Sunday, February 18, 2018

Friday, July 01, 2016

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Humanity Overload

So, a white supremacist walks into a Holocaust Museum and kills an African-American guard.

This happened today in Washington, DC, where I'm typing from at this very moment. I'm on the Bolt Bus, on my way back to New York City. I've been here for three days for the International Association of Genocide Scholars conference. I delivered a paper that I have been writing since I got back from England and I have spent THREE days listening to people talk about genocide. On the day I leave, with a brain on hyper-overload already... a white supremacist walks into a Holocaust museum and kills a black man. Kills a man for no good and goddamned reason. Unbelievable.

Oh, did I tell you that my paper was on a group of African-Americans who charged the United States government with genocide in 1951?

Let's just say, I'm having a bit of a humanity overload... but what else is new?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Paikea in Polaroid

Great "Shakeit" app from the iTunes store for iPhone. Turns your photographs into lovely simulated Polaroids. Love it, even if it's missing that chemical smell and sticky substance. Thanks to Liz for the find!

This is a teeny-tiny me...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Fuck You, Billie Joe

I'm sitting here off work and at home, with a summer cold and partial mental exhaustion, listening to "21 Guns" by Green Day while weeping.

Isn't that special?

Anyway, I'm at a crossroad with a temporary triangulation of writing a presentation on genocide (and thinking about it for over a month now with no mental headway toward completion) combined with feeling physically unwell (really, it's just a cold, I hope!) and hopped up on a wee bit of a mental hiccup. My answer to this is just to succumb and listen to this album and laugh at all of the funny Green Day antics and be creative in some sort of way. Have some fun. I have no fun thinking about genocide, as one might imagine.

Of course, I am happy that I have an opportunity to present a paper on a topic that I've written about before, it's just not going well. On top of that, I'm feeling that the world may have some glimmer of hope but it still sucks... and all I want to do is dance! I have to move at the end of July and I have no real prospects for new places. A comfortable home helps in this crazy town and I am not up for this right now. I have to stoke myself for a long two months ahead of me and it's a bit overwhelming. I do everything for myself by myself and all I really want to do is run away and remember all my youthful dreams and somehow live them and not give up on them. I want to run away on the European leg of Green Day's tour in the Fall and write about it. But I have no ways and no means of doing so that I can see available right now, and so what if I did happen to accomplish it? It's a bit of a pipedream that has no means of coming true... maybe... well, feeling this way doesn't help to get me out of this funky feeling that my life if over. I'm old. I have to stay put and surrender.

Which brings me to why I want to say a very pleasant and punk "fuck you" to Billie Joe Armstrong as well as his cohorts, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool for writing and composing this song (and album) the way they did. I have to say that combined with the lyrics (which at times are incapable of being grasped as a standalone record--the songs on this album fit together like a glove) and the emotional intensity of this recording in particular, one would think that I may as well throw myself out of the window now. I was really hoping no one would figure out the heart of much of my despair, the inner war of wanting to play horseshoes (ala "Tennessee" by Arrested Development) but ending up playing with emotional handgrenades instead.* Fuck you, Billie Joe, for pointing it out and capturing my emotional state of mind, but thanks also for strangely picking me up again and reminding me that surrender is not a losing proposition. Sometimes you have to surrender in order to save yourself.

I suppose the crux of the matter is how you ultimately surrender yourself to ending the war within. Fighting yourself all of the time, fighting your natural nature and desire, fighting the instinct to be right or wrong, fighting the line between what you have been told to be and what you want to be. Of course, life doesn't play very fair in the struggle as well.

There are two realities to this song actually... my personal one that I've stated above and that wrings out a struggle of a personal nature. In reality, this song is more about war and religion and how different sides of our current arguments fight each other all of the time, the banality of that fight, and how, in the end, it's you and I either killing each other or surrendering to each other.

And while I contemplate the song some more and wonder at how it sounds a bit like Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and I think about abortion doctors getting blown away in church, and the endless cycle of war and crap that goes on everywhere, I'll try to hold on to the plaintive prayer of hope that this song embodies in begging for the end of this horrible, human cycle... with that, I'll surrender to myself by keeping my dreams alive while writing my presentation on genocide.

Fuck you very much, Billie Joe, and thanks.

Green Day - 21 Guns Lyrics

Do you know what’s worth fighting for
When it’s not worth dying for?
Does it take your breath away
And you feel yourself suffocating?
Does the pain weight out the pride?
And you look for a place to hide?
Did someone break your heart inside?
You’re in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky
You and I

When you’re at the end of the road
And you lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul
Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn’t pass
Nothing’s ever built to last
You’re in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky
You and I

Did you try to live on your own
When you burned down the house and home?
Did you stand too close to the fire?
Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone

When it’s time to live and let die
And you can’t get another try
Something inside this heart has died
You’re in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky
You and I

*Act III of 21st Century Breakdown is called "Horseshoes and Handgrenades."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Who's There?

Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace, April 2009

One of my favorite photos from my recent trip to England.
More here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Bit Obsessed (Although That's Not the Right Word)

I'm a bit obsessed with the band Green Day at the moment, so you may see a lot of posts about them. Get over it. My blog, yay!

Anyway, this article from Billboard UK via struck me as sad and funny and made me feel really old somehow, too. Green Day and Emimen have been in a battle for the top slot on American and English charts since each album came out a week apart from each other. Well, both of them have knocked out Depeche Mode from the top English spot:
The Green Day vs. Eminem battle relegates Depeche Mode's "Sounds of the Universe" (Mute/EMI) to No. 3, after four weeks atop the composite chart. It holds at No. 2 in Wallony and Hungary, but dips 1-3 in Germany, 1-4 in Switzerland, 4-6 in Italy and 4-8 in France. The band's new tour, interrupted by singer Dave Gahan's illness, will resume in Leipzig, Germany on June 8.
I guess there is no more noise for the Universe. Anyway, the three-way band matchup sounds like a bit of a death match to me. I think all of them could do some good damage to each other in a matchup. Green Day would punk them all out while Emimem would throw some Detroit mischief in there and Depeche Mode would use ennui and insult them all to death. I should write a treatment. Haha.

Anyway, I'm going to have a write more eventually about Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown. For me, it's a bit of a purge from toxic religious roots. I think I have majorly hurt myself from dancing, however. I'll let you know if I need to head to the hospital for treatment or anything. Four thumbs up!