Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"You haven't seen or heard the last of me. This isn't over. NO! Stop! That's my pencil sharpener! Take your hands off me. What are you doing?"



Chester Devonshire III.
Former Entertainment Correspondent for The Rant

Saying Goodbye to Chester


Everyone, it is with great sadness that I announce the departure of Chester Devonshire, The Rant's long time enertainment correspondent. Due to the tightening of our budget and economic forces beyond our control, we have been forced to let him go.
We wish Chester nothing but the best, a week before Christmas as he joins the masses of displaced workers crowding the doors of the local unemployment office. The sound of him nibbling away at his latest article will truly be missed by all of us here at the rant.

Blueberries or Botox?


These are the really important questions we have to ask ourselves as we age.
As a society we find ourselves constantly bombarded with images of the unattainable ideal of perfection. Every photo is meticulously airbrushed, every blemish and crow's foot miraculously erased. This used to be the case only for women, but men have found themselves standing at a cosmetic crossroad. We can thank marketing and advertising for this, but ultimately I blame the homos. I hate to pile more blame on the plates of a group who are constantly accused of being the cause of hurricanes, terrorist acts, and single-handedly unraveling the moral fiber of society. Oh and of course destroying the sanctity of marriage and ruining the once perfect American family.

Thanks homos. Thanks a lot. You needed hot airbrushed muscular tan asses for your brochure promoting South beach and now we have to choose between injection botulism into our faces or having our skin stretched so tight we look like Chinese alien babies (see Michael Jackson)

Anyway, I digress.
If you happen to find yourself a little older today, perhaps feeling as worn out as a hooker in Tijuana after a marathon donkey show, then there is hope for you. There's no need to cover your sagging bag of bones in a full-body gauze tent. You just need to eat some blueberries and it will all be better.
Here's a link to a WebMD article about aging gracefully....
Bye Bye Botox and hello Blueberries
.

If we had a big budget..


We would have hired Willard Scott to do a weather report that would probably read something like the biblical book of revelations. You know, the one with locusts and the moon turning to blood and the sea boiling. It afterall is snowing in Las Vegas and Malibu and it was almost 70 degrees in New York this week. After Willard finished his weather report, we would have him give a shout-out to those people who are 127 years old and crusty, hanging on for dear life on a wing and a prayer while they gum their tapioca, and he'd say something like this.

"Today Jason Swanson in Brooklyn New York is 30 years young. He still gets around without a cane and manages to eat solid food. He likes to drink wine and smoke menthol cigarettes, which is the secret to his astounding longevity. Here's wishing Jason many more years with his original teeth and hips"

But since we don't have a big budget, we couldn't get Willard Scott. We can always dream.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quote of the day


"Sadness is just happiness for deep people"


-Sally Sparrow
(Doctor Who, the new series: Season 3, Episode: "Blink")

Typhoid Mary would like to retract her statement


Last week, after a meal of Empanada's at the newly opened location for Empanada Joe's on 22nd street, I became very ill with what I thought for sure was food poisoning. I have discovered over the course of the last few days as those around me have fallen ill , condemned to a similar fate of toilet hugging, that I was too quick to conclude food poisoning to be the source of my harrowing experience.

It is rare that I remove a post from this blog. However, in this case, I feel it is necessary to prevent any unfair criticism of Empanada Joes. I afterall did enjoy the food that I had there and it was reasonably priced. It is important to be able to admit when one has made a mistake, and in this case I have concluded that I was wrong.
I whole heartedly apologize to the folks over at Empanada Joes and wish them all the best with their new location.

That being said, Please everyone be aware that there is a highly contagious virus that can be spread with very little physical contact. (see here) I rode the train with poor Carrie Thomas on Thursday and on Friday night, she found herself bowing to the porcelain god.

On Saturday evening, Konstantine also fell to his knees and bowed his head in the confessional known as Jason and Simon's bathroom.

I sign this post typhoid Mary, admittedly wrong...but ultimately just happy to eat solid food again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Solid Food=A beautiful thing

Slowly I am venturing back to solid food.
Tentatively I can say that it is a good thing.
I'm such a foodie. I love to cook, to eat.
I may not have empanadas for a long time but I plan on relishing this weekend in the splendors of solid food once again.

Ricky...Thank you for the kind wishes. They seem to have worked. :)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Duct Tape Version 2.0


I recently "finished" a demo for a song called duct tape and superglue. Actually a few people seperately said that this is a song they could hear in a movie soundtrack. It's an interesting thing to hear about a song. I've never thought "soundtrack" for my path to "success." oh and I really love using quotation marks today. Picture me making them with my fingers while raising my eyebrows.

Anyway, The thing is. The song has felt a bit sluggish to me...and a bit long. Despite hours of work, I made the decision to rerecord the song at 7 beats per minute faster. Actually at 6.001 bpm's faster. I know this is an oddly precise and illogical increase in tempo. who increases the speed of something by .001? Apparently, I do.

Yesterday I finished rerecording the lead vocal and I have to say that I am glad I decided to tackle redoing this track. It is going quickly and smoothly and soon to be done. I can't wait to share this song. It is truly a piece of my heart. appropriate to the title I took a few of the elements from the original version and taped them and glued them to this new version.

Duct Tape 2.0 or maybe it is version 1.0001

First Things First

As previously mentioned in an earlier posting, I'm absolutely gaga for the music of Patrick Watson. Lately, it is what I have been listening to about 80% of the time I have allowed other people's music to enter my head.

Here is a beutiful example of Patrick as a live performer. This melts me at the core of my soul.


What do you think?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jazz Hands



For some time now I have found myself mired in the muck of the world's many problems. I've been searching for a conclusion, a solution that was right in front of me.

All we really need to save this economy, to save this planet, to save this country, to save ourselves...

Jazz Hands

Friday, November 14, 2008

What Would Liberace Do?



I'll tell you what He'd do? He'd fight for your rights bitches, with a candleabra in one hand and a picket sign in the other. He'd blind them with a rhinestone cape reflecting to glorious sun that shines on all god's children.

So, do it for Liberace. Let's get up off our collective asses and show this nation that relious belief should not govern social policy.

It's time to fight for our rights.

Join me THIS SATURDAY Nov. 15th at 1:30 PM EST for a nationwide protest of Proposition 8. Stand up and march for the people who can be fired just for being gay, for the couples who are seperated because their marriages are not counted by the INS, for each and every homo who pays equal taxes but does not have equal rights. Let's show them that we care enough to stand up.

Get info on a protest near you
www.jointheimpact.com

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Nov. 4th


Today I find myself in an odd state. I am tired beyond words.
Je suis trop fatigué pour les mots. I will start with a confession, something that I generally keep very quiet because it enrages some people and starts long drawn out conversations with no resolution, conversations for which I have distaste and which I have already had before.

Before this week, I have never voted.
I know it is my right, my civic duty, but honestly I have always felt and still to a great degree believe that the system is broken. If we didn't learn this in the 2000 election, then learning anything may be a hopeless cause. The electoral college is a system set up by rich white men who wanted a safeguard should the results of the election not meet their liking...regardless I've had this conversation before. I will not go into the details of my reasons for protesting a very non-democratic system for many years.

