- @ajohnsru @brimil @MorganAlane Good buffet at your hotel, or did you have to do some health food hunting? in reply to ajohnsru #
- Good morning! I'm ready to face a new week that ends in my blog's 12th birthday and a family wedding! What are your milestones this week? #
- @phillybosslady Yeah, I'm not joking when I say I'm the longest-running blog in Philly ;) in reply to phillybosslady #
- @handsoflightphl Oh no! Hopefully that doesn't put you in crisis mode all week. Never a good way to start a Monday. in reply to HandsOfLightPHL #
- @workbridgepa Thank you! I always love to have a few big things on the horizon. Acts like a magnet, pulling my through each day. in reply to WorkbridgePA #
- On the homefront, yesterday we wrapped Jake-the-Bassists overdubs on the new LP! Also got in some synth playtime. Next up: lead guitars! #
- Only my third visit but already hopelessly addicted to @HipCityVeg's creative vegan menu. Plus, spinning Aimee Mann's "Wise Up" today! #
- Nothing I can possibly add. RT Open Letter to Rep. Akin From a Woman Who Got Pregnant From Rape http://t.co/vCDvbCV4 via @amyallstar #
- @Not_Pele Oh, I know. My non-smile turned into this weird ultra-cheekbones grimace. I have no ideal. in reply to Not_Pele #
- Good morning! Unexpectedly finished up a long-simmering song last night. Did any minor surprises put a smile on your face yesterday? #
- @amyisarockstar They're evil, especially if you are stuck with a terrible one as your local office. The 1 we had in S Philly was a nightmare in reply to amyisarockstar #
- Always a good feeling when your contentious question results in a spirited debate about changes that can improve a customer's experience. #
- @rocza We need to schedule our GF outing with @purplecar & @not_pele! in reply to rocza #
- Places you can't seat members of @not_pele's family next to me for fear we'll create a scene: weddings, funerals, churches, dinner, cars #
- @aworldgoesnova @Not_Pele Depends on your perspective. in reply to aworldgoesnova #
- Only in this context would I ever be one of the black sheep who is excused from an event to pick up liquor and greasy food. #
- I love the "Obama supports gay marriage and abortion: vote Repub" billboard on I95. Not offering commentary either way. It just amuses me. #
- @marykateruf @ajohnsru Ugh, it's what stifled both my social life and music career for years. Can't last five minutes. in reply to marykateruf #
- Philadelphia just returned to peak awesomeness! RT @brimil :D (@ Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) w/ 43 others) http://t.co/1FCAoTIJ #
- @bengarvey We love them! We played a show witht hem way way back in reply to bengarvey #
Archives for August 2012
There are few things in our lives that are truly finite.
Of course, that’s patently untrue. For example, there are a specific, quantifiable number of people on Earth.
Go ahead, count them.
If that’s too tall a task, we can limit the scope. What about the number of cars in America? Still too large? Let’s think local – how many stores and carts in Philadelphia sell soft pretzels?
From the perspective of a single person’s experience, those finite numbers are unknowable. We can rely on estimations, aggregate data, and computer projections, but in our lives we’ll likely never know the answers. We’ll never know all of the facts or have all of the money.
The finite will remain infinite.
Two important things happened yesterday.
Around noon, E and I collected her two siblings and one nearly sibling-in-law into our car and drove to New Jersey to attend her step-sister’s wedding. There we met up with my extended clan of in-laws, which includes a pair each of step-aunts and -uncles, all beaming at a storybook beautiful bride.
(We also tailgated with them in the parking lot of a church, but that’s another story entirely.)
About halfway through the reception I was idly texting best-and-worst wedding stories of all time with Nan between speeches when a peek at Twitter revealed that Neil Armstrong had passed away.
I didn’t mention it to our table – I didn’t want to be that guy, reading the news off his phone at the wedding (even if I already was) (sorry, Tal). Later, outside in the parking lot in the fading daylight, I glanced upward to see a slivered moon hanging low across the sky, ready for the sun to cede its place in their nightly ritual.
