England’s breath


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

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 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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