Thursday, August 31, 2006

A few hours in the studio this morning before an afternoon at work: productive. Teddy and I crossed paths briefly before I left. He ate a fat sandwich married to some Cheetoes. As always, we talked about stuff and it was good.

Work: nothing. I read a book and touched up a document here and there. It was the last day for our intern, Sharon, so cake and chocolate was involved. She was good and sweet, a positive presence in an otherwise uninteresting place. I will miss her in my own quiet way.

After work: back down to the studio and a solid four hours of working. Stopped at the Polish Bar for the beer-carryout special and was startled by the presence of women patrons in the bar, one of whom was quite attractive. As I clutched my brown-paper wrapped seven-pack, I stormed though the door to the jukebox sounds of either Iron Maiden or Megadeth. I couldn't tell which and, frankly, was proud of my inability to do so. At the studio, I added more blackbirds and Root Babies. And listened to some music, of course: worked through E.S.P., the first album by the second great Miles Davis quintet. A little tentative but still great. I can't tell you how much I love having the luxury to really tuck into an album or three now, and finally have the volume loud enough to fill the space and make the music a physical presence. Tried to get through Weather Report's "Mysterious Traveler" with not much success. The rest of the time was give over to the Shuffle which revealed nothing spectacular.

Left the studio around 10:30; passed through Negar Alley with no problem. Shot up 21rst to the E/V stop and hopped on the train. Home and inside within 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A long day spent in the studio. Arrived around 11am left after 8pm. Cloud-lousy rainy day, a good day to spend time in the studio. At times, the fog and rain combined that I couldn't see the Manhattan skyline. Left around 5 to get a snack for me and Teddy, some salami, smoked cheddar and sweet crackers.

There is a lot going on with this drawing. I sense a lot of old stuff bubbling up from childhood. Not negative, necessarily, but just observational things, half-memories becoming full ones. Can't put my finger on it, exactly, but it's there.

Another turn with Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins today. Not a interesting as I originally thought. Did a spin with Rilo Kiley instead and enjoyed it somewhat. I am starting to think that Jenny Lewis may be a little contrived, yes? Most of the day was given over to shuffle on the iPod. Caught an old Herbie Hancock/Mwandishi tune from the complete Warner Bros. recording, "Water Torture." Just not good. There is no chemistry with that band, no sense of locking into something and moving forward. I had that album, mmm, maybe ten or twelve years ago and couldn't crack the surface. Bought it six months ago from and still can't get into it. It's like stoned music made for people who don't know what it's like to be high. A beautiful Billie Holiday tune "A Sunbonnet Blue (And A Yellow Straw Hat)" fell right in my lap. Stored it away from future playlist needs.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Today: another day at work. I will not elaborate.

After work, I spent a few hours in the studio and got a lot of blackbirds down on paper. Working on two albums while drawing: Ulrich Schnauss's "Far Away Trains Passing By" and I Am Robot and Proud's "Electricity In Your House Wants To Sing." I downloaded both yesterday while waiting for the gray pizzling drizzle to end. (It never did.) Schnauss sounds good...but it's just too slick, too symmetrical. A never happens without B following closely behind. I know, it's electronic so it's supposed to sound that way. But I still feel like I could be a little less polite. And the IARAP's album can be easily forgotten. Sounds like the burbling soundtrack of a Japanese videogame or a Jetta commercial.

A dose of Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins helped stiffen the atmosphere in the studio. Not a particularly deep album but it sounds good. Generally, I don't like the strum-and-sing albums, where the voice is the main melodic instrument while the other instruments are relegated to playing dull rhythm. I like when the voice and instrument share the duty of melody, or better yet, the voice is couched nicely is a cushion of instrumental melody. This Lewis/Watson album is a perfect example of a genera I usually avoid. But there's something to it: the lyrics are a little forced at times but Lewis knows when to step down and let the sisters come to the fore.