I am tired beyond words because I was restless on Monday night. I felt so tense. I stopped in the middle of the street in soho to call K. A homeless man standing 10 feet away began ranting in my direction about how white people are going to be exterminated from this planet like the disease that they are. I pretended I did not hear him, and walked away. I couldn't fall asleep that night. I think I fell asleep around midnight or 1am. I got up at 5:30 in the morning on Tuesday. Mind you, I am not a morning person. I seem to see everything in double vision until the clock strikes noon and two cups of coffee have churned away in my empty stomach threatening to bring a future self-induced problem with acid reflux. I'm sure there's a drug for that, a purple or blue or pink pill. There's a pill for everything.

You are probably wondering why I was up at 5:30 or maybe you're clever and know the answer. It's all the rage and all the buzz. Black is the new white. As a person who happens to be gay in a predominantly carribean neighborhood, I find that the word minority has a special meaning. It's all about where you are standing. Plop me on the upper east side and I'm an economic minority. Plop me in a sports bar and I'm a "social" minority. Plop me in any church and I'm a religious minorty. I am a card carrying member of a native tribe. I look white as a sheet but don't let it fool you. Plop me on an indian reservation and I am an ethnic minority even though I share bloodlines with the people. Plop me in a "whitebread" town and I have a supressed desire to put on war paint, do a rain dance, scalp my enemy...no I kid and scalping can be traced to Mexicans. It is not a tradition of native culture. Push anyone far enough though and you better hold onto your hair.

At 6 in the morning I found myself in a line of people that wrapped around the block. Beaming smiles were painted on their faces. There was a sense of excitement, an energy that was palpable and electric. Parents with children took pictures with cellphone cameras. Most of the crowd were caribean americans/african americans, speckles of white like myself, all of us knowing that we were voting for the first black president, a pretty big deal. Though, honestly I don't think of Obama as black. He's half white, raised by a white woman in Hawaii. Much of being black in america is cultural. It is a shared experience that goes back to africa, crowded unsanitary boats, whips, chains, songs ripped from the soul, marching, death, rebirth, collared greens, the art of intriquite hair braiding, and the beating of a distant drum that you can hear if you listen hard enough. people kept coming, the line kept growing and growing. after an hour I was still in line, now double in size, almost triple. As I got closer, I began to get more and more excited, my heart beating like a hammer against my chest.

There was a woman who voted right before me. She had to be 80. She had a man holding her up on one side and a cane on the other side. She was glowing, an old african american woman who was voting in an historic election.

When it came to my turn, I stood in front of a closed curtain. Apparently the curtains are supposed to open, but mine was broken. There were no instructions or anything. I looked at the woman who was a volunteer in the process and said.

"What do I do?"

A girl behind me laughed. The woman smiled and told me to pull the lever, vote and then pull the lever back the other way...not the most eloquent or detailed of instructions but enough to get me where I needed to go.

When I pulled that lever, I felt like I had pulled down on a slot machine that was spitting out gold. It was like an electoral orgasm. My whole body tingled with power and satisfaction...uh huh. god it felt so good. I voted for the skinny man with the floppy ears and ooh did it ever feel like big ol' slice of pecan pie with whipped creme and sprinkles. mmmmm hmmm.

That evening K and I were sipping wine from a cheap bottle that tasted a little better than cheap, watching the results. When they called the election for Obama, we both started chearing and clapping. We heard yelling, clapping chearing in other apartments, people in the halls yelling OBAMA! We grabbed egg shakers and our Obama sign and took to the streets. People flooded the sidewalks and the streets, holding signs, banners, wearing t-shirts and buttons...hooting hollaring. Screaming. Cars slowed down honking, people hanging out the side, people drumming, dancing, playing music out their windows. We went to the bar right around the corner and the bartender who is our neighbor began pouring shots and handing them to everyone. We all raised our glasses together, cheering.

I mistakenly called my family. They are a group of conservative christian McCain supporters. I sometimes forget the pervasiveness of lies in negative campaigning and how they can seep into people's heads. I cannot repeat some of what came out of the mouths of my family members most noteably my sister. It absolutely horrifies me. Racist things, idiotic, crazy things. between coming down from this great historic victory and grappling with the evil discriminatory propositions that were passed in California, Florida, Arizona and Arkansas, I have found myself in a place of one who has had a sugar rush, bouncing off the walls and now everything has crashed a bit.

Last night, I went to visit my friend Beverly. Last week I was supposed to help her set up her cellphone. When I arrived at her building she was in the lobby holding a towel covered in blood, blood gushing out of her mouth, choking on her own blood. I had her doorman get in touch with her son. I rode in an ambulance with her to St. Vincent's hospital, truly the waiting room to purgatory. They managed to stop her bleeding and cauterized a broken blood vessel in her nose. Her son arrived and it was odd to look at him. He looked so much like his father, Norman Mailer, a notable writer who died earlier this year. Beverly had been involved in a love affair with jazz musician Miles Davis, but left him for Norman, became his 2nd wife and gave him two sons. She was a model on the price is right many many years ago and has acted in multipe movies, plays and commercials. She is full of so many stories. There are tales of spain and Hemmingway and of a New York that isn't here anymore. She is a special woman with a touch of southern charm and a dash of crazy...two elements I have as well.

Beverly seemed to be on the mend but still recovering. I helped her put some numbers into her new cellphone and show her how it works. I rushed from Beverly's to Mr. Dennehy's for the Leonard Cohen tribute night. K was waiting there for me. On my way I got into a heated discussion with my mother over the election. She preached doom and gloom, the coming apocolypse, her misguided view that Obama is a socialist and things bordering on racist....actually not bordering...truly racist. I became disgusted, angry. I said something with proceeded by the word *Fucking* and hung up on my mother. Oh my god. I hung up on my mother. She called back. I didn't answer. She called back. I didn't answer. She left a voicemail.

I called her back to explain that I was upset and horrified by what was coming out of her mouth. She apologized. I suggested reinstating our moratoreum on political discussions. She said it was not necessary. I love my mother deeply, but I am still horrified at the inherent racism of my family.

As a child the dreaded "N word" was used in our house. I had to train my parents, to tell them that it was offensive and not acceptable to me. The word disappeared, but I guess it is hard for some people to shake their surroundings. I carry the mud of radical christain hate which has been smeared on me like some coat of paint that might make me right. I don't know if it will ever wash off.

My parents have come a long way. I know they love me, but they think I am misguided and living in sin. They don't speak it, but I know it is there. I said that I wanted to spend christmas with K.. Instead of inviting him my mother made up a lame excuse about how there is not enough room in their house, of course meaning that K and I would have to sleep in the same bed, a horrible sin in the eyes of god for them. A part of me wants to cut ties with my family at times. It goes in waves. They love me. I love them. That's good and all, but they do not fully accept me for who I am. At times, it makes me feel like they are ashamed of me or embarrased of me.

It has been 12 years since my parents found out that I am gay. I knew long before that. I made out with my first boy in the 3rd grade. It felt innocent and natural. I hadn't learned yet that to some people I was stepping down the slippery slope to a heathen lifestyle. I live in a country which claims to be free yet has the highest per capita population of people incarcerated of any industrialized nation, a place where I cannot marry the man I love and have equal protection under the law. This election was an amazing powerful thing. I do think that people want change and that there is a renewed sense of hope in a new direction, but this nation is by no means free or equal. Gay people are second class citizens who are tollerated. There are not seperate water fountains or seperate seats on the bus, but we are not equal. Until every man and woman in this country has equal rights. This nation is not free. There is not freedom for all in my america. I hope that is the next thing to change.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bowing down to the greatness of Leonard Cohen


The day after the big election, next Wednesday, I will be performing as part of a night of tribute to the music of Leonard Cohen.
Come one, come all. It's a free show and if You don't know Leonard Cohen's music then you are missing some amazing poetry.

