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Saturday, 14 May 2005
bridging the gap
Now Playing: you know how this goes...check the playlist below...
Topic: playlists

Friday, April 29, 2005

i have to admit...i wasn't excited about the night until i actually got there. and even when i did, i didn't know if the records i brought with me would work. i was scheduled to bring house and i was sandwiched between two hip-hop sets. i had no idea how i was gonna make the transition. Mista Mayday of the ESP Collective (of which my man mikal is a member) got it started with hip-hop classics as well as a few funk and soul joints. the last time we spun together was a couple of years ago at a loft party in Brooklyn. the mixing setup was a little weird for him and he couldn't get as loose as he usually likes to, but he definitely dropped some gems.

the only reason my set turned out decently was the energy of the crowd. lots of friends and acquaintances in the spot, so that helped. figured i better get it started with something familiar, and "hot music" always does the trick. it's one of the few tracks you can please both hip-hop and house heads with. needle started jumping a lot midway through (a lot of bass on some older pressings of that joint), so i cut into an Aretha Franklin rework. basically, my set ranged from midtempo to uptempo tracks - some funk and soul, some hip-hop style breakbeats, and some house. at one point, i threw on an old Nightcrawlers dub ("push the feeling on") and the place just went nuts, heads screaming and stuff. i was not expecting that reaction. at that point, i thought to myself, oh, so that's how you like it? it was on then. i felt right at home and confident that i was able to connect the dots in the way that made sense to the party people. that is such a good feeling.

as cool as all of that was, one aspect totally made my night: my man Jason (a longtime college buddy from SUNY Albany) actually came through to represent. back in the day, my SUNY heads and i used to call him "Shag" because he kinda resembled Shaggy from the Scooby Doo cartoon. seeing him there in the crowd (which continued to swell throughout the night) next to my wife just brought me back to my freshman and sophomore years. i hadn't seen this cat in many moons. once my set was over and i left the booth, i greeted him with a big hug. nothing could get me down at that moment.

CX Kidtronik took over the decks and kept the crowd hyped with a pretty varied set. a lot of hip-hop classics from the Native Tongues family and the Gangstarr Foundation, but he also played some above ground joints, too (DMX's "Up In Here," Gwen Stefani's "Holla Back Girl," etc.) at one point, he threw in a booty joint from a classic 2 Live Crew record and i almost fell over. the real kicker was closing with the Sex Pistols. it was so random and yet it made perfect sense. Jason is an avid punk rock listener and Beth grew up with the Sex Pistols, so it was one of those perfect moments in time that you couldn't possibly recreate. judging from the crowd's reaction, we weren't the only ones who felt that way.

Jason and i spent time catching up during Mike Larosa's set (beautiful house set, very soulful) and reminiscing on all the crazy things we used to do back in the day. (at some point, i ought to share some of those stories - classic "things you'll only see in college" type of stuff.) i remember commenting to him that i had all this energy back then and that i wish there was some way to channel that energy into my life now. had i known then what i know now, i could've put that energy to great use. we all could've. regardless, i still look back on that period with fond memories and Jason feels the same way i do. we know we'll never have friends like the ones we had back then. every last one of them holds a special place in my heart.

the crowd was still going strong by the time Cassien took the reins in the dj booth (around 2:30 a.m.). it was like no one was trying to leave until they all got kicked out. the heads that held out for a ragga jungle set were greatly rewarded - it was all smiles in that spot. prior to leaving, i made sure to tell Cassien that i've been down with what he does in the mix since he used to work at the Throb record shop. i remember him working there years back when the store was first located on East 14th Street. there was one time i was buying some wax and he wouldn't let me leave the store until i listened to a compilation called *Frying The Fat*. he handed it to me and after a lengthy session of needle dropping, i knew it was coming home with me. he turned me on to Rae & Christian that day, as well as the Grand Central label. i had to let him know that. if heads have inspired me in any way, i've been making it my business to let them know. i may never get the chance again to tell them.

so yeah, an amazing night. great music, a crowd that definitely came to party, and a good venue. but "Shag" comin' through the door...that just supersized my whole night right there. Beth and i woke up the next day, still very much in the moment. and for days afterwards, we would ask each other, "was that all a dream? did that really happen?" nights like that come few and far between in the Rotten Apple. it's good to be in the right place at the right time.

