the new pills brought dreams
through carpal tunnel vision
trespassing empty factories
in another life, we'd both still be in high school
vector field street grids
and all those movements
i feel every moment i've ever been
blur into a wilderness
somewhere out of existence
parking lots of Midwest strip malls
preceding snowy plains
that extend forever
the miles just to reach
on muted green roadsigns
the wait just to live
i've spent years standing in lines
this is undoubtedly far too personal to post publicly, but i guess it's better to do it on this site where people don't really know me well than on others. this topic is super important to me and i needed to get this out somewhere. trigger warning for abuse mention. also i am absolutely disinterested in discussing any of this stuff with people who are not child abuse survivors.
late last year i had a difficult conversation with someone about abuse/a song about abuse. they mentioned something that i'd never really thought about before. this was kind of exciting, because i've thought about abuse exhaustingly over the last five or so years. i can't live through a single day without feeling its impact in the ways i interact with people, the concrete situations i am put into, etc., etc. it was sickening to go through the same trains of logic again and again and again.
so this thing was (paraphrasing) "power moves through people." in the sense that, the systemic structures of oppression we are all familiar with are tied to the individual ways that people abuse people. i'd thought about "power moves through people" before. what causes a person to become capable of chronically and intensely abusing another person? psychological dysfunction, clearly. what causes psychological dysfunction? being chronically and intensely hurt yourself by another person, perhaps? there's a reason why abusers are often victims. "power moves through people."
but i'd never thought of it in the sense that the kind of hurt systemic structures inflict on people are tied to the kind of hurt that people inflict on people. so this was a very interesting and novel idea and applying it to my own experience, capitalism/poverty and white supremacy/racism were two structures that immediately came to mind that were most obviously relevant. so, thought experiment. (it gets ugly from here.)
in the absence of the capitalist and imperialist structures that caused my father to grow up in extreme poverty, that caused my father's mother to leave him alone at home for days without food as she went to search for work, would i be as fucked up as i am now? in the absence of the fucked up mental health care system that prescribed my father medication on his very first visit to a psychiatrist, causing him to distrust and forgo mental health care from that day onwards, would i be as fucked up as i am now? in the absence of the factors (tied to white supremacy) that made it very difficult for my non-fluent english speaker father to acquire another "respectable" job after quitting his old one, causing him to stay at home all day with nothing else to do but lash out at me, would i be as fucked up as i am now? in the absence of religion, which caused my mother to believe against divorce and remain passive for years as i was being abused, would i be as fucked up as i am now?
in the absence of the capitalist ideals that caused my father to desperately want to experience status and prestige through me, which then caused him to physically and emotionally abuse me for years as he pushed me into academics years above my age level, would i be as fucked up as i am now? in the absence of the fucked up mental health care system that caused my mother to move back in with him instead of learning how to deal with her traumatized kid, would i be as fucked up as i am now? in the absence of all of these systemic variables that caused my traumatized eleven-year old self to be an entering freshman at a university (which then fucked me up additionally and enormously), would i be as fucked up as i am now?
the answer is: probably not. if any one of those things hadn't happened, i would most likely not be as fucked up as i am now. does it matter? not at all. it's as useless and uninformative as trying to put the cause to a billion other things. if you're an abuse survivor, you probably know what i'm talking about. "if _1 hadn't happened, he wouldn't have hurt me." "if _2 hadn't happened, he wouldn't have hurt me." .... "if _16 hadn't happened, he wouldn't have hurt me." that's all true, but that doesn't narrow down the actual cause. damaged, maladaptive, narcissistic people - the people who do the hurting - are the direct cause. a million different things, including but not limited to systemic structures, produce damaged, maladaptive, narcissistic people. the damaged people in my dad's childhood could have found other ways to hurt him. he would have found other reasons to hurt me.
so, i guess, really, i don't care about the political. the process of --people hurting people-- comes in myriad forms and is intricately tied to the ways we are built. it is obviously also intricately tied to society, but only in the sense that society acts as a mediator between what we can be and what we are. changing society will not necessarily change the fact that people hurt people - people will just find different ways to hurt people, and different reasons to do it. i feel like putting any of the focus on systemic structures is a dishonest way to interact with my past. the personal is the personal. politics has no place in my personal healing. i'm shifting the focus back to where it was a year and a half ago - why humans behave as they do.
and "housebroken" still hurts to listen to.