I will be reading from the novel Beautiful Losers and singing my version of Famous Blue Raincoat.

Boo

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Are French Children on Acid?

Our trip to Montreal has evoked a fascination with the French language and a desire to learn it. In my quest I have come across many interesting websites, podcasts and online tools for learning French. By far, the most interesting and most twisted is a children's show called Telechat. Well, Actually it's a tie between Telechat and LĂ©guman. I shall let you be the judge.

I am now convinced that French children are on acid.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Knots in my stomach



Photo by Robert German of The Illuminated Crowd Statue Downtown Montreal, Quebec

It is a day that ties knots in my stomach
and drags my heart across the floor.
I am waiting for the call,
waiting to rush to your side.
to hold enough of your weight for you to walk through the door.
ready for the water to pour from your eyes.

I am here,
two feet tapping
Two shoulders with years of experience
collecting tears.

They are yours to soak today.
I will hold you if you need it
cook you soup
tap dance.

I will try my best. I am here, waiting for your call
stomach tied in knots with thoughts
of all that is to come
and all that's come undone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Robert Recommends: Patrick Watson


Close To Paradise
by
Patrick Watson


While visiting Montreal we stayed with our friend Matheiu who much like myself is very passionate about music.





One artist in particular by the name of Patrick Watson caught my ear.

His music is unique, fun and full of whimsy with vocalization and production that touch upon the voices of Jeff Buckley and Chris Martin(Coldplay) and production elements of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and again,Coldplay. The fusion of these sounds treats the listeners ears to something uniquely breathtaking, full of ear candy and angst.

I highly recommend this current album on my playlist.

Get it from iTunes.

Back in NY

I am back in New York and adjusting to the change of pace, the change of scale, the change of language.

There is something so romantic about montreal.
It has seeped into my skin. My ears are full of music
and French words whose meanings I have yet to discover.

I wrote a silly little song about a convenience store called Couche-tard.

There are stories and images coming soon as I collect the thoughts in my head.
after the 11 hour train ride, I am still in recovery, though I must say the beauty from the window of the train was paralyzing.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Vacation of sorts


I feel fortunate and very blessed to have some of the most amazing and giving friends. Though I don't get to see many of them as much as I would like, I have been given the opportunity to meet some really sweet, talented and warm people in my travels and in my life. I would like take a moment to say thank you... to Ricky for the letters,the help with the studio, and being one of my biggest cheerleaders. Recently you have helped me to find a renewed sense of purpose...to George for everything, more than I can even say. Of course, Sanford, who I will get to see tonight.
I will do my best to do you all proud.

So, I am very excited...something that almost never happens is happening.
I almost never get the opportunity to take vacations really with the exception of visiting Mr. Carpentier's beach house in Delaware during the summer...and that is not too shabby. Rehoboth is a beautiful magical town. If you walk two blocks from Mr. Carpentier's house and cross the highway, you will find yourself in a soccer field. Walk through the soccer field to the row of trees, cross the dirt road and you will find yourself at the swing sets. If I am visiting then you will probably find Mr. Carpentier and I swinging. It is good to hold onto part of being a child, to still see parts of the world through those hopeful eyes.

This time tomorrow, K and I will be in Vermont visiting our friend Chris and mountain biking. We arrive at what I've been told is the peak of the turning leaves. Chris has been kind enough to let us stay with him and also managed to borrow some bikes for us to use. See, this is what I am talking about, so sweet.

On Friday, we are taking a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to Montreal to visit friends. Matheiu has been kind enough to offer us a place to stay in his apartment. His roomate who I have not met is out of town for the weekend and has kindly loaned us her room and bed.

I have never been to Montreal, but I hear that it is amazing. It is the 2nd largest French speaking city in the world next to Paris. This will be the first time I have left the country in over 6 years. I am so excited to see what waits in store for us on this little adventure. I will try to take some pictures and document the journey as I am able.

I must say it is strange to be traveling and not doing a show. I don't travel generally unless I can also book a show. I did almost book something in Montreal, but unfortunately it was too short of notice to make it happen.

Well, I am packed. Laura is staying in the apartment to watch the cat.
Deep breath...Away we go

9 to 5


Something rather alarming happened over the weekend. For many this wouldn't seem alarming, but for me, well, it's a different story. We ran out of beans in the cupboard. I being a crazy stockpiler of canned goods and former grocery store employee, maintain my cupboard like a grocery shelf. As soon as I buy a can of beans, it goes behind the previous cans so that the oldest can is at the front and will be grabbed first. This is something we called "Rotating Shelves" in my previous life.

Being aware of shelf rotation when shopping, I pull cans off the shelf and buy the cans at the back knowing that they are the freshest. I do the same with milk and almost everything I buy, digging until I find the items with the latest expiration dates.
These neurotic behaviors most specifically the stockpiling have been brought into question in the past. With slightly raised eyebrow and subtle smiles, my boyfriend looks at me with that adoring look given only to one capable of coupling with someone as neurotic as my self.

We went to the corner store to put a bandaid on the situation and buy a few cans of beans only to discover that the beans were marked at 95 cents a can. I was shocked. 95 cents a can, really? I thought for sure someone dyslexic must have just started working at the grocery store, switching the 9 to a 5 and vice versa. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Upon visiting another store I discovered an outrageous bean price of $1.29 a can, I accepted the sad state of affairs with a tinge of regret. If only I had bought more cans of beans 6 months ago when they were 59 cents a can. It's amazing that the price of beans, a staple of my poor man's diet has doubled in less than a year.

I hate buying dried beans, but it looks like I will now be stockpiling dry beans in mason jars.

As a child, I remember being at my grandparent's house on their farm in Oklahoma. They had this walk-in pantry with enough food to survive for months without going to the store. Something about it always creaped me out because half the labels were faded and tinted a shade of green. The brands were some I had never heard of and I even think perhaps some of those cans had been placed in the cupboard during the 1st great depression. We find ourselves on the brink of a possible second great depression. My grandmother, having been forced to move to California during the dustbowl (see grapes of wrath aka her life story) has been preparing all her life for a second great depression. Knowing it was only a matter of time, she has been patiently building her reserves.

I live a world away in New York. I was born into the commercial excess of the 1980's and the proliferation of Public relations and marketing to the masses. I was part of the MTV generation but grew up in a town that didn't have MTV. I didn't even see MTV until it had morphed into the epicenter of reality television, a plague that has swallowed popular culture and vomitted out people like Paris Hilton, Clay Aiken, and a heard of forgettable ladder climbers clinging to their five to fifteen minutes of fame. Despite the distance in time, space and generation, like my grandmother I find myself stockpiling canned goods, building my reserves and preparing for some sort of tragedy. Sometimes I wonder if this makes my cynical, practical, crazy or all of the above. No matter what it means, instinctively, like a squirrel burying nuts, I forage through the isles of grocery stores looking for choice nuts to bury until some sort of winter brings hunger. It is impulse. It is instinct. It is what needs to be done. The urgency for which this task holds in my conciousness is ever growing. It is this urgency which scares me most.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Courtesy of Mr. Carpentier


Here is the redesign for the American Dollar. ;)

My Man+ My MOW MOW


Yes, I know. It's cheesy, but I couldn't resist sharing this photo I took last night.

