Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 66

The List:

I’m going grocery shopping in an hour or so. Let’s bring in the record players then.

She writes:

“am (I’m) on vacation and thinking of you. I hope that everything is picking up?




I advise this:

Let me know when you want me to sober up your street fighter fantasies

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 65

The List:

Net worth philosophy = poo
b/c of immunities

so i can only loose
money through half
of red = Erin

Erin can loose money
through half of my green
and blue

So we can determine
which would cause each
to loose most over time

It's not about net worth
it's about who would
eventually loose if we
kept playing

Erin has more money
I have more damaging property

Call it a draw?

Hi I came back
for my scarf

You cut it on "a bias"


That's from the
modern library
collection from
about the thirties
but I have another
of his books from
eighteen hundreds

- I get them from
asesome bookstore
in S.F.

That's when they

Second rate
Dickens but
still great

Not fav. but
I love Dickens


I'm not sure
lots of outstanding variables

"Tip slips"?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 64

No list.

Nothing special to report.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

50,000 songs

A little over two years ago I signed up with an English website that is pretty much a one shop stop for anything music related on the interweb. Whether I’m looking up info on a musician, lyrics to a song, tour dates/venues, recommendations, editorials etc.

It also has a nifty plug-in for iTunes that tracks the music I play from my library and graphs and tallies my listening preferences and connects me with users of similar tastes, recommends bands, alerts me when one of my frequently played bands is playing in my area etc.

Most of the time I listen to music through my computer so my stats are a fair representation of my music tastes. A little while ago I reached fifty thousand track plays, and thought I would record the moment, and maybe revisit the notion when I reach one hundred thousand in another couple years.

I thought it a serendipitous moment, both in the unlikely chance I should notice my total track tally exactly then, and that my fifty thousandth song was coincidentally my favorite of all time ( Sundays – Cant Be Sure ). Doesn’t sound like much, but I thought there was a pleasing symmetry to it at the time, which induced me to highlight and save the moment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two New Writings.
Anatomy of Sleeping in the Sun.
Writing history.

Beneath the Brook

A swallows call
led us into the reeds
where old letters and sad songs
stain the waters
the night we buried our names
beneath the brook

we bled ourselves in promise
sharpened each other’s teeth
stole into barns
and tore through lambs
frenzied by their meat
we stumbled down rabbit holes
and laid in repose
slowly stroking moral dilemmas
with the tips of our fingers
taking sips from each other
until the salt and lime cut our lips
and the rumble of far away storms
shook the windows

and hungry to be swallowed
you slipped pale and raw
into my dark innocence
our bodies poured down sweaty walls
while cracked windows rattled in dry frames
so we were
(dry to the bone but wet to the touch)

now in the silent decay of night
the thin hiss of my charred body
calls you with a small voice
but you left
with a twist of laughter
and a handful of sharp angles

i try to sleep
through the confused flashes of panic
between my sensible mind
and aching body
that never destroyed me for the better.

Sleeping in the Sun

Your first word
was my secret name
smeared in margins
of old books

on hot june days
i pour down shelves
drip through floor boards
and stain your thighs

in frayed edges
torn from sleep
through silver waters
you return
scorched and sparkling
pouring your fingers
through my hair
into my stomach
filling me
until you
burn my lungs
coughed up by morning
licked raw by your light

i thought i saw you
while i slept
but it was just the city
glowing through the trees

when i woke
i thought i had a red haired wife
but i was sleeping in the sun.

In addition to posting these two pieces. I’ve decided to archive the process I went through to write Sleeping in the Sun. My workflow has changed recently, and I thought it would be worth splaying out it’s anatomy to better understand where I am with my writing, and to serve as a landmark in my evolving process.

I must warn you; my artist workflow in whatever medium, are always obsessive, and gruelingly elaborate and tiresome. You are about to step into a world of neurotic obsession that at times approaches dementia, and is really better left behind thick soundproof walls. But if you aren’t prone to epileptic fits, and don’t have a history of heart disease, and aren’t nursing, then you may proceed:

A thought while I was at it, I would briefly chronicle the history of my personal writing to this point:

I started to focus on writing when I was about nineteen. The inspiration for me to begin writing was the Super Nintendo Game ‘Tetris Attack’. As bizarre as that may sound. I had played the game off and on since I was about thirteen. Despite the name it has nothing to do with Tetris really. It stars characters from Yoshi’s Island, (another Super Nintendo game) and is a competitive puzzle game of sorts, tied together by an obligatory narrative. It was a game I invested a lot of time mastering, and remains one of my favorites. None of this is terribly relevant with respects to my writing as of yet; but as I was booting up the game one day, I noticed a little poem displayed against blue before the main start screen. I had skipped past it at least a thousand times as I rushed through the menus to get to the game, but for whatever reason this time I stopped and really read it:

let's play together...

Together under the
clearest of blue skies...

Now this could be a translation of a famous classical Japanese poem, or more likely just something an overworked programmer threw together during his lunch break to make the game more cute. It honestly wouldn’t have made a difference to me either way.

I found myself suddenly struck by the sweet, earnest simplicity of the piece. I didn’t think much of it at the time. But later that night while at work (I worked at a parking lot kiosk at the time). I was counting up money in the register and filling out the register receipt and took notice of three narrow lines under "comments", which of course everyone including myself always ignored and left blank. But that night, inspired by the above poem, I wrote my own along the same lines:

Red Smoke

You’re a sweet smelling red smoke
curling and laughing playfully

a sneaky little thing
flashing your silly smile

but your play is wise
filling your life with meaning.

It was the first piece I wrote in earnest and set me down the writing path I’ve been on since. I still feel this piece is one of my most honest and precisely expressed sentiments.

During the first few years, my writing was mired in extremely cheesy, overbearingly whimsical and nostalgic pieces that relied on mostly trite and thread bare similes and flowery descriptions. I was reading nothing but Dostoyevsky at the time, and dare say thought myself as qualified as he, with my long winded descriptions. Arguably all the same criticisms can still be levied against my writing, and may always. But I do feel that my cheesy flowery descriptions have at the very least become more personally and engagingly worded since (Though I could just be kidding myself).

