Thursday, December 3, 2009
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at the close of day
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
And then he frantically urged us that if we didn't rage now, all would be lost for us in the future.
Motivation: caffeine, Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime, Q and Not U - Different Damage, Sex Machineguns - Ignition, Squarepusher - Big Loada, The Tuss - Rushup Edge, The Smalls - S/T, and all the reading I've done on successful urban agriculture programs in Havana, which gives me some hope to rage against the drying of the light myself.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I pulled my headphones out (which at the time had Reign in Blood, conveniently enough, playing at top volume). I quickened my pace. I looked back and I saw the driver get out and pull something out of the back seat. Oh. I quickened my pace again, and kept looking over my shoulder. He was following me now. Oh.
Then I saw him cross the street. Perhaps he was going to the seniors centre to drop something off, I thought to myself. No sooner had this thought crossed my mind that he broke into an open run directly at me. I sort of sensed that one coming. Backpack full of library books (so much so, it was literally bursting at the seams) I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. I heard shouting over my shoulder - I'm still not sure if it was "where the fuck are you going" or "what the fuck are you doing", but I didn't want to stick around and find out.
Long story short, I smoked his sorry ass. Backpack full of books nonwithstanding, I could run way faster. I suggest that all would-be muggers of Calgary do mroe cardio, because self-preservation lends my legs more speed than greed or malice lends yours.
Support: Storm and Stress - S/T, Grizzly Bear - Veckatimist, Watchmaker - Erased From the Memory of Man, Darkthrone - The Cult is Alive, Kool Keith - Lost in Space, Fyodor Dosteovsky - The Grand Inquisitor and House of the Dead, Boredoms - Soul Discharge '99, David Harvey - Nature, Justice and the Geography of Distance, debates about the merits of academic inquiry, and the Vietnamese subs from the bake chef that have been a staple of my diet for about four years running.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I really liked the graffiti in Germany. It always meant something, it was always some sort of invective or witticism that stirred me, even if I only understood 18.2% of the scribblings proclaiming that "Grüner Kapitalismus is Schiesse" or advocacy "für Sozialrevolution jetzt!". Grafitti in Canada seems so boring. So uninspired. Until today.
Leaving the university I saw a tag that said CUNT in big huge letters. Juvenile, I thought to myself. Then I walked a closer and I could make out some script just over the offensive term that I could just barely make out. Walking closer, I could see that it said WALRUS. Someone wrote Walrus Cunt on the Math Sciences building and I still can't stop laughing at the thought of it. Dear lord.
Stuff, stuffed together: Talk Talk - Laughing Stock, Fuck the Facts - Stigmata High Five, Circle Jerks - Group Sex, Immortal - All Shall Fall, Darkthrone - A Blaze in the Northern Sky, John Bellamy Foster - Ecology Against Capitalism, the brown stock simmering in my kitchen
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I just spent five days (five glorious, glorious days) in Vancouver visiting friends and setting up an academic research conference. Man, that place is epic, although 5 straight days of non-stop rain and greyness was a little wearing. I'm pretty grateful for any occasion I have to take five days off to ride bikes, party like a student (because, you know, I'm much more responsible in Calgary), get excited about academia with other young academics, record music, get intimated some of the most opulent real estate in Canada, get intimidated by the worst urban squalor Canada has to offer, have heart-to-hearts, make new friends, and ride bikes. But...
Five days off has crippled my academic process. Or at the very least hobbled it, in a similar way to how Russian peasant used to pay people to break their ankles so they couldn't get conscripted to fight on the front lines in World War I. Or maybe in the way Duane Allman (and probably quite a few others) shot himself in the foot so he could keep playing music and not get drafted for Vietnam. People with foot fetishes might not make good draft dodgers based on these experiences. I don't know. Maybe?
The gerbil racing around powering the wheel in my noggin is going at Mach speed. I like all of this, actually. I like being wired on grindcore and coffee and new knowledge, and I think that a little forlornity and confusion and heartache makes those end-points so much more satisfying. I like sitting down and writing something like this, a letter to the void, with no preparation, just sincerity that stream of consciousness writing provides. This might not make sense now, but in a few months, it will.
