Saturday, May 19, 2012

Adventures in Solidtude, Mix #3

   When you're studying abroad or even when you're not, you'll have days when you just want time alone. Listen to your intuition. Take time to rest. Take naps. Go for solitary adventures. Don't be afraid to recharge your batteries. Your friends will still be there when you feel like socializing again, so in the meantime take it slow for a little while.

  Its all important, it all has to be. From the nights in to the raucous nights out on the town. Sweat exerted on a soccer field and sweat exerted over strenuous homework. Pinwheeling your arms on your dance floor to reading a book in your favourite chair at home. It all has a place, please don't despair.

                                        Adventures in Solitude

1)  Oh No! Oh My! - The Boy With the Anchor
2)  The Weakerthans - Aside
3)  Wilco - Born Alone
4)  OK GO - Hello My Treacherous Friends
5)  Okkervil River - Westfall
6)  Radiohead - Karma Police
7)  The New Pornographers - Adventures in Solitude
8)  Rilo Kiley - Silver Lining
9)  The Decemberists - Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect
10) Death Cab For Cutie - Bixby Canyon Bridge
11) Telekinesis! - Imaginary Friends
12) Lucky Boys Confusion - 18 Years
13) The Hold Steady - Killer Parties
14) The Dears - Ballad of Humankindness
15) Bruce Springsteen - My City of Ruins

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just Ring the Bell

 The streets were dark and vacant. By 4 AM even the most hardy of party-goers had sought refuge in quieter gatherings. For August, there was a certain odd crisp chill to the air. Jason glanced down to check his phone's GPS, which by now he was fairly certain must be wrong. It had told him to take 6 right turns in a row, which would have been fine had they not all been around the same block.

   Currently the screen confirmed that he had arrived at his final destination. Jason looked up only to see a set of non-descript brick apartments, cement stoops every few yards. There was no sign of, well a sign of any sort. He looked back to his phone, but now instead of a map with instructions there was a strange error message:

                     Error 394- It's too late to be out and about in the city, go to bed!

Then it promptly shut itself off with a beep, Jason laughed, really? cellphones that give parenting advice now? Good grief. It was a night full of strange messages, he flipped the business card out of his breast pocket that he gotten earlier in the night and checked for clues.

                                 Friendly Armoire's
                                    37 N Birmington
             The Red door between the third and fourth stoops
                               Just Ring the Bell

That seemed much more informative than he remembered. Before he swore it only had the name of the establishment and the address. Jason walked down North Birmington counting stoops; one, two, three, and there it was- a little red door with a buzzer beside it. He pressed the buzzer for a good five seconds, then waited. As he waited he thought not for the first time that becoming a collector of high end furniture had been an odd hobby choice. This piece and one more would complete the living room set, but what then?

   On the other side of the little red door there was a series of thumps, followed by a crash and whispered cursing. The door was opened by a man who seemed impossibly tall for the door's diminutive size. He was wearing a tailored suit and had cold grey eyes. "Your rang the bell.", more of a statement than a question.

    "Yes, I mailed about looking for a specific piece, I was told to come close to four, so here I am."

The tall man squinted, "But you rang the bell?"

                "The card said, 'Just ring the bell' so I did as it said"

"I will ask you just once more, so we are absolutely clear: you were the one who rang the bell and no one else?"

   " Yep, that would have been me", Jason replied, slightly exasperated.

   They entered a small hallway lined with candle-lit lamps. The hallway ended with a stone fireplace that was roaring and crackling. The tall-suited man stepped up to the fireplace and quietly said, "Floor three, please."

  The fire itself began to rise through the ceiling, a scorched elevator door was left in its place. The interior of the lift was singular. The walls were blue stainless steel, the ceiling was covered in an acid green shag carpet. For such a high end place, the proprietor sure had interesting taste, Jason thought. They began to descend, slowly lowering the two men underground.

   The blue box stopped its descent, opening its doors to a room with walls lined with massive aquarium tanks filled with exotic marine life. They walked towards the end of the room towards a cedar door that seemed utterly out of place, but honestly by now what would seem normal in this place?

