Saturday, September 26, 2009

From "Fall" (1997)


So, a few days ago, I started on a very painful path of waking up at 5 a.m. It's not something of choice, it's definitely forced by my body. Anyway, the first morning this happened, I tried to go back to sleep, then went and watched TV. There was very little on, which is kind of hard to believe with 200 channels. Anyway, I flipped to a movie called "Fall", which is an indie flick about a cab driver and supermodel who have a fling. Far from the creepy movie that it sounds like from its short description, it was very good (and I don't like sappy movies really). Anyway, what I wanted to share was the monologue at the end, which is in the form of a letter that the cab driver sends:

I've wanted to tell you for awhile now. I wanted to say it as you reached for a tea cup in your kitchen after our 'why do we always have to eat Chinese food on your floor?' fight and make up...

...I wanted to say it as the moonlight shone on you as you slept in your bed the first night we made love there...

...when I felt your heart racing against my chest in your suite foyer in Spain when you first saw your roses...

...But mostly, I wanted to say it the last night I saw you, as I held you in my arms; looking down at your precious face knowingly looking up at me, still inside you. Quiet, motionless but so inside you...

I wanted so badly to tell you that I loved you. The words, each time, graced my lips like an impostor, only to fall away like some great blizzard that was taken out to sea to rain its fury on the dark ocean, alone, unbeknownst to any hearing. I was afraid you would take them as a responsibility. I was afraid they would frighten you. I pray that you can hear them for what they are, and not mar them with the knowledge that they stand apart from your ability to reciprocate them...

Please take them in your heart and feel them with your eyes closed and your soul open... for just a moment, my voice speaking them softly in your ear with a kiss... Sarah, I love you.

...I love you. Baby, I love you. I know you can't love me right now, and it's all right. But I wanted you to know, what you already knew, outside, in the light... I wanted you to hear it from me...

...when you smile, when your head lightly moves to dance, when your tongue finds my lips, when you ramble over a glass of wine...

...when you sit naked, after you've made love with me, when you act boldly, when you laugh, when you squeeze my hand...

...when you call my name in a gruff whisper, when your heart races on my chest in a close embrace... when you love me... I love you.

What I'm sad about is selfish. I'm sad at God's timing. I am only a man. And as a man, I miss you. I miss you terribly. I miss your kiss. I miss your smile, oh, how I miss your smile. But most of all I miss the moment that hasn't happened yet. The moment when you let yourself fall for me. Your racing mind, your hard beating heart, the expectancy, the yearning, the warmth, the thoughts, the love of your love. The Sarah of you in love with me.

What makes it hard for me is knowing how much you care for me. How much, in a way, you do love me. How much you would enjoy smiling wryly as you hurled yourself backwards off the cliff and said, "catch me baby." If I didn't know that, I could make you a villain, me a victim and soothe myself. But I can't because it isn't the truth. The truth, we both know... the truth is... not today.

I know that you're not leaving Phillipe for me, and I wouldn't want you to. I would want you to leave him for you. I also know you would never fly a million miles just to see me smile at you. Someday maybe, but not today.

So I guess I better disappear, Sarah. I know you'll be okay, and soon I will be too. And maybe, just maybe, if god so desires, a day will come when, as friends, we will find ourselves accidentally strolling along the white cliffs of Dover, or the mountain rocks of Mendocino, or the bonnie, emerald north of the Scottish seaboard...

... or the glistening harbor of old New York, and from the heights, in the stars, among the angels whose arms will cradle us, in a moment neither of us was told about but knew like our oldest happiness, we will look into each other's eyes and know... it is today. It is today. And whether that day is tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or next lifetime...

...I will finally get to tell you to your sweet face. The face I will miss more than I could ever tell, that... I love you. And you'll smile wryly, close your eyes, say "catch me baby,"

...and fall.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Something I need(ed) to hear


Over the summer, I decided that I would do away with all of the music that legitimately wasn't mine. If I didn't have a CD of it, I didn't really own it. So, I got rid of over 6 years of il1egally downloaded music. Anyway, along with a lot of crappy music also went a good band: needtobreathe. However, slowly but surely, I've been buying CD's of the artists that I miss, artists that I still need to hear every once in a while. So, this past week I brought needtobreathe's 3 CD's, which I like to just pop in and listen all of the way through. Anyway, some lyrics caught my ear for the first time, and I thought I'd share them. If I needed to hear them, perhaps one of you out there also need to (breathe) hear them as well:

Every heart goes down and every fire goes out, when we don’t hurt anymore. I know it’s all my fault that you’re behind this wall, but I’ll be here when you break it. When you let it down.

I’m giving you my heart to break again, I’m leaving you a way to get back in.

Return to me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mister Joe


This blog is about my man, Mr. Joe Wilson. No, I'm neither being sarcastic, nor am I a rabid NObama-niac (did I just make a new word?). However, I understand completely the position from which Joe Wilson is coming. He (and many of his constituents) have been reading the bill that is currently put forth, have been listening to the President's speeches, and noting that the two do not agree on very large fronts. [As a side note, intention when writing a bill and how it can be interpreted when put into action are two very different things sometimes.]

He is forced to appear on television in front of the rest of Congress to listen to a speech about health care reform. Say what you want about the Daily Show, but I think they've got one thing right: "If [the president and his cabinet] say something often enough, it becomes true."

Repeatedly have misleading statements been made by the President, namely that 43 million people are without health care, and that illegal aliens will not be covered by this plan. Most people would put that together and believe that either a) Illegal aliens had not been counted in that plan and they won't be covered or b) Illegal aliens were counted in that plan and they will be covered. However, neither of those statements are true.

So, Mister Wilson decided to do the same thing that the President had been doing to his face for the past 20 minutes: become blunt about opposition to his own view; he simply said, "You lie!" Now, if you think that these were the only heated words coming from this speech, think about the fact that Obama was essentially saying earlier that all opponents of the bill are simply people that employ scare tactics to get the way of the special interest groups. Essentially, he called all of them people that take bribes to strike unnecessary fear into the heart of Americans. To me, that sounds much more like name calling than "You lie!"

However, I'm digressing. Why am I behind Joe Wilson? First, I'm glad that people are so willing to show their disagreement when (what they see as) imaginative ideology is shoved down their throats, they disagree with a voracity that matches the level of ridiculousness of the rhetoric. Second, when people are lied to from an authority position, they should not simply sit there pensively. Something needs to be done when lies are present and building upon one another.

When I was in 8th grade, I went a major part of a youth group that was doing major things. We started pushing 200 people in a youth service in the middle of the week, while the normal service on Sunday was barely getting above 300 a week. We were tight as a leadership team, everything was going quite successfully until the Pastor decided he did not agree with what the Youth Pastor was doing. Some say that it was jealousy that caused the tension, but whatever happened, the Youth Pastor resigned under the tension.