I do most of my writing disheveled and bleary eyed at three in morning when my neurotic introspective delirium has had enough time to marinate in the secluded stillness of night. I always start in a sensory landscape, that incites a palpable mood and feeling. Then I try to render the sights, sounds, textures, and smells and movement of that landscape. (I use the term landscape literally, as I see/feel a very specific place)

Then I convert that scene into words trying to capture the loose swishy dreamlike quality of the scene in what usually translates into semi abstract descriptions, that hopefully when read can be re-translated back to the core mood I started with. Sort of like an ink-blot-test with subliminal advertising.

I would often write a handful of pieces one at a time trying out different perspectives on the landscape until I hit upon one I felt captured it. I found all too often however, that this approach seemed to result in a final product that was a bit like a quick sketch, often just a frame of movement, shot from the hip. It was informed by a distillation in aesthetic from the other abandoned pieces but none the less didn’t really use the work done in those other pieces to the final works advantage.

Recently however, I increasingly found myself in these landscapes with an added sense of purpose and with more of an emotional and thematic direction. I find I’m no longer passively strolling through ambivalent landscapes, but actively taking part and sharing their purpose. As far as to experience them as an illustration to a story, all be it an abstract one.

The following is an example of one of my older floral freeze-frames:

Our Landscape

leaves shatter crisp beneath
our steps press
twig snaps dirt scrapes

the trees above
drizzle autumn blaze
swish dry hush shake

blushing warm sunset
through our landscape.

And here is a more recent, thematically imbued piece:

On Almond Street

our nervous hand holds – shaking voices
the warm smashing of our soft bodies
birthed from thin shells
left to drag our tender bellies across the sand

back when you scared me beautiful
like high cliffs or wild oceans

before the cold came
the frosted streets
your wet breath – twisting the air
thin legs, big jacket
biting your lip
left behind

did you fall behind the stove
and rot like an old grape?
or stick to the window
like a wet leaf?

you’re the black pain in my fingers
when i wade through old photos
or icy waters
to capture you in a pickle jar
and wonder why your light went out

i walk the moon and wonder
(the beasts eye me carefully)
would your dark eyes spill from our children?
would you keep your mysteries closer to god?

it’s morning now
red birds scatter like hot beads
and sizzle in the wet sky

i’m waiting for you on almond street.

This new layer has made my more recent pieces longer, and much more arduous to write. In the past I would write a few different perspectives on the same landscape, one at a time, until one hit the spot, then I would dump the others. Now with this shift in design, I find myself writing a handful of different pieces at the same time, all connected by a nebulous core of mood and atmosphere. I would write each piece to stand on its own, being very strict about my ‘word real estate’ (in other words how many syllables it takes to communicate what I want ie. Concept, imagery, description etc.) I have a intuitive understanding of how many syllables any given concept, line, imagery etc. can be expressed in. When I feel I’m exceeding that, that I’m making poor use of my word real estate, and force myself to find ways to concentrate the meaning into fewer syllables.

When I feel I’ve maxed out the potential of each piece on its own, I discover, (with a familiar sense of surprise each time) that elements of some pieces fit perfectly in wanting areas of others and vice versa. This happens so consistently that I don’t consider it a coincidence anymore; rather that subconsciously I’ve been drawing connections between the different pieces the whole time.

I then focus on combining the often clashing meter, textures , tense’s, etc. Then go through the cyclical process of churning through drafts, which often seems like an endless and obsessive spiral to nowhere. But that in the end leads me to where I’m trying to get with respects to cohesion, clarity, and precision.

The main challenge with this new approach is having the stomach to cut what are often my favorite sections of the individual pieces for the good of the combined final piece, and on not making the final piece seem overly fragmented and scattered. The plus side however, is the extra length and depth allows me to tackle more complex and narrative themes. Rather than a quick sketch of a fleeting moment, I can build and develop a complex conceit, with greater detail and immersion.

Lately I’ve been feeling the narrative elements of my pieces to have louder more commanding voices, and have allowed them free reign in a few short stories. I anticipate that will be the direction I will begin to move in the near future, and hopefully to have a strong enough reign over my expression and the lung capacity for the depth necessary for a novel in the coming years.

No Talking Tuesday # 63

The List:

This is modern


He puts things in the piano and messes with the strings while playing.

You need to send me a list of all the music you want from me,
its quickly growing too big for me to keep straight in my head.

Antony and the Johnsons

I think you also wanted some Vivaldi or something?
like chorus stuff
or Bach or something

Also you wanted talking heads yes?

And did we ever figure out what music it was you liked when we played chess?

I think it was cheesy old Brian Eno
but I don’t think we ever confirmed

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 62

No list.

Nothing special to report.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 61

The List:

all your controller talk made me realize i forgot
to tell you i'm leaving for s.f. tomorrow morning

i'll be back monday night

obscenley early

i'm taking a cab

some packages will likely arrive for me in the mean time
just bring them in

i would be worried that you would mistake
the boxes for recycling but since you never
take the recycling out it wouldn't matter

Monday, November 17, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 60

This Tuesday found me stalking the halls of a Toys R Us. I thought it was blasphemous to my childhood that I should now live right near a Toys R Us (Which would have been something I would have only dared dream as a child) and that I've strayed so far from my roots, that I don't even care.

So I went in prepared to stock up on all the lost favorites of my childhood:
Don't Break the Ice, Connect Four, Monopoly, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Yo-Yo's, Jenga etc.

Like so many of my wistful adult expeditions to return to the glory days of my youth, I no longer saw the glittering bright, colorful towering isles of toys rush past me as I drove in a mini race car whipping around isles sending flustered soccer moms shrieking. Instead what I found was a cavernous, dimly lit warehouse full of licensed I.P's like Star Wars etc, and baby gear (strollers and whatnot), scaffolding and dusty tarps lightly muffling the sound of hammering and construction, apathetic employees slowly stalking the isles like necromancers roaming the wastelands.

