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Wednesday, 1 December 2004
Now Playing: Peanut Butter Wolf - mix on BBC Radio 1's One World

I?ll be the first to admit that I?m somewhat slow on popular culture. On my way home, I pass by a beverage discount center. I stop dead in my tracks when I see this big sticker on the door advertising an energy drink called Crunk, or should I say, ?CRUNK!!!? I probably should have known that Lil? Jon (affectionately referred to in my home as ?Yuckmouth?) was behind this product. Check the ingredients: one of them reads ?black carrot extract (for color).? Did you know black carrots existed? And if you saw one, wouldn?t common sense tell you that maybe it?s something that?s better left alone? Supposedly, it takes like pomegranate, which is probably a good thing. If you?ve seen bottles of Pom in your local supermarket, you know they don?t come cheap. Perhaps Lil? Jon can be credited with bringing the exorbitant flavor of pomegranate to the everyday hood and hoodette.

The thing that made my jaw drop to the floor is the fact that on the bottom of the can it says ?Contains Ashwaganda (Horny Goat Weed).? They CAN?T be serious. And let?s remember that I was in front of a beverage discount center when I saw this, where you can buy it by the can or by the case. Ashwaganda was conspicuously missing from the list of ingredients online, so maybe it?s just a sly marketing ploy. But if Coca-Cola actually contained coke at one point or another in its history, would it really be surprising for Crunk to contain horny goat weed?

Perhaps what I find disturbing about all of this is?somewhere in America there lives a person that decided Nelly?s Pimp Juice just wasn?t enough. I?ve got serious problems with that.

Posted by macedonia at 4:51 PM EST
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Monday, 29 November 2004
it's about shaking those evil vibrations loose...
Now Playing: check the list, people...
Topic: playlists

Saturday night, November 20, 2004
Michelle?s Birthday Party, Brooklyn, NY

As I entered Keri?s apartment, the sounds of Madvillian welcomed me in. I took that as a very good sign. The collabs between Madlib and MF Doom had served as a soundtrack for subway transit the past few days. Beyond that, my wife had given me the Stones Throw 101 collection as a belated birthday present, so I had that label?s work on the brain. Eddie (a.k.a. DJ Soma) was still setting up the sound system, so I made myself comfortable and watched a skate video on the TV screen. He would get things started later with a nice hip-hop set. He?s a Stones Throw head, too ? we hit it off right away. Slowly but surely, more friends and acquaintances would enter the spot. Andre (Praying Mantis) followed up Eddie with a wicked jungle set. My man Mikal came through; we shot the breeze regarding various subjects. Good to catch up with Jon [s] also. He spun some drum and bass, too, mixing in his own tracks with other selections.

Let me get this out of the way now: some guy actually asked me for Snoop?s ?Drop It Like It?s Hot.? Of course I didn?t have it and at that point, I didn?t even know what the song sounded like (Life sans MTV and BET is quite the liberating experience). I heard part of the song a few days after the party and I have to say?I?m not impressed. The Neptunes have definitely done better production. Anyway, I still had some heads nodding and a few cats busting moves. I was requested to spin house and funk. I ended up veering more to the funk side of things; heads seemed to really dig it. Lesson learned: Always fulfill a request for Soho?s ?Hot Music.? Some people still go nuts to it after all this time. I always bring it but rarely ever play it, often choosing DJ Smash?s ?What Is Jazz? (sort of a mash-up between the piano sample from the Soho joint with Deee-Lite?s ?What Is Love??). Plus you can still make the guy who asked for Snoop happy because ?Hot Music? is probably one of three house tracks that he?ll actually get with. Hate to generalize, but that tends to be the case.

I always have an idea of what records I?d like to spin prior to an actual set happening, but it?s important for me to leave room for improvisation and gauge reactions from the crowd. That was definitely true of this set; the enthusiasts swayed me into some interesting places and I was able to reach that medium where I?m pleasing the crowd and myself at the same time. I love it when that happens. There were a few joints I played for the first time that seemed to draw a great reaction from people. I tend to joke about my DJ status as of late, referring to it as a semi-retirement, occasionally emerging from it to do a birthday party, bar mitzvah, and maybe even a circumcision if the mood struck me. These days I feel like I?d rather chill at home with the wifey and some DVDs. Sets like these are good for the soul and don?t happen nearly enough. I was so into what I was doing that I completely lost track of time. The set made Michelle happy, a number of partygoers happy, and it made me happy. A win-win?gotta love that?