The Sunday after this happened, every single youth sat on the back two rows instead of our normal front three rows. The pastor was not present. In his stead, he had the senior deacon stand up and give a prepared statement. Suffice it to say that the statement was misleading, inappropriate, and almost slanderous (in its implications about the actions of the Youth Pastor). When I heard the first deliberate lie, I immediately got up noisily from my chair and left the sanctuary.

Later on, I wished to God in Heaven that I had confronted that deacon in front of the congregation. Would it have caused a huge stir in a Baptist church? Heck yes. Would it have been more of a dialogue than the filth that was being spoken from the pulpit? Yes. Unfortunately with my exit, it only highlighted the lie to a few select people. I wish, in that situation, I had acted more like Joe Wilson for the sake of Truth.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A summer story


Because my last post was a little too sobering for my tastes, I'd like to take a step in a more emotional direction. A friend of mine and I have been talking a lot about manliness lately, mainly because we were roommates in college, and now, we're no longer in college and expected to have "grown up". So, whatever that means, it means. So, as I've been thinking a lot about what manliness is in everyday situations, I'm forced to search my own life and "put away childish things" in this search for existence, fulfillment, and direction in the post-college years. Anyway, after reading an article about whether manliness is becoming more emasculated, which included great (albeit slightly archaic) raw descriptions of manliness, I realized that there was a great story of manliness that I haven't really shared in a general atmosphere. So, here it is: a story of manliness.

Virginia and I have been very good friends since our senior year of high school. Upon graduation, the question that (nearly) every high school friendship comes to was brought to light: How do we spend time around one another despite the fact that we go to different colleges? The summer after high school, she came up with a great idea: concerts! We had always had very similar tastes in music and needed excuses to drive halfway across a state to hang out. So, Virginia and I began going to concerts on a regular basis. She would choose one, I would choose one. Sometimes other people would join us, but, for the most part, it was just a great time that she and I would momentarily get to see one another and talk candidly before having to have most of a state separate us once again.

First, a few general things about the concerts that we'd been to: 1) There is no concept of personal space (if the band is good or if you want to get close) 2) Never assume that any given person is not roaring drunk 3) There is always crowd surfing (if the band is good). So combining 1) and 2), I knew that if a guy recognized that Virginia was good looking, he would have no qualms about trying to rub himself all against her in a strange drunk (attempt at a) mating ritual. So, the easiest way to combat this in a crowd would be just to cock-block him literally. However, this is difficult if you have more than one girl in the group; nearly impossible if the crowd gets a little crazier than normal (crowd surfing and/or mosh pit formation).

So, early June, Virginia told me about a concert she wanted to attend. I immediately said yes, and responded with "HECK YES!" when I finally listened to some of their music on their MySpace page. A mutual friend of ours (also pretty) decided that she would come as well.

When we got there, I realized that it was going to get crazy. We arrived a little after the first set started, and I noticed two things: I've never been in a more crowded venue and the distribution of the ages was split half and half between late twenties and teenagers (not at all a peaceful mix). Anyway, we made our way onto the back of the main floor, which wasn't so bad. We had enough room to move around and talk to one another, but everyone was constantly walking around me, so I was constantly paranoid of someone taking a swipe at my wallet. So, as the night dragged on, we moved through the crowd, closer and closer to the stage. Thankfully, there had been little craziness up until that point, just a few people crowd surfing.

Once the main band got up on stage, people went ape-sh**. People were -thrown-, not surfed, around the crowd. A 10-15ft mosh pit appeared behind me whenever any song with a heavy beat began.

To combat the first, I had to catch people flying at us (the girls were beside me), pushing them either from whence they came, or towards the stage so that a person with security could escort them to a more safe location. At one point, a person literally hit us so hard that I had to bend over to avoid falling.

To combat the second, I decided to use a non-traditional technique. Usually, you just push the people in the mosh pit, which, unfortunately, only fuels their fever to mosh, and, more often than not, grows the mosh pit instead of keeping it at bay. So, I decided that I would avoid their upper bodies, and just create a barrier for their midsections. Basically, I put my butt in the mosh pit, and it worked fantastically! No one hit my head or anything, and it started to decrease the frantic nature of the pit.

Anyway, during one really good song, the mosh pit wasn't a problem, so I was able to look around at people (since I couldn't see the stage too well). I noticed that there was just one person getting crowd surfed at the moment on my left. She went up and came back down, went -farther- up, came down, and didn't come back up.

I couldn't hear anything. The floors were concrete. A small hole had appeared in the crowd. Not big enough to accommodate a mosh pit, not small enough to be nothing. I immediately tore my way through the crowd. Everybody on the edge of the circle was just looking down. I looked back momentarily and noticed that Christina, my friend who is also a volunteer medic, was right behind me. I quickly grabbed the girl and tossed her into a fireman's carry. Moving through the crowd was much easier than it would have been if I didn't have a girl on my shoulder. Most of the way to the door, security was finally there. I looked at the poor girl's forehead: a small bump. We walked her outside. My mind raced while Christina determined that she had a mild concussion, but thankfully there was no blood. I looked back at the girl's forehead; the small lump had become something that would still be around for at least a week. It made me cringe. She was hurt, but she was safe.

Once we made our way back to where we had come from, the mosh pits started up again. However, the girls beside us thought it was funny to push others around until they got themselves pushed into the pit. A quick look of desperation and an outstretched arm later, I pulled them to safety. In all, I think I had to pull girls out of the pit six or seven times.

Did I know any of these girls? None other than the ones that I effectively protected.
Did that matter? No.
Did I act without forethought? Absolutely.
Was it the manliest part of my summer? Heck yes.

I find it interesting that those girls didn't reach out to their friends or even try to pick themselves out of the mess that they had gotten into: they reached out for a person they thought could save them in their time of need, their time of desperation. They reached out for a man, and I guess they got one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Parents say the darndest things...

Over the past few days, I got to spend a mini-vacation in another part of Virginia. Listening to people makes me sorrowful sometimes:

"You haven't done anything in that past hour that I've wanted to do, so why should I do anything that you want to do??"
-exasperated mother to her daughter

"You don't need to dye your hair again!"
"It's a way that I express myself!"
"You've expressed yourself enough."
-another exasperated mother to her daughter

"He can't even take simple instructions anymore, ugh!"
-exasperated wife to me (I don't have a wife, it was about her husband)

It'd make me much happier if I heard more moments of silence as people thought about the words that are coming out of their mouths.

(see, I told you it would be shorter)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In Search of Lost Time (part 2)

This is the 2nd book in Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I quite liked this book. The periods of complete enjoyment were longer, but the periods of boredom were about the same length of time. This is probably related to what I have experienced, rather than his precise (albeit probably fictional) recounting of his life. Anyway, onto the quotes!