Starving Artists Live in the Ghetto



There is something kind of amazing about this photo of our cat, Sheba. It was taken from the large gap under the front door to our apartment. Being a very affectionate and sometimes needy cat, Sheba waits by the door when we are not home, listening for the jingling of keys or the sound of approaching foot traffic. As soon as the door is opened she attaches herself to your leg demanding attention. I guess her time as an alley cat without close human contact has made her a bit of an affection junky. Aren't we all though really? Sometimes she will literally climb my back and stand on my shoulder, rubbing her face against mine. I've never known a cat so gentle and loving. She sleeps in bed curled at my feet or around K's head.

I've been fighting off a bit of a cold and as though she could sense that I was not feeling well, she slept curled at my chest.
I think there is a fear with having a cat that it might lead to having two cats, three cats, thirty cats. Hello crazy cat lady. They find you dead after a week with an overturned cup of herbal tea surrounded by cats and filth, stacked newspapers dating back to 1953 reaching towards the ceiling like stalagmites.

I've been thinking a lot about our neighborhood lately. It's been changing. When I moved here over a year ago, it felt like an act of bravery. I had lived on people's sofas for over a year, traveling by bus, train, plane and car to shows on the weekends. The main thing that drew me in was the very low rent, very low. Artists, musicians, painters, sculptors, writers are often poor. We put a lot of our money and the money we make back into what drives us, the need to create. Many of us die poor. Some of us get acclaim or respect, but that really doesn't feed you. We find ourselves lost in this battle between the need to make money, to literally put bread on the table and the desire to create something we believe in, unaltered by the need to make money. Often though, the commercial side takes over and taints the art. The music that was once just an acoustic guitar or piano and a voice becomes electronic techno beats and diminished lyrical content, provocative for the sake of drawing attention and unaware of what once made it special. It is the trap of art as a career, one of which I am all too conscious.

I did a show out of state one really cold winter evening at this little bar in a really cute neighborhood, opening for a Canadian musician named Erika who I'd met at an open Mic. After the show, I was approached by someone who came to see me perform and told me how much my music meant to him. I was deeply touched. He then told me of how he was so excited that he burned copies of my cd for friends so that they would listen. I just smiled but inside I found myself torn. On one hand I wanted as many people to hear my music as possible, but on the other I wanted to be compensated for all the work I had put into the album. It got me thinking down this course of a grocery store. Most people would not go into a grocery store and shove cans of beans in their pockets, nor would they go to a music store for that matter and shove cds in their pockets.

It is an unfortunate and fortunate reality, this digital age that we live in. We find our music, our art traveling to places we never imagined, Japan, Russia, Argentina....how amazing is that? Often though, the music finds its way to those far reaches through illegal downloads and the burning of cd's among friends. So, essentially it is shoved into pockets or ears in this case without a trip to the register. Is illegal downloading the modern shoplifting or is it a free mode of promotion and publicity? I think it is a bit of both. Many musicians have resolved themselves to the fact that a lot of their money must be made through doing shows and yet venues that were once plentiful and open to an array of art have been drying up. I wonder if they are also victims of the digital age. People are attached to their devices and connected in a million ways and yet it seems to have led to less people leaving their homes. They can have their groceries, their clothing, their music, movies and just about anything delivered right to their door. Some people telecommute, working at home on their laptops....Is there a reason to leave their homes at all?

So back to our neighborhood.... When I moved to the neighborhood it was a predominantly caribbean neighborhood and in many aspects still is. There is a cycle that happens with urban gentrification. The poor artist move into a neighborhood along with the lesbians and homos. Yes, homos. They take an otherwise "undesirable" area and seeing the potential, move in. Landlords see the potential for asking more money for rent, so they fix things up a bit....next, the friends of the artists see the cheap rent and feel ok about moving into the area since their homo artist friends are living there and haven't been stabbed in the eye yet. The only problem is that once you get a bunch of white people in a neighborhood, they want their Starbucks and the GAP and an assortment of little stores and restuarants. Yes, White people are spoiled and a little needy. I'm white so I can say that. They want everything to be cute. Little boutiques open catering to the new crowd. Soon, however the neighborhood becomes "desirable" and the floodgates open. Luxury condos pop up everywhere along with Starbucks, the Gap, and and assortment of banks and sushi restaurants. Rents go through the roof and the poor artists are forced to move away from the neighborhood. BTW, they demolished the building behind our apartment and are turning it into a 20 story luxury condo building with the first two floors being used for commercial purposes. It is a glass and steel structure that will block out the sunlight. It will be architecturally out of place for the neighborhood and about 15 stories taller than almost all the surrounding buildings. The end is nigh.

This is the cycle as I've seen it happen before. It is starting in our neighborhood. I fear it. I like the caribbean flavor, the interesting spices at the vegetable market across the street. The one thing I don't like is the gap under our door, but there is some give and take one must accept when pioneering a neighborhood where the buildings border on or were previously slums.
I don't shop at starbucks. I prefer the local coffee shop with its slow lines and inconsistent service. I shop at salvation army and used clothing stores most of the time. I have never purchased anything from the gap. Ironically though, I being a white homo artist am both the cause and the victim of this gentrification. A part of me feels guilty. I love my neighbors. It truly is a neighborhood. I miss my cracked out neighbor James who used to blast his stereo into the street and sit on the stoop shirtless drinking beer out of a paper bag. I'd much rather have the flavor of my neighborhood than a crummy overroasted starbucks coffee...any day.



Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sarah Palin can suck it.

I don't hate gay people. One of my best friends is gay. Oh, I don't have a problem with the sinful choices people make for their own lives, like homosexuality. Of course they will burn in hell for eternity, but hey...did you know that I can see Russia from my house?

Sarah Palin....YOU CAN SUCK IT!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blessed

I am blessed to have one of the sweetest most talented boyfriends in the world.
I have spent a lot of time focused on what I want to do with my life, my dreams,
my ideas, songs...my my my...oh me.

We humans are selfish creatures by nature. I think it is important sometimes to step away and not let that overtake us. It is ever so easy to give in.

I am glowing. I am beeming with pride...not pride for myself but pride for my boyfriend, konstantine. I have watched him over the last few months so focused and dedicated to his role in Here Lies Henry.

I had never seen him act, so a part of me was worried. What if I didn't like the performance? What would I say? I'm a terrible liar.

I must say however, that Henry is a great liar. Here LIES Henry was amazing. It exceeded my expectations and it crushed my fears. I am blessed to not only have one or the sweetest most talented boyfriends in the world but also someone who is my biggest cheerleader. I find that now, I am the cheerleader, standing on the sidelines watching him make a touchdown and I am jumping up and down, frantically waving my pom poms. Thank You K for being you. I couldn't imagine a person with whom I would rather share my life.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

David Letterman=Brilliant

John McCain was scheduled to appear on David Letterman's program, but canceled at the last minute to save the country from economic ruin. haha.
I have to say that I think David Letterman is brilliant.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here Lies Henry (this Friday & Saturday)



Hey everyone,

I am very pleased to announce that Here Lies Henry, the one man show starring Konstantine Malakos (my very adorable boyfriend) opens this Friday for a limited two show run.
I did the sound design for the show, so it is an exciting new endeavor and I would love to see all of you there....Lotsa Love ---->R

Fri and Sat. (Sept. 26th-27th)
8pm
Drama Book Shop Arthur Seelen Theater
250 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018
(Tickets at door if still available)

Ticket Price Info:
$15.00
$12.00 Student (w/ID)
Order Tickets By Phone:
212-352-3101
866-811-4111(toll free)

or through Theatermania's Website

Buy Tickets Online

Thursday, September 18, 2008

T-Shirt of the Day



Brilliant. I think I may need to get one of these vulagar T's.