- it's about shaking those evil vibrations loose
and dancing with mi abuelita on a saturday night -
a dj set for michelle's b-day party / saturday, november 20, 2004
somewhere around one a.m.

melvin van peebles*break that party/the eight day week/saturday night*stax
the pointer sisters*pinball number count (dj food re-edit)*ninja tune (uk)
lyn collins*think (about it)*people
breakestra*cramp your style*stones throw
esther williams*last night changed it all*jazzman (uk)
secret frequency crew*deep blue (eli-173 remix)*counterflow recordings
djinji brown*abuelita's dance*seven heads
dj smash*what is jazz*eightball
soho*hot music*kool groove
dj smash*gettin' dizzy*new breed
bobby byrd*i know you got soul*king
kool & the gang*chocolate buttermilk*de-lite
mighty ryeders*evil vibrations*luv 'n' haight
dennis coffey and the detroit guitar band*scorpio*sussex
liquid liquid*cavern (the cut chemist rocks a rave in a missile silo remix)*mo' wax (uk)
deee-lite*when you told me you loved me*elektra
isolee*it's about*freundinnen (germany)
manu dibango*soul makossa*atlantic
konk*baby dee*soul jazz (uk)
nina simone*see-line woman*verve
nuyorican soul feat. george benson*you can do it (baby) - bar beats*giant step/blue thumb
the juan maclean*give me every little thing*dfa
esg*moody*universal sound/soul jazz (uk)
daft punk*harder better faster stronger (the neptunes remix)*virgin (uk)
nightcrawlers*push the feeling on (the dub of doom)*great jones/island
earth people*dance (bonus beats)*kool groove
de la soul*derwin*tommy boy
dj smash*gimmie some*new breed
major force*the return of the original art-form (dj format remix)*mo' wax (uk)
olli ahvenlahti*grandma's rocking chair - kenny dope remix (percussive explosion live edit)*jazzpuu-love (finland)
archie bell & the drells*tighten up*atlantic
the new birth*i can understand it*rca
jimmy edgar*re: city alley*warp (uk)
gold chains*nada*play it again sam

Posted by macedonia at 5:42 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 3 December 2004 4:44 PM EST
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Friday, 19 November 2004
Big Baby Jesus has left the building...
Now Playing: ...a moment of silence...

?Shimmy shimmy ya, shimmy yam, shimmy yay?gimme the mic so I can take it a-WAY?? It?s like a slightly more coherent ?Cold Lampin? With Flav? or something. Thank God those two never got in a studio together.

It?s been almost a week and I still don?t know how to react to the news of Ol? Dirty?s death. For me, ODB was like that one relative you only see at the family barbecue that brings their own foldout lawn chair: loud, ignorant, and embarrasses you without halfway trying, but they?re family so you can?t disown them. And when they?re gone, it still affects you?for reasons that you can?t even find the words for.

I can remember the first time I sat down with his Return To The 36 Chambers album. I knew I was in for trouble upon discovering that the intro for the album was FIVE MINUTES LONG. And how surreal was his cameo on that Mariah Carey joint?

?Me and Ma-RIIIIIIIIIIII-ah?go back like babies with paci-FIIIIIIIIIIIII-ahs??

Ever since his death, the video he did with Busta Rhymes for the remix of ?Woo-hah!!? has been in my head. Anybody else remember the full-bodied psycho ward outfit they shared while bouncing around a rubber room? It was that image that came to mind when reading the sentiments of the webmaster at Okayplayer.com, calling his recorded output and live performances ?smart went crazy.? Yeah, I?d buy that.

May as well cut this short, for there will be others that can speak much more eloquently than I in regards to this passing. However, I would like to direct you to a related thread on the OkayBoards that I found interesting. In a way, it reminds me why I left the boards in the first place (and it?s rare that I go there even to lurk), but the participants do bring up some intriguing views regarding discussion of the soul after death, particularly amongst the hip-hop community.

Posted by macedonia at 4:56 PM EST
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maybe the (satellite) radio waves are causing brain damage...
Now Playing: ...the noise in between my ears...

I had no idea about the Satellite Radio giveaway in Union Square yesterday. You can imagine my surprise walking through on my lunch break to see the streets packed tighter than usual and two huge rigs in the park. Apparently, Howard Stern was there (like I care). It was all this huge promotional deal for the upcoming alliance of Stern and Sirius Satellite Radio. People were walking away with these satellite boomboxes ? a co-worker said that Sirius was giving them away, but I kinda doubt it was that easy to earn one. Probably the funniest thing about it was a group of people across the street from XM Satellite Radio were staging some sort of ?protest.? All wearing matching company T-shirts, they held up signs promoting talk show hosts Opie & Anthony. They were walking through the intersection cheering and drawing attention to themselves.

All this so that grown men who ought to know better can feel free to curse up a blue streak and do who knows what else on the air?fantastic.

Posted by macedonia at 4:54 PM EST
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Monday, 15 November 2004
the rock
Now Playing: Kelis - "Millionaire" (feat. Andre 3000)
Topic: the Christian walk

Last Monday ended on kind of a weird note. For the most part, it was a good day for me. I put in for that day off so my birthday weekend would be an extended one. I reacquainted myself with an old business contact to try to get some things moving in a different direction in terms of my job situation. The meeting went well. After that, I felt like swinging by my old job and I?m glad I did. Saw some people that I hadn?t seen in quite some time, all of whom were happy to see me. So I was kinda flying high for a while. Then the evening came?

