The Magic of the Mixtape

Should I bolt every time I get that feeling in my gut when I meet someone new? Well, I’ve been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.

I’ve never read Nick Hornby’s book. I should, I know — seeing the movie (no matter how great it is, with John Cusack and all) isn’t the same.

But a lot of people in my circle of friends get it.  Maybe we couldn’t have written the book, but we’ve made our fair share of mix tapes – or CDs, or playlists, or 8tracks. We get older, the technology gets newer, and the story stays the same.

I’ve made hundreds of mixes in my time, to be played in certain seasons, to remind me of certain seasons. For movies that have been scripted, for movies that haven’t even been plotted yet, for those times when I want to make up my own movies on the fly.  To absent friends, to present friends, and even to enemies.

I’ve heard more and more artists complaining about the iPod, and the fact that you can set your album or artist or entire collection to shuffle, and you don’t get the beauty of listening to an album, straight through, as the artist intended.  If that’s the case, why not release your music as 70 minute song cycles, with no track break?  But even if you do — we’ll still figure out a way to break out the five minute chunk that we want, because it would bridge Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” and “Lady Helen” by Devin Townsend perfectly.

These songs, these lyrics — for many of us, there is a soundtrack to life.  It’s nice to be able to preserve that, when we choose, or to craft an alternate to inspire or escape.

The Great Here and Now

I’m not sure why — I’m still hashing through that as best I can — but I feel too much the past couple of weeks as though I’ve abruptly and randomly stopped my progress, sitting down in the middle of the path to play an indeterminate number of games.

I need a good solid kick in the ass.

Another week already?

I love the difference between calendar time and experiential time.  Not knowing without thinking very carefully about it whether something happened last week or three months ago… That overwhelming influx of experiences and memories in formation…

Adjusting to a new world is equal parts awesome and traumatic.  The awesome is perfectly logical; the traumatic is completely illogical.  Who still feels fear of the unknown in this day and age?

It feels good to be inspired again.  Creatively and metamorphically.

I wonder if this will make as little sense to me in three years as things I wrote three years ago?

On death, and living

Rain blades are portals
Burrowing in ether
Through fleshes of souls
Deeper and deeper
Into the flames
Of words with no names
An unborn teeming oblivion
Yet still
I breathe
In this fathomless void
This bristling darkness
What is there to see?
In the blackest of shadows
An echo replies

The answer is nothing
The truth is the question
A sun-crested searcher
Beaming her bones
Fills up my lungs
With a new song of question
How can there be now?
If only I’d dream
Faster than light
Set fire to the past
Set the future to flight
See with the eye
For which I am the mirror
The pitcher; the catcher; the game

There is rhythm in this silence
Blood in this faceless wind
Pistons of white flame
Firing perfect unity
In the machinery of the beyond

Swallow the heart of God with your hands
Don’t trust your eyes if they see only tears


Shadows of new dimensions

If you haven’t read FLATLAND by Edwin Abbot, it’s worth a read, especially from a physics/philosophical (philosophysical?) perspective.  This is the sort of thing that I love to have float through my headmeat when I’ve got time to ponder it.  You start thinking about things like this that are just too big to hold onto, and soon enough you start feeling like you’re on the edge of some bigger truth, just past the horizon.

And when stuck in these moments, it makes me sad that there is no more Carl Sagan around, to put it into words that the rest of us can understand and appreciate:


Beautiful, beautiful! Magnificent desolation.

Why is it that we cling to horror (9/11: “Never Forget!”) but relinquish the victories? How many people understand the importance of 7/20? Sadly, I suspect, fewer every year.  Mine is possibly the last generation to appreciate the magnitude of the technological leap humankind made between the Orville Brothers’ first flight and July 20, 1969. For thousands of years, mankind dreamed of flight; finally discovered, it took only seven plus decades to extend that dream to a rock where no man had ever walked before.

Never before.

And sadly, very few times afterward.

Take a few minutes out of your day and educate yourselves on one of the few things in my lifetime (I know, a few years early) that we as a species have gotten right and can celebrate without regret.


Wikipedia entry on Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the moon

Apollo 11 facts often get twisted out of shape in the retelling

After 40 years, get the back story behind that ‘one small step’

Bring on the Haha

Today’s goal for you — and I don’t refer to Friday, July 17, as today, but rather whatever day you are reading this; and by you, I mean you and everyone you can manipulate through licit or not means — is to find some laughter on the web, share some of what you find with others, and maybe — just maybe — recommend something to make me laugh.

For instance:


This is Questionable Content. Much like PVP below, and below that Something Positive, it can be best to start from the very first one and move your way forward.  QC is sometimes hit and miss with me, but when it hits, it’s second only to…

If XKCD doesn’t make you laugh, then you really have no business reading anything I write, or listening to me.  I can spend hours once a month rereading the entire batch of comics.  His arc involving Nathan Fillion and Summer Glau from Firefly is quite possibly my favorite ever.

pvp20090619Nerd alert!!! PVP is another one that you really should take from the beginning and move forward.  There’s a lot of inside jokes and self-reference.  (And amazingly, for me especially, PVP is mostly innocent fun — especially compared to what I’m about to share with you)

Oh, wait. I lied.  There’s actually a tie for first place:

sp06122009Something Positive is awesomefuckingtastic. Go to the beginning and don’t stop reading until you’ve read all the way up to current day, or until your eyeballs have exploded from the strain of staring at a screen for days without rest. It’s so good that I was going to pick a favorite, and going back only a month had found eight that are worth sharing.  So I picked one at random.

Fun fact: my iPod just started transitioned from the snarky wit of Weezer to the soul-devouring crush of Dimmu Borgir.  And so I give you:

car2corsetAfter you’ve finished reading through the Cyanide and Happiness archives, you’ll be speechless, affectless, and probably broken, the same way that abused teenage runaway girls never really recover and have normal sex lives, no matter how much their boyfriends do right for them and treat them like queens and buy them everything they’ve ever wanted.  The weeks stretch on, and just when you think it’ll be okay to maybe try something a little new and exciting, you get blamed for wrecking years of therapy, and then her older brothers — who were also abused, you suspect — start threatening you, and you have to move to Alabama and assume a new identity.

You’ll have to show the judge on the little dolly where C&H touched you, is what I’m getting at.