I've kept my Livejournal running for quite some time now and over its lifespan it has seen a number of people, mostly anonymous, following it.
I am starting up a new blog, elsewhere, unconnected by any links to this one but still about my own life and, perhaps, a bit more honest both painfully and beautifully. Without any links to my facebook or other such vestiges of my life as Alex I can really break into the realm of my honest opinions without fear of repercussion regarding my shit being "Too Long; Didn't Read" (a fucking pitiful excuse) and on a format where I can really get to enjoy the sense of having a blog.
If any of you really want to keep reading it message me here with an e-mail address I can send the link to. Or, you know, don't. I for one hope you do because it'll be pretty cool stuff.
I think people could make a living writing about the weather! Quick, get to it before the market fills up and... Oh... Well damn.
It's a rainy day outside and my home is unusually chilly today. Weatherbot says it's in the mid fifties outside and I believe it. I believe the air conditioning is left on today and that is the source of the cold. It really doesn't trifle much with me today as I am stocky built and, while that rarely comes in handy in social situations, it does avail me to much desired core temperature warmth in situations like these. Haloo hallay I am warm enough today!
Every few days I have to wonder why I even keep up with Facebook. It has long-since ceased to be amusing and, while sometimes useful, I look at the number of people listed in my Friends category and wonder how many of them really give two shits about me at all. I've removed the links to this blog from that website and, happily, am trying to remove all traces of myself on the internet that resort directly back to me because, to be blunt, job markets make me paranoid. It's already tragic that one can't look as one desires at various jobs without taking some steps towards catering to an imbecilic notion of propriety that, in my humble opinion, is only damaging to people as a whole. Ontop of this tragedy, however, we have the additional one of your job hacking into your Facebook to find evidence that you're what? Human? That you do ridiculous bullshit on your own time like everyone does or ought to? That you have opinions, grievances and irritations regarding life and the state of things not just politically but socially? Well fuck me twice! I wonder how companies that hired people ever got along before all this invasion of a person's life.
I'm not so removed from logic to be anything but perfectly aware that people posting ridiculous stuff is what they do to shoot themselves in the foot. If anything they could be more secretive, indeed, of what it is they do. As masturbatory and amazingly fun as being balls-to-the-wall honest about how eccentric you are is, and as easy as the internet makes such things, it's a double-edged sword and everything you put into the world can come back to harm you. This is why I am seriously considering erasing my Facebook, a task made purposely difficult by the creators of such an engine, as a self-defense mechanism. I have no intention of living any life but the one I desire and if I have to make some small sacrifices in order to attain this I would gladly do so.
My break from school has been kind to me thus far. With the exception of being a bit ill today and yesterday, that is.
I feel much better now. If I am not well at nearly three in the morning I don't know when I will ever be well. I've always appreciated the mystic quality of staying up late. Everything is filled with a kind of creative miasmic haze that spurs people ever quickly to their own dreams. That's how I feel about it, at any rate, and if you don't well... Perhaps you're missing out a bit. You really ought to try this up-all-night artsy thing. It does wonders, I assure you.
Talked a lot about starting a band today. I am not sure if it's actually likely to happen any time soon, given vehicular constraints, people's schedules and just how much fucking space instruments actually take up. I am assured in myself of the certainty of starting a band EVENTUALLY but perhaps not just now. I am not one to enjoy the promise of eventuality in anything and am famed for forcing such things to happen if need be. I just hope I can make the sort of music I'd enjoy listening to. That's always the issue, I've found in my attempts to start a band, people wanting to go in different directions, hating me for being dedicated to actually being able to play my instrument and desiring a very guitar-heavy sound for any band in which I take part, not enjoying the lyrics I write for said band or any number of concerns that arise. I don't see any issue personally with wanting to enjoy playing my instrument on stage or with the lyrics I write or with any of my designs, really, especially because I am willing to compromise to a point. I guess we'll have to just wait and see. I've been talking to people and hope something of note actually transpires.
I spent a good portion of today writing more of my novel, including a largely combat-based section which turned out well, at least in my approximation of my own work which is usually unnecessarily harsh, and for that I am glad. I also tried my hand at some ambient guitar work, which proved fruitful, and listened to some new experimental folk music a friend guided me to this evening. For being so sick as I was earlier, a number of symptoms culminating in me calling off work for being unable to deal with them, I managed to have a pretty fruitful day. I even got a healthy bit of reading done, both fiction and non. This is good for me, I say.
