Tag Archives: harmony

selections from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

‘I think,’ said Anna, toying with the glove she had taken off, ‘I think . . . if there are as many minds as there are men, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’ Continue reading

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selections from Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog

Our Eisner mustn’t die, she will not die, I won’t permit it. She is not dying now because she isn’t dying. Not now, no, she is not allowed to. My steps are firm. And now the earth trembles. When I move, a buffalo moves. When I rest, a mountain reposes. She wouldn’t dare! She mustn’t. She won’t. When I’m in Paris she will be alive. She must not die. Later, perhaps, when we allow it. Continue reading

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selections from Sadhana: The Classic of Indian Spirituality by Rabindranath Tagore

Mind can never know Brahma, words can never describe him; he can only be known by our soul, by her joy in him, by her love. Continue reading

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selections from Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014)

“In life, as in mutual funds, past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Continue reading

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Jewel City

JEWEL CITY

airy, brazen invisible strings
vibrating, erratic, dimly squeezing
a constellation of city lights—
it’s San Francisco, the city
of bridges, visionary legions,
future-destined legends.

every day a moment
renewed by the pianoforte
fog creeping, sneaking—
a holy, wondrous, consecrated,
wet, beautiful thing
adhering to every home.

and the bass? bombastic and
silent and teeming, a mass crashing
against the cliff side, oceanic
connector of disparate worlds,
salty cell body binding wild lives,
eternal caution to us all:

today!
we are triple blessed in the Jewel City. Continue reading

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who can judge me?

in which the Hero doesn’t give a shit. Continue reading

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Dorian mode

when i was around 13 years old, my parents gifted me a drum set for Christmas. even today, i can confidently say it was the single greatest physical present i’ve ever received from anyone. it officially made me a musician.

a decade later, a man now bound for Boulder urged me in the moment to strum guitar with him. though it may have been a bit premature, it (within a few months time) urged me down the path to the bass guitar, the more carefully footed step up from drums. so now, over a decade into my drumming career and only a couple years into my bass, i wonder whether i’ll pick up guitar when i turn 33 and then eventually drop all material things and simply croon when i’m 43.

one can dream. even in linear mathematical dimensions. but let’s be honest, exponential probably makes more sense, so i’ll probably play guitar when i’m 36 and sing when i’m 53. not too different. what the hell am i talking about? well, i can’t explain the math stuff, because i’m no Randall Munroe, but i will explain this theory i’ve been thinking about in regards to music and the body.

consider dance. in its simplest form, dance is simply the act of feet striking the earth. indeed, in truly transcendent dance, the mind is shut off entirely, and the human hops and heaves and swings and swirls like a dizzy flower, often to the rhythm of a beat… but this last part is unnecessary. all that is required for dance are feet striking the earth. that is, percussion. drums. by virtue of this, i consider drums not only the root of rhythm but also the thing that roots us to the earth–our feet and legs.

next comes the sister of percussion, harmony. that is, bass. and what comes after our legs but before our vitals? the genitals. consider: striking of the snares and booming of the kick raise us from our seats and urge us to stamp the ground beneath our feet, but what is that part, that irresistible, sinewy part that prevents our hips from staying still? the bassline curves through the air like a fire-breathing dragon, charring the asses of those who are free.

sidling up the human body, we next reach all those vitals but the brain. among others, this includes stomach, lungs, and, most importantly, heart. here we find melody, for is it not in our heart where we feel the joyous springing of the major scale as much as the miserable lament of the minor? heartbreak can kill a man, and it feels like suffocation… perfectly conscious suffocation. so too, love can induce the growth of wings, and so too can the guitar.

finally, we come to the head. inside one’s skull, chemical electrical thunderstorms rage producing the most unmusical and yet most human aspect of all: lyric. with the aid of a thinking brain and a humming nose, singers let leak through their gaping mouths their words of confusion, fear, and wonder, striving to know and for others to know… themselves.

just because you just read over a hundred pages of criticism on Sophocles Oedipus Rex doesn’t mean you know a goddamn thing about writing criticism yourself. you’re out practice. go to bed, you’re drunk.