Beth called me sometime after 10 p.m. really upset. She told me that the passenger side window of her car had been smahed. There was glass all over the front seat ? it had been completely shattered. She was able to get most of it out and had placed tarps on the driver?s seat as in the windowless door. Thankfully, our auto insurance covered it and we wouldn?t have to pay a dime to get it replaced. She drove home and was able to get it fixed the next day.

Under the circumstances, both of us seemed to take the whole thing in stride. Perhaps we knew that the situation could?ve been a lot worse. Beth could?ve been in the car when the incident took place. She could?ve been seriously hurt?maybe even fatally hurt. Unfortunately, these things happen more often than they should. Parking in a fairly safe neighborhood doesn?t change the fact that crime travels. Material things aren?t worth freaking out over, especially when they?re far less valuable than human lives.

I had been reading the Book of Job from the Old Testament of the Bible, so I was kind of ready for bad news to come. And of course, that news paled in comparison to what Job had to go through. He lost his family, his home, his help staff, his possessions, and broke out in sores all over his body that oozed pus. The only people he had to talk to were his so-called ?friends? that kept trying to figure out what he had done to deserve all of this. And for over two-thirds of the book?s chapters, God didn?t say a word. And when He finally did speak, it wasn?t the answer that Job was expecting. Considering what he had to go through, I wasn?t about to go ape over a broken car window. If anything, I?m thankful that nothing else was broken, nothing was stolen, and that my wife was nowhere near the car when it happened.

Beth kept a souvenir from that night: the rock she found in the car afterwards. She figured somebody hit the window with a crowbar or something. She described the rock?s size as ?no bigger than an apricot.? I?ve seen it and it looks smaller than that. We?ve been trying to figure out how this small rock caused so much damage. Just exactly how fast was that thing traveling, and from where? We?ll probably never know, but we do know this:

Job had it worse. FAR worse.

Posted by macedonia at 5:45 PM EST
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Friday, 5 November 2004
31 blessings
Now Playing: The Push Bin w/Lou (wfmu.org)
Topic: the Christian walk

I just got out of my job review. I don?t have it in me to tell it all, so I?ll just say that I got a glowing review by my supervisor, but it?s clear to her that I?m frustrated right now. At least she knows. At least somebody knows now and I don?t feel like there?s this secret I have to hide from everyone. I let my frustration be known and did it in a professional manner. It?s done. It?s out there.

I?d been preparing myself for today since this weekend. I turn 31 at approximately 4:02 p.m. today. I see the date, but it doesn?t register. It just feels like another day. I don?t feel special, I don?t feel celebratory, but at least I can feel something?even if it?s a void. Throughout the week, I?ve been counting the blessings to remind myself why today is important. Here are a few of them:

  1. God took the time to create me. The heavens and the earth were more than enough. The fact that He didn?t deem it a waste of time to form me from the dust of the earth and breathe the breath of life into my lungs is amazing to me. I meant enough to Him that He created me. (That goes for you, too, you know?) I believe that God is a God of purpose, meaning that He didn?t create us just because. There?s a reason why the Creator placed us all on the planet. If I stay in His company long enough and follow His instructions, my purpose will be revealed to me in time, at the right time?His own time. Remind me that I shouldn?t put a time limit on success.
  2. Even when I wasn?t concerned with God, God was concerned with me. I can?t fathom unconditional love, no matter how hard I try. And the idea that God pours out that type of love daily on a horrendously flawed creature like me is just mind-boggling.
  3. Jesus gave me a second chance. He also gave me third, fourth, 15th, 16th, 27th, 28th, and 32nd chances. Anybody else would?ve given up on me by now.
  4. The Lord has kept me from dangers seen and unseen. It?s the ones that I don?t even know about that I?m really thankful for.
  5. Health. In Westchester County, it costs $1.75 to ride the bus. I cut down on cost by buying a book of bus tickets, but my income isn?t like it once was. I stretch the duration of the ticket books by taking the bus to the subway station in the morning and walking home from the subway at night. Sometimes I?ll miss the bus in the morning and have to walk both ways. If it wasn?t for the Lord sustaining my health, my commute would be the death of me. And speaking of being near death?
  6. I lived through having the measles, mumps, and chicken pox at age two. SIMULTANEOUSLY. Both the doctor and my mom really thought I was going to die. Obviously, I don?t remember any of this. Anything before age five is a complete and total blur.
  7. All five senses are intact. A left-handed brother woke up in his right mind this morning. I can see, taste, touch, hear, and smell. I know how it feels to hold my wife?s hand, to have her look at me and smile and how it makes me melt every time. What if I couldn?t hear music? What if I couldn?t experience it on all the levels that I do now? I wouldn?t be able to hear my wife sing (she?s my songbird). And life would be vastly different if I couldn?t taste peanut butter, apple pie, and vanilla ice cream (no, not all at once).
  8. Food. I have a choice of what I want to eat in my fridge and cupboards. I?m not in a position to have to resort to cannibalism or eat what others throw away. At my lowest point, I ate nothing but rice for a week. Still, you can stretch starch-based foods, so that rice was a blessing.
  9. Clothing. In the immortal words of Mr. T from his Be Somebody Or Be Somebody?s Fool video, ?Everybody gotta wear clothes. If you don?t, you?ll get arrested.? I?m not worried about name brands ? does it fit me and can I afford it? I have more than one shirt, more than one pair of jeans or sneakers, and at least one suit in my closet. I BETTA act like I know some don?t have that luxury, as well as get off my butt and give my older threads to those that need them.
  10. Shelter. During marriage counseling, Rev. Dr. Edward L. Hunt (the pastor that would officiate our wedding ceremony) mentioned what was, in his opinion, the eleventh commandment: ?Thou shalt own property.? Beth and I want to own a house someday, but right now I?m happy with our apartment. It feels like home and a place of solace, which is critical when the work day beats you down.
  11. God sent me someone to share life with. Beth?s had my heart since the fall of 1992 and she will long after the Lord calls me home. Our wedding day and honeymoon are some of the happiest times I?ve ever experienced. Five years married, twelve years together, and we?ve only just begun. I thank God for her daily: she makes this life bearable and I hope I do the same for her.
  12. My mother. She has been the nurturer, the sustainer, the disciplinarian, and the strand of support and guidance for more than a quarter of a century and has lived to tell the tale. Still giving, still caring, still concerned, she is my mom, my friend, and my sister-in-Christ. She left me the sweetest message this morning while I had my review:
    ?Good morning, my darling. I?m just arriving at the hospital. My labor pains are not too bad. I will call you when you?re born. I love you. Have a blessed day.?
    I?ll always love my mama ? she?s my favorite girl?
  13. My father. Reconciliation is important, especially when it?s your parent on the other side of your scorn. Forgiving my father for past behavior is easily one of the best decisions I?ve ever made. I can remember him arguing with my mother and raising his hand to my sister. I can remember sitting on the back seat of his green Cadillac Eldorado and watching him and his friends freebase in the front. He?s made a number of wrong turns in his life and, thankfully, none of them have taken him out. The fact that he?s still here for me to hug wipes the slate clean. I love my dad more than he can imagine.
  14. My extended family. Between grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews, we are four generations deep on both sides of the family. Add to that my wife?s nuclear and extended family and you have a lot of people on all sides with a lot of quirks, idiosyncrasies, and general personality crap that drives you nuts. Even so, there?s a lot of love flowing whenever we do get together, and for that I?m thankful. There are some families that can?t say the same.
  15. I get along surprisingly well with my in-laws. Beth reminded me of that just yesterday. That?s a blessing: few things are worse than gaining family members through a sacred union that can?t stand you.
  16. My church family. In addition to my nuclear and extended family, God has blessed me with brothers and sisters in the faith I can go to for encouragement, accountability, and spiritual uplift. The secular world shouts ?clones,? but God desires unity (not uniformity) amongst His people. I don?t know how they?ve put up with me as long as they have. Must be grace and mercy extended in my direction.
  17. Morpheus. I?m adding this one at Beth?s suggestion, but it?s true: I love our little neurotic. I never used to like cats until Beth got him while we were dating. That silly thing stole my heart. He races around the house chasing things from other dimensions, he licks plastic bags, and he bats around his water dish so that it falls on the tray underneath it and then drinks it from the tray. In addition, he?d probably rather have peanut butter and tortilla chips than his cat food. AND HE?S LACTOSE INTOLERANT. This is what Beth gets for insisting on choosing a kitty that was hiding under a dresser. The apartment wouldn?t be the same without him, though.