Still, Toys R Us was always about content, not cosmetics. So I held out some vestige of faith appearances not withstanding. Until I found to my horror many of my favorite games have since been re-cast into some awful, often more curvy plastic laden, gaudy new design. And what wasn't malformed no longer existed.

Toys R Us does not carry Yo Yo's...

Truly the world has reached a low point I hadn't yet imagined possible.

The List:

It would be hilarious
if I made a rule
modification where
I could speak but
only like Beaker
with varying inflections
and tones of "me"

I think I may have left my
black back pack in the juice
bar yesterday. Has a
backpack turned up in the
lost and found?

One carrot/orange/apple
juice please - small

Now at 10
before at 9

I'm doing a new series
where I take polaroids of
the things I draw to
present w/ the drawings

My roommate has sussed
out a bunch of cool
d.s. games and loaded
on mine. Hopefully I'll
find the time to play them

I don’t know
I have it
haven’t played it
rhythm tengoku gold

It has good A.I.
with diff personalities
and gives you daily
exercises and
graphs your chess

It's avatar guy
is the searching
for Bobby Fisher

I play on market
street w those

On Jefferson
east of overland

I just rock funbox
it's cement/street course

It's high enough
to make you cry
to your mother

and ledges
when i was
younger and braver
no more

Do you sell connect four?

Also do
you sell yo yo's?

They re designed
the base

No I did!
touch fuzzy get dizzy!
I thought this one is different? not
a port

Friday, November 07, 2008

Polaroid/Drawing Series

I’ve decided to get the most out of my dwindling supply of Polaroid film
by starting a new series where I take a Polaroid of the subject I have drawn.
Specifically the more refined brush pen/wash drawings I’ve been doing recently.
The idea being I present the drawing and Polaroid together.

The drawings are to be done in my sketchbook,
though I’m still trying to decide if I want to present them that way,
with the Polaroid pasted on the opposite page,
or to present them a little more deliberately.
I did a little experimentation with the first one in the series and tried both approaches:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 59

A historic night.
Obama becomes president and i'm forced to question my cynicism about America.
I wouldn't have thought America was ready for Obama, luckily I was proven wrong.

The List:

I think everyone should vote
it's the most important thing
we can do to make a difference
in our government

California is going to Obama for sure
so it's less dire than if I lived in
Ohio/Florida etc.

Also I believe everyone should vote
for who they think would make the
best president.
(regardless of party/who is in lead etc.)
which for me is Ron Paul,
which of course would
be pointless for me to vote for.

But mainly I'm uninformed
and rendered jaded by
behind curtain influence of
world banks, the ease of manipulated
voting fraud of electronic voting
machines etc.

Luckily I have the luxury of
living in California where people
have enough sense to not choose
to encourage the very real danger
of Palin becoming president
(if Mcain dies during term)

I thought it was just o.k.
until it opened up, then
I think it was good
I think your voice could
stand to be a little
smoother from that point on.

Oh hey i've been meaning to
ask you; one of my old books
has come apart (the outside
from the bound pages) would your
new found glue making skills
be of use to re-secure it?

The most straight foreword tea please

I oscillate between
libertarianism and
socialism. Both semi
extremes have very nice
outputs but both only
really work when done
uncompromised, which
isn't really realistic


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 58

No list.

Nothing special to report.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bernini at the Getty

A couple weekends back I went with some friends to check out the Bernini exhibit at the Getty.
I was blown away. His work is so bold and full of life and energy, yet extremely subtle and fine, especially the marble pieces. The way he sculpted skin stretching on the ears, facial creases, hair patterns etc. was incredibly inspiring. I sketched a few of the sculptures to better appreciate their finer points. I would highly recommend the exhibit; if you live in the L.A. area and have any appreciation for sculpture it’s not to be missed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 57

The List:


I hooked up the record player
come check to see if it works

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 56

The List:


I repeat myself
for no man.

Did you never get
the letter stuff for
your girlfriend?

Well I’m
certainly glad you
wasted my time
like three months
ago about it.

I appreciate that.

Hold on. I need to
think how to
explain location
to someone who
is incompetent.

This is where
having an
comes in handy

On the street
whole foods is on

South of it

= end of

Like I said last

You know where
native foods is?

That street

Now off with you

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Business Card

I thought it time to update my non day job business card.
Here is what I have so far.
I'm sort of going for the whole stark/simple American Psycho look.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 55

The List:

In Russian mostly

This is the story Beowulf
is based on?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Music Video Storyboards

Here are some storyboards I drew for a friend entering a music video direction contest.
I omitted a few panels, as I was embarrassed by their crappyness.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 54

The List:

Hi I’m here to see Avel Hondros
in # 105

Ali Jamalzadeh

You will never believe what just
happened. The evil* story just became
truly epic.

Why would Nick find it especially delightful
and who is this girl you speak of?

Well fwd the emails I sent you in case
they have any words of wisdom for me

I think we're saying the same thing
but I mean c.c. me on them in case
they have any commentary

Would you prefer I wrote “carbon copy” me?


* I actually meant to write “Avel” not “evil”.
Not that it makes any difference.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Stuck In Head Tracks # 2
(Six Month Stickies)

These are the tracks of music that got stuck in my head
in the course of the last six months.
(In order)

*Click Image to download a rar of the compilation

New Order - Leave me Alone

Joy Division is one of my favorite bands, so the next logical step was to see how they got on without their front man. I had a few tracks off Power Corruption & Lies scattered in my library for years, that I really liked, it prompted me to get the New Order discography. Unfortunately I found that album was the only worthwhile achievement without the somber integrity of Ian Curtis. It seems Curtis’s residual influence lasted long enough to inform the sensibilities of one more great album. After which, they wasted no time in selling out, and pandering to an obvious and mindless dance club demographic. Still this is probably my favorite track of theirs, had me shacking my head in satisfaction at work for a good week or so.

