Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Considering that all their members are accomplished musicians with their own respective projects, when the New Pornographers come together they are referred to as a supergroup. Therefore Carl Newman, lead hero and guitarist, is certain that there is a supervillian group out there waiting to fight them. "I’m assuming their lead singer would be the anti-me. Like he looks similar to Mike Love," Newman said utilizing his quirky Canadian-brand sense of humor; dry, ironic, random but always spot-on funny. "And he would have a low voice. He cannot by any means do the falsetto," he continued. "He has no lisp, he’s incredibly stupid and very, very ugly."

Sitting in the bar of the Bowery Ballroom, Newman reminds me more so of the Clark Kent secret identity than the Superman persona. He is severely self-deprecating, a bit fidgety and incredibly humble about his role in reviving the power-pop scene of today. Along with Neko Case (vocals), Dan Bejar (vocals, guitar), Kurt Dahle (drums), Blaine Thurier (keyboards), and Todd Fancey (bass), the Porns have released two Kryptonically strong albums, Mass Romantic and most recently, Electric Version. Listening to either record, one can’t help but smile one of those insane grins where onlookers are certain that you’ve lost your mind. They are bombastic packages of energetic bliss, tightly giftwrapped into four minutes confections, songs that wouldn’t be out of place playing at a Frankie and Annette beach party. Consistent brilliant pop, superbly and naively full of sunshine, despite lyrics about executions and alcoholism (respectively "Execution Day" and "Slow Descent to Alcoholism").

The first time I saw Newman & Co. spoil the audience was at Brownie’s (RIP) in New York City. It was also the first time they played before a non-Canadian audience so the expectations were low—on both parties behalves. The crowd came to see an un-hyped rock show and the band came to play for a city that knew nothing about them. Needless to say, their fiery performance burnt the eyebrows off of all two hundred people in attendance and left our ears gasping for mercy from being beat to submission with relentless fists of pop hooks. Neko Case’s supremely strong vocal gymnastics slew any heterosexual man within a 30-mile circumference. The tight-knit harmonies played Twister through the speakers, intertwining, balancing and eventually toppling over into orgasmic and joyful melodies.

But the most amazing thing about this live show experience (which is still to this day one of my favorites) is that the Porns replicate it every time I see them. Despite this officially being a side-project, the passion is never compromised and the vibe is always tighter than Britney’s clothing (which, in case you skip People Magazine, is really tight). While many dismissed Mass Romantic as a fluke, magic born out of spontaneity, Electric Version and the many songs they cover ("Action" by Sweet, "Send Me A Postcard" by Shocking Blue, etc) magically prove otherwise. Every song this band touches has a summer-like golden breeze of ecstasy which Newman hopes to produce for years to come. "We have fun doing this and we hope to record another album," Newman said. "Look, it’s inspiring to make something that people like and I hope we can keep on doing it." How selfless and valiant of Newman. Spoken like a true superhero.

