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Monthly Archives: March 2010

I don’t really remember when I met B____ d__ C_______; however, I think it’s entirely possible my first memories of her are arguments with her about my celibacy. Regardless, about two months ago her boyfriend, another fellow Holy Cross alum, came up to visit and I spent a day with the both of them. During that time we discussed important things like how being considered a good conversationalist usually revolves around listening and asking the right questions that get the speaker to keep talking—that is, not really doing much talking yourself. And they are great conversationalists. I thoroughly enjoyed that day because I got to make them laugh all day. My adoration for their combined powers aside, we chatted about how great her mom’s legs are, how Holy Cross won’t give up its Jesuit identity to join the Ivy League and the difference between “player” and “douche.”

B: Hi, D_____.
Chris: [laughs] You’ll be fine if you just pretend it’s not there. Promise. So who’s your favorite Sesame Street character?
B: I really like Grover because he doesn’t use contractions.
Chris: [laughs, amazed by the reasoning] That’s really it?
B: He’s also very affectionate.
Chris: He likes being scratched on the tummy.
B: Yeah. I also like that book—The Monster at the End of this Book—because he didn’t realize it was him.
Chris: Oh my. It was sort of a surprise ending.
B: For him. For him.
Chris. Oh my, I don’t know if that’s entirely that good, though.
B: Is that a bad answer?
Chris: That sounds scary. No, no, that’s not a bad answer. It’s just…
B: [laughs]
Chris: …it sounds scary for him.
B: It was really scary for him.
Chris: Did he recover?
B: He was scared during the entire book, like “Did you read the title? There’s a monster at the end of the book!”
Chris: Oh, Grover.
B: Then he realizes, “Oh! It’s me! I’m the monster!”
Chris: So then everything turned out okay?
B: Yeah, it turned out okay.
Chris: Oh, okay. I was worried he had self-esteem issues until the last page.
B: No, he realized it was just him and it was fine.
Chris: Well, that’s good.
B: Yeah.
Chris: Do you have a favorite band?
B: Yes. This is kind of a cliché answer. Oh God. Ugh. I really like Led Zeppelin.
Chris: No one’s said that yet.
B: Is it okay I said that? No one’s said that yet?
Chris: That’s my favorite band, actually. So good.
B: That’s my favorite band. I’ll go through all these phases like, “Oh man, The Bravery. They really feel me.” Or “Oh man…some other band that’s current right now.”
Chris: “I’m super into Weezy right now but…aww, no.”
B: “Oh man, Justin Beiber band…”
Chris: [guffaws]
B: No? Okay. It all just comes back to Led Zeppelin and I think that’s just beautiful.
Chris: Most music does, though.
B: I get tired of music so much, but I can’t get tired of them.
Chris: Yeah—sometimes there’ll be a phase where you’ll move away from them but you’ll always come back.
B: You always come back.
Chris: [Sighs] So much talent.
B: Mmmm.
Chris: So what’s your favorite album, then?
B: II.
Chris: Gaaa, I always have a hard time choosing between II or IV.
B: Me too! II or IV. I like the concept of IV—you know, no name, no title, just some symbols.
Chris: Ugh, classic.
B: But the thing is; II has “What is and What Should Never be,” II has “Heartbreaker.” So it’s like…can you really…
Chris: “Moby Dick.”
B: Yeah.
Chris: Classic. [groaning noises to indicate level of awesome]
B: [similar groaning noises to indicate matched level of appreciation]
Chris: Well, we should move on. We’re getting too excited. What’s your favorite movie?
B: Let me think. I also go through phases with movies. I can’t say I have one favorite movie.
Chris: Could you maybe do a Top Three or a Top Five?
B: Yeah. I’ll give you a Top Three. Um…
Chris: Cinderella. Right?
B: No. No, there’s nothing animated.
Chris: [laughs]
B: Can a trilogy count as one?
Chris: I’ll let it happen this time.
B: Okay. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Chris: It’s just a nine hour movie. You don’t have the whole story if you don’t have the whole thing.
B: You don’t. And also, if you watch the extended editions, which I definitely…
Chris: Did you?
B: …don’t own—I mean, I do—it’s more like 14 hours.
Chris: [laughs] Wait, how many times have you lost 14 hours of your life to that movie?
B: [laughs anxiously] So many.
Chris: [laughs] Oh my god.
B: I don’t know. Okay, I was a huge loser in high school [excellent transition to]…uh, Heathers…and I would say Mean Girls because I quote it a lot—I quote it a lot. But I don’t know if I would say it’s my favorite movie. I could always watch it, but…
Chris: Well, because you have a wide-set…[laughs]
B: [laughs] It’s not my fault …
[Laughter, regain their composure.]
B: But I might say, Everything is Illuminated.
Chris: Everything is…Ohhh, with, um…
B: With Elijah Wood.
Chris: ….is it Safran Foer who wrote that book?
B: Yeah.
Chris: I was surprised there was a huge shift in that movie:
B: Yeah, I was really surprised.
Chris: very funny and very, very sad in the end. Whew. Emotional rollercoaster.
B: That might have been one of the only times I liked the movie more than I liked the book.
Chris: Oh, really?
B: Yeah.
Chris: Because I haven’t read the book.
B: I’ll bring it in some time…to…here.
Chris: To here?
B: The city.
Chris: I want to go to there.
B: I have it in Connecticut. I want to go to there. I spent the entire morning watching 30 Rock reruns in bed, by the way. I was like, “Well, no brunch plans. I’ve got until 1:30.”
Chris: [laughs] Then you saw the one from Thursday [Season 4, Episode 14, “Future Husband”], right?
B: I haven’t finished it yet.
Chris: When she was like, “He could wear a thumb ring.” [gestures to his left thumb] “Whoops…”
B: [guffaws] I was thinking that. I was thinking that.
Chris: It felt so weird. I was like, “Come on, what’s terrible about that?”
B: [laughs] “Cool Runnings, man.” I loved—I loved it—, “Bobsled.”