Sticky point: 2:16

From my head to my toes
To my teeth, through my nose
You get these words wrong
You get these words wrong

The National - Friend of Mine

Apparently I just can’t get enough of The National. They really bulldozed their way into my musical life, I don’t know how I was ignorant of their music for as long as I was, considering how prolific and consistently amazing all their recordings are. As a result I got their entire discography nearly at once, and have since always had a song or album at the center of my musical universe. While the brunt of my National indoctrination was during my last sticky list, this song didn’t reveal itself to me in full until later.

Talking Heads - Sax and Violins

Talking heads finally took hold of me these last six months. I’m not sure why it took so long for me to board this train, but now I’m on for good. This is probably my favorite song of theirs. I love the subtle shifts of tones between the different sections, and the waning synth sounds blooming in the background.

M83 - Skin of the Night

I’ve been into m83 for the last few years and was a little nervous at how easily I took to the new album. Usually a sign that approachability was traded for replay value. But I really enjoy the semi Kate Bush inspired theme, and I think the explosive moments stand out beautifully against the languid connective tissue. There is such great design to how this song plays out over its six minutes. This song got me through the long hours when I was staying at work past three in the morning every night. I would suggest listening while half delirious and full of sleepy/anxious/strung out energy, I think I unlocked something in the song doing so. I saw them(him) live a few months ago and was a bit underwhelmed, as I usually am when I see electronic based music live, but it was still great to hear this song blaring loud in a room full of people.

Sticky point:
1:02 – 1:20
After a minute build; the first major and the most powerful drop, that forces my ass to shakin’

Brian Eno - King’s Lead Hat

I probably have more respect and admiration for Brian Eno than any living musician. This is another gem from his cheesy early days. What’s he even talking about?
“Four turkeys in a big black car” ?!
Crazy times.

Beach boys - Disney Girls (1957)

Apparently people cringe with pain at this song. I think it’s fantastic , but everyone I sent it to thought I was making an ironic gesture. I’m not ashamed to admit I like the beach boys. I love good song writing, I’m not prejudice to style and form. Whether it be Lennon, Michael Jackson, Daniel Johnston, Dylan, or Brian Wilson (beach boys). The more I get into music the less distracted I am by the particular pallet and genre, and the more I respond the core of song writing. And while this song in particular wasn’t written by Brian Wilson, I think it’s rather lovely regardless.

Hot Chip - Playboy

As I might have said in my last six month stickies; I think Hot Chip is kind of hit or miss. This song was love at first site. It’s so damn fun, and dare I say: Groovy? I mean, “Blazing out Yo La Tengo. Hey yay. Yay, yay.” This song was all the more satisfying as two of my friends and I all simultaneously had the song stuck in our heads while we were on road trip in the bay area. And half ironically ‘bumped’ it during the drive.

Cornelius - Tone Twilight Zone

This song also played a major role in the road trip I mentioned. If you’re ever driving across the rolling hills of Jackson in spring with a couple of friends, and are looking for the perfect song to play as you watch the green trees rush across a cloudy sky; this is it.

Spoon - The Beast and Dragon, Adored

Honestly I’m not wild about this song. Nor am I too wild about spoon. But thems the head-stuck breaks. This song stuck regardless. Not too surprising, it’s catchy as all hell.

National - Cherry Tree

Well my national obsession continues unabated.
It took me over two weeks to gather the escape velocity to clear me from its orbit. Which is unfortunate when you consider having this song stuck in your head means you appear to be a deranged and homeless as you walk the streets muttering “loose lips sink ships.”

Low - Dinosaur Act

I’ve been listening to Low for years. But for some reason something finally clicked a few months ago, and suddenly I couldn’t get enough. I listened to nothing but Low for days and loved every minute of it. I have over seven ep’s and albums and collaborations from them. By the end of a week, I was mostly playing about ten or so tracks that would almost all justify being on this sticky list. Notably the Christmas album. This was the track that started it all. I don’t know why exactly I singled it out, but I did. Something about the steady somber brush work on the snare, the guitar like soggy fireworks, coupled with the listless harmonizing of the two singers, who are in no rush to tell you how they feel, about what I have no idea. Something about dinosaurs is all I gather, and that’s enough.

Brian Jonestown massacre - Crushed

As is often the case with transitory periods in my life, they are signaled and paralleled with suspicious accuracy, by satellite events and observations. These satellite echoes of my main theme often don’t become obvious until afterwords. In this case I was going through a rather significant transition in the romantic sector of my life, during the whole of which I was obsessed with this song. I listened to it non stop on loop for days, before it occurred to me to look at the lyrics (when listening to music I can't make out lyrics, bur rather only hear the sound of vocals). Sure enough the lyrics perfectly paralleled my sentiments in there own abstract, though no less accurate, way. The song continues to have a chemical reaction with me when I listen to it, I think it will act as an emotional guidepost or memorial for a romantic period of my life, that’s better articulated in the song then I could ever hope to express in my art or writing. While there wasn’t any particular sticky point, I’ll include the lyrics here, as they are more relevant and penetrating for me than maybe any song has been in my life.

i'm tired of living alone
i've just discovered alone
i feel uncovered with you
i feel right here
i'm kind of silly i know
i'm not your lover although
i shouldn't bother
i fall for the deep clear

eyes blue
and you know
i'm in line with you here

i've tried to give you enough
i learned from living it rough
i think i know when i must
make myself clear
i'm tired of living alone
and discovered alone
when i'm uncovered with you
i feel right here

can't you see
i can fly
but i'm not free

careful you
all alone
clear blue clear

and if you see
i can fly
but i'm not free

it's kind of silly i know
i'm not your lover
although i shouldn't bother
i fall for the deep clear

i can fly through the clear blue

dry my eyes in a cool breeze
can't you see i've a soul too
I suppose I really fall away
i'm in love with a lie still
and carefree
i can fly but i'm not free here
i can fly but i'm not free

Cat Power - I Believe In You

While I don’t especially like most of her music, I always really liked Moon Pix. So I thought I would give this album a chance and was rather startled by how good it is. Honestly I would be justified in putting over half the songs off of it in this sticky list, but this song edged out in front of the rest. Probably because it’s the one that gets my ass most a ’shakin. I love the control and feeling in her voice, and the visceral sensual thrusts of the instrumentation. She should be really proud of this cover.