Monday, September 22, 2003


"If life is the joke, then I truly feel like the punchline," he said to her.
"Do you really feel that way," she asked. "I mean, can you truly have that much pity for yourself?"
"No. I don't pity myself. I see it as more of a reality check. This is just how it is."
"Ha," she scoffed. "That is so pathetic." It was obvious that the sympathy he sought would not be found here."You sit there, thinking about all the crappy things that have happened to you in the past and you think revelling in them will make you more complex. More brooding. As if the drama you invite is more fodder for your soap operatic life."
Was she right, he wondered? Was it all self-imposed?
"Well," he said, "I will admit that I do take a certain amount of satisfaction from the drama." He picked up his beer and took a sip. He thought that drinking beer was what made him an adult. Not the fact that he was near-thirty. Nor the fact that society had already determined and labeled him as an adult. But because he was drinking beer. "But a great deal of it, is out of my hands."
"What do you mean," she said.
"The economy. My dismal social life. I can't control them. Those things are out of hands."
"Wait....how is it not in your hands?"
"How could you say that?"
"Look, man. I'm not saying that you're responsible for all those things happening. I mean, you can't do anything about life and death. Yes, that's truly out of our control. But honestly, the social life? The economy? Please. Next you'll tell me life is an anti-Semetic conspiracy to keep you down....."
"Our social lives are our own creation. Our own doing. As far as that goes; whatever you put into it is what you get out of it."
"No way," he said to her. He wasn't pleased with her response because it was contrary to everything he believed in. "We cannot i nfluence the minds of others. If this random girl thinks one way, then I can't change her mind, ya' know? These things...these relationships are two-way streets. It's a cooperative. Why should I put so much effort into something that is potentially uncontrollable? Shouldn't it just happen like fate?"
"Fate? Fate?!? Ha ha ha. Not even Meg Ryan is doing romantic comedies anymore."
"A damn shame."
"Look, what I'm saying is that this world is more or less run by detached socially-inept, commitment-phobic people...."
"And I thought I was being pessimistic."
"No...you're getting me all wrong. I'm not being pessimistic. I'm a romantic. I believe in romance. But I'm also just saying we need to change the mold. We need to encourage commitment. We need to push each other to go out, talk to new people, walk up to a guy....or in your case, a girl....and just introduce yourself." She spoke frantically because she did not want to lose her train of thought. And she desperately needed to hear it herself.
"Those are just words," he challenged. "If all those things that you propose were so easy....ok, take me, for example--I'm not a bad date..."
"A very good date, in fact."
"Thank you....so...so, why is it that every time I walk away from one, I feel like I am. Like it was my fault that we had a bad time. Like I'm the jerk for having a sense of humor that she doesn't get."
"Maybe it was your fault. Maybe you imposed so much pressure on yourself beforehand, that you're not even acting like yourself."
"But shouldn't the other person....the chemistry you feel across the table, encourage you to be yourself. If it's right, then shouldn't you just feel right?"
"Hmmmm. Maybe. How did we veer off on focusing on social lives? What about the economy?"
"Please. Money has a way of working itself out. We usually make due. Romance is the most complex issue in our lives and also the one that takes up the most mental space. When we are in a relationship, we are at our most confident. With a significant other, the rest falls into place."
"Isn't there a danger in that," she asked. "Aren't you relying on factors outside of yourself? Isn't there a problem with your self-confidence if you need a girlfriend to be succesful?"
"No. We don't exist to be alone. We are one of a pair. That, to me, is not a problem. That is the solution."
"So, speaking of solutions; how do you think you could make the situation better? How will you improve the self-proclaimed abysmal state of romance?"
"God, I have no idea. I truly don't. You know, I just had a date recently and I walked away from it thinking, I will never be good at this. I will never get it right. I had this feeling of forever. That it will honestly take me, for as long as time exists, to find the right one."
"Geez, that's heavy."
"Yeah, it is. But as I walked away, I saw all these people in the street, walking alone, who I'm certain felt that same way at some point...it didn't make me feel any better really but still, I didn't feel universally alone."
"Misery loves company."
"Yeah. So, am I being dramatic? Probably. Will I always have a hard time with all this? I'd like to think not. In my essence, I'm hopeful."
"Well, right on. Cheers."
They clinked their glasses. He smirked and she took satisfaction in that she was able to lighten the mood.
"Believe me, I would give anything to end the cycle," he said. He finished his beer and placed the empty mug on the table. Reaching into his pocket for his share of the bill, he turned to her and said, "it amazes me how much we think about love. And the more we do think about it, it seems the less we know about it. The more we seek it out, the more it alludes us."
"Well, Rainer Maria Rilke said..."
"Ha ha. Well, she said "For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks. So maybe we're not up to the challenge yet? Maybe you and I are not capable of the most difficult task?"
"That could be true but we cannot ignore the fact that Def Leppard also said that love bites."

Thursday, September 18, 2003

EMAIL CORRESPONDANCE BETWEEN AVRIL LAVIGNE AND ME WHEN WE CO-WROTE THE LYRICS TO A SONG THAT WAS EVENTUALLY REJECTED BY HER LABEL (no grammatical or spelling corrections have been made so as to keep the accuracy of the exchange):