  18. Financial aid mishaps didn?t stop me from graduating college. I?ve had to work for one semester three years in a row to pay my tuition bills, thereby turning a four-year degree into a seven-year bid. But I didn?t quit and I didn?t forget what the money was for. I graduated SUNY Albany with a BA in English. (A lot of good it?ll do me now: didn?t The Princeton Review rank my alma mater the #1 party school?)
  19. Brubacher Hall (Fall 1991-Spring 1993) Before this dorm was the property of The College of Saint Rose, it belonged to SUNY Albany. This is where I spent by freshman and sophomore years of college. This is where Beth and I first met and fell in love. It is also where I met the most insane bunch of people I have ever known in life. There was a whole crew of us that became friends rather quickly. Most of us have fallen out of touch with each other, but it doesn?t change the way that I feel about them. They were the most amazing group of people I?ve ever met and I know that I?ll never have friends quite like the ones I had in that dorm. That was a very unique time in my life, one that I?ll always remember with fondness and fits of giggles.
  20. I have childhood friends that still ask about me. Mom told me that yesterday. Cats that I haven?t seen in forever (at least since elementary school) run into my mom, actually remember me and ask how I?m doing. That?s gotta count for something.
  21. Music. I obsess over it enough to treat it like I know it's a gift from God.
  22. I?ve hosted a radio show. Several of them, actually, and I created some radio promos, too. I even had my own news article broadcast on a public access station (it was about the growing popularity of techno). Some of them have been recorded and are currently waiting to be converted to MP3 files. And as much as I think all my old shows suck now, as much as I want to distance myself from the person I was then and the radio station as a whole, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun while I was there. I really miss being an on-air DJ. It?s the one component of college life that I wish I could continue.
  23. I was a rotating resident DJ at a bar. From January to October last year, I was a part of a really great party on the Lower East Side called Recess, which was held at the Orchard Bar on Wednesday nights. I miss tag team sets with my man Jordan; we learned so much from each other. I miss hearing Goldenchild and Moises rock rare groove sets and talking music with them. It had its annoying moments, but the high points outweigh them in my memory now. There was one night in April of 2003 that the back room almost exploded, there was so much energy. It was 3AM on a Wednesday and no one wanted to go home. The party?s still going, but I hear from some that it?s not the same as it used to be. That?s a shame; for a while, it was THE place to go midweek.
  24. I had a poem published as part of a former professor?s book. Dr. Mark Anthony Neal?s class at SUNY Albany was the highlight of my last semester there. We?ve kept in touch since then and he?s currently considered one of the greatest cultural critics of his generation. He has written several books, one of which is entitled Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic. He asked for one of my poems to appear within the book?s introduction. It?s an honor that still humbles me. I have so much respect for Dr. Neal?s work and I make it a point to see him whenever he?s in town.
  25. Will and Khari. My brothers-in-Christ, my partners in Cut-Up City (urban-based audio collage), random silliness, and way too many in-jokes. Those two are always gonna be my heads. Cut-Up City runs things. ?We will be here for-EVER?Do you understand? For-EVER. FOREVER AND EVER?AND EVER AND EVER.?
  26. Mikal. MC, writer, raver, dancer, and all-around brilliant mind, he is a pea from the same brown-shaded pod. We met at a party in Albany back in 1999. I thought I was the only head at a rave that got into the music as intensely and outwardly visible as I did until I met him. That?s how we bonded. We?re both older and wiser, but still share similar struggles and we talk each other through them. Truth be told, he?s the younger brother I?ve always wanted. I?m very thankful that God allowed us to cross paths.
  27. Dawn and Baba. Whenever two people find each other that you know are just meant to be together, that?s a major blessing. These two souls are powerful as individuals; united in matrimony, they will move mountains. I am so glad that I was able to witness their wedding ceremony this summer. Plus Beth likes having more friends around us that are married and in their 30s ? makes her feel less like the oldest person in the room.
  28. Constant inspirations in concert. I?ve been fortunate enough to see a number of my greatest musical inspirations perform live: Prince, Fishbone, De La Soul, The Legendary Pink Dots, Basehead, Squarepusher, Carl Craig, and Mouse On Mars. Alas, I never did get to see Frank Zappa on stage. He came through my area on his last tour a few months before I got into his music. That was 1988 ? he died in December of 1993. I guess it?s no surprise that I?ve been listening a lot of his live recordings lately?
  29. I?ve never been to jail. I can hear the Chris Rock response on this one: ?You?re not supposed to go to jail. What you want, a cookie?!?? But when prison populations are overwhelmingly black (even in towns where there are no black people), you can?t tell me that someone somewhere doesn?t already have a cell with my name on it. I?ve managed to avoid becoming a cog in the machine known as the prison industrial complex for this long, and I intend to keep it that way.
  30. I?ve never been shot or stabbed. I?ve heard from those that have traveled overseas (especially if they?re from New York City) that others constantly ask if they?ve been shot, as if we all live in the wild wild West. I suppose we do, in a way. However, being in front of or behind a knife or a gun is not a black man?s rite of passage, contrary to popular belief. Neither fate has befallen me so far and I thank God for it. (?If you never been shot or stabbed [Mount Vernon], go ?OOOH, OOOH, OOOH, OOOH???)
  31. I?ve seen a body of water that just goes on forever. It was November of 1999 and Beth and I had arrived at the Sun Palace in Cancun. As we checked into our room and got settled, I looked out our window. All we saw was water. I?ve never seen that before. Usually, there?s always some land mass or bridge in the midst of it all. But not here?just water. I?ve never been as relaxed as I was in Cancun. Beth and I have been trying to get back ever since.
I was hoping the list of blessings would make it to 31. There?s lots more that I know I?m missing, but two days ago I didn?t even think I?d get this far. That was the goal for this week: to write down one blessing for each year that God has spared my life. It?s not like He had to.