  "Holy...! Was that a hammer-head shark?" Jason exclaimed

     "Perhaps, we recently lost track of the aquarium inventory." The tall man replied as he ushered Jason through the cedar door.

  "Thank you, Anderson, that will be all for now.", came the voice from a disheveled man from behind the desk. Anderson turned to leave, "Wait one moment, Anderson. Mr DuMay, I'm sure you're a tad tired at this late hour, I know I certainly am. How does coffee sound?"
                                                            "That sounds wonderful.", Jason assented

 "Two turkish brews, Anderson. Thank you" The tall man nodded than disappeared back through the cedar door.

    "I understand you're looking for a particular piece Mr. DuMay, looking at our catalogue we have five options for the piece you're looking for. Ahh, Anderson that was quite expedient, I don't know what I would do without you."

   Jason took the large cup of Turkish coffee and began to slurp the rich, caffeinated sludge. "Of the five options how many do you currently have in stock?"

    "Good question, let's see", he flipped through a large binder full of laminated pages that could only be the catalog, "As I search I have two things I should have cleared up earlier. First, I was rude and didn't introduce myself. I am Mr. Friendly, but you may call me Charles. Second I don't deal with most customers on this floor, but I had fallen asleep and had to rush to get ready. Usually guests only get to see the more demure fourth floor. Alright, we seem to have four in stock, I am willing to part with any of these three." Mr. Charles Friendly slid the catalog across the desk to Jason with three elegant armoires circled. One was pictured as four foot, white washed. The next: six foot, antique treated, three feet of depth. The last one had brass feet, five and half feet, with a holly exterior and glazed maple interior.

    "I will have to go with the last one." Jason laughed, "The brass feet make it absurdly perfect."

"Commendable choice, that piece was originally commissioned by a twelfth century Duke. I understand he cherished it greatly. And yes, the brass feet are an rare addition, I understand the Duke had an interesting sense of humor."

   "I like a piece with a rich history. Now, can we talk payment options?" Jason asked

"I'm afraid so far as payment options go, well I do not accept Visa, nor Mastercard, nor cheques. I used to do only cash like those mafioso gangsters on the other side of twon, but that started bringing in a certain undesirable group of clientele. You wrote me asking if I had a more unique class of armoires. But in writing to me I deduced that one of my associates had given you my informations. They would have only done that if you they had seen you as a trustworthy young man. Now, Mr. DuMay, are you a trustworthy young man?"

   "Well, I'm sitting here in the middle of the night in an office that seems a touch more fantastic than a Bond villain's lair and I'm clamly drinking rich Turkish coffee, its very good coffee by the way. What exactly did you have in mind Mr. Friendly?"

   "There is a man who owns a Van Gogh that has never been seen by the public that I would very much like to have. If you were to obtain the painting in the next few days, the absurdly brass footed piece would be yours."

  "Fair enough." Jason said shaking Charles Friendly's hand.


   That is how Jason DuMay came to be standing on a rooftop on 84th st. two nights later. He held a grappling hook in his right hand, the attached rope in his left. He hefted the grappling hook and swung it round and round, releasing at the top of the arc.  The three pronged metal hook lazily drifted over the street, alnding with a dull, metallic "clank" on the opposing roof. Jason pulled the rope taut and secured his end. "Here's to Van Gogh and high end furniture!", Jason muttered before sliding through the night.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Ben Folds Five

  I have enjoyed the music that Ben Folds has made for quite some time now, both in his band Ben Folds Five and alone just as himself. When I had a paper route years ago I would listen to my walkmen, playing certain CD's over and over ad infinitum like Rockin The Suburbs by Ben Folds, I would walk each block singing at the top of my lungs along to The Ascent of Stan, Annie Waits, and Zak and Sara. The song Philosophy by Ben Folds Five is one of my all time anthems, "Go ahead you can laugh all you want/Cuz I've got my philosophy".  And now Ben Folds has reunited with his old band to make a new album and do a reunion tour. The new record is due out sometime this summer or later this year, but the first song has been released and can be heard via the website Stereogum. The song is called "Do It Anyway" and is an ode to doing things even if they go against common sense, doing things just for the heck of it, doing things for the thrill of it. Its a plea, a declaration and a demand. The tune is filled with speedy jangly piano and fuzzy bass and it will leave your toe tapping and your head nodding if not banging by the end.

