Sunday, June 08, 2014

Coffee and Tea

Coffee is the crack cocaine of caffeinated beverages. It’s like someone stabbing you in the gut with a knife, but the knife has caffeine on it and you have to have the caffeine. It’s destroying you but you have to have it. Tea is pleasant. Tea can be aromatic, soothing, pleasant. Tea with a nice cookie can be refreshing. Coffee is something you have with a donut or a cheese danish, and it sits in your gut like a rock with razors sticking out.

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Technology

He didn't think at all about the technology, in fact, he didn't think it had much to do with his life. But all the time he was busy reading poetry and philosophy, the people were out building the towers. They were sticking stuff on top of buildings and working hard, working hard. Then one day, he decided he needed a new technology, a phone he could carry around with him. And then he went to the store and saw one, and bought it, and now that technology is part of his life. In fact, he can't imagine confronting day to day existence without that new technology. Remember, the technology is invisible to most of us, until it becomes available as a cheap consumer good, and once we adopt it, it becomes integrated into what we do everyday. Then, it magically becomes invisible again, in the sense that it is taken for granted. I may go to the store later and pick up some technology myself.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

35 Denton

It was 35 Denton this weekend, a time of musical experience. I traveled in my car on the very same interstate that 35 Denton is numbered for, and I arrived to find a marvelous parking spot in a marvelous parking lot. I went ahead and bought a ticket then proceeded to the food vendors. While waiting for a mushroom taco, I met the most marvelous dog. When the owner's held up the free T-shirt they'd just received, the dog knew to roll onto her back with her paws up so they could pull it over her head. "T-Shirt Time," the dog thought and knew what to do. Then I went to a coffee shop, and wasted a couple hours drinking coffee and surfing the web. When it was time for the Cannabanoids and Sarah Jaffe I walked down the street to the concert area. Unfortunately everyone was leaving. I asked a policeman what was going on and he said a large storm was coming. I then went back to the coffee shop to use the wifi and read on the 35 Denton website what in the world was going on. Everything had been moved to the Hive! The Hive, the Hive! The Hive was just a few blocks walk. Unfortunately, the Hive required everyone to get in line so they could run our IDs. And there was a large electrical storm approaching. You'd think that in a situation like that it would be a good idea to let everyone inside, but not in this case apparently. It only rained on me for 20 minutes or so, but it took an hour to get in the building. After getting in the building I was able to catch 2 songs by Sarah Jaffe and maybe 2 more with just the Cannabanoids. Then we waited for another hour for them to try and get the sound right. It was a taxing situation for the sound man, but the audience was patient. Killer Mike then appeared and delighted us with his stage persona and funny banter. He wanted everybody to get "fucking out of our minds." And everybody did get out of their minds. He was great. Then there was another hour delay as more sound issues arose. Then Solange came out and demonstrated she is a very talented young artist. Everyone was impressed. Afterwards I went to Hailey's and saw a band call the Soft Moon play a new grinding form of Techno or Electronica or neo-Industrial. I'm sure it fit somewhere in the cracks of those genres, and they had great energy and great presence. They danced around. Then I went home.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Navel-gazing

If writing is bad, is it worthless? If art doesn’t connect with its audience, has it failed? Is there a truth, a spiritual or moral or artistic truth that something can be held up to, used as its touchstone to see if it’s gold? If there is, do we keep or discard something based on its result with that test? If we’re deceived, and we realize it, does that have some value? Is there any value in accepting all things as they are, or is that complete insanity? A man laughs in the bar, his laughter echoes on itself, a red light appears, the food is ready. This moment will never repeat itself, not exactly, not in every aspect of its moment. It will be lost. None will care. Is it enough that we feel something is right or wrong, even if we do not know why we feel this way? If we discovered the source of our feeling, if such a thing were possible, should we feel differently, or should we expect to feel differently? Can a feeling be false? Or are feelings true regardless? If feelings are simply themselves, can the same be said for our thoughts? What’s the difference between a feeling and a thought.? What’s the difference between saying I hate you or I love you and feeling those emotions in the same moment? Saying them just to mouth the words? Everything. Maybe, however, we don’t know how we choose at all.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Chromebooks

