Wednesday, December 28, 2005

just like a dream

so much has happened. i can't even comprehend it. but in a good way, like i know i am in the middle of something special and when i look back on this it will be an important chapter of my life.

went back to cape cod for a few days to celebrate x-mas with the fam. it felt like fucking florida the whole time i was there. it was such a relief to have a break from the sub-freezing snow bank of the past month. and i slept a lot.

it's nice to be back here though. all the anticipation and excitement of meeting a new person and getting to know them. all day adventure yesterday and i found myself in places that i never thought i would ever see.

i woke early again today, eager to live. there's no time to waste anymore.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

phone calls that remind you that you're alive

just talked to amanda m. on the phone and i everywhere i look i see madison. slowly putting the pieces together of that experience. trying to make sense of it all. those songs that defined a year, buzzing through my head. i miss places and people and smells. i want to visit the isthmus soon.

but it's another winter and i'm here. i feel more centered in the northeast. i want to travel this summer though and play music everywhere and see old friends and make new ones. i've been thinking about going to umass for grad school in the fall, but i'm not sure what function that would play. i don't want to do anything just for the sake of security. i just want to really go for it. as the newest fortune cookie message reads: "don't pursue happiness...create it."


Friday, December 16, 2005

winter arrives forever

things are looking up a bit. i have another interview with clamor this weekend about joining their publishing collective. also, i've been getting involved more with valley free radio--a new community radio station here. i have joined the station's labor collective and have spent the past couple fridays sitting on their "bread and roses" show. soon i will begin producing my own show on passions and survival. i'm pscyhed.

mailed out a couple mixed tapes today too. one to the bitch magazine headquarters and the other to a house in richmond, virginia. "no delivery confirmation necessary," i explained to the postal worker. it was strange mailing non-holiday related things amidst the chaos and insanity of this time of year. but i feel a nice sense of accomplishment and pleasure knowing that next week two of my friends will have good days because of me. the soundtrack to their winter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"if you want it...take it."

it's been a rough week (or two). every aspect of my life, from work to love to my house, has been challenging. but i'm not ready to give up now. i feel more determined than ever to create change. sometimes it's hard to be inspired when everything's just fine. we take shit for granted and we become bored and unhappy. my life seems to be crashing down on top of me but i am going to stand up and do something about it. here's a list in the spirit of this brilliant message (see title) from the fortune cookie at lunch today:

*write, write, write!
*create music
*self-educate (with others)
*read, read, read!
*appreciate the important people in my life
*build new connections
*find empowering paid work
*sell shit
*cook food
*try new things
*be assertive
*sleep well
*stay active
*be outspoken
*listen to others
*write letters
*bake goodies
*support friends
*push the limits

if you want it...

when i got out of work last night i told liz what happened with my boss. "sometimes i think about coming to visit you there," she told me. "but i don't want to see you like that. i want to see you dancing."

thanks for saving my life...again.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

ambition (part IV) and communication

i was just laying around feeling like i had no direction in my life. freaking out.

then jen angel called.

they are looking for another person to join the clamor magazine management collective. i had expressed interest so this was an interview of sorts. it would be a pretty awesome experience. they are speaking with 10 other people so we'll see what happens...
i use this space to (ocassionally) express (some) things that are on my mind. i make a point to not provide too much information out of fear that it will replace mutual communication with people in my life that i care about. so, if you're reading this and we haven't met for lunch in a while or if i haven't seen you in a few months or we should probably talk on the phone then it would make me happy if we could do those things together. i probably miss you.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

i'm just going to leave

there's too much to say. back at bard college for hannah's senior photography show. such an intense experience, as it always is returning to this place. there are still so many familiar faces; some that make me smile and others that make me want to look away. there's just so much history and social anxiety. but it was great to be back too. to see hannah (and her amazing photos) before she leaves this continent for good. to see the backdrop of the catskill mountains against the hudson river valley. those fucking mountains have so much meaning for me. i realized this today. seeing their beauty before the sun set and then again in a couple of hannah's photos. this is my personal psychogeography. this ridge etched into my consciousness like a dream from another world. or like the back of my left hand.

there's more to say. about my incredible adventure in new york city with liz. about vegetarian restaurants and subway lines and coffee. about diy music and seeing good friends and starting over. about sleeping on floors and busrides and cooking food. and how tragic love is when nothing seems to work out right.

sorry but i can't call you before i leave in the morning.
i just can't do this anymore.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

one year later

another thanksgiving has come and gone. it was the first time in three years that i've been in the northeast. i was able to return to the national day of mourning in plymouth. it was really powerful going there with sailor this time since she grew up on the west coast. it gave me a fresh perspective on the whole thing especially after cruising by plimouth plantation and all the rich white people spending their holiday there trying to maintain the mythology.

sometime, as amanda lewis once pointed out, it helps to consult the archives...

here's to another year.

Monday, November 21, 2005

happy motherf-ing birthday, and don't forget i love you.

another bus journey back to cape cod. this time to celebrate both my sister's and mother's birthdays. yes, both scorpios. friday morning we met sarah at the court house in hyannis we she pleaded not guilty to a speeding ticket from the national seashore in april. she still had to pay $100 buy they dropped the fines for not showing up to court after the notice was mailed to her old address. happy birthday, indeed. then we went out for breakfast just before the hearth n' kettle began serving lunch. she listened to the mixtape i made her on the way up to boston that night.

that night jared and i saw the new film about johnny cash, "i walk the line." i enjoyed it. he was expecting the man in black to be a little more wild and crazy and not just the standard drug-addicted rockstar that it portrayed. it was definitely well done. later on we ended up at the sea dog for kareoke night with a few other friends. so fucking weird. after a dozen oldies tunes sung by local oldies i got up there and rocked the house with "99 luftballoons." hell yeah. we moved on to rick's afterward where various nauset high school grads were wasting away. probably spent about a hundred seconds in there. so uncomfortable. i couldn't deal with being there all the time, navigating the cultural emptiness of the cod.

i spent saturday with my mom which was nice. made gramps' special pancakes for breakfast, went to the beach with the dog, made some amazing vegetarian lasagne, and watch part II of "no direction home" the new bob dylan documentary. i felt bad for leaving the morning of her birthday but i had to work at my shitty job. so yeah, i still felt bad but it was really good to spend time with her and i think she was just psyched to have me home.

now i'm back in northampton for a few days then i'll be going to the national day of mourning ceremonies in playmouth thursday before returning to the cape again.

and my friend who was going out to the midwest this week is going in january instead so i'll be able to go see all my madison people then! get ready...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

beyond the day to day

strive for something larger, something real for inspiration. bike across the country. fall in love with everyone. learn outside of academic institutions. fire your boss. cook your friends meals. watch the moon rise. send someone a letter. mean it. resist mediocrity. fight boredom. hug your enemies. kiss your friends. sing outloud. laugh. be impatient. make it happen...

