So Long Sunday Malaise

Stolen From CNN

I’m sorry kids. I really am. This is so unprofessional. It’s not what you expect from a gifted word crafter like myself. I am usually so prepared giving even people on the east coast something to read when they get to work so they don’t have to work. That’s my job as a disgruntled, unemployed, overeducated, white man living off the fat of western waste. And I have failed you all today. And for that I am sad.

Even though this isn’t the first failure, it’s actually not my fault. Yesterday I wrote this very long rant about how irritated I was about how sissified the east coast has become with its fake earthquake and its fake hurricane where basically the ground shook for like a second and then it rained all day and knocked out some power. And all I can be reminded of is how lucky we are and how much we hate being inconvenienced from our technology. And granted more of my life depends on electricity these days too, especially academically. But I can’t help but think we are not a fortified group of people.

So I raged about how spoiled we are (projecting onto people in Washington DC and New York mostly) and it comes off as me being a total asshole. Which to people who know me is not really a great stretch. And I just don’t want to be that guy at all. I mean seriously, no one wants to get on the internet and listen to some moron who has bad spelling, grammar and sentence structure rant at them about how they are a pansy. I don’t even want to read that over in my failing attempt to make corrections. So that diatribe is going to sit, collecting dust in my drafts folder here on wordpress. When I die, if I am lucky my editor will unearth that gem and you can hate me post-mortem.

In actuality I had an okay day yesterday. I mean, I haven’t left my apartment in over 36 hours at this point. My knee is totally shadanked (please see The Search For Animal Chin for a definition, also if anyone has this as a digital file, please send it to me) and mobility is best kept to a minimum. Which makes for a very stir crazy Erik. Mostly because I can’t even focus on anything and have any retention in an already ADD addled brain. So school reading has been out. We’re gonna take another shot at it again here shortly though. So worry you not. But anyway, I did get to listen to some new music, including the new Red Hot Chili Pepper’s album, which I hope to have an in-depth review of at Error Vizion sometime this century. My friend Elisa came over and helped me out with some house type stuff. We watched Delicatessen, she brought me a veggi calzone from Il Vicino that was epic and generally kept me company while I was all pathetic. She’s an awesome friend, and it was great to know I have people here in my new town that will help you out and cheer you up when yr a dumb crippled idiot.

Anyway, after all that, I feel a lot better. I mean, not physically. Physically, this is the worst I have ever felt in my entire life. I try to avoid doctors as much as possible (unless I can get out of going to work, which I don’t have) and it only took me two days to realize this wasn’t going to get any better. Problem is it’s been over a week and it hasn’t gotten any better. And chronic pain brings out the east coast rage. A rage I am trying to censure. So people don’t think I am the total prick that I probably am.

I lost my train of thought. Which isn’t really surprising. My train of thought is mapped out something like this: I’m hungry, damn my leg hurts, it really hurts, I should eat, I wish my leg would stop hurting, oh that’s a great shooting pain, I should get some food, I can’t stand for more than 30 seconds at a time, damn if this pain does not subside a bit I am cutting this knee out of my leg, ow, ow, ow…. You get the picture. Or you don’t. I can’t really get into it any more at this point. I need to go put some ice on it.

Author’s note: I tried to go back and reread this for errors and mistakes, but my leg hurts too damn much. Just make the corrections in your mind. Thanks.

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This is How I Get By This Week, With Total Fucking Dichotomy.

Someone I know, somewhere on a social network said using expletives, especially THE F WORD when commenting or posting stuff was uncouth. But here’s the thing, audience, friends, family, future employers; I have either sprained or torn a ligament in my knee. Judging by the constant pain in my knee, I think it’s a tear. I’ve sprained stuff before. It swells up for a few days and then goes away. Right now, I just want to murder puppies, Republicans, male college undergrads and anyone who rides a longboard. That or sleep, because the pain is just kind of unbearable. So, at least for a little while, if you could excuse my profanity laden blog posts (this includes everything from this week) as it’s all been written under the influence of pain. Not drugs, not alcohol, not my normal, ranting idiocy, just pure, angry, hurty, pain.