To: AvrilRulzToeTaLee@aol.com
Subject: Hey
Date: July 22, 2003

Hey dude,

Ok, so I wanted to get this ball rolling, as they say. i'm truly psyched about us writing together. I have always been a fan of yours and this is such a humbling experience. OK. I will stop being such a nerd. Seriously. it's time to get reel.
Ok, this is what's been on my mind recently and I would love it if we could get the lyrics to reflect that. Boys, defintely boys. What can i say-i love 'em. LOL. Or should I say "boiz."
Pizza is abig one. I love pizza. Everyone loves pizza so maybe this is one to consider. Because everyone can relate to a song about pizza.
Fries, also. I love fries and everyone loves fries. But maybe with the whole France boycott, fries are controversial....or maybe that's even more of a reason to do it. Controversy sells music, right? Just look at R. Kelly (who is so hotttt!).
Politics? Nah. No one would believe I care about that. Besides doesn't Coldplay have a song about politics. We can't be copycats, now can we?
How about skateboards.....no, did that already.
I guess then pizza it is. Let me know what you think.


To: AvrilRulzToeTaLee@aol.com
From: TheAdwiz@aol.com
Subject: Re: Hey
Date: July 22, 2003


Great to hear from you. Saw you on TV the other night....I'm not sure if an Offspring t-shirt is ironic yet. You might want to think re-wearing that one in public.
Yeah, I'm pretty psyched about working with you, too. That night when we were doing shots together (shhh, I won't tell mom) was so fun. Someone your size can sure drink.
So....pizza, eh? I'm not sure if that's so compelling. I mean, it's just dough, tomato sauce and cheese. And girls nowadays are very conscious of their weight—they may resent a song about such a fattening dish. Best to rethink this one.
Here are some of my suggestions:
Emmanuel Kant - a great philosopher. Surely some of his works will inspire you.
Damien Hirst - look at some of his work. He always makes me think about things bigger than myself.
Chuck Close - closer inspection of his paintings will just give you an incredible window into the human psyche.
Miles Davis - granted, his music is cliche in its popularity but I'm sure you would really dig his vibe. It's about freeing your mind so you can fill in the spaces of the world.
I don't know—there's more. But start there with my list and we'll see where it goes.


To: TheAdwiz@aol.com
Subject: Huh?
Date: July 22, 2003

A -

What the hell are you talking about? Cant? Hurst? Close? Who are these people? i looked them up on the internet and I don't get it....how could I relate to these people? They're not my peers. Has any of those people worked with the Matrix? No. Has any one of these people covered Metallica live for Metallica themself? No.
What I'm saying here, Arye, is that none of those "talk" to me or my sisters. or for that matter, my sistas. I need to channel Pink....Hillary duff...THE OLSON TWINS. ya feeling me dawg? LOL. Anyways, I've spokem to my mom and we think that we should sing about getting dumped and feeling lost. she says and she is sos os os os smart that we should sing about that stuff because most people get dumped and feel lost...except for me. i feel a bit wired from too much sugar and I've never been dumped because i'm easy. Tee heee. don't tell my mom about that.
SOOOOOOOOOOO...yeah,feeling lost and getting dumped - let me knw what you think.


To: AvrilRulzToeTaLee@aol.com
From: TheAdwiz@aol.com
Subject: Re: Huh?
Date: July 22, 2003

Ok...lost and dumped. Hmmm....sounds a bit better than pizza, I guess. Let me think.

Tell me what you think of when you imagine someone being dumped.

To: TheAdwiz@aol.com
Subject: Dude
Date: July 22, 2003


Not my job. You're writing the lyrics here. you're the one who gets dumped. write away, butthead and I'll read what you got.

Awwww yeah,

To: AvrilRulzToeTaLee@aol.com
From: TheAdwiz@aol.com
Subject: Re: Dude
Date: July 22, 2003

Here goes. I think we should call the song "Being Sad (Is So Bad)."

Life is sad
when you're dumped
Life is bad
when you're jumped
from behind and your heart is taken
Mmmm, mmm, bakin'

Liiiiiiiiiife is sad
It could be
Life is sad
and then you're mad

I don't have a date
I haven't lost enough weight
I am all alone
I need an ice cream cone
Yeah, life is bad
when you're sad, mad and never glad

Liiiiiiiiiife is sad
It could be
Life is sad
and then you're had

(Guitar solo - you should shout here something like "GUITAR!" Make it growl)

You never call anymore
And ask me how I am
Forget ice cream, I just want to jam
And jam I will with my band
I play guitar with my hand
And I forget all about you

Liiiiiiiiiife is sad
It could be
Life is sad
and then you're his fad

So what do you think? Are you into it? I think you would sound perfect screaming out these angsty words. There's so much Kurt Cobain-like potential here. I'm psyched about this.