Monday, November 07, 2005


this town is too small for anything beyond a whisper and i can't get any time off around thanksgiving so a wisconsin reunion will not take place after all as my boss suggests that the midwest seems like a scary place for a liberal to be but i'm not a fucking liberal and she doesn't understand the radical tradition of participatory democracy in madison and other midwestern towns so i will just stay in the northeast and do my thing with friends and families and birthdays and days of mourning and radio stations and mixtapes and missing people and missed connections and tragic romance and turning over new leaves before the old ones turn on all of us and the meteorological training wheels begin to give way and we learn again what it truly means to be cold.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

new era, new hopes

i find myself back in new hampshire where fall is beautiful and bright in its radiant colors. daylight savings and halloween pass and a new moon begins a new era. riding the bus, i read books about working on my day off. i know, i know.

there's a lot of good people in my life right now and things are beginning to make a little more sense again.

i think i'm going to the midwest the week of thanksgiving. perhaps i'll see you there...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

live danceable ideas against work

the past week has been the story of live music and inspiring ideas and the ongoing dilemma of working in a capitalist society.

despite the commercial venue and uber-masculine crowd, seeing jello biafra with the melvins was a pretty awesome experience. they played a bunch of old dead kennedys songs and seeing him sing those songs that have been so important to me for the past ten years just made my life make more sense on some level. oh, and they did a wesley willis cover. i kid you not. it ruled.

the following night we had a lovely gathering at my house with food and live music and lots of great people. billed as the "gentle jamboree" it was a fun time for all including some friends that came from out of town for the occassion. that night i returned to pearl street with liz and pooja to see broken social scene play. they rocked the lion's ass. such a good day. and now i have an amazing new mix to listen to non-stop. things are good. :)

on tuesday i went with a couple co-workers to see author and activist jonathan kozol's devasting critque of the apartheid of the the american educational system. he is so passionate about this stuff. it inspired me more than chomsky or zinn the week before. his call for taking serious risks, shaking things up and truly acting out your convictions really struck a chord with me. after taking with kate and vina about how fucked up our work environment is these sentiments made me want to change things there. it was so important and refreshing to commiserate with my fellow workers about the cafe. i have just felt so isolated there and it's good to know that everyone else hates our boss and is dealing with similar stuff too.

last night i saw the glorious mountain goats rock northampton's iron horse hall. another powerful experience. that guy is just such an amazing songwriter. afterwards we biked around the dormant night city singing his songs before crashing the basement dance party. these are the times.

this weekend: salem, then new york. happy halloween!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

but it's alright

things are closing in and i feel like there's more drama brewing right now than i have ever experienced before. i am becoming tangled up in the webs that i am weaving myself. but things are still pretty good. there's a lot of cool stuff happening here and it's keeping me going. just this month has seen: noam chomsky, howard zinn, jello biafra, the mountain goats, broken social scene, and others pass through this area.

and fun people visiting and walks through flooded pumpkin patches and farms and vineyards right in my back yard. and i'm excited about the potential for a radio show that i might do interview people from this community about following their passions in a capitalist society. and my bike is finally getting fixed. and halloween is soon. this is good.

7 weeks after the interview...

"Matt: thanks for taking the time to talk with us about the Online Organizer position at Free Press. After careful review of all of the applications for our Online Organizer position we have decided to re-advertise the position. We are seeking candidates with more directly relevant online community organizing work experience and, in particular, candidates who will help diversify our staff.

We wish you the best of luck in your search..."

so that's that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

it's more than money could ever buy

we write new birthdays songs to sing to our friends. this is the only present there is: the present.

browsing in a bookstore i learn that all that places i end up living in are considered "latte towns." coffeeshop class struggle every fucking morning. i am not new here, take your bread and leave. my grandmother asks when i will get a job, well, one that's not in a cafe. as if this is really what i want to be doing or that i am content with the wage/rent system that prevents so many of us from doing what we love to do. as if the reason that i don't like working at a cafe is because how it defines my status and how that reflects my family.

so & so he has a job
gets up at a certain time goes to a certain place
takes a lot of pride in his work
it's not what he would choose
just does it for the money...

would if we were all truly in control of our lives? would if we stopped following orders and started following our passions? let's fire our bosses and stop being spectators.

steal a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch.
make someone a mixtape.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

may all the old ways die

another month has begun and i find myself, once again, in a new apartment for the fourth time since i moved here in june. this should be more long-term though seeing that the lease runs through may and i have my own room with a door and everything!

so that's good.

a new month presents new possibilites. this is desperately important for me since things have not going so well lately. i need a spark, a new inspiration to get me going again. i just started playing music with some friends so that will be really good. it's amazing how many times music has saved my life. from mixtapes to shows it has the ability to help me transcend the bullshit of everyday life.

as i'm washing dishes at work i have a song in my head that makes me think of you...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

the vulnerability of autumn

after much time and effort i finally finished my article for toward freedom about you and the antiwar movement! read

the seasons are changing and everyone is freaking out. there is a unique vulernability abound when it starts to get colder. we have to equip ourselves with new, warmer clothes that haven't been worn in months. we add extra blankets or maybe find someone to cuddle with. if you don't have a car then all sorts of new challenges arise when you want to go anywhere. this is what it's all about, these urgent moments of transition when you are more aware of your basic needs.

there's more to say but now is not the time. i hope everyone is hanging in there.

Monday, September 26, 2005

a weekend of adventure

i'm tired after an amazing four day adventure. if i had stayed here i would have endured an unremarkable weekend of working--days like any other, emptied into the dustbin of my history. instead...i went down to dc for the national antiwar march there on saturday. before that i surprised various friends in new york city and a fun time there before heading to dc. friday night ben and i took the chinatown bus to baltimore, a city that i had passed through dozens of times but had never set foot in. we stayed there with a friend of ben's that was writing an article about the protest with him for the new standard. we drove right into dc the next morning and met up with tens of thousands people from all over the country to oppose the occupation of iraq. it was pretty awesome.

i left that night with some students from bard college. we got back there around 4 am and then i took a bus back to northampton yesterday just in time to see erik petersen rock out at the flywheel. so many moments packed into one weekend. if i wasn't so tired i would go into it more now, but basically it was really amazing.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the suspension of everyday life

Dear Rebecca Solnit,

How are you? We met in Madison earlier this year before our unsucessful
attempt to meet up around the SF Anarchist Bookfair. Perhaps another time...(If you are curious about my project that I wanted to interview you for check out my weblog)

I'm writing you now to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading you're new book "A Field Guide to Getting Lost" and to ask you if you have published anything about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. I began reading the book a couple days before the hurricane hit. A week before there was a brief, minor power outage in downtown Northampton, MA (where I am currently living) which inspired a conversation with a friend about these moments when our daily routines are interrupted. Naturally, I brought up your talk in Madison about crises and the suspension of everyday life and how, given the opportunity, humans will cooperate and get along fine without the
imposition of authority. One inspiring example of this, among the many you cited, was the blackout a few years in New York City. My friend commented that that's what anarchy is (not the "anarchy" the New York Times employs to describe chaos of recent events).

Then the hurricane hit and, at least in the media, we saw a very different situation. But I'm sure in between the cracks, outside the radar of the media industrial complex there have been countless stories of inspiration and hope in humanity to overcome such tragedy. This catastrophe is also obviously related to "A Field Guide..." with thousands of people from the Gulf Coast being displaced.

I'm very curious to hear your reflections about these events. If you have already written something on the subject could please send me a link or attachment? Thank you!


im on a foreign keyboard--but look at the harper's website for my initial commentary.

thanks for writing,


The Uses of Disaster
Notes on bad weather and good government

Posted on Friday, September 9, 2005. This essay on the relationship between disasters, authority, and our understanding of human nature went to press as Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The excerpt below is followed by a postscript, available only on the Web, that specifically addresses the disaster in New Orleans. Originally from a forthcoming issue of Harper's Magazine, October 2005. By Rebecca Solnit.

Monday, September 12, 2005

posters and uncertainty

writing from the smith college campus center, i feel more conscious of my gender now that the fall semester has begun. walking around campus i wonder if some students think i may be f to m. probably not.

as i walked down the stairs to where the computers are i was bombarded with a college poster sale spectacle. this makes me think about what my life would be like if i was travelling around the us of a right now selling posters to college students as i thought about doing for a while. all expenses paid and you get to scam tips off students who think you are a starving poster-salesman.

i'm happy where i am now, despite persistent uncertainty. i know where i'm living and working for the rest of the month but then it's up in the air. i've been thinking about what it would be like to feel really committed to a community and have a really secure situation somewhere. i think that's what i want now but i'm really up for anything.

yesterday i made sandwiches for kim gordon (of sonic youth fame) and jay mascis (from dinosaur jr.). this is such a strange town.

did i mention that i have my own bed now? ah....