I know that decorum should be maintained when presenting ideas to the world, that one should present their ideas in an educated and polite manner. But honestly, right now, I don’t care too much about that kind of bullshit. I mean sometimes I just get lazy, but right now, shit is fucked. I don’t want this knee any more. It’s getting to the point where it’s god damn unbearable. So please, if you are reading this in the unforeseen future as a judgement to my worth, keep in mind that this tiny part of my body that is responsible for keeping my knee in tact and thus me from crumbling under the weight of gravity is torn and it basically sucks and I want to cry all the time and it’s making me sick. So if there are a few “fuck”s or “shit”s or I miss a fucking period or decide not to double check this for other errors because lying on the floor, writhing in agony seems like a better use of my time, please, excuse me.

Oh, the point of this whole thing. It’s pretty simple. I have spent a little bit of time enamored with some awesome Audio/Visual presentations by two artists this week. The first that I want to point you to is this awesome video of Canadian Basia Bulat covering Ted Leo and the Pharmacists song “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?”. Watch it first then check back with me.

http://www.avclub.com/video_embed/?id=53052
Basia Bulat covers Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
*please note that this is supposed to look like a nice video contained in this post. But I don’t write, nor understand embedded code links provided by third parties, so you you will just have to pretend.

I’m pretty much in love with Basia Bulat because of this video. Even though I can’t pronounce her name. I am even looking over the fact that she is Canadian with that flappy head and beady little eyes. Her rendition of Ted’s song (one of my favorites from Hearts of Oak) is so honest in it’s reverence for this song. After previewing her latest album, I see too that this is out of her comfort zone. But you can’t really tell by this performance. I’ve watched this video easily fifteen times in the last few days and have now been pretty much only been listening to Ted Leo. With one exception.

Pretty much, by now, if you haven’t figured out that I am pretty much a moron, then you clearly just don’t care about me. And for that, fuck you. Seriously. But anyway, I love Too Many Daves. I love them a lot. I have a half finished tattoo (any one got $500 bucks I can borrow) based on a 30 second song by this band. I also just bought their new EP that I didn’t even know about because of this video. Because I seriously think this band rules. I mean, it’s five dudes, all named Dave, playing dumb songs about dumb shit. This song is about some unemployed, drunk fucking dude, who while the wife/girlfriend/lady guardian figure is away at work decides to build what is essentially a club house that is strictly for bros. This Calvin-esq (by that I mean Calvin from Calvin and Hobbs you fucking no0b) display is furthered by the dudes request for a hot dog spinner and a monkey from the employed lady figure. The video pretty much visualizes what existed in my head for said “Dude’s Room”. Which I mean, wasn’t a stretch. Also, this song was inspired in part by the film Mr. Mom which I haven’t seen in a lot of years, but I want to see it again.

Anyway, I am very emotional about these two videos and this new Too Many Daves EP that I just downloaded. I kind of want to just cry from joy and pain. Also, the song “Grab Me a Beer, Man” makes me want to drink a beer. Also, this all proves I am both sensitive and caring and into arty stuff and all that and a total beer drinking, idiotic fat dude. This is the dichotomy of life all in one. Or maybe it just proves I’ve had too many shots to the head by boots, trees, concrete, aluminum bats and other objects that hurt in my life. Whatever. Watch the videos and be happy you can walk without hurting yourself.

From Bloomington With Love

Inky Skulls
Introduction to Alchemy
Self Released ($.99 on bandcamp)

The reason why I love Chris Clavin, or at least the reason I am going to talk about in this review is because, despite having a pretty consistent canon, he never, ever fails to surprise me. Since moving from Bloomington Indiana around the country, settling in Cairo, IL and back again, Mr. Clavin has not slowed down a bit when it comes to releasing new music. Whether it was with his punk band Imperial Can or the many split cassette releases he issued on his label, Plan-It-X, Chris has been a busy man writing his endearing songs. Sometimes he’s been filled with bubbling positivity, sometimes the songs are overwrought with pessimism and sometimes they burn with the ire against the ills of our society. But no matter what Chris is singing about, it’s always coming from his heart.

Inky Skulls is yet another new endeavor from Chris and his friend Emily Rose. Despite being a male/female musical duo, do not expect any rehash of the ground that Chris previously tread in Ghost Mice, or any of his other projects for that matter. The duo has chosen the ukulele, an instrument whose face is changing, as the center piece for their songs. And, not surprisingly Rose and Clavin make music that brings these instruments to life, pushing them beyond the toy box stigma and kitsch labels the ukulele is often tagged with. This is not irony music, the instrument essential to the songs breath.

