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Sunday, 31 July 2005
for ma dukes...
Now Playing: the weather report (no, not the band, the actual weather report...)

"trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall make your paths straight."
- Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
- Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

those are easily the most important Bible scriptures my mother ever taught me. i remain thankful to God that she did.

this past Friday, my mom remarried my stepfather. it was real hush-hush, no big to do. they barely told anyone. they got married up at my old church in Wappingers Falls. Reverend Edward L. Hunt officiated the ceremony (the same pastor that oversaw my marriage to Beth). later that night, there was a big celebration in a social club around the way. not only did mom get married, but she's moving down to Norfolk, VA where Jaleel (my stepfather) already resides. he's living well, early leave from the post office on retirement. he worked there for a long time. it represents a new start for my mother, the closing of a chapter of her life and the beginning of a new one. a whole new book, really. all my life i've seen this woman do for others while denying her own needs. the cycle has been survival and sacrifice on constant repeat. now, the happy ending's in sight. no one's more deserving of one than her.

she initially was concerned about what i would think. she knows that i remember 1994 all too well. that was the year that our family fell apart. you could cut the tension in the house with a chainsaw. it would push on the walls and threaten to blow the place apart. i can remember coming home from college only to find a "FOR SALE" sign on the lawn and thinking to myself, what the hell is going on? Jaleel's a Muslim and my mom's a Christian. this is around the time that the more zealous of the Christian faith would quote the Bible and say, "be not unequally yoked." in other words, don't get down with someone that's not about the same thing as you are, who's not drawing their strength from the same power source. normally, i would agree, but honestly, they lasted longer the first time around than married couples of the same faith do nowadays. hell, they lasted longer than most married couples PERIOD. people get divorced like they're taking a time out nowadays, like it's a free summer meal at the Y or something.

i would also agree if i didn't notice the change in Jaleel. he's not the same man. mom's commented on it as well. he's more easy going and laid back than he was before, more open-minded, more patient. even more so than my mom. i can remember when he used to watch basketball games and throw balled-up socks at the television (while screaming, "what are you DOIN'?!?!?") when his team was behind. he doesn't even do that anymore. it's not the first time i noticed the change. a few years back, he came to visit my mom and surprised me when i came home from college on break. i walk in my mom's place and he's there with a big smile on his face. every time i went to shake his hand, he hugged me instead. every time. that in and of itself blew me away, because that wasn't in him when we were a family the first time around. and i think that's what won mom over recently. brother man let her know point blank that life was miserable without her. he even suggested that everything he learned about love he learned from her, as well as her family. that's pretty deep when i think about it. there really is a lot of love within my mom's side of the family, and it tends to overflow onto neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. it would explain why my aunt's still cool with most of the men she's dated. it would explain why my family still had love for Jaleel and treated him like family even when the divorce went through. my mom's side of the family's just like that.

they both look younger the second time around. there's something to be said for that. i am extremely happy for them both and i wish them a lifetime of the happiness that they feel right now and for it to increase in leaps and bounds. i'd be lying if i said that mom moving to Virginia didn't effect me. i'm closer to mom than i am to my father. we've always been close and we've been through a lot together. i know i'm gonna miss her because i gave her one of my mix CDs. i never do that. i'll say a gig went fine or something, but i never let her hear one of my mixes before. although i'm her youngest, i haven't gone straight brat on her and yelled out, "NO, YOU CAN'T LEAVE!!!" if anyone's gonna go straight brat, it would be my older sister. she's been okay up until this point, though. she could just be putting on a brave front, because to a certain extent, i know i am. there's a quiet sadness that comes with this kind of change, but asking her to stay would be really unfair. she's paid enough dues in her life. this is her time, hers to enjoy as she sees fit. and knowing that the move makes her happy is more than enough for me.

within the past year and a half, i came to the conclusion that i was raised by two hustlers. my father...he is hustler to the bone, a former pool shark who hasn't left the pool hall, even though the hall's been shut down for decades and reopened as a convenience store. he tried to teach me how to play pool on his 60th birthday, as if i was the heir apparent to Minnesota Fats. if you ever see me holding a cue stick, it means that i'm about to beat somebody with it or i'm about to break out into an air guitar solo. mom's hustle was different, though: it was about putting food on the table, clothes on my back, making sure i got a good education, doing better for her children than what she had. if she had to dig ditches, she would. her love ran that deep.

it's cool, though. at least now i've got a great excuse to head down south when i get sick of New York (which can more than likely happen within the next few hours, seeing as how tomorrow's Monday...).

