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Monday, 10 January 2005
second wind of change gonna come...
Now Playing: Jodie Foster - "La Vie C'est Chouette"

hard to believe that there are only five days left at my current job. oh, you didn't hear? yeah, i'll get to that in a minute.

recently, i've had a number of my DJ partners get in touch with me. seems like we're all going through a season of change. my man Redlox told me that his wife is five months pregnant. come the month of May, they'll be blessed with a baby. "time to grow up," he said over the phone from Florida.

meanwhile, my man Soundscraper's been having a time of it. between trying to hold down jobs and bouts of depression, last year put him through the wringer as well. he's actually preparing to head down to Ecuador for a year. he has a rather large support system down there in the way of family and friends. plus with Bush winning the election, he's not exactly psyched to stay. nothing's really keeping him here and i can't blame him for wanting to spend the next 12 months out of the country. i think just getting out of NYC will do him some good. i have come to realize that if you want to keep your calm, the Big Bad Apple is not the place to live and/or work. this city is relentless in doing everything it can to steal your joy.

still another acquaintance called me out of the blue, this cat named William that i met through Soundscraper. we communicate well spiritually and musically. while he's largely a vocal house cat, he has a deep knowledge of soul, jazz, and other stuff. he turned me on to this wicked electronic cut called "E2:E4": i think it came out during the early '80s, but it sounds like it's 10 years old at the most...way ahead of its time. we fell out of touch for a while - i'm just glad to know he's doing okay. holdin' down the part-time gigs, but looking for something full-time so that he can move into a better spot. still gettin' the hook-up with free wax from a couple of contacts. he's one of the few Christians i know behind the decks, so that connection just brought us closer. so...still struggling, but hanging in there.

as for me, everything changed last Tuesday. i had been looking into a few different job prospects, trying to see if something would develop. one in particular looked quite promising, but i was still a little unsure about how it would all go down. they made me an offer last week for the salary i asked for; i accepted. it's a digital imaging company about 20 minutes north of where i live, so i get to stay in Westchester. although it's still a customer service gig, it's closer to home, it's higher in pay with better benefits, and much more convenient to get to. i don't have to take the subway to get there: that in and of itself is a big plus. so i start next Wednesday.

Beth's looking for work, too. she had an interview today with the same agency that helped me get my new position. She has a number of angles she's working right now; i'm pretty confident that she'll be able to find something soon. i'm just happy to have my wife back. we see more of each other now. we hang out together. we haven't done that in months. and we want children. and a house. and to get the debt off our backs. neither of us are strangers to struggle and hard work - we know it's a long road ahead. at least we can tackle these obstacles together, leaning on God for guidance and direction. if it was up to us alone, we'd fail miserably. i'm not stupid enough to think that i'm starting a new job because i'm so charming and intelligent.

there are very few people i know that can say 2004 was a good year for them. i know of several good friends that got married last year - that's a definite blessing. outside of that, though, trials and tribulations as far as the eye can see, spilling over into the lives of many of the people i love and respect. i'm not a bit sorry to see 2004 end: good riddance. i'm looking forward to a new start. it feels good to feel hopeful. i think this one's gonna be better for all of us. too many of us went through hell last year in order for us not to experience a slice of heaven in the '05.

at work, i've noticed that many of my pens have started running out of ink all at once. i can't help but find that somewhat timely and strangely amusing.

Posted by macedonia at 9:59 PM EST
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Monday, 3 January 2005
Now Playing: the faint strains of a Squarepusher tune...but mostly silence...

i've had Squarepusher's "Tommib" in my head over the New Year weekend. although it originally appeared on his Go Plastic album, it's also on the Lost In Translation soundtrack. saw that film this weekend (along with Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind). there's a scene with Charlotte (Scarlett Johannsen) looking at the Tokyo skyline from her hotel room that makes great use of that tune. it's a short song and a noticeably quiet offering from the normally spazzed-out Tom Jenkinson, but it twinkles and it's quite beautiful. it has buried itself deep within my brain and made itself at home. it's become a theme of sorts for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, things will turn out alright.

yesterday, i walked to the subway before sunrise. i was helping out a friend with moving to a new apartment. the theme followed me as i talked with GOD and turned the early morning sky into a sanctuary. tears worked their way out of me as the theme grew louder in my head. i rode the subway about three stops as the sun came up, the empty car glowing with a reddish-orange hue as darkness gave way to daylight. the city never looked so calm before.