To: TheAdwiz@aol.com
From: AvrilRulzToeTaLee@aol.com
Subject: YAY!
Date: July 22, 2003

Wow. I am blown away. perfect. Now i just need someone to write music to it.
Thanks so much. this is going ot be great. i love you, Arye. let's meet up soon and buy stuff at the mall.


PS who is curt Kobain?

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


Monday September 15, 2003

Had some toast and eggs. Threw up. Had two cigarettes. Did a line of coke. Then got out of bed.

9:03 AM

I should never have to wake up before 11:30, like, ever. The fact that I'm sharing an elevator in my building with people who are going to work in an office absolutely repulses me. Suits and ties and "business slacks"....like ohmygod! Sickening. I mean, do people look in the mirror ever? Do they say to themselves, how will I scare the s*** out of my co-workers today? Jesus, lady, here's a quarter. Upgrade your wardrobe.

10:47 AM

Tell this Mexican woman to stop touching my face. I don't care if she says she's "applying make-up." She's doing it just too.... aggressively. This is eyeliner, not laser surgery.

12:30 PM

I just did a cat walk wearing God-know-what. I mean, there is not enough material here to even qualify this as a belt. This is more like a shoelace. A shoelace that has to cover my whole entire body. I'm beginning to think that designers are total pervs who are just too embarrassed to go out and actually buy porn magazines. And besides, who would actually wear this trash out? It's made of glitter!

1:22 PM

Just had some macaroni & cheese. Mom made me promise I would keep at least one meal down a day. So this will be it. I was thinking while I swallowed those enormous noodles that food is so weird because it's like so amazing to eat but so bad for your body sometimes. Like my daddy told me that his friend ate too much meat and had a heart attack. Does this make sense to you? So complex, our love/hate relationship with our bodies. Sort of like how we have that relationship with Siberia....or is it Liberia? Why do they make all the countries sound so alike....and why is Lucy Liu wandering backstage? I mean, she's cross-eyed!

2:01 PM

Ok. Ok. Ok. I'm about to walk out on the catwalk and I just mistakenly did an insane amount of coke. How does one mistakenly do coke, you may ask? I don't know. I'm in no capacity to respond to that right now. Things are moving very fast. Like my pen. Wow. My pen is like so writing right now. Look at it write. Hi, pen. I love you, pen. Let me kiss you, pen. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss.....what? Stop bothering me. All these people are asking me why I am kissing my pen. They must understand how much I love my pen. I want to marry my pen. Pen, will you be the father of my children....wait! I have to go now, I think. But what they don't understand is that I will go out on the catwalk but not without my pen. F*** Versace! If she doesn't want me walking with my pen, then I don't walk. MY PEN OR THE HIGHWAY!
Like, I thought....I'll be right back. Me and my pen have a crowd to impress.

3:55 PM

Waste and waist. Two words that sound the same but mean different things. English is like such a weird language.
I'm trying on a new dress right now for Kenneth Cole. God, I really hate him and his smug ads. Blah blah saving the world blah blah blah wear our clothes. Where and wear. HA! Two more words. This is the coolest day ever.

5:37 PM

I am finally finished with this stupid catwalks. People don't realize how hard it is doing what I'm doing. Back and forth looks so simple but it's not. You try it while cameras are flashing in your face. People are, like, looking at you. When you're sitting in your cubicle, no one's looking at you. It's just you and your computer and your internet. You don't have to smile or look hot. Oh right. You think this is natural, all this. Well...actually it is...but STILL! Being hot is hard. Getting hit on all the time. Always having places to go and people to go with. Having conversations all the time. What I would give to sit in a annoyingly-lit office environment where everyone is miserable and focused on what they have to do, where the hum of copy machines makes the soundtrack of your life. Where the coffee is made from a pouch and the fridge smells like milk after someone has vomited it in.....oh God, what am I thinking? Their life is so miserable. Thank God I'm hot.

