“I paid for college for two quarters and I snuck in the other two quarters. It was the one point in my life where it was like this big depression. I worked at Walmart, which is a terrible job, snuck into class, and drove to L.A. a lot [to perform]. One day I went to an open mike in L.A. and there were only eight comics in the audience, and when they announced my name, all of them walked out because I was a girl. I was so mad because I drove like two and a half hours to perform and these comics wouldn’t even watch me. So, I went on stage and I performed to the silhouette of a sound guy who was really far away. As I was driving home I was like, Oh my god, I’m so pathetic. I’m not in school—I mean, I am in school because I sneak into it—but I’m not in school and I work at Wal-Mart and I’m performing for one guy in a sound booth who’s probably not even watching. And I was crying. And then I went to class the next day, and my professor, who usually talked about what movie you saw during the weekend, for some reason, out of nowhere, he was like, “No one cares if you ever perform again.” And I remember looking up and thinking, “Is he talking to me?” And he was like, “The only person you hurt is yourself if you never perform. So, you have to care.” And I was like, Yeah, it’s so ridiculous to rely on people to encourage you because the only person you hurt is yourself. It’s not going to matter to anyone else if you never perform. And that completely changed my perspective. So whenever I do bad, it just makes me want to go back up so I can feel good and like, try to, um, I was going to say “create victory,” but I realize that’s a terrible sentence.”—Charlyne Yi’s interview with Village Voice (via vvvp)
While definitely a bit less prolific than most webcomic artists, Dresden Codak (real name Aaron Diaz) is one of the most astonishing illustrators working now, both in style and content. A heady mix of obscure philosophical explorations and speculative science fiction, the pages are gorgeous and the ideas bursting at the seams. When he updates, it’s usually a doozy, requiring historical annotations and a solid few hours to just admire.
Only drawback is that he tends to update infrequently and his non-storyline work tends not to do it for me. Still, highly recommended.
Also worth nothing is that he has a tumblr where he does some pretty nice analysis of visual storytelling using his own work. Check it.
I am no longer interested in anything Amanda Palmer does, musically or otherwise. The preciousness, the over-sharing, the cloying need to engage in this constant validation loop with her fans; it no longer does anything for me.
And don’t get me wrong, I used to love the girl. Everything she did hit me as profound and enlightened. I really dug the whole “punk rock meets high school drama club” aesthetic.
Nowadays, between her relentlessly obnoxious twitter and the unbearable preciousness of her new projects (the EP of Radiohead covers on ukulele could not irritate me more), she reminds of the high school goth girl with a livejournal. She’s totally lost to me.
What about you? Do you have an artist you used to adore but now find irreconcilably annoying? Who’s your favorite artist who has gone off the rails?
I had two dreams about the end of the world the other night. One might not have been as much a dream as a thought that ran wild through my head while I was still not-quite-awake, the distinction between the two being pretty indistinguishable at the time.
Before anyone gets excited, this is not a cry for help or a sign I’m inexorably being sucked into a vortex of depression (The vortex is quite exorable, I exor it frequently). I’m just relating the dreams as they happened.
The first (indisputably a dream) took place in New York City. It was one of those post-zombie apocalypse scenarios you see so often in TV and movies, only it wasn’t all that apocalyptic. Overall, it quite resembled New York as it is currently, substituting zombies for the indigenous homeless. It was dark all the time, a perpetual midnight, zombies shuffled around the streets, but not in the scale you usually associate with these kinds of things. There was a vague sense of danger, a feeling that it was safer indoors, but overall people still hurried through the streets going about their daily lives, not oblivious to the threat of living dead, but definitely weary of them, walking quickly and scurrying to avoid a grab from one of the more lively stiffs. In a way, it was a very New York response to the walking dead, continuing to go out ad live and work but treating them like a particularly menacing looking dog.
In the dream (as in life, sigh) I was a pizza delivery boy, doing my best to ensure that the huddled shivering masses at home were able to huddle and shiver without fear f running out of pizza. Being a delivery boy in the face of the onslaught of walking corpses is a difficult task, as one might imagine, and requires physical agility, mental dexterity, and fast footwork. Scampering past them (they’re the sluggish kind), I’d enter the various apartment buildings, where the hallway lights seemed perpetually twilight-dim, and I’d deliver pizza.
