Upstream of Consciousness wants to be a collection of interviews that only contain answers. I will provide 5 phrases, words, quotes, links, pictures, or videos (in italics) and your consciousness will provide the rest. Responses can be short or long, real or fictional, words, links, or anything in between. In return, each of my "subjects" will give me 1 item back which I will then respond to (under the heading Ripple, with a number next to it). Come, swim for a while.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
"I have always been fascinated by what I don't understand."
I wrote that, maybe a week ago, in a journal entry, and it's very true.
Mystery is power.
There are some people in my life that think I'm an enigma. I think that's untrue. Once I'm open, I'm open and fairly uncomplicated. It just takes me a while to get there. Sometimes, though, I miss the power.
she is a sphinx
holding the answers behind
half hidden smiles
and i am a fool
trying to unlock riddles
by the moonlight
for once the truth is clear
she will vanish
she was never there at all
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
1. “I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel
I don't think it's true that everyone loves music, but I see where Billy Joel is coming from. It can definitely be a connector, though.
It was extraordinarily disappointing to me when I made the realization that not everyone in college radio listens, appreciates or loves music. That there are some people who will DJ a music show on the radio and not give a shit about any type of music what so ever. It was a wake up call to me that my deep, passionate love for my favorite bands and for my favorite music wasn't shared, and that it was perhaps one of the most unique things about me and my radio show. It honestly was a bit shocking to me.
I am a music enthusiast, a music appreciator in the fullest sense of these words. It is part of my being - my identity - and has been for quite some time.
"We live like penguins in the desert, why can't we live like tribes?"
PROMO - Penguins in the Desert [RADIO] - Hayley and Jeri
3. "My mom"
Your mother is a lovely woman.
This was the most amazing night of my life, period. It meant so much more to me than a simple concert. It was everything I needed it to be. I met some amazing people, saw amazing art and heard amazing music. It was a spiritual experience for me.
I've been a fan of Muse since around 2001. Apocalypse Please happens to be one of my favorite songs off of the Absolution CD and as soon as Amanda played the first two chords I KNEW it was this song, though it was completely unexpected (this is the first public performance of this cover). I was glad that the microphone wasn't working, because that meant I was able to record the entire song on the video. It's funny to me because I used to tell people how impressed I was by Muse - how so much sound can come from three people (particularly live while on stage, though now they have a 4th unofficial band member playing loops and such). And when I first really got into the Dresden Dolls I thought the same - how amazing it is that so much sound, so much musical substance can come from only 2 band members.
5. "Poetry is not always words." -Audrey Foris
In 2006 then American Poet Laureate Ted Kooser spoke at my university - he was there to accept the Milton Kessler book award for his book (that actually won the Pulitzer Prize too) called Delights & Shadows. I was in an American Poet Laureate course where I read his book so this was a particularly exciting presentation for me. The President of my university introduced him but in her speech she said something about poetry being soothing and calming. I remember my instructor ranting about how ridiculous her opening was because described poetry in such a closed minded way. Poetry, my instructor said, could be chilling, it could be harsh or unsettling, it could be all-things-not-soothing.
When I went up to the signing table after the reading I told Ted Kooser how much I appreciated his poetry, how I enjoyed his perspective and how he could take observations and descriptions of ordinary things and turn them into poetry. He pays attention and I pay attention and I appreciated that. He responded with a smile and recited a few lines of a poem to me. To this day, I do not remember what those lines were and I tried to google what I remembered of them after I got back to my dorm, but maybe it's for the best that the memory of the moment exists. From my journal, I wrote the gist of the poem he recited to me: "It was basically about the importance of searching for meaning in something (or a poem) that at first glance is easy to ignore." And it really is all about paying attention.
6. “Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.” – Noam Chomsky
In 2006 Noam Chomsky spoke at my school. It was free and open to the public, the concert hall filled up quickly, even with people standing in the aisles. To accommodate the crowd the organizers opened a second theater and set up a broadcast of his lecture on a project screen but even then I think they had to turn people away. I was fortunate to not only attend, but I was in the theater where the lecture took place and had a pretty decent seat. My only regret is that I wasn't exactly aware of what the lecture was on and I was an undeclared freshman at the time - which means that did not realize I'd spend the next 4 years studying Political Science so I'd probably appreciate it more today after knowing what I now know on the subject. It was fascinating, and intriguing.
As far as the quote, it's amusing but very true. I think the average person would be surprised at how much power and control the media has in America, but what's more surprising is how people blindly follow the media without questioning. They have so much control of American politics and public opinion, it is outstanding.
