England’s breath

Right-o.

I was just in England for two weeks. I went to see the Mute Short Circuit event — which, duh, was one of the highlights of my life — and see old friends and travel around and just soak in cask ale. All of the above was accomplished and felt wonderful. As you may have gathered by now, I don’t do these travel summaries so well (“hey, where are the pics from your move across country?” Coming soon…probably) unless it’s in the form of a mix. Ergo, the tunes that set the tone for the trip.

“King’s Cross” Pet Shop Boys
“Stolen Dog” Burial
“Lifeforms” The Future Sound of London
“Basscadet (Beaumonthannanttwomx)” Autechre
“Faith Healer” Recoil
“Sacred” Depeche Mode
“Nobody’s Diary” Yazoo
“A Little Respect” Erasure
“Brat Moj” Laibach
“Back to Nature” Fad Gadget
“Crystalised” The XX
“Left of Mother” Curve
“A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Aubrey Mix MK 2)” The Orb
“Marine Radio” Brian Eno & Jah Wobble
“On” Aphex Twin
“Souvlaki Space Station” Slowdive
“Unquiet Grave” Jah Wobble & The Invaders of the Heart
“Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills)” Brian Eno

get merrie
(again, sorry if you’re using iTunes — no, really, sorry. It’s a horrible piece of software and I can’t make the playlist for you so you’ll have to set it by hand according to the above.)

As always, awesome to see my international crew and meet some new ones: Omid & Alannah, Christian, Paul, Ewa, Jan-Ronald, Clive, John, pk, Cath, Ryan & Charlotte, and Johnny & Anna.

I do have photos from this trip… I suspect I’ll put up the Chicago -> San Francisco photos first, then the England ones. So, uh, that’s the closest you’ll get to a schedule.

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3170 miles / W through 34° 14?, S through 4° 32? / 43 hours

I’m on my third day as a San Francisco resident. I thought about writing a thing before leaving, in the generic-life-update-for-a-blog category, but I figure the only people who look at this thing (well, who might look at it if it ever had anything new) are people who already knew I was moving to SF, so no point in doing that.

The general feeling right now is that I don’t know what I’m feeling. It feels melodramatic to say this, but I feel very personality-less here. It is a completely foreign culture that I have no attachment to, other than believing that I will be quite happy. For the first time, I have been given the opportunity to create a life for myself wholly unattached to my past, and it’s going to take me a long time to get a handle on that. It even took me two weeks to figure out that being able to do what I want with my life is a good thing. There is, of course, the fear of change that people have. I am more prone to fearing change than others, but I recognize it is nearly always for the better, so I perhaps crave it more than others. Fear of the unknown, though, is always something to confront — especially when it involves moving!

Lo, here I am. The view from my office is gorgeous, you have to put effort into finding a bad meal here, and everything just smells so good. Here I am, here I begin.

The trip out here, though, was something…how could it not be? You’d be hard-pressed to find someone more in love with long stretches of driving in the middle of nowhere than me. Driving alone (with good music) is pretty much my panacea. I work out a lot behind the wheel. I came to terms with the crux of a few things that had been haunting me for months, years. I’m not forcing an analogy by saying that driving helps me see the roadmap through my issues, and I’ll be able to work on them while I am here and really refine myself.

It took me 11 days to get here. (The above hourly total is only time spent driving.) I killed a week in Denver/Boulder with a good friend and took in an enjoyable music festival. Probably fitting that I memorialize the trip itself with a little compilation. Here are the songs that ended up affecting me the most the past few weeks. They’re fairly chronological in the order I played them, so they’re a little disjointed from each other (as they reflect the highlights of my trip). That also means that they’re fairly geographical. You’re going through the plains, over the Rockies, across the desert, and over the mountains again into California. Enjoy…

