception by the time you rise -- would you have me? would you listen on your computer as you finish up last night's homework? download me to your ipod before you leave for class? burn me to CD for your drive to work?

and if the answer could be yes, what would you want out of this? my big bent about radio is that it's about community, as much for you as it is for me. and this isn't just going to be the weekly mixtape i've been playing around with. it'll be a lot of work and a lot of learning and probably a lot of time before it's anything worth faithfully listening to, but it'll be for real. let me know.

in emotionally related, but otherwise not-so, news, pronoia came today, while i was at work. as did a care package from mom, filled with dried fruit, cookies, her sinfully good homemade snickers bars (i've already had like five), and a little, thank-you-lord-for-my-mom cash. i'm going to forego my six feet under to give into this crazy book and sticky its pages with caramelly fingers. in a moment like this, it's hard not to believe the world really is conspiring to shower a guy with blessings...


UPDATE 4:42a: still haven't touched the book, but did help myself to more of mom's snickers. the best thing about them is that they all melted together in the mail, and you have to eat them with a fork. and somehow, you still get caramel all over you.

i got sidetracked by an away message of a guy i used to work with at wpgu, that said he had a new blog post. he's a funny guy who i enjoyed while i knew him, so i decided to seek him out in the blogosphere, see if i could track down what's probably a great story.

instead of finding his blog [jackie, you'll love this], i found fitz's. fitz is a total prick who i did NOT enjoy in the least, but i gotta hand it to the guy, he's much smarter and funnier than i. we probably would have gotten along, had i met him before he turned into a total douche.

but read that page, start at the bottom and work your way up. he completely blasts wpgu, brazenly but eloquently lashing out at illini media in a way a lot of us dreamt of, but never could articulate. hell of a writer. i find myself wondering what he's up to.


SECOND UPDATE 5:17a: let myself get sidetracked by a link on fitz's blog to his friend emily katherine's blog. how can douches have such non-douche friends? i'll never understand this.

emily katherine is not a douche because she loves google for all the right reasons. and, she's more insightful and articulate than i.

i'm becoming less and less enthused about my own life, by the minute.


5:31a: i realize you guys don't have hours to spend trivializing your existence compared to the more interesting ones of others (bet you watch a lot of reality tv though, huh?) -- but this [again via fitz, you bastard] is too fucking good.

luckily, i'm coming down from the snickers, and my bed is looking pretty inviting. pronoia will have to wait another day. fuck, so will laundry...


not even posting the time. this erskine guy is something else.

why i'm still up, laughing hysterically out loud and eating homemade snickers like there's no tomorrow [today?].

one more --

i've done enough internetting here at work that i don't think i'll partake in anymore once i get home. i'm going to try to do laundry (you don't get it, i really have a hard time doing productive things), and i really want to read... we'll see.

but i found this and had to...


Monday, January 22, 2007

like a quickie in the back room

i'm at work right now. and since most of my work only takes up four of the ten hours i'm here, i have a little time to kill. i spent my lunch break online (imagine that) and notebooked a loooot of links to look into when i get home, but i couldn't let this one wait -- 2006 words of the year.

my all-time favorite word, serendipty, makes a quiet showing; but i'm really here to brag once more on my boy google, who really does win all the games. :)

the night inside me

can't sleep, again. here's tonight's cool website roundup:

banksy is britain's "art terrorist" who tags walls in cities around the world with his socially-aware spraypainting. pretty stinking cool. before i realized it, i'd looked at the whole site, and 45 minutes had gone by. so now you've been warned. i don't know jack shit about the political or social climate of things, but some of the stuff he did on the barrier between bethlehem and jerusalem is really moving.


the boombox museum. the more i spend these long nights idle, the more i realize i should be doing something creative with this time (or at least my laundry). i'm thinking a lot about kprs and exactly where i want to go with it. naturally, i start by thinking about a redesign. anyway, you can bet on seeing one or many of these bad-boy boomboxes pop up sooner or later...


readymechs are "free, flatpack toys for you to print and build. They are designed to fit on an 8.5″x11″ page and printed with any printer. You’ll need double-sided tape, thick matte paper, and 10-15 minutes for build time." awesome! wish i had a printer. [via konardo, who also showed me the very first pac man skull]


packetgarden also looks way cool. it grows a virtual "garden" based on the information your computer collects from and sends to different web servers when you use the internet, which you can then "explore." i haven't tried it yet, but there is a mac beta and if i can't sleep in the next hour, i'm going to start growing a goddamn jungle.