Peace of mind is foreign to love, since each new fulfillment one attains is never anything but a new starting point for the desire to go beyond it. (156)

In love, happiness is an abnormal state, capable of instantly conferring on the pettiest-seeming incident, which can occur at any moment, a degree of gravity that in other circumstances it would never have. What makes one so happy is the presence of something unstable in the heart, something one contrives constantly to keep in a state of stability, and which one is hardly even aware of as long as it remains like that. In fact, though, love secretes a permanent pain, which joy neutralizes in us, makes virtual, and holds in abeyance; but at any moment, it can turn into torture, which is what would have happened long since if one had not obtained what one desired. (157)

With a woman who does not love us, as with someone who has died, the knowledge that there is nothing left to hope for does not prevent us from going on waiting. (166)

Neurotics never believe people who assure them that, if they just stay in bed, read no letters, and open no newspapers, they will gradually calm down. They foresee that such a regimen can only worsen the state of their nerves. Those in love see renunciation in the same light: they imagine it while living in its opposite; and, never having so much as begun to try it, they cannot believe in its power of healing. (185)

They time we have to spend each day is elastic: it is stretched by the passions we feel; it is shrunk by those we inspire; and all of it is filled by habit. (187)

So, with tears, courage, and consolation, I sacrificed the happiness of being with her to the possibility of one day seeming lovable in her eyes, though knowing it would be a day when the prospect of seeming lovable in her eyes would leave me cold. (190)

We may be not entirely sincere in hoping never again to see the woman we love; but the same may well be true when we sya we do hope to see her again. (196)

To be no longer in love is to know that forgetting-or even a fading memory-causes much less pain than the unhappiness of loving. (197)

...[In] love, unlike war, the more one is defeated, the more one imposes harsh conditions...[201]

...[Our] impression of the woman, living forever within us, is enhanced by the halo which our adoration constantly creates for her, and is tinged, if not by the glad promises of recurrent hope, at least by the peace of mind of lasting sadness. [203]

The image of the woman we love, though we think it has a pristine authenticity, has actually been often made and remade by us. And the memory that wounds is not contemporaneous with the restored image; it dates from a very different time; it is one of the few witnesses to a monstrous past. S8ince this past goes on existing, though not inside us, where we have seen fit to replace it with a wondrous golden age, a paradise where we are to be reunited and reconciled, such memories and such letters are often a reminder of reality; their sudden stab ought to make us realize how far we have strayed from that reality, and how foolish are the hopes with which we sustain our daily expectation. [203]

We design our life for the sake of the individual, who, by the time we are able to welcome her into it, has turned into a total stranger, and never comes to share that life with us; and so we live on, imprisoned in an arrangement made for someone else. [209]

To be with those one loves is enough: to talk with them or not to talk with them is all the same. [344]

I was at one of those times in youth when the idle heart, unoccupied by love for a particular person, lies in wait for Beauty, seeking it everywhere, as the man in love sees and desires in all things the woman he cherishes. We need only to see in passing a single real feature of a woman, a glimpse of her at a distance or from behind, which can be enough for us to project Beauty onto her, and we imagine we have found it at last: the heart beats faster, we lengthen our stride, and, on condition that she disappears, we may be left with the certainty of having set eyes upon it-it is only if we succeed in catching up to her that we discover our mistake. [369]

(This is a long one, but a great example of the monumental lengths of Proust's descriptions)
For an instant, as I passed close to the brunette with the full cheeks and the bicycle, I glimpsed her oblique, laughing glance, looking out from the inhumane world that circumscribed the life of their little tribe, an inaccessible terra incognita, obviously incapable of harboring or offering a home to any notion of who or what I was. With her toque pulled down low on her brow, entirely engrossed in what her companions were saying, did she see me at the moment when the black ray from her eyes encountered me? If so, what must I have seemed like to her? What sort of world was the one from which she was looking at me? I could not tell, any more than one can tell fro the few details that a telescope enables us to descry on a neighboring planet whether it is inhabited by human beings, whether or not they can see us, or whether their view of us has inspired any reflections in them.
If we believed that the eyes of such a girl were nothing but shiny little disks of mica, we would not be eager to enter her life and link it to our own. But we are well aware that whatever it is that shines in those reflective discs is not reducible to their material composition; that flitting about behind them are the black incognizable shadows of the ideas she forms about the people and places she knows-the paddocks at racecourses, the sandy paths along which she might have pedaled, drawing me after her, over hill and meadow, like a little Peri more seductive than the sprite from the Persian paradise-the dimness of the house into which she will disappear, her own impenetrable projects, and the designs of others upon her; and what we are most aware of is that she herself lies behind them, with her desires, her likes and dislikes, the power of inscrutable and inexhaustible will. I knew I could never possess the young cyclist, unless I could also possess what lay behind her eyes. My desire for her was desire for her whole life: a desire that was full of pain, because I sensed it was unattainable, but also full of heady excitement, because what had been my life up to that moment had suddenly ceased to be all of life, had turned into a small corner of a great space opening up for me, which I longed to explore, and which was composed of the lives led by these young girls, because what was laid out now before my eyes was that extension and potential multiplication of self that we know as happiness. (375-6)

...a pleasure divested of imagination is a pleasure reduced to itself, to nothing. [377]

Just as it is not the wish to be famous, but a habit of hard work, that may make a creative artist of us, so it is not the joy we take in the present, but sober reflection on the past, that may enable us to safeguard the future. [396]

...drunkenness brings about, for the space of a few hours, subjective idealism, pure phenomenalism; all things become mere appearances, and exist only as a function of our sublime selves. [397]

The men and youths, the old or middle-aged women, in whose company we think we take pleasure, we conceive of as shallow beings, existing on a flat and insubstantial surface, because our only awareness of them is that of unaided visual perception; but when our eye ventures in the direction of a young girl, it is as though it acts on behalf of all our other senses: they seek out her various properties, the smell of her, the feel of her, the taste of her, which they enjoy without collaboration of the hands or the lips; and because of desire's artful abilities in transposition, and its excellent spirit of synthesis, these senses can draw from the color of cheeks of breasts the sensations of touching, of savoring, of forbidden contact, and can rifle girls' sweet succulence, as they do in a rose garden when plundering the fragrances of the flowers, or in a vineyard when gloating with greedy eyes upon the grapes. [471]

Our curiosity about the woman we love, the roots of which lie far beyond our reasoning mind, reaches far beyond her character. Even if we were capable of pausing and focusing on it, we would probably not wish to. The object of our anxious investigations is her essence, not to be confused with peculiarities of character more akin to the minute diamond shapes on the surface of the skin, which in their varieties of combinations give rise to the rosy individuality of the person in the flesh. Our intuitive radiation sees through them, and the images it gives are not those of any particular face, but rather the lineaments of a skeleton, in all its dismal and dismaying universality. [473-4]