then came Monday and that's when it all went to crap. i had been preparing myself for this all last week. the subways weren't as crowded during the holidays, my work phone less likely to ring off the hook. i knew it would all come down today, as i came to the realization that the party was surely over. "Tommib" has since faded into the background. when it does appear, it sounds uglier, like a thick mold grew over the audio tape and is acting like a parasite, feeding on its sunnier qualities. customer service work will do that.

the restlessness in me is back, wrestling my calm to the ground and stepping on its neck simply because it can. that more than anything else is the aggravating factor in my day. i've have worked for less than i'm worth long enough and have long since outgrown the activities and the people of my current place of employment. and right now, all i can really do is wait for an answer from recent prospects. as far as i'm concerned, this period in my life is over and i want the new one to start. but nothing's official yet. no decisions have been made thus far.

meanwhile, my wife reminds me of the bills that are yet to be paid and the meager funds within the account to cover them. few disagreements within a marriage are worse than the ones you have over money. after a while, you feel like you're taking an advanced course in HOW TO WORK WITH SH*T THAT DON'T ADD UP. i could write a thesis on it, but that would mean that i've actually mastered the course. or at least think i have. why lie? this course is kicking my ass. in the meantime, beth still deals with the feeling of failure since grad school and teaching didn't turn out like she thought they would.

the thing that really irritates me is...in the grand scheme of things, all this is minor. it's not a tsunami tragedy. it's not planes flying into buildings. it's not a doctor telling me i have five months left to live. but none of that makes the debt disappear. none of that gives my wife and i some breathing room. none of that helps us to save up a nest egg. so while my situation is no tragedy, nothing that can't be reconciled, it's strain on the brain that i don't need. GOD allows things to happen to see how you're going to react. half the time, i feel like killing off all supporting characters in any scene having to do with work. i can't put my hands around the necks of those i'm forced to talk to or whatever forces that have brought me to this point, and therefore the supporting cast has to go. that's why i really need to get out of there. i fear that the threats in my head are gonna rise to the surface one day...and when that happens, everybody's gonna know how i really feel. that's just gonna lead to problems.

i visited my father last week and was able to peek in on my grandmother as well. she's had alzheimer's for several years now. she's lost some of her hair and has this glassy look that traps the feisty spirit within. i know she's in there somewhere; she just can't get out. last week marked the first time in a long time that i've been able to sit and talk with her. every now and then, she looked my way. she even said to say something, but it only came out as a mumble. we watched Wheel of Fortune together. as i kissed her on the forehead, i realized that i didn't feel sorry for her. i was sad about her condition and have been for years now, but i didn't feel sorry for her. if anything, i was envious. she didn't have to deal with the outside world constantly kicking her in the ass on a daily basis. but the beatdowns outside don't mind coming in for extra licks, and a disease like alzheimer's is proof of that. i just hope that her feisty spirit really is underneath that glassy stare and that she was able to hold on to a song that stirs her heart.

the checkbook, the bank account, and the bills all paint the same story: the outflow far exceeds the inflow. it only took a little less than two days, but the song is almost gone, replaced with the sound of the rain showers that i'm continually caught in. and it never seems to matter if i have my umbrella with me. when my brain is able to retrieve the Squarepusher tune, it's noticeably devoid of the theme that it had almost 48 hours ago.

Posted by macedonia at 5:51 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 3 January 2005 11:54 PM EST
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Saturday, 25 December 2004
Christmas E(ve)R
Now Playing: Jonathan Butler - mix on potatobananas.com

i think it was Richard Pryor who suggested that the hospital is no place to get well. when he said that, he was talking about his rehabilitation efforts after setting himself on fire. all i did was sit in an emergency room for five hours making sure my wife could be seen by someone. clearly it doesn't compare, but i do understand the sentiment he was trying to convey.

it was Thursday afternoon when i got the call at work from Beth. she was still wrestling with her cold. her fever had spiked to 103.5 degrees. it didn't matter how much Tylenol she took: the fever would reduce, then increase again. after an early leave from work to start the Christmas weekend, i stopped by the grocery store to get some apple juice for her and a few other necessities. i got caught in a horrible rainstorm during the walk home. i was soaked to the point of wringing out clothes and pouring rain out of grocery bags. Beth was burning up when i got home. my mom and sister had been keeping tabs on her throughout the day. my sister was quite adamant about getting her to the emergency room. Beth decided she wanted to go since she probably had some sort of infection if her fever kept rising. mom picked us up around 8:30 and we headed to the hospital.