The Delancey, NYC / 11:30pm-12:30a.m.

soho*hot music*kool groove
aretha franklin*rock steady (danny krivit re-edit)*ibadan
ballistic brothers vs. eccentric afros*blacker ('94 EQ)*delancey street (uk)
plant life*luv 4 the world (why they gotta hate?)*counterflow recordings
deee-lite*when you told me you loved me*elektra
medeski martin & wood*midnight birds (sa-ra remix)*blue note
the beginning of the end*funky nassau pt. 1*alston
art konik*mingpark (ming beat)*comet (france)
nightcrawlers*push the feeling on (the dub of doom)*great jones/island
earth people*dance (club mix)*kool groove
onionz*latino dubb*aztlan
dajae*u got me up (cajmere's underground goodies mix)*cajual
tiny bubbles*the hands of a raindrop*eightball
mu*paris hilton*output (uk)

Posted by macedonia at 7:06 PM EDT
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Monday, 9 May 2005
i'm back (now, let's get sick and do the tighten up...)
Now Playing: check the playlist...
Topic: playlists

i feel absurdly late writing this. work has had me exhausted and the demands of the everyday have kept me from blog entries, but whatever.

so Retroactive was a damn good time. very cordial heads that opened up their loft to us all - big fun all night long. seemed like damn near everyone i knew from this electronic bulletin board was there. music was brilliant the whole time. jesse mann killed it on the house and drum and bass ends, black opz was sick as usual, lil' bit i heard of dj fever was impressive, and the rev threw down with that uncompromising techno style. almost didn't wanna leave. wish i could've heard jordan's set as well as my man ben's. oh man, how could i forget campbell?!? he closed out the night, too...and from the looks of his playlist, what a way to go out. (gotta love a man who has such a love for the Moving Shadow label that you'd think he once owned stock in the imprint.) some static broke out as the night came to a peak, but calmer heads prevailed. a circuit blew during rev's set, but they got the music going again. in short, positive vibes won out and that's always a good thing.

as for me, i REALLY need to practice more. i've been without a second turntable for almost a year, and it showed that night. took me a good 30 minutes to really get my bearings, but once i got comfortable and started to enjoy myself, the set started to come together. not bad for an opening set. it was virtually all fam in there, so it was all love, anyway. great night, the kind where you get a weird second wind after it's all over and you can't sleep, so you just replay the best parts of the night in your head.

this cat named dr. suds took a lot of pictures, so click here to check them out. good representation of the people and the energy of the event. my set list appears below. started off just playing a few records to test the sound in the room before i launched into my set proper, so i've listed those tracks as well.

*i'm back (now, let's get sick and do the tighten up...)*
dj set @ Retroactive (Return to the Source)
Asterisk Art Project, Brooklyn, NY / saturday, april 23, 2005

lee mason & his orchestra*shady blues*jazzman (uk)
harrell & sharron lucky*pease porridge pot/i'll walk on the line*stones throw
young-holt unlimited*young and holtful*brunswick
plant life*the return of jack splash (tracks 1-5)*counterflow recordings