Air France - No Excuses

Every once and a while I like to indulge in some blatant euro-pandering. (Kings of Convenience, The Legends etc.) When I was in the mood to get a bit indulgent, and celebrate the start of summer I listened to the new Air France album. This was the song that got most stuck in my head. The album art shows a woman launching a kite at sunset, I would often see it from the corner of my eye while I listened to the album and it complimented the music perfectly.

Low - Just Like Christmas

I suspected for a while that I have a proclivity for poignant Christmas music.
(Vince Guaraldi Trio’s Charlie brown Christmas soundtrack being a prime example)
It was during the long Low marathon I made reference to before that I discovered the brilliance of the Christmas album. After about the third day I found myself continuously repeating this track, and Taking Down The Tree.

As usual I didn’t realize what the lyrics were until I looked them up. The lyrics for “Just Like Christmas” really knocked the wind out of me. A perfect example of writing that's simple, yet emotionally profound.I find it particularly heart wrenching when she sings:

We got lost,
the beds were small,
but we felt so young,
it was just like Christmas
it was just like Christmas…

It never fails to send a shiver up my spine and flood my stomach with warmth.

TV On The Radio - Staring at the Sun

This song like a couple others on this as well as my last sticky list, have come to represent a certain philosophical archetype, to be referenced in my abstract musings about my life and relationships and where I’m going with both.

you're staring at the sun
you're standing in the sea
your mouth is open wide
you're trying hard to breathe
the water's at your neck
there's lightning in your teeth

Hearing this song is like coming home. As a result I can almost never listen to it just one time through. I often listen four or five times in a row before I can move on.

Neil Young - Oh, Lonesome Me

This song got stuck in my head just barely enough to make the sticky list. I think mainly because the music is sort of incidental to the lyrics. And my aesthetics for music are much more instrumental than lyrical. Unfortunately, the lyrics are far too apt a description of my life than I would care to admit. While some songs offer up an understanding of yourself and life you wish to grow into, others reflect back where you are, with all the cringing accuracy of a bathroom surveillance camera. It makes this song for me at once both comforting and painful.

Jeremy Enigk - Been Here Before

I’m the biggest Jeremy Enigk fan I know. Which is really too bad, I think his music is much better than his popularity would suggest. Return of the Frog Queen captures a tone and a quality and sound unlike anything I have ever heard. As a result when I’m in a mood for that sound I have that album and only that album to satisfy it. And while his new album The Missing Link is less distinctive in that sense; it’s full of great songs like this one. Half of which came close to making this list.

Sticky point: 1:57 – 2:15

After a two minute build, a strong organ sting, and snare tumble, into the explosive release. Always sends me into a sort of mini dance-seizure at work.

Grouper - Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping

I have a feeling each of these sticky lists is going to be anchored by a central obsession. The last list was anchored to National, which I listened to with more ferocity than all the rest of the bands on the list combined. And for this list that anchor is Grouper. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was more overwhelmed by a musicians’ work. Liz Harris has really tapped into something amazing with her music. It has this incredible unforced organic wisdom, without a lick of pretension. It’s as if she paints this oceanscape with washes of guitar and voice. I feel like I’m swimming at night and can’t see well enough to know if the tide’s pulling me to shore, drifting me out, or if I’m sinking, but I realize it’s a dream so it doesn’t really matter.

I’ve since acquired her entire discography and listened nonstop for four days straight, something I’m not sure I have ever done before. If you want to see the proof go here (Caution not for the feint of heart):

Grouper Madness

Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping is my favorite track off her most recent album. It’s also one of her most accessible, and was sent to many of my friends during the first two weeks when I was a walking commercial for her music.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 53

Nothing worth noting.

No list.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Figure Drawings

The Thursday night figure drawing workshop at Otis for E.A. employees, resumed for the fall quarter.
So look out for a lot more figure drawings in the coming weeks.

Usually I just draw in my sketchbook, but filled my current one and didn't get around to buying a new one yet. So I begrudgingly drew with charcoal on the newsprint provided. I haven't worked that way since art school, and found it refreshing and fun. Here are a couple from last week.

No Talking Tuesday Year End Wrap Up
End of Year One

Click here for summery and origins.

I thought I would write about my experience with my no talking Tuesdays this last year.
It has proven to be more beneficial, informative, interesting, consequential and difficult than I anticipated.
The good news is my resolution to continue for the rest of my life is as strong as when I started.
I'm excited to see how my experience continues to develop. Here are some thoughts so far.

Change over the year

When I started my no talking Tuesdays, I’ll admit that I was over exaggerating the novelty and went out of my way to be clever and different and weird. Once I settled into the routine of not talking, and no longer felt the need to ham it up with the needles pageantry of writing responses and dramatically mimed gestures; My ‘no talking Tuesdays’ become ‘truly listening Tuesdays’. The focus being less about what I wasn’t doing (talking) and more about what I was doing (listening). I found certain people really responded to that, and loved the opportunity to expound their thoughts at length, knowing they wouldn’t be co-opted by my response. Women especially took to this.

Women and no talking

Occasionally, a woman I would be going out with would make a date with me on a Tuesday, and when I reminded them of my no-talking, and offered another day, they would actually insist on Tuesday. And far from being awkward, they actually reveled in the opportunity to talk to their hearts content while I listened. Only laughing and occasionally writing replies.

