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Category Archives: Year 01

Highlights from 2000-2001

Isn’t it sort of funny that after all that talk about net identity on Sunday i’ve had mine irrevocably altered? If i thought that anyone at America Online gave two cents or ten seconds of a care towards my screenname being hacked i wouldn’t have learned anything during my time on the internet, and since i have i know that the likelihood of seeing me on aolim as KrisisPM ever again is about as much as my suddenly resubscribing to the dreaded AOL service and blogging that my new email is

Would you believe that this kept me up last night? Wondering what kind of bored and awful person would just yank my name out from under me just because i was a potential target since i sent them a single IM. Some people hop from name to name and from website to website and from layout to layout, and that’s all well and good for them. However, i take my identity online very seriously after all of these years, and so i am a fan of permanence. The email that everything funnels past on the way to my school account is only the third email address i’ve ever had. This webpage is only the third primary incarnation of my web presence. And, i have only ever had exactly one im name.

I’m not sure what this is supposed to inspire me to do. Is it a message from above that’s it’s time to wean myself away from virtual conversations and back onto real ones? Maybe, but the folks above seem to be ignoring that some of my best friends are mostly virtual at this point. Or, is it instead a reminder to me that nothing is ever really permanent, and that i should have alternate plans for when something i was counting on disappears from my life.

I don’t know.

Hello, this is Blogger speaking. Yes, this is the voice of your personal publishing solution. Please do tremble in fear. Due to my capricious mythological god-like tendencies, I occasionally like to republish posts from January at the top of your page without telling you about it. You know, just for shits and giggles. And, then, if i’m feeling particularly jaunty i lock up so that the post from January just sits on the top of your page for an hour while you stare at it helplessly and feel dumb. Sometimes i also create a plague of locusts, or crave for the blood of your firstborn. Clicking reload cannot end my unholy reign of personal publishing terror. Only burning great heaping pyres of twenty dollar bills can satiate my dark thirst for eating your posts and mangling your page! Blargh!

Rabi just posted back-to back entries about her identity as it relates to the internet. I haven’t linked Rabi once within the last week (as is generally my habit), and i don’t want to clutter up her comments as badly as i did for some of her other identity posts, so i thought that i’d comment right here, in my own fashion.

When i first got my account on America Online it was just after Christmas; i was fourteen years old and i didn’t really understand what the internet represented past a slew of AOL chatrooms and WebCrawler, and my screen name was PeterPCM. Everything was fun and rosey, but as i slowly began to learn a little more about how things worked and about the places one’s email address could wind up i wasn’t entirely comfortable with my name being so up front. When i got off of AOL that summer my email address went through a brief transition, and by my fifteenth birthday that September i had signed on with Erols with the login Krisis.

By that time i was already deep into the continual construction of my first Geocities webpage, which started over five years ago – sometime during the summer after my Freshman year of highschool. That webpage and that identity stayed wholly separate from myself for years; because my email address has stayed so consistent over the years i wound up establishing an actual identity to go with it. There have people who i’ve met and lost touch with who never knew me as anything other than a nebulous androgynous entity named Krisis, and i loved it. After the first incarnation of my webpage finally ended i created a new webpage that was more contingent upon my identity due to my songs and voice appearing all over it, but people still wound up asking me if i was a girl or a boy after i sent them there to answer their own question. For all of my pre-college summer i posed as a female character in an online roleplaying game and never once had my identity questioned or revealled. I was content and secure.

However, in college my treasured anonymity began to accumulate chinks in its armour despite my solid facade. All during Freshmen year my web identity became more and more entwined with my presence on Shafted, where Krisis was my posting handle. I couldn’t very well be anonymous and androgynous while talking about my own life and friends, and so i let down my guard and finally owned up to things like my sex, age and location. I still admantly refused to use my first name while ‘in character’, which was evidenced by most Shafted posters not knowing what to call me when they actually met me in real life. And, otherwise, things stayed aproximately the same.