So, I am using a chromebook now, which looks like it is made of chrome. It’s not really made of chrome, it just looks like it. I’ve been using it for about a week now, and the experience has been pleasant so far. One of the claims some reviews I read of the product made was that you must be connected to the internet to use a chromebook. This is a lie. I am using a chomebook right now, sitting on a DART train, tapping away happily, with a 17 year old girl staring at me. Maybe she’s staring at me because I have a booger hanging from my nose. But even though she is staring at me, with a booger hanging from my nose, I am not connected to the internet and I am using Google Docs in the Chrome Web browser to type this important message. One of the things I like about chrome OS is it’s light, meaning theres less shit inside of it and it will boot faster. When I pop the clamshell chromebook open I get to the login in about 10 seconds. Cool! Some people would think buying a chromebook is stupid, when you could get a windows laptop for 350 to 400 dollars. You can do alot of stuff in windows, but there is all kinds of shit inside of it that gets fucked up the longer you use it and makes the computer take a long ass fucked up time to boot. Then fucked up things start happening, and when you tell the computer to shut down, it just gets fucked up and starts making sounds and a blue ring appears on your screen and it spins forever and ever. Sitting on a bench directly to my right is a man with an LG android smartphone and what looks like the muffler to a motorcycle. That’s the strange sort of day it has been so far. Anyway, chromebooks. The battery life is pretty good, not as good as an iPad, maybe 6.5 hours, however you get a physical keyboard. Performance is good, and you get Adobe flash via some chrome OS or chrome browser magic. It charges pretty dang fast too. I can’t tell you what the difference between chrome OS and chrome browser are, other than one is an operating system that functions primarily through the chrome browser, and the other is the chrome browser, available on most any operating system (Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, etc.). Chrome OS has linux as its kernal, which is like a tiny kernal of corn sitting on top of the processor. Linux is an operating system that a crazy Finnish socialist named Linus Torvalds came up with to fuck everything in the technology industry up. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, and el commandante in chief of the Windows Manifesto Project, has tried to kill Linus on 7 seperate occasions, strangely 3 times with a poison dart gun. Nobody knows why he favors the poison dart gun. Chrome OS has some of those shitty online web games you can play for 10 minutes when you’re waiting in the dentist office to have a root canal, like angry birds for example. Angry birds is now available for the microwave in your kitchen. If you are heating your lean cuisine fettucini alfredo dinner, why not play some angry birds while you wait the 4 and a half minutes. But where Chrome really shines is in how much time you can waste surfing the web. As I mentioned earlier, Chrome has a badass Chrome browser inside it, and that’s a good thing, because its the only way to do anything in Chrome OS. If you thought you could put one of your old Atari 2600 cartridges in the SD card reader it has in the side, you are fucked. They aren’t compatible with this platform. Chrome, as a browser, is in a war for my mind with Firefox. Shit flies up on the screen and appears all fast and slick in chrome, and using the great big URL bar at the top to do web search suits my browsing habits. Now for a live update on my use of this device. I have been typing all this shit offline up to this point, and its been saving it all inside the 16GB solid state drive. Then, I got off the train, walked across the street, sat down at the bar, ordered dinner, and connected to the wi-fi. It was too badass to even believe, and the drunk people gawked at me like I was an ignorant grade school monkey. The document got uploaded to the Google drive, and the drive has the copy of this important essay. See? That’s how easy it is. So Google Chrome may be a flavor you may consider tasting, as it is coming in most flavors now. The one I am using is the Chocolate Samsung flavor, but it comes in Lenovo Vanilla and Acer C7 Chocolate Mint, and soon, a particularly weird Hewlett-Packard Rocky Road. Alot of the people considering a device like this will probably opt for an iPad instead, which is cool, because you can play Angry Birds on that too. So don’t get all bent out of shape about it or anything, they are just computers and exist to fuck up your life and make it more interesting. As William Burroughs noted, “Rational thought is a failed experiment and should be phased out.”

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Baseball Basketball Football

