Saturday, January 31, 2009

Trip To Ikea

We wanted the NR, but ended up on the Q, and realized this later, getting out at Canal. The NR was not running, we learned. We waited for the M train and saw three J trains pass. The final one, I asked the conductor if there was an M train coming soon. She said there were no M trains on the weekend. We transferred to the 5 train, got off at bowling green, walked to pier 11 and boarded a special Ikea water taxi.

Some guy was talking to everybody on the boat, putting on a bit of a show, trying to make people happy. He said he was 50 years old and he loved his job. He told some jokes that nobody laughed at, and expressed a kind of menacing patriotism at times. He said he was from the Rockaways, and I wondered if he was a racist.

We got to Ikea and followed a gray cement path past thousands of shiny affordable objects. We bought three shelves and a cinnamon bun, then waited for the boat. Rode the boat. Walked to the 5 train. Took the 5 train. Got home. Tried to install shelves but realized we did not have the right drill bit. Walked to the hardware store. Hardware store was closed. Picked up laundry.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Two Things

Dushko Petrovitch:
"Careerism is this century's biggest art movement."

"What is the difference between a failure and a post-careerist?"

Natalie Dylan:
"I am selling my virginity."

"Who the fuck is Natalie Dylan?"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The money goes into a black hole

It is not always that one person can become such a perfect object for the ever-present, swooping, irrational anger of the public.

Today I read his wikipedia entry and envisioned a made for TV film.

image courtesy of the always subtle graphics people at the economist

Bernard Madoff: A NonLinear Biopic

Opening Scene
-Andrew, Bernard’s son is being interrogated by IRS (2009)
-it comes out that he has lymphoma
-he is angered, but resigned to his dad’s sad fate
-he walks outside and is hassled by a copse of aggressive reporters

-Bernard at home with Ruth in 5th ave apartment, packaging up paintings
-Bernard talks about how he actually loves this one piece, how he really appreciates art
-He turns on the television
-you shouldn’t turn on the TV, says Ruth
-Stephen Spielberg’s picture is on TV, he has lost money in ‘Madoff Ponzi Scheme’

-mid 1950’s , Laurelton Queens
-young Bernard is delivering papers to the sound of AM radio pop
-he gets home and Dad is leaving for work
(somehow have to show his eagerness to please his father)
-B goes to school, more AM pop, girls in long skirts holding textbooks close to their chests
-he haggles Ruth, who feigns disinterest in his persistence
-‘one day I’m going to be big news, honey’

-Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC
-He sits, in a massive downtown corner office looking over documents
-camera scans documents, B has lost a ton of money
-secretary comes in and Bernard puts the documents under his desk

-a ballroom
-Bernard is being toasted for his million dollar contribution to a lymphoma charity
-Andrew is there, but does not look grateful
-Ruth is smiling
-Camera lingers on Bernard as he smiles awkwardly

-Palm Beach Country Club, 1985
-Bernard and Andrew play golf and talk about life philosophy

and so on

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

watching television on the computer

There is a surgery on television, someone has gone brain-dead, and they are talking about putting somebody down, 'withdrawing support.'

After some time, confusion and disinterest. Looked through some emails that were sent to me today. Read a blog.

Now there is a birth on the television and people are happier.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Crackpots are hypomanic in times of crisis

My friend Peter Le was in Detroit lately and took some great photographs. He sent them to me and I told him they were dystopic. He said Detroit is fucked.

I read the Dystopians article in the New Yorker. Here is my analysis of Ben McGrath's piece. It is a good piece. It made me want to live on a boat.

Crackpots are also called cranks.

I read this book a few years ago about Survivalism. This was an interesting book, full of fringe-riding conspiracy cranks.

My place of employment had a strong day of sales.