Loving sharpens discernment and our power to make distinctions. [486]

The expressions of our face are little more than expressions ingrained by habit. Nature, like the catastrophe at Pompeii or the metamorphosis of a nymph, freezes us into an accustomed cast of countenance. In the same way, the intonations of our voice express our philosophy of life, what one says to oneself at each moment about things.[487]

At the very beginning of love, as at its end, we are not exclusively attached to a singled beloved: it is the yearning to love, of which that person will be the loved outcome, and later the echo left in the memory, that wanders voluptuously in a place full of charms-sometimes deriving only from contingencies of nature, bodily pleasures, or habituation-interchangeable and interrelated enough for it to feel in harmony with any of them. [494]

The chain of past days runs through the memory, which only holds fast to the nearest end of it, and the metal of which this end is forged is often very different from the metal of the earlier links, which have already slipped away into the dark; in our journey through life, the only country the mind sees as real is the one in which we live during the present instant. [527]

Even amid the factitious enjoyments we may eventually find in our later dealings with people whom we at first found unlikable, there always remains the sour aftertaste of the failings they have contrived to conceal; whereas, in relationships such as those I had with Albertine and her friends, the genuine delight in which they have originated always leaves a trace of the fragrance that no artifice can ever give to fruit that is forced, to grapes that have never ripened in the sunshine. The supernatural creatures they had briefly been for me could still, even without my knowing it, sprinkle a spice of wonder into the tritest things I did with them-or, rather, they forever banished the trite from the vicinity of such things. [528]

I thought they after reading the first volume, but never wrote it down: the earlier you read these books, the better. At its best, it enhances how I see the world, loving it ever more fully than before. At its worst, it gives me a full look into a life that I have never wanted for myself and can now logically reason why it is not fit for me. My next post will be shorter, I swear.

(Note, this is only copied here so that I don't leave book I out of this blog. I just finished book II, which I'll post right after this)

Much like I've done with previous books, I got a little bit into Proust's "Swann's Way" which is part 1 (of 6) of "In Search of Lost Time", the longest piece of literature ever, and realized that some of these passages were beautiful, and not to somehow write them down would be a tragedy: (note, any line changes indicates a new quote)

A delicious pleasure had invaded me, isolated, me, without my having any notion as to its cause. It had immediately rendered the vicissitudes of life unimportant to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory, acting in the same way that love acts, by filling me with a precious essence: or rather this essence was not merely inside me, it was me. (45)

But, when nothing subsists of an old past, after the death of people, after the destruction of things, alone, frailer but more enduring, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, smell and taste still remain for a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, upon the ruins of all the rest, bearing without giving way, on their almost impalpable droplet, the immense edifice of memory. (47)

"The woods are dark, the sky still blue. May the sky remain forever blue for you, my young friend; and even at the hour which is now approaching for me, when the woods are dark already, when night is falling fast, you will console yourself as I do by looking up at the sky." He took a cigarette out of his pocket, remained for a long time with his eyes on the horizon. "Good-bye, friends," he said suddenly, and left us. (123)

"And you know, my child, in life there comes a time, still quite remote for you, when our weary eyes can tolerate only one light, that which a lovely night like this prepares and distills from the darkness, when our ears cannot listen to any other music but that which is played by the moonlight on the flute of silence." (129)

...almost nothing else but sadism provides a basis in real life for the aesthetics of melodrama. (167)

At this time of life, one has already been wounded many times by love; it no longer evolves solely in accordance with its own unknown and inevitable laws, before our astonished and passive heart. We come to its aid, we distort it with memory, with suggestion. Recognizing one of its symptoms, we recall and revive the others. Since we know its song, engraved in us in its entirety, we do not need a woman to repeat the beginning of it-filled with the admiration that beauty inspires-in order to find out what comes after. And if she begins in the middle-where the two hearts come together, where it sings of living only for each other-we are accustomed enough to this music to join our partner right away in the passage where she is waiting for us. (204)

But once he was back at home he needed it, he was like a man into whose life a woman he has glimpsed for only a moment as she passed by has introduced the image of a new sort of a beauty that increases the value of his own sensibility, without his even knowing if he will ever see this woman again whom he loves already and of whom he knows nothing, not even her name. (218)

And this disease which was Swann's love had so proliferated, was so closely entangled with all his habits, with all his actions, with his thoughts, his health, his sleep, his life, even with what he wanted after his death, it was now so much a part of him, that it could not have been torn from him without destroying him almost entirely: as they say in surgery, his love was no longer operable. (320)

Knowing a thing does not always allow us to prevent it, but at least the things we know, we hold, if not in our hands, at any rate in our minds, where we can arrange them as we like, which gives us the illusion of a sort of power over them. (327)

He knew that even the memory of the piano falsified still further the perspective in which he saw the elements of the music, that the field open to the musician is not a miserable scale of seven notes, but an immeasurable keyboard still almost entirely unknown on which , here and there only, separated by shadows thick and unexplored, a few of the millions of keys of tenderness, of passion, of courage, of serenity which compose it, each as different from the others as one universe from another universe, have been found by a few great artists who do us the service, by awakening in us something corresponding to the theme they have discovered, of showing us what richness, what variety is heartening darkness of our soul which we take for emptiness and nothingness. (362)

Maybe it is the nothingness that is real and our entire dream is nonexistant, but in that case we feel that these phrases of music, and these notions that exist in relation to our dream, must also be nothing. We will perish, but we have for hostages these divine captives who will follow us and share our fate. And death in their company is less bitter, less inglorious, perhaps less probable.(363)

And besides, even from this point of view, of mere quantity, in our lives the days are not all equal. As they travel through the days, temperaments that are slightly nervous, as mine was, have available to them, like automobiles, different "speeds." There are arduous mountainous days which one spends an infinite time climbing, and downward-sloping days which one can descend at full tilt singing. (407)

The places we have known do not belong solely to the world of space in which we situate them for our greater convenience. They were only a thin slice among contiguous impressions which formed our life at that time; the memory of a certain image is but regret for a certain moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fleeting, alas, as the years. (444, final sentence)

If any of this interested you, I highly recommend grabbing Swann's Way (translated by Lydia Davis). If you get the copy from the library, please excuse the dog ears and faint pencil marks beside special passages. Otherwise, you can talk to me about it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

C'ville Tales (part 2)


I really wanted to share a story, couldn't come up with a title, so I decided to add another story so it wouldn't just be "C'ville Tale" as the title. Anyway, onto the story:

