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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Let's Get Literary

I am currently sitting on the basement steps on the RTV Building's forum theater, waiting for the Ohio University theater department's production of Marisol to begin. I know little about the show other than the act that angels will be flitting around a post-apocalyptic landscape that appears to be stolen from Derek Zoolander's "Derelicte" campaign.

Color me excited!

Since I got to watch Lost live this Tuesday (My thoughts? What he said.), I really had no incentive to crank out an obligatory blog entry which may not have been the worst thing because reaction to the last few has been mixed. So instead of beating the dead horse that is my obsession with new media (ZOMG! HULU! IPADS! KEVIN SMITH'S WAISTLINE!), I thought I would catch my faithful readership (Still only this guy) up with what I have been reading.

Yes, I have been reading books....B-O-O-K-S. I know it appears sometimes that I sit around all day and beat off to Jack Bauer beating up a terrorist on 24 while Green Day blares from my iTunes, but believe it or not I partake in other forms of entertainment. I hate to sound cliche here (no I don't) but there is something to be said for holding printed entertainment and culture in your very hands (go get the newest issue of Backdrop now). Plus, how is everyone going to know you're smart if you don't have a classy looking paperback in your hand? I suppose you could just start a pretentious blog and write about how much you love The Wire, but that isn't for everyone. In that vein, let's take a look about the fine works of literature I have gotten my nose into lately - beginning in chronological order from the beginning of the summer through yesterday.

The Curse of Rocky Colavito - Terry Pluto
This is a non-fiction book from Cleveland/Akron sportswriting legend Terry Pluto about the Cleveland Indian's trade of fan favorite Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for the chumptacular Harvey Kuenn in the 1960s. The Tribe has been "cursed" ever since. My favorite moment from reading this book was sitting in the lovely Twinsburg Starbucks and holding a half-hour conversation about the 1960s and 70s Indians with a Northeast Ohio old-timer.

Spook - Mary Roach
The first book I ever read from the wonderful Mary Roach was Stiff, an exploration of everything you would ever want to know about a human cadaver. The next was Bonk, a book about the scientific study of sex. Both of these books straight up rocked (I now know that the female monkey orgasms within about 8 second), so I picked up Roach's second book, Spook, from the handy-dandy Twinsburg library. I can safely say that this was the worst of all of Roach's efforts. The problem: Spook is about the scientific exploration of the afterlife. Well guess what: science doesn't have much to say about the afterlife...turns out it is fairly implausible and we have very little empirical data on the subject. Kudos to Mary Roach for wringing 300-some pages out of near-death experiences though.

Fargo Rock City - Chuck Klosterman
Those who read the Collective(ly) Unconscious closely know that Mr. Klosterman is a big influence on my writing. Sex Drugs and Cocopuffs is one of the greatest things I've ever read. Killing Yourself to Live is undeniably brilliant. So I decided to read Klosterman's first book, continuing my tradition of reading author's catalogues in the wrong order (see Roach, Mary). Unfortunately, Fargo Rock City is boring. Not bad, not without its merits...just boring. Apologies, Chuck, I am just not a fan of metal and I was born in 1990. I'm sure everyone else loved it!

Y: The Last Man, Book One: Unmanned - Brian K. Vaughn
It turns out that Brian K. Vaughn is as awesome as I thought he would be. I had wanted to read this ever since I found an appreciation for the graphic novel novel. I knew I had to read it once I found out that Brian K. Vaughn now writes for Lost. Win! Good science fiction reveals something about ourselves that we never even realized. In the instance of Y, it's that being the last man on Earth isn't all it's cracked up to be. Surprisingly, women won't want to have sex with you...they will want to kill you for being the last remnant of a patriarchal society. Bummer.

IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas - Chuck Klosterman
I have now read everything Chuck has written aside from Dowtown Owl and Eating the Dinosaur. IV is much better than Fargo Rock City in my eyes, but slightly worse than Killing Yourself to Live and much worse than Sex, Drugs and Cocopuffs (then again, what isn't?)

Next up on my docket is A Heart-breaking Work of Staggering Genius. Hopefully, I can knock that out over Spring Break.

By the way, Marisol was veeeery trippy. I never thought I would see a man give birth on stage. Now my bucket list is nearly complete.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

King of All Media pt. 2: 2 Fat 2 Fly

Look at this pudgy, bespectacled face. Look at these wide eyes and bearded visage closely. Look at the Triple XL Edmonton Oilers hoodie and the exaggeratedly bloated cheeks. Look at this man and bow, Internet, for this is your new King.

I have strong feelings regarding Kevin Smith as I suspect anyone who has ever witnessed a critic masturbate to Clerks does. I happen to love the man. Clerks is a good film if not a little dated. Chasing Amy and Dogma are near masterpieces. And Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a damn good time at the movies.

But if these were all Smith was responsible for, I don't think I would appreciate him the way I do. I appreciate Kevin Smith for his candid interviews and brilliant use of traditional media sources for exposure, his live performances that turn "Q&A" in stand-up comedy, his intimidating presence of Twitter and Facebook and most importantly, for "Smodcast": the greatest podcast or radio program that I have ever heard.

For these reasons, I have considered placing the King of All Media's Crown on Smitty's head for a while now. I always assumed Howard Stern would have to die before we could find a successor but rotting away on Satellite radio, ignoring Twitter and Facebook and not doing anything remotely interesting since the aforementioned switch to Satellite is reason enough to take Stern's crown from him. Sorry, Howie but you've gotten boring!