This being my last summer, Leah and I are really working hard at making it memorable. Already in the next few weeks we have two concerts to attend. One of which being the long-anticipated performance of The Machine, having been delayed due to the massive snowpocalypse we endured earlier this year and the second of which being a trip out to the symphony to enjoy some Beethoven. This latter one is both an excuse to get some culture with a surprisingly large group of friends and to dress up in clothes I rarely get to wear. This is excellent all around.
I keep reminding myself that every word I write, be it of the magic in mundane life or of the majesty of sunlight playing chlorophyl-green through the leaves of the trees in my backyard as I sit on a wooden bench with an acoustic guitar, brings me closer to my goal of becoming a truly great wordsmith. Everything in this life, even the things in which we find we have natural talent, are only brought to true, timeless greatness by our blood and trial of constant practice. I've had to learn this many times in my life and this skill, hopefully the skill to carry me through the rest of my days, is no exception.
There are so many people in this world who survive off of creative means and each one gives me hope for the future. It does lead to some thoughts of regret regarding my attending college at all but, at the end of the day, it gives me another leg-up in the world. Two degrees from a private university won't hurt me at all, certainly. Plus the people I've met and the experiences I've garnered from such a place really did a lot to change me. Even the slander people I once called friend throw on me, even the questions as to my sanity and even the outright turning of backs to me in times of need I've suffered in the last four years has done a lot to shape me in a positive way.
It's taught me that the friends who don't accept my very literal belief in Faerie Tales can all kindly have their faces caved in by my dick. Some people live exceptional lives and I am numbered among them. My life has been truly blessed by whatever higher power(s) exist to have some people in my life who don't question, or question very seldom, the validity of my claims. They really are brave souls who accept the Romantic Ideal as I live it, sometimes even living it in part or in whole themselves. Those people are the ones I thank from the bottom of my heart of hearts. I have also learned that some of my life is best not discussed with people as it is asking a bit much of them to believe what is true. Even those in my life well equipped to understand and accept what I know to be true are not necessarily practiced in that acceptance and I need to remember this.
Yours in Unapologetic Mysticism,
But before I go into that behold this: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2
Hilarious. If you disagree your humor is broken.
This is almost the very end of my penultimate year of college. Four years ago I started and the end seemed so far away as to be a non-issue. I really had it down to a science, my life. However, as life is wont to do, plans changed on me. I've wanted to chase the will-o-the-wisp down a lot of reads in the last four years and I think now I've finally come to the conclusion that is right for me.
It took a lot of effort, finding what I needed. I suppose it always does. Without effort, really, a thing means less. I've made and lost a number of friends in these four years. I've spoken my mind to people and had it thrown right back in my face and was called wrong, utterly wrong. A few instances come to memory. I can recall someone with whom I share so very much in common and for whom I have the utmost hatred now telling me that I was too cruel, too amoral a person and that in my heart I was sick. I can remember a conversation I struck up as I watched a man with tattoos all over his hands and arms and neck walk out of a kitchen through the passenger seat window of a car. I said he was clearly a very courageous man. The driver asked me what I mean and I told her that to have all those markings, to be dedicated to expression through appearance in the face of how cruel the job market will be to him. She called me a fool. She called him a fool. I felt like it was my duty to defend him. So I did. I found myself doing that often to many people.
My life really did improve dramatically the day I picked the guitar again and taught my idiot-fingers how to dance across the strings. I remember how difficult it was to re-learn everything, I remember the price I pay and cherish each note, even the missed ones, that I can call up. Music healed me. I stick by the truth and the magic of that statement each day. The guitar helped teach me who I was again. It showed me how important it is to me that people look strange, act strange and think even stranger and that this strangeness and the burden it includes, is one of the most important things we have in this world. I feel like all those people, those strange and amazing people, anachronisms and faerie tales I defended with my blood and my words thank me each time I play.
Each word I write in my novel, in any of my writing projects, here or in my physical journals brings me closer to the mastery of my writer's craft. It brings me closer to my goal. Even now I can feel it and it feels damned good. I wonder how the struggle for career authorship will go. I am certainly eager to find out. It's been something I've wanted since childhood, since I was reasonable enough to decide "Hey, I love books. I suppose I could MAKE books for a living. That is brilliant!" Truth be told.... My opinions have not changed a whole hell of a lot from that point. I read books that don't thrill me now but are still quite fair and say "This was good. But I can do better than this. I can write better than this, make a story more fun than this. I CAN do this." and walk away joyous.
My life is kind to me now. I have real hope anymore. Despite how apathetic I sometimes become when I think that the working world is waiting for me I have a powerful feeling that I am being directed towards my dreams by the application of my will alone.