I wish I could make the moment seem more poetic by saying I thought of Neil, but I didn’t. I was mostly thinking about how days pass so quickly while you’re living them, just like months and years. You live your life and then suddenly the moon is glowing above you and you are almost done being thirty, and you aren’t sure how you got there.
Okay, not you. Me. How I got there. Here.
Sometimes I’m not so certain, but that’s what Crushing Krisis is all about – all twelve years of it, as of today.
Year twelve of CK has been a huge year of my life.
I turned 30. I was featured in Jump Philly magazine. I fronted a full, four-piece rock band for the first time. I was promoted to being the most senior individual contributor in my department. E and I were interviewed for CBS Philly. I visited Las Vegas. I began editing my first novel as a member of an Author’s Club. I became a regular contributor to another blog.
I went on my first road trip to celebrate Gina’s birthday. I managed the communications for one of the biggest events in Philly for its biggest year of all time. I found myself the leader of a wedding band. I completed my collection of every X-Men comic, ever.
Not every notable moment was a big one. We survived Hurricane Irene, mostly unscratched. I interviewed Philly art star Britt Miller. I delivered a dramatic reading about the morning after.
I reviewed a slew of DC’s New 52 debut comics, part of a rare “post every day” month at CK. I recorded songs from the first third of my lifetime, including a cover of Vogue with an emotional essay attached. E and I took home a band for the night. I attended a funeraland then visited bro in his first apartment.
I explained how bigots should not be allowed to like X-Men. We bought a firm new bed. I wrestled with the monsters in my life. I recorded a video confession about my obsession with coasters. E got drunk at The Muppets and could not help me identify a lost song. I shared my OCD issues with dirty feet. I mused on how Taylor Swift is like (and unlike) The Beatles. I reviewed the best of X-Men from 2011.
E dreamt about zombies. I speculated about dead aliens being removed from our plane from Vegas to Philly. I re-watched the X-Files. I reviewed Madonna’s new LP, track-by-track. Gina taught me an Iron Maiden song. I broke the first comprehensive news about Marvel’s non-reboot. We spent time with our new old friends Chris and Courtney. I saw Fiona Apple, as I have once after each of her albums. I was on vocal rest for two weeks.
There are well over a million words on CK. To you they might seem infinite – more than you’ll ever read. They’re infinite to me too, but in a different way – I’m never certain how many more of them I have in me.
As always, I struggled with wanting to post more – constrained both by privacy and time. Week after week I planned seven days of posts, but I rarely wrote past a Wednesday.
As a result, I missed recording many details of my life. I did not write about every Arcati Crisis rehearsal and show. I did not share every new thing I am crushing on. I did not describe the excitement of talking to E about her new career as a Software Engineer at a local start-up. I never finished a post about my first photo shoot as a member of Filmstar.
I never made the post about how I wore a hood for weeks after Trayvon Martin’s murder. I did not blog about a brief depression this spring. I forgot to detail E’s riotous birthday party, and the amazing new friends we have in our lives. I didn’t discuss joining the board of Social Media Club Philly.
I have yet to write the first post of my epic re-read of every X-Men comic in the order they were written. I didn’t talk about the zeal of seeing my favorite band, Garbage, back on stage. I totally skipped out on recording my exploits with Nan at the 140 Conference in New York.
Why didn’t I record all of those moments and feelings? Because, if there is one thing in our lives that is finite, it’s time. We might waste it – pass it with idle distractions – but it’s the one thing that lies plainly charted and steadily consumed. There is no more of it to discover, and none of it truly lost. There are only moments forgotten, unrecorded and unremembered.
Back to the wedding, and the moon.
The distance from where you sit reading this right now to the surface of the moon is finite – and not finite like the people in the world or the soft pretzels in Philadelphia. It’s knowable. Measurable down to the very centimeter.