I guess what I am trying to say is I'm not sure if I should really feel like we are at the beginning of some great paradigm shift.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The X Games

monster cane toad

Watching the X games on television yesterday created thoughts about the kind of energy drink I should be drinking.
Monster is lime green, which reminds me of ooze: a biohazard, and source of un-natural powers. It might be too extreme for me.
Rock Star, I think, is poorly named, and borrows a similar design sense from it's older cousin:
Red Bull. Probably the most mature of the energy drinks. Red Bull sponsored athletes like Travis Rice and Sean White tend to do incredibly well in X Games events, which may be a conspiracy.*
5-hour energy does not push for promotion on the X-games, but in my experience is small and does not work.
There is a case of ALL CITY at work. Somebody gave them to us for a promo, or something. They are designed by graffiti artists.
Jason took his tag seriously at one point in his life. Now he gets tired and says he's gotta go 'all city son!'

*Horgmo should have beaten Rice in Big Air, Mikkael Bang should have beaten White in slopestyle IMO

UPDATE 11:00PM: Sean White wins halfpipe undeservedly! Do you think his hairstylist travels with him?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

weather, traffic, other people

Malcolm Gladwell says sports are biased in favor of people born early in the year, and I was born in December.

Friday, January 23, 2009

2008 List

The people at chalked up had me do a list of favorite things from the past year.

Is it ridiculous to immigrate to New York?

this is me below:

Two African guys are security at my work.

I asked one, 'what are your new years resolutions?'

He said: 'Win the mega and move back to Africa.'

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cyclical Theory

Here is some lazy wikipedia scholarship
The cyclical theory refers to a model used by historian Arthur Schlesinger to attempt to explicate the fluctuations in politics throughout American History.

Liberalism and conservatism are rooted in the “national mood” that shows a continuing shift in national involvement between public purpose and private interest.

1. greater public interest (liberalism)
2. greater private interest (conservatism)
-we are in a transition phase, moving towards more public interest (liberalism)

-I think the 'national mood' is made up of tons of emotional responses to media, 'events,' etc.

Resentment is an emotion of anger or bitterness felt repeatedly, as a result of a real, or imagined, wrong done....on the same line-continuum with contempt and anger. According to him, the differences between the three emotions are as follows: resentment is directed towards higher-status individuals, anger is directed towards equal-status individuals and contempt is directed towards lower-status individuals.

resentment is directed towards higher-status individuals
-resentment is what we feel when people with power are compromised or appear to be acting immoral, it is similar to envy spite, etc.
-Wall street, Madoff, Bush, whoever, we hate everyone except Obama ("transitional figure")

contempt is directed towards lower-status individuals

Tall Poppy Syndrome

Someone is said to be a target of tall poppy syndrome when his or her assumption of a higher economic, social, or political position is criticized as being presumptuous, attention seeking, or without merit. Alternatively, it is seen as a societal phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are criticized or resented because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.

-this is what Ayn Rand is all about, 1000 page novels about tall poppy syndrome (TPS)
-"we are stifled by beauracracy and 'fairness'"
-"fairness limits our ability to achieve"
-"some of us are better than others and should be encouraged"
-"don't hold us back"


Jante Law
Don't think you're anyone special or that you're better than us.
1. Don't think that you are special.
2. Don't think that you are of the same standing as us.
3. Don't think that you are smarter than us.
4. Don't fancy yourself as being better than us.
5. Don't think that you know more than us.
6. Don't think that you are more important than us.
7. Don't think that you are good at anything.
8. Don't laugh at us.
9. Don't think that anyone cares about you.
10. Don't think that you can teach us anything.

America is okay? This is normal?

American politics + culture oscillates between more and less egalitarianism based on the competition of contempt and resentment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Camron on Rap City a few year ago

For some reason this was taken off of you tube, and is now very hard to find.
Every single line is nasty.
I say 'nasty' now.

Two Things

1. Rappers who say they don't write their rhymes
2. Pets with Facebook pages, outfits, diets, social lives

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Songs with themes of overcoming 'being bummed/a bummer' (incomplete)

1. There is a place (Silver Jews)
2. Brothersport

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mike Mills: Soul Bro

Usually this kind of stuff has no interest to me, but I recently checked out that website, The Selby, where 'creative' people expose their houses/apts for people to see and doodle/write answers to questions in longhand. Other people of interest to me on the site:

Alexander Wang
Ryan Korban
Ingrid Sophie Schram

Mike Mills is a soul bro. He does not find meaning in the accumulation of cool or cute things, or the design of a nice space. He prefers things that are organic and real.