probably from kanardo again, but at this point i've lost track: anticon - hooded sweatshirts for graffiti artists, ugly people, snowboarders, fetishists... or just superheroes. why not?


and when the smokes and beer are gone and everywhere is closed, you have time to start thinking about the bigger picture: "the threat of a second nuclear age and the expected consequences of climate change push the doomsday clock closer to midnight." [taken from brusasco's blog earlier tonight, not in the mood to read it right now, might be too much for my crazy brain. but i know if i put it here, i'll narcissistically get around to it later.]


actually, i just realized that almost all of these links are from kanardo's blog. shit.


well, then, last and certainly not least, google toolbar. i couldn't tell you why i haven't installed this until now, other than that firefox does a pretty good job of being cool on its own. but i saw the link for it tonight and remembered that google has never done us wrong before, and figured what the hell. and of course, it does things uber cool, like translate every word you highlight into another language. amazing. hats off again, guys. how about you make an awesome JOB for me?

Sunday, January 21, 2007


when i did my late-night/early-morning show on wpgu last fall, i took what liberties i thought my seniority allowed and shaped a show that i, as a radio fan, would have made a point to tune into at three o'clock on a saturday night. it was good, clean, drunk and stoned fun, inspired by the night itself, dreading the morning to come.

the 3:00 hour was devoted to live music, dubbed "the show after the show," where i did my best to track down live versions of songs by bands who were in town that weekend, or in chicago, or maybe an artist we played every day, who happened to have made an in-studio stop at kexp or woxy that week. sometimes i'd find enough of one or two artists to fill the hour, like an opening and closing act at a real live show; sometimes it was a whole mix of live tracks.

but the thrill, for me, was in the weekly hunt, and never knowing what i might find. i'm a stickler for quality, so some crowded-room, spot-mic recording where you can't hear the band over the talk of the crowd, wouldn't do. if i couldn't find a decent mp3 file and had to record the set myself, from a streaming broadcast, i'd do it. if the frontman banters too much, or takes too long tuning his guitar, i'd pop the file into an editor and snip it out. it could be a week-long, passionate affair, or sometimes a hot and sweaty romp thrown together on the fly.

and it was a great opportunity to plug a band and their tour, or if you find a really great interview online, it was a chance to let the band plug themselves and their own tour. and you know as well as i do, the kind of magic that happens in a live venue vs a studio session. which you can't fully translate without being there, i know, but it was the idea that we all missed out on a great show, whether it's a bonnaroo bootleg that just surfaced online, the headlights performance at a college town in indana, or the couple of songs silversun pickups played when they stopped by the station earlier that day -- and we're all gathered here to enjoy it now. it was all in the spirit of RADIO -- where else can you do something like this?

and of course, the response was mixed, if anyone even bothered to listen. but it was my ride, and if you didn't want to come along, hey, you're the one missing out, man.

to bring the story full circle, kwaya na kisser, my blogging purveyor of rare and hard-to-find (he put up some hotel room recordings of lou reed and nico about a month ago), posted a live set by jeff mangum, the man behind neutral milk hotel. [aside: heindl gave me their second album, in the aeroplane over the sea, a little over two years ago, but it wasn't really until mark broke it out over beers in the library at the IDF that it really did a number on me. i could one day be quoted as saying that all on its own, it crawled into my heart and planted seeds, that bloomed into love for everything and everyone. there's something hauntingly magical in this.]

i actually did a live music hour ft. jeff mangum in my last couple months at wpgu. it was a song-for-song replay of his 2001 coffeehouse set, live at jittery joe's, tracked down (and purchased) on emusic. i was in the middle of falling in love with in the aeroplane, and the hour was as much for me as it was for anyone else. jittery joe's has since become a favorite catch, kept in my car for cozy company on lonely drives.

this last hour, though, sitting here in my living room, might have been even more special than that hour in the studio, months ago. i haven't checked this site in about a week, and since then, kwaya's apparently limiting live sets to a three-day lifespan on his mp3 server, to conserve bandwidth. he posted this show four days ago, so i'm lucky to have found it on his day of rest. it's my giddiness, still, that's fueling this entire post.


me, i have no bandwidth issues, since, much like the old days, listenership is scarce. so without further ado, via kwaya na kisser, jeff mangum in the world of wild beards:

Thank God for Wikipedia, we no longer have to pretend we know more than it tells us. Here's the wiki info on this gig:

"The relative success of the album (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea) in addition to the pressures of being suddenly thrust into the spotlight took its toll on (Jeff) Mangum, who disbanded Neutral Milk Hotel in 1998 after a tour in support of their latest album. Jeff has kept out of the public eye since then (although not without intrusive fans speculating on his whereabouts), rarely if ever playing acoustic sets and concentrating more on his recorded sound and music collages.

