Thursday, August 14, 2008

Train in Brain August 7, 2008

"It's 4:00 a.m. I've got the Dr. Hfuhruhurr Ale
I've got nothing to lose so I'm pissin' on the third rail
Groggy eyed and fried I'm headed for the station
D-Train ride Coney Island vacation" Stop That Train - The Beastie Boys

It's strange what memories remain at whim to our instant recall. I often wonder what sparks the mental rolodex and why it can hang on so clearly to a snowy walk home, but yet block out a life changing conversation someone swears you had with them.

The weird shit that I've seen in the New York subway constantly frolics through my grey matter, no matter how long I've been away. It pirouettes through my thoughts at the oddest of moments. Two instances in particular.

The Broadway/Lafayette station in Manhattan has three levels, and a million stairs. Once you depart the train and go up one set of stairs, there is a platform where you can cross over to another track or more stairs to continue up to even more stairs (it takes approximately 5 hours to exit to street level if you're even remotely out of shape).

My ears were encapsulated in Radiohead's "OK Computer", when I bounced up to the semi-deserted platform after my jaunt on the D train. I can't recall why I was there that day, but I definitely remember my peepers zoning in on this man who could easily pass for Pavorotti.

Seeing Pavorotti in the subway, alone would make an interesting tale, but I hardly think it was him. This man was dressed exactly in his likeness though, and even had the Italian trench coat draped expensively over his shoulders, accented with a silky white scarf that probably cost more than everything I had on my person (including electronic apparatuses).

What stopped me in my tracks was what he was doing. He was "skooching", for lack of a better term, sideways across the platform, the way someone would sidle along a ledge of a high rise building before making veiled threats to leap to their demise. He was also sweating like a Republican congressman caught bare-backing a pierced up 14 year old boy behind a McDonalds.

Ironically, "No Surprises" had just entered my ears as I slowly moved past this gigantic panic attack that I so couldn't look away from. He was attached to some earphones as well, and when he reached the center of the platform, he just started bawling as if someone had whispered through them that Toby Keith was penning an all country music opera in German, and that Lincoln Center locked down a 2 year commitment to running it (assuming he liked opera - the mix of that and country definitely brings the idea of cochlear torture to a new disturbing level, not to mention the German aspect).

For some reason I can't forget this, but the last name of the 3rd guy I ever slept with is lost to the ether. (Does that make me a HO? F'excellent.)

The other event that lurks in my back catalog is when I was waiting for the 1 or the 6 at 72nd in the Upper West Side. I was going to rehearsal and had my guitar slung over my shoulder as I paced for what seemed like eternity (that's about 15 NY minutes) waiting for the train.

I'm not usually into hippy looking guys, but there was this one in a tie dyed shirt scoping me out, and he was kind of delish. He had shaggy blonde hair; kind of suntanned as it was summer, and a scarf tied around his head. He looked a bit like a Deadhead pirate from California, but with a great face (and a nice ass, I must say).

He circled around me twice and then went behind whatever those giant pillars are that keep the tunnel above your head (as opposed to crushing it to bits).

I looked away and then back as I saw him peer out from behind the pillar. He smiled, opening wide to bare some fangs at me! Seriously, he had fucking vampire teeth! Not fake waxy shit either; he had the real surgically implanted (or veneers?) bite-bites!

Now a pale Goth doing this at two in the morning in the East Village would not have shocked me (it's almost a pre-requisite on St. Marks), but a tan hippy vampire dude at 72nd hissing about around 5pm? That completely flabbergasted me.

Some other guy interrupted my wide-eyedness to ask me what kind of guitar I had, so I quickly answered and then glanced back but un-deadhead was gone, and I never saw him again (thankfully).

If this kind of yip yap flutters through my brain's waking moments, you can only imagine what I dream about.

I just hope that whatever flashes before my eyes in the seconds before I draw my last breath has absolutely nothing to do with the New York Transit system.

Watch, I'll be killed on the subway now, simply because I wrote it. THAT would be hilarious.