The Church “Destination” Starfish
And One “Enjoy The Unknown” Bodypop
The Rosebuds “Night of the Furies” Night of the Furies
The xx “Basic Space” xx
Ultravox “When the Time Comes” Lament
Peter Gabriel “Signal to Noise” Up
Underworld “Juanita : Kiteless : to Dream of Love” Second Toughest in the Infants
Keiichi Suzuki “Satellite Serenade (Trans-Asian Express Mix)” Auntie Aubrey’s Excursions Beyond the Call of Duty Part 1
The Shamen “Conquistador” Axis Mutatis
808 State “Nimbus” Gorgeous
Cosmicity “Today Is Better Than It Seems” The Binary Language of Love
a-ha “Out of Blue Comes Green” Stay on These Roads
U2 “Acrobat” Achtung Baby
Massive Attack “Safe From Harm” Blue Lines
Massive Attack “Three” Protection
Steve Roach & Roger King “A Bigger Sky” Dust to Dust
Depeche Mode “Walking in My Shoes (Grungy Gonads Mix)” Walking in My Shoes
Depeche Mode “Sacred” 101

http://benthic.cc/3170.zip
There’s a playlist in there, unless you’re an iTunes user. Sorry, you’ll have to recreate it on your own. I’m not supporting that piece of shit software anymore.

Like I said, this is only highlights. Other good audio was BBC World Service, Marc Maron’s WTF, and phone calls to my bestest peoples. I also have pics coming from the trip (more than I was tweeting throughout), but I’ll save those for another post.

Paean for my peepz

Previously on our program, I discussed a close friend, lost five years ago. When I was writing that post, I had my friends in general on my mind. Living where I do, I haven’t got a social life outside of work. OK, yes, I pop into the city once, perhaps twice a month and see a couple people, but that’s it. When I was in Rochester, I went out with friends a few times a month at most. So why am I now giving a damn? One might say it is because it is one thing to have an option to see friends and choose not to do so, but it is another thing not to have much of a choice as to whether or not one sees friends. That person would be right, but that’s not the meat of it. I think I have performed my trademark unconscious stressing over changes in my family structure and performed my trademark obliviousness towards how I feel on a day-to-day basis. Dammit: I have really loved conversing with, spending time with, and just feeling the warmth from my friends over the past 18 months.

I don’t think Chris knew just how much I loved spending time with him. No, I won’t beat myself up over the missed chances to tell him so. So I think I’ll now make November 4th the Bizza Memorial Tribute to My Friends. A guy as honest and kind as he, it makes sense.

I am afraid that I will step on a few toes with the following action: I’m going to tell a bunch of people how they’ve been wonderful in my life lately. I suspect some people will feel offended if they’re excluded. Well, er, I am sorry — if we’re still friends, then I obviously like you. If you know me, you know I have little tolerances for wankers. I wouldn’t keep you around if you didn’t mean something to me. It’s just that…well…some people I really have to give them applause. It’s nothing personal to you. Consider this an Oscar speech where you shouldn’t be offended by falling under the “and everyone else who means a lot to me” heading. I hope you understand…I assume you do, you’re smart enough for me to be friends with. ;) On that note, and in the order in which you all come to mind, let the public displays of affection commence. I love you all:

Peter Carbonaro, J. Christian Guerrero, and Shawn Rahman: of course it is fitting to thank the League as one, even though you are all serious fucking individuals. No fooling here that I look up to all of you as the cool older brothers I never had, and I always feel blessed to be in your presence. You raise my game. May the classy-assed hijinks continue throughout the years. Thanks to you all for having kids as well, because you give me hope for the future.

Noah Stupak: miss me now, don’t you, you fool? Ya shoulda never moved out. Oh, er…

Melissa Farnand: …I’m glad Noah moved in with you. Always wonderful to drop by for dinner and a movie, even though Lola hated me. I think.

Brandon Snavely: a week in PA was really perfect for us, eh? We both we saying goodbye (which was tougher than I figured), and hanging with your parents is always decent. I feel I sorted a lot out talking to you under the meteorites that night.