i guess we arrived about 8:45 p.m. mom ran some errands while i waited with Beth. she's without medical insurance right now, but we obviously couldn't let that stop us - she was in bad shape. it's amazing how the receptionist garbles your name through the intercom or speaks too softly so that you couldn't possibly understand them, then they wanna scream it out as if you have the communication problem. in my mind, i lived vicariously through my psychotic twin who had stuck his hands through the glass partition, grabbed her by the throat, and threatened to snap her spine like a candy cane if she didn't get my wife some f**king antibiotics.

10 p.m. and the chills were still in my bones from the rainstorm earlier that evening. i could feel the aches coming on. Beth was with the receptionist for the second time filling out some paperwork. mom came back and asked where Beth was. i pointed in her direction. she asked how i was doing. i said, "the irony is not lost on me." when she asked what i meant by that, i pointed towards the television and said, through clenched teeth...


on the way in, i was hoping it wouldn't happen. mom tried stifling her laughter, but it was no use. she went home to work on some projects and get some sleep and asked to call us when things were done. i went back to my reading materials, occasionally looking up to see someone in a neck brace, a wheelchair, or with a busted mouth. there was a young woman there with a baby that would cry on cue every 10-15 minutes. each tantrum grew louder and it cut right through Beth's head. as for me, i grew more delusional as the time went by. i hadn't eaten dinner yet and i didn't know when that was going to be. but it was good that i was there. if i hadn't been, Beth would've left. all she wanted was to be able to sleep.

12 midnight and a sea of men and women from the Armed Forces make up Jay Leno's audience. Rob Schneider had come out in Army fatigues, pumping up the troops. i don't know if you've ever sat in an emergency room for four hours on an empty stomach while chills and aches shoot through your body and watch Rob Schneider tell corny jokes to men and women in uniform, but it's not recommended. about 23 minutes later, Beth got called in. she was given some medication shortly thereafter as well as a prescription for antibiotics. slipping in and out of sleep, awakened by the baby or a new admittance to the emergency room, time just sort of ceased to have meaning after a while. it was after one a.m. when we finally left. i had my dinner and crashed. Christmas Eve was spent inside caring for her and doing some chores, pretty much the same for Christmas Day. we got her prescription filled yesterday and it seems to be working. her temperature's almost down to normal, thank goodness.

she brought the vaporizer into the bedroom this morning and turned it into a steam tent. she's probably sleeping right now. i'm sure she's not looking forward to grading papers tomorrow, but perhaps she'll definitely be well enough to do so. she had a final on Thursday that she missed, so she has to take an incomplete in that class. man, she has been through WAY too much in the past year. while she's disappointed that teaching didn't work out, i doubt she'll miss school after it's all said and done. needless to say, we can't do the Christmas family thing this year, but at least we have each other. considering the last few days, that's more than enough for me. our finances are raggedy, our future is unclear, but we've spent more time together in the last few days than we have in the last few months. that's gotta count for something.

Posted by macedonia at 4:35 PM EST
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Thursday, 23 December 2004
holiday stampspiracy
Now Playing: Diverse - "Leaving" [Chocolate Industries]

Whose brilliant idea was it at the United States Postal Service to sell their holiday stamps in a book of 18? Why the fuss, you ask? Follow me here?how much do stamps currently cost a piece? Very good ? 37 cents. Now multiply .37 by 18 and you?ll see my problem with this?

Please tell me you came up with six dollars and sixty cents. That?s $6.66. SIX SIX SIX. Seriously, whose sick idea was this? Normally, stamps come in a book of 10 or 20. The standard had already been set; eighteen?s kind of an irregular number. Why a book of 18? You must really want to mess with people in order to make sure this particular book of stamps is ready for the holiday season. You CAN?T make me believe that this was an accident. You just can?t.

Now before you think I?m going out to firebomb the USPS headquarters, it?s not that serious. Nobody there will even get a phone call from me. I?m just sayin??honestly, what were they thinking?