Lately, Stars of the Lid's "The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid" has been creeping into the basement of my consciousness. Check them out here under "artists" at Kranky Records. They're a tough listen: there are some very beautiful and moving tracks on "Tired Sound" but, maaaan, can they induce torpor. It's hard to describe the stuff: atmospheric, yes, but that's doesn't cover it. Droning. Pulsing. Throbbing. Imagine if you had the strength of attention to sit and watch a single tree sway in a gentle breeze. You wouldn't ponder anything but the tree itself, the air tickling the foliage, the light peeking deep into the interior of the tree as the as limbs sways, the exact motion of birds as they come and go through the canopy. You give yourself over to learning the patterns in the bark, noticing the traces of old scars and the trails of beetles and ants across the trunk. You imagine how the roots thrust and coil invisibly through the soil, what the tree looked like 25 years ago, what it looks like naked in the winter. Now imaging doing this for 10, 14, 18 minutes. You're now edging into Stars of the Lids territory. I have a hard time saying that I love the music but there is something to it: it keeps drawing me in. They're so spare and minimal sounding most of the time--especially on "Tired Sounds"--that when then play an actually melody (Requiem for Dying Mothers Pts 1 & 2, Ballad of Distances Pts 1 & 2) it's very distilled and intense and nearly hearbreaking.

Good news: a possible job with a major publishing company for design work. I am trying to schedule a meeting with the director late this week or early next. It's four days a week which is PERFECT. Hope something comes out of that.

Some sushi from Bai tonight, along with some tofu salad I made yesterday. Two Coronas and nothing else. Off to bed.
So the Bad Plus has a blog that I read occasionally. Okay, I drop in every day. The pianist listed some of his favorite albums from 1973-1990; in the list he mentioned a recording of Dewey Redman--a well-known (amongst nerds) tenor saxophonist--playing a "burning" alto saxophone solo on one album, and went on to say that it was his only recording on alto. I wrote back and gently reminded him that Redman also played alto on "Gypsy Moth," a song from an early Keith Jarrett recording. So he updated the list and gave me credit under the "Open the Gate" posting.

My thirty seconds of web-based jazz nerd fame.

I knew this knowledge of obscure stuff would serve me well someday. I should start my own blog...

Now. Where is my Dungeon Master's Guide...?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

This morning: a late sleep. Groggy, unwilling to get up but unwilling to stay in bed longer. Made a few phone calls before I realized I have my final Level 1 ASL class at 12:30. I decide to blow it off. Simply because I hate being at the hands of another in a classroom setting. I always have. What can I say? I love to learn but I hate the classroom. The final class was handed off to another teacher anyway, so what do I care?

An hour spent grocery shopping this late late morning: got all of my big name items at Key Foods on 33rd St and 30th Ave: generic tofu, two boxes of cereal, small stacks of pita, some second rate yet functional cheese, a box of garbage bags, and a prim bottle of soda, etc. Nothing, really. Off to some smaller, local places for dry hot salami, some firm broc, a pound of raw almonds and a quartet lush tomatoes. Long walk back. Groceries cleaned, washed, sorted and stored as appropriate. Spent an hour or so reading the "Gord of Greyhawk" books but Gary Gygax, the inventor of Dungeons and Dragons. It's nerdy, I know, but this stuff brings me a kind of psychic and creative comfort that little else does. Music, yes, but that's a haughty and elusive mistress that I must constantly pursue. This "literature" is always at hand and demands to be read once a decade. So I let it keep me happy.

After the scattered nap, a bike ride down to the studio. Not a new way, but not one I normally take: due south past the MoMA QNS building, over on Hunter's Point. I have to admit that I love these desolate, industrial neighborhoods on the weekend. Staid but full of potential. I don't care to romanticize them, of course. Up the six flights to the studio (which I have informally christened "Manque Studios") and Teddy was there. I placed the earplugs and got to work. Interrupted by a few texts from PattyO but I managed to place a score of blackbirds and at least three malevolent Root Babies. Teddy made a run for beer--after the shitty wine was drained--and came back with not only beer but crackers, cheese (Havarti) and a kind of tough, fatty commercial salami. The Brooklyn Lager made it all quite delicious. We talked about stuff. It was good.

