Monday, August 10, 2009

My Bloody Valentine

Yeah, I know this is a little bit late, but I'm also doing some music-related writing on this slowly sinking vessel I call a blog.

So, I went to go see My Bloody Valentine on July 30, 2009. They were playing at the National, in Richmond, Virginia. The concert had been sold out for weeks, but I was just lucky enough to hop online when a few more tickets were released. Internet addiction IS good for something. So I grabbed two tickets for around 60 dollars, and went with a compadre of mine.

We arrive a little bit late. There were earplugs handed out at the door, and earplugs are either a really good or really bad omen. All the standing room was taken, and I didn't want to push my way through, lest I elicit a disgruntled mumbling from any of the hardcore shoegazers intermingling there. However, we happily took seats in the balcony.

This was My Bloody Valentine's only east coast tour stop, due to their requirement of very specific audio accomodations. And I could see why when I looked at the equipment being dragged around on stage. I counted 21 FX pedals for the lead guitarist, and there were speakers, amps, mixing boards as far as the eye could see, and many engineers scrambling around onstage.

The sound check ran, and this was timed, and hour and 40 minutes. They sent some acoustic guitar guy onstage to entertain the crowd for the duration of this lengthy sound check, but he was mediocre, as most acoustic guitar, singer-songwriters are.

The band finally came onstage, shoegaze stereotypes and all. They were extremely quiet, low-key, and didn't address the audience. However, the audio and visual experience that erupted from this stage is something that I will do my best to describe. (However, there is no possible way I can capture the magnitude of this experience into words.)

From the opening song to the end of the set, the room filled with a hazy, distorted, tortured, yet somehow beautiful wall of sound that completely enveloped the listener. The sounds were perfectly complimented by and orgy of lights and fog that put visual definition to the organized chaos that was heard. It was almost like being on a whole other plane while being trapped by the elegance of dischord that is the music of My Bloody Valentine, and I could think of nothing else but how beautiful it all was. My mind would not and could not stray elsewhere, as it was forcefully pinned down by this sound, this aural chokehold, and could do nothing else but be elevated by the beauty of it all. It reduced my entire world down to a swirling of colors, lights, and sounds. Nothing was definate anymore. And nothing needed to be definate. I was lost, but I was happy.

Nothing defined this more than when towards the end of their set, they held one chord for, and I timed this as well, 14 minutes and 30 seconds. I kid you not. The same chord for 14 minutes and 30 seconds. However, this chord simultaneously felt like an eternity and an instant. On one hand, the chord droned on and on and on and on, forcing monotony upon the audience, forcing a sense of impatience on us, and leaving us lost and confused. On the other hand, this same chord began to uproot any preconcieved notions we had about what music could be and began to amplify fear, wonder, joy, hatred, and any other emotions we could possibly have, and meld them all together to the point where they are indistinguishable from one another, and the fluctuations in dynamics, effects, and ambiance only further magnified the realization that this chord that had taken hold of you and rewritten who you were as a person.

I never wanted this chord to end.

Unfortunately, it did.

I left the National that night a different person. It was truly a life-changing experience.

Life Is Like Tetris

Life is like tetris. In tetris, the pieces of various shapes that fall could represent all the things that happen to you, big or small. Some are more friendly, useful shapes, and some are malicious to your overall progress. Now how you use these pieces is up to you. You could focus on short term goals and achieve instant gratification, which would be represented by fast 1-line clears, however, you won’t score nearly as high and have a greater chance of messing up in the long run. Now, you could also focus long term goals, or trying to set-up consecutive tetrises, and while this option takes a lot more skill and a bit more luck, you score much more in the long run and eventually everything will fit together. That one 4-high piece is represented by those special scenarios in your life where everything just seems to tie together perfectly. You need to know when to make your quick one line clears, but always have the big consecutive tetrises in mind.


I wonder if she knows she’s the reason for my existence?

I see her once a day. On my way work. 8:54 precisely. We’re on different sides of the street. An infinite barrier of pavement separating us. She's going one way, I'm going the opposite. I'm following a single-file procession to and from my place of employment with the rest of the drones. Dull. Uninspired. Overworked. Underpaid. Unhappy. She's on the opposite side of the street, carefree, without a purpose, as far as I can tell. Just walking. Her skin glistening in the sunlight. Smiling. Laughing every so often.

I look at my watch, and right on time, there she is. Every morning. Pacing quickly across the hot pavement. She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. She's the only beautiful thing I've ever seen. I steal glances every so often, to try to catch a glimpse of this surreal flower that has blossomed from this damned gray metropolis. I would never look directly at her though. She'd never understand.