My first cooking show...sorta

I am a foodie at heart. Last night I was cooking black bean quesadillas, a new favorite recipe I've been working on. I make them with chipotle peppers, freshly made achote oil(extra virgin olive oil + Achote), freshly cut cilantro, diced onion, bell peppers, pressed garlic, chili powder, garlic powder, a little salt and black pepper. These ingredients + extra sharp cheddar cheese are sandwiched between two tortillas and cooked to crispy perfection in a pan with Achote oil, which gives the quesadillas a beautuful golden color. Oh, they are soooo good.

On the subject of food, here's a little video with some great information on how to prepare and cook fish from "a Chef at Large" in Hong Kong. Turn up the volume around the 5:11 for a little surprise.

A Chef At Large- Episode 6 "Go Fish"


Friday, September 12, 2008

Where's that chicken been?



Do you ever ask yourself that question? I often find myself looking at cutlets, legs and various dismembered chicken parts stacked in the grocery store meat department, wondering if I can trust that the nature of their previous whereabouts is on the up and up.

Just last night Konstantine and I were led by our neighbor Emma to a new discovery, a place called Western Beef. It's this cross between a warehouse and a regular grocery store. They had cans of beans the size of my head. By nature I stockpile canned goods, readying myself for the next nuclear holocaust or great depression. The really cool or weird thing depending on your perspective is the back of the store. They have a meat area that you must go through double doors to enter. The entire area is a giant refrigerator and by the time we had gathered our meat goods and were ready to leave, I was shivering and on the borderline of hypothermia.

We got home and sorted our bulk meat purchases. We tend to divide the meat into seperate bags and freeze them for later thawing. Our freezer is a meat locker in its own right. Yes, perhaps I've got a bit of midwestern crazy in me. When we were sorting the chicken breasts I found myself in that same suspicious place of wondering....Where's that chicken been? I want stores to start including a note with names, histories and any information that might pertain to my chicken before I lay down the cash.

This leg belongs to Henrietta. She lived a long happy life on a small farm in Ohio where she was fed nothing put premium seed to supplement her free range diet of grubs and wild grass. She died peacefully in her sleep. She is survived by her sister Eloise, a rooster charles and her 200 children. Fried, baked or boiled, she's sure to be a delicious flavor to whatever dish you add her.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Flocks of Paper

snow covered balcony in brooklyn
Flocks of Paper
flipping through the air like birds
little burnt edges falling like broken wings
we closed all the windows and chainsmoked
pretending the smell was from our cigarettes

next day flags waving, so many flags
reminiscent of black and white images of Germany
off to war with a fishy smell in the air

Seven years of war
people disappearing in the night
people with brown skin whisked away for questioning
by men with white skin
never heard from again
torture
murder
lies, lies, lies
death of freedom
death of liberty
death of young men hoping only to pay for a college education
in a failing economy
failing foreign policy
failing war

prices growing
jobs disappearing
cities and flesh have burned
History repeats itself
what have we learned?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fiber, your friend and mine



Think of your digestive system as a race track and the food you eat as a runner.
Your toilet is the finish line.
Enter your friend and mine, fiber.
Fiber is like giving that runner a pill of speed or a shot of meth(without the scary sunken face and scabs).
That runner is gonna jet to the finish line in record time.
In essence, that runner is gonna win the race.

I've recently begun to eat a salad every day for lunch.
It's just one of the small efforts that one can make in the quest for a more perfect and balanced existence.
As you grow older or quit smoking cigarettes, your digestion slows. If you haven't noticed, old people
can sometimes seem to be obsessed with the speed of their digestion.
You can get ahead of the game today, by adding both soluble and insoluble fiber to your diet.

Now you might be asking yourself "What is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?"
Well, Billy or Suzie or Sally or Frank, that's a mighty good question.

"Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. They are therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact."(From Gloria Tsang, RD)

So, why fiber? Why should you do it? Well, here's what the American Heart Association has to say about it...

"When eaten regularly as part of a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, soluble fiber has been associated with increased diet quality and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Soluble or viscous fibers modestly reduce LDL cholesterol beyond levels achieved by a diet low in saturated and trans fatty acids and cholesterol alone. Oats have the highest proportion of soluble fiber of any grain. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp.

Insoluble fiber has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk and slower progression of cardiovascular disease in high-risk individuals. Dietary fiber may promote satiety by slowing gastric emptying, leading to an overall decrease in calorie intake. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, wheat cereals, wheat bran, rye, rice, barley, most other grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower and apple skin."(AHA)

Fiber is a wonderous thing. The AHA has barely touched upon the splendors that you will find from a diet rich in fiber.

This is a public service announcement brought to you by all of us at the rant...and by all of us, I mean me.. and by me, I mean the crazy person who refers to me as us. Hold that thought. I need to run to the restroom.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bravo John McCain



I am not a big fan of John McCain, his policies or his party, but I have to give it to him. He is excellent in his role as colonel Tigh on Battlestar Galactica. It's also great to see that John McCain has been able to appreciate the experience that his costar Mary McDonnell has gained from playing Laura Roslin,leading the 12 colonies after the occupation of Caprica. Her years of experience playing a fictional president on a science fiction television show make her ready from day 1 to lead this country. She is the perfect pick for the VP slot.

I couldn't pull myself away from Battlestar Galatica on DVD last night to watch the Republican National Convention. John McCain and Mary McDonnell are just that good.

Jubblies


I first became familiar with Wanda Wisdom & Lucky Bitch Radio
back in late 2006 when I did an interview for the progrum.
I have since become a regular listener to the podcast.
A combination of thought provoking and just plain silly,
it puts a smile on my face to listen.

So, on Sunday, as part of an ongoing discussion regardng jubblies,
I threw together a song called Jubblies and
sent it over to Wanda wisdom.
Recorded in my bedroom over the course of 2 hours
this is just pure silliness.

I highly recommend you check out her progrum
and not just because jubblies is the opening song for this edition,
but because I think you'll find that it might just
lighten your day a bit and provoke your mind to churn.

(Check it out)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One man's shit is another man's fetish

hmm, that doesn't sound quite right. Maybe I should stick with the one man's trash is another man's treasure version of this adage. Regardless, I give this simple phrase to you, Mr. S in Vermont, yes you. There are a few special people strategically place around the globe who have the distinction of being my sounding boards. I send them little clips, demos and unfinished, unmastered versions of songs. I have a hard time keeping a lid on it, I guess, so I trust that these people will listen and do what I'm unable to do, keep it to myself.

Mr Sanford has been kind enough to take a hard listen to a few tracks from the new album. Recently I received a phone message from the illusive Vermont man whose next trip to NYC is long overdue. The voicemail appeared to be a followup to his previous email where he seemed to have taken a very strong liking to the song, Throw that box. However this time around I was informed that one Mr. S could not wrap his head around Mamma Don't Like No Chocolate. I know. It's not for everyone. In fact one person told me that the title alone might foster suspicions of racism when coupled with my last name, German and my pasty white skin.

