Mess With Time

If only we could mess with time.  I’ve had  conversations with  friends over the course of the week about being patient with life’s journey.  You get to an age where you begin to understand that some of the greatest joys take an investment of time.  If you sit back and look at time as a commodity, you have a relatively large surplus of seconds, minutes, hours, days, and years…we just need to make good use of what is given to us.

Many people come to the immediate conclusion that time does not move as fast as we’d like.  In reality, most have not managed their time as efficiently as they could have and use the excuse of time moving slowly to compensate for their inadequate use of the past few years.  I am not saying that we live in regret of decisions made or paths chosen, but at some point one has to sit down, analyze life, and see that we need to slow down.

I stopped to get a cup of coffee at the press today.  The coffee shop seems like one of the few places left where time truly stands still.  A mix of 20 somethings, new parents, old couples, kids, and dogs hover around this corner coffee shop.  Standing there I can truly slow down and take a look around, understanding that I am not alone.

I like to enjoy my coffee along the edge of the bar so I can catch up with whomever may be working.  They are my friends and we let loose for a few moments, allowing laughter to overtake any worries or thoughts that may be troubling us…at times, finding light in dark matters.  Brian and I were chatting about nothing.  Mindy was rambling about a hip hop label she would name Poh Pih which is Hip Hop backwards.  Brian and I just asked her what the fuck she was talking about and curious as to what drugs she had taken. It was then that Brian’s girlfriend, Valentine,  approached the bar from her stool across the counter.  She asked if we knew what “chickens coming home to roost meant.”  In situations like this I tend to shy away from a potential answer at the fear of being wrong; I really wish I would stop doing this.  Mindy took a wild stab at the meaning, allwoing us to erupt in laughter, for she was incredibly off.  Although I wanted to suggest a haunting past I was more entertained with the shots in dark. Here it is: earlier actions coming back to cause trouble for a person.

Valentine read Mindy’s, then Brian’s, finally turning her attention to me.

“What’s your sign?”

She proceeded to read the words that followed the headline: Capricorn Dec 23 – Jan. 20.  Verbatim, the words read, “You are so busy trying to beat the other guy to the front of the line that you don;t realize another check stand is open.”

It hit me like a fucking pile of bricks.  My cheeks warmed and I returned to my paper and cup of coffee.  I quickly wiped the beads of sweat that appeared across my brow and just stood silent for a few moments as Valentine returned to her stool at the bar.  I looked across at her and she made eye contact with me.  It was then that I just stated across the coffee shop, “That just hit me like a fucking dagger to the chest.”  She already knew this.  She told me that she saw it in me from the moment she finished those last words.  Her description involved her hands and a gesture signaling my heart exploding.

A place where I go to slow down time actually made time stop today.  I wandered around this still state looking at life and realizing that although it would be nice to mess with time, I have to slow down and meet my needs in the middle.  I will never catch up to ideas or thoughts the way they catch up to me.

I’ll leave you with the thought of time and what it means to you.  Maybe a person comes into your life that makes you wish you could go back and choose the road less traveled.  You reach that fork in the road and truly believe you have a 50-50 opportunity of making the right choice when in all reality, you will always be wrong.

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Merry Christmas

I wish you all a Merry Christmas.  It is the most wonderful time of the year.

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Top 10 Shows of 2008

10) DJ SHADOW & CUT CHEMIST

The best at what they do!

9) AGAINST ME!

Good old punk rock.  

8) GHOSTLAND OBSERVATORY

Dance

7) CAVE SINGERS

Stoned

6) MGMT

Time Warp

5) RADIOHEAD

Always Amazing. Had they played this, it’d be #1 of all time.

4) APOLLO SUNSHINE

Who? Exactly. Go see them now!

3) SIGUR ROS

It was hard not to put them at #1 after hearing Untitled #8

2) BUILT TO SPILL (x3)

Perfect From Now on played start to finish, serious?

1) NIN

Can’t be beat. No way, no how. A show on his own dime makes it even better. Hats of to Trent Reznor and Co.

