Pointless Website Blog
Because I missed it, all right?
Friday, March 26, 2004
Since I got back from Cuba, my Japanese has been awful.

I wonder if there's a way to major in not really being good at anything?
Monday, March 22, 2004
Much has been made of what a crime-ridden city St. Louis is. With that in mind, this is interesting.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
I saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" tonight. It was such a great movie, and it was so me, it was incredible. I've wanted to make some kind of work of art involving the gray, surreal area between the conscious and the subconscious for awhile now; it's one of my favorite subjects. I've also lately been thinking about how that relates to, for example, not being able to understand everything people say in a different language, as in Cuba. It feels like the same kind of lack of clarity, lack of grip on reality. I guess the recent cinematic equivalent to that one would be "Lost in Translation." Anyway, Kaufman and Gondry did a great job on "Eternal Sunshine," and I couldn't think of a better director for it than Gondry; he renders the workings and the creativity of the human mind so perfectly.

I have an insatiable wanderlust. After the movie, we all went to the Jade Room, and then Becca and her RISD partners in crime went back to her house to watch movies. At about 1, I decided to just drive west down Gravois for awhile, and listen to Chocolate Genius and an old mix CD with late '90s hip-hop and the B-52's on it. As I was driving, I saw a little bus station structure that piqued my interest, and I went to check it out. A guy was sitting on one of the benches, sleeping, bundled up in a heavy coat, and was presumably homeless. Again, coming back from Cuba, St. Louis certainly has its problems. As I was telling Phil earlier, St. Louis is also a city that hates its minors. Our public transportation is awful in its limits, essentially requiring that someone must have a car if they want to go anywhere, and even then, there's scarcely a decent activity available at night for anyone under 21. Maybe if St. Louis bothered to cater just a little to its minors, college-bound residents wouldn't grow disillusioned with the city and maybe they'd come back after their education.

Either way, I ended up driving really far out. Honestly, I can't really explain it, but just so much as driving around, exploring areas, with music playing (and preferably, a camera handy), and nothing more, makes me unspeakably happy.

And on a final note, no one should deprive themselves of the sweet ambrosia that is pop music just to save face.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Dave's right, these cupcakes taste like toothpaste. Thing I learned in Cuba: I apparently look like I'm from France.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
English sucks. I was thinking about it today: what if I just spoke to everyone I know in Spanish, whether they know it or not? The language just has so much more poetry to it. I mean, sure, you can try to be artful with English, but it's just not the same!
What happened to Marc Fox, circa-1990 host of the Fox Kids Club on KDNL 30? I watched the besweatshirted, quintessentially St. Louisan man nearly daily introducing episodes of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Where is he now? At a Blues game somewhere? The world may never know.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
I think I'm finally getting back used to St. Louis. The thing is, I'm not sure if I want to get back into a St. Louis mindset. Everyday social interaction seems so frigid here. What would be normal in Cuba would be considered particularly outgoing here. Buildings are drab colors. I want to remember exactly what the rhythm of drums in salsa music sounds like, and the thought of having to pay $3 for a Cuban-style pork sandwich of questionable quality doesn't particularly thrill me. As it is, St. Louis feels boring and excessively gadget-obsessed to me (says the boy on the laptop). This all makes me want to fight to destroy the social barrier between races here, and strive for a better nightlife here for minors.

On a completely and awkwardly unrelated other topic, whatever happened to mash-ups, or vs. remixes? Of late, I've heard very little about the ultimate absurdist end of the carefree use of other's music as a tool began in sampling and mixing instrumentals and a cappella tracks while DJing. To me, tracks like the Nirvana-Destiny's Child hybrid "Smells Like Booty" were genius, and ever-so-postmodern. I suppose that people either realized that in mash-ups, "success" means "lawsuit," or maybe they just got bored.