He is a director, so he has access to all kinds of money and glam, but he is committed to a life of the soul. He reads and has dogs. His furniture looks to be found and deteriorating.

He talks about depression, which relates to his film: Thumbsucker. Film deals with an alienated suburban teen. The alienated teen moves to Manhattan to escape his average/corrosive culture-less surroundings and runs through Times Square as like, Sufjan plays, or something. That's the end. Sorry to ruin it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Will the Recession Hurt my Downtown Bros?

A lot of conversation about the recession. The things I say in these conversations vary. Sometimes I say, 'At the store we are getting more resumes than sales.' This is probably 40% true.

I hear that most people are going about their daily lives, not really doing anything differently, and that these people will be broke soon. I hear the worst is on it's way.

What happens to the people in fashion? Surely there will be less market for expensive clothes. But there will still be some rich people. I think these rich people will try to look less 'rich,' out of sensitivity to the rest of poor people. What about people whose parents are rich? Do you think they will be able to keep spending all of that money or will their Dad's tell them to ease up a bit? Will their parents have to sell their apartments? Where will they go?

Last night I dreamed that Opening Ceremony closed down and it was so real that I had to google it this morning to make sure it didn't happen.

Will model's keep modeling?

Will Stephen Miesel still get paid $300,000 a day?

Will we want less Dash Snow solo shows?

Will anybody want to pay for art?

Will the doormen be able to continue rejecting potential paying customers because of bad sartorial decisions?

Will my rent go down?

I don't know. I think there are a lot of unemployed banker types who will soon be in our real estate market (oneBR's + studios under 1800) that weren't before. They will move downtown to 'tighten their belt,' and feel like they are 'suffering through the hard times.' This could drive prices up, potentially.

Jonny says these bank people will have to leave the city. But where will they go? What are they going to do in Minnesota? Become farmers?

I think they will be here. I think they will be trying to put things together for themselves.

Today I was at the B+H diner (favorite recession eating place) and I overheard someone talking about the recession. He was saying 'Paraguay is a good place to ride out the recession because they have something something something and it's really cheap to live.' He got me thinking.

Is is possible to move to a poor country and live cheaply just waiting for things to get better?

Aren't we sort of responsible for getting rich again?

As I got up to pay the bill I looked at the guy who was talking. He was like 40 and had a lip ring.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My girlfriend has more social status than I do but our cat loves me more

Lauren is assistant designer at a fashion brand. She went to Parsons School of Design. She makes, on average, twice as much money as I do. She pays more of the rent.

I am a soul bro.

Last year was my first real year out of college, and I stopped taking money from my Dad. I rented a room in Jonny's apt. in Bed Stuy so I could put my desk somewhere. He charged me $400 per month. I slept at Laurens, but didn't pay any rent. I felt pretty bad about myself. I was living off of like, dumplings and veggie patty subs. Every day I took the L train out to Jonny's house and stewed out there, alone, trying to "be productive." I called it my 'office.' I really felt like there was no future and that I would need to die. I thought about moving back to Vancouver, where I am from. People always talk about being young and hungry and working hard and whatever.

For a while Aran was living at Jonny's too. He would sit in his underwear and play the same songs over and over again. He was even more of a pauper: all he had was a rubbermaid container to draw on - full of bags and clothes and stank. We were like two kitties who didn't get along: as we were always aware of eachother's presence and intent on blocking it out - I also vaguely recall Aran actually hissing at me a couple of times.

After a while I got a job painting a house, and then did something ridiculous for Viacom. I watched and classified youtube videos for a copyright infringement lawsuit. I think that will go down in history as one of the most foolish wastes of corporate money since - I don't even know when. They payed me $25 per hour, and I watched comedy central for nine hours per day. This is when I got into online scrabble. I moved out of my office.

