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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Monday:
7:30AM—8:45AM:     Shower, Breakfast
8:45AM—10AM:        Commute
10AM—5PM              Internship
5PM—6:15PM            Commute
6:15PM—7:30PM       Run, Shower, Dinner
7:30PM—8PM            Commute
8PM—12AM              Floorset at The Secret

Tuesday:
12AM—12:30AM       Floorset at The Secret
12:30AM—1:30AM    Bodega Breakfast
1:30AM—6:30AM      Floorset at The Secret
6:30AM—7AM           Commute
7AM—2PM                Sleep
2PM—4PM                 Shower, Dinner (?), Lounge
4PM—4:30PM            Commute
4:30PM—12AM         Victoria’s Secret

Wednesday:
12AM—1AM              Victoria’s Secret
1AM—1:30AM           Commute
2AM—7:30AM           Sleep
7:30AM—8:45AM      Shower, Breakfast
8:45AM—10AM         Commute
10AM—10:30AM       Interview With Editorial Assistant
10:30AM—11AM       Interview With Executive Editor*
11AM—11:15AM       Phone Call with Mom
11:15AM—12PM       Commute
12PM—4:15PM          Internship
4:15PM—5PM            Commute
5PM—12AM              Victoria’s Secret

Thursday:
12AM—12:30AM       Victoria’s Secret
12:30AM—1AM         Commute
2AM—7:30AM           Sleep
7:30AM—8:45AM      Shower, Breakfast
8:45AM—10AM         Commute
10AM—7PM              Internship
7PM—8:15PM            Commute
8:15PM—12AM         Relax

Friday:
12AM-7:30AM           Sleep
7:30AM—8:45AM      Shower, Breakfast
8:45AM—10AM         Commute
10AM—3PM              Internship
3PM—4PM                 Commute
4PM—12AM              Victoria’s Secret

Saturday:
12AM—2AM              Victoria’s Secret

*I probably talked with my mom about this for longer. I was completely broadsided in this interview. I mean, I shot for the stars and all but when I got there I think I caught fire. The lady ended the interview with a line about talking to her husband (a fellow alum) about law enforcement. I sat there and thought… “You think I should do what? I thought we both understood I came in because I’m pretty good at reading.”

STATS:

Between 8PM Monday and 8PM Tuesday I spent 12.5 hours working at Victoria’s Secret. Lame sauce

During the 5 days that normally constitutes a work week, I used three trains (3, 4 and 7) and 14 swipes on my MetroCard. I love the 30 Day Unlimited so much.

Pages read in James Joyce’s Ulysses while commuting for those same five days: 112.

Pages I had to start over because I didn’t know what was going on: 7.

Total times I listened to The Afghan Whigs’ 1965 all the way through: 6.

Eggs eaten: 9.

Times people reminded me (without me asking) where the coffee machine was at the internship: 4.

Times my mind got blowed clear into quarters: 2 (during the interview, talking with mom about how badly I did in my interview).

I’ve been listening the shit out of The Afghan Whigs1965. As I told my Dad, it’s just a plain old beautiful, filthy, epic album that reeks of the city they recorded it in (New Orleans) and the year they named it after. It may just be the year that Dulli (vocalist, rhythm guitarist, lyricist, producer, etc) was born but I see it more of their way of tipping their hats off to the heyday of people like The Beatles (sampled on “Omerta”), Marvin Gaye (name checked and sampled on “John the Baptist”), The Supremes, Otis Redding or Freda Payne.

They broke up like three years after making it due to “geographic distance between members” but I’m pretty sure they gave the album a re-listen and collectively murmured, “Oh shit. This is the best we’ll ever do.” I mean, they made an alt-rock album inspired by soul and R&B. There are horns featured prominently throughout and a dueling horn solo on “John the Baptist.” Just a classic album and a lost art.

Only their legend remains alive to this day: those kids sure could wow critics and get shat on in the sales deptartment.

I listened in on a Skype call between my mother and sister the other day and was profoundly bored by and astonished at how they could talk each other in circles about things to do in France. I think they went into it pretending that my sister neither has the same tour book my mother has nor the Internet. All told I had an hour and 20 minutes with them—they lost me around the 20 minute mark. While I was playing a game of Connect the Dots with Wikipedia I discovered something called the “Supreme Alphabet” and then got my mind blowed clear in half.

Apparently, GZA invented the Five Percent Nation’s ABC’s on his last album (you know, compared to the children’s rhyme we all learned: ABCDEFG/ HIJKLMNOP/ QRSTUV/ WXY and Z/ Now I know my ABCs). I’ve found only one link so far that comes close how I’d transcribe the chorus on GZA’s “Alphabets.” Luckily, I found it right after I transcribed it myself.

