Dance Music For Nerds

ahhh, well that makes it a little better
2/23/2005, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Frustrations, General, Politics, Spirituality

My dad just called me with a bit of news that made the Thompson suicide slightly more palpable, here is an excerpt from the AP article:

…said Thompson did not take his life “in a moment of haste or anger or despondency” but probably planned his suicide well in advance because of declining health. The author of books including “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was in pain from a host of problems that included a broken leg and a hip replacement.

“I think he made a conscious decision that he had an incredible run of 67 years, lived the way he wanted to, and wasn’t going to suffer the indignities of old age,” Brinkley said. “He was not going to let anybody dictate how he was going to die.”

Thompson had spent an intimate weekend with his son, daughter-in-law and young grandson, the spokesman said.

“He was trying to really bond and be close to the family” before his suicide, Brinkley said. “This was not just an act of irrationality. It was a very pre-planned act.”

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“…what about the doomed…”
2/21/2005, 6:30 am
Filed under: Frustrations, General, Politics, Spirituality

Hunter S. ThompsonSad, sad news this morning. Hunter S. Thompson is dead, an apparent suicide. I was probably the only kid in my mainly rural high school walking around with a copy of Generation of Swine : Gonzo Papers, Volume 2: Tales of Shame and Degredation in the ’80s in their book bag. His writings had a big influence on this developing teenager that has stayed with me throughout the years. One of my favorite pieces of writing is also one of his. He said he wrote it in one go after coming back from a ride:

The Edge
From The Closing Pages of “Hell’s Angels,” by
Hunter S. Thompson, 1967

Months later, when I rarely saw the Angels, I still had the legacy of the big machine – four hundred pounds of chrome and deep red noise to take out on the Coast Highway and cut loose at three in the morning, when all the cops were lurking over on 101. My first crash had wrecked the bike completely and it took several months to have it rebuilt. After that I decided to ride it differently: I would stop pushing my luck on curves, always wear a helmet and try to keep within range of the nearest speed limit…my insurance had already been cancelled and my driver’s licence was hanging by a thread.

So it was always at night, like a werewolf, that I would take the thing out for an honest run down the coast. I would start in Golden Gate Park, thinking only to run a few long curves to clear my head…but in a matter of minutes I’d be out at the beach with the sound of the engine in my ears, the surf booming up on the sea wall and a fine empty road stretching all the way down to Santa Cruz…not even a gas station in the whole seventy miles; the only public light along the way is an all-night diner down around Rockaway Beach.

There was no helmet on those nights, no speed limit, and no cooling it down on the curves. The momentary freedom of the park was like the one unlucky drink that shoves a wavering alcoholic off the wagon. I would come out of the park near the soccer field and pause for a moment at the stop sign wondering if I knew anyone parked out there on the midnight humping strip.

Then into first gear, forgetting the cars and letting the beast wind out … thirty-five, forty-five … then into second and wailing through the light at Lincoln Way, not worried about green or red signals, but only some other werewolf loony who might be pulling out, too slowly, to start his own run. Not many of these…and with three lanes in a wide curve, a bike coming hard has plenty of room to get around almost anything…then into third, the boomer gear, pushing seventy-five and the beginning of a windscream in the ears, a pressure on the eyeballs like diving into water off a high board.

Bent forward, far back on the seat, and a rigid grip on the handlebars as the bike starts jumping and wavering in the wind. Tail-lights far up ahead coming closer, faster, and suddenly – zaaapppp – going past and leaning down for a curve near the zoo, where the road swings out to sea.

The dunes are flatter here, and on windy days sand blows across the highway, piling up in thick rifts as deadly as any oil-slick…instant loss of control, a crashing, cartwheeling slide and maybe one of those two-inch notices in the paper the next day: `An unidentified motorcyclist was killed last night when he failed to negotiate a turn on Highway 1.’