melvin van peebles*break that party & opening/the eight day week/saturday night*stax
lyn collins*think (about it)*people
pd vs. pd*white label
divine styler*ain't saying nothing ('89 remix)*bilawn
the highlighters*the funky sixteen corners*stones throw
west street mob*break dance - electric boogie*sugarhill
public enemy*welcome to the terrordome*def jam
m/a/r/r/s*pump up the volume*4th & b'way
meat beat manifesto*acid again (freddy fresh mix)*play it again sam
the bar kays*son of shaft*volt
dj smash*bassanova*new breed
plant life*luv 4 the world (why they gotta hate?)*counterflow recordings
panda one*take it to the corner of a block*counterflow recordings
booker t. & the mg's*melting pot*harmless (uk)
de la soul*a roller skating jam named "saturdays"*tommy boy
young-holt unlimited*light my fire*brunswick
james brown*mother popcorn (part 1)*king
james brown*it's a new day (part 1)*king
herbie hancock*hang up your hang ups*harmless (uk)
cookie crew*born this way*ffrr
hardline inc.*love me (deep moan mix)*renegade
the dust (chemical) brothers*chemical beats*boys own (uk)
klint*diamond (poplar remix)*tvt
pepe deluxe*big muff (capsule mix)*white label
the rapture*killing*dfa
konk*baby dee*soul jazz (uk)
dj vadim*london mindstate*ninja tune (uk)
manu dibango*soul makossa*atlantic
nu yorican soul*the nervous track (ballsy mix)*nervous
afronaught*transcend me*apollo/r&s (belgium)
dj smash*gimmie some*new breed
olli ahvenlahti*grandma's rocking chair - kenny dope remix (percussive explosion live edit)*jazzpuu-love (finland)
archie bell & the drells*tighten up*atlantic
mu*let's get sick*tigersushi (france)
onionz*afro funk*aztlan
ian o'brien*teentown beats (12" mix)*peacefrog (uk)

Posted by macedonia at 11:20 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 May 2005 1:32 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 12 April 2005
this guy...
Now Playing: Nite-Liters - "K-Jee"
Topic: spinna steez

while today was one of the better days at the job, being a customer service representative is far from a life's ambition. so i am forced to refer back to a present-day philosophy that speaks to my situation: "it pays the bills." in a few weeks, however, i transform back into this guy:

man, i miss this guy. where's he been? last time i would've seen him was around january, i think. yes, this guy crawls back out from the rock he's been hiding under to tag the tables at a pair of upcoming parties. first, there's Retroactive on the 23rd. that one should be hot. a number of spinnas that i really respect will be in the mix that night, all of us with two hours each to do our thing. David Mancuso was right: a 60-minute DJ set really is a fart in a windstorm. gotta be able to tell a story. anyhow, the following week is a party called FRESH at The Delancey. that one's on April 30th. all hip-hop and house that night. Retroactive will have a number of sounds on tap - house, techno, jungle, breaks. i've got one of the opening sets, so i'm throwing down some funk, soul, and breaks that night. i never appreciated opening sets like i should have. you're able to get away with playing some different stuff when you have the opening set. it's not really your job to be the balls out club banger of the night; you're actually welcoming people in and getting the dance floor ripe for the one that comes after you. i think as long as i can spin some tunes that people know and enjoy as well as hit 'em off with some jams that i'm really passionate about, i can meet heads halfway.

fyi: not like you asked, but the picture above was taken my lovely wife, beth. so that's me at Sound Unity Project 2, a three-day camping party in upstate NY, summer of 2003. i could even tell you what's on the turntable that i'm standing over: a reworking of Olli Ahvenlahti's "Grandma's Rocking Chair." two Finnish DJs (Didier and Anomymous) took Kenny Dope's bootleg mix of it and extended it. it's this sick four-turntable workout of old jazz and funk breaks that goes on for like sixteen minutes. gotta remember to bring that with me for the 23rd. and see that seven-inch record sitting up against the other turntable? that was my copy of "Funky Nassau" by The Beginning of The End, one of two 45s that were swiped from me. for a couple of weeks, i couldn't hear "Funky Nassau" on the radio without getting really upset. thankfully, i was able to cop the album reissue through Turntable Lab. while i miss the 45, i never had the album before, which also includes "When She Made Me Promise." the first ten seconds of it were used as an interlude for Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's classic "T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)."

alright, enough DJ geekdom for one day. of course, this guy only has one turntable at home (since one of them gave up the ghost last year), so all of the segues happen in my head now. i don't like going into a DJ set so raw - i believe in practice, practice, practice...and i haven't been able to. even a cat like Mark Farina, whose Mushroom Jazz CDs are the pick of downtempo addicts everywhere, still brushes up on his undeniable skills in a practice session. let's hope some of these mental blends of mine actually work over a soundsystem, or this guy could fall flat in the mix quick, fast, and in a hurry.

hell, i'm up for an adventure if you are...