On April 2, 2001, Mangum and friends Laura Carter and Chris Knox played a gig-Mangum's first in two years-at the King's Arms in Auckland, New Zealand. The band was billed as "World of Wild Beards Incorporated", a throwaway pseudonym which Mangum varied to 'Walking Wall of Beards Incorporated' whilst addressing the audience between songs."

See poster if you're still confused. Fantastic live recording, very clear even in its lossy state. Jeff jokes about everything from his nervous breakdown to pubic hair.

two-headed boy
i love how you love me
song against sex
king of carrot flowers pt. 1
king of carrot flowers pts. 2 & 3
everything is
gardenhead/leave me alone
oh comely
in the aeroplane over the sea
banter/world of wild beards explained
mother (john lennon cover)


in other news, i trekked downtown today to sign my brother and i up to volunteer at south by southwest. we'll be on the podcasting crew mon-thurs, and working as ushers at one of the film festival screenings on fri.

and the bears are going to the superbowl! i'm not a huge sports fan, but even i know that's a big deal. so, cool. good sunday.

in love with a black and white picture of martha wainwright

but this isn't it. this is by josh petker. you can find both him and martha, all decked out in pretty purple, at music is art.

[i just sighed so exacerbatingly, you might have felt it from where you sit. did you? i'm sorry. going to bed as the sun rises and waking just before it sets, sure makes these night hours crawl...]

always on the same page as i, jeff thinks we need to find a way to be vampires, and i really think he's onto something. i told him how the half-mexican goth girl i work with very well might be one, we've kissed and she bit my lip so hard i swore she was after blood. i told nick about this vampire idea, and then my other idea of how i think it'd be great if we get to be cellmates one day (we're all about ideas tonight). he reasoned that we've done a good enough job of keeping each other out of our own criminal histories, our chances of life together behind bars aren't so bad.

so that's the new, tentative plan c (vampires being b, and making something beautiful still up there as number a). and when will that happen? i'm doing everything wrong. i swear, at the rate i'm going, with no food or money or friends to my name, it's literally a matter of days before i pick up that guitar and start making something out of this mess of a young man. how long before someone blogs about me?

and, without further ado, a nice little saturday night mp3 e.p. --

okkervil river - girl i knew, guy i met
sufjan - chicago (live, wnyc 2003)
the velvet underground - pale blue eyes
okkervil river - love to a monster
jose - hints (live, kexp 2006)
will sheff (okkervil river) - for real (live/solo/piano/fuckme)

if i still had a church sanctuary downstairs, you'd better believe i'd be at that piano bench right now. [p.s. thanks, unabashed sheff lover for the help on those track titles! "brother," btw. :)]

it's always about what you need in a moment to feel complete, to feel balanced. one cigarette or two, or one and one fourth, or a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer, or a bottle of tequila, or a certain song or a sad movie or anything loud, or someone's touch, or you neet to get off, or you need to not see anyone at all and maybe take a nap... but you're never full, never just right, and the hope is you can find the one person who never leaves you wanting anything again...

inspired by jeff's idea, i'm about to have myself a mini-marathon of claret-colored cine -- the lost boys, near dark (i just realized i watched this once, in my film studies class), and the hunger await me. should take me right up until sunrise.

i'm working on downloading six feet under, too. with about ten bucks to last me until payday, it's going to take a season or two of something to pacify this restless boy.

speaking of blood suckers, i spent some time with ol' buk tonight:

ah, shit. i guess setting my ashtray on my coffee cup wasn't a good idea after all, i just spilled both onto the carpet. i'd better go take care of this...


UPDATE 6:50a: i kicked that stain's ass. and near dark wins the prize. the hunger was just weird. now to waste some time on youtube until the sun burns me up.

black sheep trailer (not what you think)

rodrigo y gabriela. it's okay, you can watch it again. and again. ;)

ooh, they even teach you how to be this awesome. if you don't fall for gabriela like i just did, you crazy...

all right, i'm done. night.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

you can only be me right now to really appreciate it, but

the movie, with its sweeping, orchestral score, climaxes and closes, a quick fade to black before the picture cuts out to reveal the desktop background on my tv screen.

there stands jeff, ribs-deep in the gulf of mexico, looking down at a reflection twice as large as he. the sun is off screen to the right somewhere, reflecting white off the clouds behind him, which in turn reflect white off the water around him. hair hanging in his eyes, he studies his own image, rippling below his chest, or, maybe, the sand and rocks he's tumbling around with his toes.