8. “Isn’t it ironic… don’t you think?” – Alanis Morissette
I love Alanis Morissette, she is a musician that I respect so much. She was my first concert, my first CD, my first favorite musician, my first role model. I've been a loyal fan for years. When I saw Alanis live in 2002 this song wasn't on her set and I was disappointed about that. I didn't realize until fairly recently why it wasn't played on that tour - because it was one of the songs blacklisted by ClearChannel radio after September 11, 2001 (since the lyrics mention a plane crash). While I was in 8th grade my English teacher quoted this song in her lesson on irony on the chalk board. I raised my hand and pointed out to her that she spelled "Morissette" incorrectly. In 9th grade my English teacher also used this song for her lesson on irony. That time I raised my hand and pointed out how the examples in the lyrics that my teacher used weren't actually ironic, but just bad luck. I wasn't trying to insult the lyrics or even the teacher, but sometimes it's stupid to make a song a cliche, and to do so incorrectly. I love the fact that this song IS ironic in the sense that it's named "Ironic" and has no examples of irony - that's the irony. It was intended to be ironic and isn't. I love that. I've noticed lately that irony keeps popping up in my life (or maybe I am just more aware these days to notice it), and I am entertained by it. I'm embracing the humor of it. Irony usually happens in a sad or frustrating way, and although the ironic things that happen to me and others are not necessarily funny, the mere notice that the irony is present is enough to make me smile.
I am unfazed by any and all twin stereotypes. I've heard them all, I've been asked the same questions over and over again. Sometimes I try to have fun with it. For instance, if you tell me, "I've always wanted a twin!" I will reply, "Here, take mine!"
I'll beat you to the punch - no, we have never switched places. We've only done one "twin thing" in our life and well, it just so happens to have almost 1.5 million views on youtube, was featured on the front pages of abcnews.com and yahoo.com and oh yeah, was showed on Good Morning America and made Diane Sawyer laugh...
10. fallen souls
This is the first track off of Distorted Lullabies, Ours' debut CD released in 2001 and this video was shot not too long after the album's release. The band's line up has changed considerably since then, but I thought it was important to find a live video where the instrumentation represents the album version the best.
Pay attention at 3 minutes in to the video. At 3:15 you will hear it.
Every time this part comes on I close my eyes, I get chills and I feel a rush of emotion. For those 30 seconds I always stop what I am doing and listen. ALWAYS. Recently I was in the middle of a conversation with someone in the studio during my radio show while I was playing this song and I had to pause and say, "hold on a second - just listen." I cranked up the studio monitors and closed my eyes. I hear more in that vocal melody than I've ever heard spoken, this part of this song speaks to me and I always listen. Those notes mean more to me - the emotion in Jimmy Gnecco's voice are more relatable to me than any lyrics I've ever read/heard.
As a bonus, and I do highly recommend you listen, here's Jimmy playing it again in 2006 at an acoustic performance, his voice is incredible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XouvaHQAmFQ
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
1. Nils Olaf II [original prompt: Norway Knights Penguin]
Nils Olaf II is a Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian King Harald II’s Royal Guard. He just so happens to be a penguin, too. How a penguin – being the poorest, dumbest animal God created – came to this lofty position is for Wikipedia to inform. To me, Nils is a prime example of the ridiculous fantasy realm of Norway that swims about my mind. It is a land of self-infantilising lolitas, hysterical sluts, gangster rappers who read Ibsen, and dour military historians who towel off in slow motion. A refuge and stronghold that is always just on the wrong side of tangibility. This fascination has been perpetuated by my love of Norwegian folklore, re-readings of Ibsen and Hamsun, charismatic Norwegian rock bands, and my unfailing belief that Norway truly is culturally twenty years behind the rest of the world. To me, Toto are still in the charts over there. If it weren’t for the cost of living, I’d be there in a heartbeat.
2. serial killers
Albert Fish stuck pins in his scrotum and caused a blackout when he went to the chair. Ted Bundy received numerous marriage proposals… after convicted. John Wayne Gacy was never employed as a clown in any capacity. He merely liked to dress as a clown and would throw parties for the neighbourhood. A few months back, I wrote to Charles Manson, asking him advice on whether I should drop out of University. I’ve yet to receive a reply, but I hear it takes a while. I’ve moved houses since then. I’m secretly wishing the new tenant at my old address opens my mail. I’ve recently been listening again to Manson’s record he recorded. It’s not his best work.