I've had my detractors, and I always will. But, as a great, big blue man once told me, "Alex. People are always going to be waiting to cut you down and you have to realize that their heads aren't even worth the pikes you'd put them on at the end of the day."
I'm starting to think he's right. But even if they sit gathering dust, I'll always have the tools for retribution.
A fair amount is going down and I am going to list it in the above order:
- Summer is close and for once in my life I am actually excited for it. I intend to make it a summer to remember.
- My book is coming along well when I get the chance to continue to write more of it.
- My playing is improving and I have been extending my Jam Circles and am going to possibly, maybe, hopefully get a band together this summer if all works out.
- I have a nice healthy stack of fiction and research to play with.
- My exercising is showing to be paying off. Woo!
- John Lennon Sunglasses
- Letter writing continues well enough
- The IRS carved my bank account up real tragic. I need to reestablish money lines. Fuckers...
- Jesus Money is a thing of the past now, sorry to say. Fuckers...
- Schoolwork is cutting into my writing/playing time. Fuckers...
- Same annoying people, different faces. Brain Fucklers...
- Still have to rely on others for transport.
- I worry that it will get to reach the dreaded temperature of "Balls Hot" outside this summer.
- I am going to Lollapalooza this August. The lineup is golden and shimmering and it stands to be a groovy time.
I went to see a concert last night.
The band I intended to see is called Animals as Leaders. It's an instrumental group with two guitarists and a uniquely talented drummer. Both guitarists play eight stringed guitars, which look cool and intimidating at once. The second, rhythm-based guitarist played one with very thick strings. At first I couldn't tell if it was a light stringed bass or a heavy, baritone type guitar. I am going to hazard my guess with the latter. Now make no mistake, this band is mostly guitar-porn for people like me. Despite it having some very good instrumental aspects to it the songs tend to fall into flashy soloing the likes of which one has to go to a G3 concert in order to see first hand. Entertaining but impossible to appreciate or enjoy for any length of time unless you play guitar yourself.
The other bands got progressively less interesting as the night went on. I Wrestled a Bear Once is a grindcore band and, despite being hilarious to watch, isn't something I think I could ever listen to for enjoyment. The next two bands were Darkest Hour and Dillinger Escape Plan. Neither of these bands really thrilled me so I, along with half of our party, left the concert early to walk the streets of the South Side where we ran into my friend Kyle and his excellent friend Elle who is now a new friend of mine. After this we all spent time at the Cheesecake factory joking that we had moved up in the world of after-show food while truly knowing that nothing surpasses Denny's for after concert shenanigans.
All-in-all, a good evening.
No drama brought upon me by irritating people.
No adverse weather conditions.
No genetic disorders.
No hand problems.
The only thing that could have made the night better is the presence of Leah with me. But! I intend to see her today so all shall be as it ought.
I know how today is going to shake out, I think.
I am going to sit here, at Duquesne, for a bit. I’m going to troll around on the internet, blog, listening to experimental post-rock music from youtube, try and justify the term post-rock to myself for the thousandth time, and maybe chat with friends via Facebook. I’m going to read some of a novel called the Court of the Air and remember how much I adore fiction and how fun it is.
I’m going to go wait for the bus on Smithfield street downtown like I always do and, assuming a coworker of mine is not on the bus, spend the ride home thinking about the book I finished last night called The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane and how much I enjoyed every last word of it. I’m going to smile when I think of how much I can see it shaping Leah’s life, she being the one who gave it to me, and silently thank her for bringing it into mine.
When I get home I’m going to try and record some experimental music called Decaying Animatronics Underwater that I promised I’d write and create. It should be fun. I am going to heavily favor the octave pedal in this recording, most likely, deepening the tone and low-end of my guitar extraordinarily, creating very post-rock music myself. I will be excited and smiling when I’m not cursing my idiot-fingers for not being dexterous enough to get it right the very first time. I won’t even have to justify the genre-title to myself for the thousand and first time, I’ll just let it go.
I’ll eat dinner and then go to Guitar Center with my neighbor Deet. I’ll try and call Nik and see if he wants to come too and chill with us there. He may or may not. Time will determine that for me. I’ll wander throughout the store, staring at how much everything shines like bright hard candy and covet it even though what I already have is arguably better. I’ll play a whole bunch of guitars in the store and probably buy a new set of strings for my twelve-string guitar, it having been restrung yesterday and now I have no more backup strings for it. I will consider buying a slide for myself and decide against it as I am trying not to spend money right now on unnecessary things. I will begin to think about money and taxes and the IRS and how I hate them and then be sad for a small increment of time. I will shake this feeling and affirm to myself that I will do well in life and that I ought to have no fear, only a healthy respect for life’s jagged edges and the cleverness to skirt around them.