Currently listening :
Paul's Boutique
By Beastie Boys
Release date: 1989-07-19

Wow or Never July 28, 2008

"Empty prayer, empty mouths, combien reaction
Empty prayer, empty mouths, talk about the passion
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world" Talk About the Passion – REM

From Wikipedia:

Passion (from the Latin patior, meaning to suffer or to endure) is an emotion of feeling very strongly. Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for anything and often requiring action. Passion often applies to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love.

Passion can be expressed as a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion towards a subject, idea, person, or object.

I've got passion on my mind lately; in the broader sense, and yes, in the sexual sense too.

You may take passion for granted, as I have done, when it's been just another part of who you are, but when it's missing, YIKES.

My passion for music surpasses any other that I could muster. From gated snares to the mere act of shaking my itty bitty badonkadonk (in some Asian countries I would be considered bootylicious, so we'll run with that) to the pulsating vibrations that start their seduction with a full audio massage.

Music is never boring; it's forever changing except in one pivotal area. It consistently provokes the full range of emotions like nothing else. For that reason alone, I remain faithful and duty bound in a way that I've not been able to do with anything or anyone.

I think what makes some music go beyond superior is the passion that is behind it. What you put out there is what you get back. If uncertainty is lingering in your work, you get uncertainty back. If balls to the walls are what you put in, well, you get pixel right?

At the Radiohead shows I've been party to witness, the exchange of passion between the audience and the band was the most exquisite "back and forth" imaginable. The more we were into it, the more they were too, which made us even MORE into it. Frankly, I'm shocked that we all didn't just burst into goo by the time they played "The Bends".

You can't fake passion. You can fake an orgasm (well some of us can), and you can feign interest in someone, but you cannot fake passion.You can't teach it either; it's either there or it's not.

Now sexually, you have to teach mechanics to some people, sometimes. In my early 20's I didn't have the patience for that. I thought if a guy didn't know what he was doing, then we just didn't have any chemistry, but in my later years, I've found that if you teach someone the ropes, they will tie them just how you like =)

Unfortunately, some people are mechanically set; they know where everything goes and don't do anything really wrong, but are indeed mechanical. You can teach them the entire Karma Sutra, but if they lack the enthusiasm, you'd be better off just playing Twister (there's less clean up afterwards).

Passion is all reciprocity. I can't get into it if someone is about as passionate for me as they would be a math exam. Now I'm not speaking of LOVE (whatever that is), as I can have passion with people that are everything I don't want in a friend, but do want to be friendly with. (Pheromones? It's not a crime.)

If I had to choose between the guy I was friends with that laid there like a sloth on ludes, or someone I barely know that would fiercely (not violently, but definitely SAFELY) shag me stupid, girlfriend is all about the stupid then. Given the choice, I would rather have one weekend with someone that reset my clock and crossed my eyes, than some stale ass relationship where the guy lacked more WOW than the "accepted terms of agreement" you never read when installing a new computer program.

WOW is a look in their eyes, like they'd absolutely lose their shit if their skin doesn't get to frolic all over yours. You can't summon it (especially if they're using you for something besides sex –money, connections, whatever), it's reactive. Some simply are devoid of WOW. I didn't even know people could be like that till, well… that's neither here nor there.

I realize that the novelty wears a bit thin and life happens, but I think we can possibly take our cue from music and learn to keep things at a level where you aren't just phoning it in after a while.

If we can keep songs forever entertaining and growing, maybe we can do that in every aspect of our lives.

Art is reflective of people that are reflective of art. Back and forth. Talk about the passion.

Yesterday, I had the grim task of making rounds with a funeral announcement for a lifelong friend who lost his battle with cancer this weekend. I don't remember not knowing Dennis, whose passion was his family and mountain bike racing. My association with him and his family made me a better person in ways they will never know.

Life is short.

If yours is lacking passion, it's time to get lit, man. Don't stay with people you can't get it up for. Don't lock yourself down out of obligation. Don't let rigidity or boredom consume you.

Bite life in the ass! If nothing else, you'll leave behind some interesting teeth marks.

Currently listening :
By R.E.M.
Release date: 1992-08-06