Posted by macedonia at 11:18 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005 4:40 PM EDT
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wave's philosophy
Now Playing: the 11 o'clock news
Topic: the Christian walk

Beth and i tried to get away earlier this month. the original plan was to head upstate for an extended weekend and camp out near Lake George, just the two of us. the car caught a flat the day before we were supposed to leave. plus the planning was stressing Beth out. so we chilled at home for the most part. when Monday came, we headed for Jones Beach.

although it was overcast, it was still quite warm and humid. just feeling sand between my toes was nice. then we got into the water and the five year-old in me came out. i had a lot of fun. however, i am seriously out of practice as a swimmer. back in day camp, it was nothing for me to swim. now it's a different story. plus i always swam in pools. swimming in the ocean always feels a bit foreign to me. the current was strong that day. sun was unexpectedly strong, too - Beth and i still show signs of peeling almost two weeks later from where we got sunburn.

it was wild to look out at the horizon and see nothing but ocean. no land in front of you, no buoys, no nothing - just water. after a while, i would jump over waves or let them push me around. skidding along the sand makes for a serious case of rug burn, but i survived. more often than not, i would let them crash into me just to see if i could stand my ground. sometimes i did, other times i didn't. i thought to myself...this is my life. watching the wave come, standing my ground, and preparing myself for the impact. the waves are gonna come whether i like it or not. may as well learn how to take the hit.

the best is when the wave catches you when your back's turned and you just get slammed. it's times like that when you have to give it up to the forces of nature, because it's clear that they're reminding you just how little control you have over what happens to you. and if it's like that during a day at the beach, you know it's gonna be that way on your job or in other areas of your daily existence. the waves are gonna come. some will hit you head on while others will sneak attack from behind. sometimes you can jump over the wave, sometimes you can swim under the wave, and sometimes you gotta ride the wave. make no mistake, though...

the waves are gonna come. so get ready.

Posted by macedonia at 11:17 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 July 2005
essential reading
Now Playing: the sounds of the work day winding down in my office...
Topic: articles

first up, Bakari Kitwana contributed a brilliant article to the Village Voice last month regarding the predominantly white audience for black conscious hip-hop acts. rather sobering read.

and of course, my man Dr. Mark Anthony Neal is always puttin' in work. there's his latest NPR commentary for starters, plus he just finished up a fantastic four-part article on R&B's decline. here are the links to parts one, two, and three, as well as the epilogue, containing a short list of artists holdin' it down for the soul nation.

Posted by macedonia at 6:02 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 12 July 2005
noncommittal (the in-between period)
Now Playing: john oswald (plunderphonics) - "power"
Topic: playlists

so i figured i'd post my playlist from last friday's gig, even though i really wasn't happy with most of the set. didn't really get into it until the last 30 minutes, where i felt i actually started to loosen up. just felt like i was going through the motions. i must say, though...mocca lounge is a very nice spot to hang - great food and drink. friendly wait staff and all that. plus the place is just nice to look at. good spot to grab a bite to eat before a night out.