the tv hums quietly. faucet drips in the kitchen (of course). computer purring before me. i can almost feel sand between my own toes, and i wiggle them slowly. but it only helps the memory to fade.

i sit still, almost not breathing, and try to hear the waves, the seagull in the distance, try to smell the warmth of the air that only exists now in the pixels and resolution of my tv screen.

p.s. new mix. a little old, a little new, a little everything i'm listening to. jeff and i started a mix about a week ago, you'll see some of that here. it's pretty thrown together, but it has its high points. spoilers: a killer roy --> teddybears segue right off the bat; and, thinking ahead, how good would the shins' "a comet appears" chirping intro sound after bloc party's "waiting for the 7.18"? it settles pretty quickly into a mellow mood (decemberists b-side is for you, dad), so brew up some of that leftover decaf holiday blend, and kick back...

Friday, January 19, 2007

for nick

a poem, from the book i got you for christmas but still haven't sent. i'm sorry, i'm just really bad about sending things on time. miss you.

"syracuse nights"
stephen dobyns

so your belly feels hungry
and your prick feels hungry
and you hit the streets because your eyes
feel empty and your hands feel empty
your days feel empty, a body
like tepid water and you want it hotter,
want each moment to beat faster.
is this how it happens, my friend?
forget the ardent embraces of your chair,
that your rug adores you and your bed
hankers for the heft of your body.
your nose wants to sniff something,
your tongue wants to taste something,
your throat to drink something,
your fingers to argue, hands argue,
your feet want to whoop-de-doo,
while if your prick had a set of wheels
it would check out the town without you,
it would cruise the side streets without you.
is that how you feel, my friend?
that the air dislikes you and your lungs
feel half empty, your belly half empty?
where do you go when the town shuts down?
you are sick of books and the tv sucks
and you'd like to see one guy haul off
and smack another in the chops or watch
a girl strip off her clothes or have
somebody tell you what makes him fear
in that gray time before dawn or what
he loves or hates or makes him sad
or makes him stand up straight.
is that what you want, my friend?
aren't you afraid that people won't like you,
that the mailman won't respect you,
that the cops will come after you?
eskimos, indians, they've all got your number.
and women? wipe that slobber
from your chin, my friend. try to calm
your trembling hand. even a sheep
would look at you askance. you're
a suspicious character, an eager eater,
a subdivider of many pleasures
and you want it all to move faster,
the blood to move faster, the heart faster,
something on the brain besides this waiting,
this half-alert napping, the body hurtling forward
so fast that the wind sucks tears from the eyes,
a motorcycle on a straight road late at night,
tears streaking your cheeks, engine howling,
dark boredoms shrieking past on either side.
heartfelt, brainfelt, bodyfelt, prickfelt,
rushing full tilt toward your personal zero:
leave a hole, fill in the blank,
i guess your guess is as good as mine.
is that how the nights take you, my friend?

roy - reno, i'm coming home

this song is like an arrow through my head right now. sticking out on either side, piercing through this mess of thoughts, for which it seems i'll never find words...

father asks, is it worth it?
you're broke and in debt too.
mother asks, are you homesick
lonesome and blue?
your twenties will soon be over
and you haven't paid your dues
your classmates already got
some years on you....

see you in april, buddy. love yous.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

sneak peek

this is an excerpt from the book i just ordered for both my dad and me. like i say in my gift note: was drunk on tequila and reading sextrology, reminded me of horoscopes in 'buzz' magazine in CU, by this brezsny. read one review of his book and was sold. got one for both of us -- we could start this week off on the same 'page'... ;) fly

"brezsny" is rob breszny, author of free will astrology, a favorite section of hometown weekly buzz magazine. he apparently has a book. i bought two copies as a trigger-happy but whole-hearted nod to what may be what i love about my dad the most: an undeterred enthusiasm for the journey of life (alongside an envied faith in magic, dreams, love and possibility).

i lifted this straight from's "peek inside this book" adobe acrobat reader. typed it. word for word. took like twenty minutes, so at least give it a chance, would ya? from rob breszny's "laugh out loud" (i did) pronoia is the antidote for paranoia: how the whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings:

apostle of hustle - my sword hand's anger

thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. through some magic you don't fully understand, you're still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you've been unconscious for many hours. the air is a mix of gases that's just right for your body's needs, as it was before you fell asleep.

you can see! lights of many colors floods into your eyes, registered by nerves that took god or evolution or some process millions of years to perfect. the interesting gift of these vivid hues comes to you courtesy of an unimaginably immense globe of fire, the sun, which continually detonates nuclear reactions in order to convert its body into light and heat and energy for your personal use.