Posted by macedonia at 12:11 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 12 April 2005 11:20 PM EDT
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this lyric is so me it's ridiculous...
Now Playing: Pleasure - "Reality"

"sometimes i hate myself, sometimes i love myself..."
Roots Manuva, "Too Cold"

Posted by macedonia at 12:00 AM EDT
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Monday, 4 April 2005
six minutes...i'm on...
Now Playing: The New Birth - "Honeybee"
Topic: music appreciation

okay, so stranger things have happened, but not many. no, i didn't imagine it - that really was Tricky guest starring in last week's episode of Girlfriends. and while my reaction wasn't quite the same as this guy's was, i do remember thinking two things:

1) being pleasantly surprised that anyone involved in the making of the show would even think of including him

2) wondering how many of UPN's viewers actually know who Tricky is.

actually, i had three thoughts, the third being along the lines of...hey, U Pick a Nig's branching out...they've discovered Black Brits. good for them.

so this is a four-episode arc, folks. one down, three to go. check your local listings, kids. and for those of you who are coming really late to the party and wondering what made Mr. Adrian Thaws so special to begin with, might i suggest Ruff Guide - a decent primer to get your feet wet in the ways of the Tricky Kid.

"i don't rap. i don't sing. I'M AN EMOTIONAL PLAYER. emotions i do bring..."
Tricky, "6 Minutes."

may i just say that he's much better when he's tapping into his inner Tom Waits and not trying to recreate Slick Rick's "Children's Story" for the umpteenth time?

Posted by macedonia at 11:46 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 5 April 2005 12:24 AM EDT
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so, how's daylight savings time treating you so far?
Now Playing: Biz Markie - "Spring Again" <-playing in my head, anyway...

it's spring ahead...everybody know it's spring ahead...

Posted by macedonia at 11:32 PM EDT
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Monday, 28 March 2005
squirrelly wrath...
Now Playing: Roots Manuva - "Colossal Insight"

i'm not sure what made me think of this. ah yes...every now and again Beth checks in on the misadventures of Foamy, a foul-mouthed squirrel with a tendency to rant and rave about everything and everyone. the website introduced a new character that is apparently a black squirrel complete with afro pick in its tail. wifey wasn't impressed, though. not sure if i'm ready for that, either...

my mind was taken back in time to 4th grade in Traphagen Elementary, Mount Vernon, NY. i was daydreaming in class, staring out the window. my eyes focused in on a tree - a black squirrel was chasing a grey squirrel around and down the tree. the black squirrel took a swipe at the other and caught the grey squirrel across the back. it went tumbling down to earth. the black squirrel then jumped off the tree and did a freefall pounce - Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka style. it was a long way down. i'm not sure what happened after that.

squirrels are always good for adding a surreal edge to your day. i can remember a time in college that i was walking to my class when i heard this weird screeching. i looked up and i saw an upside down squirrel against the pillar of one of the campus buildings, screaming its head off. it appeared to be stuck to the side of the building. seeing as how just about anything can happen in college (and generally does), i wouldn't put such a prank past one of the local fraternaties in the area. what made it even more unsettling was that nobody else seemed to care. everybody else just kept walking. and i'm thinking to myself...

how can they not hear that??

"silly rabbit, Trix are made for kids, you know that? you without me like corn flake without the MILK. it's my world, you're just a squirrel tryna get a NUT. now, get on outta here - DAAH! don't...touch...that...COAT!!!
-Oran "Juice" Jones, "The Rain"

Posted by macedonia at 5:19 PM EST
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"one step at a time."
Now Playing: Hood - "The Negatives" [Domino]
Topic: the Christian walk

every other morning when i step out the door, i see an elderly man walking to or from the corner store on my way to work. his movement is limited and he takes amazingly small steps - baby steps. what would take a healthy and fit human being about five minutes probably takes him at least twenty. every time i see him, he greets me with a smile and a hearty "good morning." almost every time we see each other, he says, "one step at a time." i never see him at any other time of the day...only in the a.m. i don't believe in accidents: GOD placed that man in my path for a reason. his perspective is simple yet profound, and one that i seriously need to immerse my mind and spirit within in order to make it through the work day.