Chris: When the lady in the office actually said it, I was like, “C’mon. I work with so many Jamaicans—no one ever says, ‘bobsled.’ You’re killing me.”
B: They’re not real Jamaicans.
Chris: And real Jamaicans just wanna ride bobsleds all the time and fix teeth?
[Extensive laughter, cool down lap.]
Chris: Is there anything you love unconditionally? [quietly] 30 Rock?
B: My dogs.
Chris: How many?
B: Just two.
Chris: And they’re both in Connecticut, right?
B: Yeah, they’re both in Connecticut. And my little sister.
Chris: Unconditionally?
B: Unconditionally. She pisses me off so much, but I kind of have to. I feel like moms are a given, so I’m not going to say that.
Chris: Oh yeah, that’s come up…
B: I’m not even going to say that. I’m not going to say my mom.
Chris: Great thighs or not.
B: Or Jesus. Those are just a given. [laughs] Great thighs or not. No, my little sister…and the city of London.
Chris: You did spend quite a bit of time there.
B: Fun times. [Pauses. Mutual friend and fellow Holy Cross alum] K___ R_____ is moving to London.
Chris: What is she going to be doing there?
B: She’s working for Reuters for a year, apparently.
Chris: Really? [thinking of his resume, how he’s interviewing someone in his spare time, perplexed she got this job] Does she…do…journalism…stuff?
B: I know she went to UMass for [her masters in] Environmental Studies, right?
Chris: That sounds about right. [It is.] It’s weird…weird.
B: I don’t know. I just hear these things and just tell them to you.
Chris: Just get jealous about…[how she’s in journalism without any experience I can think of]
B: …how she gets to go to London. I just wanna send her an email like, “Bitch, here are places you need to go.
Chris: [finding the word, “bitch,” humorous in this context, laughs] “Watcha back because I’mma show up and leave you dead in a trash can.” [Neither a real threat nor realistic.]
B: I…nope! That’s just you. That’s just you. [laughs]
Chris: [laughs] Okay, good. Alright then, what’s your favorite thing about New York?
B: Is that a real question?
Chris: That is a real question. I made a terrible transition but that is one of the questions.
B: Okay. I like that the subway’s open 24 hours.
Chris: Very convenient.
B: In London, it closes at 12:30 or 1, but bars and stuff stayed open. There were 24-hour buses and usually, I’d be taking the bus home anyway because one of the stops was in front of my house.
Chris: I think the subways in Boston close at like 2.
B: No, they close at 12:30 or 1 or something like that. Which means the bars close at 2. Which I think is silly, you know? In London, sometimes you could just wait and keep on going out until the tube reopened and just get back on and go home. You can’t do that in some other places. And I like that the Met is suggested pay.
Chris: Oh, yeah.
B: I like that a lot.
Chris: I tend to just pay $10.
B: Really? Because I do a dollar.
Chris: You do a dollar? I already have enough of a hard time paying $10.
B: Don’t. No. That’s…that’s silly.
Chris: That was even when I wasn’t even a student. Now I have a student card…
B: I have a student ID, too, I just throw a dollar. I’m like, “Here. Five. Give me five tickets.”
Chris: [laughs] You throw a dollar at them?
B: “Here’s 50 cents. Me and the rest of this line.” They get so much funding. They have ridiculous paychecks. The Met does not need our money.
Chris: I was even thinking about becoming a member.
B: You could if you want to, but there’s nothing…well, it’s cool because you get invited to other things.
Chris: And then you get free entrances.
B: Free entrances you could just pay a cent for.
Chris: But I didn’t have that information about how much they’re getting paid up until the last couple of seconds, so…I always felt bad if I didn’t pay at least $10.
B: Think about it this way: a lot of the tourists don’t know that either; they almost always pay the suggested price.
Chris: $20.
B: And the Met is New York’s most popular…
Chris: Museum?
B: No.
Chris: Tourist Destination?
B: Tourist Destination. So if you think about how many people who visit the Met, they don’t really need the resident’s money.
Chris: I guess you’re right. I already pay enough taxes.
B: Exactly. I mean, the Victoria and Albert Museum was like ten minutes from my house. I used to just go there—all museums are free—
Chris: Yeah, my sister told me about that.
B: I would just go there and hang out. Whenever I was bored or when I was sad I would just go and see my friends: the paintings.
Chris: [laughs] “See my friends: the paintings.”
B: The spoons. But here…
Chris: “Hey guys, how ya been since last week? What’s Up?”
B: If I wanna go to the Frick and say “What Up?” to my favorite Constable, I have to pay $5 to do so. That’s stupid. That’s why I love the Met.
Chris: One of the other things I love about the Met is how ridiculously large it is. I’ve lost entire days and not even seen an entire wing…
B: Have you ever been into Visible Storage?
Chris: [searching his memory…] Yes, actually.
B: Isn’t it the best place ever?
Chris: Oh my god.
B: You know how the American Wing is closed for renovation?
Chris: Yep.
B: My friends and I were trying to find the American Wing, realized it was closed, so we decided to just go to Visible Storage, see some cool paintings. Guess who was there without her frame? John Singer Sargent’s Madame X.
Chris: Really?
B: We sat in front of it for like an hour, just crying. Crying.
Chris: [laughs]
B: Usually it’s so high up, you can’t get too close to it. We were like this close to Madame [motions no more than two inches with both hands]…Oh my god it was beautiful. There was only a piece of plexiglass separating us.
Chris: [still laughing] Highlight of the year, then.
B: Highlight of my life. I guess until I get married or have kids, but right now, that’s it.
Chris: Top Ten. Top Two. Top One.
B: Top One. For now.
Chris: What am I talking about? Well, I guess that’s about it…