did you know that the sun is located at the precise distance from you to be of perfect service? if it were any closer, you'd fry, and if it were any further away, you'd freeze. here's another one of the sun's benedictions: it appears to rise over the eastern horizon right on schedule every day, as it has since long before you were born.

do you remember when you were born, by the way? it was a difficult miracle that involved many people who worked hard on your behalf. no less miraculous is the fact that you have continued to grow since then, with millions of new cells being born inside you to replace the old ones that die. all of this happens whether or not you ever think about it.

on this day, like almost every other, you have awoken inside a temperature-controlled shelter. you have a home! your bed and pillow are soft and you're covered by comforotable blankets. the electricity is turned on, as usual. somehow, in ways you're barely aware of, a massive power plant at an unknown distance from your home is transforming fuel into currents of electricity that reach you through mostly hidden conduits in the exact amounts you need, and all you have to do to control the flow is flick small switches with your fingers.

you can walk! your legs work wonderfully well. your heart circulates your blood all the way down to replenish the energy of the muscles in your feet and calves and thighs, and when the blood is depleted it finds its way back to your heart to be refreshed. this blessing recurs over and over again without stopping every hour of your life.

your home is perhaps not a million-dollar palace, but it's sturdy and gigantic compared to the typical domicile in every culture that has preceded you. the floors aren't crumbling, and the walls and ceilings are holding up well, too. doors open and close without trouble, and so do the windows. what skillful geniuses built this sanctuary for you? how and where did they learn their craft?

in your bathroom, the toilet is functioning perfectly, as are several other convenient devices. you have at your disposal soaps, creams, razors, clippers, tooth-cleaning accessories; a host of products that enhance your hygiene and appearance. you trust that unidentified scientists somewhere tested them to be sure they're safe for you to use.

amazingly, the water you need so much of comes out of your faucets in an even flow, with the volume you want, and either cold or hot as you desire. it's pure and clean; you're confident no parasites are lurking in it. there is someone somewhere making sure these boons will continue to arrive for you without interruption for as long as you require them.

look at your hands. they're astounding creations that allow you to carry out hundreds of tasks with great force and intricate grace. they relish the pleasure and privelage of touching thousands of different textures, and they're beautiful.

in your closet are many clothes you like to wear. who gathered the materials to make the fabrics they're made of? who imbued them with colors, and how did they do it? who sewed them for you?

in your kitchen, appetizing food in secure packaging is waiting for you. many people you've never met worked hard to grow it, process it, and get it to the store where you bought it. the bounty of tasty nourishment you get to choose from is unprecedented in the history of the world.

your many appliances are working flawlessly. despite the fact that they feed on electricity, which could kill you instantly if you touched it directly, you feel no fear that you're in danger. why? your faith in the people who invented, designed, and produced these machines is impressive.

it's as if there's a benevolent conspiracy of unknown people that is tirelessly creating hundreds of useful things you like and need.

there's more. gravity is working exactly the way it always has, neither pulling on you with too much or too little force. how did that marvel ever come to be? by some prodigious, long-running accident? it doesn't really matter, since it will continue to function with astounding efficiency whether or not you understand it.

meanwhile, a trillion other elements of nature's miraculous design are expressing themselves perfectly. plants are growing, rivers are flowing, clouds are drifting, winds are blowing, animals are reproducing. the weather is an interesting blend of elements you've never before experienced in quite this combination.

:) ryan

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

reno, i'm coming home


feb 2
in chicago 9:20 am
in champaign 1:25 pm
headlights show 8:00 pm
sleep WHEN:DEAD am

feb 3
in chicago somehow
stone cold dead serious 8:00 pm
drunk with heindl immediately after

feb 4
wake up sometime
lunch, brittney?
leave for TX 7:25 pm

i just bought these plane tickets on a complete impulse. really, the only way i have as much money in my checking account as says i do, is if somebody dropped the ball and didn't cash a check. silly of me? perhaps. i say opportunity knocked.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

snow day #2

i'm apparently
drunk enough
to think i can
poeticize the night.
armed with my
purple marker
and bellyful of tequila,
i think i'm ready
to take on
the world.

it's safe here
in my coccoon --
when the icicles hang outside
and even without
the heat on, within.
my carefully crafted
my altar
to life, and the need
to tell a story;
to music, the medium;
to love, that damn
to film,
the reliable escape
from the responsibilities
of dreams,
and to the
simple pleasure
had in simply
having one.