Music is a marvelous and splendid little thing. There are songs of mine that I think are on the weaker side that others praise and fawn over. Then there are the songs that I think are genius and other people think are silly or just don't get. Sometimes a hammer is a necessary tool as a musician. Sometimes a feather will do just nicely. Sometimes people mistake a hammer for a feather and what was meant to be a gentle caress can send an innocent nipple to the emergency room. Sometimes it's not a feather or a hammer but rather candle wax or cookies and cream ice cream. Sometimes my words are only meant to be understood by a few people who are "in the know."

I feel blessed to have sounding boards. I can't please you all, but if I had more arms, I would try. I'll please you where I can and just have to accept that I may fall short of the mark at times. In the end I've just got to do what needs to be done to complete the tasks at hand whether they be songs or sinking into the carpet and talking to god, while deciding whether I am going to cry or laugh for the devil.

next up.....God in the telephone book.

Life is short

Tell the people who are dear to you how much they mean to you.
Show kindness to a stranger.
Believe in yourself and the impact you can have on others.
Follow your dreams.
Encourage the dreams of others.
Laugh so loud that people stare at you like you're crazy.
Dance awkwardly and unashamedly embrace your age and lack of hipness.
Ignore images in magazines and commercials. They have personal trainers, photoshop, and their only job is to be beautiful.
Accept your body. Nourish it.
Dance around your living room in your underwear while playing cheesy music
(that you'd never let your friends know you enjoy.)
Open your window during a thunderstorm and scream at the top of your lungs
feel the blood course through your chest and your veins.
Smile until your face creases.
Ignore the existence of Botox.
Don't worry too much about what others think.
Life is short.
Live.

Meth=Death (part 2)

See more Kristin Chenoweth videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Don't you just want to pinch his cheeks?



Ok, seriously, Aussie diver Matthew Mitcham is absolutely adorable.
On top of that, he is a shining example and role model for little gay boys
everywhere. Yes, You can be openly gay and win a gold medal in the olympics.

Meth=Death



In case you haven't heard, these two dashing young men were
arrested in connection to a possible assassination attempt on presumptive democratic nominee, Barack Obaama. Meth really does equal death, and if you can't handle looking this lovely, then I highly suggest you stear clear of it.

These dear readers are the poster children for the Rant's anti-drug campaign.

Monday, August 25, 2008

She will crush you with her Vagina


Look what crawled out of the rift! (nerdy Torchwood reference)
Madonna kicked off her world tour in Cardiff Wales, and by the looks of these pictures, she will crush you with her killer vagina. Listen, I'm all for fitness and keeping the crusty old body toned and tight, but there is a point when it's too much.

Please dear queen of pop, back away from the thigh master and give those lady muscles a rest...and for the love of god, quit flashing your crotch. Yes, It's a lovely crotch for a 50 year old woman, but I don't even wanna see a 20 year old woman's crotch, let alone one that has been worked to the brink and back. Thank you and god save the queen.

Friday, August 22, 2008

S.O.B. (It's hard to let go sometimes)

I have to learn to let go.
I have such a hard time releasing people from my life
who have hurt me deeply.
I hold onto them.
I mostly forgive them but
hold onto this kernel of pain and resentment.
Why do I forgive them and why shouldn't I?

There are only a handful of people for whom I have written songs.
Recently following the passage of time, I suddenly felt compelled to
send one of these songs to the man who inspired it.
That song was S.O.B., The title track from my first album.

Though I know this is a hard song to swallow and didn't
necessarily expect a reaction (or at least not a good one).
I guess I really didn't consider the possibility
that he would be oblivious to the fact that the song was
written about him and his insane behavior.
I mean, what kind of monster leaves someone they supposedly care about
stranded in Arizona?

Sometimes people really blow me away.

Oh, and where the hell is my box set of Sex and the CIty?
remember? My payment for working at HBO for that event?

MUST LEARN TO LET GO.
Harboring such things will cause a tumor to grow in my heart.
MUST LEARN TO LET GO
Some people are toxic and will slowly poison me.
MUST LEARN TO LET GO
Releasing these crazy destructive people will free up more time to spend with the wonderful caring people in my life.
I believe that all people are inherently good, but that doesn't mean that some of them aren't full of hatred and anger.
That doesn't mean that some of them are not capable of being monsters. I have to accept that I can't fix or embrace every broken person who collides with my life.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Free


Photo by Carrie Thomas

Baby got banana leaves in her bag
she rolls up her sleeves as she gets in the cab
The road to the station is winding and long
as she pass the plantation they be singin' this song

it goes
na na na na na
when we gonna be free
everybody sing
na na na na na
when we gonna be freeee eeeee

The man puts on his suit
ties his leather shoes
picks up the paper
reads all the news
then the elevator takes him to the 31st floor
the people at their desks when he walks in the door

they sing
la la la la la
when we gonna be free
everybody sing
la la la la la
when we gonna be freeee eeeee

free free free free free free free
no more chains now
free free free free free free free
no more pain when you're
free free free free free free
everybody
free

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Torchwood to return for a third season


I'm so tickled my toes are pink. One of my favorite all time shows, Torchwood will be returning to the BBC for a third season.(tv guide) The finale of season two seemed very well, um... final. As much as I prefer that a show is not drawn out longer than need be, I can't deny that I'm giddy like a school girl to know that the show will indeed be returning on BBC America in the spring of 2009. Yay, Captain Jack is back.

To fill the void left by Torchwood post season two, K and I have been watching the new version of Doctor Who. Doctor who was originally a BBC series that was on the air for 20 some odd years. Russel T. Davies, the creator of Queer as Folk (the far superior original BBC version) reinvented doctor who for the BBC in 2005. Torchwood is a spin-off of this new version. In fact Torchwood is an anagram for Doctor Who. Oh you clever brits. What will you think of next? Though I do like Doctor Who a lot, I really really love Torchwood.

Here are two clips from Episode 1 of Season 2, just to get you in the mood.

The Olympics in retrospect
(from someone who didn't watch)


cartoon by Adam Zyglis for the Buffalo Daily News


Wrought with controversy, China was host to its first olympic games. I haven't written anything about this latest installment of the olympics mainly because I can honestly say that I've only watched maybe 30 minutes (if that) of olympic programming. There is something about the olympics that is steeped in nationalism in a way that I find a bit unsettling. Maybe it's because I am a child of the cold war, with memories of everything olympic being all about beating the Soviets in some symbolic pissing contest.

I have followed a few stories regarding China's preparations for the olympics, including relocating thousands of people from their homes to build facilities to house the olympics, removing dog and other "undesirable" items from restaurant menus, closing gay bars, covering up deaths, falsifying passports so underage olympians can compete in gymnastics, and of course replacing a young girl in the opening ceremony with a lipsyncing stand-in because the child was not cute enough.

Oh, congratulations Michael Phelps for winning everything and breaking every record, but why did they put you on the cover of sport's illustrated looking like you're wearing a halter top? You kind of look like you're about to belly dance at a Moroccan theme restaurant. I know those are medals. I get it, but couldn't they have been arranged in a way that looked less like the 7 year itch and more like the breakfast of champions?


Time to sound off.
Who should be the next crazy human rights violating communist country to host the olympics? Cuba?
Oh wait, we keep Cuba off limits so as to look like we don't torture people. That will never work.

Just a note: Yes, I know there are 4 days left until the closing ceremonies, but for me, those 30 minutes of random olympic viewing were all my pretty little head could take.