Except, it seems pretty infinite to you, doesn’t it? I know it does to me. It’s not a distance I can use anything in my life to define or describe. It’s not a place I’ll likely ever go. Yet, some people on this planet understand the distance perfectly, because they have not only measured it, but traversed it to stand on the surface of that sphere that looms above our heads every night.
One less person now.
Then there is the wedding. Not exactly a harbinger of the infinite. I’ve been to a lot of weddings – I had even at the point I started writing this blog twelve years ago.
What I didn’t have back then was siblings. I was still a year away from from moving in with Erika and Lindsay, and further from meeting E’s sister and brother. I had Gina, but we had yet to truly explore the depth of our connection to each other through life and music.
I was alone, and that solitude seemed infinite. The idea of marriage, and later of knowing a fraternal and sororal love so deep that I would beam back at them on their wedding day, was a concept so remote at to seem infinitesimal – just like the surface of the moon seems to me today.
There is so much in life we’ll never never know or do that it’s easy to define ourselves with that negative space. I will never know everything. I will never have all of the money. I will never play my songs for every person living in Philadelphia
That list of nevers stretched even further twelve years ago, and if I didn’t have a blog it would not be so easy to understand how I have expanded to know and do so much more than I ever thought possible.
No one should aspire to simply be an outline of the space that contains them. Better to wish to expand your life in every direction to find new knowledge, experiences, and family. New objects in space. Because the one thing we know we will run out of – the only thing that truly contains us – is time.
Thank you for being a part of my journey through time and space, and for reading about it again and again. You are part of the infinity I once thought untouchable that is now tangible. Every word that you read expands the boundaries of my life a little further.
Thank you, and happy birthday to this.
I don’t know what got into Philadelphia last night, aside from the surprisingly autumnal breeze that followed my car down every block of West Philly to stream through my window at every stop light.
It was the sort of thing that made me want to take side streets with all four windows rolled down. Apparently, for everyone else it made them insane.
I can understand that. No one was thinking about Autumn. The equinox is a month away. The cool air reminded us that time sprints forward with or without us, which apparently precipitates a lot of wrong-way driving and pounding on car windows and generally acting half like an obstacle course and half like an angry mob.
The passage of time was certainly the theme of my errand – to exchange one last goodbye with Jake. When the idea of his moving first emerged last fall it seemed improbably and remote, but tomorrow he’s catching a train to his new home in upstate New York.
On my way home I paused at a stop sign and was faced by a crowd of people standing in a clump across the intersection from me.
“Oh great,” I sighed, “an actual angry mob.”
I’m starting to get the hang of this driving thing, but this was the first human barricade I had encountered. I wasn’t so sure of the procedure. Do I offer a tribute of some kind in exchange for safe passage?
As I hung back trying to decide how to proceed the crowd shuffled slightly and revealed inside of it a human form, lying curled on the street. There was no indication of what happened – a car accident or a sudden seizure? – but the passers by had surrounded the disabled person like cells forming a scab on a wound, protecting the sensitive area from the world at large.
There were enough people that I didn’t think I could contribute any valuable aid. I signaled right and continued my drive, Autumnal air on my trail.
I don’t like listening to music on the radio.
That is a generalization. The more specific version is that I have all of the good song that the radio plays on my iPod already sans the lemons and commercials, so why bother? It’s not as if DJs are any more useful than the random function these days.
I make an occasional exception for Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5, because they are an unusual station. They’re alt-rock, but they’re the first station in Philly I heard playing “Fuck You,” and they actually debuted “Rolling in the Deep” to me last year – and, you’ve got to be pretty up on your new releases to get the drop on me hearing an awesome song like that.
Essentially, 104.5 is more alternative than it is rock. Yes, they play their share of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Foo Fighters, but they’re also playing bands fronted by women, and acoustic stuff, and obscure artists not getting play across the country – because Philly likes all of that.
Case and point: a few weeks ago this song came on and immediately became my #1 “I Wish I Wrote That” of 2012. Behold, “Live and Die,” by the Avett Brothers.
I have been vaguely aware of the Avett Brothers, but not especially a fan. Whoa, boy, has that changed.