Then the job was over and I wanted to leave the city for a while so I went to plant trees. You can read about that here.

I came back to NY in late aug. Lauren's fashion brand opened up a store and I asked to work there, and now I work retail four days per week.

And we got a cat.

Here is my 'office.' I guess it doesn't look so bad.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PR Girls

I haven’t seen The City but I think it is about PR girls.

I have had conversations with two PR girls:

One is named Meagan and started her own firm. I think her whole operation is made of interns. I know her because she manages the company I work for, and I have talked to her a few times. She impresses me immensely because she is so ‘on it’ all of the time.

The other is my neighbor. She works for a company that handles fashion brands. Her superiors yell at her every day. They say things like ‘you must be fucking retarded.’

She says it is a nightmare. I like her a lot, because she has a sense of humor about it.

Her life is completely consumed by her job. She gets home around 9 each night, and starts blackberrying in her bed early in the morning.

Her boss will give her too much work, and then she’ll stay at work until 11, and then her boss will see her overtime and yell at her for being at work too late. She makes like 30 grand a year, and is so stressed that her hair is falling out. This is not a figure of speech or an exaggeration. She showed me.

She has only had time to leave the office for lunch once. I think now she is prepared for anything.

She might go to grad school.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Economist / Shit Show / Will

Every week another Economist comes. I pull it out of my tiny mailbox and walk it up my stairs with some other bills and catalogues. When I get inside I see the other Economist, the one from last week, sitting on the kitchen table with a functional looking cover. The Economist covers are obvious and unimaginative. I usually have not read much from it, and I feel guilty putting it into the recycling. We don't have a proper bin. We just put our paper into a paper shopping bag and put it downstairs. I think people just end up putting it with the garbage, out onto the street, and into a landfill, but we feel like we are doing a little bit better. There doesn't seem to be very much initiative being taken in city hall with regards to recycling. If I have read an article or more from the old Economist I feel slightly less guilty about throwing it away. Sometimes I save the special reports, but I rarely read those either. I do not find them entertaining or interesting. I find that they have a psychic effect akin to pummeling. Every week it shows up baring bad news from places I have never even thought about before. My dad gives me the subscription for Christmas. I do not think that the Economist is an objective source of news; it is a comprehensive and rigorous source of news. Most times I resent it. Other times I feel like I should be more aware: I should save them for future reference. The Economist calls itself a newspaper, so they are letting me off the hook. Newspapers are meant to be thrown away, or kept under microfiche at the library. The Economist has a circulation of 1.3 million - I wonder how many of those copies are recycled; how many are stored; how many end up in landfills.


There was a British guy I knew who was planting trees with me. One day we were on a block that was like, a grass field puntuated by patches of full-grown spruce trees. There were no stumps, hardly.

You could get lost in this block. People cover a lot of ground on each bag out. You would plant trees and then finish your bags and look around you and have no idea where you were. It hailed like a motherfucker that day.

The hail was the size of gobstoppers. This British guy had on short sleeves. I ducked under a tarp and smoked cigarettes (this is when I smoked). I watched this British guy, who had no idea where I was, planting trees in the hail. He would say, 'you are such a pussy Will, you are such a pussy Will.' Then he would run out from the trees into the hail to plant trees. I could hear the hail hitting his skin from 20 meters away. He would break down in pain and then run back under a tree to take cover.

He would sit there breathing heavily for a while, looking down. I couldn't tell if he was crying, but I heard him whimper. 'You're such a pussy Will,' over and over, all by himself. It was cold, too: I could see his breath. He ran back into the land, whimpering. 'OWWWWW' he said.

I called out after a while: 'WILL.' and he scampered over to where I was. He was incredibly relieved that I was not out in the hail, that it would be okay for him not to be out there in physical and emotional agony.

The Economist is to me as the hail is to Will.