Here come the brides



Photos stolen without permission from People's website. Let's see if they hunt me down like a dog and shake me until the nickels fall out of my ripped pockets.

Here's sending a huge congratulations out to newlyweds Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi. De Rossi in case you don't know is quite possibly the most gorgeous celesbian ever to roam the planet. I adored her on Ally Mcbeal and most especially on Arrested Development. Ellen of course is hillarious and not too hard on the eyes at all.

Portia's dress is gorgeous and I don't think I've seen a happier couple in quite some time. I raise a glass to you ladies. Here's to breaking new ground and showing your flannel-clad saphic sisters how it's done.

Hip Hip

Monday, August 18, 2008

The clone gospel choir

On Saturday I indulged a studio wish list item by purchasing the Abbey Road refills for Propellerhead reason.
I mentioned these in an earlier post, if you recall. (scroll down if you don't)

I've been very fixated on the demo for Duct Tape and Superglue which is sort of morphing from demo to studio track bit by bit.

I played and recorded some mellotron samples. I then recorded backing vocals in 3 part harmony. The effect of the two together is this rather amazing gospel choir sound that gives me chills in a good way. It's like I cloned myself and took 9 versions off to choir practice....such fun.

When I started recording Sunrise, I approached originally from this place rooted in African Spiritual music but centered on the idea that perhaps technology can impose a sort of slavery and disconnection that on one level seems to advance society, but on another is setting us back in so many regards.

I took a break and stepped away from the album, coming back to realize that what I thought was done is missing a few songs.

right now the songs that I am focusing on are
-Duct Tape and Superglue
-God in the Telephone Book
-Chickens and Eggs (a re-recording of this track)

I know I promised an album for the summer, but I must be flexible and realize that I would rather have something with which I feel "right" and complete. I promise you that it will be worth the wait.

P(to the)USSY



As previously posted, we recently found ourselves proud parents of an Alley Cat, after she broke into our apartment and demanded to be fed. We named her Sheba and have devoted our lives to fanning her and fulfilling her every whim.
When she first came to us, she was underweight and a little worse for wear.

I am pleased to say that after a visit to the vet on Sunday, she has reached her ideal weight and her tests for feline diseases have all come back negative. Praise bejesus.

Isn't she a sexy beast?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dar Williams to drop new album


(from her website)
Dar Williams will release her first album of original material in over three years, PROMISED LAND, on September 9th. With clean, driving production by Brad Wood (Pete Yorn, Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins), the album features 12 songs that showcase Dar's signature wide range of stories and social themes on songs including "It's Alright," "The Easy Way," and "Buzzer." Dar also does a cover of "Midnight Radio" from the acclaimed rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as a cover of the Fountains of Wayne song "Troubled Times." Lending support on the album are such renowned artists as Suzanne Vega, Marshall Crenshaw, and Gary Louris (of the Jayhawks).

I have been a big fan of Dar Williams for over ten years now. She is a true storyteller, with some songs that I consider to be lyrically genius, capable of transporting me to another time and place. Her music has definitely been one of the many sonic places from where I have been given inspiration. Though I did not connect quite as well with her last album, I have high hopes for this one.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Inspiration To Us All



When suffering through a truly crappy day, I find comfort in this official 1974 White House photo of Betty Ford.

Maybe it is her perfectly coifed hair, the way the yellow of the flowers brings out the subtle golden highlights, so elegant and complementary of her burnt orange mod dress. Maybe it's her warm smile and perfectly plucked eyebrows.
Regardless of the reason, this photo can be an inspiration to us all.

Exploiting The Mentally Disabled



Last evening I was walking past Chelsea Clearview Cinema when I saw a large group of people gathered. It took a minute before it registered that I was standing in the middle of a protest for the recently released Ben Stiller film Tropic Thunder.

Apparently there has been a bit of controversy surrounding the film's portrayal of the mentally handicapped and usage of the R-Word. I can not speak for the film as I have not seen it. I can however speak for the protest, which I found a bit disturbing and exploitive towards the mentally handicapped in a way that I assume to be more jarring than what I would expect to see in the offending scenes from said film.

There were all these people in wheelchairs, many of whom did not look like they had any choice in the matter of the protest. They were not holding signs, but rather, signs had been taped to their chests. These people looked as though they had been wheeled to the theater by someone for the sake of exploiting their disability to protest a film.

Which is worse, the use of the offensive R-word or the exploitation of the disabled people in front of the cinema?
Without the perspective of having seen the movie, it's hard to say. I'd have to cross the picket line to do so, so I'm going to have to sit this one out.

This is words-we-can't-say week on the rant.
Let's review: The N word, The F word, and today's word-we-can't say of the day;the R-word

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Faggot Bitch


Photo by Carrie Thomas

Last night I was walking down the steps to the subway platform to try and catch the train. At the bottom of the steps, the woman in front of me slowed down abruptly, causing me to step on her flip flop. Her foot slipped out and touched the floor of platform. She began to yell.

"Goddammit, Goddammit"

I stopped, acknowledged her and apologized but she kept yelling. She seemed kind of crazy. I apologized again and said that it was an accident.
She was still yelling so I started to walk away.

She yelled as I walked away

"it wouldn'a happened if you hadn' been ridin' my muthafuckin ass, you faggot bitch."
(Pause)...
"DID YOU HEAR ME?"

I kept walking as though I did not hear her until there was enough distance between us that I felt there would be no confrontation.

Though it would not normally matter, it is important to note that this woman was african american. The reason I imbue importance upon her race is that her use of the F-word in my mind seems incongruous to a people who suffered years of persecution, segregation and degradation under lashful tongues armed with the N-word.

My mind began to flip the situation. Had I been wearing flip flops, experienced the same situation from her perspective and turned to weak-minded hate speech substitute, the N-Word for the F-Word coming from a white man, there would have been a riot/murder on the subway platform.

I know that the best thing in this situation was to walk away from crazy, low-class, feeble-minded hatred, but regardless I felt violated.

The words echoed through my head. I found myself taken back to a place where I was 13 years old and scared to walk down the hallway at school because I knew that I would be called a faggot. Almost every day it happened. Many days I cried. I did not cry yesterday, but I will say this. As much as I do not have the right to use the N-word, unless you are of the homosexual persuasion, you do not have the right to use the F-word. So, nameless trashy lady, I doubt that you will read this, but I address this do you.

Don't you call me a motherfuckin' faggot. You don't have the right to use that word unless you want to give motherfuckin' faggots the right to use your word and I don't think you do, so back it off. You need to deal with your anger and your hatred. It is brewing underneath the surface and having your fucking flip flop come off does not give you the right to spew your venom on me. I forgive you for your ignorance, your prejudice and your hatred. I hope that one day, you are able to rise above it and behave like an adult. If you are unable to pursue that point of enlightenment, I suggest that you either stay home or keep it to yourself. There is no room for it in my world.

What's wrong with this picture?


What's wrong with this picture taken of our president at the olympic games in
China?

You've gotta be kidding. ugh.
George Bush never ceased to amaze and embarrass us as a nation.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Sam Ash, a place where customer service goes to die. A.K.A. The Story behind the donkey or The Longest Blog Title Ever

As many of you know I have been building a studio for recording music in my apartment.
I must say that I've come a long way from the demos recorded on minidisc with a radio shack microphone and the sound of a broken smoke detector beeping in the background. K, btw is one of the only people allowed to listen to those recordings.
They reside in the vault, next to the skeletons on the top shelf of my closet.