Lessons learned
The shift in purpose from talking to listening made me examine the whole notion of conversation in my no-talking shroud of Tuesday pensiveness. I struck me as strange that people (myself included) feel such a need to convince others to think the same. Granted sometimes when another person thinks differently, it causes problems or they get in my way. But most of the time when a person has a different or contradictory opinion than myself, it’s actually of no consequence, and has no bearing on my life whatsoever. So then why should I care? Why is it so important that I convince this person to think as I do? Why does anyone care? It actually seems kind of bizarre.

No-talking effects on others

People’s reaction magnified the good and bad points of their personalities. Some people were really irritated and insulted by it, while others were supportive. It turned out to be a good litmus test, to gauge a person's PH balance. I was surprised at how supportive, understanding, curious, respectful and encouraging some people were, while others surprised me equally by how insecure, frustrated, offended, embarrassed they became. In some cases I had been previously un-aware of those good and bad traits, and no-talking proved the necessary social duress to bring out some peoples true colors, for better or worse.

This past year didn’t pass without any mistakes. Frankly, I thought it would be easier. Because I knew it wouldn’t be hard for me to resist the desire to talk. But what I didn’t anticipate was how difficult it was be to stop knee jerk verbal responses. When I would verbally respond out of habit, without thought. I found “Thank you” and “What?” to be the most difficult to keep bridled. For example when a waiter would refill my water glass or someone speaking to me said something I couldn’t quite hear.

Once or twice however I talked on Tuesday because I was on the phone late Monday night and didn’t realize the time and spoke past midnight. Which made for startling sudden hang ups, I would have to explain the next time I saw that person.

Because my mistakes were from knee jerk verbal responses, I found myself increasingly guarding against them. It required I partition additional focus and control to contain blurting them out. This extra level of security would become difficult to shut down, and I increasingly found my no talking trauma would carry over into the following day. Often I would hesitate to say “thank you” or similar responses on Wednesday, and as the year went on I found this trauma-caution would extend farther and farther beyond Tuesday. Which is both good and bad, as I now have at most times an extra layer of clearance, for my impulsive verbal responses. This extra round of editing helps catch my stupid responses, that would have otherwise slipped through. On the other hand, I know my communication is more tentative and guarded now, and people probably can sense that on some level.

Experience with strangers

Interacting with strangers is always interesting. Sometimes they never even notice I’m not talking and I’m able to get through a rather long and complicated exchange of ordering food or whatever, with them never catching on. But when they do realize something’s up they generally have one or a combination of the following reactions:

Assume I’m mentally retarded in some way. Whether this elicits sympathy or discomfort varies.

Assume I’m def as well. They talk more slowly and much louder, with very exaggerated hand gestures.

Think I’m having a joke at their expense and are offended, or think I’m a jerk or pretentious.

Assume I lost my voice or am sick and don’t want to spread germs etc.

Sometimes they are really engaged and curious and will look at me with such intense inquisitive searching eyes. They will elongate the communication, and seem tickled with pleasure at the novelty of talking with a mute. These people often prefer to respond to me by writing in my pad as well, whether they think they need to, or do it for fun, varies. (*Note I do not post other peoples written words in my pad on the list)

Power of non verbal, and non response

One of the main things I’ve learned from no-talking is how viable non verbal and non responses are in daily life. Often I would be in an elevator with a coworker who didn’t know about my no-talking, and he would proceed to have an entire conversation with me while we descended in the elevator, and never realize anything was out of the ordinary. When we would reach the lobby I would wave bye and we would separate with him none the wiser. Situations like this happened so often it really demonstrated that so much of communication both verbal and non verbal is superfluous. I now find myself much more likely to respond non-verbally or not at all, and allow the other person to continue talking, even on the other days of the week.

What I learned about the role of conversation
Carrying this observation further I found that communication is rarely about exchanging information for the purposes of developing or refining ideas on a subject. I suddenly found myself noticing how masturbatory and redundant conversation was with my coworkers at lunch. But that they were in fact the same conversations almost verbatim that I often enthusiastically participated in. The difference being that now that my foremost goal in these conversations was no longer trying to convince the group of my point of view on the subject at hand. Or be the most impressively witty or funny etc. When I no longer had this personal stake in the outcome of the discussion and got a chance to observe it for what it was, it suddenly seemed pointless and inconsequential to have a ten minute debate as to whether or not light-sabers in Star Wars should cast shadows or not.

The other function of conversation I noticed once I started taking my lunches alone, (and could overhear others in restaurants) was how shamelessly and thinly veiled many conversations are. Most of the conversations I overheard were back scratching and/or taking turns dumping toxins. By that I mean both people either shamelessly yet subtly scratched each other’s backs with almost passive aggressive compliments, or they took turns dumping their problems and gripes on one another. These conversations would quickly transition to subjects they could both dump on together, usually work or people who weren’t present. There seems to be nothing more socially bonding and satisfying between two people than smack talk.

Most of the conversations I would overhear were between office workers out at lunch. And the general timeline for these conversations was as follows:

1. Exchange pleasantries about innocuous subjects
(i.e. What they did on the weekend. How’s the family, etc.)

2. Then talk shop. Usually about work.

3. Take turns venting their frustrations about work to each other.
Eventually hitting on mutual gripes about other co-workers or office practices.

4. Greatly relish the examination of these problems for the sole purpose of making those involved and responsible seem stupid and ignorant, and themselves in obvious possession of the solution.

I would often wonder how if these people are having so much problems and frustrations at their job, why then would they further wallow in those problems instead of using that one hour a day to be free of them, and enjoy themselves.

Rules recap
I can’t talk from midnight Tuesday morning, until I wake up Wednesday. Meaning the shortest amount of no talking time would be if I woke up Wednesday morning at 12:01 am. The reason for this is that simply not-talking from midnight to midnight would be too easy. I wake up late and go to bed super late. And since I’m often social late at night, it would mean that a majority of my no-talking time would be when I'm sleeping. I would be socially exposed for too short a time each week for it to be any real challenge.