8:33 PM

I'm having dinner at Otto's, this famous fancy Pizzeria on 8th and everyone is here. There's Demi (= slut) and Ashton. Maybe they could pretend more to enjoy each other's company. I DON'T BELIEVE YOUR ACT! LIARS! I need a cigarette. I'm going to smoke it indoors and if anyone tries to stop me I will press the butt onto their hand.

9:47 PM

This is probably my last entry tonight because I'm going to a party and I will drink tons and probably not know who I am. Or for that matter, be able to write. This is the only bright side of fashion week — that I spend a majority of it forgetting who I am. It's like being senile but not permanent and not being all wrinkly and old. Or peeing in my pants every so often. Although that did happen once but it wasn't on purpose.
And the first drink I have, will be to you, Diary. Because you are my best friend first, my confidant second and a book with a lot of empty pages third.
Love ya.

11:45 PM


2:33 AM

Monday, September 15, 2003


The Rappaport Account
The Rappaport Account Are Music Champions
(Self Released)

The great thing about music is its ability to transcend the time that it exists in. The way it can trick you into checking your calendar just to confirm what year it is. For example, the electronic forefathers, Neu!, which almost secretly existed in 70’s Germany could have easily been collecting unemployment in 2003’s Williamsburg. A band like Mojave 3, on the other hand, which hails from late 90’s England should have been smoking weed in the 60’s hey-day of California folk. And when an artist is able to do that--remain relevant regardless of the sociological, political and weather changes of the day--then he can sit back and whiff that fresh morning scent of true accomplishment.

Dave Rapapport, lead singer and wunderkind behind the Rappaport Account tells us that at 26, he now lives in midtown Manhattan. But after listening to his album, "The Rapapport Account Are Music Champions," I have a very hard time believing that. Because, like the bands mentioned above, the Account is a musical time machine, this time hell-bent on the past. A mode of transportation that never allows us to live in the present moment. A recorded justification for all those that argue "it was better back then."

In the opener, "Scott Free," Mr. Rapapport invokes the pop sensibilities of Andy Partridge, strumming and progressing into a harmony-versus-hook-bout in which the listener is announced as the winner. "This is where I get off, this is where I get off!" Rappaport shouts and if you’re paying attention to the intricacies, chances are you will too.

The next track, "99 Cents," conjures Ray Davies and his biting commentary on stoners and daydreamers, all the while incorporating the gentle folk pleasures of Freedy Johnston. "It’s not what you know, it’s what you do with what you know," Rappaport reminds us, reciting just one of the many lines on the album that actually ring true--that perfect balance of cliché and potency.

As the record moves on from song to song, influence to influence, nostalgia to nostalgia, there are a great many surprises like the "All You Need Is Love"-chorus of "I’ll Be The Sun" or the Johnny Cash (RIP) laziness of "Lighthouse." Another standout track on the album, "That Was The Night," proves to us that even an American can brazenly out-Kink the Kinks.

Stumbling upon the Rappaport Account’s first release was a pleasure like looking through a parent’s photo album, imaging how things were in a time when the music was the statement and not what the artists was wearing or who they were dating. Granted everything seems better once we look back on it. Marketers call it cognitive dissonance. Others say, hindsight is 20-20. Well, if that is the case, then you could say "…Are Music Champions" is also a perfect vision.

[Note: for the time being, you can only purchase the Rappaport Account’s album on www.therappaportaccount.com.]

Saturday, September 13, 2003

ALBUM RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK (according to my clock, I still have 2 hours left of it):

The Sleepy Jackson

Jeff Lynne never got no respect. Which is almost criminal. Because he had a pop ear that could find the elusive hokey-hook and make that cheese into fromage. His band, Electric Light Orchestra, in retrospect, was the average-income man’s Beatles, creating pleasing music that both Daddy-o’s and kids could enjoy. But the only caveat was that no one would admit to being fans. After all, ELO was the band to score the whole Xanadu soundtrack sans irony (even with Olivia Newton John on occasional vocals!).

