Archive for August, 2009

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A Blog About Not Blogging.

August 21, 2009

8:00 am. The weather is cool. Rain drops delicately splash through the screen of my open window, congregating in miniature puddles on the sill. A gray hued wind gently sways the cottonwoods back and fourth with the sound of crashing waves. The house is cool, and the creeky wooden floor feels nice on my bare feet. Steam rises up from the stove, my tea is done. I pour the boiling water over the loose leafs as an aroma of cinnamon and orange spice fills the air. I walk across the room and sit, steam rising from my mug. Opening up my laptop with only one thing on my mind. I turn it on, open up i-tunes & push play. Soft piano starts, then a hi-hat hit and that timeless trumpet, piercing through the thick air in perfect harmony with every thought that ran through my head since opening my eyes that dreary morning. Suspended in a daze, like taking a water break under a shade tree on a hot summers day. That fleeting feeling one has in a moment when the brain is still, when it allows you to be calm, if just for a moment. Miles seems to know what Im talkin’ about. Just listening to Blue & Green can take you there. So with who else would I spend my time in this moment, this grain of sand in the hourglass, sure as hell isn’t anyone on the TV. My few free moments are reserved, not for institutions that have structured boundaries and blank faced agendas, but for people within reach, with feeling, with individualistic contortions of personality & style, with soul. So, Miles and I sat, lost in that little moment, the beginnings of a new day. Soon after, the song was over, I opened up Safari, started checking emails, as if nothing had happened. Work & conscious effort transformed that moment, although the feeling of moments like that linger with me everyday. Assisting me as a navigate my way through the radio waves and brightly colored images attempting to distract my attention from myself, from that common humanistic character, from passion.

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The Credit Ratings Deboccle

August 14, 2009

“All you need to do is fill out a credit application. I will e-mail it to you tonight.” Sweat pouring down his plump, red face as he spoke. “You can bring it by my office tomorrow if you like. After I get your approval I will get you a contract.” The words seemed near foreign to me. Looking up at this jolly round man. Wondering how my credit score had anything to do with rental of this very modest, studio apartment atop a bbq store in Delano. The space not much bigger than a sardine can. Well within my budget. Bland in appearance, with barely enough room to fit all of my belongings. The view out of the windows was of an alley. The carpet used, but recently shampooed. The smell of fresh paint and cleaning supplies battled with the old, wood & mortar smell of historic buildings. Long past the days of brothels and gunfights, Delano was now a destination for vagrants such as myself. Another mecca of Counter Culture ideals and values. A place timelessly insulated from the ebb and flow of urban sprawl. Yet piercing through the brick walls and the cleverly arranged independent store fronts, in this safe zone, this place of serenity, were the ideals of a malfunctioning, glossy and trim yet grossly obese system. A system that has plummeted us into recession. A system that has historically been overhauled time and time again in a desperate attempt to pacify evolution with the cheap mask of false understanding. All the while tempers flare. Rage on all sides of every debate seems to drag us further into noise. Where there is a possibility for a tone as sweet as the first time you heard Miles play a trumpet. As complexly perfect as Beethoven. Yet without consideration, falling more and more into the lines of a Britney song (before it is auto-tuned). When each individual seems to see things in black & white, right and wrong. Forming unions based upon common visions and interpretations.  One side knowing something the other doesn’t. Facts and lies all being pushed to progress an agenda. The noise of America. I stood, in the midst of a whirlwind. Anchored firmly by my beliefs. By my research. By what I have learned. Still, I was being pulled from myself. Being made to cohere with this silly, false way of identifying my responsibility as a renter. The credit rating system. A system based on black and white. “Did you or did you not pay? Did you pay late? You owe this money that you haven’t paid, you must be irresponsible. You can debate this bill if you like, however, court fees will be immense and you signed a contract indemnifying us of your accusations.” In a country where a $1 overdraft in your checking account will be taxed at a minimum rate of 30 to 1. Where the “collection agency is always right”. Where credit reporting commercials run every 10 seconds placing fear of bad credit in every Americans heart. Motivating them to spend $29.95/month to keep track of their credit. These companies such as Equifax have to know that most people with bad credit have the tendency to spend spontaneously. Is provoking them to spend more money by making them fear their credit score really going to help them? All the while business large and small use these same agencies to acquire credit reports. Reports that will rise and fall every time you let a library book go to far past its due date. Or if perhaps, you apply for credit and get denied. If you apply for credit and get denied, your credit score goes down. How does that make sense. It seems as if this is yet another brilliant business model. Predatory lending-esque in its depletion of funds in households with lower incomes. I haven’t a solution for this. Just a sour taste in my mouth and a desire to isolate myself further from these spiderwebs. So will I get this apt? Yeah, most likely. Still, the dance we have to do every time we time we sneeze is old and tired.

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The Need For Counter Culture (a sample experience)

August 14, 2009

As I sat in a house on the east side of town yesterday. Surrounded by plush furniture and accented walls. Watching in amazement as six people in their late 20’s partook in a drinking game. Four of them my close friends. People I have known since middle school. Since I was not drinking myself, it seemed that the bond formed from such an established, familiar friendship was the only reason I sat, blatantly detached, in the midst of something that seemed to attack my very existence. As the night progressed the air was filled with drunken laughter, auto-tuned songs from Power 93.9 (Clear Channel), belligerent phrases based on sexual acts, and the un-denyable echo of consumerism spouting from the mouths of two people, new to my world. Two girls, with fake blond hair, fresh out of the tanning beds. Sporting the latest summer dresses from Dillards. Unable to name even one of the countries that fought in WWII. Yet claiming their education at Bishop Carroll (a private Catholic school) was top notch. Affording them a wealth of knowledge that made college classes a breeze. Abstaining from the fools argument (which is arguing with a fool) I attempted to take pleasure in the blind existence that seemed to consume these consumers. In doing so I was laughed at for not knowing different brands of purses and the latest line of Victoria Secrets perfume. I was taunted when I declined a rum & (diet) coke from swooning, drunken women who attempted to use puppy dog eyes and flirtatious talk to get me to take a drink. I dodged the barrage of questions that followed, “why aren’t you drinking?”, “what’s wrong with you?”, “so what you have to get up early, don’t you want to have fun?”. As I stumbled through the choppy, uninteresting conversation I began to feel anxious, like the room was closing in on me. I took refuge in my phone sending text messages to people with like minds as me. I soon became overwhelmed by the scene and had to make a quick exit. Feeling as if I had just popped my head above water after sitting on the bottom of the pool in a breath holding contest, I drove home. Back to Riverside. Back to sanity. As I drove across the Murdock bridge into Riverside Park I noticed three teenagers walking across the bridge. Their clothes were brightly colored, mismatched, and tattered. Their hair was windswept and wild. Their smiles were large and their cool summers Mid-Night walk through a downtown park looked so much more enjoyable than a drinking game in a cold plastic room. I felt home again. Back to reality. Where people are more genuine, more interesting. Where conversations can cause hours to unknowingly slip by. Where we are safe in our isolation from the pronounced indifference of prefabricated bookshelves and cookie cutter dwellings that spiral us into escapism by means of the arts, of music, and of being weird. So I will stick to my occasional Safari’s to Old Town at 2a.m. Where I quietly observe as if I were Dian Fossey. Somewhat ashamed that such a cool place is overrun by victims of strategic marketing. Lulling away their existence, unaware of their unimpressive attempt at making an impression. Then I retreat. Back into the weirdness of weird people. The personalities that make me chuckle, feel awkward, and tend to be unapologetically opinionated. Back to life. In full work mode to progress this counter culture that will ultimately progress our society.