Sunday, September 20, 2009

I have a frat brother named Matt but I'm not in a frat. We share the same human parents, one female, one male. He is in a frat but it's cool because he's read Peter Singer's work, eats meat occasionally but not excessively, and understands he's a speciesist because of it. He has some pretty cool frat brothers with whom I do not share preceding generation human parents and also they do cool outdoor stuff like solo hiking the Appalachian Trail and climbing rocks and things of that nature. My frat brother goes to the University of Illinois and was a part of the coolest group at the Firehaus bar where we drank Fat Tire. Dan bought me a Fat Tire, my frat brother's frat brother, he told me about hiking the Appalachian trail by himself for six weeks, going into a town once a week to purchase more edibles, my frat brother want to drink some of my Fat Tire beer from Dan so I let him, we shared the drink. We shared a drink. I told my frat brother of my plans to bicycle around a large body of water created by a large glacier millions of years ago. I told Dan of my plans to bicycle around the lake crossing via ferry near Mackinaw Island. My frat brother brought me to this delicious late night restaurant where they have pure vegetarian sloppy joes. Delicious was had there. The americano from the cafe this morning was also more so than the iced coffee procured at the McDonald's "restaurant" yesterday evening. Why are there so many fat Americans? The U.S. is currently working to address the issue of obesity. It is a complicated issue that relates to lifestyles, and eating a diet high in fat and calories, as well as physiological factors (including genetics). You will also notice that there are many Americans who are very concerned about good health and exercise regularly and make healthy choices when they eat.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thanks, Ani

Barack Obama called Kanye West a jackass for what he did to Taylor Swift at the VMAs (Video Music Awards). I have a feeling I am ignorant to the sheer volume of outbursts Kanye has had similar to this one. I don't really follow this stuff much, but happened to see the video on Huffington Post this morning. (I guess I was in a video watching mood because i also watched this awesome video.) This time, he jumped on stage just when the poor girl, Swift, was beginning to nervously stumble through a thank you speech.

I didn't actually watch the VMAs, but I agree with Obama, Kanye's a jackass. But that reporter shouldn't have twitted something he said off the record. While all this bullshit was brewing into intoxicatingly juicy fodder for People magazine to gossip about I was seeing Ani Difranco perform in Aurora, Illinois. She played in the same town where I went to high school. I rode my bike there, and didn't even have to take a train thirty miles before I rode it.

The show was at the Paramount Theatre, on Galena blvd. Ani kept talking about how great the building was, because she "[loves] old buildings." The Paramount is a cool place, I'd never been inside before, though I've passed it often.

I found out about the show yesterday morning, about 12 hours before it started, from an old high school classmate's facebook status. When I was sure that Ani Difranco was in fact playing less than 10 miles from my house I knew I had to go. I got to the show 45 minutes after it started. I don't know how it happened; one minute I was drinking a cup of iced coffee and it was 5:30, and then I looked at the clock and it was 7. Oh well, I didn't miss Ani. The house manager had to sell me a ticket in the gift store because the box office had closed by the time I got there, but it worked out just fine.

I bought the best seat in the house--front row and the exact center--45 minutes after the show started. She played a good mix of new and old material. I picked up her new album after the show, it isn't really very new. Red Letter Year came out in September of last year, but its new to me. And fuck, this record's good:

human beings are a cross
between monkeys and ants
you can see us from your spaceship
melting the polar ice caps
with our arrogance
summon a congress of angels
dressed in riot gear
we got ourselves a serious situation
down here

I've listened to more music in the past 24 hours than I have in the past week combined. And every note I've heard, except for a few songs on 89.1 in my mom's car, is from Ani's "new" album. I don't know if its my iPod dying or not downloading anymore music, but I've barely been listening to music lately. And besides one David Vandervelde album I bought on impulse over the winter everything I've listened to when I do listen to music is old.

The show was inspiring. Ani gives off all sorts of good vibes when she plays. She never stopped smiling, and I couldn't help but smile while she played for at least an hour less than 15 feet from where I sat.

The Paramount is a theatre, therefore it has seats, which was kind of strange for a show, but it was nice. A combination of Ani's peaceful and calming vibes and that comfortable chair made that set fly by. Even while seeing my favorite bands I often find myself checking the time, but I didn't do that once during Ani. I sat, perfectly content for the entire set, while she proved she really did "love her job," as she said at the beginning of the set.

I've been playing guitar, too. Lately I've been doing much more reading a writing than guitar playing, but I can see that changing. I need to get better at strumming those six strings so I can learn some of her songs!