Bike ride home. Passed the remains of PS 1's Warm Up thing and felt wholly inadequate for not being 24 and able to enjoy the shitty, short-lived bands that play there. I climbed the stairs to the apartment find a lanky, comatose roommate on the couch. Poured myself a stiff gin and soda and watched a solid hour of old Tom and Jerry cartoons, stuff from the 40s and 50s, Loew's Classics, with beautifully executed backgrounds. I love those kind of cartoons because they're so lovingly created in a kind of hyper-realistic style: lamps are uber-lamps, carpets are uber-carpets, mice and cats and dogs are uber-mice and -cats and -dogs. It's the perfection of a kind of visual language that transcends any kind of art movement made in the 20th century and ties itself to the caveman paintings, Renaissance painting, Impressionist painting. Yes yes, I know, I keep alluding to paintings. But, really, this stuff--and the best of painting--possesses the kind of vital longevity that will remain valid while all of the "art about art" and "art about the artworld" will quickly choke to death on it's own glib, silvered tongue. I can't wait, motherfuckers.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Spent the day with Patty to distract her from the upcoming exam tomorrow. Saw Almodovar's All About My Mother. Good. I think it was a piece of fiction written by the son but there is no way to tell. Lunch at some cheap empanada place on 9th at 52th. Back to her place for a nap. Then a few beers while watching watching a pan-and-scan, heavily edited The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. On the R by back here by 11:30. Gin and tonic and a head shave in the bathtub.

Managed to pull out of the sour mood of the previous few weeks. Anxiety is there, still, but not manifesting itself in the same way and suddenly people don't seem like something I need to spent so much energy to avoid. Also, I am finding that the little details of daily stuff are racking up quite the same way they were a few months ago. Don't know how to explain this shifting mood and observational acuity. They don't seem to be related in any way. I'll probably stick with short notes like this and the posting of photos until THIS passes.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Spent the afternoon goofing and napping and applying to lousy jobs. Rode the bike down to the studios around 6 to have a celebratory meal with studiomates: Steve, Hyejin, and Teddy. A delicious meal on the roof with an equally delicious view of the east side of Manhattan.

What do any of us (especially me) have to complain about? Nothing. Absolutelyfuckingnothing.

TODAY: nothing was accomplished. Went on a job interview at 10a. Was on the pavement by 10:15a because the wanted a six week freelance designer. So fuck you, people. Fuck you, indeed.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Good day. Eight full working hours in the studio. Leon drawing is coming together.

Friday, August 18, 2006

As I put fingers to keyboard, the hour is fifteen minutes away from August 18 which will mark my the two year anniversary of my arrival in NYC.

I am ambivalent about my time here. Certainly, I feel as if I'm operating at a higher level of efficiency. Good. (The mind slips occasionally, of course, but my fists are made of steel and my feet of sore bones and honey.) My work, such as it is, has tightened and become focused; themes are emerging, the subject material becomes expansive, the connections are (slowly, painfully, slowly) making themselves known. Good. I have made contacts in the art world and inserted myself into a decent studio--both long sought after goals. Good. I have made friends with decent sincere people, most of whom are artists. Good. But something just ain't right. Something is missing. I have a few ideas but I am not ready to mention them just yet.

I had a studio visit today from O and R for the Art(212) Fair. Always a weird experience. I have never felt more capable of talking about the work but that talk--after about four or five fully clarified sentences--always degrades into some shrugging and mumbling on my part. Anyway, the work has been selected. I just need to document and take it to O and R. Any money I make--if I make any money--will go straight to student loans. After I buy an Bose iPod dock. Listen: I eat music by the fistful when I work. I need it.

They left the studio at noon, I left at 12:30 shortly after Teddy arrived. In and down to Woorijip for the squid with rice rolls and soup. Upon purchase, I walked the lunch down to Madison Square Park and found a shaded bench on the exterior of the park on 26th and chowed up. (The food is excellent but the soup is terrible.) A few benches down was a gathering of bums, cackling and slurring in the shade. Back up to work where I bought an iced coffee from the wee Kim Bop place downstairs. The coffee lady--and older Korean woman with a perpetual smile--sported a new haircut, very layered and fashionable. (They make the coffee there like nitro, so strong you'll blow an aorta if you quaff it too quickly. But I love her technique which never varies: ice in plastic cup, chilled coffee in cup, a exact yet unmeasured dose of half-and-half, lid on the cup, a three shake swirl to mix coffee and dairy, a paper napkin secured about the cup to protect the hand from sweaty condensation.) Four forgetful hours spent at work. I drew a world map in Illustrator which was challenging and almost fun.