(probably gonna put this on private soon fuck everything)
1. The Hotelier - Home, Like Noplace Is There
2. Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE
3. Nana Grizol - Nightlights I-III + Tacoma Center 1600
4. Antarctigo Vespucci - Soulmate Stuff
5. Mitski - Bury Me At Makeout Creek
6. Antarctigo Vespucci - I'm So Tethered
7. Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties - We Don't Have Each Other
8. Yellowcard - Lift a Sail
9. The Menzingers - Rented World
10. arrange - Their Bodies in a Fog
11. Nouns - Still
12. pill friends - fade into nothing
13. Small Wonder - Wendy
14. McCafferty - BeachBoy
15. Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again
16. Adult Mom - Sometimes Bad Happens
17. Frankie Cosmos - Zentropy
18. Andrew Jackson Jihad - Christmas Island
19. Junior Battles - Rally
20. Walter Mitty and His Makeshift Orchestra - Well Soon
21. Bobby Barnett - Little Wounds*
22. S. Carey - Range of Light
23. Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
24. Sundials - Kick
25. Turnover - Blue Dream
26. Lee Corey Oswald - Regards
27. Two Knights - Shut Up
28. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
29. Self Defense Family - Try Me
30. Say Hi - Endless Wonder
*would probably be a lot higher if i'd listened to it more than four times.
releases I enjoyed but didn't spend enough time with to rank:
Two Humans - Institute of Living
Julia Brown - An Abundance of Strawberries
The Bilinda Butchers - HEAVEN
The Holy Mess - Comfort in the Discord
Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs
Jordaan Mason - No Dictionary
Brett Adams - The Acoustic EP (this came out on December 22 and I only found out about it the other day. big bummer, would have def made my top 12)
aaaand a link to my 2013 list, which i still feel very good about. i would probably add Elvis Depressedly - holo pleasures and Sundressed/Days of Light Gravity - Banana Split to the EP list and change around some of the album rankings, but apart from that i still stand by it.
I search for safety somewhere in you
to hold me, to ground me
to not let this slip away
six am light seeps slowly in
weaving its way between shutters
we wrestle with morning
in the quiver of your voice i hear
lives that fell apart in the smallest moments
and the people they belonged to
spent the night unraveling themselves
letting their fragments loose
hoping some sadness would come out too
through the blur of water
the lights stretch on for years
i stare into your soul and it stares back
for once not crushed by the things we build
to protect ourselves from everything else
wrote this a month ago. might as well post it here as well.
Track 1. Absolutely brilliant and undoubtedly the best song on the record. Itís also better than any song (that I listened to, at least) released last year, except maybe Montreal. Also, the comparison only struck me on my fifth or sixth listen, but itís reminiscent of Track 5 from their last release.
Track 2. Much more accessible in the context of the album, and now I understand why it was selected as the single of sorts. Itís like a synopsis of everything else.
Track 3. Haha I hate to do this, but this is precisely what the follow-up to Listen & Forgive should have sounded like. CH sounds similar to Joe Boynton here, and CM's backup vox remind me of Tim Landersí. The only complaint is that it feels slightly awkward sandwiched between 2 and 4.
Track 4. I thoroughly enjoyed this when it first premiered, but after listening in the context of the record, I think it would benefit from a faster pace. Still great.
Track 5. Stellar. Second best track on the record. I love the dive into hardcore territory in the second half that takes what is otherwise one of the softer songs here and propels it to new levels, breaking many unspoken formulas for Ďemo songsí and Ďhardcore songsí and Ďpunk songsí in the process. Very few bands can pull that off, but they executed it perfectly.
Track 6. Two minutes of post-hardcore in the vein of Touche Amore and La Dispute. Holy shit, dude can scream (which we all knew from Title-Track, but still). It somehow manages to sonically deviate from the rest of the record while still fitting in thematically. That is all.
Track 7. [Redacted].
Track 8. (I wonder if the title is a reference to a song off their debut EP). Reminds me of another record/band but I canít place my finger on which. A great song in its own right, but not salient enough given the quality of its neighbors. The chorus is what saves it from being overshadowed.
Track 9. Ö..Holy hell, dude can sing. Channels a bit of in the first verse, then decides to semi-literally reach for the stars in the second one (seriously, how high was that note?). The dual vocals in the chorus add so much. Also, man, what a way to end a record. Fantastic closer.
