Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and God Bless The Dead

"Every one of those unfortunates
during the process of existence
should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as of the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests."

- George Gurdjieff 

That picture came from a random blogpost I came across by a writer from Argentina who wrote a very nice little analysis of James Joyce's story "The Dead." The final scene in that story is what makes it so famous, in fact, I met at least one Joyce scholar who thinks it's the greatest piece he ever wrote. Long before the enormous epic novels.

"The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached the region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out in a gray impalpable world: The solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling.

"A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight."

It starts to snow, interrupting his transportive trance while staring out a hotel window at night.

Over the weekend, my home city of Staten Island saw its worst October snowstorm in recorded history. The whole northeast was absolutely blasted by snow worse than ever before. Millions of people lost power, Connecticut had its worst power outage in history.

"Snowfall like blankets of death..."
is a line heard in the album that I published a review for today.

Today I learned that an old friend, a man who worked for my father for as long as I was alive, passed away at age 91. He had been sick with pneumonia for a little while. Tony Bassolino was a big man, tall and sturdy with a gruff Brooklyn accent. He'd been a Marine in World War II and then worked for many years as a New York City Sanitation worker; a lifelong garbage man. He was in his 70s and 80s when I got to know him best. Even at that age he was something like a giant bear who didn't even know he had clothes on---roughing it up with heavy, enormous, gooey bags of garbage he would get nasty slop all over himself with no regard. Often he'd be wearing some old football sweatshirt or something.

I spent a few summers working alongside him, picking up garbage all around my neighborhood and loading it into a truck to be personally delivered to a dump in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He was afraid of nothing, and shocked if I was afraid of anything, even a maggot-infested half-opened bag of old garbage. Or enormous pieces of wood or old trees covered in old rusty nails or spiders and ants. We always bonded on the trips to the garbage dump. His attention was curt and he didn't really prefer to listen to me all that much, just a few questions here and there ("heh?" he'd bark loudly when he couldn't hear me) to get him started on talking about something and I was ready to listen.

On one of those trips he let me hold the steering wheel for the truck, first time I can ever remember controlling a car in any way. On another of those trips he let me drive the truck, at age 16, for a little while on a service road. It was the first time I ever controlled a vehicle on my own. I remember being amazed at how loose the steering wheel seemed, so easy and soft to move it.

On just about every one of those trips, he'd always stop at the Burger King on Route 1 & 9 in New Jersey so I could eat breakfast (we always worked in the morning and I could never wake up early enough to eat breakfast at home). He was always very obliging, he'd just sit in the car and wait as I went and picked up french toast sticks, always the same meal. On one occasion he came in with me and ordered the same thing as me, we sat there sharing a breakfast of french toast sticks with syrup, me at 16 years old and Tony in his early 80s. It must've looked to people like I was having breakfast with my grandfather but instead he was my co-worker (and superior), he was also old enough to be my dad's father and since my dad was old enough to be my grandfather (I was conceived in his late 40s), I could've been sitting there sharing breakfast with my great grandfather.

But he was my co-worker and friend. And we were about to go down the road to an indoor dump, where I would don a little mouth-mask to guard my senses from the foul and oxygen-smothering stench of a garbage dump the size of a football field. Tony never wore a mask. And when we'd get out and quickly try to empty a truck full of garbage in under 5 minutes, he'd fling heavy pieces of scrap and garbage with a ballsy voracity and zeal unlike anything I'd ever witnessed. Towards the end of the load were always the biggest things; huge blocks of wood or brick, whatever it was he would attack it like battling a dragon or a huge whale. I remember the sight of him overtaken by an object's enormous weight one time, he looked like a sea captain hanging by the very end of his ship's mast in a vicious storm. It was so beautiful I burst out in uncontrollable joy and laughter. "Get back in the truck!" he screamed; I was in danger and not offering much help. 

When we were done he'd drive us back home, his brown-spotted bare hands bloody or dirt-strewn, his face sweaty, the radio blaring WFAN 20-20 sports. Back at home, my workday was done before 11 AM most days and I'd relax and do whatever the hell it is teenagers do on lazy summer afternoons.

I will never forget those mornings. I hope big Tony rests in peace now, the winds of time having finally eroded that sturdy temple of his.

Here are those final words of "The Dead":

His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Album Review: Who Got the Camera? by Kevlaar 7

Note: this review was actually written in August, about a month before the Occupy Wall Street protests started springing up everywhere. Obviously, that stuff is extremely relevant to the album but I'd rather leave the review as it is and let it stand as a time capsule to show the building pressure and anger mounting right before things started blowing up into mass protests in this country. Also, please see my condensed version of this review, published in Slant Magazine back in March. 