After work, I walked (again) down to MSP to kill some time before visiting a friend's studio in Dumbo. Sat on some steps at the northern end of the park--near the circular, featureless pool--and plowed through a Mogwai song, Mogwai Fear Satan. Actually, not a bad song at all but, at nearly 17 minutes, it's just too long. Watched the people pass and a quintet of sparrows work seed hulls under the bushes. The were so close I was sure I could catch one in had if I moved fast enough. On the F to Dumbo, off to dodge a coterie of flashing firetrucks and up the elevator to Leah's temporary studio. I was entirely pleased by her work. The obvious product of sincere talent, time and obsession. Shared some hummus, grapes and a bottle of wine. Ah, if only she didn't have a live-in boyfriend...

Last night, I drank a six pack of Coors Light and got to work on the Leon drawing. Beer steadies the hand. (There is a bar right off the Hunters Point stop on the 7; they have some pay-and-tote beer specials, 7 cans for 8 dollars, shitty beer of course: Bud, Bud Light, Coors. Somehow, Coors doesn't kill me if it's good and cold. There are two women (I am guessing either Russian or Polish) who tend bar, an older tough woman and a younger, soft, shy-but-polite woman who is simply beautiful. I don't know if they're mother and daughter but I wouldn't be surprised. The "mother" has always been cold to me and the daughter indifferent. But when I left a two dollar tip for my carry out beer, the mother flashed all of her snaggleteeth at me in a smile like a shattered sunset. The bar is nameless, I think, but very very Chicago. Just trust me.) Anyway, with a beer-steadied hand, I jumped back and forth between the red-winged blackbirds in the Leon drawing and the leaves in the Foliage Coat drawing. The music burned brightly and I revisited some standards: Pharaoh's Dance and Spanish Key off Bitches Brew. Of course, I cycled through Japancakes' Belmondo. Japancakes--four years after discovering them--still manage to pull me back in again and again. The music is beautiful but neutral in a way that allows you to emotionally shape it to your needs. Can't really remember what else I listened to; I seem to recall some Django. Anyway, the Leon drawing has started after weeks of contemplation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Man, these days are painful. Not bad, depressing painful but...just uncomfortable painful. Too much time, a whole lot of ambition but nowhere to put it.

Short, heavy sleep last night. I was going to get up early and run a check over to the studio--the landlord wants ONE check from us rather than four though I can't imagine what difference it makes. I mean, they all convert to cash, yes? But sleep had a delicious, cheesecake-y density and post-sleeping waking up was too difficult. So I pushed the task into the evening hours.

Work was...not bad. Finally, a design project. Something that took some concentration and a slight bit of imagination. So I was fed and the day passed painlessly. This is what the job used to be like. Grabbed some quick lunch at a new favorite Korean place on 32nd, Woorijip. (I *think* that's spelled right. But I'm just a round-eyed devil.) Grilled tofu with some kind of vegetable pancake and sticky rice with a stringy green vegetable of some kind. I know that description wasn't appealling but, really, it was tasty. I brought the food back and ate at my desk. Just like I used to do. When I found the job challenging.

Quick trip into Queens of the 7. Off at the first stop to hit a deli for some beer. LOUSY selection at the place I chose, nothing but Beck, Bud Light, Bud, etc. So I got Bud. The guy behind the counter was blind in his right eye, was cloudy and blue, filmed over. No one at the studio but at least the elevator was still running. Saved me six flight walk. Got the work sorted and ready for the LBG show in Chicago next month; shippers are coming tomorrow AM. Cut up and old big drawing into five smaller drawings. I am beginning to think this is a decent idea as the compositions on the disected drawings were much more compelling and irrational than anything I could've managed on my own. Also, worked a bit on the leaves for the Foliage Coat drawing. Haven't been in the studio for over a week. Just not in the mood and all that lies ahead of me is hours and hours of tiny, tedious work.

I did find one good song while the iPod was on random: Cab Calloway's cover of St. Louis Blues. Just so dirty...

Going back to Chicago to have my hambone boiled
I'm going back way to Chicago to have my hambone boiled
Because these women in New York City have let my hambone spoil

Hmm. That sounds about right. No transciption of the lyrics will even get the feeling just right. But you know what I'm taking about, right? It's odd to hear the young Cab Calloway since, for years, my only knowledge of his sound was via The Blues Brothers movie, c. 1980. His voice is so lithe and flexible in these early recording, nothing like the "hidey-hidey-ho" thing from the BB.