Indeed…but no sand this time, so the lever goes up into fourth, and now there’s no sound except wind. Screw it all the way over, reach through the handlebars to raise the headlight beam, the needle leans down on a hundred, and wind-burned eyeballs strain to see down the centreline, trying to provide a margin for the reflexes.

But with the throttle screwed on, there is only the barest margin and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right…and that’s when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it…howling through a turn to the right, then to the left and down the long hill to Pacifica … letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge…. The Edge…. There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others – the living- are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.

But the edge is still Out there. Or maybe it’s In. The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place of definitions.

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Neglecting my poor website
2/20/2005, 11:34 am
Filed under: Geek-Out, Music, Social

I look at the date of the last post and cringe, I am such a bad “parent.” Let’s see what’s been going on…Christie performed in the Vagina Monologues last weekend on campus. It was my first time seeing the show and I really enjoyed it. I think everyone (especially every male) should see it at some point. The production at East Carolina was better than most from what I hear, as it was an actual production. I have many pictures and short clips up here.
Two days before the first show I took the GRE and did better than expected…hate to go around bragging (especially considering my unimpressive GPA) but I managed a perfect 800 on the Quantative portion and a respectable 690 on the Verbal. My hope is that this will make up for the aforementioned GPA.
The club night, Dance Music For Nerds is going very strong, and continues to amaze me. While looking at the stats for the site I see so many links from other peoples personal sites, people discussing it on forums, even people forming groups around it on some of the community websites. The best thing is that it’s something I started for fun. The little bit of money I get every week covers the expense of the website and promotional items…so, basically its free beer. But the fun of playing cool music that people actually dance to is great. It truly is something I have always wanted to do. Towards the end of my “rave” career I got the most enjoyment playing at art openings and coffee shops. Being able to play anything from Stereolab to Franz Liszt to Velvet Underground was the best. Though I do have to go a little more upbeat at this night (the word “dance” is in the title) it is still the same basic idea.
Now, I’ve got to go and do some homework and submit my Grad School application, wish me luck!

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Lethargy and Monday mornings
2/7/2005, 8:32 am
Filed under: Frustrations, Music, Social

Nothing much today, just an email I sent to my best friend. He and his wife moved away a couple of years ago. Daily drives to Warren’s hot dogs and discussions of trivial BS do not seem that important until they are gone….

Sitting in a coffeeshop trying to do some error analysis in Excel/Mathematica/Mathcad while Nick Drake is lamenting the sorrows of a poor boy. Thanks for the laptop and the great music. It is a mix of Thievery Corporation/Nick Drake/Thelonius Monk/Joao Gilberto on random in Winamp that keeps me going and drowns out all distractions. Sometimes I start to think to myself, “Fuck all of this bullshit.” I want to pack up all the clothes I can in a back pack, drive the Subaru until it stops and start all over flipping burgers at McDonalds. It would be nice if the town was small enough for me to become known as the crazy, curly haired white guy. I see a beard becoming a neccesity if this scenario plays out.

I will keep you up to date.


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Deja vu all over again
2/1/2005, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Frustrations, Politics

Well, this little tidbit was sent to me on the highest of high quality mailing lists, Plik-L big thanks to Mark:

“United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the
size of turnout in South Vietnam’s presidential election despite a
Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to
reports from Saigon, 83 percent of the 5.85 million registered voters
cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened
by the Vietcong. A successful election has long been seen as the
keystone in President Johnson’s policy of encouraging the growth of
constitutional processes in South Vietnam.”

– – Peter Grose, in a page 2 New York Times article titled, ‘U.S.
Encouraged by Vietnam Vote,’ September 4, 1967.

Once again another eery parallel which can be traced to the start. Forty plus years ago the Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed on the basis of faulty/misleading intelligence.

In the absence of independent journalism, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution — the closest thing there ever was to a declaration of war against North Vietnam — sailed through Congress on Aug. 7. (Two courageous senators, Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska, provided the only “no” votes.) The resolution authorized the president “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.”

The full article is available here.
Their is also an excellent commentary on NPR done by Walter Conkrite.

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