My plan was to spend Tuesday in MoMA and to get a look at this here Tim Burton tomfoolery (see Interview 3), but I had the foresight to check their hours. Instead I decided to use my newfound knowledge of the Met (see upcoming Interview 4) to gain entrance for a 1$.

There was a painting, Heart of the Andes, in the Robert Lehman Collection that, in 1859, cost 25 cents to see. I nearly guffawed–they paid a quarter of what I paid to see an entire museum and that painting. At the original showings, they even encouraged people to bring opera glasses to look at this thing. Needless to say, I spent a little extra time perusing it.

Seeing as this is my fourth visit, I think I’m finally getting the lay of the land there. Reading the map is far easier and I spent a lot of my time trying to see areas I hadn’t yet seen or wanted to see more of. I finally saw their Japanese collection, some Chinese Buddhist art, some of the Islamic Art they had on display (construction), European sculpture, more European paintings and I finally got to spend more time in the Grecian art areas. I revisited visual storage, which is part visual overload and part pant-shitting awesome (some other dude in there sounded like he climaxed every time he turned a corner). Perhaps most importantly, I got to study their Mayan collection.

I think I might have been a Mayan in a past life. Just about everything they had gave me goosebumps and the sparsity of their collection left me wanting more. Plus, I love Mexican food, so…

I’m fully aware that the paragraph above my mexican musings could be read as if I’m attempting to impress you with my extensive and unparalleled culture and class. However, it’s really the opposite (particularly the class part). Getting familiar with the Met, getting to the point where I might be able to navigate and find things without a map makes me realize just how little I know about the world–that I know things, but that I will never know all of it, experience all of it.