"fucked and forlorn"

broken glass
litters the floor
and here i stand
fucked and forlorn.
sweat burns the eyes
drag my lips
'cross dirty old

and daydream
of home.

so here i stand
with gun in mind
bullets in hand
dig trenches not graves
on a basement floor soapbox
we'll sing our lives away
for a dream,
and a false sense
of freedom.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

my dad i love

mark rothko's untitled, 1969.

thank you. so much.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

yes, you already know (how this will end)

i know i'm kind of post-happy tonight, but blame the sauza, if anything.

mi hermano, jefe, made an exemplary mix during his time away from school, and i simply cannot get enough of it. so here, immortalized in his absolute glory, is my brother, guest DJ on volume 2 of KPRS, posters of rock stars radio:


1. headlights - i love, you laugh. a song i initially wrote off as too emo for my hometown heroes to claim as their own; however, lately, it's been eating at me like some sort of radioactive, heart-devouring monster.

2. roy - the power, not the perception. i've loved this band ever since nick said i should. fact, a lot of the music i love today would never have been mine to hear, had nick not introduced us. i admit, i often consider the boy helplessly insane, but then i realize he's simply another step ahead of the game than i. ROY is fucking incredible, and their album, big city sin & small town redemption took a year or two to find its way into my top five, but now that it's there, it's not going anywhere. their follow-up, who killed john train? is slowly catching up.

3. my bloody valentine - sometimes. from the lost in translation soundtrack. why the fuck have i never heard this song? bravo, little brother -- bravo!! i downloaded their album, loveless, tonight. i'm two steps from downloading that movie, too. fuck me.

NEXT DAY EDIT: i forgot to say that, like our best mixes, jeff's tells a whole story, beginning to end. our hero, this skinny, black sheep boy, journeys across jeff's three-act opus to meet his ultimate end... the beautiful thing that draws us to songs that tell a story (any story, really), is how we can project ourselves into its given circumstances, and blur the lines between the world of the song and the world of our own. with a mix like this, for me, it's really like sitting down to watch a movie -- but you don't have to sit, you're free to move, you're free to live, because your life, your day, is the movie and this is its soundtrack. "using someone else's poetry to say what you want to say..." is an art in itself. put yourself in the world jeff's created, be the hero, cuz i wanna know... where does it take you?

i know it sounds crazy but, fuck off, i am.

love, brov!

blast from the past

mario, please 10-4 that you copy this. burns, you too. "spankalicious" makes her mark as a friend forever, right here.

shaded bluish.

if anyone can figure out how to read the archives, PLEASE let me know. the five years between now and then, plus a lot of tequila at present, renders me helpless.

do you ever wonder, what happened? i didn't realize until now, how much i miss these 'shades' of us...

Friday, January 05, 2007


echo de menos tu blog. requiero más penetración en su cerebro. vuelves, senor gonzo.

that enron dick!

i love largeheartedboy. i've been a faithful reader for almost a year now, and not only is it still a perfect blend of all things literary and musical, but every now and then it points you toward something as off the wall as cracked magazine's 10 most dead people of 2006.

Know who didn't seem to know how money worked, though? Ken Lay, that Enron dick. Think he needed a special oversize casket like that other money guy named Ken? No, Ken Lay was allegedly quickly cremated after suddenly dying during a ski vacation following his conviction on fraud charges, thus conveniently escaping 20 to 30 years of life behind bars. Ken Lay is in fact quite possibly tanning his fat hide on a beach on a private island bought with the billions stolen from ordinary Americans at this very moment. Sadly, Ken Lay gets the award for Least Dead Person of 2006.

here's the full list. hilarious.

with that out of the way, i remember what i couldn't during my last post. i was at work the other night, when i had to run over to our main office to take care of some data entry i couldn't do from my own desk. i had timed it so i'd miss the 9-5 crowd and have more of the place to myself... but one of our staff, stephan, was still there. until this point, i'd been telling jeff that stephan was like our office's dwight schrute. i mean, the guy and i had a lengthy discussion about the benefits of gatorade, after i asked him why he had two gallons of the shit sitting on his desk. picture dwight defending himself in this situation, and that's exactly how it went down.

but the other night, stephan and i fell into a very different conversation. he let me in on a pretty serious, life-altering moment he had just before thanksgiving last year, and how it's affected him since. i gotta give the guy more credit, he's a soldier. he asked me about my new year's plans, and after i reveled him in my half-recollected tale of drunkennness, he told me how he packed up his car, drove out to a state park, pitched a tent and read and wrote for a few days.

i was a little shocked, and very jealous. why can't i do cool things like that? why is that such an unnatural streetch for me? it shouldn't be, but i'm so busy being all crazy and constantly in my head, the idea would never even cross my mind.