As in, wibbly wobbly and eat with ice cream. Don’t use fresh pineapple in jelly. Such a thing would be folly. contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which breaks down protein. This interferes with the gelatine. I don’t know much about jelly, but I seem to know an awful lot about pineapples.
I might not know a whole lot about the history of the British silversmithing industry, but I probably know more than you do. This uncanny ability to know a little about a lot has led me to a life of being rather well fed on other people’s money. Growing up, I had a thirst for knowledge, always ready to ask “Why?” to the chagrin of others. Years of accumulating a knowledge of the esoteric and delightfully mundane resulted in a veritable stockpile of anecdotal ammunition, generally captivating, in part thanks to a hereditary charisma and flair for the theatrical. I once found my restaurant meal on the house, as the owner was mesmerised by my hand gestures. Upon landing in distant lands, with very little money to my name, I soon found that there was a multitude of men and women in their mid-twenties through to older decades who would delight in taking me to dinner. They’d pay the bill, and I’d drink the wine. Acquaintances would soon come to call it “prostitution”, though I preferred to call myself a raconteur. Indeed, I even indulged in after-dinner speeches; my most lengthy running just shy of four hours. My name became a verb, my stories become real stories – a great storyteller will pick up on those tiny glimmers of gold in an experience, decontextualise and recreate in an oft-fantastical vision, focussing on the fascinating rather than the wholly accurate. It’s this glamour - facilitated by charm - that can keep a young man alive… to an extent.
5. Self-Portrait of the Artist, aged 10
I was a rather mundane little thing; in some respects I still think this is the case. At the age of ten, or there about, I moved counties, lost all my friends, started anew. Losing what you have and starting from scratch is a liberating and cathartic experience; one I’ve encountered more than once, since. It enables one to assume a new persona, a new character, and play it out with conviction, as long as you have the wit to do so. At age ten I became the public school educated, cold, austere buffoon. “Precocious” would be a fitting description, though certainly I could always have been labelled as such. Donning mask after mask can result in an easy route into legend, into a cult of personality. It also brings great detachment, which itself has its pluses, as well as its obvious minuses. Age ten was the leap into a decade (and then some) of acting. Acting the fool, really. A holy fool, perhaps a Shakespearean fool. A knowing trickster, certainly. Worlds can come crashing down, if one lets them. Sometimes it helps, in a masochistic way, to allow someone to unravel the web of intrigue, and face it (or them) head on. Subversion can become impeccably dull, if it simply becomes de rigueur and without any real purpose other than fun. That’s where I fall short: I’m not a real trickster. I’m human, you see. Hermes I am not. Hermes is something to aspire to, though.
… Hermes was the god of thieves, traders, businessmen, liars, wit, literature, athletics, rhetoric, the misleading sentence, travel, messenger to the Olympians and guide to the dead. He was the interpreter of hidden meaning.
He fascinated me, so did similar deities such as the Egyptian Thoth or the Norse Loki (a great equaliser). It was Hermes role as trickster that really grabbed my attention.
The trickster is oft portrayed as an opponent to the hero, but to me the trickster IS the hero. He is the deceiver, trick player, and situation inverter. Transformation, travelling, high deeds, and power. The trickster is a boundary-crosser.
The trickster crosses both physical and social boundaries-- the trickster is often a traveller, and he often breaks societal rules. Tricksters cross lines, breaking or blurring connections and distinctions between "right and wrong, sacred and profane, clean and dirty, male and female, young and old, living and dead". The trickster often changes shape to cross between worlds. In his role as boundary-crosser, the trickster sometimes becomes the messenger of the gods.
The role of the clown as the sacred and lewd bricoleur is very important to me. The paradox between laughter and sanctity is one that enthrals me. But it really is so crucial. Laughter opens you up from rigid preconceptions. You can forget the sanctity through upset, surprise or piety. It was the clown’s job to cross this boundary and bring people closer to god. A messenger, of sorts.
The trickster represents a certain flexibility of mind and spirit, a willingness to defy authority and invent clever solutions that keeps cultures (and stories) from becoming too stagnant.
But trickster stories also have something to say about how culture gets created, and about the nature of intelligence.
The old myths say that the trickster made the world as we actually find it. Other gods set out to create a world more perfect and ideal, but this world––with its complexity and ambiguity, its beauty and its dirt––was the trickster's creation, and the work, my friend, is not yet finished
There are no absolute truths, just different perspectives, and so the association and juxtaposition of ideas across subjects is thus one of the most valuable tasks we can perform.