It’s kind of like when Socrates said, “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” Whenever you heard that in school, you were always like, “Oh, yeah. I know that, too. Plus, my ferret ate my homework.” Gross, you had a ferret? Anyway, it was always just some bullshit in the background, that never felt real because you were always learning something to prove your value to the community.

And all it took was 1$, incredible back pain (from standing in place and slow walking for five hours) and lots of incredible art to realize, “Great Scott! Chris truly is full of shit. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s just more bullshit from here on out–at least someone’s shining it.”

There’s nothing I love more than when people say funny things. I also love being able to share such funny statements, so consider this my post-St. Patty’s Day gift to you. A Scottish best friend of mine and I were talking about important things, specifically, 15-year-old Glenfiddich, when he typed the following:

“it tastes like gold and awesome mixed together.” -Mart

Until I can get up on some tasty beverages like that, to Mart I say, “hahahahahaha” and to you I say, “One day, sir and/or madam. One day.”

The best episode of Rescue Me ever invented is from the fifth season and it’s called “Wheels.” You’re welcome.

This is gonna sound fuckin’ crazy–trust me, I think it’s fuckin’ crazy–but I think Gorillaz is rock’s Wu-Tang Clan. Damon Albarn is the Wu-Abbot (the RZA), Dan the Automator is the GZA, De La Soul is Raekown, Method Man and Ghostface and…that Japanese chick is ODB. As they get older, more and more collaborators pop up out of the woodwork and you start to wonder, what do they stand for? Where are they going? Who are these new people and why do they matter? Is the message the same?

Who else can get two members of The Clash together? Who else can get Snoop Dogg and Mos Def on that same album? The new album feels like it’s just a collection of tremendously qualified musicians making music together. There doesn’t have to be a label anymore: indie, alternative, country, hip-hop, emo, punk, rap, R&B, psychedelic, symphonic, rock. If you’ve got talent, you’re in.

I feel like this is the future of music. Just like Wu-Tang, Gorillaz is starting to show the effects of our ADD culture. They’re critical darlings because they’re something more than just the amalgamation of their talent. They’re free to create, to innovate in any direction they please because they can add whoever they please to the record: their band is four cartoon characters.

Perhaps, and yes, it’s about to get crazier, they–unlike the Wu-Tang Clan–cannot be classified. And thus, they are far more accessible for critics who grew up on Dylan or Dr. Dre, The Rolling Stones or RZA, Jimi Hendrix or Jay-Z, Beastie Boys or The Beatles.

But the real heart of the matter is that when I grow up I want to be Murdoc: pithy, filthy, rhythmic, sarcastic, animated, talented, tatted, barely clothed. A rock star. Well, maybe not diseased or fictional but definitely smarmy, signed and talented.

I met up with C_____ L_ at Bubby’s in Tribecca because in New Jersey, C_____’s home and favorite state, “bubbies” are synonymous with “boobies.” I had planned on declaring, “Show me your bubbies!” upon my entrance, but something felt Catholic-Churchy about doing it with all the toddlers around. Seeing as our friendship runs about five years long now, I mentioned my intention to interview her and we spent the entire time talking about everything else, forgetting the interview completely. We set up an interview in Hoboken—her current New York Jersey Compromise—and chatted in her apartment to the point that I was a little worried we were both going to forget about the interview again. We went to lunch, admired Hoboken’s quaintness and, after lunch, C____ revealed that this was her first time being interviewed instead of interviewing; she’s way better at journalism than I am and has done cool things like publish her work in magazines she didn’t found with me and two of our friends, or like meet President Obama. I, however, have published most of my work in this blog and in the journal we founded and only met my (Texas) Senator once (in high school)—no photo, just a lasting impression of douche-ness. At any rate, I was surprised the interview happened in Piccolo Roma instead of in a Starbucks, but the location didn’t seem to be the real issue at hand: she was visibly uncomfortable while interviewing so I didn’t ask the hard questions like, “So then if you love New Jersey so much, then why don’t just marry it? Show me your bubbies!!!”

