Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I met this dude who said he was in some old Scottish gang, like the Dead Rabbits in Gangs of New York. I asked him about the movie and he said he never heard of it. Then he told me a story about getting stabbed by some Irish dude, and talking to him in Gaellic, and making friends with him. I think he might have been lying.

I saw some middle aged lady kissing on an older man on the Hopkins shuttle today, right in the middle of the aisle. That's some irritating shit to see at 7:30 AM on the way to work. I also saw a little sign on a lampost while I saw waiting for the bus that said "Are you a desperate housewife? OR Are you sexually frustrated?" and it had the guy's number. No picture or anything. Maybe it was the old guy on the bus.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A few years ago I did this outreach trip out of my college to stand up for kids in San Diego, which is this organization that works with street kids. Part of that trip was education on what the kids go through, so they took us to this big park where there's a street that goes in a big. They call it the Fruit Loop because that's where all the male prostitute teenagers go to get picked up. I stood there on the road for about 5 minutes and this car pulled up, and a guy got out, talked to me about my shoe size and the hair on my chest and stuff, and then asked if I wanted to go for a ride with him. You know, just like everybody else on earth I've been made fun of and stuff when I was a kid, but nothing can match how disgusted and pissed off I was when he offered me a ride. I can only imagine what it's like for the kids who have to do that to eat, or for the girls who put up with getting harrassed on the street everyday. Now I'm no feminist, I don't even really have any idea what the tenets of feminism are or what it stands for, and sometimes I say "bitch," so I'm no enlightened dude I guess, but I think it's fucked up when guys think they go through the same hardships as women cause they used to get made fun of or whatever. On Julianne Shepherd's blog some guy posted a comment on one of her blogs that "We all have hard lives Julianne!", and then offered up as proof of his hard life that he got made fun of, and also that he plays rugby(?). You think you know but you have no fuckin idea.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I have Netflix now, and one of the first movies I got was Duel. It's this made for TV movie from the 70s, Steven Spielburg's directoral debut. The movie's about this dude driving through the country to some meeting, and along the way he pisses off a truck driver, and the rest of the movie is about the truck trying to kill him. At one point in the movie the guy says to himself that it's like he's back in the jungle again. It reminded me of my old job, driving a van around in New York. One time as I was getting ready to merge onto this bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx, a big MTA bus totally cut into my lane, way before the lanes even met and way way before the solid white lines became a dotted line. I had to slam on the brakes, and with girls on my van screaming, this huge bus came within 6 inches of barreling right into us. There really is something about having a huge piece of metal coming with some demented fucking bastard behind the wheel, not caring if you die, that can make an hour and a half movie about it not get boring.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

With my mixes I like to tell a story or at least make a point. I also don't see the point of making a mix if it's not going to have a diverse mix of music on it. Here's a mix I never actually made, it's kind of a mix of my favorite mixes.

