My tweets of the last week:
Archives for August 2009
I. The 27-Club.
Last September I turned 27.
It made me nervous.
Being a major music fan and devout lifetime subscriber to Rolling Stone, I am all too aware of the so-called “27 Club” – a musical super-group headlined by Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi, Janis, Jim, and Kurt, all of whom met their untimely ends at age 27.
My nervousness wasn’t an actual, rational fear. Just a fringe anxiety, like my utter terror at putting my hand anywhere near the blade of a food processor, even if it’s disconnected from its power source. A mere superstition. Anyway, my musical acumen certainly isn’t at risk of rivaling any of theirs, nor is my level of excess. –> Still, it hung there. The 27 hurdle. A year it would be a challenge to survive.
In the months after my birthday the challenge of surviving gave way to the challenge of getting from one day to the next. Planning a wedding and a honeymoon. Making music solo and with Arcati Crisis. Organizing benefit concerts for four separate charities, all while holding a senior position at work.–> Honestly, I was so preoccupied with life that the whole 27 Club concept didn’t reoccur to me until I was getting ready to jump out of an airplane last month. And, since that failed to kill me, I assumed I was in the clear with regard to the whole untimely end angle.
I continued thinking that until the past few days, when I began re-reading my entries from the past year in anticipation of the ninth anniversary of Crushing Krisis.
It was then I realized that it happened. I died.
If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s meant to be, but only a little bit. Truly, the past year of my life was so vastly different than any that came before that it was hardly lived by the same person.
If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s not. One of the benefits of your blog celebrating it’s ninth birthday is having the ability to make frequent, sweeping, and entirely-accurate generalizations about the state of your life.
In fact, that’s my favorite thing to do on August 26, the birthday of Crushing Krisis.
II. Running Long.
I first floated the assumption that I was the longest running blog in Philadelphia six years ago today, and I verified it last November (with a footnote).
Having finally taken the time to vet my claim to blog-fame, I began to talk about it. At first it was clumsy to get it off my tongue, but slowly I improved from, “Oh, um, I have a blog that’s been around. For a while. Really long, actually,” to “I write the longest-running blog in Philadelphia.”
Even though I now say it with ease, it still has not stopped sounding strange. As I discovered this year, Philly is a pretty plugged-in town. Bloggers, podcasters, twitterers – the city is swimming with them. To be all three, and to be the one collectively doing it all the longest, stopped seeming like a passive achievement (like, “I lost my last baby tooth!”) and more like an active one (more like, “I pulled out my last baby tooth with my bare hands, because that little fucker was annoying me!”)
–>In truth, it took a lot of effort to get through nine seasons of Crushing Krisis. I had to learn stuff that normal people apparently don’t know how to do based on their day-to-day lives, like being able to offer pros and cons for all of the major blog CMS platforms from present back to 1999, or revising PHP arguments on the fly to get the results I want. Similarly, I know all sorts of silly details about audio production that make even my eyes cross.
I didn’t mean to get this way. Honest. It just happens when you write the longest-running blog in Philadelphia, which is also the longest-running platform for a singer-songwriter to podcast and embed his or her work.
III. Greatest Hits, The Expanded Edition
A year ago today I wrote that I felt “as though the vast majority of my personal greatest hits record is contained in the last year of my life.”
I’m happy to report that the hits have continued – in both life and song. Significantly, I crossed off two of my biggest goals in life – seeing the Nike of Samothrace in person at the Louvre in Paris, and jumping out of a plane.
The greatest hits of my year weren’t limited to those two events. Hardly.
I planned a wedding and a honeymoon, an all-encompassing circus that stayed relatively fun right through the end, just as I predicted and insisted it would. I recapped dress shopping with my groom’s party in two parts, the first of which hilariously features my near-ejection from David’s Bridal. I recorded a song that would become so synonymous with our wedding that its lyrics wound up in the fortune cookies at my bachelor party
The novelty has not worn off.
I made music both solo and as Arcati Crisis. As AC, Gina and I headlined a show and then co-hosted an open mic for over half a year, in the midst of which we recorded a Live @ Rehearsal record so definitive that it approaches being a studio album (download it free!). But, some of the most fun we had was while driving and breaking traffic laws.
Meanwhile, I realized I had an entire album of new solo repertoire waiting to be played, and I began to get out to perform it more than ever before – particularly Small & Lonely, Saving Grace, Tattooed, and sometimes Gone Baby Gone. Confidently. I even captured me on video, for once.
(Also of note, Elise now fronts her own band, putting me in the position of band-aid that she has occupied faithfully for so many years.)