Instead Introduction to Alchemy is a rather robust presentation, which is even more surprising considering it is the culmination of only two weeks of writing and recording. The seven songs, six originals and a fun cover of “Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” are dense and complex, despite the relatively sparse sounds. Further, we find the lo-fi loving Clavin capturing his songs with some of the clearest presentations to date.

The topics range from wanting to rule in a world enslaved by capitalism, good friends standing by you and loving life. There are odes to a hot dog shop and wishing someone would get repossessed by a demon. The simplicity of the whole recording makes it both touching and endearing. This is Clavin at the best he’s been in years, easily his strongest, most cohesive work since the Ghost Mice/Andrew Jackson Jihad split from a few years back. This music was probably as much of a surprise to Clavin as it is to the world, but it was born from a desire to create and collaborate. Rose’s vocals match Clavin’s strong voice that has been honed after years on community center floors, small DIY spaces and the oddest of venues. Inky Skulls are beautiful. There is no other way of saying this.

Summer Salt
The Places You Call Home
Self Released (donations at bandcamp)

Surely inspired by the history or even mythology of Bloomington’s DIY music scene, Summer Salt comes (at least for me) out of nowhere. I know nothing about this band, the people in it or what the deal is. All I know is that they are from Bloomington and Chris Clavin endorses them. That’s an endorsement that means something to me and so I checked them out and I’m in love.

Structurally, the band is slightly reminiscent of The Measure (SA), the beloved pop-punk quartet from New Jersey. The vocal harmonies feel right at home and the songs move with ease through the transitions, creating for a seamless, effortless listening experience. Of course, the power of loud amps and thundering drums are not the background for this band. It’s punk in its simplicity, but the songs are nothing but breathtaking.

I love the drum sound on this record. Quiet, low-budget production lovers should take note. Every part of the kit is in full effect, clear and present, but the drums don’t over power anything. Instead, the instrument becomes alive and essential, the product of good, solid and simple playing combined with a good ear turning the nobs at mix down. Sure, these are the boring technical aspects of this record, but it’s so important. A muddled drum set, too drenched in room reverb or too over powering could have ruined this album.

Everything else sits with a great cadence. Whatever room or rooms the instruments and voices were captured in must be a part of some awesome vortex, because everything sounds like it’s in the room with you. My cozy headphones slipped over my ears tonight, at 2:52 AM keeping making me look up, searching for the people making these songs. They aren’t here, but it’s easy to imagine the place where this album was made. It’s warm and inviting and totally relaxing, just like the songs.

Summer Salt is sweet and a bit quirky for sure, but it draws you in and gives you a warm place to rest your head. Sometimes the best music is something that isn’t presumptive or assuming. There are no angles at all here on The Places You Call Home. Instead, it’s just an invitation to sit back and put your feet up. The band will melt your worries away. You can’t ask for anything better than that.

The Past, The Present, The Future

Photos by Jem Cohen

I am listening to Fugazi right now. That album, The Argument. When this record came out, I hated it. It’s been so long since I’ve listened to it that I am not sure what my opinion about it is. I just remember that I saw a lot of unforeseen parallels for songs that had been in the works two years prior and the state of the world after September 11th. That I kind of liked. The guitar sound was amazing, but not catching my ass on fire and the album felt soft. Not just quiet and tuned down, but like Fugazi had lost it’s spark. People don’t like to talk to me about this, but I believe that was the case. The Argument, to me, sounds like an album made by four people who were drifting apart musically.

Fugazi is, unfortunately I think, a dinosaur. They are untouchable because they did so many great things and changed a lot of people’s lives. This includes my own. But I always found them more complicated even in the 90’s then most people. For one, they had a built in legacy. People wanted to see them before they had proven themselves. And while they would prove themselves very quickly, they were able to succeed and operate on their financial and ethical platforms because of who they were, not what they were, which was a great band. Because they were held in such high regard criticism was and is dismissed. I love most of the songs on Steady Diet of Nothing but it feels like a step back in fidelity from Repeater.  Red Medicine is my favorite album of theirs, despite two throw away instrumentals and Guy’s exploration of the clarinet. That wind instrument experimentation had no place in the Fugazi lexicon, sounds awkward and is a chore to listen to. Which I don’t do anymore. In On The Kill Taker is one of the best engineered records, with some of the best song writing and music making of any band in the history of music. It’s better than anything by Jay Z, The Beatles, The Red Hot Chili Peppers or even Sonic Youth. I played that tape damn near daily and it remains otherworldly in my heart. It’s a difficult album to listen to even today because it goes beyond what music even is today.