Currently enjoying: Lock Up - Hate Breeds Suffering, Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock and Roll, Patton Oswalt - My Weakness is Strong, Various Artists - This Comp Kills Fascists, Vol. 1, Femme Fatale - Fire Baptism, Venetian Snares - Filth, Thomas Pynchon - Inherent Vice, and my ongoing successes with French cuisine.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Anyway, there is just one problem: I don't really measure when I cook. Measuring is really more for baking than cooking, and I think that an important part of cooking is learning how to get a feel for your ingredients, kind of like Luke Skywalker learning how to deflect laser bolts with his lightsabre with that helmet on in the first Star Wars. That's right, I cook like a goddamn Jedi.
So here is a recipe that is quick, easy, and a good way to maximize the use of a cheap cut of beef. Pomegranate juice is super fucking expensive, and I am assuming this recipe would probably work with blueberry juice (good concentration, lots of antioxidants) or maybe cranberry juice in a pinch (lots of antioxidants, similar tartness, but concentration is a little lower). If you are going for cranberry juice, I would probably recommend springing for the good stuff (read: anything but that gross, sugary Ocean Spray cran-cocktail stuff).
Without further ado...
Striploin With Pomegranate Reduction
You'll need the following:
Two medium-sized striploins
Black pepper (or a peppercorn melange, if you can get it)
Good salt (kosher salt or better)
1. Chop a couple sprigs of rosemary. Coat the striploins with the rosemary, salt and pepper (and when I say coat, I mean really rub that stuff in there).
2. Heat olive oil (a tablespoon or so) in a frying pan to a medium-high temperature. When the oil starts to lose its viscosity and smoke a little bit, it's talking to you: throw the steaks in. Remember, you want to sear both sides to get a nice crisp texture. For medium-rare, it will be about three minutes or so per side.
3. Remove steaks from pan, set aside. Add 2 cups of pomegranate juice, 4 cups of brown sugar and 2 and a half tablespoons of balsamic to the pan. DO NOT throw out the juices from the steaks - that stuff is like liquid gold. Bring content of pan to a boil and then simmer until reduced to desired thickness (approximately 5 minutes or so). Keep your eye on the pan - if you let it reduce for too long it basically caramelizes.
4. In a seperate bowl, toss arugala with olive oil and balsamic (a tablespoon and a half of each, perhaps, pending on how many servings you are preparing). Add salt and paper.
5. Slice steaks into strips and drizzle reduction overtop. Plate with argula mixture and a big chunk of bread.
Reccomended pairing: a good New Zealand Pinot Noir will make this one sing. An entry-level Villa Maria pinot, for example, should have the right balance of acidity, herbaceousness, tannin and fruitniness to make this dish work out.
Enjoy with two friends, depending how big your appetites are.
Indulgences: Guided By Voices - Human Amusements at Hourly Rates, Jay Reatard - Matador Singles 06-07, Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein, Aphex Twin - Hangable Auto Bulb and Windowlicker, Grand Belial's Key - Judeobeast Assassination, Thomas Pynchon - Vineland (finally finished this one!), Manuel Castells - The City and the Grassroots
Monday, October 19, 2009
I have never bought a coffee from either of these places, and I never will. For an extra 20 cents or so I can buy fair trade coffee from a locally owned business. Sure, my 20 cents isn't changing the fucking world, but if it can help me feed my caffeine addiction without completely selling myself out to the system I hate, then that should be enough.
Also, I've written a ton of songs lately. Like six or so. What the hell? I haven't been writing for months, and all of a sudden I've had a weird rush of creativity. What new thing or person in my life is causing all this creativity? Some days not only do I not know the answer, but I don't think I really know the questions either.
Support: Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights, Daughters - Hell Songs, David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, David Harvey - The Right to the City, HEALTH - Get Color, Horse the Band - Desperate Living and the 1987 Ridge Monte Bello Cab that made last night so fun for me (and is making this morning excruciating).