Predictably (though very much a surprise to me), in the midst of one such delivery, right as me and the nebbish I had been delivering to were doing the food/currency exchange (which, on a personal level, I always find awkward in reality. What do you say? What do you give first, the pizza or the breadsticks?) I turn to look down the hallway and see a small stampede of ghouls coming right at me. Instinctively, I push aside the man in front of me, force past the customer, entering his apartment, with him screaming after me, more incensed at the invasion than the impending threat. I scramble through his apartment, looking for a way out, a fire escape, anything. I quickly realize it’s a dead end.
Tapping into a long-standing thought I’ve had about zombies, I decide I might have some luck doubling back and hurtling through the crowd, keeping myself low and moving quickly in the gaps between zombies. At first, I’m doing well, elbowing and shoving them off balance, keeping away from their grasping hands and gnashing teeth. I make it out into the hallway, down the stairs, into my car. I’m shaking, my ears buzzing from adrenaline. I look down at my hands. On my right thumb, there’s a trickle of blood from a small, imperceptible wound right by the nail. Even though there seems to be no real damage, I Know (that proper verb, that inescapable feeling as you innately know things in dreams) it’s a bite. I wasn’t fast enough. I’m going to become one of them.
What follows is not really despair, but confusion. I got to my grandmother’s apartment where I’ve been living. It’s dark and I don’t turn on the lights. I’m not afraid, I’m not angry, I’m just… puzzled. What do I do now? Do I just quietly wait to become a zombie? Unlike most horror movie leads, the idea of being one of them isn’t totally repugnant to me (it being pretty much inevitable at this point). It just sort of sticks in my craw, a nagging thought that the world will continue on and I wont. What will the world be like after I’m dead? What does anything mean after you’re dead?
I resolve to jump off the balcony of my grandmother’s apartment. I’ve gone out there many times and thought about it, not in the sense of wanting to end my life, but just in the idle thought of what it’d be like to fall that far. I carefully climb over the railing, look down at the street, watch the scattered zombies shuffled down alleyways listlessly, and I fall. I fall for a very long time.
The next dream was less a dream (though I suppose it had a dream-like quality in that it unfolded before me and I stayed passive) but still vivid. I knew that a meteor was going to hit the earth, hit is so hard so as to wipe out all life on earth, to leave the earth scarred with a smoking crater for hundreds of thousands of years. I knew this, and all mankind knew this. We couldn’t stop it. No desperate attempts to deflect the meteor, no Bruce Willis, no bad Areosmith soundtrack. We are all going to die.
I thought about TV. Obviously there would be some kind of countdown (because, after all, they could easily automate that and people would certainly want to know when they were going to be atomized), but would there still be news broadcasts? What could be considered newsworthy in the face of total annihilation? Besides, what self-respecting news anchor/director/producer/camera man/boom mic operator would even go into work rather than spend time with his family? It would seem like a black, black joke to have this man in a tie sit in front of a camera and tell us the lonely, desperate, and ultimately inconsequential truth. And it’d be right, wouldn’t it be? It’d more profound than the band playing as the Titanic sinks, it’d be mankind punching in for it’s last show, trying hopelessly to prove that these machinations, this artifice we’ve built actually means something in the face of the ultimate nothingness; our last attempt to rage against the dying of the light. I don’t think we’d do that. I really don’t think we are strong enough (or maybe dumb enough) to think that anything we did would have any meaning in those last few desperate hours.
News online though, stays apace, though it’s all a muddle, mostly not news, mostly these frenzied screeds or impassioned entreaties to posterity. It’s all very personal, told in that language you don’t hear often, the type of talk which makes no effort to be clear or decipherable to others. In a way, it’s the truest and most baffling form of communication.
I walk the streets. No widespread looting, no riots. Everything is open for some reason. People wander in and out of shops, People just seem jittery. Others are distraught, that kind of hopelessly distraught that makes it difficult to walk. The sun seems hotter than it should be, brighter.