Last week I took my next leap into photography: I bought yet another camera. However, this camera is different. It's a medium format camera, which is actually quite different from most of the cameras you've ever seen. Firstly, it weighs about 8 or 9 pounds, depending on which lens I attach to it. Secondly, the size of the film is huge! It can expose 5 times the amount of film that an ordinary 35mm (and most digital SLR's) can take in a single shot. Lastly, it's a camera that you hold about the waist (for comfort's sake). Anyway, I wasn't really able to play around with it until yesterday, because I'd been cooped up in Kerchof during daylight hours. Anyway, after far too long of loading and unloading all of my camera equipment into various containers, I finally set out towards downtown to use my first roll of big film. Along the way, I started to understand some of the difficulties (image in viewfinder is the mirror opposite of the scene) and beauty of a medium format camera (it's like watching the most interesting movie just by looking down!). Anyway, when I got downtown, I realized that Fridays after Five was still going on, but that I had less than an hour of light left. When I got down to the end of the Mall, I decided I wanted to capture some of the Wall, a long chalkboard like wall that everyone is encouraged to write on. Anyway, as I'm setting up the shot, looking down into my viewfinder, and trying to coordinate moving opposite of what I see, a mother gently corrals her son behind me, saying, "Watch out, he's taking a picture."
I walked back towards the other end of the mall to see what else was catching my eye. This time of the day is quite interesting, because there is usually not a lot of direct sunlight shining directly on the mall. However, for a few minutes, direct sunlight shines directly along the south side of the mall, a last gasp before the day ends in a sunset. So, I took out my lightmeter (I got 3 with the camera!), and took a reading. As I went back to figure out how the shot should be set up, a guy passed me with his girlfriend and said, "-nice- camera".
Now you may be asking me, what's strange about stating that you're "taking a photograph" or that you have a "-nice- camera"? I can't quite describe it, but there was a certain sense of respect and quiet humility of their statements. Although Fridays after Five is quite possibly the busiest time of the week for the Downtown Mall, I was there, quietly figuring out which memories I wanted to capture with this huge monstrosity that I call a camera. And somehow, just a few people understood and made comments that made my day.

Last week at All Souls, I met a new couple. Actually, one of them wasn't new. I had seen the wife (Hope) as she was running a biathlon with one of her friends. She actually recognized me before I recognized her, because she looked so much different in church than she did when running. Anyway, I also found out in my brief talk with them that they live on my street! So, this afternoon, Jared came over, and we both got a craving for sushi. After quite a disappointing outing for Kroger sushi, we decided to try to contact other All Souls people to see if they wanted to sushi it up tonight. As we got back, I remembered that the new couple lived down the street from me, and they invited me to come over and see them! Well, I thought there wouldn't be a better reason than to invite them out to sushi, so we stopped on our way out for sushi. Never having actually seen them at their house, I went up the stairs and knocked on the door (there wasn't a doorbell). A woman came to the door who looked pretty much like the woman that I met at church. I said to her,
"Jared and I were going to go out for sushi, so I was wondering if you guys would like to tag along."
"...are you sure you have the right house?" oh crap. I check the house number, it's right.
"Yeah, I thought that Hope lived here."
"Ohh, she does! I'm her sister! They're on vacation in Chicago. I'm just staying here for a few days."
"Sorry, you guys just look so similar." Cheeks getting redder.
"Well, I'd go, but I'm already going to the fair tonight."
I was so red with embarrassment that I don't know if that was an invitation to ask again later, or what the heck was going on. I thanked her for her time and went back to the car. The sushi was pretty good, but Summerville's is better.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

C'ville Tales


I have a few stories since my last blog entry about my wonderful city: Charlottesville:

Thursday, I had sort of a lazy day and didn't really get up and do anything before class. As I was walking to class, I was doing my usual "try to step only once" in any square along the sidewalk. However, if you've ever noticed, sidewalk squares are quite long, so I had to step on that small curved piece that's slightly wider than my foot. As I was walking to class later than normal, it was more in line with when all of the other students were trying to get to classes as well. Anyway, I'm walking down the road, and I see quite a beautiful, normal looking girl. Though not directly looking at me, she acknowledges my presence by slowly lifting her eyes. As she goes out of view, I take another step and my foot misses the edge of the sidewalk. I stumble into the street. I continued walking and had to stop myself from laughing, as there was a man right behind her that saw everything.

Yesterday, I was sitting in a chair on the Downtown Mall just minding my own business. Although I was there to read, I kept on getting distracted because parents and their children were constantly around (as I was by the big, empty fountain that attracts children). Anyway, two women who looked like sisters were sitting on a pair of chairs. Two girls about 8 years old were with them. Their hair was similar, even the way they were dressed. They weren't quite twins, but they were definitely related. One of them had shoulder length straight hair, and the other had hair that curled as soon as it got past her neckline. One had on a white blouse and a white skirt, while the other had a white blouse and a tan skirt. For a while, they just ran around the fountain, trying to catch birds. I tried not to watch too intently, because both of their mothers were sitting 10 feet away. Anyway, as they rounded the corner of the fountain nearest me, the curly haired one turned quickly around, looking towards me, lots of loose hair moving wildly as she jumped in the air and the wind followed her. I've rarely seen something so beautiful. I'm beginning to suspect that sun dresses were made for small girls, and that any girl past puberty is just trying to reconnect with the time when she was beautiful and didn't know it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't take our Kodachrome away.


A little over a month ago, Kodak made an announcement that you didn't see on your local news: they're discontinuing Kodachrome, the world's first commercially viable color film. Only one lab in the entire world will still process this film, because of the very complex nature of its processing (unlike other films, nobody processes this film in their own darkroom). I'm still deciding whether or not I should pick up a roll of Kodachrome and shoot some just for posterity. Literally, for posterity.

A few days ago on flickr, I came across a Kodachrome from the 1940's. It was just a simple picture of a woman on a rooftop, with a red sweater spread out behind her head.

(sorry, I don't have the rights to post the photo.)

Wait a minute, this must have just been a period photograph. There's no way that that was really taken in the '40's. However, no one else seems to call attention to the supposed validity of the original poster.

So, I start looking for other old Kodachromes, and I find that the Library of Congress has just released a bevy of color photos from the 1930's and '40's, most of which were shot with Kodachrome, and they're ALL on flickr. So, after looking through a bunch of them, and thinking about other photographs that I associate with this period, I realize, that one of the best reason to keep Kodachrome around is that it does not loose its luster, if treated properly. Anyway, I also looked through most of the photos the the Library of Congress put up, and here are some of my favorites:

It's crazy to think that this is what digital cannot achieve, and we've had it for 70 years.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Now is not the time


Now is not the time.
You've given me cold silence.
Only now you respond.

"This will patch things, right?"
Over half of a year gone.
You and I have changed.

Re-establish lines.
Just the click of a button.
That's all you give me.

