2/21/2011

Dispatch from LAX: An epilogue to a wasted trip

Disembarked from the plane, feeling good and healthy, like dollar $igns in my first name because I didn't even need to take a shot of Airborne or Emergen-C to feel this way (foreshadowing). My ride is there within 45 min, hop in the passenger seat, get on the 5, just admiring the sky and totally surrendering to it. Excited for this trip.

Turns out my friend has a new cat thing AND I WANT TO DIE. I'm allergic to cats and within 15 minutes my face and neck breaks out into blotches and hives, raging out. Run to CVS, buy some medicine, the pharmacist literally laughs in my Mars Attacks face!, Benadryl a deep hole into my head and an hour later, out like a light. Woo, California, Day 1. :///

It's okay, because the next morning I go to Disneyland, except for the part where I actually go to Disneyland. Instead it rains. Like, rains-storms!-rains. Go to our friend's new apt instead and watch Price Is Right, where another friend of ours won a trip to Scotland, a trip to New York, Marc Jacobs handbags, and a new sailboat earlier that day. Think to myself, "Um, weird," and shove a fistful of butter popcorn in my gob. Finish the bowl and decide we need Kettle Korn now and pop some. Who's livin' the life now?


Hang out in Beverly Hills for about an hour (less than) because we get bored. Starting to feel sick because of the rain and inability to afford anything. Take a Tylenol, meet our other friend at her apartment in North Hollywood, and make a super vapid playlist with Top 40 and over play over-played Rihanna songs.

Drive out to West Hollywood and feel paranoid about where to park. I didn't agree to understand LA traffic laws, so we park in some yellow space and cross our fingers. Eat a grass-fed burger at this little cafe, start feeling like crap again, decide to suck it up and go out anyway. Get to this cantina twelve minutes before the "2 for 1" happy hour, so we stand around and wait for exactly thirteen minutes. Each take two shots of Patron like cough syrup, and scoot over the club next door. Take another shot of tequila to keep killing off the germs, along with this Lady Gaga impersonator girl (???) who pulls me onto the dance floor, feeling buzzed and lost in a good way, until it wears off, my body realizes it's like 50 degrees and I pass out back at my friend's place, wake up in an Inception terror of sweats and swear never to drink again.

Drinking games at my friend's place in Orange County. I eat mashed potatoes from Ralph's and watch the first third of Joan Rivers: Piece of Work instead. Wish I wasn't sick because I really wanted to go to Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth except I'm already riding roller coasters at the Sickest Place on My Liver, but what're you gonna do? Write about it at the airport poorly, hoping I get on this flight, stand-by, while trying not to vomit. Fingers, temples, kidneys, everything crossed.

2/17/2011

En route Los Angeles, California

Leaving for LA today in less than 6 hours. Have to be at the airport in less than 4. Always pack at the last minute to keep myself awake, so I can sleep during the entire flight. Consider this a TSA inspection of my carry-on.

In-Flight reading material that relates to my final destination

Annoying quirk? Bad habit? Cliche? When I travel, I typically try stashing a book that ties into wherever it is I'm going. I mean, I love the glassy and vacuous nature of airports, so perhaps choosing location-specific books just add to the novelty of the travel experience for me. Also, I find the sensation of stepping off a plane a little more heightened, a little more concrete, because then it's more like I'm stepping fresh into that book I was just reading. Hey, no one said anything about carrying-on your sanity!


I've been on this Didion kick lately and originally was going to bring her Where I Was From, but I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, so opted for a novel, Play It As It Lays, instead. Also I'm a big fan of Bret Easton Ellis, whose writing also leans LA-centric. I know he adored Joan Didion in his youth, so this seems an appropriate choice.

Music on my iPod to pump me up for my final destination


Listening to these 3 albums 'cause they seem very "LA" to me right now. Los Angeles by X for obvious reasons unless your blind (sorry this blog doesn't come in braille, my non-existent blind fanbase!). Toro Y Moi's newest, Underneath the Pine, for being chil-L-A-X and beachy and oh, so Silverlake. Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj for bringing the glossy exterior sheen that seems to just blurt, like, Valley Girl 2.0. Folding up the map and letting these albums be my GPS.

Cheap sunglasses, spf 45 sunscreen & vapid expression to sport at my final destination

My favorite part about this type of trip I'm going on is I don't have to plan anything. I love to travel, but none of the logistics it brings, so staying with a few friends who actually live where I'm going really affords me the following luxury: I'm just along for the ride.