Jessica Rider: nobody ever tried harder to get me out in public and meet new people. It was an utterly thankless task you took upon yourself, but it has done me good and I just never knew how to be grateful (or gracefully decline). I am very glad you cornered me before Edline’s class three years ago, and I am more glad you weren’t offended by my sour face.

Daniel Pontillo: thanks for helping keep me sane through my last year of RIT when I just wanted to split and get my fucking life in gear. It was brief, but we’ll always have Boris and Antichrist (nobody else wants ’em, probably).

Dave Loehlin and Genevieve Waller: thanks for being one of the oddest bits of domesticity I had in Rochester. Duden, Boggle, and kale was always a good time.

Judy Margo: I am very glad your mother raised you to be a sensitive person, and your tolerance and desire to understand are unparalleled. Thanks for listening to my wackiest ideas in their most unfinished states and helping me to see what I was thinking.

Niall Munnelly: I am glad you are here, happy, and forthright. You’re a fucking good egg, and I can’t see how someone’s life would not be improved with you on their side. Thanks for helping me out here out here.

Cristina Stoll: why the hell are you so easy to talk to? Seriously, I was dragging out crap I rarely tell anyone about in your presence, and very quickly. Oh, Deutsches Voodoo auß New Orleans…? Macht’s kein problem. I hope someday to repay you, at least for the crash space.

Keren Fleshler: as if it wasn’t enough that we met after I left NYC, did you have to rub it in by moving two blocks over from my old place? Fiddlesticks. Thanks for being so tolerant and generous. You were the perfect person to go see a-ha with.

Kristin Brumbach: thanks for opening the door, and also for giving me time with a kid that was awkward in how decent it was. I’m happy you’re one of my reproducing friends.

(last but farthest from least)

Yoli: no list of gratitude and love for the good people in my life is complete without you. No list of good people in my life is complete without you. No life of mine is complete without you. I’ve tried time and time again to put into words all you’ve done and do for me, and, even if I talk for hours, I never come close to all that could be said. Many things between us are, perhaps, better left unsaid…words just don’t cut it.

no alcohol was involved in the writing of this post

Vergangenheitsbewältigung

Vergangenheitsbewältigung might be my favorite German word. Lots of jokes about the German language having a (normally long) word for everything, and, well, it’s true more often than not. “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” means “a struggle to come to terms with the past.” I’m thinking about it today because it’s the five year anniversary of the death of the only Doktor I have ever known.

You can click through my archives and find other November 4th posts about Chris. Each year I say something. I feel decent about what I’ve written in the past — in fact, one of them I think is one of the best things I’ve ever written. This year, though…well, I’m not going to call this a waste of a post, but I felt like I had to find an angle for writing this. “An angle,” what the fuck? You just write and your feelings come out. This is serious shit, you don’t need some magical gateway, you’ve got it all in you, if you start you’ll finish.

Well, er, not always. Sometimes you don’t even start. Sometimes you sit all day, thinking about his loss, my loss, our loss, and you realize you don’t feel it like you used to. You just…accepted it. You came to terms with it. Sometime over the past year, a dead Chris became part of my Weltanschauung (German vocab time again; “world view”). I think I feel guilty and/or ashamed about this. Why should I? I left a little piece of my life behind that day, but there’s no reason to leave a breadcrumb trail of more little bits of my life back to it, especially as I like to believe and often claim that I have a very enlightened (perhaps a/k/a callous(ed)) view of death. So why do I feel like a dead Chris is now a Chris I know, and a live Chris isn’t, and both of these feel wrong?

I’ve had tragedy over the past year. I have mourned a few times and nearly mourned a few more. Have I supplanted tragedies? Is this possible? Do we do it consciously? I doubt it. I think we…live. These are the actions of a living soul. These are things people do in their day-to-day lives. We start anew regularly (momentarily, anon) and probably don’t notice it because we still have reminders of the past. My life has, well, greatly started anew and maybe the unanchored nature of my life since May has put me in a state where the past does not hold as it once did? (Maybe, my ass: the past is another planet to me now.)