6. charm [original prompt: "Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question." - Albert Camus]
I believe that charm can be a learned art. And an art it is. As the name suggest, it is a spell you cast over others. It is a transient experience, easily dispelled at the first falter. I never seemed to knowingly learn it, and it has been with me since I can remember. Going by my ancestry, I’d make the assumption that I was born with it. As such I don’t find it particularly draining, as I’m barely aware of what I’m doing. I don’t fully understand it, either. Why anyone would find me, a bastard to the core, charming is beyond me. Especially when I often go out of my way to enforce the fact that I am, indeed, a right cunt, only looking out for myself. I’ve been known to charm people who are simply eavesdropping into a conversation I am having. As previously stated, I’ve mesmerised people with mere hand gestures. Some part of this I put down more to the fact that I am unusual – my accent, appearance, history and presentation are all not quite ordinary. My knowing bastardry usually stays on the well, charming, side of roguish. It’s something I have felt a necessary to perpetuate, lest I become hungry again.
My religious beliefs lay somewhere between Ignatius of Loyola, Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi, Seraphim Rose and Bertrand Russell. Raised by Jesuits and sired by a devout Atheist, I naturally became fascinated by both Islamic and Western Esotericism. At one point I was going to become a priest. Then again, at different points I was going to become a lawyer and a doctor. A family tradition. All of these fell by the wayside as I found myself increasingly jaded by the world around me.
The piece of writing that had the most profound effect on me would be Henri Corbin’s essay on the Mundus Imaginalis. This key can be found here: http://www.hermetic.com/bey/mundus_imaginalis.htm
9. Self-Portrait of an Artist, aged 30
Dans une vie anterieure, j'etais professeur de la psychologie anormale, et j'etais institutionnalise a cause d'avoir trop identifie avec mes patients. Le plus je les voyais, le moins bourgeoises et plus "nuancees" mes idees devenaient.
Ceci alarmait mes collegues, qui me traitaient donc de "boheme, anarchiste, schizophrene, et sociopathe, tout a fait incapable de pratiquer la medecine professionnelle."
il paraissait insatisfait, et disait : "alors vous pouviez pas me donner votre parole que vous ne tenez pas aux corps astraux et tout ça ?"
"je pourrais," disait margaret, surprise que cela lui importait. "en effet, je le ferai. quand je parlais de laver mon aura, ce n'était que pour rire. mais pourquoi voulez-vous que tout ça soit arrangé ?"
"je ne sais pas."
"allons, mr. wilcox, vous le savez bien."
My memoirs by that point shall most likely be titled “On The Dreariness of Being Somebody.”
Here’s to that Hell.
Oh, either that or I’ll be in the circus. That was my childhood dream. Still is.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
when God created love He didn't help most
when God created dogs He didn't help dogs
when God created plants that was average
when God created hate we had a standard utility
when God created me He created me
when God created the monkey He was asleep
when He created the giraffe He was drunk
when He created narcotics He was high
and when He created suicide He was low
when He created you lying in bed
He knew what He was doing
He was drunk and He was high
and He created the mountains and the sea and fire at the same time
He made some mistakes
but when He created you lying in bed
He came all over His Blessed Universe.
A Bukowski love poem is a strange thing indeed. Irreverent in everything he did; romance was no exception. Both his fear of and his desire for intimacy are evident in his writing. One other thing is also clear though…He did know…and have love.
Many people may see blasphemy here, or at least expect me to see it. I don’t. I see a man, trying to explain…trying to articulate with his set of circumstances and his tools, a point of view that is common to all men and foreign to most.
2. “We've been very arrogant in assuming that there's a sharp line dividing us from the rest of the animal kingdom. We are not the only beings on this planet with personalities, minds, and, above all, emotions. We need to be more respectful.” – Jane Goodall
While I do agree with Dr. Goodall’s conclusion, I believe that our “arrogance” is well founded. In fact, the very reason for that arrogance should be what brings us into a deeper respect for our surroundings- both entities with personalities, minds, and emotions and entities without those traits. The sharp line does exist, but not where many believe. It’s not a physical or mental line. The sharp line divides the soul from the spirit. The fact that my creator endowed me with the awesome power and responsibility that come with the knowledge of good and evil inspires me to be a good steward of all that He has entrusted to me.
The year…1995. The setting…South Central.