You're ready to talk.
You've found yet another boy.
Another someone.

This is what that's like:
Flaunting, Sorrow mongering,
Spiteful, Far too late.

You've atrophied all.
Do not act like all is fine
Oh, Great Destroyer.

Lies were always there.
Many things said without thought.
Couldn't face the truth.

Now is not the time.
There's not a good way to say:
"Just go the hell away."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

(My) History of Walking

I'm pretty upfront about this: I enjoy walking. I walk to school everyday, I enjoy walking around the city, and sometimes I just walk around when I don't have anything else to really do. If you're anything like me, you spent a lot of time as a kid walking. So, hear is a history of things I've thought about or games I've played while walking:

1) This is the one that started it all: "Step on a crack, break yo' momma's back." I didn't technically think of this one, but it was sort of the starting point. circa 1st grade

2) This next one came as an inspiration of a video game I never owned: Q-Bert. Now, if you've ever played Q-Bert, the point is to get all of these tiles on a pyramid to be the same color, while avoiding all of the monsters of the level. Later on in the levels, if you hit the same tile twice, it goes back to the color you don't want. Now, the reason I started doing this one was because of the similarity it had to 1). Most of the floors in my school (HBS) were tiled, and so every step was in a different tile. I guess it's also similar to some movie, but right now I can't bring it to mind.

3) As I grew older, however, my feet grew larger. It was now more difficult to fit them within tiles if I walked straight on towards them. Looking at it from a slightly different angle, I would often walk diagonally back and forth just so that I could fit my feet within each individual square and not hit any tile twice, of course.

4) Next, I came to a more difficult problem. Where as, when I knew the regularity of the size of the tiles and the path I walked was fairly wide, walking was easy and relatively thought free. However, when the tiles are irregularly shaped, a strange tessellation occurs, or if there were things in the way, it would be difficult to adhere to the strictness of a set of rules. So, I began working at extrapolating my planning further. In addition to getting more accurate results, it also allows me to not vary my steps awkwardly (stepping on the left with my right foot and on the right with my left), thereby allowing me to do this while walking with other people with little notice.

Anyway, this doesn't even get into the subject of path finding techniques of walking, because that is a much longer subject that has been rarely breached and shall be left for another day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First impressions of my new city


In case you didn't know, I moved. Not across town, nor up the interstate, but a few states away from where I grew up. I've only been in the city for a little over a day, but I have already seen that God has planned for me to be here. Always a nice contrast is that my parents are in town for a few days to help me get settled in (and also so they can see the sights around here), and noticing their reactions to things shows me just how much I've grown since first packing up my things about six years ago and heading out for the big 'ol GSSM.

Since then until now, I have not really had a real home. Sure, I've stayed at places for months at a time, but nothing seemed like it was mine. Although I had a room to myself, a kitchen, and a bathroom, I always knew in the back of my head that there was to be an end to my relationship with that area, and that end was always hauntingly close. The only anchor I had during my Clemson years was dcf. I went to the same building, took communion, prayed on the wall afterwards in the same manner nearly every week during my stay at Clemson. However, summer always seemed to destroy the sense of home for me.

Charlottesville is now my home. If I leave here, that will be defined as a vacation or trip in my mind. The recentering will occur here, rather than elsewhere. Anyway, this is a list of the first few things that I have picked up from Charlottesville, a city whose people, I believe, that I am called to love and will learn to do so through my life over the next several years.

  • I love that I live in a city where I can hear the birds over the cars.
  • I hope that my sincerity in thankfulness is well taken, it seems quite lacking and almost out of place.
  • I have already signed up to help kids discover inspiration for art in the city around them. Hopefully I'll be as inspired as they are.
  • I like that some people walk distances here. Not just to their cars, but to and from their place of work.
  • I really like my neighbor, a nice woman that lives above me. She has a cute baby boy that she pushes on his toddler swing in the evenings. She's quite talkative and has also offered me laundry services (all I have are hookups right now).
  • Sunsets are beautiful from my front lawn. The sun rests right in between a large "V" of green, and pushes right down into the tracks as it colors the sky one final time for the night.
  • I like that I can open the windows in the evening and feel a memory of a breeze.
  • Two strangers commented on my hair already. Although one was probably gay, I'll still take that as a positive.
  • I'd just like to state for the record, that I fully embrace "art in place."
  • This city has my kind of weather. I can't remember the last time I walked for over a mile and didn't sweat! Also, big surprise when I got out of the car tonight: fireflies!

Not so positive things:

  • Takes 25 minutes to walk to Kerchof Hall. I'll keep looking for quicker routes.
  • I have to wait until at least Monday to get my ID card and therefore, can begin working out.
  • Cable/internet won't be activated at my home until the 13th.
  • Rain got to some of my board games on the way up here.
  • I need a lot of furniture to make my home seem "not empty." Any donations will be accepted!

Today, I had an interesting journey. In the morning, I made my way towards Memorial gym. After getting a surprise ride from Winn, I started working out (after figuring out where everything was). About half way through finishing the number of sets I wanted to do on bench press, I heard a deep bass sound coming from... well, everywhere. I sat back down on the bench, and tried to listen closer, to see if it was an oncoming train. Well, the sound wasn't going away, and nobody else had turned strangely towards the music or the speakers to see what the matter was, so I thought it was normal. I tried to shake it off, but it was just so encircling.

I laid down to start my set, deciding to do five instead of eight as I had done on the last set. That way, I didn't have to try to get the attention of another so they could spot me. I pushed the bar up, let it come down on my chest, pushed up normally, and the bar didn't go anywhere. I push harder, HARDER and got it up. Whew, okay.  Perhaps I wasn't physically prepared for that.

Put body at physical readiness.

Lower the bar.

Push at a steady rate.



I barely rack the weight. The sound is still overhanging and filling my thoughts. I finish my workout, but am unable to be as mentally aware as before. I can see where everything is, but I still have to think about what I'm doing and what I'm going to do next.

The rest of my workout was without event. As I walk upstairs, I notice that there is a wrestling camp in the main gym. They're all playing a timed Dodgeball game. I stare at the game, not particularly interested, but still unable to hear normally. I watch until a coach blows a whistle, and the boys stop playing. A coach at least twice as wide as I am rotates towards me and nearly, simply stares at me (which of the two is uncertain). I notice this peripherally and turn to leave.

Later on today, my right contacft started to get fuzzy. I could read on my Kindle quite well, but anywhere I looked was hard to focus on, even mentally, because everything was unfamiliar and fuzzy. I could fixate on things, and move towards them, but I found it impossible to window shop. I was either walking towards something or walking aimlessly.

