What’s Up? (8/21/16)

What About The Olympics?
Tune-in television is practically over. Nowadays, you really shouldn’t have to be in front of the TV during primetime to catch the best shows – everything is available on demand on the internet. This is what hurts me about the Olympic coverage in the United States. It’s this big event that only happens once every four years, but the only available viewing method is awful. Every time I turned on NBC, a four-five hour chunk of television listed a bunch of sports happening… slowly, with commercial interruption. Garbage.

Here’s what I want, and what I’m going to get (it’s only a matter of time).

  • A 10 GB file that has all of the medal-determining moments of the Olympics. No qualifying rounds or heats… just the moments that determined Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

Then, with all of the Olympics’ best moments available on-demand, I’ll watch the Olympics on my own terms, as it should be. Does this all sound entitled? Does it sound like I should just learn to read a schedule and watch the damn Olympics like everyone else? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Look, the ease of access given to us by the internet is a good thing, not a bad thing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Drawing out all of the Olympics sports over hours and hours with commercial interruption is not to your benefit. Being spoon-fed the inspirational stories of United States competitors is not to your benefit. What you want to watch, when you want to watch it. That’s the only way I could possibly enjoy the Olympics, quite frankly.

 

What’s Up? (8/13/16)

Soylent
For the last three weeks I’ve been on Soylent. What the hell does that mean? All it means is that at least one meal a day is this perfectly balanced 400-calorie drink. Maybe it’s breakfast, maybe it’s lunch – it will never be dinner because dinner is too good – but the important thing is that it’s doing the trick. It’s substituting hard foods like sandwiches where I’m not getting everything I need in a meal, and eating more than 400 calories. Yeah, it smells like popcorn and tastes like pancake batter and cheerio milk, but the important thing is that it’s working. This is me signing up for the food substitution future, this is me doing the thing that’s right for my body, this is me on Soylent.

De La Soul
Today, after the daily jog, I was listening to “De La Soul Is Dead,” and was transported to 2015. I remember what is was like to discover that album, how I listened to it during my first months in Squirrel Hill. Looking back I can see how far I’ve come. I’ve got this routine I couldn’t imagine a year ago – me running on an almost daily basis? What are you talking about? Me going to Lawrenceville to write social media posts for a living? That sounds fake. “De La Soul Is Dead” is the begging of a great thing, moving to Squirrel Hill, evolving as a person.

De La Soul’s “Three Feet High And Rising” while chronologically first in their discography, is the second step here – as I listened to it on the way to Philadelphia on a Greyhound Bus, I think I could see the change clearly. The change is real, and it is wild. I owe it to myself to review these albums one day.

 

The Ring Is Broken

Yesterday I dropped my Lapis Lazuli band on the floor, and it shattered into six pieces. I had that Lapis Lazuli band since October. I wore it every day since October. Losing it sucked. Losing it destroyed me in the moment, and the hours to come. Here was this thing that was a part of me for almost an entire year, and now it was in pieces. I wanted to cry, but I was at work; and when I was left alone the time had passed and I could not find the tears.

I went to a jeweler to see what he could do. Could the ring be welded back together? Could silver piece together the broken Lapis Lazuli? No, not without spending hundreds of dollars. But the jeweler did offer something to me, unintentionally – his words.

“Oh no,” he said as I have him the shards of Lapis, “how’d this happen?”

Before I could explain how I dropped the ring, he answered for me.

“Life happened, huh? It broke because you were just living.”

Yes. There was comfort there. Ultimately, I was being very sentimental about this ring that, quite frankly, I was very lucky to have for so many months without breaking – and that it broke was no freak accident, but just, life. If I have nice things like rings of Lapis Lazuli, then by living life, I’m going to break or lose nice things.

So mote it be.

What’s Up? (7/27)

I’m Fucked Up, But At Least I Have… 
I almost ran two miles today. There’s no way I could have done this two or three months ago. My body has never been better, I can say that easily. I’ve been lazy and stagnant since Middle School, and I’ve never been active and outdoors more often in my life than I am today; I can say that easily.

I’ve never felt like my mind is more fucked, paranoid, a thin; I can say that easily. Getting into fights with people, in my mind. Imagining the worst case scenarios, imagining people conspiring against me, wondering which friends like me and which friends are wearing masks.

I saw this New York Times story… I didn’t read it, I just saw it… it said something along the lines of “Nobody Wants To Meet The Real You.” It’s true right? I mean, if you meet someone for the first time, and you tell them the type of stuff I write here… it just doesn’t work. You put on your best mask; I’m an English Student, I like Starbucks and Netflix, yada yada yada. I haven’t worn a mask in a while, but the mask is starting to sound attractive, because doing my own thing, being honest and open, it doesn’t feel like it’s working.

What’s Up? (7/15/16)

The World’s Still Fucked But At Least We Have Pokémon
It’s been a month since I’ve wrote you, blog, and when I last wrote, I wasn’t in a great mindset. The world hasn’t gotten much better, honestly, 2016 is still a dumpster fire, even if my dumpster is actually doing pretty alright.

Let’s recap as quickly as possible: what the hell happened since (6/16/16)? Well, I went back to New York from (7/1-7/10), and just before that there was a pretty high-end cocktail run on (6/30), and before that a lot of people recognized my t-shirt in downtown Pittsburgh, and before that, I forget. In New York, 30% of what I did was share Ouran High School Host Club with my best friend, 5% was spent on some dank quest, another 30% was work, another 30% was spent in home-cooked food heaven, and another 5% was spent in discussing race politics.