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

labor day labor

labor day. a dusty artifact of american culture. a pseudo-holiday in a society which lacks a true class consciousness and understanding of labor history. a disneyfied may day devoid of any substance or radical tradition. but despite this, american laborers do get this day off from work...unless you are a retail or food industry wage-slave.

so on this first monday of september i, like millions of other working americans, went to work. happy labor day.

a customer asked my boss if we were all getting time and a half for our labor day labor. "shhhh!" she responded revealingly. "i heard that!" i replied from behind the sandwich-making station. $7.50 per hour>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

on top of all of this i started getting sick the night before and going into work was the last thing i wanted to do in the whole world. five minutes into my shift i was wiping the tables down with windex and a paper towel. i sprayed a table next to a woman who was reading and sipping a latte that found this action unacceptable to her comfort: "i am chemically sensitive so you shouldn't do that near me." i passively nodded my head and walked outside to check on the tables there. i should've just walked home.

i talked about making a t-shirt that read "i am working on labor day" with the back reading "your leisure is a product of my labor" but that probably wouldn't make people want to buy cupcakes. i sported alf instead (the sitcom puppet not the clandestine organization).

but this could be the last labor day i work. i had a job interview with free press today for an online organizer position. a living wage, benefits, and holidays (even the most ambiguous ones) off! cross your fingers kids...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

staying...for now

i'm living my life on a month-to-month basis. after passing up an opportunity to travel across the country with an extraordinary stranger, i recently decided to stay in the pioneer valley through september. today is september 1st. for the next month i will be living in an apartment in northampton that i just moved all of my belongings into, working at woodstar cafe and finishing my internship with class action. i also want to start writing/playing music with people in the area, make lots of stencils, bike everywhere, and take part in all the fun events that will be happening now that the colleges are back in action.

but october 1st is still a big question mark.

i'd like to stay in this area, and i probably will, but i really don't know what my life will look like at that point. i have an interview with free press next week about the online organizer position i applied for, so perhaps i will get that and will be able to start paying back my fucking student loans. we'll see...

for now, i'm here. staying...for now.

frameworks labeled home: part II

when you work part-time, occasionally you get 5 days off in a row. it's important to take advantage of this opportunity. so when i saw that i was not scheduled to work all week i made plans to go down to cape cod to see family and friends, relax and to put the aging summer into perspective.

when you hold on to your college id two years after graduation you can still get student discounts. a one-way bus ticket from northampton to boston is then reduced from $30 to $20. i got to hyannis by noon and met my mom and sister for lunch. then we walked down the street, through the crowded public beach and across the boundary of the so-called private beach. we were stared at by the elite privateers who have never seen a frozen cape cod in the winter months or it's desolation and peacefulness. we pretended to sleep to avoid their snooty wrath.

i had a really nice week at home. it's always good to go back there and put my whole life into perspective. seeing people and street names from my past, along with photographs and other memorablia of my personal history.

toward the end of the week i met up with corinna at nickerson state park, one mile from the house i grew up in, where she spent the week camping and taking a break from class action. on thursday we ended up at the land ho, a local watering hole that serves as a seasonal high school reunion venue for multiple generations of nauset high school graduates. i warned her that we would inevitably run into random people and as we arrived at the entrance i stopped and took a deep breath in preparation. opening the door we were greeted by two men. i recognized the one on the left as chris collins, wearing a land ho t-shirt, while the one next to him appeared to be much older. they both recognized me however and upon second inspection i realized that the older looking one was indeed mike murphy--class of 2000 and current town of chatham police officer. hadn't seen either of them since the late 90's. so weird.

we ate fried onion rings that, despite the exorbitant price had definitely not been prepared on the premises (or this hemisphere) as a mediocre bar band played loud enough to make one's throat sore from speaking over them. sarah's ex-boyfriend appeared next to us and he was utterly surprised when i tapped him on the shoulder and shook his hand. he lamented about his job moving furniture and the fact that the land ho bartender serves him up "the usual" before he can even make it to the bar. his gun-to-the-head motions made me pretty uncomfortable, but the interaction made me feel lucky that i didn't stay on the cape after high school or move back there permanently after college.

on friday night we went up to provincetown to see east coast tremors rock the squealing pig with their infectious brand of psycho surf. it was one of the rare dream-like moments in which disconnected people from my life are all in one space and i'm bouncing back and forth between them like a pinball. i left with a euphoric sensation of just being lucky to have so many great people in my life--even though i have to travel to see most of them. it was good to be home.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

wake up call

after a blissful friday night i was briefly awoken this morning by the faint sound of my phone ringing. but it was waaaay too early to (physically) answer it. who the fuck is calling me anyway? back to 9:30 am i wake up again, eyes open this time. but now i have the frightening realization that perhaps i was not scheduled to work at 3:00 pm today, but rather the opening 7:30 am shift! that's probably why my phone rang so damn early. i slowly grab my planner, open up to this week and stare at my ultimate (work-related) fear coming true: 7:30-2 in my signature hand writing.


this is not a good way to begin a summer day. i listen to the multiple messages left by co-workers and bosses. i call the cafe to sheepishly apologize and tell them that i'm on my way. "see you soon," my boss replies. when i arrive enter through the back door. my boss requests that i speak with her outside. shit, is this really my life right now? "what happened?........"well, i let everybody screw up once." once. my expendability is layed out and reinforced in those words. i put on my apron and begin washing dishes. standing over the sink i think back to the first dishwashing job i had...10 YEARS AGO.


i want more.

Monday, August 15, 2005

constellatory adventures

everywhere i go there is a coincidence waiting to greet me. life as constellation. everything thing revolves around the place where you began. everyone is related on some level.

in the next couple weeks i will figure out what i am doing. stay in northampton and work at the free press? go back to cape cod and figure shit out? stay here and figure shit out? go on a free cross country trip that a friend of a friend forwarded about widely? move anywhere? life as choose your own adventure book.

the thunderstorm and rain last night has changed everything. i can feel it in my bones. humid brutality has been washed away. we breathe again. tonight i will rock...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

room, bike, phone

i have a room now and a bike and a phone. the luxuries of 21st century life in america. i might stay in northampton if i can get a job at free press.

the summer has just begun. there seems to be more potential now. is it just the ability to cross rivers and call friends to ask about song titles? mobility. communication.

but september is creeping up...i need to quit the cafe soon. everyday i work seems like my first fucking day on the job. "good luck with everything," she condescends as the buttons on the cash register beep uncontrollably. fuck you. this is not what i am living for right now. i'm just here for the wage, tips and the occasional free food. my life aspirations are bigger than the little world you've created for yourself in your head where your lesiure depends on my exploitation. this is not what i am living for. good luck to YOU.

i have keys to the office and the night owls in the park across the street watch me type this. it's still summer. it's still summer. go swimming. make some stencils. stay up all night. drink cold water. live...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

early august medley

1.) homeless part II

walking down the street a man yelled out to me: "hey! dude with the dark sunglasses." he asked if i would be willing to donate a dollar to a charity for homeless people in the area. i hesitated, but then realized the weight of this request. i offered a dollar that i had received from tips at woodstar the night before. i told him that i didn't have a place to stay right now either and that i was sort of couchsurfing. he told me about how the church across the street has a place for folks to stay. i thanked him and told him that i have friends that will help me out and a potential home soon. "alright, i'll send a blessing up for you." i thanked him again and walked away as he discovered another guy with "dark sunglasses" who, from the hideous look on his face, did not appreciate having that pointed out to him. i walked thinking about everything, again confronted by my social privileges. most people who are truly homeless don't have the same options or resources as me. this is a situation of my own making that in actuality is just a nuisance, not an oppressive condition that i have to deal with for the rest of my life.

in fact, it will be over by the time that you even read this. i have been offered a room in a collective house in hadley and i am moving in tomorrow! the room is pink. the house is disbanding after the end of the month so it's temporary but it's cheap and amazing. so like i said before, i will be fine.