A while ago, I recorded 4 hours of St. Louis alternative rock radio standby 105.7 The Point to get a good amount of quirky local ads to use for music/media/whatever purposes. You know how commercial radio stations always add compression to their music so that the volume stays constant, and for whatever reason, it's more ear-friendly? I'd have to say that Nirvana almost sounds better compressed. It reminds me of summers past. Or something. For the record, the song was "Heart-Shaped Box." Makeshift quasi-compression can be achieved by recording your copy of In Utero onto a cassette with a terrible boombox. Give it a try!
I woke up this morning thinking "why am I hearing this obnoxious alarm instead of the regular obnoxious alarm," before realizing that I'm back in St. Louis. Sleep-deprived and having lacked the time yesterday to get the work done, I decided that I probably should just sleep. It's for the best, I think. It sounds so weird for the people around me to be speaking English. My Japanese has grown terrible in my excessive Spanish usage. Going to Subway for lunch today, reading the RFT, I felt a weird kind of sense of freedom. I was just looking at the Subway menu, like "wow, I can get that here!" I love the Cuban pork and congris and cabbage and sandwiches, but there's something nice about being able to go somewhere and get a chicken teriyaki or spicy turkey sub somewhere, quickly. The RFT simply would not exist in Cuba. It felt kind of nice to have it, even if it's been kind of a letdown after the New Times purchase. St. Louis' obnoxious lack of social racial integration is jarring to me. Havana is definitely vice city. I feel like half of the group is probably going to come back with new bad habits. Got O'Connell's with mein padre. So good.
Monday, March 15, 2004
Back from Cuba. One post cannot possibly describe everything. Journal and pics for those interested later. We got back and had a capitalist binge on Burger King for lunch. The three flights took insanely long. Dad took Becca and I to Waffle House for dinner. Their jukebox had probably about 20 gloriously cheesy Waffle House-themed songs, among them "Waffle House Family I," "Waffle House Hashbrowns (I Love You)," "Saucemaster," "Special Lady at the Waffle House," and "Waffle House Time," as well as a country tune called "I Wanna Be Mad," and, of course, Ohio Express's "Yummy Yummy Yummy." It sounds even more ridiculous coming from what must be a worn-out monaural 45. I want this jukebox to be the soundtrack to a film.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
I have just seen the Britney Spears of conservative punditry: she's loud, omnipresent, and not particularly good at what she should be doing. Ann Coulter has come to Wash U. Beforehand, a guy had posted flyers around campus suggesting that people should protest by incessantly clapping until Ann leaves. As it turned out, everyone but him chickened out, which amusingly resulted in Ann unsuccessfully trying to talk over a single guy standing over a seated audience, giving her unending rhythmic applause. You could tell that it kind of put her off-guard: her momentary response was a kind of unsure insult to the guy, "are there any men in the audience?" Eventually, the guy got kicked out. You gotta admit, it is a little hypocritical to criticize someone's oppressive stance on civil liberties by curbing their ability to speak.

...The clapping was really entertaining, though.

In general, Ann struck me the most in two ways: with her rampant use of comic hyperbole, she really seemed like a stand-up comedian whose views I totally disagree with (her cracks on John Kerry were pretty funny though, I have to admit), and she really seemed unnerved by having a predominantly liberal audience, if not by the clapping guy; while for the most part, her super-confident posturing remained pretty solid, she tripped up in speaking more often than one would expect. Alright, now for the meat: here's the main things you should know about what she said here:
1. She essentially totally discredited the Muslim religion. During the Q+A session, a guy asked if she has respect for any aspect of the Muslim tradition. To give you the gist of what she said: no, she doesn't. She's said some notoriously racist things about people of Arab descent (she used the phrase "swarthy males" a lot), but I doubt anyone expected her to go quite as far as she did. I was totally dumbfounded, she just completely insulted an entire religion, and several world cultures.
2. A girl asked her about her perspective on the Bush administration's handling of the environment. You just knew that Ann was going to be merciless. She told the girl, "people who know more than I do about that, and certainly more than you do would disagree with what you said." The girl tried multiple times to say something along the lines of "I don't appreciate having my intelligence insulted," but Ann just wouldn't let her talk, completely ignoring and interrupting her, and moving on directly to the next question. Total bully.
3. A guy asked why, if conservatives are so for the family unit, that they're so against gay marriage and families. She responded with something like "to allow gay marriage would be breaking 3,000 years of tradition." I sat there thinking "it could be argued that human slavery was a tradition for several thousand years as well," but alas, the Q+A session was over.
4. Ann Coulter really loves racial profiling.
That's all. I'm speechless.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
It's out of print, but if you can find a used copy in your local record store, I'm falling deeper and deeper in love with Chocolate Genius' "Black Music" album by the second. Lush folky-rocky arrangement accompanies the heartfelt singing of beautifully melancholy lyrics. I can't stress enough how good this album is, buy it immediately.
Monday, March 01, 2004
Went to see Bob Dylan at the Pageant. Quite a bit of fun; before, Lakshmi and I hung out at Blueberry Hill and conversed with a guy who was in charge of the local Deltacos, after, we got drive-thru from said obligatory post-concert stop. Steak and egg breakfast burritos (available after 11pm, of course) are glorious. In between, saw/hung out with Nikki and Amanda Rainey and Jen Weinman. Cuba will be amazing.

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