This means catching up with friends who are living their new lives and want to share that new life with you. They drive you around, taking the scenic route way, which includes passing the building of their sweet new job, pit-stopping off at Golden Spoon, on the way to your mutual friend's house party, en route a theme park, while you just laissez-faire in the backseat of their car trying not to break these $10 shades or get skin cancer.


See ya in Pacific Standard Time!

2/15/2011

La Blogotheque certified: my favorite Take-Away shows

These videos have been making the rounds on the web since '06 apparently, but I didn't come across them until last year (I was in college and busy in '06-'08, as opposed to a college graduate and unemployed the summer following).

The premise is "la blog" invites a band/artist to sing in a bar or a narrow street or the marble fountain of a city park. Without any post-pro editing and little to nil preparation, mistakes happen, strangers make confused sweeping faces, and the camera records spontaneously. This is also defaults as the way I city-shop and check out the state of foreign real estate. Looking to move to a European capital like, tomorrow, so if you're naive with wanderlust and want to start a riot boyyy band, let's be roomies.





2/13/2011

Digesting Dogtooth: An osmosis of sex, lies, and videotapes

The human digestive process is a complex series of organs and glands that break down food into smaller molecules to excrete as waste.

Essentially a long twisting tube that in the 4th grade you visualized to be as color-coded and neatly compartmentalized as the textbook diagrams led you to believe, only to come to the soft and slow realization that your insides aren't anything like shopping at Ikea, rather an ordered monochromatic blur of muddy squish, as you dissect a frog in 9th grade science lab, thinking to yourself, "That's what I look like?" in a quiet fluttering panic. When the bell rings, go to the cafeteria where eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich morphs into a sad existential experience, its ingredients too reminiscent of the insides of that frog and the one-two-three routine of the digestive process simultaneously. Lose your appetite.

Such is the Greek film Dogtooth. On the surface: serene, pastel, manageable. Underneath: distressed, muddy, cracked-up-confused (like that creepy vase Grandma insists on keeping even though it's seriously 2 chipped 2 quit).
The mouth: Food is partly broken down by chewing and the chemical action of salivary enzymes.Start by feasting on the cinematography. Not exactly hearty comfort food cinematography, more like multigrain Cheerios floating in a bowl of soymilk cinematography. However bleak, it's clean, stark, refreshing. Grasp from the get-go its symbolic nature of protective parenting sterilization and teenage sexual malaise as conditioned by every Todd Solondz, Michael Haneke, or family home video you've ever seen. Bask in it voluntarily anyway, like suntanning without sunscreen just because it's too plainly gorgeous not to.


The esophagus: A long tube that runs from mouth to stomach using rhythmic, wave-like muscles (peristalsis) to force food into the stomach, a muscle movement that gives us the ability to eat and drink even when upside-down.

~4 minutes in, the dad brings home a female security guard from his workplace to allay the erotic urges of his teenaged son. The sex is about as mechanical, awkward, and clinical as having your dad score you chicks for sex can be.




There's full frontal nudity (equal parts female and male) and this alone indicates it's "that kind of movie" -- a commentary movie; a conversation-starter movie. Swallow hard: this is just the opening scene, and you've already had a taste. Right-side up or not, uncomfortable things are gonna go down real quick.

The stomach: A large sac-like organ that churns out food, bathes it in very strong gastric acid, food stews in something called chyme and is partly digested.

The middle portion of Dogtooth is prime with sporadic moments of violence one after the other. So absurd and non-sensationalized you chuckle out of sheer nervousness -- a completely organic reaction your body employs -- because everything is so systematic you're simply not in control, such is this movie.















The brother slices a cat with a gardening shear, the sister slices her brother with a kitchen knife. The father beats his daughter over the head with VHS tapes of Rocky and Jaws, the father beats the security guard cum house sex maid over the head with an actual VHS. Rough, rough.

It's the perfect pacing of deadpan, deadpan, deadpan, deadpan, dead-CLIPPER!-HAMMER!-KNIFE!-pan.

One by one let all these scenes collect in the pit of your stomach, until...

The small intestine: Food enters the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, then enters the jejunum, and then the ileum, where bile, pancreatic enzymes breakdown more food.

A duodenum? Jejunum-who? Ileum, huh? None of this makes sense...


...but by this point, words and science lose their meaning and the only means of expression is to "Do the Dogtooth" dance, baby, dance!

The large intestine: Some water and electrolytes, like sodium, are removed from the food where micro-bacteria help in the cleansing process as food travels upward, transversely, and descend to the other side of the body.

