We Are Immortal

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy; why people do the things they do to ensure they are remembered. I think I’ve figured it out. Most of the things people do after a certain age are to prolong the amount of time that people talk about them after they’re gone. I know that as long as the Internet is around, I’ll still be around, even if I’m dead. Somebody will find these posts, read them, and hopefully talk about it with others, keeping my spirit alive long after I’m gone.

You hear stories about people hoarding absurd amounts of wealth that they could never spend in a hundred lifetimes, I get that it makes people mad, but these people don’t care what you think, they just want to be remembered for working hard enough that entire generations of their family can live comfortably. Sure, the way they get their money might not be the most noble, but the intent has to mean something. I think artists are the same way, except instead of leaving their children a shit-ton of money that will end up making them spoiled assholes, artists leave their impression on the world by showing others how they see it.

Think about Picasso: there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at least heard his name. He is immortal, even though he died hundreds of years ago. It would be an honor to be remembered for that long after I died, although I may be getting ahead of myself a bit.

The Time Capsule

Periodically, I like to read my old posts. Partly because I love to read my writing, but partly because my posts are snapshots on time, and sometimes I like to visit them. I’ve written a whole lot of stupid shit, things that will probably embarrass me in the future, but I will never erase them. I’m embarrassed by all the drunken rants about how miserable I am, but not only is it true, it’s necessary.

Sometimes, I feel like writing is an art, and as an artist, I shouldn’t care about what anyone thinks of my art. That’s usually the case, but sometimes I get super anxious sharing intimate details about who I am, and it fucks up my creative space. If you’re an employer, or one of my friends who stumble upon this, I’m respectfully asking you to fuck off. This isn’t meant for you, I don’t write for you, so keep it moving.

I’ve got a shit memory. Maybe it’s from the executive processing issues brought on by ADHD, maybe it’s because I don’t get enough Omega-3, or maybe it’s because of all the (alleged) drug and alcohol use. In any case, my brain’s all fucked up and I’m not good at remembering things, so I write them down to create tangible memories. I’m not really a social person, so this is super out of my comfort zone, but every time I talk about personal issues, I feel a little better talking about them, so if reading about my personal life bothers you; go back to Barstool.com, and go fuck yourself.

Writing About Writing

So, as maybe two of you might remember, I’m taking a graduate-level Philosophy class without any knowledge of Philosophy, outside of what I learned from the major motion picture Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Surprisingly, I’m crushing it. I just got my last paper back, and I got a 100%. This came as a surprise because said paper is a 3-page, 3-paragraph, dog fart that wouldn’t have seen the light of day if I had started it more than an hour before it was due.  This leads me to think one of two things. 1) This paper I wrote while barely sober enough to type is actually amazing, and I’m a great writer, or 2) My professor read this cracked-out abortion of a paper, felt badly, and graded me accordingly.

My writing process usually comes down to two methods. The first, and most natural one, is to just type whatever comes into my head, edit it for clarity, and let it rock. This usually works, but after I submit it, I dissect every word and think of ways to improve it, which usually makes me want to delete everything and start fresh. This leads me to the second method; what I like to call the “Fuck You, Run It Again” method. This method only comes out when I’m under pressure, and can’t just edit as I go. This usually leads me to finishing a paper, reading it 2 or 3 times, and deleting it and starting it over because I don’t like the direction it takes. This method is incredible, it has a nearly 100% success rating, but makes me all boo-hooey for a while after, because if you spend hours at a time hating yourself and your writing, you’re going to have a bad time. I’m trying to refine both processes, combining them to make a single fluid workflow, but it’s rough, and since I’m my biggest critic, I’ll probably go above and beyond what’s necessary and make something completely different in the process. This whole quarantine thing has given me an abundance of free time, so I should have it squared away in no time.

My Musical Journey

As I’ve said before, I think music is a wonderful thing that influences us and helps make us who we are. My musical journey started when I was young, and hopefully won’t stop until I’m dead.