But Fugazi was never and still is not my favorite band from Washington DC or my youth. Granted hours of listening to them has effected the way I play guitar, but not as much as Marc Nelson from the Most Secret Method or Mark Robinson from Unrest. (Side note, I just skipped the song “Epic Problem”. That song is an epic problem, awful). The mythos, the live experiences and even the conversations I’ve gotten to have with some of the members of Fugazi (three, two with Ian and one with Joe where I shouted praise at him after seeing Crucial Defect in an apartment. I was drunk.) have a large influence on my life still, to this day. But The Most Secret Method, Frodus, The Dismemberment Plan. Those were my bands. Granted no Fugazi, none of these bands most likely. But they are the shows I remember most, the music that made the most sense to me from people I identified with. Over educated white kids from the working class suburbs who figured out they would never be cool but didn’t care.

I was in and had graduated college during my personal tenure with Fugazi. By the time this epic tome

Photo stolen from some website

of ranting hits the ethernet of your mind, college classes will have started once again in America (or at least at University of New Mexico). I will be attending class again, for the first time in a decade. And, despite knowing full well that I am capable of expressing my self and ideas with words, I also know I lack some basic skills that make one successful in college. My grammar, punctuation usage and spelling suck. Also, I love the run on sentence and can’t self edit for shit. These are road blocks I know about myself and have to overcome to be successful in school. And that terrifies the shit out of me.

I am, mostly, a lazy person. I spend a lot of time, aloof in my head. I love media and culture and can’t consume enough of it in a 24 hour day. Unfortunately, coupled with the above personal shortcomings, I am also totally scatter brained. I can’t even remember what I am thinking half the time I am thinking it. I am easily led on tangents that lead down rabbit holes of information that are so off topic and point that it gets frustrating. It’s hard living in a brain like this. I think I’m fairly intelligent, but I feel like it’s so fucked up in my head, it comes off as insane nonsense. My head vomits ideas constantly. Little one liners of non-importance. And that bugs the shit out of me.

One more self deprecating statement is also running around in my head now. I can’t be objective in my writing. I find objectivity in communication for the most part pretty stupid. Yes, I want facts: this many people died, on this date, because this device was utilized by this person. But I can’t write objectively. Maybe it’s because I was an only child and my world, in my head, revolves around me. I spit out from this messy mind in hopes to get a reaction in an effort to re-evaluate. I don’t like to be held accountable for what I say and write, because it’s all just thesis. I don’t want to defend any of it because I’d rather reevaluate new evidence then stand on the evidence that I have.

Stolen from some website

The bottom line is I feel like a fucking Sony Walkmen in the age of the iPod touch with soundcloud enabled applications and 10 billion songs available that float through the air in real-time. I’ve been a twitchy, grumpy, sarcastic, testy little shit over the last few days as this new prospect looms over me. More than ever I want to succeed. I want to work hard and stay focused and prove myself. This is all new to me, but I have no god damn idea how because I’ve existed on cruise control most of my life. Or at least I have felt that way my whole life, despite numerous testimonial from my peers, my mentors and my friends. I love you people, but I just think you have the wrong idea about me. I’m a hot fucking mess. You probably know that, but I just want you to know, that I know that (I skipped most of The Argument by the way. Yea, this album bores the SHIT out of me).