1 - Johnny Cash - "Don't Bring Your Guns to Town" This is a story song about a cocky kid who rides into town strapped and ends up getting shot in a bar after he pulls his gun when some "dusty cowpoke" laughs at him. It was recorded in the 70s but it has the same bareknuckled production values that made Johnny Cash's albums that he recorded with Rick Rubin towards the end of his life so popular, even for people who don't like country.
2 - The Game feat. 50 Cent - "How We Do" It might not seem like it, but going from the Johnny Cash song to this is a totally great, natural transition. The simple guitar rhythm feeds right into this precise series of ticks and booms laid down by Dr. Dre, and the songs are basically about the same thing. 50 and the Game rapping about fronting on people "We make a move and act a fool while we up in the club," Game saying he'd shoot someone for stepping on his shoes. It might seem just silly except the shit actually happens, someone did get killed for stepping on somebody else's shoes in a club not too ago down here in Baltimore.
3 - Young Buck - "Bang Bang" The only dude still in G-Unit who I still actually like, here he is praying "Lord forgive me but he tried to kill me" and rapping about guilt. The beat is the Nancy Sinatra song of the same name. These first three songs are like a trilogy. A lot of people make the point that Johnny Cash probably made more songs about killing people than any rapper, but he always sings from the perspective of guilt and/or regret, which rappers apparently don't do. But here you go. Now you got this Johnny Cash song plus two rap songs all looking at what could be the same scenario from 3 totally different points of view. And they all sound real good together too.
4 - Nelly feat. Tim McGraw - "Over and Over Again" I saw part of some VH1 special on the 500 worst moments in Hip Hop, or something like that, and this song was on there. Whatever, VH1 doesn't know shit about shit. Beyond being a solid breakup song, here you've got a country dude and a rapper from East St. Louis singing, asking why do we have to keep fighting about the same things over and over again? It's some Barak Obama shit. This song, even if you don't care about bridging the gap from rap to country, it still sounds good. A lot warmer than the Young Buck song, but there's a flow between these two songs about regret, one about crime and one about love.
5 - Rolling Stones - "You Got the Silver" Keith Richards sings on this instead of Mick Jagger, sounds totally perfect alongside the slide guitar. "Baby, what's in your eyes?" This song sounds like kissing in the snow, but ends up on the note that Keith Richards doesn't care.
6 - Otis Redding "The Glory of Love" This song is awesome. Otis has a lot of strength in his voice that the song builds up to, but it starts on a whisper. The horns, the drums, the piano, everything on this song comes together perfectly when the song switches up the tempo and keeps building. The song is about love making you cry, move over and give up, but still being something amazing. This song turns a corner, in the way it sounds and it's message. Up to this point this mix has been on some dark and depressing shit, but now it starts looking at some of the same issues from a more positive or at least upbeat feel.
7 - Nas - "Halftime" Illmatic was recorded when Nas was real young, something like 18, before he was even signed I think. No fancy production, just this one young kid with crazy flow rapping about real dark shit on all these four and a half minute long songs. Like my brother once said, it's got no fat on it. Halftime is easily the most upbeat song on there, with a fat baseline and Nas rapping about loving rapping. "Back in '83 I was an MC sparking/ but I was too scared to grab mikes in the park and/ kick my little raps cause I thought niggas wouldn't understand/ and now at every jam I'm the fucking man." Closes it out with a dedication to all 5 boroughs.
8 - Young Jeezy - "My Hood" We keep the gravy train running with this song about how much Jeezy loves his hood, my hood, and your hood. He paints a fun picture of a scene that sounds like something straight out of The Wire: "Ford Taurus pull up, everybody run/ White boys jump out, pointing with they guns!/ Ford Taurus leave, everybody came back/ Hey! Hope them boys didn't find my sack." Just like Nas he compares the rap game to the crack game.
9 - Aretha Franklin - "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" As the story goes, this song was recorded with Aretha singing and a bunch of white dudes playing instruments, in Alabama, in the 60s. Jerry Wexler or somebody under him fucked up. After they recorded this song and knew it was the shit, like, the fucking bomb, they all had some drinks. Someone pinched Aretha's ass, with her boyfriend standing right there. They got through maybe one take of another song and the whole situation got so bad and close to violence that the rest of the CD ended up being recorded up in New York. Which was a shame, cause this song definately lets you appreciate that laid back southern vibe that allows Aretha to scream, shout and moan and sound totally beautiful, not overpowering or being overpowered by the instruments. "My friends keep telling me that you ain't no good/ but they don't know that I'd leave you if I could." She loves this dude the way America loves violence, gangsters, and drugs. Different picture of love than the Otis Redding song.
10 - Jay-Z feat. Eminem - "Renegade" The first time I heard this song it was in a class at my college, where my professor played this song and told us to write an essay about it. I think I wrote something about Jay-Z and Eminem pointing the finger back at all the people who attack their music, at the society who condemned them to poverty then turned around and condemning them for what they did to get paid. Anyway, Nas was right when he said Em murdered Jay on his own shit here - Eminem's beat on this song and his verses speak for themselves. But Jay's are great too nonetheless, he's painting pictures with his verses just like story singing country singer. "I penetrate pop culture, bring 'em a lot closer to the block/ where they pop toasters and they live with they moms" and later "by the bodega, eyein' under my coat feelin' braver/ doo-rag wrappin my waves up, pockets full of hope."
11 - Biggie - "Things Done Changed" It's funny to think about, but when my parents grew up there wasn't any such thing as crack, there hadn't been a real heroine epidemic and the white flight had only just begun. No matter where you live, that shit affects your life and how you see the world. As we can all see from the hurricaine, our cities really are on the verge of anarchy but a lot of the people who want to put stickers on CDs or bleep cusses don't want to think about that shit, they want to blame the downfall of society the people who "fell through the cracks." Biggie here isn't blaming anyone but he's kind of asking what happened. "What happened to the summertime cookouts/ seems like every time I turn around somebody got took out/ and my mother got cancer in the breast/ don't ask me why I'm motherfucking stressed/ things done changed."
12 - Kanye West feat. the Game - "Crack Music" "How we stop the black panthers?/ Ronald Regan cooked up an answer." Totally clunky beat on this song, almost demanding that you listen to what Kanye's saying. Not just being pissed off at republicans either, there's also more rapping comparing crack to music . Someone doing a spoken word thing at the end says "What we gave back was crack music and now we ooze it through they nooks and crannies. ... Now the former slaves trade hooks for grammys. This dark diction has become America's addiction."
13 - Mike Jones feat. Paul Wall - "Whatch'a know about (Screwed and Chopped Remix)" This song actually does seem to be oozing, with impossibly deep voices rapping a phone number you can call to get ringtones. Seems to epitomize the idea of crack music, even though it isn't about drug dealing. The totally slick screwed up beat sounds amazing after Crack Music, kind of like how "Drive Slow" sounds like it fits on Paul Wall's album.