Woof. Like I said, the world didn’t pause for the carnage in Orlando; in fact the world saw that and said “I’d like some more please” and just keeps delivering more bad news. And yet, here I am, largely doing fine again. I’ve got my cocktails, my books, Duolingo, art, music… not sure where I’m going with this really. I have Pokémon Go? So I guess I’m doing okay.

Thought Process
I feel like a lot of projects are clicking into place. Music, art, personal life projects… I promise to deliver one of each by the end of July. This GlitchFox song I’ve been working on for, likely a year? It should be finished soon. This timelapse of Squirrel Hill? That should finally be  executed on. By the end of July, I should also be making a lot of progress on learning a new language.

Oh and, hey, I weigh 180lb! Hard to say how much I’ve lost in how much time… but I know I’ve weighed close to, if not over 200lb at some point in my life, likely 2014 (no bicycle in the apartment at the time, really bad eating habits).

One final thought… I look forward to decorating my bedroom in, lets say August. It hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as my living room, and for good reason I guess. You really want your living room to look good, your bedroom just has to be comfortable. I’m going to save up so I can maybe buy a small end table or fake plant. My bedroom needs something.

What’s Up? (6/16/16)

Doing Well In The Face of Hard Times
There are a lot of things going my way recently. Losing weight, growing confident in my new beardy look, acquiring new fly shirts… On the surface and beneath the surface, I am doing well. I look well, I feel well; even if I’m fairly sick at the moment. I’m going to write something about this eventually, but it’s a big deal that I’m doing well as Ken 3.0, or Ken 2016, or Ken 23… whatever — because I have and will continue to hang my hat on not being exceedingly masculine, right? My scarves, mannerisms, tastes; I’m naturally non-conformist and I like it that way. So, liking the way I look when I’m a little beardy, a little scruffy, that’s good, because I wasn’t sure I was going to like that look on me.

Untitled 154

So, that’s good. It’s great to love yourself. But somewhere in that smiling dead cartoon-eyed portrait I’m really internally bothered by the shooting in Orlando. And the way I’m troubled feels f-ed up because, well, I feel disturbed. You hear anger, you hear “love wins,” you hear “love conquers all” over and over but I’m really deeply pessimistic about this. I’m fixated on the death, the horror of it, in a way. I’m pessimistic that anything will change. That anyone will do anything to fix this problem, least of all American politicians. I worry that we haven’t seen the worst shooting yet. I worry.

What’s Up? (Grimes Edition)

Last  year Grimes released her new album Art Angels, and I absolutely loved it. It surpassed my adoration of her previous album Visions, which I had listened to over and over again over the last few years. In the six or so months since the release of Art Angels, I’ve listened to it more than I had listened to Visions in all those years; I can’t really understate how much I love this album, and of course, how much I look up to Grimes.

The discovery of Grimes came at a fairly transformative period of life. At the end of my Sophomore year of college I was rebounding academically, doing well and feeling confident in my studies, but I was at one of my lowest points socially. I accidentally crossed a line, probably a few lines; I learned hard lessons, coincidentally started down the path of becoming feminist, and was shown Grimes. “Oblivion” became my most-played song of 2013 and 2014, and somewhere in there “Realiti” and its Southeast-Asian globetrotting music video became another obsession of mine. Being afraid, paranoid, beautiful, daring, brave; I got a lot out of Grimes’ music during this period, and then Art Angels came out. Art Angels came out, and it just so happened to coincide with the completion of a lot of personal stuff for me. It was a banger of an album, and at once beautiful and reflective, it was rebellious, dealt with gender — I felt like I deserved to feel how this album sounded, because I went through all those dramatic changes during my Visions years.

So when Grimes set a concert date in Philadelphia, I had to go. I absolutely had to go. Grimes and my personal evolution are so strongly associated that missing this concert would be like missing my graduation ceremony. So I hopped on a Greyhound bus at 6AM, and made the trek out of Pittsburgh, and into Philadelphia, if only for 22 hours. I completed a Mindy Kaling audiobook, De La Soul’s “3 Feet High and Rising” and a few podcasts along the way, met a Cousin in Rittenhouse Square, and checked in at an Air BnB next to Pat’s King of Steaks. I helped myself to a cheese-steak, but not one from Pat or Geno’s; South Philly Bar & Grill was able to dish out a simple sandwich with provolone (not wiz), onions, and greasy meat, with some plain-tasting fries and a stout to wash it down. I thought the cheese wiz was what gave people stomach problems, but it has to be that greasy thin-cut meat, because I experienced said stomach problems, then hailed an Uber to the Electric Factory.

What followed was an extraodinary concert… with less a extraordinary crowd. Half the crowd was polite, tiny, leaning-towards queer/genderqueer style and presentation, the types of people I’d love to surround myself with at a concert like this. The other half? People who do what it takes to reach the front of the crowd, even if it squeezes everyone tight like sardines, huge tall bros who start fights, and people who were just flat-out rude assholes.

But I digress, because the people on the stage made the night, not the people in the crowd. Hana, Grimes, and her dancers killed it. Hana has a Lorde-esque thing going on, I’d have to listen to the record in person to get more specific than that, but she’s got a good stage presence, and I’m glad she stuck around to play with Grimes. And Grimes herself? Cute! Kind of like Bjork in the way she carries herself on stage; masterful execution of your work, but at the same time, that hundreds of people are cheering for you can make you blush. She danced the way I expected, she screamed, she sang, and she made funny, awkward chit-chat between songs. I could go on more, but, here I think it’s the journey that matters more than the destination. It started over three years ago; the Greyhound to Philly was just a milestone on that journey, the concert, just another amazing milestone.

And now? Now we go home to Pittsburgh (I’m actually writing this ON the Greyhound back) we have ~4 hours to go, but I’ve got Grimes on my back.