Talk about B-sides. Lord help you all.

So, as I was saying... I'm building a studio and working on demos.
There is one piece of equipment that I have needed very badly for
sound consistency and quality sake. It is a preamp, in fact the same
one that was used on part of Sirens of Brooklyn and for all the tracks on Sunrise.

After much investigation and saving of money, I decided to suck it up and eat rice for a while as I have to finish this project. It is not a choice, but a necessity. I am being pulled toward my third album and I have to put these songs on the second album before I lose focus.

I stepped into Sam Ash on July 16th in hopes of buying the preamp. It's something they carry on their website but did not have in the store. The salesguy, named Robert, said he could special order it which would take 7-10 days. The guy who helped me ( I use the word help, very loosely and with a heavy smattering of sarcasm) was talking on his cellphone the entire time, further evidence that society is surely crumbling under our feet.

So, I put down a deposit equal to about half my monthly rent and trotted away from the store, eager to receive a call in 7-10 days telling me that the preamp had arrived at Sam Ash.

Day 13(the beginning of the end)


I decided to call my salesguy on day 13 because it's my lucky number and I was eager to get the preamp so that I could work on tracks.
After giving him my order number, i got an unsettling feeling when he began asking me questions like
What did you order? What's your name? What's a phone number where I can call you back. To clarify this was preceeded by awkward stuttering. He said he would call me back in a few minutes. He did not call me back.

Three hours later, I call the store. My sales guy abruptly tells me that there was a mistake with the ordering and my order will be in soon. I ask him what soon means. His answer:7 to 10 days.

I tell him that it's already been 13 days since he told me 7 to 10 days.
He proceeds to yell at me DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT A MISTAKE IS?
suddenly every tiny hair on the back of my neck stands at attention like a cat that is about to hiss.

I restrain myself and instead say that yes, I do understand what a mistake is, but I either need the order in the next couple of days or I need to cancel the order and get the preamp somewhere else. He starts yelling again.
OH! YOU THINK YOU CAN GET IT SOMEWHERE ELSE?! YOU'RE NOT GONNA GET IT SOMEWHERE ELSE.

i respond by saying that I'm not going to be yelled at and that I need to speak to his manager.

I explain to the manger what has happened. The manager, named Tony tells me that the order was processed incorrectly and the item was shipped to the wrong store. He tells me that he will call the company that manufactures the preamp and try to get it overnighted at no cost to me. He promises me that I will have the preamp before the end of the week. This is Tuesday, btw. On Thursday, I get a call that goes to voicemail. It is the salesperson, Robert. He leaves a message telling me that the preamp will be in the store tomorrow and that I can come in and get it then.

Day 16(aka an hour of my life is wasted)


I arrived at Sam Ash Friday evening to pick up the preamp, which my saleseguy since my salesguy went out of his way to leave me a message telling me would be in the store.

I arrive at the register with my receipt. I am told by the cashier that I have to pay the balance on the order. I hand the cashier an amount of money equal to two months rent. A woman runs to the back, presumably to retrieve my preamp. She returns and asks me who told me that the item was in the store. I reply that it was my salesperson and that if it's not in the store, we've got a real problem. My skin begins to burn and my blood begins to boil. The manager, tony who promised that it would be in at the end of the week starts going into this thing about how it's a special order and it's hard to tell when it will come in and I ask him why his salesperson told me to come into the store and get it. I tell the manager that I feel like I've been lied to. He argues and says I haven't been lied to. After being unable to get any sort of anwer as to when the item will come into the store, I tell the manager that I want my money back and that I will never shop at Sam Ash again. He says that he understands and they will take care of it. The cashier tries to cancel the order and refund the money. He says he can't do it, that the order is "locked". The manager, named Richard comes over and tries to cancel it and he can't. They tell me that they can't cancel the order or refund my money until the item arrives in the store. At this point, I have been at Sam Ash for an hour. I decide that to prevent me from losing a grip I need to walk away from the store. The manger Richard tells me that the item should come into the store either Saturday or Sunday but at the latest monday. I say ok, whatever and I leave.

I met with Rob Martin, the director of the last music video and Michael (AKA Chic, AKA one of the nurses in the video).
We discussed concepts for 3 possible music videos for the next album. I drank two martinis and ate nachos. It took way too long to shake the irritation of the Sam Ash experience. I decided to relax for the weekend and try not to think about the preamp. Afterall, there are starving children and much more pressing issues in the world than my need for a metal box to fulfill my artistic whims.

(To be continued)
.....and then Day 19

On Monday, I decided to call the store and speak to Tony, the manager who promised the preamp by week's end. I was informed that he had left for 10 days of vacation. That's just great for him. I'm sure he deserves it and I really hope he doesn't get sunburned or stung my jelly fish or trapped in a hotel resort elevator with an extraordinarily smelly man for 10 hours. I kid of course. I do not wish anyone at Sam Ash ill will. I just wish that they had treated me like a valued customer.

There is nothing worse than that feeling where you know that now you have to explain everything that has happened from the beginning to a new person, essentially bringing you back to square one. The lovely thing about Sam Ash is that apparently none of the managers communicate customer issues with one another nor does it seem that they really take responsibility for a customer's issue. They just take off for 10 days vacation and let the chips fall where they may.

So, I tried to speak to the closest thing to a manager who knew what was going on, the guy named Richard. Richard said he would look into the order for me, but kept telling me that he would call me back in 5 minutes or 15 minutes and would never call me back. So I would wait and hour or two hours and call him back, so as to not be an absolute psycho about the whole thing, but seriously. Why do people say they will call in 5 minutes then not call when they know someone is already an upset dissatisfied customer? Richard assured me that the preamp was being couriered from Long Island and would arrive "Today".
I asked if it was being couriered by donkey. He said, perhaps it was. He said he was taking personal responsibility and that when I came to pick up the merchandise, I would be credited at the register for my trouble.

Fast forward to day 20. I call the store 3 hours after they open to speak with Richard. I ask the guy who answers the phone, a gentleman by the name of Alexander, if he could check on my order. He tells me that my preamp has been shipped to a store in Florida. I ask for Richard. I am told that he is off for the day. I ask if there is another manager. I am handed over to the store manager, Bobby. I now have to explain everything again to a new manager. How awesome is that?So, to be fair, Bobby is apparently the only manager at the NYC Sam Ash who has any sort of customer service skills. He not only apologized for everything, but also managed to call me back when he said he would and within an hour of speaking with him, I was told that the preamp was in the store.

I went to pick up the preamp immediately, crossing my fingers on my way. When I got to the store, the cashier grabbed the box and started to put it in the bag, but then decided to ask the other cashier who had been there on Friday if it was indeed the right item. She said that it was then proceeded to tell me that it had arrived on Friday right after I left the store. I asked her why if it had arrived on Friday was it being couriered from Long Island on Monday. I then asked the cashier about the credit to my order, which Richard had promised. Of course, He had no knowledge of it. He said I'd have to speak with Richard, but Richard wasn't here. I internally said Fuck it, grabbed my merchandise and walked out of the store.

And this my dear readers is why, after years of spending way too much money at Sam Ash in New York, I will never shop there again. They have the absolute worst customer service I think I've ever encountered. It seems to be a growing trend that customers are no longer valued or treated like people. Sam Ash is the latest victim of this trend.

On a happier lighter note, I'll let you know my feelings about the preamp shortly? Was it worth it? haha. God, I hope so.

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