On the car ride home I might think about Egypt or how I worry about Cryptozoology’s future and whether or not it’ll ever be recognized as a legitimate field. I will remind myself of how so few things are never recognized as a result of people’s lack of belief. I will remember this same thing happening to me and I will sour for a bit and then brighten again, realizing I am in the company of friends and the fact that anyone fool enough to doubt me is not worth my time and is better off forgotten. I will take joy in the fact that they are dead to me, if still very alive to the world. I will spend the rest of the car ride talking and trying not to draft too far ahead in one of the other two novels I have in the works. I will remind myself that all I am allowed to do is annotate them until I finish drafting and editing my current one. I will remind myself of what focus means.
I will return home at some point and continue to write my novel, enjoying unfolding the story and be filled with the small satisfaction of knowing that with every word my prose improves, my story coils like the oroboros and grows strong and lovely. I will finish this novel, I will tell myself, and it will be published and make me a living I accept. I will remind myself that I can accept no other option and that any sacrifice I must make in order to achieve this dream, one I’ve held since childhood, is worth my time and blood and sleepless nights.
At some point I will take a break from writing, make coffee and listen to guitar playing I one day hope to surpass. I will taste life’s sweetness and wonder at how foolish I am for ever doubting it in the first place. I will, during the course of this break, do anything from read up on conspiracy theories to the Voynich Manuscript to watch silly cartoons on the internet that amuse the child in me.
I will then go to bed and, as I lay my head down, smile and enjoy my triumph over the day, the world and all my detractors, those bastards. I will push my consciousness out of my body and dance among the stars and turn tranquil in an enclosing spiral safe within the burning womb of my own personal sun.
I will remark that this is a good day. A normal day.
I haven’t been updating as often as I ought. There are several reasons for this:
Reason the first: My practice of keeping several physical journals makes this practice less important as the utter and entire self-reflection possible for me in a physical journal that nobody else is going to see until after I’m dead is not something I can manage precisely in this journal. There are some people I know and have known who manage to take their bad business onto the internet unmitigated by any of the numerous factors that stop me from doing the same. I don’t know if I envy that or not.
Reason the second: I have been busy doing schoolwork, writing up my novel, annotating the novel I am to write after this one (both of which have no connection to each other), learning to be a better guitarist and spending time with people outside of all this. Plus when it comes down to the end of the day blogging, although I have more people watching this than I thought, is the last priority.
Reason the third: In addition to this sort of busy schedule, I find that recent life drama, the kind that I will not go into here because of what was mentioned in reason the first, has made it frustrating to even think about the social aspect of the internet.
Reason the fourth: I am concerned some motherfuckers are simply too lazy to read any post of substantive length.
That’s why I haven’t been blogging.
In happier news this weekend is that of Leah’s birthday and you must all await the festive explosion of joy that comes with her turning twenty one. I have her gifts, an acoustic guitar in hand and the steady knowledge that I am using vacation days so that I might spend the entire weekend with her, and get paid to do it. This is certainly cause for great joy.
In case you actually give a fuck, my novel continues well, despite having to put it on hold this week to study for three exams. I am looking forward to the uphill struggle to get this, among other works, very published and hopefully make a living doing this. People do it and I will be counted among those people. Difficult though I know it will be, I remain optimistic that my works will see print and sell well enough to make me happy. Although it really amuses me (read: Makes me want to bash faces in) when people hear about my artistic dreams and tell me it’s hard or that it might not work out the way I want it to. People like this are why I feel hatred.
I was asked today to explain to a friend my thoughts on Hipsters.
I try to take the approach often in my life that subcultures, when I am forced to recognize them, are composed of people. Most people, at least in my opinion, leave me wanting more out of them. This said, I try my hardest to take people on a case-by-case basis. Some people surprise you with intellection and creativity you never expected despite looking like people you might, in your biased mind, assume devalue that sort of thing. At least this is the trap I myself often fall into. I’ve gone on to assume that the charmingly attractive goth girl is clearly intelligent and superior in creative prowess to the girl across the independently run coffee shop wearing a pink hoodie with a Duquesne crest emblazoned on the back of it who, really, has no business being there anyway, besmirching this hallowed bohemia with her store-bought sham of a life. This prejudice is, as with all social prejudice, foolish and the result of me being too inured in my ways but I am not too big to admit that it crosses my mind for a minute far more often than I am comfortable realizing.
