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APE AND TACO

*DISCLAIMER: This site has nothing to do with apes or tacos, except in the broad sense that I am a human that eats tacos, and as a human, I am an ape.

Month

January 2017

Listen, Watch, Read: January 22nd, 2017

LISTENING

Wimps are a band from Seattle. I read a review that likened them to Devo and there’s definitely reason for comparison there. I’d heard of them before and kind of glossed over their music for some reason. Can’t remember why now considering how last week I stumbled on their Live on Pressure Drop TV YouTube video and was completed sucked into their aesthetic. It’s like comedic, self-depricating, angular post-punk. It works. Perhaps it’s my current mindset, but I just dig it. I blast “Dog Pills” and “Repeat” and “Couches” and “Vampire” and “Hello Frustration” in my car and sing along. The lyrics seem cathartic. I even taught myself how to play “Dog Pills” (I don’t even do drugs, I don’t know why this song resonates so much with me).  I concede it’s not everyone’s kind of music, but the joy and fun they seem to have while playing makes me really wish they’d tour in Chicago again sometime soon so that I can attend a show and totally vibe off their energy. My only dilemma right now is should I buy a Wimps shirt?

 

WATCHING

They Call Us Monsters (Lear, 2017) is a documentary about teens convicted of violent crimes being tried and sentenced as adults. It follows three guys – Antonio, Jarad, and Juan – who enroll in a screenwriting class while in prison waiting for their trials. I suppose the idea of the film is similar to one I watched a few weeks ago – The Act of Killing – in which the creative process may invoke some introspection, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, etc.. And certainly it seems like it does to a certain extent, however at times the screenwriting component to the film seems contrived. The films most affecting sequences are the ones captured in the courtroom when everything ceases being fodder for a fictional script their writing and becomes the harsh reality for these kids.

 

READING

I finished When Breath Becomes Air and really must recommend it. It’s so beautifully written. It’s so moving. I cried reading the last few pages. I didn’t want to put it down, but it was over.

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Heart / Clock

When I was in Taipei, I was a part of the Taipei Writers Group and wrote a story for their fourth anthology Twisted Fairy Tales for Adults. And since they’ve got the Taipei International Book Exhibition coming up and will be plugging their books, I figured I’d plug the book virtually on my blog!

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I’ve been thinking about the story I wrote in that anthology a lot lately, perhaps because I’m stressed and the story is about stress and how our minds and bodies handle stress. Or perhaps because I’ve been thinking it would make a good audio fiction piece and I’m wondering how to go about doing that (write the script, find some actors, go record… it doesn’t seem that hard…).

“Heart / Clock” is about a woman who is overworked and letting the stress get to her. Then one morning she wakes up and sees her heart on her bedside table. Her alarm clock is ticking inside her chest. Check it out and the other fabulous modern fairy tales in the collection.

The Radical Princeton (& Friends) Club of Chicago

On the train home from an event at the Museum of Contemporary Art entitled “Self-Care as Warfare” I opened an email from the Princeton Club of Chicago entitled “Salute to Patriotism” inviting me to the 129th annual Washington’s Birthday gala with an alum/general as the keynote speaker. (First, let me say, serving in the military is an incredibly courageous act. I have deep respect for anyone who is willing to leverage their life for their country.) This email triggered in me a sensation, perhaps because I juxtaposed these two events together in my mind: a fancy gala celebrating America next to a talk on self-care and readying oneself for four years of having to fight every day to maintain a progress in what’s looking to be more and more like a McCarthy/Orwellian state.

And so my thought is this: why do all these Princeton Club events seem to reinforce an existing thing? Like the renovation of an already well-maintained road. I don’t think I’ve ever opened a Princeton Club of Chicago email and seen something radical. An idea challenging the norm. An event exploring a marginal environment or real of thought.

Continue reading “The Radical Princeton (& Friends) Club of Chicago”

Listen, Watch, Read: January 15th, 2017

I don’t know why, but I had the impulse to listen to some La Luz the other day and that small impulse turned into a several day binge of their Spotify discography, although I mostly stuck around their debut LP from 2013: It’s Alive.

Continue reading “Listen, Watch, Read: January 15th, 2017”

Pointless Thoughts

A couple days ago I wasn’t feeling so great. A friend told me to do something that is “me.” So I wrote a song smashing up some chords I’d been playing around with lately and scribblings in my journal over the past few weeks. This is that song, recorded on my iPone. WARNING: I don’t know how to write songs with hooks and bridges and whatever. It’s not even verse chorus verse, it’s just verse verse verse. Lyrics below.

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Listen, Watch, Read: January 8th, 2017

LISTENING

Although I’ve mentioned them before, this past week I listened to The Breeders’ Pod. You remember Pod, the album that is awesome and listed by Kurt Cobain as one of his favorite albums. I think because I was listening to a lot of Swearin’ and Swearin’ sounds like The Breeders, I just entered a kind of positive feedback loop where I continually listened to these artists.

Continue reading “Listen, Watch, Read: January 8th, 2017”

Listen, Watch, Read: January 1st, 2017

LISTENING

In the December LISTEN, WATCH, READ, I wrote about my new obsession with Swearin’ but I thought I should expand on that since this week I’ve been listening to them A LOT, and more than just “Kenosha” and “Irrational”.

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Live in Chicago: Screaming Females, Mitski, Jeff Rosenstock

It feels like DECADES ago I saw these shows, but since I still think about them often, I thought I’d write up a little bit about these three shows I went to in the first week of November. Oh how things were so different then…

Continue reading “Live in Chicago: Screaming Females, Mitski, Jeff Rosenstock”

Return: Or, How Many Analogies For Life & Its Frustrations Can I Fit Into One Blog Post

*Written several days ago, on the road to Chicago.

I think it’s because for miles (1,011 to be more precise, with the exception of the I-670 bypass in Kansas City), I’ve been driving through either garbage BLM land; hay fields; or barren, winter corn and soybean plots. But when the brown of upturned soil began to give way to the beige of concrete buildings/sidewalks, it al felt wrong. And when I stepped out of the hermetical seal of my car to pump gas just south of Joliet, I felt the strong wind, which is a natural component of Chicago weather, but which signalled to me now the abnormality of this city – Chicago – an aberration in this land that is supposed to be just fields, even though the windiness is probably an artifact of the jet stream and the Lake and has existed since well before the city.

Continue reading “Return: Or, How Many Analogies For Life & Its Frustrations Can I Fit Into One Blog Post”

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