I write this now six months after the album was released and its message is as relevant now as it was the moment it dropped. This EP, a musical outcry for "revision of the whole system," was released while mass street movements erupted in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, and now London is experiencing a violent uprising of the deprived on its city streets. The London uprising was reportedly sparked as a reaction to the police murdering an innocent man, Mark Duggan, similar to the slaying of Oscar Grant and the many other innocent victims mentioned throughout this album.

This is Kevlaar 7 asserting himself as one of the best hip hop emcees on the planet right now (or at the very least, "the illest nigga in the mitten [Detroit]"), by tapping into and broadcasting the present revolutionary aura of the earth, this zeitgeist of dissent and uprising, truth vs. power, speaking on it loud and clear for all the listeners who may not have been hearing the loudly churning wheels of history since most rappers don't acknowledge it (instead, they blindly exacerbate the plight of their own people). The miserable state of the art (hip hop) is just another symptom of the nefariously corrupted system in place, begging for a destroying/rebuilding flip from the conveyors of real(ity).

Hip hop, which in its truest essence is a form of revolt, is here returned to its impassioned glory, the rebel army fighting back with violently pulsating waves of knowledge and wisdom.

Giving Insight to the Blindman

Please check out my new review of Bronze Nazareth's School for the Blindman album that's just been published in Slant Magazine. For five years that record was the most anticipated thing on my whole radar and now that it's finally here, it doesn't disappoint. For those interested, the Slant review is basically a preview for a much more thorough song-by-song review that will be coming soon. I've had a hectic but very fun and exciting last couple of weeks and I'm still trying to get through a bunch of writing projects.

Many more things will be appearing on the blog now that I've got some time as well. Look for a couple more new hip hop album reviews in that song-by-song, enormous breakdown style, should have them up here by the end of today.

Bronze's brother and fellow member of the Wisemen, Kevlaar 7, also just released a new mixtape that's free. It is entitled Redux on the Boards and features 10 tracks from artists like Jay-Z, Nas, Outkast, Ghostface, and others, all remixed over Kevlaar 7 beats. Plenty of heavy bass drums and creative sample chops, as is K7's specialty. If you enjoy quality hip hop music at all, definitely go check that out. You can preview and download it here.

Last Tuesday, I actually go to attend a Snoop Dogg concert here in Austin. Although I was a fan of his (and Dr. Dre's) music years ago, I haven't really listened to their material in a long time and really didn't know what to expect as over the years I had begun to associate Snoop in my mind with movies and parodies instead of actual rap music. Walking into the venue, the outdoors atmosphere and college student-populated crowd kept bringing to mind the hilarity of Snoop's house party appearance in the movie Old School (when he was interrupted by a naked Will Ferrell bursting onto the stage).

The show was outstanding, though. Tracks from The Chronic 2001 brought back memories of when that classic was first released and the whole venue bounced in unison to the smashing drums and booming bass. Snoop is a helluva master of ceremony, he kept the crowd into it for a set that lasted almost 2 hours, bringing tons of wit and humor into the mix in between songs. It was a really great time overall, one of the more memorable concert experiences I'll ever have, I'm sure. Even got to go backstage and meet some of the artists, including Kurupt prior to the show when he'd just awoken from a long nap on the tour bus, and ended the night consuming late-night grub with the opening acts at a pizzeria across the street. Much thanks due to Matt "M-Eighty" Markoff for bringing me along and introducing me to everybody.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

World Serious

The story of this blog over the past few months has been that its author can't find the time to write on it. One of the reasons for this has been the exhilarating and absorbing finish to the baseball season, so with the World Series starting tonight I figure I must say a few things about it while I sit here in a coffeeshop/restaurant eating lunch.

Despite the negative feelings for the Cardinals I've expressed a few times on this blog, I will be rooting for them to win what should be an exciting series against the Texas Rangers. Why? Because the unprecedented run this team has been on since the beginning of September and on into the playoffs has swept me up into their bandwagon. And I really don't like the Texas Rangers.

The story for both teams is remarkably similar: high-scoring offense and deep bullpens. Both teams received minimal contributions from their starting pitchers throughout the playoffs, finding themselves calling upon relievers early on then mixing-and-matching throughout the games. Of course, as unpredictable as baseball always is, you can expect the starting pitchers to play the biggest role in this World Series.

Texas boasts an incredibly deep and potent offensive attack, with five straight excellent hitters bunched up in the middle of the lineup. Really, it'd be hard to put together a better lineup than theirs, perhaps the only weakness is that there are so many right-handed hitters (Josh Hamilton and David Murphy being the only lefties) and you can expect Tony LaRussa to exploit that with his slew of hard-throwing righty relievers. The Cardinals also have a terrific offense; they led the National League in runs, on-base percentage, OPS, and tied for the lead in slugging percentage. They are led by the best hitter on the planet, Albert Pujols, and as Rany Jazayerli pointed out in his World Series preview, Pujols traditionally plays even better in the playoffs. I'm really looking forward to seeing the Rangers' late game flame-throwers having to face off against Pujols.