So I sit here, just a few days away from facing my biggest fear, which happens to be myself. I say myself because I am afraid, that once again, I am gonna go in, run my mouth, be argumentative (like the Fugazi song) and stubborn and fumble through more half-assed ideas while I flail upwards into some kind of academic mediocrity. I’m not convinced that wanting to succeed is enough as I read The Importance of Being Ernst by the unpoetic Oscar Wilde, because I am just irritable at how boring of a play this was and how it serves no purpose. Or  how, at least so far The Secret Agent seems to be more about corporate, violent fanaticism than actual, ideological anarchism and how even though I think ideologies are stupid am highly offended by the book. NO ONE CARES about that shit. My professor is not going to care about the contrast between this book and V for Vendetta which led me to read about Thatcherism and Britain’s current prime minister (who are both lunatics) and the hacktivist collective Anonymous. Because even though I want to connect all these ideas together, my brain is bubbling over with Jesus Lizard riffs are awesome and I really want to watch Skins and how I want to reboot The Wire but in Albuquerque and I have to write a puppet show and there is the zine fest and never mind I don’t have a job and I want to work on silk screening more often (Mike Dwyer I will screen that shirt I swear) and play music with Nolan, and book some bands in ABQ, and restart The April Decca, go to Deming and south-west Virginia is really nice this time of year, and how I would like to go wine tasting and I hope my car and my cats don’t die over the next three years because I don’t have time/money/emotions for that shit and I wonder what it’s like to kiss a girl and when I might figure out how to do that again, and man, I have to perform at the Zine reading, oh yea and there’s that independent short animation I thought I would produce, gotta get to the DMV, man And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea was a really great album, I bet pg99 is gonna be awesome, I can’t wait for November when Geary gets here, I wonder if I’ll have a job by then, should I vote ever again cuz Susanna Martinez fucking sucks and I actually care about what happens in New Mexico because it’s such a mess, do people in their mid 30’s even successfully date, how do you navigate that shit, man I wish I could watch more In Plain Sight or catch up on Breaking Bad Season 2 because I have Season 3 on DVD now and I wonder what albums are coming out and man I don’t want to pay the bills, etc etc etc….

There aren’t voices in my head, just one, me. But it’s like a thousand me’s never shutting the fuck up long enough to pay attention to anything longer than like 3 seconds. I’m like a fucking goldfish. Only not lucky to swim around all day for like 14 days and then just die. There are piles of unread books, half listened to albums I wanted to review and projects not seen to completion but plenty of other shit. And my hair cut is stupid right now and I need a shave. Does anyone else have this problem?

So while the present tense is absolutely mortifying the future remains unwritten in almost all aspects. Some of this is good, it means there is an adventure to go on, a new path to explore. But there is no feeling of safety in any of this shit. It’s like walking a tight rope blind, only you have no idea you’re actually walking on a tightrope and yr too scared to take the blindfold off to see if there is a safety net below. Add the aforementioned internal moron yelling about stupid shit in your brain and it’s no realy wonder how someone can end up 34, unemployed, living in fucking Albuquerque, New Mexico by choice with goddamn penguins tattooed on his forearm. I made it this far only through the grace of others, because I think left alone to my own devices my head would finally just deflate and I would drift off into space and burn up without an atmosphere to keep my molecules contained.

So this is where it was, where it is and I guess where it’s going. Just a mess called Erik Gamlem. A sign post left for future non-employers to find and not hire me. A little bit of madness for future associates to find and mock me for my idiocy. Laid out in public, splayed out on the ground for all to consume, point and laugh at as I pick my dumb, drunk, unkept self off the pavement, climb up the stairs of another edifice and then jump, once more to my self destruction, knowingly, willingly. Fuck it, it’s only life.

The Art of Not Really Paying Attention

The potential for this post to make me look even more aloof and out of touch is going to be fairly high. These are the risks one must take however. Plus, I’m just trying to write more. It’s a practice I’ve always wanted to have more discipline in and one I find difficult to adhere to. Writing for pleasure, both mine and hopefully the readers is something that should occur more often. And so, here we have that attempt, internal monologue and all. Hopefully I bother to proof read this a couple of times before positing. But the likelihood of that is difficult to actually predict.

Stolen from http://www.destructoid.com

So, they tried to burn London down. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been reading closely the reasons why this occurred. Not that I don’t think this action is historical and important and pertinent to my existence. Not even because it feels so far removed from me. Riots in London feel very real and tangible to me. It’s violence is contextually relatable to my own privileged, white background. Further, my little understanding is that a collection of underemployed, undervalued, and ultimately bored younger people, tired of being useless in their society and seeing no way for stability under the capitalist model decided to burn that model down. I can sympathize with that, being over educated, fairly spry still and unable to find gainful employment. Some of that is out of choice and design, not working, but the prospects of even finding a job that I could sustain my present state of well-being as well as save for the unseen and the future is dim. I can’t even get an interview for mediocre jobs with a college degree and ten+ years of corporate experience and dedication to one company (by dedication I mean, I worked at one company, not that I devoted my spirit to them). By all accounts, I did everything a man at 18 is supposed to do. Go to school, get a job, work hard, buy a car and a house and a wife, breed children, subject them to the same system so they can repeat the program. Okay, so I never married or had kids, but I was well on my way before the bottom of this shaky, not necessarily fulfilling model fell out.