I hope lots of people hear this album and love it and tell their friends. I hope this band blows up. The timing seems pretty perfect for that to happen, especially now that ~Ē#emorevivalĒ is getting semi-mainstream coverage and they pretty much got a free pass into the genre.
Iíd give it a 9/10 after six or so listens. Might morph into a 9.5 or revert to an 8.5 as I delve further in. The opener will probably end up as one of the best songs in its genre this year. The record as a whole is less immediately accessible but also objectively stronger than their past work.
(As a punk kid at heart, I will say that I was slightly disappointed by the lack of a Holiday-esque double timer. But thatís more than made up for by the thirty-seven minutes of pure awesomeness).
I'm normally an "observe at a distance" person when it comes to politicizing something. After all, what's the point in reiterating arguments that have been made countless times? But something about this is different. I've posted about it all day on my blog, and I wanted to get all of that down in a cohesive and singular entry.
Someone dies unjustly. A part of the population tries to do something about the reason why that person died unjustly.
It seems pretty fair to me, but those would like to retain the status quo while keeping their conscience clean scream out ďstop politicizing!!!!Ē and ďlet his family mourn in peace!!!!!Ē It's a tiring rerun of what happened in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, when some claimed that the tragedy should not be used to advance gun control. But telling the world NOT to do anything is still politicizing, itís just politicizing in favor of the status quo.
I'm sure news stations and websites will make a spectacle out of this story and start on that soap opera path ofÖ.ĒOh, were drugs responsible? What about mental illness? We heard he was very introverted!!!!!Ē. In fact, it's already begun. And that makes my blood boil. People don't seem to grasp what has happened here. We lost a genius. We lost someone who could have turned Internet politics around, among many, many other things. We lost a rarity, and a much needed one. And we lost him to a judicial system that bullied and harassed him TO HIS DEATH for a case that the so-called victims didn't want to prosecute him for. And to all the people who are condemning him for taking the "easy way out": what would you do if you were facing 35 years in prison as a convicted felon for a crime that was the cyberspace equivalent of trespassing?
I was pretty surprised that very few people were talking about this, then I realized that very few people on the internet give a shit unless a story is packaged nicely into a neat, easy-to-read post, complete with emotional pandering and loose ties to social justice. Gun control, health care, let's go nuts! The second something becomes slightly more difficult to decode and loses its emotional appeal, everyone falls silent. But how? How can you not give a shit? Is it because none of you would ever be brave enough to do what he did, therefore this doesn't affect you? Can you possibly be that naive?
What happened today cuts me to the fucking core. We, as humans, love to bask in the glory of our species. In fact, that is one of the most common and least intelligent arguments against things like veganism, or staunch animal rights activism. ďHumans are superior because, well, look.Ē Humans have, to our knowledge, gone further than any other species before us. We are dominating the world and have filled it to the brim with our technology. We have harnessed electricity, and are on our way to becoming a Type 1 Civilization. We transport ourselves at speeds that are a thousand times larger than those of our body parts. In short, we are, it would seem, incredible creatures.
Except weíre not. The use of the collective pronoun is wrong. The vast majority of the population, and that obviously includes me, is no more intelligent, and no further progressed, than the ancestors that came before us tens of thousands of years ago. We are basking in reflected glory. The advances of humanity --- these incredible, incredible inventions and discoveries and trains of thought verbalized into books --- are the work of a few extraordinary people scattered throughout human history. That makes it all the more incredible. Humans have progressed solely due to the genius of a tiny fraction amongst us. Isnít that unbelievable? The rest of us? Weíre exploiting that genius, and claiming credit for it.
Thereís not exactly anything wrong with that. You can patent an invention, but you canít patent being extraordinary. You canít patent progress, or the glory and the self esteem and the feeling of superiority that comes with it. I mean, can you honestly wrap your head around the fact that the only thing that separates you and someone from 2000 BC is progress that you had no part in? Maybe you can, but I canít. Itís terrifying to think about. And I know what youíre thinking, but I didnít start this post just to point that out, even though itís been on my mind for as long as I can remember.
Aaron Swartz was one of those people. He belonged, at least in my opinion, to the extreme end of the bell curve. We desperately need more of those people, and we always have. These are the people who go south on a northbound highway, and win out the majority, because it turns out, that northbound highway was actually southbound. But a bell curve remains a bell curve, and thatís the curse of statistics.