this is when he handed me an old, ratty copy of the prophet, by kahlil gibran, open to a section "on love" --

Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Love."
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

the book is public domain, so you can read it in its entirety online. it's short, but pointed. reminds me of the zen-like people i often surround myself and wish i could be.

when i went in to the office last night, again after everyone had left, stephan wasn't there. but you know what was? a tiny, broken acorn, sitting next to his computer screen...

peter & the wolf - lightness

Thursday, January 04, 2007

the dashboard melted, but we still have the radio

new modest mouse. "dashboard" debuted on the radio a couple days ago (thanks to mokb for the heads up). we were dead before the ship even sank is due very soon, via epic recordings (via sony, via the man). strip down to your undies and get ready to dance:

EDIT: sorry. hear it at modest mouse's label or their myspace.

only three days deep, and 07's already bearing fruit! today, my aunt leeann sent new year's fudge, and a gift card to ikea. which is perfect, 'cuz i just found a mattress and box springs yesterday -- i can finally move into my bedroom! and mark's x-mas present, please kill me: the uncensored oral history of punk, came yesterday too, in a box stuffed with music promos from polyvinyl, and my old jean jacket and brasil flag from home. thank you, m'man.

and this is for my girl amanda, and for any other hip-hoppers lingering in the crowd. amanda missed lorenzo goetz' last show ever to be sick in cleveland for the new year, and needs some extra lovin. stereogum tells me your boy talib put out a free nine-track download as a new year's present to friends and fans.:
"I am a part of the music industry, and lord knows I'm needed, but for our own sanity we must step outside the system and create that which is not packaged for mass consumption. This is also a gift to the fans who stick by me whether some corporation is currently promoting me or not. Now, I love all music, and my albums so far, including eardrum, reflect those influences. This album is a straight ahead, sample driven hiphop record, from two of the best doing it. Some fans will say this is the sound they want to hear from me all the time. If so, congratulations, you got your wish. However, do not use this to speculate what eardrum will sound like. It is a different project with different influences."
download here (via nah right). i haven't listened yet, but i expect it to be awesome. feel better, baby. ;)

i feel like i had one more thing to say, but this fudge is clouding my judgement. i didn't want this to be too long a post, so i'll leave it at talib. peace!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

radio and the rest

EDIT: i'm looking at this with internet explorer at work (i use firefox at home), and it loads a completely different playlist than the one i uploaded this morning. anyone else having a similar problem? a noticeable lack of bloc party, jiggsaw, band of horses? let me know. any feedback you have, actually, send it my way. thanks! ryan

just a "beta" version. i meant to have this up the night before last, i figured giving myself a deadline would spur me to really do it. and it did, but honestly, new year's eve? i'm lucky i made it home alive. and yesterday was a complete loss, of course. i think i finally started moving sans nausea around 4pm. needless to say, i didn't find time to sit down and record the show with voiceovers, though i probably drove my neighbors mad with my all-night, out-loud rehearsals. but it's the show as i would have done it, just without me as your guide. consider it a new year's mix -- you've got some new stuff from bloc party, the shins, band of horses; and, in general, my favorites from 2006. one last kick for the old, and a warm welcome to the new.

speaking of the best of last year, lord knows i've scrolled through enough "best albums" and "best movies" lists to want to disown half the blogs i read every day, they're so incessant with the damn things. still, i can't help but want to holla back at the people and things that helped me survive the year. i was in the middle of watching the barely hopeful children of men when struck with the urgent need to recognize (or remind myself of) the few things i love about this world. that being said, and despite the idea of a "best of" list in my BLOG being tongue-in-cheek in the first place, i hope i come across as genuine when i really am so.

so without further ado, and in no particular order...

10. austin, texas. i still have my reservations about this place, and my place in it. but one thing's for sure: this is one of the biggest decisions i've ever made in my life. and i'm a big believer in things-for-a-reason, whether you realize it right away, or way after the fact. there's something to this dropping everything and driving a thousand miles from what you know. it might be plain and simple insanity. but until the whitecoats come strap me down and lock me up, i'm enjoying the ride.

9. champaign, illinois. in the same breath, i'll admit to being guilty of not knowing what i had 'till it was gone. that little town has something figured out, and the people who stay there past their college days aren't crazy for doing so. sure, it's a small dog who thinks it's a big bear, but it takes care of its own.