So it’s not that I don’t have a particular interest in the riots in London, but I am in a state of rebuilding and part of that rebuilding is intense focus on doing things for the love of doing them and attempting to live a life that does not impede on that. For as utterly violent and destructive and chaotic as I can and have been in my life, I strive for creativity. I want community building, skill sharing, sustainability. At 34, in a small city, that sits alone in the middle of a desert about as far from the modern world one can get without actually being isolated, I am finally finding these things. In London, the youth have attempted to clean out the old, to make a new model. That at the core, is what destructive riots are about. Tearing down that which is obsolete and replacing it with something new. It’s a metaphorical act with physical change against the landscape.

And there is the violence, the redistribution of material wealth, which is both sad and somewhat understandable. You have a working or poor class, educated to believe that success and happiness and sustainability is found only in having the best TV, the nicest clothes, essentially the things that don’t matter. And while these communities are at the crux of such riots, their involvement is always misrepresented in the media because it is often so misguided. We are so resigned to accept that there is a small pack of salivating wolves that stand at the top of these modern mountains we call skyscrapers and we have to accept our position based on their greedy decisions. We are so resigned in fact, that we hardly consider someone else’s profit off of our labor and toil.

stolen from http://www.clashmusic.com

News media, including the journalism of music is trying very hard to draw me in too. The major news sources are sure to feed me attempts of Prime Minister Gordon Brown trying to re-write history in his favor as it happens, as the news travels faster than he can bumble out his idiocy. And while I think it’s funny he would consider censoring his own citizens through banning Facebook and twitter feeds, it shows 1.) how cruel these people can be, 2.) how little they learn from the collection of people (Egypt Mr. Brown?) and 3.) how truly stupid they actually are. The great Richmond punk band Inquisition taught me that though I may be mortal and thus fallible and weak, ideas are in fact bulletproof and can not be killed. The music media is trying to gain my sympathy by letting me know an indie music distributor was burned as part of the attacks and that this is a tragic casualty. But it fails to recognize what rioting and looting is. The loss here is not to the company, they are insured and will be fine. This is always the case. The tragedy is also not kids not getting records. Kids will get records. The problem is the loss of jobs, probably on the lower end of the economic scale of the people who work in that place. Co-conspirators to neither side, the low wage employees who pack and unpack boxes, sweep floors, drive trucks and stock the shelves are all out of jobs, now a part of the problem. This is the moral question of riots. They are bread from anger by the disenfranchised, carried out as a message to the ruling class, often with some semblance of rationality, but in the end, it just further disenfranchises more people already struggling.

Corporations are well protected. There are entire industries whose sole purpose in existing is to protect the corporate brotherhood. The failure of corporations in a free market occur not out of supply and demand but ineptitude and greed. Anything in the free market can be sold and marketed to a person. I learned this from GG Allin, the gross, hate rocker. Millionaire he was not, but people still paid to see a grown man spout hate, get naked, bleed all over himself, shit and then fling that shit at the paying audience. If one person can hear about that and decide “hey, that sounds like a good time” then I am convinced anything is marketable. Corporations problems are certainly not that of need, but again, like I said, of their own greed and stupidity.

I’ll give you an example from personal experience. I worked for a financial institution. The majority of our customer interaction came from our online face and telephone calls. As we were an online corporation, successful customers only ever needed to interact with the faceless website. This is a brilliant design of business by the way. If you can aim for an 85% rate of customer’s you never have to speak to, you are making money. The company I worked for, we weren’t that successful. For one thing, I remember a site wide meeting with some of the executive “leaders” of the company talking about our less than fantastic customer service ratings and following that up with a nonplussed statement about how that was expected because customer service had not been a top priority over the previous four quarters AND that the course of action wasn’t really going to change. This was proven shortly there after by a systematic dismantling of domestic customer service calls centers over the course of the following years that I worked their. Ultimately, call centers were outsourced to Thailand.