Early one Saturday morning, my Uncle Ron and I were on our way to the Promise Keepers’ Conference being held at the L.A. Coliseum. Having some time to kill and a couple of empty stomachs, I suggested we walk down Figueroa to find a place for some breakfast. My Uncle felt a little unsure about the idea, especially since I was sporting my Cracker Kerosene Hat tour tee shirt. I had thought nothing of it until he mentioned it, and didn’t think much of it afterwards either. So, we set off in search of Biscuits and gravy. We came upon a place with a sign out front that had something to do with Southern home cooking or something like that and went inside. As expected, we were the only two in the place with complexions lighter than coffee and cream. Once again, this seemed to ruffle my Uncle just a little bit. We grabbed a booth and ordered our food. The details of the conversation that morning are lost to me now, but I remember asking my Uncle if he was scared about something (it was in no way related to our choice of venue). The waitress walked up to refresh our coffee just in time to here my query. She looked at my Uncle With the kindest of eyes and said, Ah, honey…don’t be scared…”
I was one once. The residue remains. I think that’s okay.
5. Sheena was a Punk Rocker
Well the kids are all hopped up and ready to go
They're ready to go now
They've got their surfboards
And they're going to the discotheque a go go
But she just couldn't stay
She had to break away
Well New York City really has it all
Oh yeah, oh yeah
For the longest time, I have wanted to be a Ramone! Pure and raw, the Ramones embody everything that is Rock ‘n’ Roll. Loud and fast, they made up for their lack of skill with outright will. Down and dirty they never cared much about image. Music was it for the Ramones. Dee Dee wanted to be a rock star, Joey wanted to be a pop star and Johnny was just to cool to care about anything but being cool while Tommy- then Marky sat in back and pounded out the fastest rhythms ever imagined. The Ramones ushered my generation and all that have followed into an era of music where everyone is cool enough to be whatever they want to be.
6. Amanda Palmer in your living room [Ripple's note: This list was created at the end of December, and I will be asking for a follow up]
Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction. I will have to write a follow up to this one at the end of next month. Thanks to the best friends I never met.
Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are
The Onion is my kind of humor!
[Ripple's note: Rob actually got a different video when he clicked than the one above, so this part no longer makes sense. However, he maintains the first and second parts of his answer are universally true.]
Jennifer Love Hewitt has a huge head
The first quesadilla I ever experienced (and it was an experience [life changing even]) was made for me by my Aunt Sue. We were camping in Idyllwild and she asked if we wanted one. Once she explained what it was, I spent a moment wondering why I hadn’t thought of that before. Of course I would like one…or several…thousand.
Aunt Sue made them with Corn Tortillas, Jack cheese and Ortega chiles. They were everything I imagined them to be and more. Needless to say, I have had several thousand since that day twenty-some years ago. I have had them with steak, with chicken, with mushrooms, with all kinds of cheeses with all kinds of sauces and salsas and other condiments, but I can still taste the first one, the one Aunt Sue cooked for me so long ago in the mountains.
9. Presbysterian vs. Catholic Church Sign Debate (Ripple's note: regarding the Snopes link -- I already knew that, so there.)
As far as what side of the debate I’m on, I’m not. It’s not for me to worry about.
10. winter sports
Until about 5 years ago, winter sports were something I watched on television. Downhill skiing and ski jumping have always held my attention. More recently, Freestyle snowboarding and boarder x have entered my winter sports portfolio.
Since that fateful day in 2004 when my brother asked me if I wanted to go to his place in Montana and try snowboarding, I have been a fiend. If I’m not riding, I’m thinking about my next trip. If it’s snowing, I wonder how much will fall. If it’s not snowing, I wonder when it will. I m jonesing as I type now.
I have been back from our annual boys’ week in Montana for exactly one month, and I can’t stand it. I stare at the San Gabriel Mountains- home of Snow Summit- towering over the desert every day. They mock me and I curse them. Yet, my love for the sport will not let me hold a grudge. The slopes call to me…to something deep inside that only the rush of the wind in my hair and the snow under my board can understand. They call me to something that only the freedom of free riding can satisfy.
Here is a video of a few friends, my brother and myself shredding some powder in big sky a few years ago. I am in the first two shots, and the last two shots.
i like avocado sushi a whole lot.
4. party like it's 1999
uh, somebody took the video down.
these kids sure do like bandanas nowadays. and beards.they took this one down too! WMG is cracking down!i don't have any of those albums.
that looks so simple, even i could play it! maybe.
10. 2030 videogames