2.) no. i don't want to see you while you are in town this weekend.

i walk in defiance, trying not to make eye contact with cars as i walk around town. i look straight ahead or towards the tree tops so as not to seem defeated or as if i'm hiding from something. every fucking car that passes by is like a surviellance camera. i try to ignore it but it makes me even more of conscious of the possibility that i will be seen. this is bullshit. i slip up and look straight at the recently parked car. panic. my heart races and i begin walking faster. is my nightmare coming true? i walk around the corner without looking back...well, just once. i cross the street and i am free, for now. please leave...

3.) sleep-overs for survival.

thank you for letting me sleep in your bed. i feel like we've been friends all summer but i didn't even know your name when i got to your apartment thursday night. bodies traced on the porch with chalk like it's a crime scene as glass spins until the sun rises. this moment is rated PG-13 despite the suggestions, despite everything. i have to leave work early. a nap in the smith college campus center, newspaper at my side so it looks like i was just reading. i have keys to the office but the couches are too small. i have to wake up at 7:00 am so i return to your apartment before you leave for kareoke. thanks again for letting me sleep in your bed. you saved my life.

4.) i have a phone now.

please call me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

homeless in northampton

when you sleep
no one is homeless
when you sleep
you can't feel the hunger

-against me!

i left town monday night to escape the situation that i have created for myself. i had been planning on going to the mischief brew show in boston that night but my ride fell through. instead i found myself at my grandmother's house three towns away.

waiting for her to pick me up i decided that i would take a bus to new york city the next day. and i did. met up with jon and got to visit peter hart at fairness and accuaracy in reporting (fair) where i used to intern. i wanted to see griffin too but when i called her from the payphone at union square she answered...from albany. we missed each other by one day. after i hung the phone up the guy waiting to use it called me a "faggot." ah, new york. one day of summer filth baking in the sun was enough for me. i'm not sure if i really want to live there. of course if i found a rad job i would go for it, but we'll see...

took the fung wah bus to boston wednesday morning at 8am. arrived in boston to meet up with my mom for lunch. she's worried about me. my grandmother told her that i need new clothes. she thought i looked ill, like i lost weight in the past two weeks since she last saw me. i'm doing fine, i reassure her. met up with tyler at boston common and shot the shit amongst dogs the size of sport utilitiy vehicles. suv dogs for a supersized urban culture. boston is much cleaner than new york though and there's more trees. nick met us too and we walked and walked and walked looking for food. it was so great to hang out with those guys again.

i wish i could've stuck around longer. but of course i had to take another bus this morning back to northamtpon to work at woodstar cafe. the closing shift. so here i am, out of work. it's 80's night at diva's and i think i'm going... i'm just not sure where i'm sleeping tonight. but i'll figure out.

don't worry about me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

in the past week...

*i hung out with dave meek after his adventure in grenada.

*saw al burian and jessica hopper read at flywheel.

*realized that i sweep/mop floors left-handed.

*learned that i enjoy pulling weeds and watering plants.

*returned to the welfleet beachcomber to see east coast tremors.

*listened non-stop to old built to spill and pinhead gunpowder.

*took a 5 hour bus ride and then worked a 7 hour shift.

*was asked, "is this job working out for you?"

*danced my ass off to '90s music at the elevens.

*still haven't figured out where i'm living in the fall.

*...or next week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

show & movie

it was another day in which i woke up uncertain of what would happen--whether or not i would be able to do what i wanted to do. such is the life of a person without a phone or mode of transportation.

a monday show at flywheel that could've packed a huge hall in any large city: lightning bolt along with local legend thurston moore and his new side project the heavy creeps. a must-see show, indeed. it was scheduled for 8:00 pm and they meant it. by the time emily and i showed up it had been "sold out for a while." damn.

there were so many kids there and i realized how much i've missed all of that. everyone was all sweaty and gross because of the ridiculous humidity and heat. oh, and there's no air conditioning in the performace space. we did get to hang out in the air conditioned zine library room though while thurston's band played and everyone who got there on time suffered from the harsh conditions. i read an old copy of maximum rock n' roll from '92. the survey question of the month was: "would you fuck a punk over 30?" weird how the 17 year olds who were surveyed are the 30 year olds now. and how that will be me in 6 years. funny shit. there was also an ad for a "riot grrrl convention" in dc and i felt like i was flipping through a history book.

so...we left after all the sweat poured out of the room. instead of sticking around to partially experience lightning bolt's set we skipped out and drove to hadley to see the new charlie and the chocolate factory movie. i really enjoyed the book and original movie when i was younger so i was curious to check it out. it was fun but i did have a lot of issues with it. not just because johnny depp's willy wonka reminded us of michael jackson frollicking with the children through neverland. the whole oompa loompa subplot was pretty disturbing to me. i'm sorry but no silly song-and-dance number can make racist cultural imperialism cute. although i do appreciate the critique of greed and excess manifested in all the other spolied children.

i had a good night despite missing lightning bolt and everything.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

search for meaning

it seems like it all comes down to having some sort of meaning in one's life: a direction, a sense of purpose. looking back, it's so obvious that the happiest periods in my life consisted of this urgency of meaning. from big things like protesting an ensuing war to little things like having an old friend visit for a weekend; this is what keeps me going. the challenge is to create that meaning in every word spoken, every breath inhaled.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

labor puberty

i think i've figured out why i hate working so much. (besides the fundamentally warped logic of the capitalist wage economy) the underlying issue for me is manifested in the process of beginning a new job, getting trained. i feel scared, stupid, nervous and vulnerable. it brings me back to an earlier period in my life when i often felt insecure and socially inept. it's like puberty all over again.

i think a lot of people go through this when they start a new job but my problem is that sometimes that feeling doesn't ever completely go away. i continue to feel alienated from my work and these insecurities and fears linger. there's something dehumanizing about being trained in the most rote, menial tasks when i know that i could being doing something more intellectualy challenging that i would acutally enjoy.

but i get through the day knowing that this is a temporary situation. that something better awaits my near-future. as the operation ivy song continues:

...but i'll get out. i'll get out of here!

Monday, July 11, 2005

now i'm working just like everyone else

back in northampton after a wondeful vacation in maine.

started the internship at class action today.

tomorrow, i begin working at woodstar cafe.

now i just need to figure out what i'm doing this fall...

Thursday, June 30, 2005

turn around

it's all downhill from here
-the evens

it's amazing how quickly things can turn around sometimes. in the past 24 hours:

*i finally started a webpage for my
passions and survival project!
*figured out that i will be able to stay in
ocean park all of next week with family because:
*class action postponed my intern orientation until the following monday!
*i got a fucking job at woodstar cafe and it won't start until the day after that!
*i will get to visit
kelderberry while i'm in maine!
*twenty dollars magically appeared in the mail this morning!

can it get any better? my grandmother is picking me up tomorrow afternoon and i'm so excited to see my aunts and uncles and my mom and my sister too. i'm almost done reading
a language older than words and am looking forward to diving into my beach book that sarah gave me for my birthday.

okay, moment of excitement

Monday, June 27, 2005

job interviews and laundry

it's all about lying on job applications. i am soooooo experienced at everything. will you be my fake reference? what else can you do when a bachelor's degree can't you get you a job at a fucking ice cream shop? and we just repeat over and over again in our heads: "i am over-qualified. i am..."