Everything changed three hundred and sixty days ago, when i plugged my ftp information into blogger and began to deluge the internet with an amplified version of my interior monologue. Immediately i ran into conflicts… i didn’t mention my name anywhere in the blog and my ‘about’ page was deliberately vague about my identity, but to have a ‘blog’ i needed to have an identity and a voice of my own. Slowy but surely i crept into my online presence and edged some of the pieces that had been there as placeholders for facets of my own personality that i had been protecting, and at the same time i held on to facets of my internet voice that were routed deeper in my own self than anyone would’ve ever suspected. Despite these changes, i was still resistant, only mentioning my name sparingly in the context of songwriting and in conversations about me until it was nearly 2001; a search of the archives mostly turns up unending praise of Peter Mulvey. Even as my name finally spread through the internet through things like SurvivorBlog2 and Amy‘s mentions of me i persisted in signed comments and emails with ‘Krisis’ rather than ‘peter’.

As of now i’m just confused. Comments at LYD, Wockerjabby, UnNarrator, and Crezappy all alternate my monkier with my actual name depending on what information the cookies on my computer decided to remember. Emails to the notify list get my name, but emails to Tori lists still get Krisis despite the fact that Outlook on my work computer lists “Peter” as my reply name. And, because i send so much email at work, my student address has been the one most ‘internet people’ i talk to are seeing rather than my alias name.

Where have i wound up? Full circle from the start, i suppose, seeing as an email from me typically reads as From: “Peter [pcm22]” (which isn’t a far cry from “PeterPCM”). My “identity” is another matter entirely… more than four years playing the role of someone who wasn’t quite myself has left a lasting impression on my narrative voice on the internet whether i like it or not. Since i stopped writing fiction around when my first webpage saw its prime i literally have a gap in my personally recorded narratives where the only ones i wrote were for the internet – meaning that my internet voice literally usurped my typical one on the whole in my writing. In fact, now it even reaches far into term papers, official letters, and reports at the office.

Admittedly, it still feels weird sometimes to talk about my hair or my weight or to appear on my webcam, but i think at this point i have irrevocably entangled myself with whoever i had become in the same way what that i had become hijacked my own written communications. So, now my split personalities have been reigned back in to one manageable boy, and i’m left wondering what this newly merged boy’s real voice is on this log … the frantically paced, parenthetically snarking, self-derisive narrator of a year ago – or this newfound one complete with at-length reflections, somewhat credible grammar and syntax, and through-composed essays.

I suppose part of the fun of reading me must be watching me try to decide. Or, at least, part of the fun of writing me certainly is.

You would almost hope that if i wholly disappear for two days that i’m off experiencing something, unless maybe you are especially sadistic or disinterested – in which case you might be hoping that i’m having even more problems with my landlord or that my phone service was shut off. Either way you would be incredibly wrong, as the last 48hours of my life has generally involved a lot of boredom minus a couple of hours filled with jello shots.

Can i just discuss jello shots for a moment? They are colorful little bundles of deceptive joy. You swallow a jello shot and it doesn’t even hardly taste bad, and when someone offers you another one you gladly take it. And then, why not suggest a third? This all seems fine, but when people start groping for a fourth giggly cup of primary colour yumminess in under twenty minutes your brain should finally kick in and realize that all of that jello will eventually get melted down by your stomach, at which point the alcohol within would be released into your unsuspecting body.

So, that’s a word on jello shots.

I’m supposed to be making frantic last-minute arrangements to get my ass to folk-fest, and i am not. This is going to draw a lot of flack from a few friends of mine, but i honestly don’t care. I tried my bet to get involved with folk-fest and to make room in my schedule, and a certain friend decided i need to be on his committee and i had to leave early and stay late – and this was all well and good in theory, but everyone seems to forget that i work a full time job with full time pay and that i cannot just blow it off to live in a tent in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of hippy snobs who would string me up by my toes if they heard i skipped out on Erin McKoewn because i had tickets to go see Madonna. Long story short being that even in the middle of last week they were still expecting me to be at the fest until midnight on next Sunday, and even though they were willing to make exceptions for me i wasn’t interested in being the exceptions boy, so i’m not going.

I think i have all of that banality out of my system now. I just packed up a box of schoolbooks and papers and things that i never even touched this year, and i still have miles of clothes and sheet music and guitars and cds ahead of me. But, at least i’m not going to be stranded in careless folk-land for the entirety of the week, so i’ll actually have time to finish all of this.