Must have a visual cue that signals my no-talking. At first I wore my black Chinese fighter pilot helmet, later it was a red arm band, finally I’ve settled on simply wearing all black. Certainly nothing original, but I like how it discreetly looks out of place yet not jarringly so. It’s also not without aesthetic merit and helps enforce in some way the mystery of the situation as people who are encountering me for the first time must surely feel.

Whatever I write to communicate with someone in person must be preserved and posted in my ‘list’. No editing or censoring is allowed. Except for communication with co-workers about work, at work. As I am legally required to protect that information. Also email, and instant messaging, txt messaging etc. do not count towards list as they are not in person communication.

Things written in my pad, but which aren’t seen by the person I’m communicating with (for example the person who’s talking changes the subject while I’m still writing a reply to something previously being discussed) must also be put on the list. Sometimes for example I would be writing a question for clarification, and the person would guess what I was going to ask before I finished writing and answers it without seeing what I wrote.

Laughing is allowed. But no communicative noises like grunting or humming etc.

Rules revision

I’m keeping all the rules the same for this coming year except one. For the next year I will restrict my no talking time from midnight to midnight. Admittedly this will make the challenge easier. But the reason for the change is it just became too messy to manage the previous way. For example sometimes I wouldn’t go to sleep Tuesday night because I was working on a painting etc. and so then am I not supposed to talk for all of Wednesday as well? I found myself going to bed Tuesday night and setting my alarm to wake me up in ten minutes just so I could satisfy the letter of the no-talking law. It felt silly though, and I can’t forget the purpose of no-talking is to connect me with hidden truths and to afford me the opportunity to better examine my life and relationships. These sort of tricks are just corrupting the integrity of the experiment and don’t respect the spirit of its purpose. Also by changing my no talking time to be from midnight to midnight I’m able to maintain a better aesthetic symmetry that just feels more correct.

If I feel at the end of the second year that this makes the experiment too easy I’ll consider switching it back to what it was.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 52

Nothing worth noting.

No list.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random Sketch

No Talking Tuesday # 51

The list:

Can i just get a analogue proof sheet
Send away to swan photo lab

Ali # 293

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 50

I was finishing a five hour drive with my friend
returning from San Francisco when Midnight hit.
We left early enough that we only spent the last ten minutes in silence,
otherwise that could have been a long drive…

The list:

Oh no!
I think I left my tea cup thing
At the store…?

The stationary store near whole foods

Its right there, just walk up that back road that has the
whole foods entrance on it from here and you’ll walk past
it, its between the vegan place and whole foods, bunch of
pens etc. in the display, they have nice papers in the back
and wax and envelopes etc.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 49

No list this week, nothing special to report.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Grouper Madness

Evidence of my recent Grouper

Where I listened exclusively for four days.
I'm not sure if I've ever done that before,
maybe a personal record?

Aquarius Records in San Francisco provides an apt
(as well as verbose and long winded)
description of Liz Harris's work:

"... A perfect blend of warm textured ambience and thick corrosive drones, delicate melodies wrapped in a gorgeously crunchy gritty hissy production. The whole record is a ghostly shimmer, warm washes of otherworldly vibrations swirling in a thick morass of processed vocals, murky keyboards and guitars rendered so unguitarlike they more resemble warm wiggles of sound, like slinky's stretched as far as they will go, slightly vibrating, barely disturbing the air around them, small waves of sound like ripples in a pond building and building and piled atop one another until it's a massive, thick blanket of sound.

Imagine the saddest slowest band you've ever heard playing at absolutely deafening volume, then imagine stuffing your ears full of cotton, and listening from behind a closed door, through a wall of mud and straw, warm wispy tendrils of sound creeping and crawling through the cracks, wrapping themselves in thick coils around your arms and legs, the whole room slowly filling with sound, until soon you're totally ensconced, submerged, surrounded by thick billows of slow shifting sound.

Melodies become indistinct whispers stretched across minutes instead of seconds, guitars and keyboards become blissed out blurs, like floating weightless in a warm dark mysterious place made entirely of soft sound. Wow. Totally haunting and captivating."

Here is my favorite Grouper track,
From her most recent album Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
and probably one of her more accessible:

02. heavy water_i'd rather be sleeping.mp3

No Talking Tuesday # 48

The List:

Maybe your camera has a keyframe?

Graphic card, or , well I would say
mouse or something but that wouldn’t do
that, do you have a laptop or something
you can see how that same crack
operates on it, have you had maya
working fine on that same graphics card

Check online forums?
For that graphics card


Long story

sexy please

Thursday, August 14, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 47

The List:

I’m not super hungry so you can call the shots
Is there a difference between here and over there?
Hot tea or hot cider? Green
Just no pork/beef 7:50
It just occurred to me the water is in here
Weird coincidence, my dad just talked to me about this
Meat or specifically protein?
You have caveman blood
I started taking Pilates at the gym
Method mat? Monday nights
I might also start going to the weekend one
Jeez you got so much food
Are you still w/Reza?
I think this water is offensive
As it cools my offense increases
My parents visited and left me way too much food
and they feed me at work every night so
I’m in a predicament. Food will go bad?
Look at how much food you just ate. No way you’re
Anorexic. Bulimic on the other hand…
Too many to write. And not for non single ears
You’re doubled over in fullness pain and saying
you want chocolate cake. You need a 12 step
This man is the light of this woman’s life
What did you like on that music mix I made for you
So I know for future mixes
I am anti synchronizing diving

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 46

Nothing worth noting.

No list.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 45

The List:

Rosi is borrowing it.

You will be next on the book express.

Can I get a
Hot apple cider?

To go?

Is your name Charlotte?

Monday, July 28, 2008

I love Poignant Christmas Music

I suspected for a while that I have a proclivity for poignant Christmas music.
Last week I steeped myself in Low nonstop for three days.
On the third day I found myself continuously repeating two songs off the Christmas album.