I spend the remaining few weeks puttering around in my van, stealing (or, more accurately, just taking) things I want, though I get tired of that pretty quickly. The comic books, guitars, CDs, they all end up just cluttering up my van. I drive from New York to Boston and then drive south to the Carolinas because I’ve never really been there. I tear through my little black book, basically having sex with anyone who would have me (which seems to be a surprising number of women, I suppose given the whole “last hurrah, end of the world, never gonna see this dude again or have to account to my friends/family/god why I fucked him” thing going on) and assaulting the ones that don’t. I’m not a very good person in this dream, but it doesn’t matter, they’ll get over it. We’re going to be dead soon, dead forever.
I go back home and spend the last few days with family and friends. I give up on writing songs and pretending I don’t drink around my family (which, I suppose, isn’t really pretending since I don’t, but in the dream, we all get sloshed together). I’m bitter and quiet.
Finally, doomsday. We feel the meteor hit, the ground shakes, and the loudest noise ever hear booms, obliterating our eardrums and we spend our last few moments completely deaf. The meteor hits somewhere on the other side of the world, but it hits so hard and fast, we feel it’s impact immediately. For weeks I’d been wondering how exactly we’d all die; if it’d be fire or if the impact would just turn us to jelly. The lucky bastards in Japan die instantly, snuffed so quickly and completely it’d like life there never existed, not even slime and dust left. Australia is basically jettisoned into space from the impact. We Americans die in the massive, ten thousand foot tall tidal waves that wash over what remains of the earth, the water rushing so hard and fast it’s like a solid concrete wall. We don’t even have time to drown. It’s like your whole body, your home, everything belly-flopping into a shallow pool, only you jumped out of a low-flying plane. Not that the water lasts long. The continents crack and crumble, and what water isn’t swallowed into the earth quickly evaporates as the atmosphere catches fire.
Humanity (indeed, ALL KNOWN LIFE) is wholly extinguished in minutes. The planet churns and wobbles for a few million years, but finally settled into this blackened husk of a world, no water or atmosphere, sadly lopsided with a massive, disfiguring crater about the size of what used to be Africa. A massive black moon.
Millions and millions of years pass. Billions. I think about haunted houses: how they say that a person who dies suddenly or violently without a feeling of feeling of resolution, that their spirit can and will linger in the place they died. Well, an entire race, an entire species was obliterated in the most violent, unresolved way imaginable. Slowly, as through crawling their way back from a restful oblivion, translucent shades begin to repopulate the world, flickering images of humanity in all shapes and colors, all cracked and washed out like old film. For a few million years, it’s difficult to notice, what with the earth being on fire. After the fires go out and earth cools from throbbing orange to black and grey, the ghosts are more visible. Not all of us come back, just as not everyone who is murdered or kills themselves becomes a ghost, regardless of how gruesome or traumatic their death was. Maybe 7% of the earth’s former-population, shuffling hopelessly about, not able to interact with anything. Our world becomes the biggest haunted house in the universe. A planet of ghosts.
It must seem a bit absurd, men in business suits, women in burkas, children bathing suits all wandering about aimlessly on this black, barren world. Over the millions and millions of years of complete silence and solitude, the ghosts change. Some, realizing they have nothing familiar holding them to this plane of existence, this world, fade away completely. Others linger, but their shapes begin to melt and distort. Limbs becomes longer, skin take on strange unnatural colors, sizes vary from hundreds of feet tall to the size of a microbe;. The moans and noises they make no longer resemble language, nor could they have ever been reproducible by a human voice. Man ghosts stroll through mountains with butterfly wings and dog-heads, still clutching their briefcases. They’re forgetting what it was like to be human, what a human even was, desperately plucking disparate aspects from their damaged, incomplete species memory to hold on to something they were before. Slowly, their shifting visages settle, evolving into something standard, perhaps vaguely reminiscent of a humanoid (if you squinted a little), but anything but human. The lowly remaining ghosts begin to consolidate themselves and start on repetitive (if still rather listless and ghostly) behaviors, interaction. New shades are generated in activities that we as humans would find completely indecipherable and incomprehensible. It’s nothing like human society or evan animal nature was, but it’s something new and familiar. LIFE has begun anew, a form of life not carbon or silicon based, but made of pure energy, the residue of what used to be human souls mixed with a dry, desolate earth. Earth is once again home to life, stranger than we could ever imagine.