haven't done laundry in a while so i'm down to my most offensive t-shirts. the ones that jon pawned off on me when we were roomates because he couldn't be seen in public wearing them: the brother inferior shirt with the man hanging from a noose against the backdrop of the american flag and on the back reads: And With The Guts Of The Last Priest Let Us Strangle The Last King So We Can Finally be The Land, or the atom and his package "go metric" shirt: Stick Your Foot up your Fucking Ass

oh yeah. but what do i do when she says my job interview is in one hour? i just grabbed the button-down short sleeve job that i sported at the party in florence friday night. and i shaved. ah, the adventures of employment...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

responsibilty not adventure

wake up it's time to get out of bed
you've been sleeping for a year
let's go to the post office
the weather's nice
we'll ride our bikes
-ghost mice

i woke up this morning not knowing where i would be tonight. i went down to raven used bookstore with three hard cover books to sell them. but $10 couldn't get me a bus ticket to brattleboro. as i write this there are dozens of people dancing their hearts out in that unitarian church. it looks like i'm not going to experience any of the plan it x fest shows this summer. and i can't accurately explain how devastated i am about this. but i'll get over it. i have seen defiance, ohio play 3 time already. if you do live in a city where the tour is passing through, please go and tell me how it is.

in a sense, it was really good that i didn't go to brattleboro. not just because i'm broke and didn't have a ride back or know the town at all, but because of something that occured an hour after the bus would have left...i got the internship at class action! woo hoo! so it wasn't a bad day after all.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

somewhere else

here i am again, desperately wishing i am somewhere that i am not. i decided to be responsible and not go to the allied media conference in bowling green, ohio but that's where my heart is right now. instead i'm just here, isolated, not spending money but not doing anything useful either. last night was the beginning of the plan-it-x fest at the amc. i just tried not to think about it too much.

i have a feeling that things will start to get better soon. i just need to take control of my life again.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

running downhill

the summer is on hold as i float, just waiting to hear back about jobs. ah, the powerlessness of selling one's labor. i wonder what it would be like to live in a society that is free of such worries. where everyone could freely cultivate and pursue their passions without worrying about the present cultural expectations or the economics of survival. how do we get there? reading derrick jensen's a language older than words, i came across a passage that deeply resonated with this dilemma:

"for nearly as long as i can remember, i've had the habit of asking people if they like their jobs. over the years, about 90 percent...have said no. as i sat bored those days at my computer, i began to wonder what the percentage means, both socially and personally. i wonder what it does to each of us to spend the majority of our waking hours doing things we'd rather not do, wishing we were outside or simply elsewhere, wishing we were reading, thinking, making love, sleeping, or simply having time to figure out who the hell we are and what the hell we're doing. we never have enough time to catch up--i never knew what that meant, but it always felt as though i were running downhill, my body falling faster than my legs could carry me--enough time to try to understand what we want to do with the so very few hours each of us are given."

yes. this is the struggle we are faced with: to figure out what we want to do and then try as hard as we possibly can to do it and make the most out of our lives. recently, i have spent some of the hours i have been given watching numerous episodes of the showtime series "the l word," and fucking around on the internet. i need to rediscover my inspiration and become more conscious of these limited hours, the precious time that i have to live the only life i have.

i am going to stop writing this and get to that...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

good and bad on the east coast

i'm back on the east coast and there's too much to say about the past week. way too much. i have learned a lot about myself and mistakes that i've made, personally and economically. the year is almost half over and it is time for a change. everything seems out of control right now and seemingly hopeless, but these are just obstacles that i can break through.

good things and bad things dueling...

1.) leaving all my favorites in madison. i miss you already...
2.) last minute packing and two hours of sleep before hitting the road.
3.) still owing money to my co-op house.
4.) arriving in cleveland and realizing that i left my bike in madison!
5.) did i mention that i'm completely broke?
6.) not being able to go to the allied media conference (see number 5).

1.) dessert potluck and outdoor seating at genna's when i should've been packing.
2.) seeing jo again after her 9 months in india!
3.) boca burgers at denny's (with hickory smoked sauce and onion rings).
4.) anne's mixtape about travelling, places, roads, leaving, etc.
5.) summer.
6.) publishing passion/survival interviews in future issues of toward freedom and clamor.

i'm on cape cod for the weekend to see my family. jared's surf guitar band, east coast tremors, is playing a show at "the beach break" saturday night and i'm gonna open for them and get payed a little bit! and maybe sell some copies of my new cd that david recorded. it will be good to see jared and everyone and tyler will be here for the weekend too. i'm psyched. i want to sell my ted williams bat too. can you smell the desperation?

i applied for a million jobs in northampton, but the only one i care about is a part time research internship at class action. hopefully something will work out.

i miss everyone. i don't have a phone anymore so send me an e-mail:

no goodbyes. only see you laters...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


my last few days in madison. this is it. what a strange, strange week it's been. sun rises and nonstop social-izing. i can't put down derrick jensen's words and the reality of my departure seems just as surreal as the events of the past week. the summer is afoot. don't lose the magic...

"the idea of north"
by defiance, ohio

the idea of north was frozen like some glacial ice, so large and imposing - but quickly thawed by words of secrecy and thoughts of northern lights and polar ice and things i can't quite understand. not some cardinal point on a map, but a feeling that takes me where i meekly stand - an idea so exciting that suddenly i'm not content with running wild and playing games with friends in streets of this old college town.

i wish i had a magic compass. to tell me that adulthood's corrupt and there's more to this world than that which meets the eye. it could tell you the truth but to read it, you'd have to leard for yourself the meaning. to meter means to measure, and measures are what i'm so afraid to take.

they say the powers of this world are very strong. that men and women are moved by tides much fiercer than you can imagine. that they sweep us up in their currents, icy waves - the most terrible of lies. could we be much bigger than this with no forces to force us to decide?

Monday, May 23, 2005

today, i woke up and...

less than two more weeks left in madison. last night was my final house meeting at friends' co-op. i'm really bittersweet about the whole thing. i'm going to miss a lot of people here and all the good things about madison, but i know this just isn't the place for me right now and i'm looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead.

i have a place to live for (part of) the summer! it's a beautiful one bedroom apartment in northampton. the woman subletting it went to smith and knows one of jo's friends so it all works out quite well. the search is over. august is up in the air for me, which i'm kind of excited about. i'll just see what happens. i really should settle down in the fall though....right? isn't that what i said a year ago?

anyway, this weekend was a lot of fun because rachel jacobs was in town with lemuria, from buffalo, ny, and the show on saturday was a blast. sunday was a day off from their tour so they hung out in madison. they got tofu scrambler (which apparently doesn't exist in buffalo) at monty's blue plate diner and then played frisbee i partcipated in the house workday. not exactly what i wanted to do on a gorgeous spring day. but then we all went to the aftershow for the mad rollin' dolls, madison's all-girl roller derby league, final bout. it was the most crowded i have ever seen the high noon saloon. screamin' cyn cyn and pons rocked the werewolf's ass.

it was a good weekend overall. so nice to see rachel again and catch up, and to meet the friendly lemuria kids. they were really cool and put on a fine live show. yay to new friends! i was sad to see them all leave today. back on the road toward davenport, iowa. i should've gone with.