The first memory I have is listening to “Born to Run” on one of the first trips up to Maine, and to this day I still love it. I’ve always had a soft spot for classic rock, it’s what my parents played in the house, it’s the first genre I delved into when I started to get interested in music, and some of it’s still in my rotation today, but I like to ease off for a while and get that nostalgic feeling that comes with it. I was that weird kid in middle school who thought that today’s music sucked, and that 60’s and 70’s music was the best there was. I was kind of a pretentious little shit back then.

Toward the end of middle school up into high school, I started listening to some more contemporary music, things like Metallica, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and Linkin Park. These artists spoke to me more than the artists my parents listened to, and I felt like they understood what it was like to be an sad, angry suburban kid in the 21st century. I don’t really listen to most of the albums I was obsessed with back then, I revisted them recently, and a vast majority of them suck, but they still meant the world to me, and those feelings I had when I was 13 make up for it.

Toward the end of my sophomore year of high school, I was looking on YouTube for something new, and I stumbled on an Eminem video. This was my introduction to rap. I was blown away by The Eminem Show and the Slim Shady LP, but my parents hated it, which made me like them even more. As I listened to more and more Eminem, my YouTube suggestions lead me to discover artists like Ice Cube and Cypress Hill. I didn’t even smoke weed yet, but I still loved Cypress Hill. I remember seeing tickets go up for a Cypress Hill show nearby, but when I thought about how my parents would react when they heard their music, I reconsidered going, which was probably for the best, since I don’t think a nerdy 14-year old white kid from a small farm town would fit in with the weed-smoking 90’s rap fan.

I really don’t want to admit this, but when I first started smoking weed, I was obsessed with the Kottonmouth Kings. I was 16, and convinced that they were better than Eminem and Dr.Dre. I’d play Long Live the Kings and Rollin’ Stoned for my friends, but they were still into hardcore and metal, so while it wasn’t really their thing, I have to give them immense credit for putting up with it and soldiering through.

My music tastes started to really evolve when my friends and I started partying. Nobody wants to here “A Little Piece of Heaven” at a party, it scares the girls away. As we met more people, we listened to their music too. One of the first people to expand my rap knowledge was our friend/friendly neighborhood weed guy Tom, who introduced me to some of the most important artists in my life, people like Mac Miller, Logic, J.Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. He also introduced me to a lot of garbage that I can’t stand to this day. I related to these people, mostly Mac and Logic, because at the time I was partying a lot, looking forward to college, to getting out of my town and making something of myself, and I looked up to these people a few years older than me doing exactly that.

As I began college, I was still listening to all of the music I’d always listened to, but as I went to frat parties and hung out with douchebags, I started getting into people like Jay-Z and Kanye West. I was blown away by the production, I still am. As college proved to be a really tough environment, I started using music to cope with the fact that sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed or do anything else. Specifically, Watching Movies With the Sound Off was my soundtrack, and it’s still one of my favorite albums, but hearing certain songs like “I’m Not Real” and “The Star Room” brings back memories of smoking joints by myself at 2am, thinking about how bad my life was getting.

I was stuck in a funk for a long time, leaving college because I was failing classes because I was either too depressed to get out of bed to go to class, or because I was too hungover to do my homework because booze temporarily made me feel like a person. This lead to me coming back to that sleepy farm town I’d worked so hard to get away from. I started working at Dunks, and with that, started having time to kill, so I filled it by listening to albums. Now, at this time I was working 10 hour days 6 days a week, so I had a lot of time to listen to new music. This period of time is when I discovered a wealth of new music that I adore to this day.

The first album I heard was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and it blew me away. I’d listened to Kanye in college, but it was usually just the older album and the hits, so when I heard “Runaway” for the first time, I was blown away. I’d never heard so many good songs on one album before, back to back to back, and I finally understood why people put up with Kanye’s shit.

