Sunday, June 28, 2009

Calm after the storm

just in case y'all missed the amazing skies the other day in NYC

Crimson Sky

Empire State Building

Williamsburg Bridge


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Prelude to Zombie Apocalypse

Prelude to Zombie Apocalypse

Three years ago, I was at the height of my academic years. I had already completed the well-rounded primer that is a BS in geology, and was readying myself for the pursuit of a masters degree in a field which few know what’s actually studied. Bidding my time, I decided to take easy classes that seemed stimulating. Back to the studio with J** who still looked like Jamie Hyneman from the show Mythbusters; drawing glass is still hard as fuck. There was also the time spent with K***** meditating on Nazi propaganda and Mel Gibson films. From these discussions, it was suggested I read some philosophical essays and excerpts of dissertations that questioned the meaning of symbols and images in our present times. After admitting that I thought Susan Sontag was basically envious of Leni Riefenstahl’s craft, K***** suggested that I read Baudrillard’s “Simulacra and Simulation” in order to understand the “hyperreality” of our present age. It was after a short trip to the copy room that I received a Xeroxed copy of Baudrillard’s treatise on the symbols throughout society.

I remember being rendered numb after I’d finished Baudrillard’s philosophical discourse. I understood how this postmodern theory applied to my own ideas of stylized cinematography, yet the impact hit deeper. Practically overnight I became fascinated with all philosophical theories. Prior, themost interesting ideas I’d read were those of Turing. Baudrillard took the Turing Machine and abstracted it down to something that appeared to lack any traditional meaning. I began asking myself questions to which there were no answers. “Isthe profession I choose reality or fantasy? How much can something be corrected before it is perfect? IfI were to play a song on the radio, how many alien receptors would pick it up, dig it and then re-broadcast it over their airwaves? Do I have a genuine personality?” I realized that thetheory of simulacra could be supported through past conversations with friendsand family; thinking back to previous discussions.

Three months prior:

“I swear, I’ve never met anyone quite like A****.

“Oh really? Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve met someone just like him not so long ago. I used to think that I’d never meet the same type of person as such and such, but that’s not true. You’re bound to meet someone who fills the place of a former friend.

Two years prior:

“What do you think Norman Mailer thinks of the Village Voice now? I bet he’s against the things they publish.”

“I don’t know about that, but I’m certain he’s happy that there’s always another overweight shut-in filling the gap of counterculture commentary to be found on the Internet. Maybe the Voice will devolve to something like the comments section of”

One week prior:

“Why do hipsters constantly want to reprise things from the Reagan era? It’s as if Reagan’s ghost haunts the minds of kids with a horrible fashion sense.”

Later that night:

“I swear you can turn the Chase logo into a swastika.”

This all really means nothing if you, the reader, don’t know of Baudrillard or what simulacra are. And if you disagree with him, then this is all false. Then again, if there’s a reference to his discourse in The Matrix, maybe you’ll be convinced with kick-ass fighting scenes picked fresh from Hong Kong.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Some of my favorite things


Located just before the Ponquogue Bridge (Ponquogue meanings "a level country" in the Shinnecock's language) to the ocean beaches in Hampton Bays, NY, Cor-J seafood brings to the regular and newbie patron a vast array of marine bounty, from imported fish (red snapper, chilean sea bass) to the local, seasonal fish caught off of the southshore of Long Island (blue fish are in) and regularly stocked tanks of lobster, crab and mollusks. The prices are pretty good, and you can have a whole fish filleted and cleaned anyway you like it. Keep the fish's head for seafood stock, i.e. soups.

In March, I had the pleasure of picking up two great flounders caught EARLIER THAT DAY. It isn't a surprise that a great smoker-of-fish (Acme Smoked Fish) buys Cor-Js' fish wholesale.

In late March, a miracle occurred: growler re-fills in Greenpoint at Brouwerij Lane. Regular beers here include Jever pilsner, Gaffel kölsch, Gösser lager and Gruut Belgian amber, all at a reasonable $10/growler. Think: hard to find imported beers through clean taps. You essentially get a pint for free with a growler.

Mr. Raven filled a growler. He's a tall man, Mr. Raven, and the 64 oz. bottle doesn't look that big in his hand. Bless Mr. Raven.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Buying beer in Binghamton

The night would evolve from kosher marshmallows to four hours of poker.

I’d found my pace with battling hunger pains, when a homemade marshmallow was offered to me. The sticky morsel was dense and flavorful, light woodiness mixed between the gelatinous sweet tanginess. A surprise diner followed before I had to jet-out and meet the crew.

Parked in the lot behind where the shooting occurred. Binghamton has many oversized parking lots with many empty spaces. Whoever built these huge parking lots certainly didn't foresee the sparse population density of this city. Not once have there ever been enough cars to fill every space. Free parking is a perk during depression.

Shortly after embracing the warmth in the evening air, I walked down to the local supermarket to pick-up beer. What beer, any beer? No, the need for legit libations was in order. Smack me across the head if I ever buy Coors Light in your presence, reader. Soon, I had found my bottle of dubbel from Ommegang. Drink slow and proud.

I was waiting in line behind two women, one with a young daughter no more than ten years olds. She was fidgeting with magazines, picking up crossword puzzles and trying to solve them, placing them in front of Elle magazines while frantically twirling her hair in curls. She took a short look at me. I smile as politely as I can at the moment, but she just stares straight into my eyes. It’s amazing how certain small children can give you such strong penetrating looks. I wind up glancing away for a second, only to return my eyes to her restlessness.

After a few seconds of humming, the girl starts to do a little jig: a circular dance. The mother, who is having problems with some plastic card, looks at her and tells her to cool out. The other woman is just beside the mother, leaning impatiently on a 12-pack of Genny cream ale. Plastic cards come with PINs and this card is being persnickety.

The short interval of daydreaming was interrupted by the girl, who was now jumping up and down beside the Time magazines. The cover was that of Time’s covers for 2008.
“Barack Obama! Barack Obama! Momma, Barack Obama! Look look look!”
In her excitement, the girl knocked over some chocolate bars on the shelf just beside her. The other woman was now looking at me, smiling embarrassingly.
“It’s Barack Obama momma! Look! It’s Barack Obama!”
The mother responded, “Ok honey, let’s stop now. I see, I see.”
“It’s Barack Obama!”
Other people were now laughing and smiling. The picture of Obama is small amongst the collection of other Time Magazine covers. It’s a copy of a copy, a facsimile of the most important face of the dawn of the new millennium; the girl has no prejudice for tiny pixels.

So I say brand your figureheads as small as you want. You can grow bigger than them.

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