Bleh, why did i even wake up?

Last night i went to bed with my creaky windows propped open by hangers wearing only my first pair of jeans restyled as cutoffs with piano drifting past like a breeze. At some point much later Matt came home and out of habit turned on the air conditioner to go to bed, and so i woke up freezing and sniffling from being so naked to the cold and because pollen had crept up through my window to strangle me. But, i could hear the outdoors for the first time since we shoved the drippy machine into the window, and the sounds of neighbors chuckling and saxophone pouring note by each note from the windows of the house across the street was much better than the electric holler of my alarm clock.

I feel a bit hung over, but in fact i am just water-logged from last night. This makes me suspect that being hung over is more about being too hydrated… like the liquor is hiding out somewhere beneath my cheekbones and i am heavier than it so it is trying to float up past my eyes and brain. That would at least explain that same dull pressure i’m feeling right now behind my face and below my temples … same difference. Or, it feels like the same difference, anyway.

I’ve never found very much of my music collection to be too implicitly sexy; sure, certain songs have their own sex appeal and others somehow took on one over the years, but what it comes down to is that i frankly don’t have a lot of albums that i would leave on while making out. Of course, for the longest time my rules of album buying went something like “there has to be a girl or an acoustic guitar, and both if i’m really going to enjoy it.” And, while this still is the most ultimate truth in my hunt for new music, it is no longer my sole critera for purchase, and it’s because of this that i feel like i own some music that’s a wee bit sexy now.

The crux of it is that the female voice doesn’t have a scandalous effect on me. Tori Amos sings some sexy songs, Elastica has one about feeling one’s back on the hood of a car, and Garbage has a web of darkly electric songs that are simply churning with sexual energy. That’s all well and good, but i’m compelled to listen to them rather than have it on the score of my lovelife. These songs are soundtrack music rather than scores… they talk about the movie but they don’t always click with the emotional content of the scenes themselves. However, today i realized that i do have the elements of the score lurking in my music collection (although theoretically half of it would come from hers), and it’s all because of the effects of a single girl.

We never kissed. Not once. Not even goodbye. Such was my relationship with Anastasia. However, what we did do a lot of was going to the movies and lying on her floor on Sunday afternoons arguing about music; she had the same sort of exception to women singers that i did to men, only really harbouring a great love for Tori Amos, Bjork, and Heather Nova. Her soft-spot was for men… and not aggressively loud alternative men, but squeaky or thoughtful or nerdy men: Soul Coughing, Ben Folds Five, Elliott Smith, Evan Dando, Get Up Kids, and a whole raft of even more indy rock guys whose albums i know on sight but not by name. And, so, we’d sit on her floor and we’d argue about why i didn’t like any of those bands and why she should really buy an Ani DiFranco album (which she eventually did, with Dilate).

Anastasia and i had a falling out near the end of Senior Year when the mess of applying to college was over and i felt as though i could actually talk to my old friends again. It was too late for my record collection, though, as a tiny kernel of the future had already taken root; on a total whim i had bought the just-released Keep it Like a Secret by one of her favourite bands, Built to Spill. I knew that i liked them a little, but i saw it and it was $13 and suddenly i needed it. But, when i got home it laid untouched on my desk in it’s perfect cellophane wrapped sitting on top of a brown bag containing its receipt. I wasn’t going to open it … it was simply symbolic of my lost relationship (and lack thereof) with Anastasia and there was no reason for me to open it let alone to buy it to begin with.

And, while i was at school the next day, my mother walked into my room for the first time in weeks, ostensibly to take out the trash, and she threw out the empty brown bag i had sitting on my desk. Afterwards it was inevitable – i could scream at my mother all i wanted to, but that album was a part of my collection as much as it was a part of hers, and i couldn’t not listen to it. So, in into the cd-changer it went.

It seemed so harmless at the time, just one happy springtime record in my collection of disappointed and jilted women, but the damage was done. I listened to it with my windows open, i put it on during showers, and i played it while working on my webgame. Built to Spill was like a pot slowly boiling all through my Freshman year; an album i would return to at the drop of a dime. And, suddenly, with this school year came restlessness and disposable income, and suddenly i was coming home with Ben Folds Five and Elliott Smith and even striking out on my own to find things she would like, like Deathcab for Cutie.

