Thursday, December 22, 2011

Medusa & Merriwhether

One of my friends writes a blog with one of her friends. Last week, my one of my friends (Merriwhether) posted a little something for my birthday. Because I'm mega-conceited, I'm reposting here. One day I hope to be as good of a friend as she is and write a tribute to her:

 (originally posted on Medusa & Merriwhether


When I travel back to good old Chicago I usually get lost. My go to is always Mr. Hertzberg. He's got Chicago's floor plan burned into his brain along with the bus and train routes. It is simply fantastic. I am currently learning Saint Paul so that I can simply direct a stranger at the tip of a hat. This is one of Andrew's many strange knowings but at the moment I cannot think of anymore other than him thinking he isn't a hipster but in fact he truly is.

Me reacting to Andrew getting out his iphone: "oooo such a hipster, where is your chrome bag?!"
Andrew: "At home with my fixed."

This may or may not have happened while I was emptying the contents of my chrome bag. Tehehe

Hahaha, Happy Birthday Asshole

Friday, December 16, 2011

Michel Gondry Swedes Taxi Driver

No embed. Follow link. Smile. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

What I Did While My Mom Was Having Surgery

Today is my mom's 57th birthday. She is again in the hospital, as she has not recovered from her original surgery (10.14.11) the way the doctors had hoped. This is a piece I wrote soon after the original surgery, in hopes to express the final remnants of how vague her cancer seemed to me over the summer, before the operation to finally remove the tumor in her throat.

I reheated some day-old coffee, toasted a cinnamon raisin bagel and watched the previous night’s Community on Hulu. I took a shower. I put on blue jeans, a plaid shirt, grey hoodie and black blazer. Before I knew the significance of this day, I had made plans with a friend visiting from out of town. Yes, this was surely an important enough matter to reschedule, but throughout the past year, through doctor’s appointments, chemo and radiation treatments, my mom, time and time again, never wanted to consider herself a burden and make me change my plans. Besides, she was under and in a closed off room. What could I do? I walked a half mile to Fullerton, racing against the bus tracker: I had left late enough as it was.

We met outside her friend’s apartment on Sunnyside Ave, probably the most optimistic street name in the city and one that can easily be symbolized (although I’ll avoid that temptation here). It was a particularly windy day in Uptown. On the walk north up Broadway towards the French/Vietnamese banh mi shop, I fixed my hair a few times from the strong gusts. We walked past the Riv and scoffed at the fans that were already waiting for the Smashing Pumpkins show that night (it was 1 PM). We mocked the washed up local superstar that is Billy Corgan, one of my friends comparing him physically to one of the more phallic members of the male anatomy.

I ordered a lemongrass pork sandwich and a Stewart’s dark cherry soda. The three of us ate and talked and hung out. We catch up, talk about friends from college. It’s a bit gossipy but I don’t mind. I wonder if they can tell my mind’s wandering. My dad calls; I excuse myself. He tells me things are going alright. The tumor is out and the plastic surgeons are about to operate an incredibly intricate procedure of which I’m still not sure I entirely understand. Immediately after we hang up, a friend calls and asks about the beer situation for the show we’re supposed to go to that night.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Over the Hill

Shit. The light is green. Facing into the wind, I struggle. I am going uphill and I see the green light ahead. Undoubtedly, as soon as I reach the top of the hill, and the crosswalk countdown comes into clearer view, I will see I have four seconds to make it from the top of the hill to the light. That’s not going to happen. My one reprieve, my one last grasp of hope, that of being able to cruise downhill after using my every last bit of strength to get to the top, is diminished. If I attempt to run the red light, I’m battling a convoy of two ton machines that just escaped from the highway; my Schwinn frame is no match for them. The light is still green. I have three seconds. Green = go. But going ^ hill = (-)velocity. Therefore, green now = stop.  Or yield at the very least. These symbols are supposed to be clear: perfectly translucent enough for all of the population to follow for a society to run smoothly. And now? 

Now the signals are confused. Does not compute. I thought I could go, but instead must halt. Stop. All of the signals say “Go for it,” but that’s according to the old system. Stop. Begin anew. Yield to the new way. To yield: harvest, crop, produce. Therefore, to yield = to gain. To progress. To move forward. To go ahead, as green once defined it. And red?

Red doesn’t mean stop. It doesn’t mean go. It doesn’t mean yield. It doesn’t mean, but is not meaning-less. It implies: perseverance, imagination, strong will, a quick wit and ability to get back on the bull. That charging bull that sees that apparitional red, toreadored away while blood-red eyes focus on the goal. Red means keep trying. Because things change. Rejection, detraction, convulsion: it passes. 

The light turns green. I pedal forward.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

DC Pierson - The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To

I take pride in the fact that I was the first of my friends to find out about Derrick Comedy. Bro Rape, Keyboard Kid, Opposite Day…these were all hits, and we’d play them every week as I made the trip from the South Loop where my dorm was to Lincoln Park to drink wine and play Wii with them nearly every weekend. We anticipated new shorts and would see who could post them to the others’ Facebook walls first. Since that semester, we’ve see the guys develop an enormous fanbase, culminating in a feature film that we all watched at the Music Box Theater (the first and only time I’ve been to that theater). Donald Glover has gone on to achieve eternal relevancy, first through his hip-hop outlet Childish Gambino, then writing for 30 Rock, starring in Community and the ultimate form of immortality: being “criticized” on Hipster Runoff.