Once I got on the bus, I started to think about the difficulties I'd had. I realized that I find this new city debilitating in a sense. I'm in sensory overload right now, and it isn't going down. For some reason, my senses have decided to take advantage of the situation and screw with me to make it even worse. Maybe a quick nap will help.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

TV shows


If you've ever been to college, you know: most college students don't watch television. They're busy having a social life, doing schoolwork, going to classes, parties, bible studies, etc... Whatever their excuse, they simply don't (usually) plop down on the couch for five or six hours at a time to watch television.

However, before moving away from home, I was a pretty avid television watcher. I had my schedule, based on which day it was, of course. Come to think of it, though, I don't think I liked many of those shows. None of them made any impression on me what so ever. There were exceptions of course: Home Improvement, The Cosby Show, and others that I can't remember right now. So, since school has let out, I've been pushed back into my old TV watching days, but hopefully with a more discerning eye. So, anyway, I've thought of some categories of TV shows that have caught my eye recently.

Best TV show with character: World's Strictest Parents on MTV. First of all, let me say that another category it would win is "Least Accurate Title for a TV show". Basically, MTV took troubled teens from California and dropped them off at a pastor's house in the midwest for a few weeks. The pastor also has three other teenagers of his own living in the house. In the specific episode that I watched, there were two teens, a guy and a girl. The girl was fairly compliant throughout the entire episode, but the guy was a rebellious son of a gun for the first half of the episode. Also, let me say that the parents were not strict, but they were clear on rules and consequences and stuck to the enforcement on the kids. The only rules they really laid down were: No drugs, no alcohol, no sex, and I think a curfew (it's been a few weeks since I've seen the episode). Anyway, to be frank, this was a touching show. I was about halfway to crying when the end of the episode came around. It was very clear that the pastor and the rebellious boy had begun a relationship of trust over the course of his journey there, and it was true and loving. I had to verify many times that this show was in fact on MTV.

Best reminder that Americans have forgotten their history: 1000 Ways to Die on Spike. Basically, an episode of this show basically showcases of about 10 cases of death that were unusual. They have a quick re-enactment, a tangential "expert" to comment in general on whatever may have been wrong with the individual or circumstances surrounding his or her death (very loosely), then they give it a funny name and a number and move on! None of this material is given the proper tone. They rip out the dignity of humanity by making light of how people come to end their lives. These were real people with real problems, who probably struggled with them for years, hurting their family, their loved ones with either the way they fought it, or the way it came out after their untimely deaths. To be curt, it's disgusting. But, it also reminds me of the bloodlust of Roman citizens. They piled into the Colosseum to see deaths as a sporting event. However, as the crowds diminished, managers had to up the creativity of the deaths. This seems to be the case here, as well. The base idea of this show is "let's list a bunch of gruesome ways that real people die so that we'll catch people's attentions and entertain them with some quick quips so that they won't feel disgusted afterwards."

Best repackaging of a classic show: American Gladiators on NBC. God, I love this show. As some of you know, I already have a name picked out: Rhino. However, as few of you know, I gave serious thought into entering this past year. I didn't know when graduate school would start for me, so I didn't send in an audition tape, but I'll be ready this year. Anyway, this gem of a has pretty much everything the 80's show did and more: traditional American values, stories of normal everyday Americans rising to the challenge and competing against each other and what seem like Titans that have risen out of Greek mythology. Also, some of the best classic challenges are back: the Ring Swing, the Pyramid, Assault, and of course, the iconic Joust. I was so glad to see that this show was given a second chance. Although corny at times, they always applaud the persons who come in second place for finishing the grueling last challenge, which is something that is rarely seen outside of kids' sporting events.

Worst TV preacher: Joel Osteen. He's creepy. I don't like the globe spinning behind him, his toothy smile, or his sculpted hair. Just creepy.

Saturday, June 20, 2009



Earlier this morning, I watced a fascinating (edited) interview of Mike Huckabee on the Daily Show. The subject was abortion. Now, there are many things on the Daily Show that are hilarious, and often, they have disregard for actual news items and instead choose topics on top of which better jokes can be made. But, the two interviews I've seen with Mike Huckabee are possibly some of the best content on the current issues of abortion and gay marriage that I've ever seen of heard from anybody.

Mike and John are two very well read, intelligent people. They clearly define lines and put forth clear, logical arguments, and have incredible respect for each other. Best of all, they always directly answer questions made by the other, and often make concessions during the discussion, not just at the end right before commercial breaks so that they can sweep it under the rug. It was suggested (jokingly) that they should have their own show where they discuss issues "in which they are not the protaganist." I supremely enjoy Mike Huckabee's sound and thoughtful reasoning, but this post isn't about Mike Huckabee (the only political figure whose rallies I've attended, with Chuck Norris in attendance), it's about the subject matter on which they spoke last night.

I'm thankful for many things. A few of those things I'll list for you now:

  1. I'm thankful I'm not a politician. (At their best) They have to make decisions about the morality of certain activities in an era in which moral knowledge is quickly being disregarded as not knowledge.
  2. I'm thankful I've never been in a sexual relationship. Heck, I think I'm thankful I've never been in a serious relationship, mainly because of the temptation of crossing the fine line between the two.
  3. I'm thankful for children. Over the past few years, I've been allowed to watch the development of a very special child, Zechariah Hayes. I do recognize that he is probably very special to me because I got to hold him when he was smaller than my forearm, and simply, I've gotten to watch him grow. However, I still very much appreciate the exposure to his growth.

There's plenty of others, I assure you, but they'll have to wait for another blog post on another day. Anyway, I'm sure you can logically fit how these things I'm thankful for fit together as evidence in my mind. However, I always somehow missed a compelling discussion on the subject of abortion that would push me towards ruminating on abortion by myself. Thanks to Mike Huckabee, John Stewart, and a few hours of manual labor this morning, I was finally given the opportunity to finally let my mind and conscience weigh in on this subject.

Funnily enough, I seem to have come to the final conclusion that Mike Huckabee did at the end of the interview. If you saw the edited version on the show, I encourage you to go watch the unedited version on . It's definitely the best 15 minutes of video I've spent watching online within recent memory. Anyway, the conclusion I came to this morning follows.

Most of the debate around abortion on the pro choice side of the argument centers around concocting the cases that they consider (like the consonation, huh?) to be sufficient evidence to allow abortion. Rape, a mother's life in danger, developmental problems with the child, etc.

However, I am very much at a place very much out of line with the reality of abortion. Playing a small mindgame, I decided to try to play the part of a pro-choice, and concoct a situation in which I would be involved in the decision to abort a child. I would be married and fully aware that a very positive aspect of sex is the reproduction of new life. I would be at a position in life in which I would be comfortable at least my own wife comfortably (otherwise I would not be married). I would be at a point in the relationship with my wife that discussion would be at a very healthy and open point in which discussions of all sorts would be explored and sincerely, thoughtfully, and respectfully explored.