There’s a quiet conceit here that betrays this story’s genesis as a dream and not just a thought. It’s the idea of utter, relentless hopelessness, but not exactly the crushing kind. In this scenario, no one thinks there’s going to be a last minute save. No one (at least no one I meet) fears hell or heaven. The world has been completely stripped of hope and we are resigned to spend the last few days just doing this with the absolute knowledge of impending oblivion. Both of my dreams have this sense to them, and both of them have this question at the center of them: What ARE you supposed to do if nothing is going to matter in a short period of time? What does it mean that WE, everything can conceive of as us and our history, will end?
1. Anxiety or apprehension in the company of friends or acquaintances.
2. Fear of contact from a friend: “I hope Sarah doesn’t call, she gives me really bad friendxiety.”
After an all-nighter of delivering papers manically, hopped-up on far too many energy beverages, I feel oddly optimistic and satisfied, even though I I’m fairly certain I completely butchered my paper route. Ah well, who really gives a fuck about the Boston Current?
Why Are There So Many Terrible People Who Are Popular Musicans
Am I crazy, or have there been a recent glut (well, two) of bands with songs featuring lyrics about “stupid girls?” Is this a thing now, and if so, why are these bands mincing words? Why not “stupid bitch,” or “dumb whore?” That’s pretty much what they mean to say, right? Stop being so uppity and let me do things to you?
On a related note, the band 3OH3 is pretty much the soundtrack to high school date rape. These dudes have a van that won’t run unless a seventeen year old somewhere is wondering if it’s her fault this happened. Roman Polanski find their music in poor taste.
Lesson here: listening to 3OH3 means you support date rape. 3OH3 are probably rapists. Think I’m slandering you, greasy weird tall guy and blond emo-wigger? Go ahead, prove you’ve never raped anyone. I dare you.
Thus concludes another edition of “Gray baits popular culture by accusing it of misogyny.”
You know, I think I get it. It takes a certain mind, not just a state, a swim, not just water sloshing around the tanks by your boots, but fully submerged, so deep you would have no hint that there’s air above you, living in water forever. You need to be in it, not an observer, not anything but huddled in it’s heart. That’s when you can appreciate it, the voices from every direction, the enveloping sound, transcendental and honest.
The first 2 minutes of Brian Wilson’s/the Beach Boys “Surf’s Up” is honestly some of the most beautiful music ever written. I know I’ve been fawning recently, but the harmonies make me feel so good. I listened to it 4 times in the car on the way home, trying to figure out what it was about the three notes in the chorus that touches me.
On break, grabbed some Indian food, spent too much on it (note to self, bring lunch next time). I really don’t mind being a delivery driver. There’s an autonomy and ease to it, my interactions are limited. It’s the other parts of the job, taking deliveries, talking on phones, those parts give me anxiety.
Delivering papers later after work, more excited for that. Things seems all sticky in my life right now, everything lazily clumped together and difficult to pull apart. Could be the heat.
New Comic Book Day Reviews, THE NIGHT BEFORE! BWAHAHAHA!!!
After playing the Gulu, I stopped into Harrison’s Comics in Salem, MA. Since this week was all kindsa fucked up from the holiday, they were open late and had already set out tomorrow’s comics. I grabbed a few, in addition to some awesome and cheap classic LPs (will post about those on Sunday). Here are my reviews.
Batman and Robin #13 - I think I’d be happy if all books were Grant Morrison writing about Batman. The thing I like best about Morrison is that (unlike, well EVERY OTHER CURRENT BATMAN WRITER) he gets the difference between Bruce and Dick in terms of characterization. Most writers tend to write Dick Grayson Batman like Bruce Wayne Batman; grim, gritty, Dark Knight yadda yadda. Morrison writes Dick as someone playing the part of Batman (as he says in this issue, “keeping the costume warm”), but making it his own, making jokes and using his unique skills. Insisting on calling Jim Gordon “Commissioner Gordon” was a really nice, subtle touch. It’s actually a rather skillful way to brig back the more campy, hammy Batman of the Silver Age without basically neutering two decades of Batman stories.