Posted by macedonia at 2:33 PM EST
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Now Playing: Diverse - "Ain't Right" [Chocolate Industries]
Topic: music appreciation

It?s a blog thrown together by a quartet of hip-hop journalists/vinyl junkies: Sasha Frere-Jones, Dave Tompkins, Hua Hsu, and Jeff Chang. These four have put in some serious work over the years in terms of journalism and have written some amazing articles and reviews: they really know the stuff. Sticker Shock Music features various entries from our mentally fractured four, waxing poetic, nostalgic, and somewhat psychotic regarding rare hip-hop singles, underappreciated artists, unknown gems, and whatnot. The blog also doubles as a MP3 site so you can download exactly what they?re talking about. Fun and geeky ? this one?s for the crate diggers and the insanely devoted music fans. Everyone else, feel free to lurk, point, and laugh.

Posted by macedonia at 2:29 PM EST
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holiday around my way...
Now Playing: The Push Bin w/Lou (wfmu.org)

The holiday season around the office slows down a bit. There aren?t as many calls from schools or libraries, so you can work at a more leisurely pace. Granted, it?s still aggravating, just less so. Our sales reps have been inundating us with boxes of chocolates and other assorted desserts. On top of our holiday parties, we?re all being fattened up for the kill. Yesterday, the dry erase board on the door of the order entry department at work read, ?Only three more shopping days until Christmas. Don?t regift to baby Jesus.? This morning, a top ten list was in its place.


  1. A blanket.
  2. Cabbage Patch Doll.
  3. Charlie (the fragrance?).
  4. Harry Potter Books.
  5. Chanukkah gelt and a dreidel.
  6. Passion DVD with director?s commentary.
  7. New swaddling (clothes).
  8. Barry Manilow?s Greatest Hits.
  9. The gift of peace and love for all?ah, never mind.
  10. Baby Powder.
I work with a bunch of damn heathens, but I can?t pretend that we don?t have our moments of mirth. Last week?s holiday party was fun. The food was fantastic, from appetizers to dessert. Two days ago our floor had our holiday party & grab bag. Everybody gives the best gifts around here. Our top customer service person made off with a mouse pad emblazoned with a group picture of the ladies who starred in The Golden Girls TV sitcom. Nice. Other gifts includes pitcher & glass sets, cocktail napkins and toasters from The New Yorker, even a drill. I got this beautifully stitched leather storage box with homemade baked cookies inside. Yes, I shared them with my co-workers ? I?m not that greedy. Immediately I started thinking about what I could use the storage box for. Of course, being the vinyl fetishist that I am, a voice in my head said, ?I bet you could fit your 45s in there.? No dice ? I tried. Width isn?t the problem; height is, however. So now I have no idea what I?m going to use the box for. And if I leave it up to Beth, it will become a really nice box that?s used for keeping anything she can?t think of a better place for. In other words, it?ll be a dumping ground, and it was made for more than that.

You know, I should?ve typed this yesterday; I was in a much better mood yesterday. I really shouldn?t pick on the wifey ? she?s fighting off a chest cold that clobbered her over the head on Tuesday. Whatever this bug is that?s floating around comes very quickly and won?t leave until it?s good and ready. Its effects have definitely been felt here in the office. Our webmaster came down with it, our handyman/engineer guy might have had it, and a person in our accounts receivable department is still fighting it off. And since we all know that the word office translates into ?Petri dish,? it?s only a matter of time before you start fighting off symptoms, too. Yesterday I woke up with a scratchy throat and the aches and chills increased as the day went on. Beth looked miserable when I got home. So I made dinner for us and got her some TheraFlu before she went to bed. Supposedly, she woke up around 4am with a 102 degree fever. This must be a flu bug; it simply won?t let you go.

With everything that?s going on in Beth?s life right now, this is the last thing that she needs. She still has some papers to write for her grad school classes and possibly grade some papers for her freshman orientation courses. Last week, she made the decision that she didn?t want to become a teacher or continue with grad school. The teaching experience hasn?t been kind to her. The last year has been very stressful for her. She feels as if she has failed her students as well as herself. She took on an awful lot this semester. In addition, she feels as if she wasted all this money on tuition and put us further into debt. Knowing that I?ve made sacrifices for her to pursue her studies, she told me that she hopes I don?t hate her for making this decision and that I won?t up and leave someday. She was serious.