During the Dunks Period, I started to branch out my tastes, which lead me to discover Anderson. Paak. I was blown away, it was like the music I used to listen to as a kid got a makeover, and became fresh and relevant. Malibu was my entrance to soul music, albeit in a modern sense. As I dove into soul music, I started listening to jazz and big band music, and started to value live instrumentation in all forms of music, especially rap. I discovered Avantdale Bowling Club, a project by New Zealand rapper Tom Scott, and I was blown away. It was everything I’d been looking for in an album: it had great rapping, it had live instrumentation, it had a message about coming home and growing up that spoke to me on a material level, and it was a cohesive piece of art. Hell, I’m probably going to go play that record right now, it’s one of my favorite in my collection.

As time went on, I started to get bored with listening to the same ol’ music all the time, so I looked for something new to scratch that itch. I found myself listening to a lot of indie music, Speedy Ortiz, Portugal the Man, Bright Eyes, Beach House, Gorillaz, The Internet, Tame Impala,and many more. This new influx of sounds and ideas really hooked me, and I still love all of the music I discovered back then, and I’m super looking forward to hearing the new Bright Eyes album.

Recently, I’ve gotten more into jazz, specifically modal jazz, from people like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. I like the creativity and musicality involved, no structure, no limits, just artistic expression. It does make me feel hella old and lame when I put on Frank Sinatra songs in the car with my friends, but fuck them, they can walk if it bothers them that much.

I like to think that the music I’ve listened to shaped me in a way, made me a better, more rounded person. I’m still immensely curious, I’ll listen to just about anything, except for EDM, because I’m not a 20-year old frat kid on Molly, but anything else, I’ll probably give it a listen. I’ve been collecting records, not only because they definitely sound better, but they also serve as a sort of time capsule for me so when I get older I can look back at these records and remember what it was like to discover them, and how different life was back then.

The Curse of the Cursor

That stupid blinking “|” is pissing me off right now. It’s almost taunting me, simulating a struggling heartbeat, threatening to die at any moment. I’m not sure where this is going, I’ve got a crazy case of writer’s block.  I don’t like being creatively blocked, so I’m going to fight through it with some potentially shitty writing. The more it blinks at me, the more it distracts me, which pisses me off even more. There’s nothing worse than having a million thoughts ricocheting around your brain, aching to get out, and not having the ability to piece them together coherently. It’s like when you open way too many apps on your computer, and it freezes. That’s where I am right now: the brief flash of thought before my brain shuts down and I turn on some brainless bullshit like “Jersey Shore” so I can relax my mind and yell at morons who probably make more than I do.

I don’t like being beaten by a fucking flashing pixel, it’s not real, but it’s causing a real reaction for some reason, which is worrisome. This should probably be one of those posts that no one ever sees, but who knows what’ll happen to it. I like to write when I’m upset and can’t process feelings clearly, so that I can see my thoughts written out, which usually makes me think about how stupid and illogical they are, then that either makes me feel worse to the point where more writing doesn’t help, or makes me feel at ease to the point where I can function again.

It’s getting late, and I have things to do tomorrow, and I’ve been trying to get more sleep, so I’m going to keep this semi-short, just long enough for me to feel like I’ve beaten that stupid flashing pixel. It’s starting to seem like there’s something more to this, do I think that I’ll eventually run out of ideas? Maybe. Do I think that what I have to say isn’t worth saying, much less reading? All the time, but I still write. Do I have trouble piecing my thoughts together in a coherent format? You bet. This feels like something else.

I’m kind of scared to publish personal shit, it feels like oversharing. I know it makes me uncomfortable to read someone pour their hearts out online, so why should I do it? I’ve done it before, but it’s always been while super drunk, and it’s a lot easier to believe in yourself when you’re barely seeing straight. I think I’ll just save this in drafts for now, and wait until I have more confidence in both my writing skills, and myself. It might take awhile.