Luke Steele, on the other hand, wears his ELO vintage T-shirt proudly on his ELO vintage T-shirt sleeve. The lead singer and songwriter behind the Sleepy Jackson is so obsessed with the Lynne™ sound that he even ventures boldly into disco-like balladry ("Tell The Girls That I’m Not Hangin Out") adding a flashy synth track under a chorus of "na na na’s." It’s an incredibly effective dance song, so retro in its roots that it completely avoids the new-wave bandwagon so many have rode into their major labels on. Elsewhere on songs like "Acid in My Heart" and "Miniskirt," he out-noodles a tuna casserole, adding a bit of country flavor to his sweet introspection, just like Lynne did with the Travelling Wilburys

And while critics have assigned many other influences to essentially Steele’s music (he’s reportedly a perfectionist, changing the line-up of his band over seven times), the Lynne comparison holds strong throughout Lovers. Because like that genius’ back catalogue (yes—genius), Lovers’ goes from tune to tune experimenting with format but never losing its consistency. It’s a record that feels like a grand whole idea. An illuminating idea that grants us with 100,000 watts of pop. The kind of brilliant voltage that could even ignite a whole light orchestra. Specifically, of course, an electric one.

Thursday, September 11, 2003


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

PART TWO OF "MY PHANTOM PAIN" (continued from yesterday):

I pick up Neil up in my well-meaning but weather beaten Ford Taurus. Neil jumps in the car sporting his standard tan Khakis and blue polo shirt. It’s not that he is intentionally a conservative dresser, he's just a lawyer and that's what they wear. As I pull off, Neil ejects my mix tape and puts on the news, which in my car is considered a criminal offense and a personal affront. But in these times, the rules have to change. They just have to.
We are anticipating a great deal of traffic but still believe that we can find the route with the least amount of congestion. While listening to 1010 WINS, we both become suddenly aware of what we are trying to avoid. We are going to pass Ground Zero. The inevitable confrontation. In our self-centeredness, we have intentionally suppressed the only way to revel in our meat-therapy, was to drive by the disaster scene. I suddenly experience a tumultuous conflict of emotions. A rush of anticipation to finally see the site and restraint for being so insensitive. Hesitation and impatience. I am a battleground of colliding emotions but at least, I am feeling again.

Usually, Neil and I find it difficult to remain silent. If not a shared appreciation of cinema, the fodder of our banter is comic books or music. There used to be much out there to discuss. But suddenly there is little conversation in the car. I’m certain he is thinking the same thing I am. Images of body parts strewn about – legs, arms, maybe heads…do you understand this? Unidentifiable toes - cars backed up for miles with nowhere to go, a thick tower of smoke threatening to turn in any direction. All this for a measly deli sandwich.

After multiple attempts at awkward conversation, Neil and I drive past the famous skyline. And as the news had reported to me, they aren’t there. It is true. They did not make this up. In risk of coming across as too dramatic, I ask Neil if I can pull over the car for a moment. I must pull over. He concedes. I get out of the car and stare in awe. I immediately think of Richie.


Richie is my father’s best friend and an uncle of sorts to me. While he may not realize it, the way he’s conducted his life has inspired many. While in college, Richie had his right leg mangled in a horrible car accident. There was nothing "they" could do, so it was mercilessly amputated. In its stead, Richie was given a prosthetic, a wooden leg, like a modern day pirate. He still married, had children and grandchildren and even started his own business. Without a leg.

When I was younger, we had Richie and his family stay with us for a weekend. My father had asked me to visit the guestroom to see if Richie needed anything. In my youthful rudeness and brash, I burst through the door to the sight of Richie sitting there on his bed rubbing his stump sans prosthetic, in intense pain. I innocently asked Richie what was wrong. He responded that he was experiencing a horrible case of phantom pain. Acutely aware of my perplexed facial expression, he proceeded to explain what phantom pain was. He told me that while his leg wasn’t physically there, his mind was still convinced that is was. And every so often, he would feel pain in that area. This blew my mind. How could the human mind be so simply and easily deceived? I never could understand this psychological phenomenon. Even as I grew older and mentally capable of more difficult concepts, I’ve always had trouble fathoming how you could feel the pain of something not there.