Holy Week seemed like anything but for me. to be frank, i've felt like less than a child of GOD for most of the Lenten season. i've let life just sort of walk all over me. i think it has a lot to do with the new job. the old one was a cake walk compared to this one. the number of obscenities that have crossed my lips has increased considerably since i've started. tuesday was horrible. issues piled up quickly, one after the other. seemed like every order that had a problem with it was one of mine. i felt like i was sinking rapidly and no one around me cared if i drowned. i left my cubicle and went down to the fitness room because i felt the need to punch something and i didn't want it to be my computer screen or a co-worker. but there were no punching bags around and my hands wouldn't ball up into fists. looking back on it, i think it was God's way of saying, "why ball up your fists when you could throw up your hands in surrender to the one who sustains you? turn away from violence and turn toward Me."

although the week got better, i still had a terrible attitude toward work. actually, it's one of conflicting emotions. i was jaded, sarcastic, bitter, classic customer service rep. but i'm not the type of person that gets to the point of not caring. i may say it, but i never completely get there. i'll occasionally get numb for a while, but i'm not programmed to just stop caring. while the team i work with is helpful, there are other people outside of the office that we depend on to get things done and quite often they blow it. BIG TIME. i've never done well with incompetence, especially in the workplace and particularly if it makes me look bad. so i mutter four-letter words to myself and envision violent interstate confrontations with whoever's on the other end of the phone line. and whenever the co-workers are too loud, too obnoxious, too offensive, too much, i retreat further into myself, never saying too much because they're already saying what doesn't need to be said. the courteous me is being eaten away and the sad sack takes residence, who just can't believe that this is their lot in life. i had made up in my mind that this was going to be the very thing that broke me. i was telling myself that i needed to do everything in my power to make sure that my future children never have to suffer this fate, that they will be able to actually like what they do for a living and don't have to spend 20 years of their life paying off student loans in order to get there.

while i won't say that i hate myself, i've lived with myself long enough to know that there are some horrible things in me: selfishness, anger, resentment, thoughts that dance with the predatory and perverse... it's bad enough when you don't know God for yourself and you possess all of these qualities, but it's even worse when you know that the fruit of God's spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, longsuffering, self-control, and that it's your job to bear this fruit in your own life, yet the opposite keeps rising to the surface. the idea that i'm allowed to wake up every morning even when the Lord is aware that i'm likely to blow it is difficult for me to fathom. that's what's called unconditional love. i hope i can love people like that someday.

there is a man named Brian Nichols that recently went on a killing spree. he found himself holding a church member hostage in her own home. she was able to calm him down by reading a paragraph from a book called The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church. he stopped her in the middle of reading and asked her to read it again, which she did. he would later surrender to the police. supposedly, that church member has regular talks with him. she saw beyond the killer into a heart of a man whom she shared some similar issues with. she spoke to his pain simply by treating him like a human being at the time that he needed it most. i read through that book two years ago while i was going through a rough time in my life. i recently started reading it again. negativity never has a problem showing up where it's not wanted; i need to be able to counteract it with something positive and saturate myself. otherwise, i end up getting swallowed whole by chaos and disorder. God is not the author of confusion; God is a God of purpose. nothing that i go through is by happenstance, nor is it just for me. sometimes you need to be reminded that life is a test.

i recently got through a two-day session of prayer and fasting this past weekend. i believe that God spoke to me quite clearly in regards to keeping the flesh subject to the spirit. i have a wonderful wife who also happens to be a wonderful cook, so i never have problems saying yes to my stomach. still, i figured if Jesus could go for forty days in the desert without food while being tempted by the devil, i should be able to fast for at least two. but i know i didn't get through it on my own. God had to show me that He could work through my weaknesses and make me strong. there are still many problem areas, however, that need serious work.

"one step at a time."

seeing as how God is a God of purpose, i've been eager to learn what mine is. whatever it is, it'll be revealed in His time. God's timetable is totally different from mine, and i've never been a patient person. maybe that's why i keep seeing the man on the street before work.

"one step at a time."

his attitude resembles that unshakable faith, that patience and peace that surpasses human understanding. the phrase may sound simple, but at the end of the day, it's the basic instructions that always trip me up.