I posted on twitter earlier that baseball is a 19th century religious ritual, basketball is jazz music, football is the nation's unconscious fascination with war. Let me explain. Baseball is a pastoral game, played in a field, originating in the 19th century. It probably has roots in cricket, but I'm not going to research it. The game is filled with nonsensical rituals that have meaning primarily to the adherents of the religion: the first pitch, throwing the ball around the field after a recorded out ("around the horn"), the 7th inning stretch. Its values are those of honor, loyalty, sacrifice, and teamwork. All players on the field must work collectively for the common good, as in other sports, but the emphasis on offense isn't on any one particular player, all player's must bat. Even great players are expected to sacirifice personal glory for the purposes of team victory: advancing a runner, bunting, etc. The game isn't overtly violent. And, the most telling and important religiouos aspect, it exists primarily to torture its followers. Entire generations of Chicago Cubs fans have been born, lived, and died, without seeing their team win a single championship. Still, fans are expected to remain loyal to their team for the entirety of their lives, not to do so, is antithetical to the spirit of the game. I heard someone say once, "Baseball isn't a religion, the Red Sox are." That's it, in a nutshell. Basketball is jazz music. The emphasis of young players learning the game is to master fundamentals of playing. In Jazz, you practice until you are proficient with your instrument, in basketball with the ball. Practice, practice, practice. The basketball player that wants to be great practices dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, defense. He practices in solo, he practices in ensemble with a team, and after years of practice, he can make the leap to the next level of evolution in the game. The player must go from wrote repetition of exercises, to the ability to improvise in the moment. Great players of the game such as Magic Johnson and Pete Maravich could demonstrate dribbling and passing exercises with an impressive ease, but it's their improvisational plays that are so memorable. In fact, this is what elicits the love of basketball fans. The unbelievable flying up and under move of Dr. J, the dunks where Michael Jordan soars by and over defender, Magic Johnson's absurd no look passes. Basketball requires commitment to the fundamentals, but it celebrates the moment of spontaneous genius. And then there is American football. American football is a war game. George Carlin summed all this up in his football vs baseball routine. In football you play on a gridiron, in rigidly segmented 15 minute quarters. The goal is for the quarterback, the field marshal, to muster his troops, select his strategy under the guidance of the general and his aides (the coach and coordinators), and penetrate enemy territory with the goal of dealing a devastating blow in the form of a touchdown. Carlin called it something like a sustained ground attack supplemented with an aerial bombardment. Football takes place in all forms of weather with the conditions a consideration in the team's strategy. It's hierarchical with a chain of command, but with the necessity of all players performing their task well for the collective victory of the team. Football accepts violence as a necessary and understood component of the game. Baseball has few moments of violent contact, perhaps a play at the plate when a runner trying to score collides with the catcher. This can be dramatic, but it's also uncommon. Basketball can be physical, even dirty, but engaging in striking or hitting your opponent is still punishable by a foul. Football makes violence an active component of the game. There's nothing illegal about a linebacker slamming into a player with the ball and knocking him unconscious. The possible lifelong effects of football on the brain are just beginning to be understood, with new studies indicating the degree of brain damage it causes being perhaps more severe. Football is now America's game, and its replacement of baseball as the nation's most popular sport was a sea change. It has larger implications about the culture. Football fits well in a TV screen, baseball doesn't. Football is faster paced, more exciting, and more visceral. The growth as football has as much to do with the growth of television in American culture as people's interest in violence. Today is Superbowl Sunday. The amount of media hype that surrounds the event is probably greater than any other event. The 2 rituals of Superbowl Sunday are the halftime show and the commercials. The halftime show is a spectacle and miniconcert for, primarily, the biggest stars of the music industry. The commercials are a separate feature length movie written by the funniest and smartest executives from Madison Avenue. The facilitators of the capitalist system we live under collaborate on a serial narrative in multiple parts, occasionally interrupted by a sporting event. Superbowl Sunday is the triumph of the secular commercial values of modern America over the Religious Roots of the nation. On Superbowl Sunday we will watch the battle unfold in our Roman Coliseum, we will watch with fascination as one army defeats another and enjoys the spoils of victory. We will be entertained by the clever attempts to sell us more goods and services. Many of us will drink, and we will celebrate what has become one of the annual holidays. It seems significant that it falls on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Alex Rodriguez

This will be a cynical sports post, but I think with good reason. USA Today is reporting that the New York Yankees will attempt to get out of their contract with their third baseman Alex Rodriguez because of a news article that he purchased steroids through a clinic in 2009 and 2012. Alex Rodriguez past involvement is not news to anyone. That Alex Rodriguez used them again shouldn't be shocking to anyone. Indeed, Major League Baseball, hasn't really acknowledged sufficiently how widespread the use of steroids is. However, the New York Yankees are not pursuing this course of action as a moral stance, they are persuing it because Alex Rodriguez hit .272 last year with 18 home runs, instead of .314 with 54 home runs. If A-Rod were still producing the inflated numbers, I believe the response would have been different. Instead, the Yankees will seek to avoid paying A-Rod $114 million. There is no precedent for a team not fulfilling a player's contract on these grounds, but the Yankees did attempt the same maneuver unsuccessfully with Jason Giambi in 2004. I have heard that some people still just view baseball as a game where you hit a ball and try and run around some bases.