A few thoughts:
1. Wow, how did this get on the radio? This is like… Folk/Americana music. But not. It’s a pop song played in the Folk/Americana style.
2. He has this awesome squareness to his voice. Like, I highly doubt it is auto-tuned (but, who knows), yet listen to the wonderful control of the descending melody on “I want to love you and mo-oh-oh-ore.” Such perfection.
3. Wow, this kind of sounds like how I want the new Arcati Crisis record to sound.
4. There is nothing wrong with writing a treacly sweet love song. They’re catchy. People like them.
That last one is mostly directed at me.
“Live and Die” is from The Avett Brothers’ forthcoming LP The Carpenter, out on September 11th.
- Good morning! There is cool, breezy sun and new music on my iPod. I think this day is going to be great. What's making you smile? #
- I want to have an indecent liason with the melody of the Avettt Brother's "Live and Die." Definitely my "wish I wrote it" song of 2012. #
- @brimil Isn't it cocktail time for you over there? in reply to brimil #
- There has to be a chart somewhere on the internet that includes a line by line breakout of which Spice Girl sings lead parts on which song. #
- @amanda_nan That's just Wannabe, though – I want a master chart of predominant lead-singers per song on ALL songs (I think it's usually… in reply to amanda_nan #
- Geek Awards! So many beautifully spangled nerds in the house. #
- How tasteless is it that a video about winning a girl is the intro for Geek of the Year, a category of all women? Medium? @PhillyGeekAwards #
- OMFG STAN LEE IS TALKING TO US. #phillygeekawards #
- I seem to have a superpower to locate @aworldgoesnova in any crowd. I mean, she's tall, but I still consider it a super power. #
- Glam midnight dinner with @purplecar. In case this night wasn't awesome enough already. #
- Watching a "Good Woody Allen Movie" is akin to meeting someone I want to gently punch in the face. #
- @alexcmurphy He writes every character as awful except for the Woody-stand-in and the beautiful woman. So tiresome. in reply to alexcmurphy #
- @jayvert @ericsmithrocks I know I'm a little late on this, but hell yes. in reply to jayvert #
- @jayvert @ericsmithrocks I know I'm a few days behind on this, but HELL YES. in reply to jayvert #
- Good morning! Happy to be alert, awake, and on Twitter. What are you happy about today? #
- @mariatsciarrino Whoa, how is that possible? A mix of many factors, or one major factor being removed? in reply to mariatsciarrino #
- @mariatsciarrino I used to have a problem, but it was all about diet, activity, & hanging out all day in my bedroom. Now, out like a light. in reply to mariatsciarrino #
- @inflammatorywrt I have the same thing about my neck/cheeks and facelifts. in reply to inflammatorywrt #
- Love a gal w/a style guide. Can't wait! RT @ladygaga make sure when writing about my new album/project ARTPOP that you CAPITALIZE the title #
- @anniemal @mariatsciarrino High school students? Songwriters? in reply to anniemal #
- @leesafar Totally. Wish I knew more of his deep cuts, though. in reply to leesafar #
- True. RT @not_pele: Started the morning with an Aqua Teen Hunger Force reference, no doubt tickling @krisis. I think today will be awesome. #
- @amanda_nan I can't wait! May even see it in the theatre. in reply to amanda_nan #
- 1st time @ gym in weeks after I was way-too-out-of-breath singing scratch vocals for the LP last night. Feels good to put my body in motion. #
- Sounds like a pipe dream, but I'll try! RT @ibx: #ibxgamechanger I will eat a healthy breakfast every morning this wk. RT to win $100! #
- @amanda_nan haha, I think it only counts if I finish it! Working on the next chapter tonight. in reply to amanda_nan #
- @amanda_nan Definitely need a little of both – grand plans keep me moving, but all grand means days go by without smaller wins accomplished. in reply to amanda_nan #
- @amanda_nan I made my grand return to the gym! Nice to have a 45 minute accomplishment in the midst of mixing 21 songs ;) in reply to amanda_nan #
- Always amused to glimpse a Kindle over someone's shoulder when they are reading straight up smut. Lovely you can now enjoy that in public. #
- Oh, wait, maybe it's just 50 Shades of Grey… #
- @hankwasiak The Oreo social campaign has been brilliant lately. Connecting their brand to so many stories already in the public imagination. in reply to hankwasiak #