Well, now I am staring at something that isn’t there and I begin to cry. The closure I so desperately need comes to me in saltwater emissions from my already weary eyes. At this exact moment, I finally understand Richie’s concept of phantom pain. All these years, whenever I saw Richie, which was often, I would wander off for hours pondering this incredible aspect of human nature. Feeling pain for something that wasn’t even there. I wondered what if felt like – discomfort that wasn’t coming from a fleshy source. I wondered if he looked down during his phantom pain attacks to see if it was all a dream and his leg was indeed really still attached to his pelvic bone. I couldn’t help but appreciate the brilliance and cunning of the mind, that it would try to convince you to the contrary of what your eyes saw. Can you believe the nerve? In a grief-stricken moment, all the questions I had were all answered. I no longer wondered how Richie felt. Finally I too felt an extreme, intense pain over something that wasn’t there.

Monday, September 08, 2003


"Where were you when it happened," seems to have replaced the standard "hello" or any greeting-like variation. Most can’t get through their polite small talk quick enough to find out exactly what you were up to on the morning of September 11th. Where you stuck on the downtown A train while overhearing conflicting stories of a plane…no, wait, it’s a helicopter colliding into the World Trade Center or…did she just say "the Empire State Building"? Where you already at work preparing your coffee just the way you like it with two sugars and low-fat milk? Or where you, like me, still guiltily sleeping, spending a few more minutes gallivanting in the land of Naivete? How quickly my innocence was seized from me when I awoke that morning. If I had known I could never return back to that safe place, I would have taken a momento. A little token. Perhaps a postcard with the message printed on it: Naivete – wish you were here.


I turn on the TV. I watch. I am disgusted with myself for sitting here helpless but more so for wondering whether I should still be concerned with alternate side of the street parking. Hmm, the problem here is that I’ve tuned in late – in middle of the plot - which leaves me with no choice but to multitask. I need to find out exactly what happened while, simultaneously, try to register this horrible tragedy as something real. I need to catch up with the others. Can I do both? I have to remind myself regularly that this is not a movie. Oh no, no, no. This is not a movie with Bruce Willis. No, Bruce Willis is just as shocked as I am. He is somewhere despising himself too, for being so helpless. Hyperventilating. I must relax. I should wander the street and seek comfort in numbers. I turn off the TV for the time being. I find myself inching back to the TV, needing just a little more. I need a bit fucking more. But my brain intervenes. It accuses my eyes of lying. You did not just see that. You lie, eyes! You fucking lie! But the eyes remain silent knowing this is not the time to be proven right. The eyes just want to slink back behind their eyelids. The heart, like the brain, finds it easier to deny. The heart knows what’s best for it – no oily foods, no cholesterol, and absolutely no World Trade Center collapsing. The only argument I have for myself in resisting the TV’s grasp is what every policeman has said in just about every movie: move along now. There’s nothing to see. In fact, right now a hundred blocks away, I am sure there was a policemen saying the same thing to those looking in grief-stricken awe for the Twin Towers. Move along now, there’s nothing to see.


We all have our own cathartic rituals. For Neil and I, it had always been a grilled Sub sandwich courtesy of Subsation on Coney Island Avenue. Looking back over the past few years, whenever we were challenged with events beyond our control, we found solace in a pastrami-with-grilled-onions-on-garlic-bread. It may not be the resolution of deeper understanding, but for a few minutes it helped Neil forget about his troubles and along with it, the incoming paperwork. This magical pile of saliva-inducing deli gave me the appropriate support I needed after I lost my job. Even my parents could not contest with the sub’s eloquence.

After feeling incredibly numb for the past week or two over "Black Tuesday (in America, even a day of tragedy is granted a brand name)", lacking all functions of pain and healing, I need to feel something. Even if that feeling occurs only in my stomach. Neil concurred and felt it was time for us to take a ride to Brooklyn. To find solace in a pastrami sub sandwich.

Since September 11th, I have been experiencing a demented need to see the rubble itself. The rubble holds nothing back. It breaks the news to you without restraint. The rubble sees things you can not comprehend and just lies dormant in testimony. In a common symptom of the post-Black Tuesday anxiety, I have seen just about every clip known to mankind - every angle, every degree of that second plane - but yet, I still can’t fathom in my thick stupid head that all this has really happened. I still can’t look you in the eye and tell you, yes, we really did lose our heads. How convincing would I be, if I didn’t believe it myself? I didn’t see it happen. I mean, there are Holocaust revisionists. Perhaps I could be a World Trade Center revisionist. Maybe…hey, maybe the buildings were never even there. Maybe my friend Adam had lied all along and didn’t even have a job on the 83rd floor. How do I know?
I’m having a very hard time internalizing, no, conceptualizing what has happened. How do I relate?