It makes me want to go out and do something. To be a better person and contribute ANYTHING to making this hellhole of a world a slightly better place. It makes me want to stop living a shallow life and start speaking up instead of biting my tongue at the best moments. It makes me want to try and crawl my way to the other end of the bell curve.
In memory of Aaron Swartz, please go sign this petition and download these files from BitTorrent. Those files are what he died for, whether or not he intended to make them public. They contain tens of thousands of scientific publications that are normally available at up to 19$ PER PUBLICATION. Thatís extortion, and someone else has continued Aaron's legacy by putting them on TPB for free, and with his name attached (let's hope we don't have a repeat on our hands). Scientific knowledge should be public knowledge, and available for free to the human race, but thatís only a tiny fraction of whatís going on here. As for the petition, it speaks for itself.
tl;dr RIP Aaron Swartz. You made the world a better place, and I have no doubt that if you had lived on, you would have continued to do so.
1. The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past
2. Teenage Bottlerocket - Freak Out!
3. All Time Low - Don't Panic
4. Forever Came Calling - Contender
5. Daytrader - Twelve Years
6. I Call Fives - I Call Fives
7. Masked Intruder - Masked Intruder
8. The Sidekicks - Awkward Breeds
9. The Snips - Highs of Lows
10. No Trigger - Tycoon
11. Silverstein - Short Songs
12. Mixtapes - Even On The Worst Nights
1. Sundials - When I Couldnít Breathe
2. Luther - Letís Get You Somewhere Else
3. Handguns - Angst
4. The Holy Mess - Cande Ru Las Degas
5. The Dopamines - Vices
6. Misser - Every Day I Tell Myself Iím Going To Be A Better Person
7. Yellowcard - Southern Air
8. Cheap Girls - Giant Orange
9. Downtown Struts - Victoria!
10. Last Call - Dog Years
11. Japandroids - Celebration Rock
12. The American Scene - Safe For Now
13. The Bouncing Souls - Comet
1. Desaparecidos - MariKKKopa/Backsell
2. The Swellers - Vehicle City Blues
3. Broadway Calls/Mixtapes - Vision Quest
4. The Swellers - Running Out Of Places To Go
5. Elway - Hence My Optimism
6. Spraynard - Exton Square (RIP YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES)
Most Anticipated 2013:
1. Broadway Calls - Comfort/Distraction
2. Dead To Me - TBA
3. The Swellers - TBA
4. The Wonder Years - TBA
5. The Hotel Year - TBA
6. Junior Battles - TBA
7. Silverstein - This Is How The Wind Shifts
8. Elway - TBA
9. The Dangerous Summer - TBA
10. Fireworks - TBA
1. YMAS/The Swellers/Twin Atlantic/WATO - Troubadour
2. Bomb the Music Industry! - Aladdin Jrís
3. The Menzingers - Aladdin Jrís
4. Dead To Me/Broadway Calls/The Arteries - Blue Star
5. Desaparecidos - Bottom of the Hill
6. Teenage Bottlerocket/The Dopamines/Elway - Troubadour
1. The Menzingers - Casey
2. Desaparecidos - MariKKKopa
3. The Swellers - Vehicle City Blues
4. Sundials - New York Crunch
5. Two Hours Traffic - Feel Alright
6. Broadway Calls - Lucky Lighter (yep, it counts)
7. Matt Skiba and the Secrets - Voices
8. Masked Intruder - Heart Shaped Guitar
9. All Time Low - Outlines
10. Spraynard - Can I Borrow a Feeling? (RIP YOU FUCKING NERDS)
11. The Sidekicks - DMT
12. The American Scene - Hungry Hands
13. Japandroids - Fireís Highway
14. The Snips - Lines
15. The Gaslight Anthem - Howl
1. The Hobbit
2. 21 Jump Street
3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
4. The Avengers
5. The Dark Knight Rises
6. The Hunger Games
9. The Amazing Spiderman
10. Les Miserables
1. Going to San Francisco with two people I met the day before and getting a hotel with them
2. Seeing Desaparecidos' reunion show with said people/hearing my favorite song ever live
3. Being able to live out the song 'The Monarch Hotel"
4. Drug-fueled summer = best summer ever
5. Getting the only 97 in my entire section on a paper that I wrote
6. One of my closest friends making the cheesiest montage ever for me
7. Coming out to myself
8. Setting up a turntable system from parts
9. Finding some direction in life/pursuing a double major
10. Warped Tour/all the other awesome shows