One morning, as I was trudging along my usual path, I got too greedy in my thievery. She was wearing a yellow dress, and a daffodil in her hair. I shot a quick glance, which seemed to linger no more than a millisecond longer than I intended. But by the most microscopic chance, our eyes happened to meet. But I didn't look away. Neither did she. Everyone seemed to disappear. It was just us. No one else.

In those few moments of silence, what I wanted to do was tell her that she was the only thing that mattered in my life. I wanted to tell her that I live in a dead end world, I work in a dead end job, I come home to a dead end life, and I wake up to dead end morning skies. I wanted to tell her that while I plod along in perfect synchronization with the rest of my comrades, whom I care nothing for, I wait for 8:54, when she appears from the horizon, and effortlessly glides her way over the cracked concrete, lighting up the monochromatic surroundings, until she's out of my sight again. I wanted to tell her that if she so much as acknowledged my existence, I would throw off the shackles of the single file line that has compromised my existence since I was old enough to work, and break the age-old concrete divide between us just to be at her side. I wanted to tell her that my feelings for her transcend any boundaries that could ever be set. I wanted to tell her that she is beauty. I wanted to tell her she's the reason I exist.

What I did was smile.

She understood. She did the same.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Slurpees and Spoon Straws

(This was a late-night, slurpee-infused rant about slurpees and co.)

Slurpees are a strange phenomenon. It seems like the flavor you want is always out of order. If you want a wild cherry slurpee, I guarantee you will walk into 7-11 and it will be the only one not working. That evil little red light on the side will be glowing, almost taunting you. You can come back an hour later wanting a mango one, and it will be broken, while someone has miraculously gotten around to fixing cherry, which you don't even want anymore. And at that point, you'll be like, "Forget it, I need a coke."

Which is why you have to outsmart the slurpee devils. Go in thinking, "Man I could really use a coke slurpee, even if it tastes like brick licking." Walk to the machine, and if the following equation proves true, then it will be broken and your precious Transformers Guava Pomegranate Explosion will be totally fine.


c=Chance slurpee flavor is broken
d1=Desire of flavor
d2=Deliciousness of flavor
t=Number of times 'Transformers' is in flavor name

Who came up with the spoon straw? This person should win a nobel prize. Or a hot tub. Or something. I wish I came up with that one. "Oh, you have 3 honor roll students? Oh, you live in an 8-story house? Oh, you cured cancer? Yeah, well I invented the spoon straw. Yeah, you heard me right. The freaking spoon straw. Suck it."

And if they're not kissing your 4-finger ring at that point, you need less-accomplished, more easily impressed friends.

But seriously, they're the most useful, two-in-one, plastic saving utensil since the spork, or even since the knildo.

Pathetic Existances, Volume One: The Guy on the 'Wet Floor' Sign

Could it be more embarassing than to be the guy on the 'Caution: Wet Floor' sign? Suspended in permanant liminality, not quite on the floor, not quite in the air. Two seperate metaphysical planes, and this unfortunate, careless stickman is permanantly stuck between the two. Never being able to feel the unwavering security that having two feet planted in the ground provides, and yet, unable to truly feel the weightlessness of flight. Suspension.

I was looking at this sign today, and couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy. Not only has he suffered the shame of losing his footing in nature's most unforgiving substance and slipped, but someone decided that he should be permanantly framed in this condition, therefore leaving him to wallow in his shame for all of eternity, with other, more cautious stickmen looking on and laughing at him, his blunder immortalized on yellow plastic.

And to add insult to injury, he's even being used as a warning to other people. His current predicament is being used to help others avoid the same mishap. Just because he was unfortunate enough to lose his footing on the H2O glazed floor, it's ok for him to be freezeframed there forever, just to help others not end up like him?
At least when it happened to Charlie Brown, Mr. Schultz had the decency to let him come back to the ground when he learned the error in his ways. Mr. Wet Floor Sign Guy doesn't have that prerogative, and if you ask me, that's a pretty pathetic existance.

Life Is a Blue Shell

Life is a blue shell, because no matter where you are or how far ahead you are, somehow it will find you, and it will flip you on your back and screw you over. Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes you don't, but either way, it's there and coming for you. It's unavoidable, minus a chance miracle. However, it's the recovery afterward and ability to get back on track to regain that number one spot that shows true skill and dedication.

Hello, I'm Jonathan. This is my pet blog. I feed it philosophy, thoughts, and rants occasionally.