8. my laptop. this fucking computer sports some scars. i babied her through her first few months, but after the strap on my carrying case broke, she's been tossed around as much as anything else you can throw in a backpack. that a certain loveless pet of mine chewed her up a bit doesn't help her appearance, either, but i prettied her up with some headlights stickers and she looks simply beautiful.

it hasn't really been until this last year that we've been completely mobile; in our defense, it hasn't really been until this last year that central illinois discovered wireless internet. used to be, you had your home network and that was it. then, the coffee shops caught on, and pretty soon, you haven't paid an internet bill in six months because you're gleaning unprotected service from the girls next door. now, it's pretty safe to assume you can take a laptop anywhere and find a free public network, so you do. hell, entire cities are wireless. lappy and i have been to the ends of the earth and back, and despite a minor memory failure here and there, we've been able to back her up and start from scratch time and time again. she just loves the new portable hard drive she got for christmas (thanks mom!), and even though she just turned a third year older in november, she's as playful as she was out of the box.

lappy, i love you.

7. bittorrent. despite her slim figure, lappy's been well-fed this year. sure, we love itunes and emusic and are more than happy to buy a tv show or album we really love. but you can't beat the thrill of the hunt for good screener copy of a movie still in theatres. hell, i downloaded a christmas story when i was down and out during the holidays. i guess there's no way to tiptoe around admitting i download ILLEGALLY, but come on! times are tough, man...

   7a. pan's labyrinth
   7b. perfume: the story of a murderer
   7c. babel
   7d. 13 tzameti

6. little miss sunshine and half nelson. studio shareholders will be happy to know i paid in full for both of these films, each more than once. it's funny, i half-seriously asked that my family all get each other little miss for christmas... and we did (yessssssss). what a beautiful fucking movie. the first time i saw it was with nicholas, on the last leg of his stay in champaign -- we were about to drive him to boston, after which i was visiting austin for a second time this year, and then the west coast for the first time, ever. we were on the brink of the unknown and self-discovery, and we needed something to tell us it was all going to be okay. the theatre was about half empty, but the two of us filled it with enough laughter and crying for twice its capacity. that moment itself is one of my favorites of all time.

on my birthday this year, my brothers and i watched it "together" -- me, by myself in austin; them, at home in taylorville. we cued up the movie and, via phone, counted down from three and hit play, and called each other as soon as it was over. my eyes start to water at the thought of how impossibly close we were that night. trust me, guys, you've got a spot at the top of this list.

where little miss restored my faith in each other, half nelson restored it in myself. i don't know what the fuck i'm doing in life, but i know i'm doing something...

5. mark jiggsaw. "a strange looking punkrocker who's been known to climb rooftops and sing pirate songs and out smart death."

i can honestly say that without mark's help, i'd be writing you today from a very different place, both physically and mentally. completely separate from fronting probably the best band i've been lucky enough to know personally, mr. jiggsaw is one righteous man. not only did he help me get that sweet, free room at the illinois disciples' foundation when i needed it most, but he kept close during my entire stay, always there if i needed a hand, or a shoulder. he even scraped bird shit off my walls after i left town too hurriedly to clean my room. thanks for everything, brother man. can't wait to see you again.

he'll probably hate that i did this, but fuck it. put the new year's mix on pause real quick, and listen to this. i can't believe i forgot to put this one on there: mark jiggsaw - you are my sunshine.

4. calvin. seriously, one of the best things that's ever happened to me. i hated the little fucker at first, but he saw me through some rough and lonely times, and i like to think he grew as fond of me as i did him. i guess he really wasn't a part of 2006 -- he presumably flew into a parallel dimension sometime, late 2005 -- but all this talk of bird shit has me missing the little guy. he was a living, breathing sunrise; my own miracle. if you're out there, cal, being all awesome in your parallel universe, and have somehow learned to read since the last time we hung out, know that i think about you all the time. :(

3. nicholas.

enough said. miss you too, buddy.

2. my dad. i have neither a picture nor words. i love you so much. i'm never joking when i say i want to be just like you.

1. my brothers.

same for you guys, i don't know what to say that you don't already know. you are my only reasons for so many things. how long until that solar eclipse happens so we can invade the fire nation and save the world already? i'm so ready, boys. let's do this.

(not to devalue this moment we're having here, but that reminds me, avatar: the last airbender totally deserves a spot on this list, but this has taken so much longer than i thought it would, it's getting its honorable mention right here. btw, i'm totally water nation. jeff is earth. johnny, are you our airbender??)

this was a really good idea. if you didn't make the list, don't take it personally, it's just the first ten to come to mind. those of you i love, you know i do (pam, i'm looking at you, girl). but if you need reminding (i tend to be distant), by all means, let me know.

i'll show you.