Thailand is a beautiful country, with an amazing history and, based on my interactions on the telephone for three years with our support staff their, filled with very nice, very polite people. This is actually a problem. There is, from my experience, hardly a sense of urgency in Thailand. Which is cool and great and amazing. It’s not that different from the tone I have come across in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But again, as our customers were calling because there was a problem, often with their most prized commodity, money,  there was no sense that shit was gonna get fixed in a timely manner. There was also a problem of communication. And I don’t mean these people were stupid or unable to speak English clearly or didn’t understand the language this business was conducted in. But there are cultural values of the people of Thailand that are not the values of Americans that often made accomplishing the tasks at hand difficult. Ultimately, this cost more money because it took more time to resolve problems and more customers took their money, the company’s only commodity, away. Not that the company ever did studies on this kind of shift in capital. Why I don’t know, we were in the red for over three years straight after the first of what seems to be many market crashes.

Never mind that it was a financial institution that was crooked and evil like all of them, hell-bent on bending the rules and regulations to maximize profits in the never-ending upward growth they attempted to create where somehow we all spend more money that doesn’t actually exist. But the point is, companies are protected by other companies. The company I worked for got a cash infusion from some investment capital firm in the billions. I don’t remember the amount, I just remember the day we got this money was the same day that France gave Algeria (I think) several billions of dollars and I found it funny that a country was getting not that much more money than a company with maybe 1,000 employees. When this doesn’t work out, the company I worked for, forever wounded and hurt will just be swallowed up by another company. It won’t so much die as become something else. Rebirth like a phoenix in the market place. It’s almost beautiful.

stolen from brokershandsontheirfacesblog.tumblr.com

In the wake of these riots is an unstable stock market. Now, I could go on and on about the fallacies of the stock market. I’ll try to keep it brief by saying aside from  ten years of working in the industry, I still don’t understand how the stock market actually works. There seems to be no logic to it. I might be really stupid, but I don’t think so. I understand how computer viruses work by talking to techie people. If I can find the system and logic from talking to those geeks (wonderful geeks I might add) I should be able to see the logic in any other type of system. Not so with the stock market. So I don’t have trust in it because I can’t explain it. It seems like a scam. I find it funny that we are in a crisis mode though financially, globally and yet the reaction to the continued volatility is one of shock and surprise. We are shocked and surprised that greedy people react without reason or long-term sustainability in mind. Their insecurity is going to ruin capitalism. That’s fairly clear to me now. And I am not trying to come off like the didactic, staunch anti-capitalist that I am. I think that the last 15 years has proven that without much counter argument available. I’m not an economist, so maybe I am off base, but an economy that relies on human rationality is ultimately one designed around a fatal flaw and can only self destruct.

So this is why I don’t pay attention anymore, why I don’t read too many news articles anymore. This stuff does matter. It is important and everyone should be as informed as possible if they chose to participate. I am trying not to participate any longer. No government or corporation has my best interests in mind. How can they, they are mindless organizations? Nor do they care about the communities I, or anyone else are interested in. They can’t be, because contrary to what presidential hopeful Mitt Romney asserts, corporations are not people. They are not capable of , motivated by, or influenced under the guise of empathy.People, so far as we are aware, are the only creatures with empathy, or at least that can negotiate the emotions that surrounds empathy. Corporations, while made up of a collection of people, are often run by a small few, driven by the need for more money and the interests of their investors. Investors don’t care about people, they care about money. Governments, they are a problem as well. Honestly, one I just don’t have the energy at this point to rail against. Governments are big, stupid, children with short attentions spans and no insight. They gorge themselves because they don’t know what else to do. The people in government, from top to bottom, (save for the janitorial staff) are people who have bought the story fed to us in our state-run schools. They see a history and an ideology, pacified and cleaned over and they buy in. Most of them are well-intentioned people, just trying to make a living in this crazy world. Unfortunately, it all feeds into this shit. It’s sad really.

I’m done with this nonsense. Seriously. There is too much awesome stuff to do. This Summer Salt album is really peaceful and getting me psyched up and happy about life. I got some reading to do and it’s time to call my mom. Fuck the world outside, call your mom. Or your dad. Or someone you love. Do it. Right now. I’m not kidding. That shit matters. That shit has value.