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
So, Patrick Swayze. The fact that man dies of cancer may indeed by tragic, but it is perhaps more tragic that this death is like to grab front pages across the world, while buried on page A26 lies unread news about issues that should be of real concern to us. The death of celebrities is painted more often as the death of an ideal rather than the death of a person, and it is shameful that we should have our ideals about issues such as social justice or environmental stewardship so tightly wrapped up in people who often unqualified to address these same issues. Perhaps this is the result of culture that has become acutely delocalized and can no longer fix its gaze and attach its ideals to community leaders, but rather to a large and grandoise body of jet-setting celebrities upon, whom we can collectively imprint our values.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
My, my. Busy, busy, busy. I have the privilege of leaving in five days, but (as per usual) I've made little to no plans. I've also (as per usual) squandered the time I have to get a large amount of schoolwork done. The 80-20 rule (do 80% of the work in 20% of the time) is (as per usual) a real bitch.
I feel like the monolith from 2001 is sitting on my chest right now. I know that I'll get done the things that need getting done, but the anxiety is starting to disrupt my sleep cycles. I've been waking up a lot at night and I've started drinking more coffee again. Even though it's warm outside, the library of the University feels as cold as ever. What is with this place? Why do they keep it at the same temperature as a fucking mortuary, year round? I think its uncomfortable atmosphere mirrors my discomfort with the University/city in general. It'll be good to get out again.
I'll be keeping updates to a minimum while I'm gone. Sorry, but if you want to know what I've experienced abroad you'll have to call me up and hear it from me in person. I'm also deleting my fucking Twitter. What a stupid idea. I'm not really sure I can compress the complex spectrum of emotions I feel or the context of my varied life-happenings into 160 words or less anymore.
"I'm eating bacons and eggs rite now, soooo good"
"Getting arrested, LOL!"
"Come to my house for ultra-beer-bong goat debauchery"
I would rather just focus on the bacon and eggs, arrest experience and ultra-beer-bong goat debauchery than focus on what clever ways I'm going to write about them. And really, if I want to share an experience with you I will probably pay you the minimal courtesy of contacting you directly. Sure, I feel the need to document some shards of existence, but not to circumscribe or truncate it. And on that note...
"... because in life, very little goes right. Right meaning the way one expected and the way one wanted. One has no right to want or expect anything." -Paul Bowles
Supplements for May anxieties - 2001: A Space Odyssey (in case you haven't noticed), 8 1/2, Trap Them - Seizures in Barren Praise, Cursed - Two and III: Architects of Troubled Sleep, Man or Astroman? - A Spectrum of Infinite Scale and the 2000 Frescobaldi Brunello I drank with my family on Thursday.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
1993 or 2009?
The fact that a lot of people are looking like Pearl Jam roadies is no big deal: we all know that fashion moves in cycles, yadda yadda yadda, but the cycles are feeling like they're getting a little closer together. But in the late 90s it seemed like it was more about mid- to late-1970s fashion, with the mid-2000s ushering in a revival of mid-1980s fashion. If we have moved into an era where everyone is dressing like its 1995, then where will we be in two years? Will everyone be dressing like its 2003, when people were starting to dress like it was 1983? This is the part where my brain 'splodes.
It's got me thinking about postmodernism a bit. Yeah, pastiche is fun, and it's liberating in the sense that you don't need to be slavish to meta-narratives whose applicability is pretty questionable. But on the other hand, when it becomes normative I think it's more or less a free pass to be gleefully self-indulgent and superficial. When everything is so aestheticized and the traditional concept of narrative is subverted, then isn't there a chance we are just moving towards this dystopian scenario where the meaning of all cultural symbols get lost, as the aesthetic of the symbols are recycled ad nauseam with no regard for context?