I wrote a poem while she played, too. She gave off a creative vibe, too. Here it is, not quite finished, but close, I think:

From the Ani Difranco Performance, September 13, Aurora, IL, USA

I love this city watery breeze city where troops are being used support our troops love this city support sing folk rant sinning city with spitting stuck with city loving troops paradoxically feeling democracy’s spinal chasm as troops choose between the colors of lipstick on whores heading for brick was in city corner thank you America for being more than I expected now which side are you on bricks in our dendrites we have mortar for synapses and hands but we have troops are going for outside away from the splinters and televisions and splintered bricks I love this city and the water which it grew from mixed wi th sand and sement this theatre hand of humans handling bricks handling flowing floated watching ceilings which color means nothing while inside 21,000 splinters surge love this city watering breeze using folks create chasms in choice bodies bricks between troops and machines these are not pleasure machines for love city not supported bodies of bricks mortar handled out side troop users spent their tariffs on poppy now troops are grumbly taxis we love city with choice bodies and bricks melting pleasures chasms spelunked city singing of our city

Thanks, Ani, you've reignited my love for music. Now I think I have to buy a new iPod, though. At least they'll take my old one, recycle it, and give me 10 percent off a new one.

Peace and Love

Friday, September 11, 2009

On Art and Science

No matter where I go I will always find poetry. It is everywhere. In marine zoology there is poetry. There is poetry in modern warfare, in the firing of a drone missile in a distant land. Whether I am in Normal or Naperville, Illinois, or anywhere else in this gigantic universe, I can always find and create new artwork.

I've been rereading Scratching the Beat Surface by Michael McClure, this collection of his essays sums up the 60's mindset, upholds it, then tears it apart, like this romantically idealized way of thought should be. Through this collection of essays, McClure hammers out a manifesto of sorts, but in his own way. He is not didactic--never imposing his own morals on the reader--but he argues for a certain way of thinking that defies all terminology except moralor ethical, perhaps.

McClure once said "if poetry and science can not change one’s life, they are meaningless." I believe this is found somewhere in the approximately 170 pages of rich prose, but I haven't come across it yet. I agree with this statement, though. McClure sees an inherent connection between science and art. He deals mostly with the connection between science and poetry, and I believe there are many.

Art is a reflection of the world. No matter what anyone says about their art, it is a composite production of the world around them. Now art can be seen as a reflection of the artist within the world, but this is essentially the world, because we are all in the world. Whether one's art deals with the world abstractly or directly, it deals with the world, it makes conclusions about the world. Science is a reflection of the world, too. The scientist takes what is perceived as happening in the world and makes judgments and premises based on them. They take observations of the world and make conclusions based on those observations.

The product of art and science is conclusions, or at least attempts at making conclusions. The conclusion might be inconclusive, but it still is a conclusion. So, art and science are inherently connected, I think.

I attempt to show a hyperawarenes of this with my poetry. This poem is new. I don't know if I'm all that successful with articulating a feasible poetic theory or not yet, but I'm trying to.


how to place unclassifiable floating collections of protein is like living in this boiling concoction wave floppers to icy good byes expel some heat gracefully flip pray for krill, competing with nets and vessels billions of docile dentures, torpedo shaped smiles this sound means lung bubbles could be telling jokes dilating blood vessels bathing arctic sun maximizes pink beach bodies absorbing heat like a frog, water brought boiling won’t appear squeamish absorption maximization of commonplace becoming speciesfic muscles stiffen large deep water vision eyes roll over problem unfortunately bear like ancestors’ choice to dwell sea lee waving groan flippers rotated forward is waved like human trashcrement drifting to melt beach

*”Seals and their allies were traditionally classified in the order Pinnipedia—the system used here. Today, however, most zoologists believe that these mammals belong to the order Carnivora. Seals and their allies are broken down into 3 families. It is possible that sea lions (family Otaridae) and walruses (family Odobenidae) originated from bearlike ancestors, while true seals (family Phocidae) are more closely related to otters.” The Smithsonian Institute’s Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World’s Wildlife

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

my life as of now

This is what I've been doing since graduating from college and moving from Normal to Naperville: lifeguarding, studying for the GRE, swimming, biking, reading, writing (some), and running. Now that's not a horrible existence, at all. In fact I'd like it if my whole life could be a healthy combination of all those things. But I'm living at home, which is rough.

I was told over and over that going back to live at home is difficult, and I almost stayed in BloNo because of this advice, but I chose staying at home to save money at the last minute. I hate Naperville. I dislike suburbia, especially Naperville. Everyone in this city thinks they're entitled to whatever the fuck they want because they "pay more in property taxes than they do." I disliked 90 percent of Bloomington and Normal combined, too; it was only 10 percent that made a college town with almost nothing but a relatively small college campus enjoyable. Leaving campus was more irritating than going anywhere in Naperville is because the people not affiliated with ISU think they're the shit because they work at State Farm, or their husband works at State Farm, and they can afford to get even fatter off of steak from Texas Roadhouse every night. While I'm in Naperville I can at least try to find the inevitable 10 percent in this town. On the internet I found a group of writers who meet weekly in Naperville--a possible 2 percent--only 8 more to find!

But, my mom marched in the Labor day parade yesterday holding a sign which read: "Trust god not government," and someone at the pool I lifeguard at told me "I should be very proud of her" for that. My mom also started watching the Glenn Beck show. She treats every one of his words as absolute truth.

I'm starting to seriously doubt actually being able to stay here for almost 12 more months. Maybe I'll have to have and get a studio in Logan Square or something like that.

p.s. I plan to start keeping this thing more frequently updated.