Posted by macedonia at 12:19 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 5 November 2004 12:28 PM EST
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Thursday, 28 October 2004
ruminations on a hollow eve
Now Playing: Giant Step audio player [www.giantstep.net]

I?m not down with Halloween. At all. I don?t think I?ve ever seen the point of such a holiday, if you can call it that. Even growing up as a child, after I had gone trick-or-treating all dressed up, I would be sitting with a half-eaten sack of candy and a bellyache thinking to myself, just exactly what was the point of all that?

Back during my SUNY Albany days, I was sitting in one of my English classes when the professor walks in. Before she starts the lesson for the day, she reads a quick news blurb from the ?Net regarding Halloween?s growth in popularity. At that point (and probably still true today), Halloween is second only to Christmas in terms of spending on decorations and adornments. If I remember correctly, the professor ended this news flash by saying: ?While Satan isn?t [equal] with the baby Jesus, he?s getting real close.? Everybody in the classroom cracked up except for me. It?s moments like those that remind me how much being a Christian is equal to being a foreigner or an alien. Just one of those ?you?re not home, it?s only Earth? moments with many more to come in my future.

I find that I can only remember the bad stuff about October 31st. For instance, one time I spun the closing set at a party on Halloween night back in?good Lord, that was seven years ago. It was at the Launch Pad (RIP) in Troy, NY. Beth and I were still dating then. The set started off well: I was playing primarily drum and bass cuts then, largely on the jazz tip but some of it dark and noisy. Kids were having fun and I was having fun watching them get down from the DJ booth, which was elevated above the dance floor. Considering how high up you are, you could see everything that was happening with the crowd.

Shortly after mixing in a wicked remix of Tricky?s ?Pumpkin,? I looked down and saw some drunk brother all up in Beth?s face. He gave her the finger, she responded in kind, then he pushed her back by pressing his hand against her forehead. I flew down the stairs towards the dance floor in a fit of rage. I charged out the stairwell towards him and threw two wild punches, but he dodged out of the way before they could land. Beth?s trying to hold me back and I?m pretty much dragging her trying to get him (a man considerably larger than me, by the way). About three of my friends try to help Beth in holding me back and for a while I was dragging all of them. I don?t remember what I said to him, but the enraged me is never pretty. Combine the thug mug shots of any member from rap crew Onyx with Linda Blair from The Exorcist and you pretty much have an idea of the state I was in that night. Had I remembered to pick up the two empty Sobe bottles I saw on the stairwell, things would?ve gone far worse.

After that, I made a vow never to spin on Halloween again. I also include Christmas, New Year?s, and the night before Easter Sunday. One of the cats from Complacent tried to get me to spin for Halloween last year, but I wouldn?t do it. He probably thought I was blowing him off and I never heard from him again. If it were any other night in October but the 31st, I would?ve done it. I have great respect for Complacent; I just didn?t want to go into the reasons why?even though I should?ve.

I am of the opinion that anyone who says that Halloween is their favorite time of year seriously needs to think about what they?re saying. After hearing my views on the holiday, a former co-worker actually told me to ?get into the spirit.? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Get into the spirit of what? Evil? Darkness? Isn?t there enough of that on the planet already?

Oh, don?t look so shocked. As I?ve already stated in an earlier entry, I?m a prude.

There are few things related to Halloween that make me smile, but here are a couple:

  • My annual viewing of It?s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It NEVER gets old. All I have to hear is Charlie Brown say ?I got a rock? and I?m on the floor.
  • Ministry?s ?Everyday Is Halloween.? And just for the record, NO, IT?S NOT. THANK GOD.
  • Frank Zappa?s ?Goblin Girl.?
  • Whodini?s ?The Haunted House of Rock.? A good friend of mine actually owns the glow-in-the-dark 12-inch vinyl single of that.
  • The occasional leftover candy at the job. I?m very partial to Snickers, myself.
Wow, I almost forgot about this: It was late October of 2002 and I was at my old job in Greenwich, CT. Every year just prior to Halloween, the co-workers brought their kids all decked out in costumes. One of the workers (dressed up as Superman, I might add) led the kids around the cubicles while we all filled their goody bags with candy. This particular year someone brought in a candy bowl in the shape of a witch?s cauldron. It had a shriveled hand emerging from it that came down whenever someone reached their hand in the bowl and said, in a spooky voice, ?Happy Halloween.?

Only problem was that the thing was ultra sensitive, so all you had to do was walk by and that would trigger the hand and the voice. The candy bowl was placed along a ledge of the main walkway into our team area. The walkway was directly in front of my cubicle. Needless to say, I had WAY too much fun watching grown people get freaked out by this candy bowl. The third time was the kicker, though: a custodian came around the corner and jumped at least three feet in the air when the bowl spoke. And it was pretty loud, too. Brother landed on his feet, but he had his dukes up. I was no good for the rest of the day.

Last but not least, there?s the seasonal aisle of your local CVS. If you haven?t been there during this time of year, you simply MUST GO. The featured novelty item this time around is a statue of a hissing cat that sings the old paranoid pop classic ?Somebody?s Watching Me? by Rockwell. Pretty good, but not nearly as funny as the main attraction from two years ago. CVS was selling a modeled head of Frankenstein with the bolts in his neck. When you pressed a button on his forehead, it sung a horrible rendition of Men At Work?s ?Who Can It Be Now?? in an over-exaggerated monster voice. It was classic: the jaw moved to the words and everything. Just try and picture that in front of somebody?s door when kids are out trick-or-treating?


What made it worse was that kids kept pressing the button on this thing while I was waiting on line. Third time around, I said, ?NOOO?don?t press the button!!? Too late.


By the time the woman at the cash register was ready to ring up my items, I was laughing so hard that I had tears streaming down my face. If you see that somewhere this year, buy it on general principle.