The other two guys have managed to keep a lower key. I often see tweets of theirs plugging comedy shows at UCB theaters and various other places around New York and LA. Whereas Glover’s success may appear to be the endgame for anyone who starts an independent web series, Dominic Dierkes and DC Pierson have gone the more typical route, and having remained out of the spotlight, can latch on to more experimental paths. To start a rap career, Donald rapped over a bunch of Sufjan Stevens jams, which expanded to other indie bands and eventually original material. The impetus may have been a three AM falling asleep half-thought or originally just a joke. But it developed. Conversely, Pierson lets us know why he wrote this book: Eliza Skinner told him to on the N train one day.

Knowing Pierson’s background in absurdist and intelligent comedy, it was hard to exactly know what to expect from this novel (his first) that on the back cover announces its describing the ‘typical high school experience.’ The title was sort of dumb and the writing started off supporting that assessment. High school kid hates popular kids in high school and feeling underappreciated for the phenomenal human being that they are. Yes, I guess that is the ‘typical high school experience,’ something that anybody who would even know who DC Pierson is already went through. Why do we want to go through it again?

As it turns out, it gets much, much better from there. The main character, Darren, soon meets our title character, Eric, who as we start to gather, never sleeps. Ever. And he never feels tired. He reveals his secret to Darren who is in disbelief, wondering how why how? He asks the same questions you would be asking: how does he not get tired? Doesn’t he have a subconscious? Naturally, this is a fiction novel, not science fiction, and Pierson isn’t concerned about scientific accuracy as much as simply suspending your belief in objective reality enough to enjoy the story. It starts out simple enough, they hangout, realize they have a lot in common, create an entire cultural empire surrounding a science fiction movie plot (drawings included)…until a girl gets involved (oh shit!). Yes, soon Darren, the more ‘normal’ of the two is getting it on semi-regularly and starts to ignore Eric. And when Darren’s inevitable awkwardness fucks things up with her (Christine), she runs to Eric and the two of them (you guessed it) eventually get together. It was a bit predictable, but Pierson runs with it in a great way. Darren gets so frustratingly heartbroken and even Eric warps out of character, threatening violence and sending Darren pics of himself and Christine. What a dick, right? Really does make you glad you’re not in high school anymore.

And yet, I feel like that is the primary targeted readership: high schoolers. Not to slight the book. On the contrary. For the kids that need something more contemporary than Catcher in the Rye or feel The Perks of Being a Wallflower too ‘emo,’ Pierson offers a voice that deals with the issues that he himself is not too removed from (popularity, puberty, social media, overactive imagination) without being condescending. Naturally, the Internet plays a big role, from email to porn to Namespot (why reference Garageband and not Facebook?). The book was a breeze too; easily manageable to finish in one day if you have the time. It’s engaging albeit with simple language, but hey, it’s supposed to be from the point of view of a sixteen year old. Oh yeah, plus Eric goes on these wild hallucinations and eventually manifests his thoughts into existence. And did I mention he never sleeps? Yeah, some cool shit happens.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gabriel Garcia Marquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude

I can’t finish this book. 90 pages has taken nearly a month. Every paragraph I read is a jumble of words that I derive no meaning out of. It is frustrating on two accounts. One for the fact that it is considered a classic and definitive example of magical realism and the Latin American boom in the 60s and 70s. I want to be able to better understand this culture, to just try to attempt to see how they interpret the world around them. Instead, I find a muddled composition that takes no time to develop any true meaning or connections between the characters. It’s necessarily a fragmented story (despite its non-linearity) but rather the jumpiness doesn’t lead me to care about or empathize with anyone. 

Second, I hate not being able to finish books. It shouldn’t matter. If an album or movie is boring, I’ll turn it off, but I still hold literature in such a high regard. I’m Jack in The Designated Mourner, you know, before he shit on all of his books. I’ve only done this with one other book: Catch-22. Granted, I was still in high school, just figuring out my place in the literary world and what interests me, but that one bored me to no end. It’s something I may be able to give another chance further down the road though. 100 Years of Solitude however…do I just have to admit I only like white, male authors? Not to infer I’m racist or sexist, and especially not on any conscious level, but for every Beloved I read there are fifty Tropic of Cancers that are as compelling to me. I’m not gonna bemoan the fact that I was granted the most privileged birthright possible in our society (white, straight, male), but I hate to admit the limitations that come with the territory. 

So how should I react? Have I just not tried enough? Marquez doesn’t speak for all Latin American culture. And The Savage Detectives is one of my favorite novels. Although I certainly could live my whole life and never leave the realm of those white, male authors that I will surely feel most comfortable reading, or at the very least, ‘get.’ But I do like curveballs. I like being confused sometimes. I want to read something and think ‘what the fuck?’ Just as I want to listen to something that I’ve never listened to before and watch something through a new perspective. Murakami is on my to-read list but I might have to rock some more Sedaris first. Maybe it’s just a summer thing and I feel more open to reading in the fall, the last leaves in the trees rustling outside my window, the streetlights turning on earlier and better concentration through evening coffee.

Monday, October 3, 2011



I got my first bookcase today. But I have grown to abhor the idea. Books are a living thing, not a piece of static furniture, of no thought or worthwhile opinion of their own. I would rather my books be strewn across my bed so I can sleep with them, hidden in my dresser so I can wear them, resting / playing on my hardwood floor, living as they desire, with no order to them. Travel guides meet philosophy, drama meets biography, classic meet contemporary. Sartre and Eggers can be neighbors, Kushner and Keats friends (and not because of alphabetical ontology). I want to rifle through unsorted stacks of fiction, to find what it is I need right now, to find the right Kundera or Camus. I am open to disappointment, that I may not find what I am looking for. I expect it; I almost need it. And sometimes: the right book finds me and calls my name. We open each other up.