I can?t front: there was a part of me that was upset. I?ve watched the debt increase, I?ve tried to keep up with the sink of dirty dishes, I?ve watched a previously clean living room turn into a disaster area, and I?ve often felt as if I was fighting a losing battle. And as much as I would love to quit my job, I can?t. I make half of what I used to, every time the phone rings there a small part of me dies, I can?t f**king stand it, but it?s the only thing keeping us from completely being submerged by our expenses. But it?s always within the state of your own arrogance that GOD won?t leave you alone. Don?t think that the Creator of the universe won?t select the chapters on the DVD in your life that you?d rather skip over and project them on the 56-inch screen, because He will. And there have been plenty of times that I?ve screwed up in my relationship with Beth. And she?s forgiven me every time. I didn?t deserve hers and I know I don?t deserve GOD?s.

So everything that I just told you, I said to her. We stood before GOD, the preacher, our families, our friends, and pledged our devotion to each other ? in sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, as long as we both shall live. ?TIL DEATH DO US PART. I want to be an example of a marriage that lives up to that. I told her straight up, ?You can?t make me leave, so what do you think of that? I ain?t goin? away.? She?s making some hard decisions right now and is a bit of an emotional wreck because of it. She really thought she found what she was supposed to do with her life. She dedicated her time, her energy, and her money to this only to find out that this isn?t it. None of us wants to admit to failure. She shared with me recently that she never learned from anyone in a position of authority that you don?t have to succeed at everything. Had she known that at an early age, maybe her current dilemma wouldn?t seem so painful.

She just wants a regular job that allows her time for family, friends, and self. I don?t see her going back to grad school after this semester is over. So what happens now? We work it out together, just like we do everything else. I?m doing what I can to find a better job. I had a pair of interviews last week with an imaging company that I thought went rather well. The temp agency that hooked it up said that they should come to a decision by Monday. It?s now Thursday ? I haven?t heard jack. I?ve checked with the agency; they haven?t heard anything. Why I should be so concerned with getting a job that?s more a lesser of two evils than something I actually want, I don?t know. I?d pretty much be doing the same damn thing that I?m doing here, but for a business-to-business company. However, it means more money, it means a shorter commute, and it means not traveling down to NYC via subway. I?ve come to loathe the subway. It?s no place for a Christian, I?ll tell ya that.

Whether we?ll actually be able to make the Christmas trek to see our families on Saturday all depends on how we?re feeling and if we can get over our symptoms in time. I?m not as achy as I was yesterday, but a slight fever lingers. It?s strictly cards this year, money for presents I have none, not even for my wife. Perhaps it?s GOD?s way of getting Beth and I back to basics. And much like my man Charlie Brown, the commercialism of the holiday season gets on my damn nerves. If I can help nurse wifey back to health, that?ll be a gift in and of itself ? I?ve never seen her this wiped out from a cold.

A radio archive that I?m listening to on WFMU just got through playing James Brown?s ?Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto.? How fantastic is that title? How could I have missed that gem in past years? Anybody catch that Robert Smiegel cartoon on Saturday Night Live last week where Santa refused to deliver presents to the red states, referring to them as ?Dumbf**kistan??

Personally, I have beef with Santa myself. When my future seed?s on this earth, they?re gonna know the truth from the get go in regards to the real reason for the season and who their presents come from. Call me competitive, but I?ll be damned if a fat ass white man in a red suit (that can?t bothered to stop by the crib on any other given day, mind you) takes the credit for the time I spend on long lines at Target. As always, Christ the newborn King is welcome in our humble abode, but if one reindeer hoof lands on my rooftop, I?m going upside Claus?s cranium with a two-day old fruitcake. I hate to break it to brother Kringle, but there?s a new Santa in town?and her name is Oprah Winfrey.


Just sayin?, is all.

Dry erase board update: the writing on the door currently reads?


*Bake Baby Jesus a birthday cake.

I like that.

Posted by macedonia at 11:53 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 25 December 2004 4:53 PM EST
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Monday, 13 December 2004
(giant) steppin' till the a.m.
Now Playing: The Zutons - Who Killed...The Zutons
Topic: event reports

So the guy who never wins anything ended up scoring a pair of tickets to the Giant Step holiday bash last Monday. Unfortunately, wifey?s in the midst of grad school hell, so she couldn?t go. My man Mikal had a freestyle session to host that night, so I called on my friend Ezekiel. He was down, so I met up with him in front of the Canal Room for entry. The holiday bash also doubles as an annual toy drive, which is really cool of them to do. All toys were donated to the IHB day treatment center, which takes in boys and girls ages 5-12. Felt good to bring some games down for the kids.