Also, been getting a whole lot of Coltrane on the iPod random. I have to say, I don't like him. At all. Post 1962, he holds no appeal to me. And the closer he gets to death, the less I enjoy his performances. Sunship? Interstellar Space? He just sounds LOST. There's a kind of tone especially in the late late Coltrane--large, fat, blatting and sonorous--that is set up to sound profound. And, actually, it sounds like something skullsmashing is to follow. But it--he, Coltrane--just sounds LOST. I know, its supposed to be interpreted as "seaching" and spiritual. But, face it, the man is floundering. An amazing technical facility allowed to slip into intentional chaos. And, believe me, I like a little intentional chaos in my music--Ornette, Miles' fusion, live early Jarrett, Pharaoh Sanders, et al. But at a certain point, you have to know when to rein it in, acknowledge the melody and nod at form. Just a simple, passing nod. "Hey, Melody. Sup, dude." That's fine and that's all I asking for in my music.

I'll take a pass on the Coltrane. And why McCoy Tyner? Why? That guy is simply awful. His only credibility is playing with Coltrane and Trane's been dead for forty years. No style, no imagination...I don't understand why Tyner has the rep he does. Yes, I would looove to hear the same phrases banged out in block chords for the next 6 minutes. It always sounds like he's playing with his forehead, just pounding out the same phase over and over again. I hate that guy. Hate him.

Anyway, left the studio in the dark and avoided the vets. Took my shitty Bud with me. V train pulled in right when hit the platform. Home for a quick meal and then bed.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Can't quite get the right fit these days. Anxious as a cat with a meth monkey on its back. Uncomfortable if I sit still, uncomfortable if I push myself to action. Surely some of it is the lack of challenge at my current job and the lack of success finding a new one. The lack of money, too, crawls all over my back like a swarm of lice. Uncomfortable days. I feel a little nauseous around the clock.

The other night--in order to keep myself busy and stave off this discomfort--I painted my bedroom. It was a sorry place, walls scuffed and discolored, painted a scrofulous watery color, the color of a ripe peach that's been sitting in a bucket of water for a week. And there were two big green hand prints on the wall. (Thank you, child-like previous roommate!) I've been neglecting it since I moved in back in August of 2004. I was content to moved my bed in and stow the clothes in the closet and leave it at that. So I lived--well, mainly I slept--in a beat-up, bum-colored room for hundreds days on end.

I decided on a saturated turquoise blue. I remember a former teacher, Bobby Joe, telling me the time he lived in Tucson and, upon the wish of his wife, he painted their house turquoise blue. The color was very intense under the desert sun, according to Bobby Joe. And that story/image stuck with me for almost ten years. Not sure why, exactly, but I could vividly picture that house, searingly blue, pushed up against a hill of stony ocher soil. So I decided to have my own intense turquoise experience in the dingy, smeary sun of Long Island City.

Of course, I had to keep myself fueled with beer for such a task. However, I made good and damn sure I completely all of the edging with tape before I hit the third beer. I'd also been preparing some tequila by letting a quartered jalapeno float in the bottle. Just enough to give it a warm edge. The paint went up smoothly with a minimum number of spills and drips. When all walls were covered, I allowed myself dinner and a few sips of spicy tequila. Overall, a good night.

Went to the Jewish Museum of Thursday to see the Eva Hesse exhibition. I think I am beginning to turn the corner on this whole Minimalist thing. There IS something moving about it, I find, if I can just sit still long enough and let my senses override my brain. It was a quick tour through what seemed to be the final five years of her career, the transition between painting/drawing and the uses of less common materials--latex, fiberglass, cheesecloth, etc. The final room of the exhibition held a collections of personal effects--diaries, photos, home movies. What I found very odd was Eva Hesse's collection of business cards for various manufacturers. Really, who cares about that. I might not be something you want to throw away but, still, does you casual (or even intimate) viewer need to see that?

After the museum, Kyung and I walked down to a diner--Lexington Candy Shop (?)--and grabbed a quick lunch. It's was a crowded little place that still made their cokes with syrup and carbonated water. (My coke was a little too syrupy for my tastes, a little flat.) BLT for me, omelette for Kyung and a quick review of her catalog for the upcoming show.