The wring in the issue is superb, which is beginning to go without saying. I wasn’t sold on Frazer Irving’s art when I saw the preview (plus Simon Hurt seems to have a really racists chinese caricature for a lawyer) but pages like this (forgive the shitty pics):
sold me. Plus this:
Hurt may or may not be Thomas Wayne, but he is certainly a PIIIIIIIIIIIIMP.
Shadowland #1 - The more I read about this, the more interested I am. I like the idea of a sort of localized crossover, a street-level event. I’m genuinely excited about the concept of actually having the Osborn administration be held culpable (if only in this book) for the batshit crazy stuff they did. I’m just not exactly sure how it’ll be pulled off, even after reading this issue.
The Marvel universe (like all comic book universes populated by supertypes) can be hard to navigate when it comes to events. The fact is, you’ve got a world where Gods and demons and Hulks and aliens walk around doing feats of daring-do, often fighting alongside street-level guys like Spiderman and Daredevil. This means that, when shit goes down company-wide, you need something that’ll keep everybody busy. And when I say everybody, I mean EVERYONE, including the Big Guns. Big alien threats work well for this, big Hulk smackdowns, also having the heroes fight each other is nice. You just need something. Otherwise, you’ve got an event where Daredevil starts running a street-gang made of ninjas and everyone’s bitching about it and the Avengers looks like they don’t give a shit when they could probably slap the whole thing down over the course of a long weekend.
They try to hang a lantern on the issue by having a scene where the big three (Iron Man, Thor, Cap) make Iron Fist and Luke Cage be their bitch errand boys, implying that if DD doesn’t play nice they’re going to gangbang his candy ass, but it doesn’t quite read right. DD was almost in the Avengers, fer realz yo (remember back at the beginning of Bendis’ run? He got a formal invite!). Not to mention the fact that they last time they thought DD was in trouble, the whole crew of them piled in a jet and flew to Japan to help a brother out. Now they wont even take the C train to Hell’s Kitchen to talk to the dude? THOR CAN FUCKING SEE SHADOWLAND FROM AVENGERS TOWER, AND THAT NIGGA CAN FLY!!!
We’ll see how the rest of it pans out. Art is OK. Little sketchy for my taste, but whatever.
The Boys # 44 - Not entirely sure why I picked this up because I haven’t been following the book that closely, but still great stuff from Ennis. Pretty easily accessible, less cringeworthy than usual. Russ Braun is a stellar artist and really really good addition to the book, so I hope he sticks around. Given how Robinson seems unable to make deadlines on the book (a fact I don’t begrudge him, just stating the obvious) and, frankly, I don’t think this has been his best work. He set the bar high with Transmet, and I’ve been a little underwhelmed with his pages. Braun, on the other hand, has a style that’s almost identical to Robinson, but more dynamic and I really can’t get sick of it. He’s a much better fill in than the incredibly talented McCrea and Snej (who are both artists I love to read drawing to Ennis but never really jived with here).
That’s all she wrote for now. Might check out a few more tomorrow ad letcha know what I think.
Finished (for now) a demo for American Crowbar, almost sweated to death in the garage while doing it. Might post later once I get proper Internet. I went a little crazy on it, but I rather like it. I’ll like it better once Melissa puts her piano part on it.
On the plus side, I learned “My Friend Peter.” Might play it tomorrow.
Anyone in the Somerville tomorrow should come out to PA’s lounge. I’m feeling somewhat adventurous.
Probably play a bunch of newer songs, older stuff I never play, an weirdo cover. Come out and see the listless oddness.
Bad mojo afoot. Sad about dropping Mel off at the airport. Not enthused about playing alone on Friday, or really ever again. The paper boy gig wasn’t as extensive as I thought it was going to be, I’m still in my feeble job search mode.
I feel all off-kilter and the less attractive aspects of my personality are coming out. Anyone care to do something ridiculous to beat down the bad mojo?