The Canal Room is quite glam looking, a place you?d expect all the beautiful people to hang out. Unfortunately, this is how most bars and venues in the city look as of late, as if only the trendy matter. For those of us that don?t feel the need to keep up appearances, the down-home and humble spot has quickly died out in NYC (if anyone knows of any left, let a brother know). Interestingly enough, the Canal Room used to be Shine, which used to be the New Music Cafe some ten years ago. It was there that I first got an education in how to be musically diverse in the mix and make it work. It was the fall of 1994 when I had my first Giant Step experience. During this time, Giant Step was a weekly party; they had yet to become the marketing giant they are now. Nickodemus opened up for the night and Jazzy Nice spun for most of it. Special guests included Sens Unik, a hip-hop band from Switzerland ? they did my head in. I heard hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz, and house all in one night. It completely changed the way I thought out listening to music and spinning records before a crowd.

(Come 2005, Giant Step will have been in existence for 15 years. That?s just nuts.)

But that was then. Last Monday represented the now with sponsorships by LG Mobile Phones and Puma, a varied crowd ranging from the soulful to the hipster to the corporate. Drinks were being served with little lights in them. Zeke says, ?Hey! I wanna drink with a light in it.? After a while, we both started to wonder how that could possibly be safe. It was then I concluded that neon must be the new hip ingredient to put in your drink (abysinthe was SO last year?). All that aside, the music was still bangin?. A number of joints in the opening set: J-Dilla?s take on ?F**K The Police,? SA-RA?s ?Glorious,? a track called ?Feelin?? from Q-Tip?s Kamal The Abstract project, and a bunch of others. While waiting the live performance to start, Zeke and I shot the breeze talkin? about music (what else?) and I got to catch up with my man Emil (DJ Center of Open Thought) as well. Saw Synapse in the place later on that night, too ? he is one seriously hard workin? DJ. It?s good to see heads out there doin? it and not lettin? the BS and the drama get to them. That?s encouraging.

Special guests Dwele and Slum Village?s T3 introduced the live act for the evening, The Platinum Pied Pipers. They have an album out on the Ubiquity label entitled PPP. Waajeed and Saadiq definitely bring the funk flavors with the hip-hop swagger not too far behind. They kept the performance loose (perhaps a little too loose ? they seemed a bit unorganized at times) so they could just flow and let their vocalists get open. Opening their set was a MC named Invincible. She stormed on stage decked out in army fatigues and her hair in pigtails. I think a good number of heads in the audience didn?t know what to think when they saw her, but she KILLED IT. Real ill flow ? watch for her. She got busy later on in the night with a freestyle session alongside T3 and Wordsworth (who?s just nasty off the top of the head). They took words from the audience and just went with it. Also making an appearance from the album was vocalist Tiombe, whose sultry pipes won the crowd over. Mark my words, there?s a big band project in sista girl?s future.

After PPP got through rockin? the house, it was Dego?s turn to take things to the next level. Dego MacFarlane is best known for his work as one-half of the duo 4 Hero and runs his own record label entitled 2000 Black, an imprint responsible for turning the world onto future soul sounds (what most call ?broken beat?). He kicked off the set with a tasty cover of ?Evil Vibrations? done by The Rebirth. Gotta admit, I fronted on this cover when I first heard it. You gotta hear it in a party setting ? you can?t help but get caught up in it with everybody else. (For those that don?t know, ?Evil Vibrations? was originally done by The Mighty Ryeders and was heavily sampled for De La Soul?s ?A Roller Skating Jam Called Saturdays.?) A little later, he threw in Spymusic?s ?Cloak? (hot midtempo jazzy house) as well as Soho?s ?Hot Music? (doesn?t matter how many times you play it, the joint will still fill the floor).