Yesterday, no work at all. Up early to say goodbye to a guest. A quick run around the neighborhood to mail off application for insurance (bet I won't qualify for some reason) and pick up laundry. Back for a read on the couch and a nice late morning nap. Then on the bike, over the Triborough Bridge to Randall's Island. Jesus, what a dump this island. Everything is under construction, with rubble piled up everywhere. Even in the areas that don't seem explicitly under construction seem explicitly under construction: orange plastic mesh construction fences abandoned (and apparently separating nothing from no one), sloughy rain-decomposed piles of dirt and sand, stacks of lumber on raw, pebbly soil. And too many shady characters pushing around luggage and purloined shopping carts.

I did a slow lap around the unscenic isle and managed to find a pleasant little corner on the northwest edge, a nature walk built through the Little Hells Gate inlet. Raised, planked boardwalk with ornate guiderails and plaques describing the local wildlife you can see in the area (which I did not.) I mean, I heard a mockingbird or two and saw a wee crab carapace floating upside down in the water but that's it.

(I am always surprised by the kind of glittering mica-flecked igneous stone I find along on the shores in the area. I am from Indiana--the remains of an ancient oceanbed--and we're sunk in sedimentary stone where ever you go: limestone, shale, siltstone, sandstone, etc. all of it worn and smooth, dully voluptuous, light absorbant. It's humble rock, somehow. Here, where ever the natural rock shows though--Central Park, Orchard Beach, some "natural" shorelines along the East River--all of the rock seems haughty, harsh and spangly, throwing off chips of keenly-bladed light, even when it's worn smooth by water. I always feel a bit lost when I see these outcroppings. More so than anything else I encounter in the area.)

Back over the Triborough and over to Roosevelt Island where I read for a few hours and listened to the iPod and just looked out at the river. Quiet in the shade, almost cold. The northern most sward held a few dozen Canadian geese; they nibbled methodically at the foam of clover. Noticed a lot of helicopter traffic, and a lone crow sat noisily in a sycamore for a while. Nearby, a large man barbecued up a whole pan of something--it looked like a mix of shimp and huge brats--and devoured all of it while tossing back a few Coors. ("Tap the Rockies!")

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oh, this day was so fucking hot. Please Fire Elementals and Efreets from the Brass City of Dis: leave me alone.

Down downtown today to drop off my portfolio at 50 Broadway, for some place that billed themselves as "Brand Labs". The guard told me they had never heard of such a company. Fucking douchebags. That's what I get for seeking work on Craigslist. I sat and steamed in front of a a lovely circular concrete fountain ringed with flowers. I called my roommate and asked him to double check the Craigslist posting: I was correct. After that, I wandered over to Battery Park--with my portfolio in tow--and sat in the shade of a granite war memorial, names stamped out in granite. Called L-Bo about the show in Chicago. Arrangements are being made. We briefly discussed my disappointment with dating here in the Shitty Apple while I squinted at the Statue of Liberty. More I will not say. Another perambulation slightly north brought me to a little circular arrangement of semi-choreographed waterjets that the tourists where whipping through. I was tempted to do it myself. If only I didn't have to go to work...

In to work for the afternoon stint of boredom at work. Managed to score 189 on my cellphone bowling game. A new score for me to defeat tomorrow.

Home for beer and, yes, tofu. I get my beer (Corona in the summertime, yes, predictable but delicious) at Home Mark at 35 Ave and 30 St in LIC. The beer--as advertised--really is the cheapest in Queens--a full $.50 cheaper than you can get at the grocery store even. I also pick up a wee bag of Utz's BBQ Pork Rinds. I am disgusted with myself for this pork craving but I've found it best to give myself over to it for a month or six weeks and then, like any craving, it goes away for good.

Beer is gone. Now working on the scotch. Sad. I sit sweating. Soon a cool quick shower, then bed.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The heat is crushing. That's all I can say. It's enough to pulverize the bones.

Didn't even leave the house yesterday until 6 pm. Spent much of it inside, updating resume and searching for job. Also playing some stupid Ben 10 games on the Cartoon Network website. (Not crazy about the cartoon itself but I like the idea and some of the heroes. Also, I've been developing a taste for the Avatar: The Last Airbender toon. A lot of imagination and style. Visually sumptuous. But, then again, I've always been a sucker for that fantasy epic-type stuff. I wonder why that stuff appeals so strongly to kids, the idea of possessing so much power? Is it a natural result of being a kid and, hence, relatively powerless that these scenarios--kids with superpowers--appeal? It's amazing how deeply those ideas cleave to the core of my imagination. I wish I could conjure up a light saber or some adamantium claws at least once a day. *SNICKT* Take that Asian guy clipping your fingernails on the train!!)