- Wow, that USA v. Canada Women's Soccer match was a crazy nail-biter! Even reading the live-blog made me tense. http://t.co/HqAUQCnY #
- Worf's parents are humans. WHAT? Was I asleep that Saturday afternoon? This puts so much into perspective. #
- @sayitrahshay Yes I got that far :) I just don't know if I buy the Klingon culture he knows & his otherness if he was brought up on Earth. in reply to sayitrahshay #
- @sayitrahshay They apparently cook lots of creepy Klingon food for him. in reply to sayitrahshay #
- Good morning! Fell asleep early last night and woke up raring to do all the things I missed doing last night. What's you're #1 to do today? #
- @McKelvie @christianmunthe Welll, I don't know about you, but MY day is going to be awesome now that I've seen that. in reply to McKelvie #
- @ajohnsru I tried that one time and had a kid kicking the back of my seat the entire red eye. Learned my lesson. in reply to ajohnsru #
- When they say have a balanced breakfast every day, I don't think they mean a menthol cigarette and a diet coke before 8am. Just saying. #
- @magaIicious Ugh. I'm a @Gillette devotee, but I'm considering dropping all the brands that leap to endorse toolbag @ryanlochte. in reply to magaIicious #
- Paralyzing and heartbreaking hack attack on journlist completely erodes his digital identity. http://t.co/TWFTfYNy #
- @cecilyk You're post was NOT rude & barely hypocritical. You can do a sponsored post and still blog from the heart instead of marketing plan in reply to Cecilyk #
- @cecilyk I've been a blogger for 12yrs now – blogging will always be a means of communication and expression, with or without monetization. in reply to Cecilyk #
- Certain I've spotted @allieharch & I in a heli-cam shot ;) RT @TheColorRun Philly EXPLODES with 26,000 Color Runners! http://t.co/mNmzb1Tq #
- @allieharch I think I see us in the overhead shot around :16; we were pretty close to the North side, I was in a white bandanna w/sunglasses in reply to allieharch #
- Worth reading for the killer infographic RT @ginidietrich What Piracy? How Hollywood & Music Industry Have It All Wrong http://t.co/LxEBRRbO #
- @jtramsay @geoffd Is there any downside to the non- buried El, aside from maintenance? It doesn't really affect traffic flow. in reply to jtramsay #
- Definitely backing gorgeous sci-fi comic @telikosprotocol before @kickstarter ends tomorrow but can't decide on a level!… #
- @mangetout Did you DL the prelude issue? Amazing! in reply to mangetout #
- Maybe I'm also getting fatter, but our washing machine also only seems to have hot water, and all of my clothes are DEFINITELY shrinking. #
- @CAwkward You are awesome and I am addicted to your blog. Reminiscing about the Vaders since excommunicated from my healthy life. #
- Time for our second overdub session on the new LP! Trying to find the right gear setup for our vocals. #
- I @Kickstarter'd Iminami http://t.co/9Pq9PEAO Amazing Philly theatre w/aerial silks, puppetry & live soundtrack. Their last show was amazing #
- @nwjerseyliz I love it! in reply to nwjerseyliz #
- @tostina Tina, my friends are making the big move to Rochester this weekend! 1st priority: they want to find good middle eastern takeout ;) in reply to tostina #
- Copy shop learns pictures are worth more than a thousand words, pays $4k for $10 photo used without permission: http://t.co/3yBQ89EV. #
- @FrankEliason @Mediabistro Yes, bc FB's edgerank has smothered all the unique content to make it the Reddit of badly photoshopped quote imgs in reply to FrankEliason #
- @BCBSIL I never look at the needle, always do deep breathing. in reply to BCBSIL #
- @zaneology Both flaws simply boggling…especially Amazon, which has little to say for its security despite its hegemonic power over ecommerce in reply to zaneology #
- @amanda_nan I was sure that was going to turn out to be a photo of an Olympic swimmer ;) in reply to amanda_nan #
- @tostina heading to their farewell dinner now, will tweet you their neighborhood ;) in reply to tostina #
- @tostina They'll be on Culver between Park and East. Taking all foodie recommendations ;) in reply to tostina #
- @yousingiwrite Considering the expense of concert tix for some of my favorite bands? Sure, I'd consider a strategically placed logo or two. in reply to yousingiwrite #
- Love that @capogiro is spinning the super-obscure Tori Amos cut "Not David Bowie," which was the inspiration of my own song "Glam." #
- @freakapotimus ACTION CASTLE! in reply to freakapotimus #
Everyone is a geek about something.