Friday, May 20, 2005

gossiping about how great people are

i survived my stint as a temp-slave at the univeristy bookstore. the job itself wasn't so bad after that awful supervisor left me alone. but i was sick the whole time i worked there, coughing and sneezing all over the text books. it was one of the last places i wanted to be. but i survived.

this is partially due to a few amazing people who passed through town during this difficult moment in my life. first was david rovics, a political folk-singer from boston that i've known for several years and brought to bard college a few times. he played in madison just as i was starting my job and i got to interview him about following his passion as a full time job. hearing him play "minimum wage strike" brought me back to my senior year in high school when i first heard him play, but also deeply resonated with my current situation. he had no idea that i was in madison so after his performance at the memorial union terrace i tapped him on the shoulder and said, "hey." he was totally surprised and gave me a big hug. so nice to see him.

and then last thursday in the midst of the week from hell, peter linebaugh unexpectedly descended on madison. his wisdom and radical spirit provided me with the hope and perseverance to make it through the week. he reminded me that the most effective way to fight power is get together with other people and organize because you can't do it alone. peter continues to be an important mentor of mine and a true friend.

after working 6 days in a row, i enjoyed a much-needed day off on sunday. it was anne's birthday so we all went to the glass nickel and stuffed ourselves with delicious pizza. it was also the day of allison's graduation at the UW so her whole family came along too. before i left my house to celebrate with them i got a phone call from meredith informing me that she was in town from los angeles! she had written me a couple weeks ago to let me know she was gonna be around for a couple days later in the month, but i totally forgot. it was such a lovely surprise. meredith is one of the most wonderful people i know. she is a dear friend, an incredible conversationalist, and a radical, compassionate, musicologist visionary. i feel more hopeful about the state of the world when i remember that meredith is out there.

so, we met up that night after i returned from the glass nickel. walked down to michaelangelo's and drank tea until we were the last ones there and they were mopping the floor. unfortunately she had to leave the next day and i had to work, but we had lunch together on my break before saying goodbye. those brief moments that we share with people in our lives are so precious. you never know when you'll see each other again so you need to make the most of it. i hope that our paths cross again...soon.

so all of these special visitors helped me get through the week. and tomorrow i get to see another old friend from college. rachel jacobs is on tour playing her amazing acoustic songs and i'm setting up a show for her in madison! i can't wait. oh, and jo is back from india! yaaaay!

these are the moments.

Friday, May 13, 2005

small defeats, large visions

held like water in your shaking hands
are all the small defeats a day demands
10-6 or 9-5 trying, dying to survive
never knowing what survival means

i have spent most of my time this week with the likes of upton sinclair, virginia woolf, mark twain, max weber, juliet schor, and william shakespeare. although this sounds like great fun, it has been one of the most miserable weeks of my entire life. i fucking hate my job.

my time as a temp-worker sorting books at the university of wisconsin bookstore will end only a week and half after it began. i can't imagine doing it any longer. it's funny because i love books and i always enjoyed putting books away at rainbow bookstore cooperative on my volunteer shifts. but this is different. the university bookstore is a corporate factory surrounded by a much larger bureaucratic monster. it is a plantation of text books. thousands of students who are done with their spring semester courses are selling their books back this week. as the bookstore's temporary slaves we are responsible for sorting, alphabetizing and organizing the returned books. as the week progresses the space is closing in on itself, like a basement quickly filling up with water. all we can do is tread as hard as we can until we can't breathe anymore. then we leave.

the work itself actually is not that bad. i work at a pretty leisurely pace and i don't smell when i get home. it's the workplace that is oppressive. my supervisor is little rat named terry doyle. a small fish in ginormous chlorinated lake, trained to micro-manage us plankton that are temporarily floating below him. i don't do well with supervisors and their dubious mission to reinforce the myth that there is one correct way to do everything.

when i registered with the temp agency i decided that i would go by matthew; to assume a different name and identity for this strange, disjointed experience. "hi this is matthew dineen. do you have any work for me this week?" undercover, selling my labor...the ultimate alienation. i was introduced to terry doyle as matthew. when he approached me early in the week to assign me a "project" and accuse me of taking an extra break "at 10 of 3," he had forgotten my name. after uselessly speaking at me, without my acknowledgement, he finally submitted to requesting that i remind him what my name is. "matthew," i responded, still sorting books. "oh yeah, matt," he shot back. he's on to me. he reminds me that there are cameras. cameras. watching.

so, it sucks. but these kinds of experiences are important and stimulating. it has helped me put a lot of things into perspective. it has crystallized my politics and reinvigorated my commitment to particpatory democracy and collectively decision making. to creating a society where people truly have control over their lives. one that can cultivate lives worth living for. and i realize that i have it better than most of my fellow plankton. they are stuck in this temporary economy in madison, moving from job to job just to survive. some have families, some are alcoholics, everyone is miserable doing this work. by the end of the month i will be moving on with my life, away from madison and it's lakes (both real and metaphorical).

* * *

amidst my week of hell at the book plantation (and having a cold on top of it), i had a wonderful experience yesterday evening that helped me get through all of this. riding my bike to ambrosia co-op for dinner i discovered a very special person on the corner of state and w. johnson. seeing peter linebaugh, a professor and close comrade at bard college, standing on that corner was like biking through a dream. those ones with someone from your life that you haven't seen in a while because they mean a lot to you and you miss them.

there he was. visting madison from ann arbor, michigan with some students of his from the university of toledo. they were on a road trip researching landmarks relevant to the magna carta. it was cold here and they were going to camp, so i offered my house. we all hung out and engaged in stimulating conversation. mostly about how much my job sucks. and strategies of resistance.
they were grateful to have a warm, dry place to stay and i was excited to have the company. and peter showed his gratitude by donating a copy of his book to the friends' co-op library.

it was so good to see peter. we went to 2 degrees coffeeshop this morning before i went to work and they heading back. we hugged goodbye and he looked at me and said, "don't let the bastards get you down." that got me through the day. thanks peter.

i am gonna make it through this year
if it kills me

Saturday, May 07, 2005

working again

do we only need to keep working because it pays rent?

i started working again yesterday. i finally got a job through the temp agency. so, for the next couple weeks i will be sorting books alphabetically at the university of wisconsin bookstore. i'm a booksorter, an alphabetizer, a temporary wage-slave. i'm working again.

the thing about the job that i feared most was the red vest i was told i had to wear. at the end of the our group's tour through the bowels of the store the human resources manager brought us to the closet where the red vests live. "here they are." just before we tried them on, another university bookstore employee appeared, to inform her that the policy had changed. "they don't have to wear the red vests....well, unless they want to!" sigh. now i can just blend in and do my thing. no uniform. no name tag. And for some reason i have equated red vests with facial acne; as if they are related somehow or wearing the vest causes acne. so, no facial acne too.

i have the weekend off but will be working all next week. my manager, terry, who reminded me of a used-car salesman with a stutter, replied bluntly when i asked about the schedule for next week as i was leaving: "just show up."

Thursday, May 05, 2005

questions to ask

"in general, what direction do you think your life is heading?" i paused before answering her. my brain froze and i felt my heart collapse into my feet. this is the big question, right? the one that i've been obsessed with for the past couple years: what we do with our lives; how we live in this illogical society. so why was i drawing a blank? is it just this week of upheaval where everthing in my life seems uncertain?

i'll drown the urge for permanence and certainty...

what direction is my life going? i think i do know this. it was just that initial pause that sort of frightened me. that moment where nothing seemed to make sense. i want to take on the world with as much ambition as i can possibly create in my head:


the other question that tickled our minds that night seemed mundane, but in actuality is just as provocative and revealing: how do you feel about eating alone? the variety of responses this invoked made me realize how important this question is; how it can function as one of the most accurate measures of one's personality. so, what's your take on eating alone and why do you feel this way?

this is the most interesting question you can ask someone when you meet them.

Monday, May 02, 2005

snow in may?

may day was always such an important event when i was in college. the first of may: the history of workers' struggle and a current vision for a new society weighed down on me each year when i would run around the campus greeting everyone with, "happy may day!" it was such a special occasion. a time to celebrate the revolutionary spirit that was inside us.

yesterday was may day. for a brief period of time it snowed in madison. snow. in may. snow. it fucking snowed on may day. did i mention that i am leaving wisconsin soon?

the snow was something of a metaphor of my recent apathy. i didn't have the same intangible feeling that i usually do on this usually magical day. but i can't blame it on the snow. the snow was just symbolic for the way things have been recently.

that spirit is still there, inside of me. i just need to become inspired again, to get off my ass and do something. to stop the damn snow. i can see the light shining ahead...

happy (belated) may day.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

between here and now and then

madison is a revolving door. almost all of the friends i have made here have already left. richard and kate are leaving today. i had breakfast with them this morning before their greyhound ride into the future. they're not coming back. and i don't know when i'm gonna see them again because they're travelling around mexico and beyond this summer, then moving to chicago in the fall. i miss them already. but soon it will be my time to leave too.