truthfully enough, i’ve been reading some heavy shit. besides aforementioned criticism and the single perfect play upon which said criticism is based, i’ve also recently devoured John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and almost all the works of Oscar Wilde. (i’ve yet to tackle his poetry. in general, i’ve been reading poetry more slowly because i can’t read it on muni because i refuse to read poetry without reading it aloud and i don’t think people on morning/evening commutes to and from the city would necessarily enjoy my twice daily poetry readings.) next up on the list? The Ananga-Ranga, “an Indian sex manual written in the 15th or 16th century,” according to Wikipedia. maybe i’ll learn something.

maybe, by the time saturday comes, i’ll be able to put into practice whatever reading i get in tomorrow, friday. i can probably knock out a good chunk in tomorrow’s two hours, sleep on it, and then awaken in the weekend yellow sun streaming through my bedroom window and flag, rise to shower, dress in cool clothes, descend the stairs to the gray pantyflasher–back in action–to speed just a bit north to scoop my half-Indian love to speed even further north to spill our completely exploding hearts.

i’m not actually drunk. i’m completely sober. i’m listening to my body.

check out my melody: my thorax and abdomen as of late have been complaining of acid. ’twas a sensation i had only felt momentarily on a couple occasions in the past, but lately it’s been an ever-present pang, heightened especially by my partaking in the most pleasantest of life’s servings: alcohol and spice. so, for as much of the month of may as possible, i am, as much is possible, cutting the two lifeless loves out entirely. i’m a couple days sober and i’m feeling good. it’s hard to avoid acid in food (tonight i made up some sloppy joe), but i think cutting out two intense variables should suffice.

what a mysterious wholesome. abstaining from alcohol. learning to cook. taking bass lessons. riding public transportation, hardly driving. consuming literature like a lava. and i’m about to sleep before midnight.

peace and love to you, universe. Continue reading

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my friends have marvelous taste in music, which they sometimes demonstrate via pay-what-you-want demos

i once had an uncle who firmly believed that any bodily ailment could be cured with a little hot water. cut yourself? no alcohol, no hydrogen peroxide, no antibacterial nothing… just rub it under some hot water for however long you can stand, and you’ll be just fine. inflated lids? aching tummy? broken bones? hot hot hot!!! fucking water. his fascination with the miraculous effects of steaming fluids flew far beyond the even relatively acceptable realms of reason. suffering from heartbreak? get in the shower, and don’t come out until you’ve stopped crying.

oh wait… it wasn’t my uncle that believed that stuff. it was me!

god all i ever do on this fucking thing is write about myself.

Christ. i just did a fucking search (lord why the fuck do i swear so fucking much?) of my entire blog, and found zero instances of the phrase “Radio Lily.” how the hell did i get to like post 4,073 and never mention Radio motherfucking Lily. Radio Lily, which broadcasts live daily from a small spot in New York City, does this exact thing 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

that is, it spins curvy reggaeish music.

a girl named Sara introduced me to Radio Lily. i am eternally grateful to her for the gift… so much so that i often think about her and wonder whether she’ll actually visit me in SF like she’s promised on several occasions. i just want to pull a blunt w her again and blast Lily on Lily. that’d be nice.

i write the strangest things on my phone’s notepad, like this: “nobody’s whiter than Jack White, no matter the clothes he wears nor the grow he hairs.” i was high on white and weed watching the very man wank around onstage when i wrote the lines, so i have very little insight into what the fuck i was actually trying to say. maybe you can guess?

outside lands was so good. extra sweet because of the free vip pass for the entire weekend. sheesh. here are some other amazing acts i caught:





huh? what? there were all these, like, legendary dudes gripping their legendary weapons, and then, like, you break the pattern with some legendary dudes gripping their weapons too far in the distance for me to notice and some horse banner thing. some crazy horse banner thing. and then i’m just, like, standing here holding this harmonica, listening to pretty aery girl pick her banjo like a badass, and i’m like, what? huh?

what makes me so sure that any of this is worth publishing on the Internet?