noncommittal (the in-between period)
dj set @ mocca lounge - friday, july 8, 2005 / 8-10pm

lcd soundsystem*yr city's a sucker*dfa
808 state*ooops (feat. bjork)*tommy boy
the dust brothers (now chemical bros.)*dope coil*boys own (uk)
the avalanches*since i left you*elektra
plant life*when she smiles she lights the sky*counterflow recordings
the januaries*the girl's insane (thievery corporation mix*foodchain
secret frequency crew*deep blue (eli-73 remix)*counterflow recordings
de la soul*ain't hip to be labeled a hippie*tommy boy
the allenko brotherhood ensemble (tony allen vs. kraked unit)*the man with the drum*comet (france)
gina x*no g.d.m.*tigersushi (france)
serge gainsbourg*no comment (dax riders remix)*mercury (france)
the brecker brothers*sneakin' up behind you*s12 (uk)
stereolab*miss modular (automator mix)*elektra
medeski martin & wood*midnight birds (sa-ra remix)*blue note
spymusic*cloak*2000 black (uk)
johnny copeland orchestra (cloud one)*atmosphere strutt*p&p
titanic*sultana (danny krivit re-edit)*ibadan
blackalicious*make you feel that way*mca
thievery corporation*shadows of ourselves*esl
nina simone*see-line woman (masters at work remix)*verve
curtis mayfield*superfly*curtom
dennis coffey*theme from black belt jones*good sounds (uk)
mu*chair girl*tigersushi (france)
the juan maclean*give me every little thing*dfa
the bloods*button up*soul jazz (uk)
esg*moody*universal sound (uk)
daft punk*harder better faster stronger (the neptunes remix)*virgin (uk)
matthew dear*grut wall*spectral sound
dj vadim*london mindstate*ninja tune (uk)
metro area*orange alert*environ
earth people*dance (bonus beats)*kool groove
dj rels*diggin' in brownswood*stones throw/goya (uk)

Posted by macedonia at 10:59 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 July 2005 12:02 PM EDT
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sho' nuff cures for the summertime blues...
Now Playing: Mike Lupica's radio show (wfmu.org)
Topic: music appreciation

anybody reading this blog often enough knows that i love me some WFMU. here are a pair of summertime shows worth writing home about:

Music Of Our Times with the Good Doctor

love this cat's show. mellows me right out. one week he's playing live concerts featuring Sun Ra, the following week he features live shows from James Brown and Bootsy's Rubber Band, the week after that it's a Latin show, and just last week he got all '60s psychedelia on us, playing stuff from Frank Zappa and a bunch of others. the latest show features masters of the Hammond B-3 organ (Jimmy Smith, rest in peace...)

Bring That Beat Back with Billy Jam

yes, it's the same Billy Jam of Hip Hop Slam Records fame. this show is BRILLIANT. four-hour excursion through independent hip-hop joints, punk and hardcore, some electronic dance stuff, found sound, indie rock, mashups...just a great show. it's my new friday morning ritual at work to get me through the dog days of summer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...

Posted by macedonia at 5:20 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 29 June 2005
so long, Lou, and thanks for all the beats...
Now Playing: Dangermouse & Murs - "Paint By Numbers"
Topic: music appreciation

why is it that all of my favorite WFMU personalities eventually leave the station? first it was the lovely Jantine B, then it was Michael Goodstein, and now Lou Ziegler. The Push Bin was my Friday morning work ritual, a four-hour perfect blend of rock, hip-hop, electronic, and experimental sounds. Lou really knew how to program a show. it was freeform, but it wasn't haphazard. IT MADE SENSE. i'm really gonna miss him. thankfully, his show archives live on...

Posted by macedonia at 11:41 PM EDT
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movers and shakers amongst the headz...
Now Playing: Betty Davis - "Nasty Gal"
Topic: music appreciation


it's so good to see my man Hired Gun make good alongside his partners in rhyme Rabbi Darkside and Farbeon. And I (guitar/production) and DJ Watts (turntables) round out the crew. their monthly party at Bowery Poetry Club has been growing in popularity since its inception. and now, the fruits of their labor can be heard on their new album, Pressed For Time. feel-good, true school hip-hop featuring studio cuts, live tracks and instrumentation, as well as an interview with the crew. you can hear samples and purchase the album over at cdbaby.com. to find out more information about 3rd Party, head on over to the Say Word Entertainment website.


this label on a whole is fantastic, ranging from minimal clickhouse to left-of-center drum and bass and more acoustic offerings. my good buddy Ezekiel Honig manages Microcosm and has also released several EPs, remixes, and full-lengths for the label. kudos from the press has been pretty steady, so if you haven't already, head on over to the website and see what all the fuss is about...