*the politics of living for the future*
i think we all want to live in the present as much as possible, but sometimes the present doesn't look so good and the only way to get through it is by looking ahead. the potentiality of next year, next month, next week, tomorrow can provide much needed inspiration. i think, like most things, it's important to reach a balance. to appreciate the present moment while plotting future plans for hope. i don't want to feel completely alienated from my current reality or lost in the present without a forward vision.

recently it's felt like my body has been going through the motions in madison, functioning with the rest of the central time zone, while my heart and brain has been elsewhere--a future dimension in a different land; a different reality. this fracture has been challenging but it should help me appreciate the summer after i leave. i want to feel alive again and to be around the ones i love.

and we won't stop until we are the people
that we decided we should be
i want to be a shot heard 'round the world
fucking unstoppable
this distance is not something we'll regret
between here and now and then and forever
and days after that 'til the very end

Sunday, April 17, 2005

exit strategy

cough, cough, cough. writing songs in my head. temp-slavery awaits me this week and i need to get out of here. june couldn't come fast enough. my body is here but my heart is beating on the east coast of this giant land mass. all my friends have left or are leaving and everyday i ask why i am still in this strange college town. but it's not quite as drastic as it sounds because spring is here and that's what gets me through each day. but i'm getting pretty fucking impatient.

i want to run away and never look back.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


hey! today is my birthday. "april seventh"--those words still hold a magical meaning for me. all those birthday parties of my youth, all the memories come back when i hear them. it's my birthday.

growing older is weird. like how you can talk about how something was ten years ago and really remember it as if it happened last week. ten years ago i started playing punk rock and that's when my life began to change. ten years from now? scary.

i like the number 24 though. it fits me right now. and i like even numbers better in general. here's to an amazing year...

"People like you and I, though mortal of course like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live...[We] never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born."

Albert Einstein

Monday, March 21, 2005

goodbye winter. goodbye wisconsin.

goodbye for now, wisconsin. i'm leaving you for a week and half to play by the pacific ocean. i might miss you a little, but probably not. your lingering snow and frozen lakes are bringing me down. that shit better be melted when i come back to you. in return i'll make the sun stay out an hour later.

goodbye, wisconsin. i'll tell california you say hello.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

amelie equinox

things are looking up. a week from today i will be in california, escaping the winter despair. i can't wait to be back in the bay area and to see all of these amazing people that i care about so much.

when i return it will be spring. the days will be an hour longer and soon i can walk around outside in a t-shirt searching for adventures.

can you hear the accordian playing?
let's skip some stones together.

Friday, March 11, 2005

"we regret to inform you"

that's right. yesterday, the mail i had been waiting for this whole time i've been back in madison arrived. the envelope was light and after i reached that second sentence i yelped, "fuck!" and kim knew exactly what that meant as she read the newspaper at the kitchen table next to me.

so now what?

i'm more determined to dive into this project now because nothing is holding me back. i just need to overcome my crippling financial situation. i need to sell myself, somehow.

any ideas?


"Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness like a squirrel, for example--
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter: you must take it seriously,
so much so and to such a degree
that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
your back to the wall,
or else in a laboratory in your white coat and safety glasses,
you can die for people--
even for people whose faces you've never seen,
even though you know living is the most real,
the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees--
and not for your children, either,
but because although you fear death you don't believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier."

-Nazim Hikmet

Monday, March 07, 2005


did i mention that spring is the best time of the year? everything comes to life again after stagnant winter dormancy. the days are longer and we run around like bunnies.
birthday parties and the start of the baseball season. a buzz in the air.

springtime greeted madison by surprise the past couple days. it was amazing. boundless sunshine and warmth inspired bike rides and walks in the park. but as i have learned, this is a very transitory town. people come and go like no other place. go away for a week and half of your friends have moved to the west coast or fucking new york...

today spring left as soon as it arrived. the biting wind is back. the lakes are still frozen.


the past month i have been waiting, living outside of myself. but there is hope:

Letters to grant applicants informing them of the IAS Board's awarding decisionswere mailed yesterday. We will be posting information about grant recipients and their projects on our website very soon.
All my best,
Institute for Anarchist Studies

i will keep you posted.
spring is on its way.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


in between. anticipating.
i float through this present moment.
too mundane to be a rite of passage, i sleep-in everyday.

because i can.

redefining the meaning of work and love.
beyond jobs and relationships.
was it the chai

that prevented me from falling asleep last night?
or was it the urgency of these ideas?
curled up alone on saturday night, i read.
my room is messy but the moon is getting bigger,

so it will be clean soon.
this is the new puberty.

Monday, February 14, 2005

your heart is a muscle the size of your fist!

last valentine's day i attended a "dress-like-a-goth" party in boston. sat on the couch alone for hours watching goth-friendly movies, such as edward scissorhands and the crow on mute as bauhaus or some other such nonsense blared in the distance. i (ironically, okay!) wore black eyeliner and white face stuff, spiking my hair with gel. this year i'm looking for jobs, going to the post office and seeing freddy faggot play at the glass nickel tonight. oh yeah.

yesterday was:

*"porn in the morn" at madison's own bennet's smut & eggs with the chicago folks from saturday night's "rock and read" event where they read from their zines. it was my first time there and it lived up to all of my worst expectations. the aging waitresses were surprisingly (grand)motherly in a very comforting way. this, of course, was juxtaposed with cum-on-her-face money shots in slow-mo surrounding us above. and professional bowling on espn. so weird.

*interviewing anne elizabeth moore for my project at the electric earth cafe. she's awesome. got her own book published last year on radical media literacy for kids and she's also an editor at punk planet where she also runs their new publishing company. not mention all the other zines and articles she writes when she's not teaching media studies at columbia college and bringing down the american girl store. pheewwww! she is changing the world.

*having so much fun at a pre-valentine's day rock show with local legends charlemagne and my favorite madison band ric-rac-attack. it made me happy to be back. there were delicious cupcakes and i smashed one of the heart-shaped pinata's. yup, i'm a heart breaker.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

frozen lakes & pajama violence

do you think that i could pay my rent with freelance writing and nude modeling? is that legal?

yesterday i
walked on a lake. this may not seem strange to mid-westerners, but for me it was an exciting and slightly scary experience. i walked very carefully and slowly across lake mendota, beyond the shadows of the university of wisconsin. i reached the sun that was beading down on the solid ice and thin layer of snow. i stood there and marveled at this other planet and caught a nice glimpse of the capitol. then i walked back.

so, the pajama (dance) party last night at kristy dactyl's new apartment didn't go so well, despite delicious sushi rolls and cake. at around 1:00 am, a bunch of frat-bro's (apparently lured in by the olsen twin look-a-likes milling about outside) marched in to dactyl's apartment. they were not greeted very warmly since it was a small, private affair and so the fratties started throwing punches and breaking bottles. luckily i was in the other room watching people bust-a-move on the dance, dance revolution video game. i saw it all go down though and then the lights came on. everyone was in pajamas, mind you. the cops caught up with their getaway cab and then everyone who got beat up at the party went down to the station to identify the attackers. i felt bad for dactyl since it was her first party ever. it's a good story though.

earlier in the evening i attended a talk by anti-racism activist/theorist tim wise...
he ruled. it was just really inpiring. so after a couple hours of breaking down issues of privilege from a radical perspective it was perfect having these fuckers from frat row further fuel the fire. look out. look out....