Allah, Be or Born, See, Divine, Equality,
Father then after that, it’s the G-O-D
He or Her, I/Islam, then Justice
King or Kingdom, Love Hell or Right, We still exist.
Master, Now-End, Cipher, Power, the Queen
Rule or Ruler, Self or Savior, Truth or Square the same
Universe, Victory, Wisdom, Unknown
Why, Zig-Zag-Zig, and now I’m back home

I mean, I knew he was good, but I had no idea he was that good.

I feel like there’s someone out at the end of the universe who thought, “Hmm. That ‘Celibacy’ post worked out pretty well. Maybe the kid deserves another shot.” Then that night, “Wait, he did what? I give him another chance and this shithead did what?”

Let me set the mood for you a little: Fresh off a victorious post, it’s Saturday night and I’m at a friend’s apartment for a celebration. I’ve come prepared with my game face: there are three women I’m attracted to—two redheads and a blonde—and I promptly make moves on none of them. I move like a flower to a bee; rumor is, according to my Mom, I’m pretty awesome, so I’ll let them come to me.

Long story short, one of the redheads and I are flirting with a green pen much later that night. That is, we’re drawing on each other. All of a sudden she goes all out dotting my arms and my face. I finally reclaim the pen and attempt to get her back. I realize if I use my he-man-woman-hater-strength to write on her face, I’ll probably end up poking her in the eye.

I tell her that she wins and that I’ve got to wash my face. She says she’ll wash up, too. I go into the bathroom and pretend block her entrance. She uses her she-woman-man-hater-strength to enter. I wash and she blocks the exit. This is the kind of fantasy I’ve had since I discovered fantasies and what do I do? I stand there for somewhere between three and five seconds and quite literally think “I know what I’m supposed to do” and then don’t do it. I just walked out.

And now every night I can’t sleep; my brain delights in torturing me with all of the things I could and should have done. All I can say is, never again. Never again.

Dear [Your Name Here],

First and foremost, you need to know this isn’t your fault.

Some of my favorite people in the world are my mother, grandmother and sister. Well, maybe not in that order (flip the last two?), but it’s pretty close. Some of my friends say I need to stop treating women so nicely in order to get women but the three favorite people in my life have done nothing but show me otherwise.

This has nothing to do with who you are—all girls are raised this way—and I know it. I’ve dated or made an attempt at dating something between 20 and 25 girls—which isn’t to say you’re another notch on my bedpost (hardly), just that you’re a part of a learning process that won’t quite sink in.

I know you’ve been trained to be wary of guys who are too eager and guess what I’ve gone and done again? It’s true, it’s kind of how I roll; I’m the guy who wants to cook for you before we’ve even been out on a first date. There’s no logical explanation (and oddly enough, logical explanations are something I thrive on) but I’m the guy who wants to do all the stupid shit your other boyfriends have never wanted to do for you even before you say, “A movie? That’d be cool.”

And of course that’s what throws you off. What guy likes chick flicks, listening to (your) stories, laughing constantly, cooking, massages or going to museums? [Right index finger arcs away from letter “j” and taps chest in heart area] That’s right, men who’re trying too hard or who’re just gay. Obviously though, you’re a cute young thing and I’ve asked you out so I can’t be all that gay.

I guess then, on behalf of the next nice guy you meet, I’m sorry. I’m sorry we have no idea what we’re doing or how we can’t control ourselves. I’m sorry things we want to do spurt out of our mouths or how we talk to our mothers and closest friends about these things. I’m sorry we confide in them and how we forget to do the most important things for a relationship like…asking for your phone number. Just know we’re working on it.

In the mean time, all I can ask of you is that 20 or 30 years down the road when you think to yourself, “Damn, my boyfriend’s jambalaya is only mediocre,” you don’t think back and remember my name. Sure, maybe my face, my friends or how I was far better at writing you a letter than actually saying things to you—but not my name.

Miss you,

_____  ______

You know those people who try to start their own nicknames or how they usually end up with a different nickname because no one wants to call them by the nickname they created for themselves? Call me the DZA.

I bought Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… about a month ago but didn’t really sit down to listen to it until about a week ago. I went in expecting just another bullshit rap album full of inconsistencies and shitty production. Apparently I forgot Raekwon is a member of the infamous Wu-Tang Clan, a group, apparently, that is not something to be fucked with. In the words of Ghostface Killah, “RZA bake the track and it’s militant/ Then I react like a convict and start killin’ shit.”

More than a year after discovering The Hold Steady, I’ve found, with the help of The Chef’s solo album debut, the kind of lyrical interplay that I’ve been searching for for quite some time. Maybe even for a year.

Try this on for size: The chorus on “Wu-Gambinos” becomes part of the chorus for “Groundbreaking” on the new GZA album. “Guillotine” features the same movie sample as “Shadowboxin” off of the GZA’s seminal Liquid Swords. “Can it be so Simple” sounds like “Can it be so Simple (remix)”—surprising, right? Ghostface’s shoe fantasy at the end of “Kilo” sounds like the beginning of “Glaciers of Ice” (BOOM!). I mean, that’s all I’ve got right now, but I’m sure the list will continue to build.