The climax of the film. A transcendent moment where a single visceral action repeats itself into a hopeful gummy mush.


If you don't want to see it here (in HD!), then just imagine scraping your tooth on a brick over and over and over again. Got it? Now take that image in your brain and SMASH IT WITH A HANDWEIGHT.

The rectum and anus: Where solid waste is stored and then excreted.

Dogtooth winds down, trickling into an ambiguous ending. The screen flashes white. Feel like that white screen. Blank. Bleak. Dissected. Dead. Feel like shit.

2/10/2011

Valentine's Day 2k11 gift guide pour moi

This Monday is Valentine's Day and I was a really good boyfriend this year. I taught you how to drive stick. I let you turn me on to Community. I squeezed the sponge dry after washing the dishes, like you always remind me. Time to celebrate!

Let me unwrap any of the following and you'll send my heartbeat a-flutter guarantee.

20th anniversary edition of Ride re-release Nowhere
2 CDs. 27 tracks. 1 recorded live set at Roxy in '91. Color me album cover ocean blue with excitement!


Shoegaze on the same seminal planar as My Bloody Valentine, but unlike being enveloped in a love letter of swarmy riffs as written in sonic cursive by mbv, Ride was more about hooky pop melodies and celebrating Mark Gardener's spaced teeth. Less earth-shattering, less Baroque, with still just as much feeling.


To this day "Vapour Trail" sounds like what should be playing when you pick your date up from their house for the junior prom. Or during the first dance at my alt-wedding. Or when I unwrap this gift on Monday morning. You know, during a moment that matters hard.

WiFi at home
This has been the great struggle of my young adult life. Without any understanding of its greater economics and how the web, like, actually works, I'm just gonna come out and say something pejoratively ignorant: I don't think anyone should have to pay for the internet.

Besides my laziness, dwindling bank account, raised-on-tech-Gen-Y-entitlement, and basic pseudo-frustrations boys face in their early-20s, I don't know where this feeling comes from. Maybe it's none of that and just a Depression-era mentality instilled in me by my grandparents. I mean, if I've been able to survive for two+ years off free wireless from miscellaneous cafes, work, and (shhh!) my neighbors's open network, I don't wanna spend a dime. That old working, but unreliable model: Where there's a will, there's a WiFi.

That said, will you pony up for some internet at my place? I have a lot of albums I wanna download. For free.

Givenchy "crown of thorns"
Or anything from the brand's menswear F/W 2010 collection.


'Specially those pants that represent the second great struggle of my young adult life: Finding simple, basic pants that genuinely want to have a long-term relationship with my body.



Also, I spend a lot of time sitting down in front of my computer, so it's important I look like I shower regularly. And as for that crown, I realize it has no utilitarian value. But neither does this made-up holiday.

For you to follow me on Twitter
Nothing says "I love you!" like "@mattzeus I love you!"

And since we're dating you already know I apply my acute O.C.D. offline online. There should be an underlying order and structure to everything, which means no Facebook status updates since that's what Twitter is for and presents on every Valentine's Day. Kisses.

Somebody to actually want to give me the crap listed above
Because I fabricated the intro to this post.

I'm single. I'm a liar. I'm a single liar. Let's date!

2/07/2011

This is my brain on Gap commercials from 1999

  • Can't believe enough time has elapsed where you can suitably refer to these ads as "vintage"
  • Still remember when these aired way back when on something called a TV
  • Back when I didn't know my bowl cut was a bowl cut
  • When I scratched my Purple Rain CD from listening to it too much
  • When I could skip Spanish class by fitting all 4'11" of myself in a school locker
  • So glad that growth spurt happened
  • I liked these ads
  • I still like these ads
  • Please don't tell me I majored in Advertising at college because of these ads
  • That would be awful
  • Truly awful
  • Like those vests
  • Experiencing a vague "meta" affect halfway through this leather/Depeche Mode one
  • Something to do with indexing these ads as "retro" today when their original intention was to already be "retro" back then...?
  • When two "retro"s collide do they cancel each other out to make a "classic"?
  • Am I really trying to process the physics of a Gap commercial?
  • Am I really fucking saying that?
  • Jesus, hold on, while I refill my coffee
  • [walk away, refill coffee, return, sip]
  • That's better, now I can concentr--
  • Holy shit, is that Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet?
  • One of the Bash Brothers from D2: The Mighty Ducks?
  • Who-knew-young-Rashida-Jones?
  • I'M? NOT! OLD?!
After all these years, one thing does comfort me about the Gap: Their clothes still suck, and I still buy it.


/ brainwashing