 

Music Is The New Religion

I’ve always noticed a connection between music and religion; they both try and explain the world around us, they both inspire us to be better, they both try to take us out of our heads. Kanye West literally featured God on Yeezus, solidifying my theory that he might actually need to go therapy and stop jerking his ego off so much.

Music is undoubtably art, but is religion? To me, art is anything that can make you feel something, and religion was called “the opiate of the masses.” Does that make religion art?

Those pastors at superchurches in Texas whip their crowds into a frenzy, and help them feel better about themselves, albeit for a fee. Are they not artists? Now, some of them might be con-artists, but I think the majority are just skilled public speakers who want to make a difference.

Let’s get back to music for a second. I’ve been on Twitter long enough to see some wild things, but the craziest of them all has to be “music Twitter”: where people debate who’s the best, who’s the worst, who makes them feel what emotions where, etc. This is where I started to realize the power these artists have, some of these people say that so-and-so’s music kept them alive, or helped them quit drugs, or acted as a safety blanket after a traumatic event. Isn’t that what religion does?

There are even some people who worship artists. I saw one person talk about Frank Ocean like he was a God amongst men, and attacked anyone who said any different. Is that any different than arguing about Bible interpretations or the Old vs. New Testament?

Almost everyone listens to music, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, and truthfully, I don’t think I’d trust someone who isn’t moved by anything in any genre. Even Charles Manson liked music. It helps people see the world from different perspectives, which is something the world desperately needs right now. It teaches lessons to people who won’t listen to anyone else. It entertains us and turns the volume down when we have a bad day.

Music has helped me immensely, when I have a really awful day, I don’t want to watch TV, I don’t want to overeat, I just want to sit back and listen to my records and tune the rest of the world out.

What The Fuck Am I Doing?

I’m not a functional person right now. I’m trying to fix that though. I just wish I could skip all the annoying middle parts and go straight to being awesome.

I always question the things I do, how do you ever know if you’re doing what’s best for you? I wish it was easier to figure out.

My ego loves the idea of muscling through adversity, but let’s be real here, there are millions of people who would kill for the life I’ve taken for granted. Life’s hard, but I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with it by myself.

My parents are getting older, and the idea that they won’t be there every step of the way is terrifying. They’re the best people I know, and they mean the world to me. I hope we make some improvements in medicine so that my dad can live long enough to go to space, and that my mom can meet my kids, if I ever have any. I want them to enjoy the rest of their lives, they’ve done enough to be allowed to relax a bit.

I think this website will be one of those things I look back on in 10 years and groan about, like the “newspaper” I made in middle school, or the Applebees campaign I came up with last week. It’s helpful for me to write all this shit down though, so I can see it and realize how dumb most of my random thoughts are. Maybe all that embarrassing crap is important to who I am as a person now. Or maybe it’s just bullshit I should drink away. I’ve also been having these weird dreams where I die in super mundane ways, like slipping on soap in the shower, or getting hit by an asteroid. I’ve always liked the idea of having a vault of unreleased material discovered after you die, so maybe that’s why I keep having gnarly dreams about dying.

Does anyone’s life plan actually work out the same way they thought it would? Does it even make sense to plan things out, given the unpredictable nature of life? Fuck, man, I wish Google answered questions like that, instead of pointing me towards the closest Starbucks.

10 Things We Should Leave Behind in 2020

1) Begging for new music on Twitter

This is something I’m seeing more and more, and I think it’s so entitled and stupid to go to artist’s Twitter pages, and demand they drop new music whenever they want it. What happened to patience? What makes a person think that just because they’re a fan, they get to decide when an artist puts something out? Even when they do release new music, artist’s are inundated with people asking for even more. How greedy can you be?

2) Fake clickbait Headlines

Ok, I totally get why these are used, but c’mon, be a little creative with them. I know my titles aren’t the best sometimes, but if I ever have a post called “10 Celebrity Fails, You Won’t BELIEVE Number 6!!”, fucking shoot me. These all use the same stupid formula, and the only people it works on are the type of people who care what celebrities are doing on vacation.