Today i was trolling through the used section at AKA Music and i bought, among other things, the Matador Records 10th Anniversary 3 disc set. The first song on the first record is “Stereo” by Pavement, which is a sort of innocently thumping bass groove with a nearly-spoken almost unattentive vocal that trips its way through the song unselfconsciously as it accents and squeaks and turns. And, somehow, to me the geek sound of an indy rock voice paired with at once carefully crafted and lo-fi instrumentation is a seductive sound to me.

There is a Built to Spill album called “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love,” and the cliche of the title mocks the a-typical and affecting songs therein. I remember that once we were lying on her floor talking and she told me how Ben Folds loves Built to Spill and how they both do “Twin Falls Idaho” and how the song after that on the Spill disc mentions David Bowie and at some point while i was sitting there nodding along and listening attentively my brain decided that the upward curl of an untrained mail falsetto or the persistent movement of a band with just a lead or bass guitar rather than a rhythm guitar was an attractive sound to me. Men have a way of writing about girls and sex that women obviously don’t, and while it’s not always the most artful thing in the world when compared to one of my Tori Amos cds, i understand when Ben Gibbard says things like “i hung my favorite shirt on the floorboard, wrinkled up from pulling pushing and tasting tasting” because even though the lyric is obvious, the effect the girl had on him is inherent to the lyric more than the lyric is demonstrative of it. Or,… i don’t know, maybe my brain is just forever trained to create sexual tension around Anastasia’s sort of music the same way i can get whiplash if someone walks past me smelling of Happy

The funny thing is that she’s in New York or Boston now because she got into college a year early and is this amazing artist and has all sorts of direction and i’m still sitting here in Philly listening to her sort of records as if she’s ever going to make it onto my top-five breakups list just because she’s influenced at least one song on every relationship mix tape i’ll ever make while in college. In a way she transcends my hardly populated list of heart-breaks because we never happened, so that in my memory i can keep us lying on her floor together perfect and separate forever without any tangles to comb out. So, here i am listening to Pavement and wondering if it could really underscore a perfect kiss. I wonder if, hundreds of miles away from here, the thought ever crosses her mind while she’s listening to Dilate.

The sky is endlessly growling and hissing and it is crumbling down on us slowly but surely as i speak. The great court of our main building has a skylight in the middle of the ceiling made up of 81 tiny windows on the heavens arranged by nines, and when the sky is this angry the building is cast in the make-pretend candle light held up by tiny cherubs flirting with the shadows that surround them. When i hear thunder i bolt out of our back office door to imagine the court as i might have seen it lit a century ago.

And our website doesn’t have a single picture of it; however, this is the visageless keeper of it all.

Hairdressers are more dangerous than psychics. A psychic has to make the first move; their job is to know what to say before you tell them what they should be talking about. If a psychic has a false start, they’re done for. Your disbelief is suspended only as long as they can keep pumping out vague connections and suggestions.

Hairdressers are an entirely different story. With a hairdresser, you start the exchange – they will stand there and glare at the back of your head and clip clip clip until finally you feel the intense need to break the silence. The clicking of the scissors eventually overwhelms you, and you open up your mouth to speak. Even then the burden isn’t on the hairdresser, because for all they care you could talk to yourself in the mirror the entire time. That’s what the mirror is there for, afterall.

And so you talk and talk to your own reflection until finally you strike upon a topic. Astrology. South Philadelphia. White trash. Divorced parents. Heat waves. And, suddenly, you are putty in their hands.

This is how hairdressers operate. They lie in wait like a spider at the center of a web just waiting for a fly to catch its leg on the tiniest strand. And then the pounce – yes, they know just what you mean about living in South Philly a mile away from the projects and trying to pick the nicest street to take up to South and oh my aren’t those little old ladies that live next door the friendliest thing ever? I sometimes think hairdressers all take classes in character acting and do regional surveys so they can be anyone they need to be for you to talk to; the only reason that they have a shampoo girl is because they are at their station slipping to right character for you.