 

____________HONORABLE MENTION_______________

DEERHUNTER

FOO FIGHTERS

FILM SCHOOL

JACKSON BROWNE

YEASAYER

MY MORNING JACKET

HELIO SEQUENCE

LYKKE LI

WEINLAND

BUILDERS & THE BUTCHERS

DIGITALISM

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Bob Boilen Profile

I interviewed Bob Boilen a couple months ago for a profile piece.  Here is the short version…I’ll keep the full one.  Best. PO

On occasion Radiohead have been hailed as the world’s greatest band.  SPIN Magazine called their 1997 release of Ok Computer the best album of the last 20 years, and the band has broken barriers in the music industry.  Last year they released their latest album, In Rainbows, as a digital download where the listener could pay whatever they chose, even if that meant nothing. 

 

Lead singer Thom Yorke has been known for his bouts with depression and his quirky actions.  He is a well-educated, grammy winning, lazy-eyed genius of a human being whom fans would love to sit face to face with and ask a myriad of questions.  Bob Boilen of NPR’s All Songs Considered did not care if he never had the chance to speak with Yorke.

 

“I really, really, obviously love their music, it oozes out of me” said Boilen in a recent phone interview.  “But I really didn’t care if I ever talked to Thom Yorke in my life.  I take music for its face value.  I remember people telling me that Thom would be a hard interview and I wouldn’t have fun with him as a guest DJ.  What a fascinating person he turned out to be.”

 

Boilen has the opportunity to listen to and interview many bands.  Part of his job depends on it.  In 2005, All Songs Considered began webcasting concerts from DC’s 9:30 Club (Boilen and his band Tiny Desk Unit were the first band to ever play the venue in the late 70s).  To get a feel for an interview Boilen may watch sound checks and observe the attitudes and moods of the bands. 

 

“The key for talking to musicians is understanding what their life is like,” said Boilen.  “They have demanded time from city to city and it is not that much fun for them answering the same questions over and over.  I am not really looking forward to interviewing anyone.  You’ll be damned if you’re gonna get a good interview.  Let’s take Jeff Tweedy for example.  Wilco was in town and I was at the sound check.  This is a good way to observe the band and find the mood.  Something had come up with my son and I was talking about it and Jeff Tweedy started talking about his kids.  By making small talk, this allowed him open up and talk about things he doesn’t usually get to talk about.  I’ve found that people will like you better if you just talk to them.  I don’t overly prepare for interviews.  Sometimes I will latch onto a lyric, but I gave up preparing for interviews because I found I was always waiting for the next question.”

 

This is part of what has made Boilen’s show such a success.  He talks with the guest rather than talk to the guest.  Anyone can research and find out where a band is touring or what kind of instruments they play.  Boilen converses with musicians about influences, recording styles and processes, and their lives in general.  He gives the fan a chance to learn things you may not have ever known before, sometimes even turning over the DJ role to the guest.

 

“Guest DJ shows are the most fun for me,” shares Boilen.  “It gives me a chance to learn so much about the musicians as people and the music I love.” 

 

Boilen’s time and dedication to the music world is all part of his goal in making All Songs Considered what is today after just nine years.  20 years ago Bob Boilen showed up on the doorstep of NPR headquarters in Washington DC determined to find a new line of work.  He quit his job in television and told his wife he was going to work for National Public Radio.  Boilen was first asked to cut and edit tape for Ira Glass.  Glass remembered Boilen from Susan Stamberg’s 1983 interview with Boilen on All Things Considered.  He was working for Washington DC’s Impossible Theater and just finished a composition using a new technique called audio sampling.  Satisfied with his editing, Glass asked Boilen to come back the next day. 

It was around this time 20-years ago, as the holidays were approaching, and the NPR was short on help.  Persistent and determined, Boilen continued showing up.  He would acquire a two-week assignment here, and a four-week assignment there.  This went on for more than a year until Markik Partidge, director at the time for All Things Considered, took a job in New York for a year, leaving Boilen the job.  It was here that the seed for All Songs Considered was planted.