Then he launched into some broken platters and soulful house. Great tunes all the way, but I can?t say Dego?s the most technical cat in the game. Some sloppy segues here and there (one or two were straight up trainwrecks), but as a few heads relayed the next day on the Giant Step bulletin board, that?s not why he?s paid the big bucks to spin. Brother man?s a tastemaker and a dope producer, and that can?t be denied. (Check for the DKD tune ?Future Rage? and you?ll see what I mean. Just naaaasty.) Got my dance on until about 2:30 a.m., then broke out for the long subway trek home. Thankfully, I did the smart thing and took a personal day so that I could recover. Hooray for contest winnings.

Posted by macedonia at 5:48 PM EST
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Sunday, 12 December 2004
Now Playing: The Kleptones - A Night at the Hip-Hopera
Topic: event reports

Last Sunday, I dragged myself down to the Knitting Factory with money that I didn't have to spend to check out a documentary called Afropunk: The Rock and Roll Nigger Experience. I met up with my man Mikal who was hanging out with his friend Brian. Somehow, I knew I was gonna kick myself if I didn't go. I am SO glad I went: the film was amazing. A gang of artists that I greatly respect were in the joint offering various perspectives on what it means to be black and involved in punk and hardcore: Walter Kibby and Angelo Moore of Fishbone, Jimi Hazel of 24-7 Spyz, Chaka of Orange 9MM, members of TV On The Radio, Djinji Brown (never knew he had a punk/hardcore past), Mike Ladd, Latasha Natasha Diggs, and a host of others. Some wicked performance footage of Bad Brains, too. The film focused largely on four individuals and their experiences being black in a predominantly white subculture. All four had very compelling stories, but there was one that totally floored me - not only due to the nature of their experiences, but because this individual is the younger relative of a very good friend.

One of the four artists largely featured in the documentary is a brother named Moe Mitchell, lead singer of a hardcore group called Cipher. Moe is the baby brother of older twins Marvin and Matt Mitchell. I met Marvin and Matt at SUNY Albany. Marvin and I were DJs at the on-campus radio station together. To this day, I still remember him as "Marvin the Martian." I used to refer to myself as "the Space Negro" while on-air. We definitely bonded on some interstellar Nubian type steez. I can remember Marvin introducing Moe to me at a party that I was spinning at and checking out pictures of a show that Cipher had played on Marvin's website. I had no idea that Moe was in this film; I almost fell out of my chair when he appeared on the screen. The trip down on the subway was worth it for that moment alone.

Almost immediately after the flick, I relayed that news to Mikal. It was Marvin who introduced me to Mikal back in the spring of 1999 at what was perhaps the last party thrown at this skate park in Albany. So the two of us began to share with Brian how we connected that night. Mikal thought that he was the only one that went completely and totally bonkers on the floor while raving. I used to think the same thing...and then we met each other. We hit it off right away. He knew what it meant to be the few brown-shaded souls at a rave and have some white kid ask him for ecstasy or weed because they figured he was probably selling (and seeing as how Mikal wears his hair in locks, I'm sure he got asked a lot more than I did). He knew what it meant to be getting lost in the music and have some kid come up to him and ask, "Hey man, what are you on?" It's amazing the looks of disbelief that you get when you simply reply, "It's the music." Mikal suggested that if you were to talk to black people involved in electronic dance music and the rave culture, you make a documentary that would draw similar conclusions, and I know he's right.

Two bands performed after the film: Fillmore Brown (from Philly) and The Eternals (from Chicago). Fillmore Brown were absolutely amazing. I have to catch them the next time they're in the city. A five-man troupe including two vocalists, a bassist, a drummer, and keyboardist, they ripped through tunes with blistering accuracy and intensity. It was Negro punk poetry, it was gorgeous, it was cathartic. I hadn't banged my head in a long time and I was really getting into it. During one song in particular, I was totally caught up. Several thoughts occurred in my mind at once. I thought about how it had been so long since this side of myself had been spoken to and how desperately it needed to rise from its slumber. I thought about dancing on top of a speaker while attending my first rave back in October of 1992. I thought about every time I got caught up in GOD while at church and danced like no one was watching at the pew because I knew that I owed the Creator of the universe some major back payment in praise. I thought of the footage of rituals in Haiti that I had seen on PBS and watching the townspeople become so engrossed in the service that it was clear that something else had a hold on them. I was able to make a personal connection between the spiritual and secular moments of liberation and euphoria in my life. There was no contradiction between the natural and supernatural highs that I had experienced: they all represented a part of my walk through this life. And while banging my head, I started to cry. I'm still not entirely sure why. I was just so thankful for the moment I was in, for the connections being made, for blackness without rigid constrictions (whether placed upon us by others, ourselves, or each other).