I planned four benefit concerts for four separate charities – Lyndzapalooza’s Back Yard Music Fest, my own first ever live web broadcast as part of my support for Danny Brown‘s #12for12k, and a pair of impending shows for #blamedrewscancer and at work for the United Way.
Speaking of, work bled into my digital life more this year than ever before. I had the good fortune to join a project with one Ms. Britt Miller, who cajoled me into joining twitter, which in turn lead me to meet like-minded folks at Social Media Club and Tweetup events.
In turn, that resulted in my winding up a part #blamedrewscancer, for which my personal and collaborative efforts have contributed to almost $10k raised in less than 100 days!
And, as usual, I did a lot more that was hard to categorize. I realized that I’ve been planning events for about two years straight. I shared personal reflections, from the election of a new president to watching my neighbor freebase cocaine at his kitchen table. I visited Erika and her fiance in Boston for a madcap adventure that wound up with us giving each other drunken facials during the Emmys. I tossed off a cover of “Dress You Up” in a single take. I wrote a social media essay on “Network Agnosticism.” I discovered that I’m living in my own teenage superhero novel. Someone even told me I’m not mean enough, which isn’t something I hear too often.
If it seems like an impossible amount of things to do in just one year, well, it is. At points it turned my life into a sort of a joke, whether that be slapstick or black comedy, as I juggled all of those responsibilities. And, amazingly, they lead me to be genuinely happy more times than not.
I flashed back on a younger me, and how I can relive his depressions through my blog (https://crushingkrisis.com/?p=3411 ) just like Sebastian gets sucked into the world of the Never Ending Story https://crushingkrisis.com/?p=3412) I began to think of my family as Asian, even before the wedding ( https://crushingkrisis.com/?p=3364 ).
IV. The Year of the Phoenix.
I have a different opinion on the 27 Club now than I did on my birthday.
Twenty-seven isn’t a litmus test. It’s a proof of concept. It’s a year that that the self-realization bell curve reaches its pinnacle, where the majority of people begin to realize that the path they’ve taken can lead into a tangible future.
I can understand how that could lead you to your end, intentional or not. It leads to excess and over-extension, and to fear and doubt. You can wind up as a phoenix just as easily as you can wind up ground down to ash.
For all the successes of the past year, it contained many challenges for me too. I died a lot of deaths. In the case of my wedding, it was a rebirth as something greater. In other instances, it was just the end.
It was also the year I started shaving with an electric razor. If that’s not a major beginning I don’t know what else could qualify.
For the first time in years I am writing my anniversary post less enamored with the year that passed, and more enamored with the year to come. I seem to have finally escaped the fear that my best work is behind me instead of beyond me, farther down the vector of my life.
That is a death – finally ending my obsession with re-assessing my past in favor of a future view.
Thank you for helping that come to fruition.
Thank you Elise, for transforming my life into something real. Thank you Gina, for following this line with me, a vector connected to our destination.
Thank you Lyndzapalooza, for forcing me to innovate excel as a communicator and as a musician. Thank you Britt, Drew, and everyone else at #blamedrewscancer, for not only testing my limits, but forcing me to reconsider them altogether.
Thank you, on the other side of this screen, for reading my adventures, and for caring if and when the next installment might turn up. Thank you for watching me die 3,528 tiny deaths – once for every click of the “POST” button, and thank you for waiting for me to come back to life with every subsequent visit to this little white box.
Thank you for having the patience to watch and wait for me to finally take myself as seriously as you’ve always taken me, as a professional, a songwriter, and a blogger.
Thank you. And, happy birthday to this.
Today is the ninth birthday of Crushing Krisis.
I have hundreds more words to share on that topic, but they’re still simmering. In the meantime, I am counting down my top nine posts from Year 9 of the blog on Twitter, adding them to this post as I go.
#9: Groom Team Style, pt. 1, wherein I am nearly ejected from David’s Bridal. Twice.
I love having this sort of madcap adventure so I can present it in a slightly-enhanced-reality post (surely influenced a bit by my love of H. S. Thompson). This one is made all the more amusing by how little I had to enhance the reality. All of the dialog is real, except for maybe the bit about the cloven hoof (although E claims I might have actually said that).
#8: “I’m not old,” and other stories from my actual life, wherein I meet @brimil, watch a house burn down, and have way-out dreams about the impending financial holocaust.
I followed the seemingly disparate thread of my day through a post to something coherent – a story disarmingly framed by an unlikely pair of Kelly Clarkson references. I love that blogging can tie together the themes of our lives, and here they really did come together to something larger … and maybe a little poignant.
#7: … – – – …, a brief SOS wherein we are stranded in London on our honeymoon.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard as much in-person feedback on a post as I did on this one. It was certainly meant to be funny, but the actual direness of the accommodation situation made the situation (and the post) even more ridiculous. All of the Honeymoon posts rank pretty high on my list of favorites.