People geek about their children, cars, sports, and lawns. There are entire big box chain stores devoted to geekery in home renovation, pet care, and home electronics. You’d have to be a pretty unenthusiastic human being to live an entirely geek-free life?
So why don’t we call everyone “geek”? Or, better, why doesn’t everyone self-identify as one? Maybe because many of their geek-out pastimes are popular. They are acknowledged, mainstream pursuits. They have infrastructure and the aforementioned superstores to support them in their geekery.
I posit that it’s specificity that makes the true geek. Their great love and obsession isn’t easy to pursue. While their neighbor enjoys lawn care, they are obsessed with a specific kind of grass. While their husband loves movies, they love sub-titled action movies.
Or not. It’s not like the geek label really gets us anywhere in life, aside from finding other geeks as friends and scoring occasional “geek cred” when one of our favorite things hits the mainstream. Yet, there is something compelling about it. I proudly label myself a geek about blogging, social media, music, X-Men, and a host of other topics where I have made it a point to be the most obsessed one in any given room.
I have yet to receive my laminated geek card for all of my geekery. However, I am Philadelphia’s Geek of the Week, as determined by Geekadelphia – who are really the geeks of geekery in Philly.
I am sitting alone on the step in the small front hallway of my house, playing guitar.
A cage of microphones, stands, and cables surround my body in such a way that I can’t turn or stretch. If I drop a pick it’s lost to me. I just grab another from the tin sitting beside me and keep playing.
Gina, Zina, and Jake are less than 25 feet away – I know, because that is how long the 1/4” cable plugged into my guitar stretches. I can’t see them. We have erected a wall of cardboard boxes in the door frame that leads from our hall into the living room. Gina and I puzzled it together on Saturday while she hummed the theme to Tetris.
I can hear them. Only faintly through the boxes, but loud and clear over my massive, ear-cupping headphones. Gina chirps in a variety of accents through her control room mic, keeping me informed of the action in the other room and singing my songs on my behalf. Jake and Zina communicate via their instruments.
Every track I have ever released has been engineered, mixed, and produced by me. That means any time you have listened to me as a performer I was also busy thinking about a lot of other things, like if the mics are placed correctly or if the bridge is going to clip.
I can’t do that from this side of my wall of boxes. The control room is 25 feet away. Gina and Jake are the ones engineering my songs, and Zina is driving them. My only job is to sit on this step and play guitar the best I know how.
It was hard during my first song. I was still barking commands and telling Gina just how to cue each track. That did not last for long. It didn’t need to. If I can put my musical life in Gina’s hands, then who else can I trust?
That’s the word I keep coming back to in my tiny guitar room, stare fixed on the sideways logos on cardboard boxes as Gina cues up another track. Trust. I don’t know if I ever understood rock bands before now. I liked them and obsessed over every detail of their album credits, but I don’t know if I understood them.
Now, in my little box, I understand.
Rock bands are about trust. Every note, every rhythm and chord, is another blind fall. If you cannot trust the rest of the band to catch you it will never ring true.
I am ready to plummet through another take.