One of Boilen’s duties as director included choosing the music used in the program.  The music was used to separate stories and add character to the show.  It wasn’t before long that letters began pouring in inquiring about the songs being played throughout the program.  The indie music played was not something typically heard on radio.  With the increasing use of the internet, Boilen decided to launch his internet radio show in 1999 and All Songs Considered was born.

“There is never a single moment where I get sick of my job,” Boilen says with sincerity.  “I created it and look forward to every minute of it.”

 

________________________________________

Feedback on the piece….

The Bob Boilen profile is strong indeed. Most writers would have chosen a formulaic lead for this profile – starting off with Boilen’s words or actions, present (a pull from his show, perhaps, or a phone call to a star asking him to be on his show) or past (A man knocks on the door of NPR, his resume in hand. It’s his tenth time there.). Such leads put me off so much. So I really value unusual approach you took with your lead. It is risky – taking a while to set up your introduction – but you handled it well and the risk pays off. It’s unusual to find a twist in the beginning of a piece. The way this article reads, I feel assured that its writer made hard, exacting and wise choices on the quotes that are used. It reads well. This ending is also abrupt, but in a successful way; it ends on an upnote that is logical and leads you wanting more – more of the interview subject – and that is a writer’s achievement. 

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Top 10 Songs of 2008

10) Death Cab For Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart

I have to admit, Ben Gibbard is an amazing pop song poet.  Match that with Chris Walla, and you have an unstoppable indie-emo-pop-culture album that will sell you CDs, Tickets, and the chance to enjoy the best job on the planet.  The album version is a few minutes longer than the radio edit, but this is where you can hear the Walla/Greenwood ties Ive talked about before. Fuck, they kind of look the same too.  I just want to hear some more Postal Service.

9) MGMT – (tie) The Youth & Weekend Wars

MGMT played a headlining show at Holocene this year.  I was there to see Yeasayer….so was most of the crowd.  Many of us had yet to hear “Time to Pretend,” and were satisfied after hearing 2080 and an encore performance of “Wintertime.”  About a week later I realized the mistake I had made.  I just missed MGMT in a tiny 100 person venue. They returned to the Doug Fir some months later.  I had to make some phone calls and ask for a few favors to get into this sold out show.  I got there, made my way to the front, and watched these kids make music that was twice their age. I felt reborn in an different era.  A time when psychadelic rock ruled non conforming kids of the Bay and beyond.  The crowd was there to hear “Time to Pretend.”  I was there unaware that I was going to hear two of my favorite songs this year.

8) Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal

Watch Out.  The Fleet Foxes have introduced themselves, now they will continue to grow for quite some time before maturing. Dont ever expect a decline in quality and lyrics from these guys.

7) Nine Inch Nails – Head Down

Trent Reznor continues to fuck my mind with his music.  The Slip was a free release that followed Radiohead’s In Rainbows and showed that the best can do it on their own.  The synthesizer in this song put it in the top 10.  Seeing it live almost made it #1, that would be unfair to the others…their show was the best one I saw all year.

6) The Helio SequencceHallelujah

A beautiful song.  Big sound.  Two guys. WTF!? This song put a smile on face all year when times were tough.

5) Okervil River Lost Coastlines

Packed and all eyes turned in, no one to see on the quay. No one waving for me just the shoreline receding. Ticket in my hand and thinking wish I didn’t hand it in. Cause who said sailing is fine? leaving behind all the faces that I might replace if I tried on that long ride, looking deep inside but I don`t want to look so deep inside yet. 

Sit down, sit down on the prow to wave bye, there might not be another stop, farther on the line. Look out, look out at each town that glides by, and there’s another crowd, to drown in crying eyes. And see how that light you love now just won`t shine, there might just be another star, that`s high and far in some other sky. 

We sing, is that marionette real enough yet to step off of that set and decide what her hands might be doing. Ruining the play and in the ensuing melee escape. We packed up all of our bags the ship’s deck now sags from the weight of our tracks as we pace beneath flags black and battered rattling our swords in service of some feted, foreign lord. 