Hairdressers bait and switch. Trash South Philadelphia but then mention that you just moved in a block away from my house. Talk about how astrology never works and then talk about how your boyfriend’s sign is perfect for you. Mention how the news overhypes heat waves and then lament the heat-related deaths. And then joke about them. Because, the haircut is immaterial, really. I know plenty of people who consistently get bad haircuts but keep crawling back for the same damned happy banter. Hairdressers are our pop-psychologist, our armchair psychic, our trendy aunt with the cool hairdo and hip belt. Their opinions matter, and they are forever waiting for you to just say the right words.


So, i have a lot less hair right now than i did yesterday, and i’m not really happy about it because i look very normal and not nearly as pretty as i usually look. So, until i get brave enough to appear on cam with the new haircut, please appreciate what i’ve left behind…

I hear webcams add 10 pounds of narcissism.

No matter what room i pick in our new apartment i have a slopey ceiling and a wall all in red brick and mortar. My mother and i were looking at houses the summer after my Junior year in highschool, and every house was a fight. I was insistent on staying within an easy commute of my highschool, and she was insistent on not buying some horrid house just so i could be close to my highschool. There was one last house we looked at before we finally looked at rentals, and it was in this odd mid-suburb that’s actually still a part of philadelphia. It was a compromise… wide flat streets with sidewalks tucked inbetween grass on either side, sagging porch roofs extending out from standalone single and double homes that looked grey and sad. I was bitter and disinterested, because it would be nearly impossible for me to get to school from there, but i remember walking up to the third floor and my mother saying it would be wholly mine and seeing how half the walls were brick and i had my own tiny bathroom and how the ceiling sloped at angles from the top of the roof down to the eaves and thinking … “but, i could live here. this could feel like a home.”

Today the realtor walked down the stairs to leave me be and i stood spinning on the top floor at 44th and Walnut streets thinking “i can live here. this can be home.”

20/24 - gina! - the end of the world / religion

When i was little i used to love 45’s. For those of you who are my age but lacked musically enthusiastic parents, 45’s were vinyl record singles. The number ’45’ referred to the speed that you’d play them at on your record player. Back in the 80’s, they made record players for children… little FisherPrice affairs done up in child-safe plastic with absolutely no edges. Back when Woodland Avenue used to be a place you could actually go shopping my mom and i would take a trip around the corner every week or two to go to the music store, and i netted quite a few 45’s in the process. I have happy memories of “We Built This City” and my mother’s old copy of “Bungle in the Jungle” and some random Expose song that i’ll always associate with the smell of baby powder because when i first listened to it i had just taken a shower and i was sitting on my blue rug smelling like baby power.

The cool thing about 45’s is that they had an A side and a B side to them … the single was on the A-side of the record, and some other song would be on the B-side. Singles now-a-days don’t really have the same kind of dynamic – they’re all mostly just remixes and radio edits. But, in the 80’s B-sides were fun; they’d be a track from the album that would further entice you to buy it, or sometimes the instrumental version of a song (like the B-side for “La Isla Bonita”). However, the most special kind of B-sides were songs that weren’t found anywhere on the album that the song was released from, and today that’s what a B-side is when people refer to artists like Tori Amos or Garbage. So, today there are 25 primary songs for you to aim your ears at, but also 25 B-sides that aren’t necessarily from this little adventure, but for you all the same. Enjoy.

On Friday night i had an argument with Justin about what was better: sex or concerts.

To understand the context of this discussion, you need to know a few things about Justin. First, he’s my “one male friend.” I don’t mean this to imply that i don’t consider any other men as close friends, but Justin is my guy friend… the only human being on Earth who you’ll catch me assessing the merits of an ass to, or talking about who i truly think is “hot.” Justin has impeccable taste in music, but it isn’t any of the organic thoughtful music you hear me whine about from day to day, it’s bump’n’grind and rhythm’n’blues with Prince at the helm of his collection as his own version of Garbage or Ani DiFranco. Finally, Justin and i have known each other for a long time, and while we don’t always agree with each other i tend to defend him in conversation just because i get to play advocate to his devil.