Chris: Who’s your favorite Sesame Street character?
C: I love Grover. He’s blue and underrepresented.
Chris: They spend too much time on Elmo.
C: Which means maybe they’re conservative.
Chris: What?
C: You know, the red one over the blue one.
Chris: Oh, I see.
C: He had the one skit that I loved when I was little. My Mom said I would just sit and laugh at it the whole time.
Chris: You don’t remember what the skit was?
C: Something about over an under…or through.
Chris: That was a running thing you would just die for?
C: Yeah. When I was little. So I love Grover.
Chris: Do you have a favorite band?
C: Right now or of all time?
Chris: I’m leaning towards all time.
C: I don’t know.
Chris: Then if you don’t know all time, what about right now?
C: Okay, I’ve always loved Weezer, but I don’t know if I’d say they’re the all time best band in the entire world.
Chris: You’re just a huge fan of Raditude?
C: Yeah.
Chris: Are you being sarcastic?
C: No, I just love Rivers Cuomo. Now…I don’t know. I listen to Pandora a lot, so whatever shows up. I like to listen to things that will relax me. Matt Nathanson…
Chris: Enya?
C: [Unfazed] Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, things like that.
Chris: What’s your favorite movie?
C: I’ve never thought about these kind of questions. I’m not kidding you. [Pause] Well…overall Love Actually is my favorite movie. But…no, that’s it. Love Actually.
Chris: Is there anything you love unconditionally?
C: People? Things?
Chris: Whatever you love unconditionally. Books? [Yes, I think I knew the upcoming answer in advance.]
C: I mean, I love my grandmother.
Chris: I’ll accept that.
C: Um…I love my book collection. There’s this one picture of my grandparents that I have that I’ll never get rid of. It’s on their wedding day and they’re walking out of the church and everyone’s throwing things at them.
Chris: Flowers and…
C: Yeah, but they’re all immigrants, standing on the side in big boots and headwraps and they’re all Italian. So…
Chris: [Laughs] Do you like this picture because your family is gangsters?
C: Pretty much. It’s like the Mafia.
Chris: It’s not the romance?
C: Well, I found the picture in my grandmother’s dresser and it was in between scarves, by itself. I showed it to my grandmother like, “Why is this here?” She was like, “You can have it. I don’t need it.” So I framed it and now it’s in my room. I love that picture.
Chris: What’s your favorite thing about New York?
C: The fact that everything’s there. You could be like, “I wanna go to see a Tim Burton exhibit at the MoMA, then go get a cupcake, then walk around the park—or nine different parks—, then go to the library.”
Chris: You gotta plan out the library thing because they tend to close a little earlier than MoMA…
C: Right, then I’d got to the library first [laughs], and then you have to carry the books. You’d have to stop home every once in a while.
Chris: Maybe library, home then MoMA, then cupcakes and Central Park.
C: Right. So…yeah, everything’s there.
Chris: Was that so hard?
C: That’s it?!?!?!?

A stridently disappointing St. Patrick’s Day until the last 15 minutes.  She’s Out of My League was kind of underwhelming then I spent the rest of the day researching jobs and drafting cover letters. I got everything in class right except the notes, which was the last part of the day. So the lasting impression was the time when I fucked up.

Luckily, there are a few things I pretty much always enjoy so I figured out how to play The-Dream’s “Fast Car” on my guitar. You read that right: I taught myself how to play all the notes in an R&B song. Truly a momentous day. I’ve been working on this song for maybe a month and it just clicked when I put my guitar in dropped-D. It’s probably safe to say that conquering this song has provided a little more impetus to get a real job so I can get a desktop computer and Pro Tools and string all these bass and guitar lines together. They need to be together, not just written down in a notebook on my shelf.

Man, I’d record the shit out of that song.

“You’re wearing: Cookie Monster”–Mozilla Firefox 3.6

hell yeah I am.

There’s no way this has ever happened before, but I was in class today and I found myself thinking, Holy crap, I wish everyone would shut the fuck up. I haven’t been to  one of these classes yet and had the desire to crack a joke, either–something that’s been a part of my relationship with education since I had recess.

It’s just that whenever people conduct or sing along with the people who can’t quite get it right yet, the people having trouble in the first place start having more trouble. And I want them to get it right so we can move on. I want more, I want to move faster. I want to leave all the slow people behind and get to all the stuff I don’t know, to all the things I can’t do yet.

This class–Sight Reading and Musicianship Level 1–only meets once a week for an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s like my sanctuary, a period where I learn a language I’ve loved for a long time but have never spoken. It’s probably like going through first grade but this time without imitating Cookie Monster or deciding not to tease Kaitlin with my miraculous highlighter collection or without building a subway system out of toilet paper rolls. Just me, some books with dots in them, a voice recorder, a notepad, a mechanical pencil and a no-talking hex brewing in my head aimed at everyone but my professor.

That is, I don’t hate everyone else, I just want them to catch up. This is my friends and family, my literacy, my bread and water, my ceiling: it feels like I can’t live without this shit.