Posted by macedonia at 12:54 AM EST
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Sunday, 20 March 2005
the customer is always right
Now Playing: Lyn Collins - "Put It On The Line"

...especially when they aren't.

Posted by macedonia at 9:47 PM EST
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Sunday, 13 March 2005
(daily) grindin'
Now Playing: The New Birth - "Honeybee"

"one day...like any other / you do what you want...but you want something better..."
-APB, "One Day."

with a belly full of dinner and pale ale, i'm mentally preparing for another manic monday. the work week in general, really. i work through the weekdays to get to the weekend. it's truly amazing what so many of us are willing to put up or get ourselves into just to get a paycheck. we work at jobs we're not interested in, surrounded by people we don't like, working for bosses whose heads would look better on a stick...okay, so my current gig isn't that hellish, but it's customer service and that's far from heaven. i liken my time on the phones to a tour of duty for a soldier in Iraq: while it makes total sense for me to be riding around in an armored car, i'll be damned if i can find any scrap metal. basically, i need to learn how to put the shrapnel i'm hit with to good use. being on the front lines, you're gonna get shot at. the days range from bloody awful to ai'ight to surprisingly good, but that's life. the monitor at my desk now has mini-tower speakers for ears, providing the necessary soundtrack to get me through the day, or at least through the next phone call. radio broadcasts from WFMU, the Giant Step jukebox, and random dj sets from Percussion Lab make up a good bulk of the rotation.

the frustrations of the work day are frighteningly similar between my wife and i. she's in an insurance agency now, wearing several different hats at once and performing tasks she was never told she had to, i'm sure. we both do too much at once. she now totally understands my aversion to the phone when i get home. after answering one all day, the last thing you want to do is pick it up at home. that started happening to her last week - she would visibly shudder when the phone rang in our apartment. i can't begin to tell you how ecstatic i was about that. not about her frustration, but the fact that we know exactly what the other goes through during the daily grind. makes it that much nicer when we get home and see each other. "yeah, i know. my day sucked, too. you don't know how happy i am to see you." then we kiss, feed the cat, and prepare dinner.

i will admit, though...in their own special way, my co-workers remind me not to take my 9-to-5 plight so seriously. they don't even know they're doing it half the time. i mean, it's cool when questions need to be answered and they're able to help me out, but in a way, it's even better when they make me laugh during the day. they can be a silly bunch - outright stupid some days. i think it was last tuesday that we were getting socked with snow. perhaps the feeling of cabin fever made us all slap happy, but it was a mental ward on my side of the office that day. we ended up getting more snow than was expected and traveling during rush hour wasn't going to be fun for anybody. beth called me up because she was getting out early and wanted to know if we were as well. i said, "baby, around these parts 'getting out early' means leaving here ON TIME." we did finally receive a notice from management that they were closing up shop at 5 p.m. "so that everybody could get home while it was still light out." the notice arrived in our email at 5:02 p.m. the day was already silly enough, but that just took it to the next level. beyond that, the sky was overcast the entire day and got worse while it started to snow harder, so technically, it was never "light out" to begin with.

it has been my experience that jobs were never meant to be enjoyed; rather, they are to be endured. anybody that's blessed enough to have a job where they actually like what they do ought to thank GOD daily for their situation. not one f**king complaint out of any of you, seriously. and let's not get it twisted: if that's your situation, you're BLESSED - luck has absolutely nothing to do with it. so i work for the weekend. i work to get home and be with my wife. i work so that the bills can be paid, so that we can have a date night once a month, so that future plans can be laid and our future seed can have things a bit easier (while still teaching them the value of a dollar and not being afraid of hard labor). the routine is the routine and i do it so that the enjoyable areas of my life can still be enjoyed. so i work where i work, but it's not who i am. it has nothing to do with my purpose in life (whatever that is - God knows but He ain't talkin' yet). it's not a passion. it's not even an area of interest. it's just a means to an end. and it makes me no different from the millions of other wage slaves on the same ship, some of whom would much rather throw themselves overboard than spend one more day on the rough seas.

Posted by macedonia at 11:11 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 13 March 2005 11:15 PM EST
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