And that’s what got me today about not having Chris anymore. Selfishly selfishly, I want to talk to him. I want to tell him about how I’ve finally gotten my shit together and am pretty damn happy. I want his advice on some things. I could greatly use his sympathy, understanding, and kindness at times. I think he would enjoy visiting me in Chicago. (I know I would sure as hell enjoy it.) He’s missing opportunities to share in his friends’ successes, and we’ve got no idea what his successes would be.

I am coming to terms with the past. I accept what has happened. I see it as it is. I am living my life as best as I can. Chris…shit, if it could be said of anyone, it must be said emphatically of him:

It’s what he would have wanted.

Wisdom from last night’s dream

I was in a theatre watching a movie that was a bit of a mash-up of Inception and Fitzcarraldo (in my dream, it was cool, but looking at it now…yeesh). At one point, one of the characters (a young actress currently popular whom I sorta respect, not remembering who now) tells someone “Don’t swim in the current. Stand, standing is benthic.”

In my dream, in the theatre, I punched the air and yelled “yeah!” Looking at it now, it looks like dream wisdom, but that can be useful and sorta applicable in real life if you think about it enough.

Song of the day “I hold the line, the line of strength that pulls me through the fear”

Peter Gabriel “San Jacinto”

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The power of a word

As soon as I said “interim”, the pieces fell into place. I swear, I nearly heard the clicking.

I’ve said it before, and it never felt more true: nothing about me is ever true until I actually say it.

Fripp/Sylvian, Dougans/Cobain, Ball/Norris

Very rarely do I drop a music sharing post where I upload something by one artist. When I do, it’s pretty worthwhile.

This is the 1993 single for David Sylvian and Robert Fripp’s “Darshan”, a track off The First Day, their album from the same year. As you can see, it’s an attractive cover, thanks to the talents of Vaughn Oliver at V23 (who you may know from doing nearly everything 4AD ever put out). It has three tracks: the song in question plus two remixes. One remix is by The Grid, the other remix is by The Future Sound of London. It opens with the remix by The Grid. It’s one of the highlights of their career, an uplifting, lightly funky piece that sustains a groove and doesn’t bore the listener even though it’s 16 minutes long. The Future Sound of London remix diverges a bit more, enough so to get retitled “Darshana” and for Dougans and Cobain to get a writing credit. If The Grid remix is one of the highlights of their career, the FSOL remix would be a highlight of anyone’s career. It’s perhaps stylistically similar to some of the remixes Global Communication were doing around the same time, and has a sense of beauty and lightness that GC often achieved in their remixes, but has a slightly off undercurrent and a psychedelic quality that FSOL were known for. In other words, it’s a keeper, and I could listen to it for a loooooooong time.

Take a listen. I guarantee that in the right frame of mind, any of these three songs could be one of the best things you’ve ever heard.

Coming to (new mix)

I hadn’t done a mix in a long while, and after that awful Red Wings loss Saturday, I needed to turn up some loud music and feel a little better. I ended up throwing a mix together that’s a little springly. Saturday was a warm, sunny spring day; Sunday was a cooler, rainy spring day. It’s a little sloppy at the beginning, but there are some inspired moments throughout.

Young America Primitive “These Waves”
God Within “Raincry” Submerged
The Future Sound of London “Papua New Guinea” Journey to Pyramid
Chicane “Offshore”
Lush “Stray” Groove Mix
Dance 2 Trance “Hello San Francisco”
Utah Saints “Trance Atlantic Flight”
Spooky “Little Bullet (part one)”
Jam & Spoon “Stella” The Lost Bet Mix
Orbital “Lush 3-4 Warrior Drift”
Feedback “I’m for Real (1)”
The Shamen “Rausch”

Yeah, it’s progressive house and trance. Disturbing from me, isn’t it? I mean, holy crap, it’s fucking “Offshore”. Well, y’know, it’s a decent tune and mixes so well into that Lush remix…yeah, a Lush remix by the Drum Club. Stick around for the end: the Feedback track is LFO in disguise, and the Shamen track is from their out-there album, Hempton Manor, and is pretty bangin’. So, yeah, fucking trance music was good back in the early ’90s.