Still, even if I think the man who once wondered whether the storm troopers on the Death Star deserved to die deserves to be the new King of All Media, it doesn't mean that the rest of the Collective(ly) Unconscious would necessarily agree. Silent Bob needed a crystalizing moment that would utilize new media to absolute perfection to tear down the "man" while providing an opportunity for him to stretch his considerable verbal wit.

Sadly, that is too much to ask of the universe. There is no situation that can perfectly encapsulate everythin...wait, what? Southwest Airlines deemed Kevin Smith too fat to fly? And he tweeted about it endlessly? And then he did a podcast about it? And then Southwest issued a stuffy apology on their makeshift blog? And then legitimate news sources started picking up the story?And then Smith used a video blog to tell the final part of the story?

Well shit, universe, looks like you've done my work for me.

Kevin Smith is now the new King of All Media. Prove me wrong.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Happy Place

Apparently the key to writing on a semi-consistent basis is writing before the newest Lost episode. As my most recent post indicates, I am in a very specific and shall we say....suicidal? mood directly a new episode of Lost. Absolute crushing depression is essential to all good art...and make no mistake, what you are reading is art, damn it, art!

So while I wait, for the other crushing existential depression factory that is Lost, let's talk about something else. Something happy. More specifically, let's talk about my happy place.

When I was a "kid" (as far as I can tell, 95% of everything that ever happened to everyone happened to them when they were a "kid"), I had occasional trouble breathing. I wasn't an asthmatic but I was fat, and I believe my poor lungs had a difficult time keeping up. Instead of just throwing an inhaler at my fatass and calling it a day, my lovely mother decided to take me to the Cleveland Clinic to pursue complicated psychological biofeedback nonsense to fix my beleaguered body.

The nice woman at the Clinic taught me many a strategy to find my breath, including placing a weight from my stomach to breathe from the chest, blowing softly into a pinwheel and practicing complicated stretches. But my favorite strategy was the cliche, yet effective, process of "finding my happy place."

"Find an image in your mind, Alec, in which you can be completely and utterly calm. It can be a memory you have or simply an image in your mind. Just find it and occupy yourself with it...concentrate on nothing else but your happy place and your breathe will come."

So I found my happy place. It was Cooperstown Dreams Park, Field Number 6...the first place I ever hit a homerun and the only place I would ever end up hitting a homerun.

I never ended up breathing better.

But I don't blame the happy place. The happy place is a concept that I found myself embracing more and more as I slowly realized just how lacking the world was in happy places. Pop culture provided me more happy places than "real life" ever did. Cooperstown had home runs. So what, Hogwarts had Charms class, The Bluth household had the cornballer, and Serenity had a fucking kitchen in outer space!

I bring all this up in such a roundabout way (do I know how to write in any other way?) all so I can say that I've found my newest happy place. Ladies, gentlemen, misogynists and Black bellhops, I present to you: Sterling-Cooper.

I have pretty much devoured two seasons of Mad Men as fast as I could. There is much to appreciate about the artistic superiority of Matthew Weiner's creation: the complex and changing social mores of the '60s, the obsession of identiy, appearance and the lacks thereof and the subtle, yet phenomenal acting performances. But above all that for me is the ability to turn an advertising company consisting of mostly chain-smoking white men that operates thirty years before my birth feel like home.

Well done, Weiner, I hope that one day I can wear sexy suits and chug whiskey like fruit punch on Madison Avenue. Until then, I'll just find Season 3 online.

12:01...I think Lost will show up online soon. So long for now, Internet!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On Addiction

NOTE: This is to be taken in jest, however...there is probably more truth in here than I would be comfortable to admit.

I am normally a young man with a cheery disposition (Douche-blogs aside).

But I am experiencing something right now that has turned me into a raging monster of righteous fury and incoherent screaming.

Lost is NOT online right now.

Fuck my worthless, insignificant, piss-poor excuse for a life. I don't care that I was born healthy and with all my various organs, extremities and brains intact. I don't care that I have grown up in the greatest (sort-of) country in the world. I don't care that my parents loved me and never caused me any serious physical or psychological harm. I don't care that I have received an exemplary education. I don't care that I have friends who care (or at least pretend to). I don't care that I'm even happy.

All that I care about right now is that there are millions of people around the world who have seen Lost, Episode 6X01: LA X...and I'm not one of them.

I initially intended to write a blog today about the Oscar nominations. But in my current state of abject despair I'm having hard time caring so...

10 nominations is as retarded as we thought it would be and Avatar will win everything.

There you go, there's your fucking Oscar blog.

But it doesn't matter...nothing matters. I hate my existence. I hate that I can even form a coherent thought right now because it represents my crushing, never-ending and ultimately disappointing consciousness.

Lost 6X01 is out there. It is out there some where and I cannot see it. I cannot even perceive it. I can download it...but it will take 2 hours to do so, by which time another site will have it streaming anyway. I can have a friend send it to me...but the wireless is down in Alden and I can only use a desktop computer.

Waiting is the only thing I can do, and I cannot do it. When every blood cell, every fleeting thought, every pore, every fiber, every twitch of your body screams out for the next fix, how can you "wait?" Waiting is for people who haven't witnessed the glory of Lost, and truth be told I now wish I could count myself among them.

The lows are always lower than the highs are higher.

If you happen to see a bearded fellow rocking back and forth on the ground in 2nd floor Alden tonight, please say a kind word and throw a blanket on him.