Resident DJ at the NYC affiliate of the legendary Root Down sessions occurring monthly at Table 50, Center digs through some ocean floor deep crates and presents his latest mix to the masses. Feel What I'm Feelin' offers not only one, but two discs of choice picks. disc one provides some hip-hop and soul while disc two is straight-ahead jazz. Center is easily one of the most genuine and knowledgeable cats in the game right now and i'm so glad he's getting his due. (matter of fact, i believe he's spinning the official Roots/De La Soul Summerstage show afterparty as i'm typing this, alongside ?uestlove.) You can purchase his mix CD online at the Giant Step Store as well as Turntable Lab, Fat Beats, and The Giant Peach. NYC heads can cop it over at Other Music.


i remember when this cat used to roll through the Orchard Bar (NYC) for an open turntable spot at a party called Recess two years ago. he came through on the regular with some nice drum and bass wax in his bag. soon enough, he started getting gigs of his own. then he started remixing tracks and producing his own work. now, Rekall has introduced his own label, Actual Music. works will include "forward-thinking ambient, electro, breaks, idm, dnb, + detours in between," as he describes it. his latest album is currently for sale at iTunes.com (with vinyl EPs coming out soon) and he's also posted a new techno/electro mix at his site (dig the playlist - pretty tasty). support this man...

Posted by macedonia at 11:15 PM EDT
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Saturday, 25 June 2005
falling down (and getting up...)
Now Playing: Radiohead - "Treefingers" / Legendary Pink Dots - "Home"

the wave of depression that grew as i left manhattan this morning has decreased. it now resides in the pit of my stomach, a ever-persisting knot that refuses to go away. it's the reminder that life is short and my weekends are shorter. soon it will be monday, and your mental and emotional beatdown will start all over again.

the nice thing about a two-hour travel home in the early part of summer is that the days are at their longest. so you can enter the subway at astor place and by the time you get up to dyre avenue, the sun is saying hello to the moon as one punches out and the other clocks in. even the most desolate streets in your neighborhood seem tranquil, with the occasional passing car providing contrast to the ambience of the birds in the trees, dogs barking from far away, and the steady pace of your feet.

my website has come to a standstill. i have no time to work on it anymore. i'm sensing the beginning of the end. for all intents and purposes, it needs to be funeralized. it really doesn't serve much of a purpose now, so it will more than likely be a standing archive. some days i halfway resent it - its past reminds me of days of vitality and having the hunger to constantly write and post - but i can't stand the thought of pulling the plug on it altogether.

i came in this morning to find my wife sleeping soundly in our bedroom. i gave her a pair of kisses on the forehead and she didn't budge. it's daylight outside the living room window. more birds and passing cars fill in the silence along with the hum of the computer.

i came to the conclusion that there are four things that would make my current job more bearable:

  1. a travel expense budget
  2. frequent flyer miles
  3. a pair of pliers, and
  4. a blowtorch.
i think i would be able to set a whole bunch of daily problems straight. just call me the negotiator.

but i think i know what i want more than anything...out. i want out. not just my job, but the whole thing. life in general. i don't want to do this anymore. i don't have the energy. each day has become a needless extension of the one before it. i want to go. i want to be with God. i want the rapture to come. i want Jesus to come back. this is not working. it is only on the other side of eternity that i'll given a specific purpose and responsibility, one that i might actually be able to do well. i want only to deal with the spirit realm. this moving about in flesh business does not agree with me. i'm no good in this earthly tent. these days, i'm just liable to say anything. i can't remember a time that i've been so prone to outbursts and anger.

nausea, fatigue, nervous twitches and delirium are all telling me to go to sleep, for i've been trying to type for the past twenty minutes and the words aren't coming out right. while walking home, i kept looking up at ledges and wondering what it would like to take a much-needed freefall and hit the ground... just to make sure that i could still feel something. my life isn't dire compared to other situations. i know that. iraq is dire. darfur is dire. there are far worse scenarios on an international level. but the moment i don't complain is another moment of pent-up tension that tends to uncoil in the wrong place at the wrong time, like yelling at managers and sales reps. been there. done that. and it's all leading me to a bad place. in my mind, i've traveled cross-country to kill, main, and injure severely whoever's on the other end of the phone line. i've beaten co-workers with the phone receiver, smashed their heads into my computer monitor, slammed their fingers into file drawers by holding their hands inside and kicking the drawers shut. i've run down the hallways, glocks in either hand, shooting randomly.