3) TMZ Comments

If you haven’t heard of TMZ, you’re lucky, it’s a terrible, toxic wasteland of humanity. The comments section is even worse. I’ve never seen so many racist comments in one place, and I go on Reddit every day. If you don’t believe me, just search “Obama TMZ” and see the bottom-barrel of society.

4) Opinion News Shows

Let’s make the news “news” again. No more Tucker Carlson, no more Rachel Maddow, no more Fox and Friends. I want people with journalistic integrity on the news again, not some mouthpiece that spews their opinion as fact. Opinion news has only grown since Trump was elected, and I don’t see it going away as long as he’s around. It’s just too easy to get viewers by parroting their opinions back to people who feel strongly about things they know nothing about.

5) Meme Rap

Ok, Lil Nas X can stay, but that’s because I’m fascinated by his marketing strategy. The rest of them have to go though, Lil Pump doesn’t contribute anything new to music, Lil Windex is only funny for about 5 minutes before he gets on my nerves, and Rich Brian has pivoted to a more serious style, which is good because he actually makes decent music sometimes.

6) YouTube Pranks

How the fuck are these still around? What type of legal team does someone like Vitaly have? How can he just go around fucking with people and not get sued? Maybe he’s staging all these pranks, but I don’t think he can afford to pay actors enough to get punched in the face on YouTube. Also, those channels where they go into “the hood” and start messing with alleged gang members who usually carry firearms. One of these such channels actually got shot by pretending to be a zombie, so I’m hoping we see less of them.

7) Donald Trump

My feelings about Donald Trump can be summed up by the YG song titled “Fuck Donald Trump”

8) Outrage Trolls

These are the people who comment edgy shit to piss people off. These people live off of the negative attention, and it’s been going on long enough that people should understand that by now. Eventually, these people grow up or give up, so it’s just a matter of ignoring them and waiting it out.

9) Clout Chasers

Clout is a word that I’d never heard of until 2019, so it’s only fair we leave it there. Clout is a stupid new word for popularity, and people usually gain clout by doing stupid things and filming them, hoping they’ll go viral and become influencers. One such person threw a chair off a 10th story balcony, sending it crashing into the street. Aside from how stupid it is to film yourself committing a crime, it’s even stupider to think that this will be your big break in life. Get a real job, asshole.

10) Social Media

This one isn’t going away anytime soon, so I’ll have to just suck it up. Social media is way too important for business to get rid of, so until we find another way to reach large amounts of people for free, social media isn’t going away. It’s a shame, really, how quickly it’s effected us. We care so much about what other people are doing, that we forget that most of it is bullshit that’s made strictly to make you feel inferior.

Heaven

You hear so many things about Heaven, there are entire religions based on getting there, but what’s up there?

For me, my totally-uninformed, hopeful take on it is this: Heaven is whatever you want it to be.

For me, Heaven is a place with unlimited resources and time, somewhere I can just creatively go crazy without any restrictions or concerns. Think about it: all of the most creative people who have ever lived, all in one place. There must be billions of songs, paintings, movies, you name it.

I get really annoyed when I have a decent idea that I can’t execute, so thinking there’s a place where all of those ideas can be fleshed out and expanded makes me feel good, and I want to be able to talk to history’s best thinkers and writers and come up with better ideas to work on.

I want to be able to bounce taglines off of David Ogilvy. I want to pitch movie ideas to Stanley Kubrick. I want Picasso to teach me how to paint. I want to learn how write more coherently from Bukowski and Hemingway. I hope all of those people are just up in Heaven, sitting at a cloudtop bar sipping drinks and swapping ideas for all eternity.

I’m not going to know what Heaven’s like for a long time, ( hopefully, although life is weird, so you never know) so I’ll just have to do my best with what I’ve been given.