On my own mix, I stuck on a Rod Lee song at the end, but Baltimore club tracks are hard to come by sometimes, and they don't sound good on mixtapes or burned CDs anyway because they're all on DJ mixes anyway, and you hear the end and beginnings of the surrounding tracks. The song I used is the Horn Theme, this totally fucking epic pounding horn beat with orchestral singing or something in the background. This music seems like the type of shit that should be being played in clubs you'd be afraid to go to. Like the screwed and chopped Houston shit, this song represents an indiginous musical form that could fit loosely under the umbrella of hip hop, but unlike Mike Jones and Slim Thug, this shit hasn't broken into the mainstream at all yet.
I guess the story of this CD is kind of, what it's like to love something or someone that isn't always good for you.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I saw Crash last night on DVD. It kind of reminded me a lot of the Wire. There were almost no really clearly defined good guys and bad guys, not even really a main character, not a lot was resolved, and it was a totally epic movie about normal people. I think that it might be my favorite LA movie after the Big Lebowski.

Battle Royal is cool too. I love how in Japanese cinema you can have this ridiculous, over the top movie about a bunch of middle schoolers killing each other, and at the same time do this whole coming of age story that seems like it's really actually directed at middle schoolers.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Had a great weekend up in big fat New York. Played poker on friday up in the Bronx. And saturday had a great time celebrating Tom's birthday. We had dinner with Julianne Shephard and Ryan the Mack cold macking it, occasionally threatening me with violence. Then we saw Lungfish at Southpaw. Never saw Lungfish before, and it was the first good time I had at an indie rock show for like, a while. They don't try to hard and they're not afraid of simple riffs and hooks. That's all I need. Then Sean came out and we hung out in some bar that had Bill Monroe in the jukebox. Tom's friend Nick from the Voice kept throwing shots at him and my bro got stupid drunk.

I had a thought that it would be funny if the Cookie Monster forgot about cookies and became obsessed with eating brains instead.

Speaking of which, when a kid at my work bit me the other day I realized I had seen way too many zombie movies to not take that seriously, and I spent a couple hours in the hospital taking Hep C tests and getting perscription pennecillin. Special Ed is awesome.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Whenever people talk about the Department of Homeland security not being able to deal with the hurricane and the flooding because they were only preparing for terrorist attacks I wanna puke. I mean, what are they gonna have to do in the event of any breakdown of law and order or a situation where people have to get out of an area? They have to be able to mobilize the National Guard, establish leadership, and open lines of communication to areas that are cut off. They would need to have resources available and ways to get them distributed to people who wouldn't necessarily be in shelters. Right? I mean, they'd have to do this stuff in the event of another 9/11, anthrax, smallpox, an explosion at a nuclear plant, or whatever you could think of, just like that's the same shit they should've been able to do last week. On top of all that, anybody getting ready to deal with terrorism would have to be able to be flexible and creative with their responses. The people who were on the planes who got hijacked probably didn't fight back because nobody had ever heard of terrorists using planes as missiles before, except the people on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. You gotta figure that if and when the terrorists attack us again they're gonna do something else we haven't heard of before and we gotta have leaders who aren't going to only be able to do shit about scenarios they've already rehearsed. I mean, people actually knew that New Orleans was in a precarious position and a lot of people had predicted what happened and we still got caught unawares. I wish people on the TV were asking real questions about what the fuck the Department of Homeland Security is good for besides color coded warning systems.

I just saw something on Crooks and Liars about a Geraldo and Shepard Smith segment on Fox news, I guess on Friday. I don't know how to link video but you should go to the website and watch it. I didn't used to like Geraldo, but here he is on FOX News at the Superdome, crying, holding a baby, saying "I don't know, man! Let them walk out of here. Let them walk the hell out of here!" And Smith yelling at Hannity when he says lets get some perspective. I watched on Wednesday or Thursday when Hannity reffered to people saying there was no help and asking why as "whining." This is why I'd rather watch FOX news than CNN any day, or why I always rather talk politics with a republican than a democrat or a liberal, cause I think it's real important to know what other people are thinking and not to close your mind or preach to the choir. Sometimes this means I watch TV that makes me so mad, like Hannity's "Whining" comment, or when I've been in a conversation where some girl from South Carolina said that women on welfare should have to have their tubes tied. But sometimes you get surprised by a fresh way of understanding something, or you get totally blown away by something they don't show you on CNN or the Daily Show. So I got nothing but respect for everybody at FOX news involved with that, and just like I'm glad it was a rapper saying "George Bush doesn't care about Black people," I'm glad that it's on FOX news that people are yelling at Hannity and pleading, begging, for the government to do something.

I like that show Rome. I dunno if they're doing it on purpose but if you take it as an analogy for today's political climate, like the last Star Wars movie, it must be the only show that looks at it from a republican standpoint. The bad guys are the ones who hate Ceasar because of the war and the way the common people love him. I guess Ceasar isn't really the good guy though, and that's what I like about all the HBO shows, how they don't have black and white, good vs. evil characters and storys.

I'm gonna miss Entourage, that's really the only sitcom I watch on TV now. I guess I've heard that Arrested Development is funny but I never watched it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

It's crazy to see Kanye West tripping over his words and shit, close to tears and rambling when this dude is always so collected. Someone had to say that shit though.

Went to a K-Swift party last night, shit was fun. My new roomate, kind of shy dude never heard of club music, I invited just cause I didn't wanna be rude. Was afraid it wouldn't be his thing until the Darth Vader song where the dude was doing a full body headbang. Awesome.