My favorite single recording of the year is definitely “Saving Grace,” but its post didn’t make the cut for my list. The “Tattooed/Colorblind” double A-Side still kinda blows me away – recorded them both in a matter of hours.
#5: whiling away the hours, wherein Gina and I discuss the ramifications of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and sing harmony to Hezekiah Jones.
Not all of my favorite posts are flashy, funny, or memorable. Some of them simply document moments in time. Many of my favorites occur in the company of Gina, my best friend and bandmate in Arcati Crisis.
It’s impossible to exaggerate the effect #blamedrewscancer has had on my year, which included me leaping out of a plane with a bunch of people I met on Twitter.
#3: right now, wherein I live-blog my wedding vows. (not really) (but kinda)
The last thing I did before Team Groom left my hotel suite was set this post to go live when Elise and I would be saying our vows. Unfortunately, it does not capture the hilarity of my ad-lib Battlestar Galactica vow, delivered to the great amusement of E and our collected geeky friends.
#2: pipes and glass, a stream of consciousness on my childhood drug-addict neighbor.
Blogging gives you so much power over formatting and media richness, but sometimes the most powerful evocation of a memory is words arranged in just the right way.
#1: President Obama, wherein I (& my mother) react emotionally to the election of our 44th president.
I was extremely hesitant to make a post about Obama my top post of the year. However, it’s a not a post about his politics, or really even about him as a person. It’s a post about me, my family, and America, and I’m proud to have written it.
My traditional birthday post will be up tonight.
My tweets of the last week:
My tweets of the last week:
I disliked District 9 from the start, but it took until about an hour in for me to reach the “I really might leave this theater” stage.
Mild spoilers, but not as many as the Rolling Stone review.
1. It’s a personal take on sci-fi, except we’re made to dislike the extremely unsympathetic protagonist very early on. A mid-flick attempt to humanize him (pun) didn’t work for me, as he only seemed repentant as a result of his torturous conditions and quickly reverted to being an ass whenever possible.
We’re left with only a vaguely personal connection to a shallowly defined alien sidekick and a well-executed CG tiny alien tot. (The best scene in the movie is when we first visit their home, and find the pair of them to be defiantly intelligent. Well-scripted and -played.)
2. The transition from documentary to omniscient perspective was clumsy – only made worse by continuing use of documentary devices, eventually leading to a transition back to documentary.
3. The documentary portion is too caught up in it’s tasteless racist (speciesist?) humor, and not interested in enough in its characters. Yes, we get it, subhuman treatment of non-humans is a lot like subhuman treatment of people that are different than us. Were you that afraid the theme wouldn’t play to the back row?
(That said, I did love the abortion joke. Most big summer flicks would never go there.)
4. The movie is gross just to be gross. Gore and splatter is one thing, but did we really need the constant vomiting, dripping, severing, and devouring of unsightly food? Again, gimmick in lieu of plot.
5. The major plot maguffin is a complete deus ex machina, which would maybe be forgivable if it wasn’t for all of the antogonists being completely fucking obsessed with the effects of said maguffin.
6. There isn’t a single good bit of dialog in the entire movie, which leaves the audience to be dragged along for the (yes, frequently compelling) ride rather than strongly engaged and eager to follow. They say “fucking” more than I say “awesome.”
7. Aliens are shown to be viciously strong, except where it doesn’t suit the continually contrived story.
8. The action set pieces just didn’t sizzle – lots of noise and wonderful effects, but the confrontations themselves were one-dimensional.
9. The exploding people trick was just done by Watchmen, though I think it was executed better here. Still, shock value was lost.
I’m in the minority to the tune of 80/20 per the TomatoMeter; the review I agree with most completely is Vancouver Voice:
It’s a bore. Blomkamp offers up an ugly world, poorly photographed. There is more debris, more smudged faces, more gore effects packed into this film than are conceivable in the worlds of, say, Ulli Lommel and Lloyd Kaufman. Worse, nothing happens in this film that the viewer can’t anticipate after the first 15 minutes. It’s mockumentary style is rendered inconsistently since there are scenes shot in mock style but to which the implied filmmakers couldn’t have had access. And, like most so-called science fiction these days, it is really a war story in scientific drag. … [T]he narrative eventually devolves into one of those long CGI fight scenes that at least a portion of the viewing public is finding repetitious and uncreative. The film is also achingly obvious in its political message.
Biggest plus? Constant subtitling, of both aliens and hard-to-understand humans. I’ve been watching movies with subtitles for over ten years; I’d watch every movie and tv show that way if I could.