But I digress. I managed to work up some Root Baby sketches to the planned "Leon" drawing in the air-conditioned comfort of my room. Napped for 30 minutes before returning to the heat of the computer room to resume updating and searching (and smashing robots.) I left the house to attend a screening of "By The People" a documentary about the 2004 elections filmed in my morbidly obese hometown in Indianapolis, Indiana by a former NCHS classmate Malindi Fickle. ( I met Heather there just a few minutes before showtime at the Village East Theaters. We made our way downstairs in into a severely under air-conditioned theatre. The movie was an interesting insight into the difficulties face by voter boards but I have to admit I found it dull at times; less a fault of the filmmakers and more due to being forced to view a large, working population of my fellow Hoosiers and that always make me squirm a little. (I left that town for a reason.)

Afterwards, Heather and I got Thai food nearby. She got the curry noodles and I got the basil tofu and a Singha. (I don't know what it is but the tofu's really got a grip on me. I am eating it daily.) We caught up. I haven't really seen Heather in about six months. Nice. There was a guy sitting near us in the restaurant, a white guy, khaki pants and ice blue shirt with gelled up hair and a soulpatch. He was with a slender attractive brown-skinned girl (I would say woman but she seemed more a girl) who appeared to be about a decade younger. Soulpatch kept taking calls on his cellphone; when he was finished with the call, he'd drape himself luxuriously across his and the surrounding chairs and unleash his oily charms on his date. He even managed to wipe his oiliness on the waitress when she's flit in to whisk away empty dishes and refill waterglasses. The date seemed unresponsive and bored, not quite buying the charms of Soulpatch. But perhaps I just wanted to see it that way.

Okay, I'm going to try the studio today and at least get some basics down for "Leon". Then to work. Aw, Christ.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Woke up hungover Monday morning. Drinking beer and scotch into the wee hours off the morning. Not proud of it but these things must be done occasionally. (Okay, once a week.)

My excitement for life was crushed just a hair more by the job yesterday. I spent about 45 minutes playing the "Bowling" game on my cellphone trying to beat my high score of 187. (I couldn't.) Took a longer lunch and spent sometime sitting in Madison Square Park. (The squirrels here are so thin here, like arboreal whippets. I am used to the robust, solid (and ubiquitous) Chicago squirrel, fat from chewing holes in the alley-bound garbage cans and eating everything they can get their little dexterous paws on.)

Tim and Cathy invited me to an Our Lady of the Highway show ( at the Knitting Factory. I wasn't scheduled to meet them until 8, so I wandered down to Home Depot and picked out some paint chips and then spent about 90 minutes sitting (again) in MadSqPk, listening to the iPod and watching people. Met Tim and Cathy and some of their friends at Nam, a Viet place down on Duane. I had the grilled pork. After a long absence, pork is now making its way back as a staple of the diet. I now find myself craving it. That, and beer and scotch.

There were four bands of the bill. We arrived at the end of the third band's set. (Notice my hip music biz language: bill, set. I'll try to work "gig" in somewhere here.) I caught about three songs; the band had put up fakes white picket fences in front of the stage, and they had the kind of clunky, nine person horns-accordian-washboard-nylon-string-guitar self-consciously "ecclectic" thing going on. They weren't bad but they could've focused more on making the music better rather than making it wackier.

Our Lady of the Highway is fronted by Dominic, an old friend/former roommate of Tim. The band was good. I was expecting something a little rockabill-ier for some reason--not sure why. It's hard to describe the sound, definitely in the rock category but a little more introspective. Dominic tended to smile gleefully and execute these little jumps and dances which seemed totally incongrous with the music. He's be jumping up and down enthusiastically as if possessed by the demons of rock and roll buy would instead be playing this sweet little melody on his acoustic guitar. The love and joy for performing was evident and entirely natural with Dominic--and the whole band, actually--which stood in vivid contrast to the clunky stylings of the previous band.

The best part of the Our Lady performance, however: the drummer. Our Lady has a Chinese girl drummer who a.) was a great drummer and b.) could play the keyboards while drumming. She frequently got a amazingly beatific smile on her face while she was playing. Transcendent, it was. It rare to see that kind of joy anywhere.