Posted by macedonia at 5:55 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 October 2004
the elusiveness of better things
Now Playing: Nickel & Dime Radio w/DJ Small Change (wfmu.org)

Changes are in the air and on the horizon. Blessings are in my neighborhood. I know because they visited my mom recently. She?s been looking for steady employment for quite some time. Her ends rarely met and over the past couple of weeks, things got really thick of terms of her economics. She had an interview set up after a job fair that she went to a few weeks ago. Yesterday, it was made official ? she got the job. She starts on Monday. I was happy for her like I had gotten the job.

She?s been telling me that I?m next. It would be nice. After a year of customer service work, you get tired of slumming. And I only say that because I was doing more than this prior to me being here. There are other people out there with considerably more pleasant personalities than mine that would be more than satisfied with this type of job. God bless them?I?ve only found frustration and a significant amount of boredom. If a chance for growth were possible here, maybe this detour would be justifiable. As it stands at the moment, I would only be expected to keep doing exactly what I?m doing. And that?s a pigeonhole I can?t accept.

That?s the terrible thing about this job: it really doesn?t take much effort. As a result, I feel lazy. And that?s spilled over into my job search strategy. It all feels very lethargic, lackluster, and halfhearted. Plus the commute on the subways can be very draining, so I?m always exhausted by the time I get home. It?s not so much the trip as the crowding and the attitudes that get to me. Clearly I need to kick myself in the ass and rethink my approach while in the job hunt: I?m not trying to be here for another year.

Posted by macedonia at 2:15 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 1 November 2004 10:54 PM EST
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Monday, 25 October 2004
Junior Boys in-store appearance @ Other Music
Now Playing: Dangermouse vs. Jay-Z - The Gray Album
Topic: event reports

You knew what type of crowd you were hanging out with just by the dialogue exchanged with a taxi driver waiting at a traffic light:

Cabbie: Excuse me?just out of curiosity, what?s the line for?
Patron: It?s an in-store performance for a band?a small band?Junior Boys?
Patron: They?re a small band?tiny band?
(more silence)
Patron: You?d have to shop here.

Probably the thing that made me laugh the most was listening to this guy behind me fishing for ways to tell the cabbie that he couldn?t possibly know who Junior Boys were. Quite frankly, heads that are all about the underground don?t know who they are. They?re currently on a North American tour with Mouse on Mars (an absolute favorite of mine), so hopefully that will change soon. Their new album called Last Exit was released earlier this year on the Kin label in the UK and was just released domestically on Domino. It?s extremely engaging pop music tying in a number of different influences, on some New Order meets Timbaland kinda steez ? very cool. And seeing as how I?m poor, a free in-store at Other Music was the only way I was gonna be able to see these guys play.

Junior Boys is made up of two men: Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus. Jeremy?s the singer and songwriter while Matt keeps himself busy on the keyboards. Occasionally they trade places on basses and guitars rigged up through a various assortment of pedals and effects. I was already smiling because once inside the store, I saw my friend Ezekiel?s album stocked on the shelf. Even stranger, Jeremy is what Ezekiel might look like with longer hair, about 15-20 extra pounds, and a scruffy beard. Junior Boys are unassuming blokes, though, and after inviting us to come closer to their setup, they performed several songs from their album and engaged in some witty banter in between selections.

?We played to about 600 people last night, yet this is so much more nerve-racking,? Jeremy uttered to light laughter from the audience. He then motioned to his partner behind the synths and said, ?Poor Matt ? he looks positively bored back there. Supposedly, the more bored you look, the more intense your performance.? He also admitted to window shopping while he was performing because it was such a great store. I don?t blame him ? I?ve dropped enough dollars that I didn?t have in that place on many an occasion. ?Anybody here buy the new Mouse On Mars album ? show of applause?? A scant few of us applauded and cheered. ?Well, we?re on tour with them, unfortunately, but the album?s pretty good, so you should definitely pick that one up?even though we don?t really like them as people.? Of course, everybody cracked up after that, to which Jeremy added, ?They?re all here tonight, by the way.?

After four songs, they definitely left us wanting. Some heads went to talk to them after their set, others headed towards the register to pick up a copy of the album. After seeing them perform a few tracks from it, Last Exit has definitely been placed on the must have list. If you do nothing else, stop by their website and listen to a few tunes.

Posted by macedonia at 5:04 PM EDT
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Friday, 22 October 2004
escape from Sodom, USA
Now Playing: Citizen Cope - The Clarence Greenwood Recordings
Topic: the Christian walk

I suppose it was only a matter of time before a blog entry of this nature appeared on the site. Been wanting to write something like this for months, actually.

There?s a gentleman?s club about three doors down from where I work. I?ve been trying to figure out why they?re called gentleman?s clubs. What?s gentlemanly about watching a woman dance on a pole or sticking dollar bills into her G-string?