Unemployment does not equal not working

This is what I did yesterday: woke up, brushed teeth, got online and looked at dozens of zine distro sites around the world, listened to J Mascis,  wrote a few emails to strangers, accidentally watched the Courtney Love behind the music on youtube, read some of The Important of Being Ernest for school that hasn’t started yet, wrote more people, went for a walk, listened to Sean McCardle, wrote my friend Katy about the new band on her label, listened to Title Fight, wrote copy for my new zine distro, read an article about Spotify, tried to post something on facebook that had an argument, was intelligent, and respectful, listened to ipod on shuffle, looked at more zinesters, did some outreach for zinesters and zine fest. wrote more copy, saw steam come out of my ears, drank a cup of root beer.

Cerebral Ballzy and the authenticity argument, again, because apparently we can’t just kill it.

Cerebral Ballzy
Self Titled
William Street

I’m probably going to have to eat some words here. But what can I do, genres and personal history and such are a tricky thing. So let me just come out right now and say it, I like this Cerebral Ballzy record.I think as a punk record, produced in 2011 and influenced by obscure skate punk bands from the 80’s, it’s a pretty good homage to a sound that even punk rock has mostly forgotten. We’ll get more into that in a bit, though. I feel like it’s necessary for me to be upfront though about my feelings for this album.

Sometimes, I cant help but question the authenticity of an artist. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing either. And though it is much easier to do it with bands in genres you only have a cursory knowledge of, it should probably be done more with bands in genres you are pretty familiar with. Somehow, I am less willing to give someone in hip-hop or black metal the benefit of the doubt because while those are significant parts of my record collection, they are paled by punk rock bands from all over the place. Punk rock is something I feel I am somewhat of an authority on. Not like an academic authority, but it’s the type of music I have been listening to most consistently since I was 13 and found Black Flag’s The First Four Years in my possession and decided everything else, including death metal, was full of a bunch of posers.

The thrashier, faster, snottier, angrier and all out chaotic a band is, the better. There are many different types of punk rock music, but the kind that really gets me is the kind that speaks to that 13-year-old boy that still lives inside me and largely operates every aspect of my life. So when I first Cerebral Ballzy, a New York City band of young boys, I felt a certain kinship to the sounds that were rattling my brain. I knew nothing about them, having only caught a whiff of their name after a viewing of the latest Mastodon video, which is AMAZING and a part of an ad campaign that KIA is doing with Adult Swim. So it seems that Cerebral Ballzy is in bed with some potentially not so punk people.

There’s been a lot of chit-chat I’ve come across about how CB are just a punch of hipster, posers from NYC better at networking than actually being a punk band. There’s not much of an argument for this. Their slick video for “Insufficient Fare” is more MTV worthy then VHS dubbed. Further, they’re loved by hipster darlings Trash Talk and OFF!, who have a fair amount of DIY credibility or straight up punk rock history. But rarely is the talk about the music itself. It seems people want to focus more on the fact that they are from Brooklyn then the music they make.

In my mind, location doesn’t have a lot to do with it. I’m not a big fan of music that comes out of New York City personally. It’s cool for cool’s sake. And there just seems to be nothing cool about Cerebral Ballzy. They seem like five 21-year-old kids that actually grew up in NYC. They sure carry themselves that way in the video I have seen. Further, their music takes cues from some pretty seriously overlooked bands. Skate Rock, as it was always dubbed by Thrasher Magazine when I was growing up was this very snotty, snarky side of punk rock that always seemed to be made by kids. It was the music of those dudes that loved punk, but loved skating too and spent more time out in the sun with their boards. Their songs were often less fixed, about to fall off the edge and not nearly as well rehearsed. And while Cerebral Ballzy recorded with Joby Ford, so it sounds bigger and cleaner then one might expect, these guys don’t seem that great at their instruments. The guitar parts aren’t that strong. The bass, it’s pretty simple. The drummer is fast, but you can hear the takes in his arms. Our lead singer, he’s the best aspect of the band, and in punk rock, has the easiest job. He happens to have a great, bratty voice.

You throw in songs about skating, being broke, skipping school, this is not the music of twenty something hipster kids living off mommy and daddy. This is about street kids and their day. It’s all too familiar in so many aspects, the anthems of children from working class parents absent between 3 and 6 once the last school bell rings.