And Jonathan says we sail out on order of him but we find that the maps he sent to us don’t mention lost coastlines. Where nothing we’ve actually seen has been mapped or outlined and we don’t recognize the names upon strange signs. 

And every night finds us rocking and rolling on waves wild and wide, well we have lost our way, nobody`s gonna say it outright. Just go la la la la la la la la la..

4) Hercules and Love Affair – Blind

This was tough not to put at the top. I dance every time I hear this.  I couldnt copy Pitchforkmedia so I bumped them a few spots. FUCK!  Did you know I like to dance?  I dont do it that often, but when I do, I put my dancing shoes on and boogie.  The night ends with me exhausted and sweaty.  I dance hard. I dance all night. Let’s Dance!

3) Hot Chip – One Pure Thought

Hot Chip and Hercules go back and forth.  Hot Chip’s live show puts them higher.  These UK dance dweebs get down.  Again, I like to dance.  The intro is fucking killer.

2) Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened

If you dont play music, start now.  The structure of this song is sounds so simple, but watching it live makes you appreciate how good these guys are at their art.  They bring back Sonic Youth and Pavement with their own mix and feel good sound.  (No other band on this list has a female guitar player that I would love to do nasty things to. I love you Whitney Petty).

1) Wolf Parade – Kissing the Beehive

Reiterating on the appreciation of playing music, structuring an 11-minute track is quite the feat.  This song has three parts, they all fit, each one offers a piece to the puzzle, putting together my favorite song and video of 2008.  It was tough to bump Deerhunter out of the slot, but Wolf Parade may not reach this spot again…Deerhunter will do it many times over.

 

[Boeckner] 
Lost on a river our hearts beat regular time
Well the landscapes don’t
The rivers flowing by
We’re just drifting all night long hands to the sky
And a captain, oh he is never denied

I heard them singing out from shore, hands at the sides
Someone brought a rifle overhead to tear at the sky
We’re just drifting all night long here with the flies
And the captain, oh he is never denied

[Krug] 
As if you didn’t know that it would sting
Kissing the beehive
And pissing down the mountain side in the rain
As if you didn’t know that it would sting
Kissing the beehive
And fucking up your finger from pushing on the ring
Sing

[Boeckner] 
Well we lay
On frigid shores of light
We need nothing of his bitter care, oh
Something strange
And the coast line
Still we need nothing of his bitter hand, oh

[Krug] 
I wish I could believe in you
Crashing all the weddings wearing white
But we all hate the landlord baby
It’s all right, it’s all right
I wish I could believe in who you are
You held your cock in the air and you called it a guitar
You put your face on the glass and you called it good cinema, oh
As if you didn’t know that it would sting

Oh, oh, ohhhh

Johnathan, Johnathan
Waterfalls are running thin you know
Here’s a holy grail for you to hold
Fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole

I’m not a wild party
I’m just an evening at the show
Put the ring back on and take your husband home
Fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole

Radio, radio
Why did you leave Virginia’s side
It’s an alibi, we all know how the music died
Fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole

Johnathan, Johnathan
Waterfalls are running thin you know
Here’s a finger made from me for you to hold
Fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole

[Boeckner] 
Estranged from the captain’s light
And his bitter hand
Estranged from the captain’s light
And his bitter hand 



 

Honorable Mention______________________________________

                  Coldplay42

Beach Ho     useHeart of Chambers

                                                  Cut          Co py Hearts           on Fire

Pass                      ion PitIve Got                             Y          our Number

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Oblique Strategies

brianeno

I am going to start this again…tried it once, now more time. I have Nicholas to thank for introducing me to these cards.  Maybe one day we can write something together.  I have 127 Oblique strategies written on cards. Thank you Brian Eno. Over the next 127 days I am going to write 127 essays. Some may be longer than others and some may include YOUR name. If you strongly believe I should not use your name in any of these please let me know. I may change your names but one way or another I will try to incorporate all of you into these passages.

I am doing this to refresh my writing and vocabulary for the coming school year, along with a way to pass time during the summer while having fun and learning more about life. Here are the list of categories given. I may choose at random or simply go in order of 1-127.

01) Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities

02) Don’t be frightened of clichés

03) What is the reality of the situation?

04) Are there sections? Consider transitions

05) Turn it upside down

06) Think of the radio

07) Allow an easement (an easement is the abandonment of a stricture)

08) Simple subtraction

09) Be dirty

10) Go slowly all the way round the outside

11) A line has two sides

12) Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do & do the last thing on the list

13) Into the impossible

14) Towards the insignificant

15) Ask people to work against their better judgement

16) Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance

17) Infinitesimal gradations

18) Change instrument roles

19) Accretion

20) Disconnect from desire

21) Emphasize repetitions

22) Faced with a choice, do both (given by Dieter Rot)

23) Children -speaking -singing

24) Lost in useless territory

25) A very small object Its center

26) Dont be afraid of things because they’re easy to do

27) Dont be frightened to display your talents

28) Breathe more deeply

29) Honor thy error as a hidden intention

30) What are the sections sections of? Imagine a caterpillar moving

31) Only one element of each kind

32) Is there something missing

33) Use ‘unqualified’ people

34) How would you have done it?

35) Emphasize differences

36) Do nothing for as long as possible

37) Bridges -build -burn

38) Always give yourself credit for having more than personality

39) You don’t have to be ashamed of using your own ideas

40) Tidy up

41) Do the words need changing?

42) Ask your body
43) Tape your mouth

44) Water

45) Simply a matter of work

46) Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate

47) Consult other sources -promising -unpromising

48) Use an unacceptable color

49) Humanize something free of error

50) Use filters

51) Fill every beat with something

52) Discard an axiom

53) Not building a wall but making a brick

54) What wouldn’t you do?

55) Lowest common denominator

56) Decorate, decorate

57) Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle

58) Get your neck massaged

59) Listen to the quiet voice

60) Do the washing up

61) Is it finished?

62) Put in earplugs

63) Reevaluation (a warm feeling)

64) Give the name away

65) Intentions -nobility of -humility of -credibility of

66) Abandon normal instruments

67) Use fewer notes

68) Repetition is a form of change

69) Give way to your worst impulse

70) Reverse

71) Trust in the you of now

72) Imagine the piece as a set of disconnected events

73) What would your closest friend do?

74) Distorting time

75) Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame

76) Feed the recording back out of the medium

77) Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element

78) The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten

79) Ghost echoes

80) You can only make one dot at a time

81) Just carry on

82) (Organic) machinery

83) The inconsistency principle

84) Don’t break the silence

85) Idiot glee (?)

86) Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them

87) Cascades

88) Courage!

89) Spectrum analysis

90) What mistakes did you make last time?

91) Consider different fading systems

92) Mute and continue

93) Be extravagant

94) It is quite possible (after all)

95) What are you really thinking about just now?

96) Don’t stress on thing more than another [sic]

97) 

98) State the problem in words as clearly as possible

99) Assemble some of the elements in a group and treat the group

100) You are an engineer

101) Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics

102) Look at the order in which you do things

103) Go outside. Shut the door.

104) Disciplined self-indulgence

105) Do we need holes?

106) Cluster analysis

107) Always first steps

108) Cut a vital connection

109) Do something boring

110) Define an area as ‘safe’ and use it as an anchor

111) Is the information correct?

112) Overtly resist change

113) Question the heroic approach

114) Accept advice

115) Twist the spine

116) Work at a different speed

117) Look closely at the most embarrassing details & amplify them

118) Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic

119) Emphasize the flaws

120) Remember those quiet evenings

121) Take a break

122) Short circuit (example: a man eating peas with the idea that they will improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)

123) Left channel, right channel, center channel

124) Use an old idea

125) Destroy -nothing -the most important thing

126) Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency

127) The tape is now the music

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Repeal Day

75th Anniversary of Prohibition! Anyone want to party tonight? I’m buying a bottle of Jameson tonight and enjoying a few stiff pours! Hope to enjoy some with you.

Love,
PO

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