Download these beats

Getting older isn’t as confusing as getting older

[disjointed entry alert: sort of writing this one on assignment, as it may be]

People have accused me of living in the past. This is simply not true — I just don’t appreciate the present until it’s become the past. I think it started when I was around 15. I have (had?) very few memories of childhood, so it makes sense that I can’t really miss the past until there’s enough of it at a distance to miss, and I’m old enough (self-aware) to actually notice it. Also, I’m not missing the past specifically: I have always missed the first time I felt any particular way. Well, maybe “miss” is the wrong word. I long for that moment when I recognise I am feeling a new (to me) emotion or noticing the way sensory inputs have aligned in a particularly sublime way.

As my childhood was, er, abnormal, it’s no real surprise I didn’t really start to learn about and recognize emotions until I was in my pre-teens. I think the first time one of these moments occurred was when I was around 11, and I remember missing it within a few years. Since then, it’s been at least one thing every year that gives me a sort of bittersweet, existential feeling.* I’ve catalogued all of these sensations of heightened self-awareness and I wish I could turn back the clock to feel them again…but not at the age I was when it happened, because I didn’t actually appreciate the experience until a couple years later. I want to be myself at my current age as an omniscient observer of my internal dialogue at the time when I was breaking into new emotional territory. Oh, man, that sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? I should think about that for a minute.

Ok, I’ll stand by that, but maybe I need to realize that the way I live now, yearning for the experience of the new, has great value to me. This actually brings me to the main reason why I’ve embarked on writing this utterly self-serving blog entry. Only in the past year or so have I learned that I am not doomed to a life of longing for the past via its traces in the present.** I realized, like the genius that I am, that every year a couple new things happen. Taking it to another level, things have never stopped happening. Oh snap, that means they probably won’t either. Now why might it be worth more for me not to notice how I’ve learned (important word) after a few years? This allows me to take the experience that has happened to introduce me to a new emotion and see how I have unconsciously learned from it (or not), seeing if I did well or if I need to make changes.*** If I was in tune with it at the time, I’d undoubtedly fuck it up and learn from it incorrectly. Another aspect of getting older is that I know that my first impressions of an experience are usually poor, so a relatively ingrained behavior of ignoring my first impressions is pretty advantageous to my personal growth. This is a complicated thing perhaps ready for another blog post in a few months, if I even feel like discussing publicly is something that merits doing. Although it is why I started this post…

Yeah, I’ll finish the thought. This may sound sorta like bullshit, but I’m trying to reconnect. See: childhood, awkwardness therein; further see: syndrome, Asperger’s, my. Ahh, been a while since I dragged that old chestnut onto al-bloggariya, hasn’t it?**** Well, it’s been on my mind WAY more than usual lately. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to suggest that the time has come for me to finally transcend that and join the regular folk. Ha, no, as if. Lately, though, I have been noticing that my natural inclinations have been preventing me from being the person I want to be, so I wish to add new traits and perhaps refine some that I already have, all while keeping my identity intact (that means you, Hans’ handiwork).

Changing? Keeping your identity intact? Sounds hard, some might say. Pish posh, I say. Change is for those who’ve made mistakes and don’t like themselves, some say. Well, shit, they don’t say that to me, because I don’t know anyone who’s a closed-minded fool who believes that it’s a good idea to stand in the way of change (= progress, look it up, dammit).

[see, I told you this would be pretty self-serving]

* So, in a way, an existentially bittersweet feeling is one of the first emotions I became familiar with. No surprise I was a pretentious shit in high school, eh?

** Who grokked hauntology from the moment he heard of it? This guy, that’s who.

*** E.g.: 2003 was when I learned about jealousy. Yeah, I’d never felt it until then. Those were fun times; I’m sorta still trying to atone for them.

**** I’ll thank you for kindly refraining from informing me that it’s been a while since I really dragged much of anything onto here.

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