As usual I didn’t realize what the lyrics were until I looked them up.
The lyrics for “Just Like Christmas” really knocked the wind out of me.
A perfect example of writing that's simple, yet emotionally profound.

Just Like Christmas.mp3

on our way from stockholm
started to snow
And you said it was like christmas
but you were wrong
it wasn't like christmas at all

by the time we got to oslo
snow was gone
and we got lost
the beds were small
but we felt so young
it was just like christmas (x6)

it was just like christmas (x7)
Taking Down the Tree.mp3

careful, one by one
it is undone
seems before it's over
it's begun

another broken reindeer
another candle
another velvet ribbon
another nosebleed

winding up the lights
we set the star so high

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 44

The List:

He Gets extra air

Oh lawd!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 43

No list this week.

I almost slipped at one point when I was playing this Russian dude at chess online.
His bishop came flying out of nowhere and captured my rook.
I was devastated and almost squeaked out a profane exclamation.
Luckily I caught the outburst in my throat and swallowed it.
Then proceeded to win the game.
It was awesomely epic in that pitifully nerdy way I specialize in.

Monday, July 14, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 42

No list this week, nothing special to report.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Finished Poe. - Favorite Poem Fragments

I recently finished reading Edgar Allan Poe’s pros.
This week I went on to finish his poems.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed both.
It seems his work is unfairly stereotyped as morbid and demented.
While he has a number of dark stories,
for the most part his pros and poems aren’t so much dark
as they are visceral, un-fearing, well researched,
and above all penetrating and memorable,
with an unflinching examination of the psyche.
It’s no wonder Dostoevsky drew inspiration from Poe.

I would copy the passages I circled while reading the pros,
but that would be too much,
luckily I am much harder to please with poetry
and so copying the lines of his poems that resonated with me is manageable.
“The Raven” and “A Dream Within A Dream”
were the two poems where I liked every word of every line.
The first is too long and well known for me to bother copying,
So I’ll start with the latter
and follow it with my favorite fragments of his other poems.

A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Oh, fly!--let us fly!--for we must."
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings till they trailed in the dust--
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust--
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

Ah, less — less bright
The stars of the night
Than the eyes of the radiant girl!
And never a flake
That the vapor can make
With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,
Can vie with the modest Eulalie's most unregarded curl —
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie's most humble and careless curl.

"No more- no more- no more-"
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams-
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.

But the skies that angel trod,
Where deep thoughts are a duty-
Where Love's a grown-up God-
Where the Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in a star.

To-day (the wind blew, and) it swung
So impudently in my face,
So like a thing alive you know,
I tore it from its pride of place
And shook it into pieces — so
Be all ingratitude requited.
The winds ran off with it delighted,

Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
With drowsy head and folded wing,

Like – eyes of the maiden
Who calls on you now –
Arise! from your dreaming
In violet bowers,
To duty beseeming
These star-litten hours –
And shake from your tresses
Encumber'd with dew
The breath of those kisses
That cumber them too –
(O! how, without you, Love!
Could angels be blest?)
Those kisses of true Love
That lull'd ye to rest!
Up! – shake from your wing
Each hindering thing:
The dew of the night –
It would weigh down your flight
And true love caresses –
O, leave them apart!
They are light on the tresses,
But lead on the heart.

Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremulous delight-
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define-
Nor Love–although the Love were thine.
Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining-
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.
We grew in age- and love- together,
Roaming the forest, and the wild;
My breast her shield in wintry weather-
And when the friendly sunshine smil'd,
And she would mark the opening skies,
I saw no Heaven- but in her eyes.

What tho' the moon- the white moon
Shed all the splendour of her noon,
Her smile is chilly, and her beam,
In that time of dreariness, will seem
(So like you gather in your breath)
A portrait taken after death.
And boyhood is a summer sun
Whose waning is the dreariest one-
For all we live to know is known,
And all we seek to keep hath flown-
Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall
With the noon-day beauty- which is all.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 41

The List:

One small orange-carrot juice

Good pretty low key
on the art side

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 40

No list this week.


My coworker complimented my work and I said “Thanks.”
he then said something else which I couldn’t hear
so I removed my headphones and said “What’s up?”
at this point he looked at me surprised and reminded me that it's Tuesday.
I realized my error and needless to say was very distressed.

I need to stop making these stupid mistakes!
No Talking Tuesday # 39

Nothing special to report

No list this week.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 38

The List:

Ali # 293

Did you play
Coldplay on my
computer last night?

You stayed late last night right?

Did you see anyone at my computer
after I left?

Four hours after I left someone
played a Coldplay song on my comp.

To answer your question
they stole my dignity


Try and follow my directions

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Granite Mortar and Pestle Craving Satisfied

I spent years lusting for a granite mortar and pestle.
I would pine and sigh, thinking how great it would be to cook with one.
This went on for years before it finally dawned on me:
"Wait a minute! I'm an adult, I have money, why don't I just go out and buy one?"
so I did.
And truly mine eyes have seen the glory.

Cooking dinner every night has become much more fun and productive,
as now I can think how different ingredients will crush together.
(Say basil leaves, garlic, rock salt, peppercorns, rosemary)
I barely chop anymore, (to say nothing of mincing)
It cleans quickly, without hassle, and is permanent.
(Good compliment to my cast iron cookware philosophy)

I got the largest sized one at Sur la Table.
(It was scary walking around,
realizing how much money I could blow there.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

(Tiny Pens + Paper) Always on Hand
= Awesomeness

I found these awesome tiny pens online.
I keep one burrowed into the front cover of my sketchbook,
and another between the pages of my back pocket notebook.

Always having pen/paper has changed my life for the most awesome.
I’ve gotten into the habit of taking note of everything,
from where I parked my car,
to what I need to remember to get at the grocery store,
to color/texture combinations for future paintings etc.

I would highly recommend this to anyone, and I do,
at the annoyance of some of my friends
who have had to suffer through my pen commercials ad nauseum.

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