We froze for the rest of the day in a downpour, under that tree. We were supposed to be working, but it wasn't worth it. We weren't strong enough to take it. My cigarettes became waterlogged. Everything became waterlogged. We were hiding under a tarp when the helicopter picked us up at the end of the day. Our boss yelled at us for not finishing our work. We were wasting money from the heli-budget to go back to it the next day.

We got back to camp at around nine pm. that night and the dry tent, the place where people dry their clothes, was a pile of smoldering ash.

I learned that somebody had put their sleeping bag too close to the heater/dryer, and that it had ignited.

Will had all of his stuff in there. He lost all of his shit. His socks, his underwear. All of his shit.

Dude had a look of total disbelief.

His tent was burned, his sleeping bag was burned. He had to sleep with another dude. He worked though.

He looked like a ghost for the next week. I imagine this is what war vets who've seen combat look like.

He reached a point where he felt like things could not possibly get any worse - and in that context they really couldn't. He kept doing his job. It wasn't heroic or anything. He just couldn't really do anything else. He was trapped in the camp.

And in this respect people started to look up to him a little. People thought it was crappy for themselves - and it was. That contract was brutal: it rained all the time, nobody was making any money, and the days were like 15 hours long. But they looked over at Will...

He didn't need to complain. He was the physical embodiment of complaint. You looked at him with his pale face, borrowed clothes, covered in filth, and you couldn't help but smile. He never really said anything, and became a kind of emotional leader.


Dear Will. People probably don't ask you about stuff like that, and you are a humble person who would not want to make a big production out of your trials.

Still: I want you to know that I will remember that night you lost your shit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I want to integrate hermit shredding into my life experience

We were in a thrift store. I saw some old skate shoes with the fat laces, and I said 'I should get these.' Lauren said, 'no, then you'll look like a 90's skate kid.'

I said, 'sometimes I feel like a 90's skate kid in my soul.'

I am now looking at skate shoes on the internet. I want to be a "soul bro."

I have been talking a lot about moving to Kicking Horse or Rossland BC for a month. In my idea of it, I live in a small cabin with a wood burning fire place where I can see the snow and dark green trees outside. In my idea I wake up and look outside and if there is snow I go rip, and the snow is deep, and I shred. In my idea I have no thoughts, because I am always concentrated on the gnar, on turns, on lines, on making your lunch, on tweaking your grab. I will read books and feel like life is moving slow, like Last Days, or a Bela Tarr film. I will feel like I have lots of time. I will feel like life is a miracle. In my idea I only speak what is absolutely necessary for the whole time I am there. I am totally alone. In my idea I sometimes will write stories, and they will be calm and pastoral. They will be pretty. I will return to New York healthy and stoked and more grateful and at peace with my place in the world.

Craig Kelly. RIP, Bro. The world isn't shred enough without you.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 New Years Recomendations

January first is a day for self betterment. Here are some things you might consider:

1) Having all of your thoughts and experiences cohere into an over-riding worldview that you could articulate clearly in conversation.

2) Studying the Alexander technique. The Alexander technique is for actors who need to have perfect posture. I think improving your posture would cause people to behold you with greater respect. I think this is subconscious; primal, even. One day you could have better posture and after a while you are successful. Take it from me.

3) Reading more canonical works of literature. The canon is large and full of books that you will probably get no feeling or satisfaction from. But I think you can feel more connected to your culture, and maybe more useful in conversation with intelligent people.

4) Watching more canonical films. Same as above. There are loads of boring films in the canon.

5) Paying for music more often. If you believe in karma and if you believe that downloading torrents is stealing. I am not sure.

6) Take care of your body by eliminating refined sugars, adding a greens+ and a multivitamin to your daily routing, and exercizing once per two days. Do not develope muscles that look purposeless or excessive. They will only alienate people. Go heavy on cardio. Your health will affect your cognitive functioning and mood, and increase your likelihood of accomplishing anything that requires the commitment, consent, or help of other people who you see in person. Try not to drink too much. Try not to spend entire days in bed after New Years day. Try not to barf up turkey sausages this morning.