So, on Friday night we had taken one too many purity tests and everyone had ingested at least a shot of some sort of Jersey moonshine that came in an unmarked plastic anti-freeze jug, and somehow we started talking about sex and music. I opined that an amazing concert is better than good sex, and that a great song easily outpaces a good orgasm. And, Justin ripped me to shreds. How could i value something audible and intangible over sweaty lusty tangled bodies in heat? How could i rank singing along to a great song higher than getting off?

Two things became rapidly apparent in this conversation. The first was that neither of us were referring to “making love,” but to sex – and that in my book the latter doesn’t really exist without some semblance of the former so “sex” as an act wasn’t even comparable to a really shitty pop concert. The second was that Justin had only ever seen one or two concerts where the performer wasn’t merely reciting their catalogue of songs to the audience. With such incompatible views on sex and concerts, it became obvious within a few minutes that Justin and i were meant to agree to disagree.

Physical attraction is a wonderful thing, but in my world i lust after music. Imported singles make me hot under the collar. Newly announced release dates make my heart skip a beat. Getting good seats at a concert evokes a cry of passion. The day that Izabelle and i charged our Madonna tickets to my credit card my whole world was an excited explosion of joy and rapturous numbness … it was hard to believe i was living rather than dreaming. And, yet, somehow i’m sitting here at my computer and in four hours i’ll be seated inside of the First Union Center, and the lights will go down, and i will suddenly find myself in the same room as Madonna for the first time in over a decade. And, though i’ll be singing along to song after song about physical attraction and lust, i’ll know in my heart that it’s love that matters. And, right now, the love i will have for the woman singing to me from a stage in South Philly is greater than anything i could feel for anyone i’m sharing space, a bed, or body fluids with. When Madonna strums her guitar to open “Candy Perfume Girl,” or when she explodes into the vocals of “Ray of Light,” or when she closes the show with a electronically infused “Holiday,” i will be barely able to catch my breath – those moments will be ones i’ll try to replicate for years without ever being able to put them into words. The experience will be between Madonna and i and thousands of other adoring fans, and we’ll be the only ones who will ever be able to understand.

Maybe one isn’t quantitatively better than the other, but i think each of us is still a virgin with respect to what we’re not defending. And, the same way that making love to someone for the first time must eclipse everything that came before, tonight i’ll be like a virgin again; touched for the very first time.

So, i’m not a big gift-giver, but i still buy things for people all of the time. If i see a cd someone might appreciate, or a book, or a concert ticket, i buy it and give it to the person and when they ask what they owe me i tell them not to worry about it. These are unexpected prizes that life drops into your lap with no expectations or suppositions attached. Gifts, however, are awkward. Gifts require perfect amounts of attention, and people are allowed to be disappointed when they are expecting something, and then there is the moment. I hate the moment – the squinty-eyes smiling happy crinkly moment where both of you have said thank you and hugged and are then standing there with the gift between you like a UN mediator. Does the giver talk about how they chose it? Does the receiver gush more about how perfect the color is? Or, do you both stand there and crinkle until someone backs down.

I think it’s sortof like a tiny war… trying to maneuver the other person into saying their piece so that you can safely and predictably respond, ending the silence allowing you to escape. The worst is ambushing someone with a gift that was due to them at a time they weren’t expecting, which leaves you with that momentary suprise-party spike in adrenaline based anticipation and then denoument when you realize it’s just a tiny blip on your flatline daily radar and that (the screen / your heart) will settle back to normal in a moment or two.

Or, if you like to avoid para-military diplomacism in the realm of unexpected presents, you can just throw little things at people all of the time. More adlibbing, less stress, and you get much better karma for doing a undeserved good deed than you do for begrudgingly throwing money into a gift-shaped hole in someone’s life.

I used to have psychic dreams pretty regularly, but eventually my ability to fly replaced the premonitions. They were small and unimportant visions anyway, and they always came to me in an obscure enough fashion that i was never really sure of what i knew until i saw it happening in real life. But, i can’t fly rather than walking to work, so ultimately knowing just what flying feels like is a curse more than a blessing.

And knowing that Jessica’s hair would be blue ahead of when she told me she thought non-platonic meant what platonic means was actually rather amusing, in a way that distracted me from the biting pain of another romantic blunder.