Do It Anyway by Ben Folds

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cut Me to the Core

Your ill-formed judgements
They truly
cut me
straight to the core,
every word flies like
spittle from you open mouth

Among the many things
that I am,
the titles I carry,
I certainly do not
fit the slanted description
which you sling
most carelessly
about my neck,

a noose
I will escape from
every single

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An Old Man´s Wager

  They sat atop their horses on the precipice of a cliff overlooking the entirety of the kingdom. To the far east the Jade waterfalls were just visible in the remaining dusk light. The ancient Duke had been pontificating about the history of the land or something along those lines, Cristina had tuned him out long ago. She decided to tune back in to make sure he had not become more exciting: ¨.....and that´s how the Jade falls got their name. I wouldn´t be too surprised if you were to fall in love by the end of this expedition....¨

   Everything seemed to be in dreary order. Wait! Fall in love? With him? What?

   *Ahem* ¨Did I per chance hear you say love, Duke?¨

¨That you did!¨ His greying eyes gleaming

      ¨Ugh! Er.. I mean to say isn´t that a tad presumptuous?¨ Cristina asked

The Duke turned to give Cristina a quizzical look, ¨Presumptuous? Well, perhaps, but I am no seer. It was simply an old man´s wager. If you are having misgivings about our expedition I am quite sure they will be alleviated in time¨

Surely he could not be serious? This was improper, completely and totally. ¨Duke, but what about our age difference? I feel like that will make things a challenge to say the least.¨

¨This trail relishes a good challenge and so do I! I have seen young and old, strong and infirm pass through this way. It was a very rare lass or laddie that did not succumb to the rugged charms of the trail.¨

By now Cristina´s ears were thoroughly pink. ¨Duke, I am having doubts, I´m not so certain I can continue on.¨

   ¨Oh, you´re just getting cold feet. Like I was saying as you were contemplating the clouds, I bet you´ll gorw to love the whole of this kingdom before out travels are through.¨, He laughed, ¨Besides, your services are desperately needed as you well know. Come on, we best be off before the red mood is full in the sky.¨ The Duke snapped his horse´s reins and took off at a sprint.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Falling Sick

You keep saying everyone's
falling sick around here, but
I don't see no dead bodies,
All I see is that 9 of diamonds
lying face-up on the sidewalk,
no I'm not quite sure what that means,
But I'll take it as a good sign
And don't wee need a few more good signs?
a pocket full of good luck is never too much,
Most of the time we've gotta make our own
You keep saying everyone's falling sick around here,
but I just keep trudging on
always trudging on

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sort of Like a Dream, No Better, Mix # 2

They call the first phase of experiences in another country the "honey-moon" phase. Everything seems new, wonderful, different. "Look a tree! Have you ever seen a tree so full of branches? So rich in blooming flowers?" is a sample of something you might hear form someone on the honey-moon phase. Its a ridiculous and wonderful experience.  A few weeks ago I gathered a bunch of songs that I felt captured that feeling, the feeling of everything being just a little more exciting than it is, wonderful and new.

Sort of Like a Dream, No Better

1) Cut Copy - Nobody Lost, Nobody Found
2) Architecture in Helsinki - Desert Island
3) Death Cab For Cutie - You Are a Tourist
4) Givers - Meantime
5) Generationals - Nobody Could Change Your Mind
6) M83 - Midnight City
7) Jeremy Messersmith - Knots
8) Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Alabama Pines
9)Okkervil River - One Soul Less On Your Fiery List
10) Ben Kweller - Sundress
11) Van Morrison - Tupelo Honey
12) The Broken West - Gwen, Now and Then
13) The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy
14) Sufjan Stevens - Predatory Wasps.....
15) Air France - Collapsing at Your Doorstep
16) Passion Pit - Moth's Wings
17) Foster the People - Warrent
18) Givers - Saw You First