I might have revealed my prejudices here: the only Wu-Tang albums I own are Ghostface Killa’s Fishscale, WTC’s Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers), the aforementioned Raekwon album, GZA’s Liquid Swords and ProTools. The production is amazing on all and, I know this is quite possibly heretical, but I think the GZA’s newest album is better. GZA remains consistently brilliant—I mean, they call him “The Genius” for a reason, right?—and yet “Labels” and “0% Finance” deal with the same concept (commercial product names used in original meanings for awesome storytelling) and both even contain just about the same concept with Saturn and Mercury. But that’s why I love it—he’s referencing himself. He has a diss track for 50 Cent then he turns around and samples himself while the other greatest rappers alive steal from everyone else (case in point: Jay-Z. Google “swagger jacking” or look at the lyrics of UGK’s “Touched” and Jay-Hova’s “99 Problems”).

But I digress; the main issue here is that the production started at good-to-excellent (namely, “C.R.E.A.M,” “Criminology,” what-have-you) to plain excellent (what up “Kilo,” “Life is a Movie,” fucking…anything with RZA behind the knobs, whichever producers the Wu can afford {DOOM, Master Teacher, anyone they mufuggin want, etc.}). And they all know their shit is amazing; not only do they name-check the production on each album, they also name-check “C.R.E.A.M.” in at least one song. I’m pretty sure, on 2 out of 2 GZA albums I own, cream is mentioned at least once.

Rap is this generation’s literature and its R&B. Groups used to be the product of the collected brilliance of the singers, songwriters, producers, (house) bands, executives, and so on. I’ve been listening to a lot of The Supremes lately, too, and on some of their songs there are three singers, three songwriters and two producers. Back then the stories were usually brief stories of love or love lost and now the stories are those of violence and a love of violence. The music fits the generation—violent movies outsell romantic movies¹ and the kids these days, they don’t date. They love hook-ups, this here newfangled technology and losing virginity in elementary school (Yes, someone has done that. He was seven and the girl was eight. Oh, the ghetto). R&B was then and the Wu and their associates are now (or sometime circa 1995).

Well, I guess the real moral of this story is that albums that have joined my wish list include the following: RZA’s Bobby Digital in Stereo, Cappadonna’s The Pillage, Killah Priest’s Heavy Mental, Ghostface Killah’s Ironman and Supreme Clientele, Method Man’s Tical and ‘Ol Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers.

1. In the same year “Come See About Me” was Number 1, Dr. Strangelove lost the Oscar for Best Picture to My Fair Lady, while in 2004 (yes, 40 years later) the Best Picture award went to a boxing movie called Million Dollar Baby.

Easily the most difficult thing about being introduced at a party as the “funniest person [the host has] ever met” is attempting to live up to it over the course of the party (or in any event wherein you are introduced as “hilarious”). Sure, I’ve had the vague idea that some of my thought processes and mannerisms can be humorous but that’s exactly the problem—it’s those thought processes and mannerisms that are funny, not a set of jokes I have and tell everywhere I go.

It’s not like I meet someone and pull them aside and tell them, “Hey man, Knock Knock.” It’s more like when I’m in a comfortable situation where I can hear things and have an honest discussion I can make a quick quip. For example, a couple of days ago a coworker said, “Did you hear about this cow that escaped its farm out in Queens?” (I know, right? You can’t make this kind of thing up. It’s just too easy.) Of course I said, “No,” and inquired, “So when do you think they’ll finally catch your mom?”

I can’t plan this shit. There’s no time when it’s appropriate to break up a discussion on the aesthetics of Radiohead compared to Jay-Z with a Knock-Knock joke about the KGB. It’s a gift and a curse. I swear.

If you look at some of the best comedians—and there’s no way I’m comparing myself to them, I’m just saying, look: funny people can’t rule the world—they all have all sorts of personal problems. I think everyone has known about that since back in 1967 when Smokey Robinson sang about clowns or even way back in the 1800s when Leoncavallo wrote Pagliacci (and, in turn, provided the inspiration for the aforementioned Robinson song). Just look at Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Andy Kaufman, Artie Lange, Woody Allen, Mitch Hedberg, Bill Hicks, Dennis Leary (don’t even get me started on Worcester), Rodney Dangerfield, etc. With the ability to make people laugh there seems to be some inherent inability to run your own life; it’s like you can make other people happy but you can’t make yourself happy. It’s like that, not literally the case. I pretty much find something or revisit something that makes me happy every day; I find about 95% of my life hilarious but I can’t do that without being around other people. I can’t set up my own jokes.

At any rate, the point still remains. It’s incredibly difficult to be funny when the bar is set really high for you before you get the opportunity to prove yourself. It’s much easier to surprise when no one is attempting to compare you to a bar they’ve set in their own mind. That is, it’s easier to raise the bar when no one has placed it anywhere.