Do you now see how dangerous it is not to feel closure or the pain? Am I looking for a rationalization to see the horrific bloody mess? Do you see the ridiculous nonsensical ramblings it could bring you to? Don’t you understand that sometimes, in desperate measures, we will do anything to escape our harsh reality? Well, my friend, Reality has left town. He’s finding it too difficult to make it in New York City. In the meantime, he’s been replaced by Delusion.


Friday, September 05, 2003


It has been along time since I wrote last. And it hasn't been out of laziness. Honest.

No, really.

It's because the thoughts in my mind race like an African marathon runner (aren't they always the fastest); frantic, desperate, ambitious. I think of a million things at once, trying to grasp onto a significant thought. Squinting my mind's eye to focus on a specific idea.

These mental wanderings are preoccupied with dreams of my elusive-yet-inevitable career, the concept of loneliness and companionship, and most of all, the trappings of a safe life, this jail sentence of normalcy.

God, if this isn't babble, then I don't know what is. But hear me out; I am always weary of being too egocentric, which the previous four paragraphs seem to contradict, or for that matter, most of this site's content BUT the lack of focus I refer to above is not mine alone. It is something most people around me can relate to, if not all people.

The word "practical" scares me. It's the herpes of the English language. It's the rainer on many parades, the killer of most, if not all, inspiration. Being practical sounds as dreadful as being dead. No one wants to be accused of being either. Would you date someone who was referred to as "practical?" Could you think of anything that's a bigger turnoff (besides having a snorting cackle, which I assure you, you never get used to)?

Being a dreamer or being practical; the most difficult thing is deciding which one to be. And the middle area is so hazy and foggy, you might as well call it Scotland. If one veers too far to the side of dreaming, then those around him or her constantly remind him to wake up, join the world and be something (unaware that being a dreamer is still actually being something). But if you err on the side of practicality, then life is all too regular and stoic. Nothing is expected or for that matter, unexpected. Close your eyes and get up. That's your day in a brief summary.

What makes me...or us...nervous is transferring this aforementioned dreaming, this desire to fulfill something bigger than the concept of us, into a reality. Where does one find the inspiration? Sure, you could look to a Nike ad and "just do it." But a slogan only goes so far. Probably only as far as to the next commercial.
And if you sat down with anyone in the world, I’m certain that they would all love to be in a place other than the one they are currently in. Not to say that everyone is unhappy (which to a certain degree, I think is true) and that everyone's change would be an earth-shattering alteration but nevertheless, something would give.

Is this dangerous, though? Maintaining this distant goal in the back of your mind? Holding onto to this dream so much so that reality loses its grip in an arm wrestle with fantasy? I don't know. I am struggling with this daily. Every day, I wonder; should I abandon what I want and head to a life of quote unquote fulfillment? And are we fair to ourselves if we do? Are we fair to ourselves if we don't?

The complexities of existing in a world that demands so much of us is so tiring that we forget or ignore what we demand of ourselves. God, I wish I had the guts to move to a deserted rural town where time is on your side and so is the county sheriff. Wouldn’t it be nice to move to a foreign country for a year to see what happens? Start anew? I have a friend who is moving to Germany for year and I heard someone mention that she was a bit nervous of the transformation? Why, I asked. Because she feels like she will miss out on things. What things? Things are ambiguous. And besides, from what I hear, they have things in Germany.

But I’m a big talker. After all, I want to start a magazine. I want to live in a Villa in France. I want to take a road trip for six months all across the United States. I want to introduce myself to this random waitress I spotted last night on 73rd St. I want to be more than a temp at In Style Magazine. But here I am, in a cube at In Style Magazine which looks nothings like a quant cottage in the south of France.

Where to begin? How do we push ourselves off the cliff, jump into the deep water, leap the hurdle, and all other analogies that involve physical activities that sound potentially dangerous?

Now you can see why I haven't written in a while. I'm not sure if anything I put in words would make much sense nowadays.