Further down the street, construction workers bulldoze, jackhammer, block traffic, and make way too much damn noise all day long. During their breaks, they do background checks on every woman that passes by. You know the one: she walks by or they walk by, then they crane their necks to check out her butt. Sometimes they turn around completely so they can get a good stare in. One day, it was like an epidemic: every fourth or fifth guy on the street was doing that to some woman that passed. It didn?t matter if I was just arriving to work, leaving work, or on my lunch break ? it was always the same. Then there are the cave dwellers who feel the need to add some sort of comment afterwards. The fact that the caveman has a severe case of craning neck syndrome is bad enough; then they go and say some stupid ish, too? It?s enough to make you want to run down the street with a spiked ball on a chain and play nutcracker.

I love the summer, but I?m happy it?s getting colder. People are finally putting some clothes back on. This past summer was almost too much for my heart to take. There are some women out here (and young girls, I might add) that make me nervous. Just because GOD made you beautiful doesn?t mean you have to leave little to the imagination. And if I?m not supposed to notice the junk in your trunk, why did you go and buy a pair of jeans with ?hot thing? or ?bootylicious? written across the back side? I was doing pretty well until that phenomenon took place.

Somewhere along the way, the right to exploit one?s self crept into the definition of present-day feminism. That drives my wife absolutely nuts. I can remember walking through Union Square Park during the week of the Republican National Convention and seeing a woman wearing a tank top that read ?weapon of mass seduction.? I couldn?t help but recall a line that Lyrics Born sings in that song ?I Changed My Mind?: ??why the hell you wanna go and advertise?? (Besides that, if you really are such a weapon, you wouldn?t even have to say it: I would be able to sense it.) Later I found out it was one of the slogans emblazoned on undergarments by the Axis of Eve, a female activist group that staged a ?panty raid? protest in another part of the city. The slogans only got more provocative; the one I seem to remember most is ?my cherry for Kerry.? While it certainly looked like an interesting way to address women?s issues, it?s a damn good thing I wasn?t there. It?s the same reason why I?m glad I don?t have Showtime: I?d be watching The L Word for all the wrong reasons.

Human nature is best described by a bumper sticker I once saw: ?Lead me not into temptation ? I can find it by myself.? Internet pornography may as well be kryptonite to the average male, and I include myself when I say that. I?ve probably seen enough flesh in my lifetime to keep a 24-hour adult channel on-air for at least three months straight. Once the visuals enter through your eyes, they attach themselves to a brain cell. They?re stocked away in the A/V section of your mind, ready to be recalled at a moment?s notice. Hundreds upon thousands of positions, poses, moans, and tangled body parts?in your head?on demand.

I?ve only been on this earth for three decades, but I?ve screwed up plenty. The major mistakes have always revolved around trying to be something other than what I am. A hopeless romantic has no business trying to be a stud. But the magazines, videos, and mpegs suggest otherwise. Sooner or later, you begin to project those fantasies onto the females in your life: best friends, co-workers, classmates, church members? That?s when the real trouble starts, especially if you happen to have friends that can project sexual energy from a single hair follicle. All they have to do is walk into a room and the tension?s so thick you could cut it with a carving knife. I?ve had friends and acquaintances like that. It?s the classic moth and flame scenario: even when you know you?ll be consumed by fire, you do something stupid anyway. A thought becomes a word and/or deed that you can?t take back. It?s what you do when God?s love isn?t good enough, when you feel like something?s wrong with you because several others don?t find you desirable.

After a while (and usually a demeaning experience leaving the real you exposed to the very ones you lied to), you have to refocus and recognize who you are. I?m no stud, no player, no porn star?I?m a PRUDE. Regardless of the Victoria?s Secret ads that invite me to see curves, no matter how many men?s magazine covers with various women and different interpretations of the ?come hither? stare, I must walk the walk that stresses the spirit over the skin, how beautiful it is to give yourself to one person for life and making a house a home instead of building a harem. It?s not impossible, but it is extremely difficult to do in this life when all of these external factors are telling you to get primal.

So I do what I can to push the carnal thoughts out, sometimes with the Bible, sometimes with music, sometimes with writing. But two decades plus of pornographic scenarios don?t die easy. You don?t just wake up one day speaking in tongues, cured of carnality forever. It doesn?t make you suddenly forget the name of the website you kept coming back to or the porn star you did random searches for. In a world where adult stars are gaining more access to mainstream channels, you have to step up your game. Any talk of American family values and how this country is a God-fearing nation doesn?t mean jack when pornography is a multi-billion dollar business. Let?s be real.

And while we?re talking about saints and sinners, I?m still trippin? over this Wired News article from a few months back. This pair of pastors are definitely on some subversive stuff and I understand what they?re trying to do, but I don?t know. Back in the day, Jesus hung out with the sinners and showed compassion on them, but these guys show up at adult entertainment expos with bumper stickers that read ?Jesus loves porn stars.? You know you?re in for quite an article when the first sentence talks about a Krispy Kreme employee that masturbates.

(Puts the glazed doughnuts in a whole new perspective, doesn?t it? Just read the damn thing.)

Posted by macedonia at 5:57 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 October 2004 5:29 PM EDT
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