The Eternals KICK ASS. A tighter than tight trio that use a various array of sounds and instruments, they're impossible to classify. Sick drummer, a bassist that doubles on keyboards, and a lead vocalist that also plays keys as well as a number of other electronic devices. Sometimes they're dub reggae, other times they're hip-hop, sometimes rock, sometimes avant-electronic...but always challenging. They have releases on both the Thrill Jockey and Aesthetics record labels. Mikal and I were both inspired that night. For him, the whole night confirmed that he needs to have his hands in a number of different musical projects, not just hip-hop. He had gotten away from the other sides of himself and he wants to change that. As for me, a reawakening has taken place. In frenzied and spastic times like these, the audio extremist in me can't afford to die. While I may feel like hip-hop and house today, I could just as easily be free jazz and experimental noise tomorrow. Regardless of the rigid constructs that others have made for blackness, fluidity is essential for my survival. Beyond that, my Christian walk cannot be boxed in either. Christ ought to be the overarching umbrella that covers every area of my being, every role that I play in this life: the husband, the co-worker, the writer, the DJ, and so forth. It doesn't mean that I'm preaching 24/7 while playing these roles, rather that I allow God to take control of me while I function in these roles. That way, my life becomes a sermon - I shouldn't have to say a word.

Much props to James Spooner for making this film. Funny, honest, and very moving, Afropunk is a must-see. If it's playing anywhere near you, I highly recommend it. Click here for more information.

Posted by macedonia at 2:05 PM EST
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Friday, 10 December 2004
"it's not all bad"
Now Playing: The Push Bin w/Lou (wfmu.org)

This world can keep you on your toes with its ups and downs. Isn?t it fun when you?re watching the remaining balance on your checking account and the total is three dollars less than the amount of your rent?and the rent check hasn?t been cashed yet? Earlier this week, I was preparing myself for several days of overdrawn fees hitting the account. Just as I was wondering why I can?t just get a lump of coal in my stocking like everybody else, Beth?s check hits the account. It gives us some breathing room, but only if we take really short breaths.

Just yesterday, she sent me an email entitled ?it?s not all bad? that made me smile:

Hi there,

I hope today has been a blessed one for you. It has for me.

There were small victories that carried over into today. In spite of two (now three) upset students who don't like my teaching style, I have helped at least three. I have probably helped students and they don't even know it yet.

Yesterday, I spent about an hour tutoring one of my students on citation. He left really understanding the format.

Today, I helped explain to another student when to site. I helped her compare the MLA format paper to her own essay and make corrections herself. And I helped her see how a quick outline would help her better organize her paper in less time. I also told her your favorite phrase: "There's no shame in a B." At one point she was either so overwhelmed or so embarrassed that she almost cried. I calmed her down, and I expect that her next draft will be greatly improved.

I do indeed love this job. When I let go of myself, God does use me through it.

I?m really proud of her. This is the job she was meant to do. This is only her first semester teaching; so much of her experience thus far has been trial and error. The lessons she learns from the mistakes made this time around can only help her to improve next time around. She?s well on her way to becoming a great teacher. Nice to know that one of us has found their calling in life.

Posted by macedonia at 11:48 AM EST
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Thursday, 9 December 2004
music appreciation moment: Plant Life
Now Playing: Plant Life - "Luv 4 The World (Why They Gotta Hate?)"
Topic: music appreciation

It?s been a long time since I?ve done one of these ? way too long, in fact. Half the time that I spend complaining about stuff on this blog could?ve been spent writing about musicians, DJs, producers, and record labels I?m feelin?. Well, you know what they say about hindsight, so let?s move on and get this area poppin? again?

The group: Plant Life. The album: The Return of Jack Splash. The label: Counterflow Recordings. I. LOVE!!! This album. Another bunch of heads that primarily do hip-hop, but decided to flip it on some past/present/future pop goodness. And the results are lovely. Some funk, some soul, some disco, some Prince circa early ?80s?it?s brilliant. Many have been calling Plant Life the next Outkast and with good reason. Definitely has that Andre 3000 The Love Below feel to it, but no copycats here?this group comes original. Check out their official website for more info and sound samples.

Posted by macedonia at 10:48 AM EST
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