All of that being said, I ask you, the reader, to remember that pregnancy has never been a sure-fire thing. As the curse of woman, she was to endure pain during childbirth. Before modern healthcare, pregnancy was very much a risky business. Often, either the fetus or mother died in the process of childbirth. That has been a fact for thousands of years. People have been aware of this danger and have still gone forth with the process of reproduction (I hate to say that with such sterility). However, in our modern day, perhaps we have overestimated the abilities of modern medicine by living that sexual intercourse does no longer pose a threat to the woman's life.

Now, you may think me crazy when I say that, and that's perfectly fine. I do recognize that it feels a bit too much to the "scare 'em" tactics of the abstinence programs in our school districts, but I'd like to point out that it is a valid point. If we write off the validity of these claims, we are playing the part of the voluntarily blind, disregarding the views of our past.

Anyway, back to the mindgame, I can not foresee a situation that I would consider abortion an option. However, as you have seen, I can not foresee a situation in which I even get close to premarital sex. So, in my mind, the abortion of debate comes down to: do two wrongs make a right? No, they make a very wrong. I don't want to minimize those who are in sexual relationships that are outside of marriage, and I want to make something very clear to you: My viewpoint comes with years upon years of development that is much different than yours. My stance on premarital sex is a very real and achievable goal that comes only through significant support of my parents, my God, and myself. I'm constantly surprised and disappointed that those around me did not grow up with the same support. However, I'm not here to push in your face that I think I stand upon morally superior ground. I'm the chief of sinners, don't let me fool you to thinking otherwise. In other words, abstinence can and does work in our modern society. I do not avoid women, I interact with them on a constant basis. I have very frank, eye opening discussions with women that constantly challenge me and shape who I am becoming. I also talk with guys sometimes. As to whether or not this lifestyle is meant for me to keep for a lifetime, that is an ongoing discussion between me and my God.

Anyway, both Mike and I came to a similar conclusion: once you have engaged in sex, you (women) have made your decision about what to do with your reproductive organs. The functional purpose of the genitalia is reproduction. Another benefit, the pleasure, either expected from the partner or there in the moment, is the reason why most people do "it." That being said, on the other side of the bed, men have to recognize that their responsibility once they have engaged in sex is providing for the child and his wife. The Jewish law stated that once a man and a woman engaged in sex, they were legally married. Now, I'm not about to lobby for this to be put into American law, but I would like you to recognize that this was already a given when our laws were conceived in this country. Judeo-Christian laws are the basis on which most consistent moral codes, and therefore, sets of laws, are based. Basically, the process of being legally married has always been intended to occur before copulation.

This stance is definitely an ideal, and I recognize that, but I also see that within my experience, it is an achievable one.

postblog: I usually won't cover subjects this controversial, nor this mainstream. I've just been hankering to find a good subject to write about, and this kept on developing in my head. Hopefully, my next blog will be more curt.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Popular Music


Over the past few days, I've been thinking about music a good bit. The past few years, some of my best friends have been avid musicians, outstripping my limited abilities handily. It isn't a competition, but whenever they talk to me about music, I simply nod and listen for the only words I know: "chord" and whatever number they say are added.

Anyway, one of the things I realized a little over a year and a half ago is that I can barely stand independent music. Now, independent music is fairly broadly defined, but if I say indie music you know exactly what I'm talking about! Now, it doesn't necessarily have to be one guy, one guitar, talking about his emotions with such deep metaphor that he barely understands his lyrics. Sometimes, it's more than one person. Sometimes they have a band behind them (when they record the album). Sometimes they have more than one singer! Sometimes they branch out to electric guitars, but these guitars are without the qualities that I hear from my favorite 80's metal bands (Metallica, Iron Maiden, Tourniquet).

Anyway, when I got to Clemson University, I realized there wasn't much of a music scene. There was a band in my hall... but they just annoyed me. There was music on my computer... but that's always been there. There was music downtown... but it was indie. Well, it was better than nothing. I started to attend small concerts when Tom Conlon came to my church my 1st semester at Clemson.

Now, I have nothing against Tom. Anytime he comes anywhere near where I'm living, I will attend one of his concerts. His concerts are intimate, and the relationships I have with the people that attended his concerts are the reason that his music means so much to me (in part). The other part is that, in some way, he reveals quite a bit about himself through his music, but in a sly way. It took me many listens to his catchiest song "Birds Fly" before I could deeply understand how he was singing what he was singing.

Whew, that was a poor segue. Anyway, I remember the exact moment I realized I and indie music were not on the best of terms. It was while I was watching Once. During the third or fourth song, I didn't even listen to the lyrics, I just scowled. It kept on going on, so I got up to go to the bathroom. After doin' my business, I returned to the movie. After a small furthering of the plot, I went back to my room and did checked something on the internet, then came back to the movie.

At the end of the movie, everybody in the room began exclaiming how moving the movie was, and how well the soundtrack blended with the storyline. Personally, I thought the soundtrack was tedious, overly mystic, and sometimes outright boring. Most of all, I thought that the storyline was clearly an excuse to make such a movie, but that didn't help in making a better movie. However, I didn't dare utter the worst of these thoughts, so I went with a more thoughtful one:

"I don't think I like indie music."

Because that's really what was at the core of this. It was an indie movie about the making of indie music, and I found it God-awful. However, I also recognized that other people would very much enjoy it, get it, and appreciate it. However, I was not one of those people. I don't know,

It's a very difficult thing to describe when you can't pinpoint why you don't like something that you know is enjoyable. The reason I didn't write this as a review of Once is that I have nothing negative to say about that movie that is concrete other than the music was clearly the point of the music, and I didn't think the music was great. I also had this feeling when I watched No Country for Old Men. I sat there watching it with my best friend, and neither of us got it or appreciated it. Deinitely the only flop of a movie that we've ever watched together. It was as if I was disappointed in myself for not enjoying a movie that was clearly well put together. It wasn't my fault I didn't like it!

Anyway, as a retort, about mid-February, the dcf band played the final song from Once. I was blown away. First of all, I didn't recognize the song. Second of all, people I cared about were singing it. Third of all, we were all encouraged to sing along. Lastly, it sounded a good bit different. I don't know if I believe some of those reasons I just wrote. But that's all my mind can pull out of it. I was astounded to learn from what movie the song was.

The point is, perhaps the packaging spoils the goods for me. I don't appreciate re-packaging songs in ways other than what I am used to (ala Moulin Rouge). If you put indie music in the correct package, I think anybody can appreciate it. With that being said, I don't think it's in the correct package.

postblog: If you're reading this, and you're an indie artist, please don't be smug in your music. It's quite annoying. Also, don't try to be funny, you're not Weird Al.