I know it sounds like warmed over Frederic Jameson/Baudrillard, but it's worth thinking about, I think. I mean, I'm not sure how down I am with every song title/band name being a tongue-in-cheek pop-culture reference ("Walk Before You Run DMC". What is that shit?). Then again I play in a band called Baader Meinhof Overdrive. Then again, I don't think Jordan and I pretend that BMO is supposed to be super-meaningful or insightful. Then again, we have a song about how somebody should resurrect Zombie Reagan, so punk rock can have something to mobilize against. I don't know, my brain hurts. The answers aren't easy, but then again maybe they aren't supposed to be. But then again, isn't the idea that things are "supposed to be" a certain way indicative of a meta-narrative or higher order? If my brain was 'sploding before, then my brain just went supernova now.
The ca-razy postmodern (and not so postmodern) things I'm hyped on right now: Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow, Charles Bronson - Youth Attack!, Spazz - Crush, Kill, Destroy, Stephen Hawking - A Breifer History of Time, 2005 Duckhorn Decoy (perfect mid- to high-range good times steak wine), Planet Earth, Metric - Fantasies (what can I say: this album is shit-hot. It contains no less than five perfect window-down, sing-a-long anthems good for cruising in your white Camaro in 2009 like its 1986. Wait....)
Monday, April 13, 2009
The next two weeks of my life will be completely insane. I keep saying to myself, "well, this is the life you chose", but somehow that cheery affirmation of my self-possession and stoic self-determination seems a little muted in the face of the veritable tsunami of work I am facing. Ultimately, is what I've learned this semester worth the payoff of sleeping in the library, losing sleep and having the quality of diet last seen in a Charles Dickens novel?
I think I can answer that question with a resounding "fuck yeah!". The cliche "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance" is tired, but completely true. Working for positive change in Calgary has lead me to face up to some rather pushy, ill-educated individuals. This leads me to lead to two conclusions:
- There is a positive correlation between ignorance and brashness
- There is a negative correlation between taking a well-informed position in an arguement and my desire to punch you in the fucking head
A few of the things that are currently keeping my stick on the ice, as they say: Agoraphobic Nosebleed Agorapolocalypse, Metric Fantasies, Yeah Yeah Yeahs It's Blitz, Faust S/T, Non Phixion The Future is Now, William Gibson Virtual Light and a surprisingly large amount of the 80s hightop thrash I grew up on in the early 00s.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I lost my effing ipod last week. Curses! I've become basically dependent on it, and it seems strange to walk around without my own personal soundtrack constantly running. Without this constant distraction, however, I'm hearing lots of things I've forgotten about. The sound of a train car full of strangers, for example, all shuffling feet and throat clearing, everybody trying to discreetly surveille everyone else. The muffled roar of far away cars racing while I pace unlit streetscapes late at night. The sound of my own breath when I run. It's like people who work in a machine shop gradually tune out the sound of the machines: what have I tuned out?
That being said, I just bought another ipod today. It's nice to be reminded of all these processes I'm wont to forget about, but certain experiences can augmented (or even overpowered!) by music. It also helps for those times you don't want to be left alone with your thoughts, right?
Things keeping me from becoming unglued: Absu S/T, The Wrestler (brilliant!), Arckanum Antikosmos, Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale, Pilsener Urquelle and the Luis Felip Edwards Malbec I'd been cellaring for three years.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I'm beginning to think my references are getting dated. It started last semester, when I made a Captain Planet joke to three girls in geography class, none of whom knew who Captain Planet was. What the fuck? I'm not that old. In fact, I'm maybe two years older than those girls from last semester, tops. What gives?
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my teenage years are somewhat of an anachronism. I guess everyone I went to high school with came of age with Outkast, 50 Cent, The Darkness and Justin Timberlake, while I was wired on Minor Threat, Anthrax, Bad Brains and Iron Maiden. High school for me was spent listening to 80s thrash and hardcore while wearing white high-tops, Megadeth shirts and a denim jacket covered in heavy metal patches; in short, emulating movements I had missed by a good 20 years (tragically a year or two before emulating those movements somehow became cool again). Maybe all those years spent intentionally shifting my frame of reference to a time before I was born has eroded my ability to find contemporary references people my age can identify with. Or maybe that's why most of my friends are older than I am?
I don't know. I guess maybe I should shelve the Andrew Dice Clay and Escape From New York references for a couple years and shoot for something a little more relevant. Then again?