Now on to the hipster. Everyone I know who has a venomous hatred of this group of people cites their psuedointellectualism, their vapidity and their devotion to pointless irony as solid examples of why they are cultural scum. Places like the following website http://www.latfh.com/ make it really difficult to argue the pointless irony devotional point which, I admit, is a bit irritating when it stops being humorous. Their seeming dedication to humor ends up really upsetting when one realizes that, in the case of those who fit with the stereotype, nothing is really taken very seriously at all. Seriously, look at the website, it’s amusing. I’ll also grant that very few people can truly pull off those gigantic eyeglasses, although I am getting more used to them.
But! Take the two remaining key points of hipster hatred and ask yourself if the vast majority of the hippies in the sixties during the mass migration westward didn’t share them to one degree or another. Granted they were more ballsy by far. If they had rich parents they certainly left their good graces the moment they walked out the door. But at the end of the day they were entitled, self-righteous and lazy like any counter culture is bound to be. The time period in which they existed was what really vivified them. Take the Beatniks for instance. They were, to my mind, much cooler (although hippies get close because of my love of acoustic guitar) and much more intellectually driven but they get a fraction of the renown because of their temporal circumstance. Such was the time and such was the culture. So now that we exist currently we can easily dispatch insults towards cultures of people that have yet to gain any sort of particular renown as a result of the accident of temporal factors.
Moving on to the specifics as they relate to my own life I, in particular, find psuedointellectualism annoying in the way anyone who devotes themselves seriously to anything finds those who half-ass it annoying. But I will grant that psuedointellectualism is much, much better than outright glorification of idiocy seen in a lot of metal-oriented subcultures and, fond of metal though I am, I cannot abide idiocy on that scale. In the interest of a brief aside, I find that metal that goes beyond simple thrash ethics and incorporates folk or classical instruments tends to garner more intelligent and creative fans.
Vapidity can be found just about anywhere you look. Vapidity, I feel, is easiest characterized not by simply being shallow and concerned only with immediate or insubstantial things, but also from being unwilling to look beyond your own norms. It isn’t just relegated to hipsters.
While I admit that there is a grain of truth to the claims that hipster culture glorifies these values I will note that in my life I know a number of hipster-types who are artists, film majors, aspiring scholars, one talented martial artist and several good musicians. It goes to show often that if you look deep enough anyplace you will find quality.
A lot of the people I’ve seen that give hipsters a hard time are punks or anarchist punks. I’ve been to convergence and, to be frank, if you dress the two crowds up as eachother and take a social and monetary aspect out of the equation, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference initially. All the negative qualities are there they simply take a different form. As I said, I went there myself, day in and out, and have known some truly inspiring people who fall into that category of anarchist punks.
It kind of comes down to me being too old to deal with subculture-on-subculture hatred because, really, it’s those who refuse to branch out that are the problem. Stagnation, on any level, is the problem. When one refuses eclecticism on something as basic as culture one becomes a purist. Purism has rarely served humanity well for very long as it stifles ideas.
As for music… I can listen to Mischief Brew and Iron & Wine at the same time as listening to Minus the Bear and Arch Enemy and Abney Park. As with culture, expanded musical palates are often the best kind.
Feel free to comment and disagree as you see fit. I’m looking forward to it.
P.S. For the Facebook iteration of this note I have tagged those I desire to hear from the most on this topic. Please respond and always remember, I have thick skin. Be as brutal in your disagreement, if it arises, as you feel you ought to be but expect my counter argument forthwith.
P.S.S. If this note is duplicated focus on the tagged one if you'd be so kind.
I have begun the process of setting down the foundation for what I hope to be a voluminous correspondence of physical letters between myself and several friends. If any of you would like to be included in this please comment or message me your address and you will be included in this project of mine.
I am undertaking this as a result of my desire and dedication both to improving my own penmanship, which is absolutely awful under any and all circumstances, and to anachronism. I really feel and, indeed, have always felt that letters, and the physical act of writing them, have more permanence and importance than a typical e-mail. They have more of a soul, on an individual level, more spiritual weight. This desire is also spurred a bit, I must admit, by my new and very nice fountain pen and my willingness to use it all the time for just about everything.
I do ask the following, however, of any who desire correspondence with me.: Don't fuck it up. Yes this will be fun and groovy in many respects but the last thing I want is for the weight of the thing to be entirely one sided. That is, I don't want my partners in this not to keep up their end of the writing. If you are to do this then do it and don't give me your address unless you intend to follow through.
I await your addresses,