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

back to the present

it's almost four o'clock pm, central time. i find myself back in madison, wisconsin at a computer in the university library. i am here. i'm back. it is very weird.

i haven't really spoken to anyone since i've been back. got in
at midnight on the van galder bus. i walked through the light snow up state street toward the blurry silhouette of the capitol. this was a strange experience.

when i was at bard college last week i was recalling what it felt like to return to campus after a break between semesters. you spend that time away remembering all the good things: your friends, favorite spots, and think about all the stuff you want to do when you get back. but this romanticized version always crumbled upon return. not that those things weren't there, it's just that they were floating around all this other shit that your tried to forget about. like how the first person you would see walking around was that asshole from your first year seminar that you tried to forget about, or biting into an uncooked piece of rice at kline commons. the messy stuff.

this is what was racing through my head as i walked home last night amidst drunken frat-boy-speak and shitty weather. is this the madison that i left two months ago?

when i reached my house i remembed that i had left my key inside. it took 2 rings of the doorbell for one of my 11(?) housemates to wake up and answer the door. "welcome back," jen muttered as she simultaneously opened the door and headed back up the stairs to bed. the kitchen was empty and dark, but i was greeted with lots of mail. some good, some garbage, some bad. since bria bailed on our subletting agreement i now owe friends' co-op over $600. sheeeit. if i don't pay half of this by tomorrow then i will be homeless. that's what the "5 day pay or quit notice" told me as i stood in front of the mailbox cubbies. i guess i need to get a fucking job, huh?

so so long to ten hour shifts and faking sympathies.
farewell to piles of bills, unpayed utilities.
all rolled up and unfurled like a flag.
wake up and pack your bag.

i have no regrets. the past two months has been amazing. i wouldn't trade all of these experiences for the entire planet. how could i have not done this. i had a craving for liberation and it tasted really, really good. and things will work out. this is just a small road bump.

valentine's day is next week. perhaps i could cash in on that weird phenomenon and try to climb out of debt. i could deliver roses or sing acoustic-punk-love-ditties to serenade anonymous crushes across this city. work in the valentine's industry: what a funny idea. i used to really enjoy the mid-winter ritual in elementary school when we would exchange valentines to our classmates and draw that big heart on the most suggestive message to our secret sweetheart. and lots of candy, of course. but by eighth grade things changed. that year, i walked down the hallway with a handmade "valentine's day sucks" sign tapped to my angsty, pubescent chest. now i feel ambivalent about this hallmark-holiday. i miss that magical feeling from elementary school, but i resent being forced to experience it by corporate culture. yeah, it would be hilarious if i got some sort of temporary job related to it though.


again, i really haven't talked to anyone here yet. said hi to jen as she turned for the stairs, and this afternoon i asked the girl working at the catacombs if they were still serving pesto pasta for lunch. she said yes. i gave her $3 and told her my name and then said thank you when i recieved my plate. those are the words that i have spoken in person here in the past 16 hours. it's nice to be back though. i'm back.

the inauguration was a funeral...

...but we had a party in the streets! indeed. we roamed around dc for hours creating songs like that. singing them to the cowboy hat, tuxedo, and/or furcoat totin' republicans. we sang "we're not gonna take it," while everyone stood in line for the counter-rally along the parade route. and "i believe in miracles" to some asshole wearing red-white-and-blue from head to toe waving an offensively large american flag at people with a shit-eatin' grin. he couldn't quite comprehend the irony of being called a "sexy thing." it was all captured on camera, by someone.

we had a blast, despite the implications of the next four years. it was a funeral for democracy but we sang the counter-eulogy, for a completely different world: one without inaugurations or presidents. and as the tear gas wafted toward the official parade we sang our hearts out and in that brief moment, we experienced this new world.

and we rock; because it's us against them
we found our own reasons to sing

Saturday, January 29, 2005

choose your own adventure (part 3)

now: J20 (inauguration day)

you go with the flow. it's 10:30 am now and everything began at 9:00 except for the rally for women's lives. to dupont circle! your group arrives for the end of the rally just in time to join the march. someone suggests that this gathering is all boring liberals and the real action is happening at malcom x park.

do you stick with the dupont circle march and try to shake things up (p.47) or head over to where "everyone else is" so you feel cooler(p.50)?

(p.47) part of this march is a funeral procession for the american soldiers that have died in iraq. people are carrying mock caskets draped in american flags. most of the people in this march are pretty quiet, but you decide to break out the bucket drum anyway and try to make things a bit more interesting. one of the students from bard brought a bullhorn so your group gets things going in a big way, with the "one! we are the people. two! a little bit louder. three..." chant as you and other protest-percussionists keep the beat alive. one of your wooden spoons breaks in half at the get-go though and you wish you had brought real drum sticks. half a spoon will suffice for now.

marching through the streets of dc feels good. you reach a square where other people are drumming like crazy. your group joins them except for one friend who decides to follow the black flags to the unpermitted black bloc march at logan circle. you join the raucous drum circle for a while, simultaneously dancing and banging the bucket. good times. 20 minutes later griffin gets a call from the black bloc march where fit has hit the shan. the cops predictably showed up in full force and are currently brutalizing the black clad comrades with pepper spray and good old fashion beatings.

do you stay at the hippy drum circle blissed out on drum beats (p.55) or meet up with the maimed black bloc folks who are escaping the melee (p.58)?

(p.58) on the way there you reach an intersection where some excellent street theater is being performed. an abu grahib-style prisoner, replete with black mask/robe, is standing on a milk crate with his arms extended at his sides. to the left and right of this prisoner stands two people from the bush administration (with over-sized cut out masks for identification) dancing and cheering.
all four of them are wearing matching "abu grahib fraternity" sweatshirts as a sound system plays classic rock n' roll songs and clips from "animal house." they begin chanting, "toga, toga, toga, toga! toga! toga! toga!" which turns into brutal sounds of torture, transitioned into the anthem "louie, louie"

dc is filled with supporters of bush as well. many of these republicans are wearing tuxedos, cowboy hats, and/or fur coats to make sure you know which side they are on. some of them walked through this intersection looking down at the street and sheilding their children's eyes from the visceral image of the prisoner abuse caused by their heroes. people can't argue with this powerful imagery.

the actual inaugural parade is about to begin. do you wait in line to join the rally along the parade route (p.63) or do you continue to roam freely through the streets of dc playing your drum and freestyling songs with your friends about all the cowboy hats, tuxedos and furcoats (p.68)?

*to be continued...

Friday, January 28, 2005

choose your own adventure (part 2)

it's now: january 19, 2005

you have had a lovely visit in new york city, but the inauguration is quickly approaching.

do you go down to dc today to see one of the greatest bands in the world (p.21) or wait until the day of the inauguration (p.24)?

(p.21) driving down in a carpool with students from bard college, the music is blasting and the gas and tolls are paid for by the school. you are happy, despite the snowy conditions and the existence of new jersey. after a long drive you finally reach the suburban maryland home where you are spending the night. the show downtown has already begun but your group must first figure out logistics for the big day. eventually you escape and griffin is the only other one coming along for the rock. when you reach the show there is good news and bad news: the best people in madison, wisconsin are there to greet you at the door, but they inform you that ghost mice has already played. there's another band from bloomington up next and then defiance, ohio. you haven't eaten all day so the tofu wrap and french fries melt in your mouth during the next band's set.

do you stay sitting at the counter (p.27) or dance your ass off to defiance, ohio (p.32)?

(p.32) the place is packed and it's hard to move or see anything. you and griffin slink through the crowd and end up in between the band and the bathroom line. perfect. they open with "bikes and bridges," the song that amanda lewis put on your mixtape. the whole place goes nuts and there's nowhere else in the world that you'd rather be than this amazing show with good friends and all the inspiration and hope to change the fucking world. it's cold outside but the night is hot.

returning to the house you make a bucket drum for the protest as others make signs to hold and after trying three different rooms you finally find a place to sleep...for a few hours. bush awaits.

do you wake up and leave early to make it to one of the rallies before the march (p.35) or just go with the flow and see what happens when you reach downtown (p.40)?

*to be continued...