here’s another note from my phone: “how is a string of hair a dj?” see, the funniest thing to me about all these notes is how nonsensical they are even to me, the supposed author. the vast majority of the time i’m compelled to pull my phone out of my pocket, tap ‘Notes’, and scrawl down some craziness like “how is a string of hair a dj,” i am pretty fucked up on at least one thing. and every one of those times, without fail, i convince myself that i can get away with writing something like eight words to convey the thousand page manuscript of an idea exploding inside my head. i convince myself that, with just those eight words, i will be able to reconstruct the manuscript at a later date. this is rarely, if ever, the case. how is a string of hair a dj? only god knows now.

just below that nonsense, however, is something that makes sense to me. it’s the name of a song i started singing one night:

it came directly from the heart. crawled out of my bloody valves, climbed up my esophagus, and collapsed a spineless critter on the span of my tongue, the song. i had spent the entire day, evening, and night w a girl and her friends, but i couldn’t be w them anymore. they were drunk and couldn’t stop singing songs. it wasn’t about pounding corn to the rhythm of the sun or strumming strings to the pleasing of our guts, no no no. it was all about hitting a note at the proper time and coming up with clever lyrics to match the proper rhyme. i was bored and/or lazy. so i retreated into the stranger’s house, being house sat by a bunch of irresponsible vagrants like us, and scraped the critter off my tongue w my iphone. the operation, to this day, has resulted in zero complications.

“baboon
beneficial ape”

i have no idea what that’s about either. i thought it may have been an artist and album, but i can’t find anything of the sort.

201206241522. i’m listening to the original version of “Blue Monday” as performed by the illustrious New Order. i am rocking and dancing and shaking my head, as i am apt to do when listening to a single considered to be the best-selling 12″ of all time, when i hear the line “those who came before me.” i then have a thought. an idea. specifically, the development of an idea. you know how the catholic church used to have everybody at mass, including the pastor leading the fucking thing, facing the same direction? and then they changed it to the priest facing the congregation. well, the next step is everyone facing each other. OH WAIT THAT’S ALREADY EVERY DANCE PARTY EVER. okay, i get it; i think a little too catholic. so stab me.

Itty Bitty Nitty Gritty Heart. Continue reading

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you don’t know you’re having a good time

just because bourbon’s bubbling out of your tumblers under the Bay Bridge… and she chose the drink.

or just because donuts and deadly volcanoes make for a high volume kind of ding-dong night.

or just because the first dinner seriously features seriously barbecued pork ribs, the first breakfast ends with bacon potato pie, the second dinner boasts internally bleeding tri-tip, the second breakfast is as good as the first, and the last supper sure the fuck isn’t. but it is.

or just because of the “beach.”

or just because a seraph wakes you from your happily postlapsarian sleep by whispering into your ear, “you just made me come without even touching me.”

or just because you—without an ace of regret—can lose a century of dollars on blackjack, a game you haven’t done better at in almost 21 years.

or just because a sweet Colombiana quien se llama Tatiana gives you more than the time of day as the two of you ride the chrome bay slugs, slowly, smiling.

or just because the firecracker’s turning on its heels (lord knows it burns good to the end).

or just because femmes like your face.

or just because your blood is on top of the world, reclining in the sweet, juicy, dripping, award-winning pleasure of skipping stones.

no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, you know you’re having a good time because you have bloody Whiplash:

Continue reading

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singles by the Beach Boys

surfing! parties! fast cars! pretty girls! love! sex! California pride! the Beach Boys! inhuman harmonies! perfect pop constructions in two-and-a-half minutes or less! good, good, good, good vibrations!

Surfin’ / Luau (1961)

Surfin’ Safari / 409 (1962)

Surfin’ USA / Shut Down (1963)

Surfer Girl / Little Deuce Coupe (1963)

Be True to Your School / In My Room (1963)

Fun, Fun, Fun / Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1964)

I Get Around / Don’t Worry Baby (1964)

California Girls / Let Him Run Wild (1965)

Barbara Ann / Girl Don’t Tell Me (1965)

though “Barbara Ann” wasn’t the last great Beach Boys single, it directly preceded the release of Pet Sounds, a whole ‘nother monster. Continue reading

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