the lines in my face feel deeper, like i've aged 13 years in the past six months. i don't want my future child to see me like this. i don't want them to have to deal with an angry and embittered man for a father. the only sleep i seem to care for is the kind you don't wake up from. at least then i know i'll be getting enough rest.

i'm not cut out to be a missionary. i'd rather be a monk. but you don't grow on your own. what God needs to have done requires interaction with others. that's how i know i can't do this. each day i get up with the best intentions and they're all dashed against the rocks before lunch. each day i come home bruised, battered, and scarred. i can't rejoice in suffering. it only makes me more hostile, particularly since i seem to be under the mistaken impression that i'm above all this. life happens. so you deal.

i've tried. this is a losing battle. what can be gained by prolonging that type of an existence? i'm mentally checking out. perhaps if i'm numb enough, i can no longer feel what's happening to me.

but i'm not built to feel nothing. and i strive to be a man of peace and not war. and God told me that i'm more than a conqueror through Him.

so i sleep. the type of sleep that reenergizes you and refreshes you. the type of sleep that you're meant to wake up from. God willing, the Lord will see fit to find a reason to let me see another day. because if the truth be told, i don't want to die before i find out why God put me on this earth.

Posted by macedonia at 7:34 AM EDT
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Friday, 17 June 2005
daddy's wax and wack apologies...
Now Playing: Mike Lupica's radio show on WFMU (wfmu.org)
Topic: articles

let's file this one away in the "y'all deserve so much more than just a kick in the ass / i've got a noose for each of you" folder:

so what was up with the Senate handing out a nickelbag of "sorry" for failing (ignoring, really) to pass anti-lynching legislation over the past century? over 200 measures introduced and all of them going the way of the dodo. nice going, folks. and before you say "damn Republicans," apparently Senate Democrats are largely to blame. This article from Spelman scholar William Jelani Cobb makes it plain while revered historian John Hope Franklin takes it several steps further in his NPR commentary, recalling a time when he came face to face with a lynch mob back in the day. i echo the sentiments of my man Dr. Mark Anthony Neal: i hope i have that kind of fire when i'm 90 years old.

speaking of Dr. Neal, he offers commentary on a much lighter note, just in time for Father's Day, speaking about Daddy's record collection.

"i want my daddy's records!!"

Posted by macedonia at 4:51 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 17 June 2005 4:53 PM EDT
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Thursday, 16 June 2005
four tet? you bet...: in-store and much more
Now Playing: Hatch radio show on WFMU (wfmu.org)
Topic: event reports

so this past Monday i went to see an in-store performance by Mr. Kieran Hebden a.k.a. Four Tet at Other Music. packed house, good size crowd for the store. Kieran worked off of a pair of Sony VAIO laptops and a bunch of effects processors running through a mixer. this allowed him to improvise during the songs, punch in the beats and take them out, as well as flood the environment with random sounds. honestly, his performance was a lot more brutal than i was expecting. anytime you see the multitude plugging their ears because their senses are being assaulted, you know it's on. you have all of these pretty tones and rhythms, but eventually they're overtaken by mass distortion and digital squeals. it was almost as if he was sonically saying to the audience, "if any of you describe my music as 'folktronica' one more time..."

heads probably came away from the show looking at him in a different light (and not a positive one, perhaps), but i dug it. precisely the sonic assault i needed. anyone wanting to know more about Four Tet can check out his website and cop a few MP3s here, one of which includes "Smile Around The Face," a wonderful song from his latest album and one of the tracks that he played at the in-store. (the album version is considerably toned down from what he did to the song on Monday, though...)

Posted by macedonia at 5:38 PM EDT
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