On the run-prevention side, the Texas defensive attack (baseball is the only sport where the defense has the ball so "attack" is apt) combines to be much better than the Cardinals. The lineups are so good that they kind of cancel each other out, but it's the run prevention part that separates these two teams so let's look at that real quick:

The Rangers possess an extremely rare combination of three southpaw starters who are all capable of throwing in the mid-90s. The other guy, Colby Lewis, is right-handed and doesn't throw very hard but he's still a pretty damn good pitcher. The Cardinals counter with the righty/lefty combo of Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia atop their rotation, both of them succeed by keeping the ball low and generating ground balls. Their third starter Edwin Jackson is a very good pitcher (he has nearly identical strikeout-to-walk numbers compared to Carpenter and Garcia) but he really hasn't shown it lately, and fourth-starter Kyle Lohse isn't anything special at all but if he can keep the game close into the 5th inning, he'll have done his job. The Rangers have the clear advantage here.

General Manager Jon Daniels has assembled an absolutely fearsome bullpen here and they are a major part of why the Rangers are here in the World Series. As I already mentioned, it will be really exciting to watch closer Neftali Feliz pitch against the middle of this St. Louis lineup. The Cardinals also relied heavily on their bullpen on their way here, in fact, their funky bullpen is one of the reasons I've come to like these Cardinals. They've got some characters in there and they can all pitch. Jason Motte is the closer and he's one of the meanest looking guys in baseball with beady eyes and a lumberjack beard, his short-armed, explosive throwing motion and 100-mph heat amplifies his menacing aura. I think the pundits and analysts give the Rangers the advantage here but with LaRussa pushing the buttons and showing a clear willingness to break from conventional bullpen usage (the team's saves leader Fernando Salas pitched in the 3rd inning already in this postseason), the Cardinals have the edge.

Not only is Albert Pujols the best hitter on the planet, he's also the best defensive first baseman in baseball and probably one of the best defensive players in all of baseball at any position. Yes, he is that good. The Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina is also one of the best players at his position but the rest of the St. Louis defense is very poor. Nick Punto is a punch-line in sabermetric circles for his poor hitting, but he's a great fielder and if he gets any starts for the Cards he'll certainly improve their D. The Rangers have a clear advantage here as they've got a great defense. The keystone combo of Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler will certainly make some highlight reel double plays in this series and third baseman Adrian Beltre is one of my favorite players to watch in the field.

We saw what happened to the Brewers and their crappy defense in the NLCS, so it's certainly possible that the Cardinals might lose some games by not catching the ball. The Rangers as a team struck out fewer than anyone else in their league and the Cardinal pitchers usually don't strike out too many hitters anyway so there should be plenty of balls in play and plenty of opportunities for Lance Berkman to make a mess of things out in right field.

With the Cardinals having home field advantage (due to the National League winning the All-Star Game, if that makes any sense), a tactically superior manager, and the Albert Pujols factor, I think they make up for their shortcomings against an extremely well-rounded Texas team. The Rangers are favored to win and they look like a superior team on paper, but there's something about these Cardinals that reminds me of the 2004 Red Sox, a team that just looked like you could put them out on the field against anybody in any atmosphere and they would tough it out and find a way to win. Those Red Sox actually beat the Cardinals in the World Series that year in another matchup of powerhouse (the Cards won 105 games that year) versus Wild Card underdog, and the Red Sox steamrolled the birds in a sweep.

I think this shapes up to be one of the best World Series matchups we've seen in a long time and I would put my money on the Cardinals to win in a long series with many tough battles. My pick: Cardinals in 7.

(One last note: the title of this post comes from my old boss in San Diego. He had a very heavy Croatian accent despite three decades living here in the U.S. and he always pronounced World Series "World Serious." Also, it's common for people to think that American Major League Baseball is being conceited by calling its championship round the "world series" but the way I see it, the MLB teams feature the greatest players from all around the world competing against each other. That's why players from Japan and everywhere else come here to play in the major leagues. Just wanted to point that out.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pennant Picks

Baseball events often serve as a time marker for me. I can look back at past exciting or historic events happening in baseball games and recall where I was at the time, what was going on in my life or in the world at large.

I watched the first game of the Yankees-Mets Subway Series in 2000 on a little portable television in the back of a car while my dad drove me and some friends home from a Saturday evening hockey game in Long Island. When the Yanks and Red Sox started their marathon Game 7 in 2003 (eventually won by Aaron Boone's walkoff homer) I was playing a roller hockey game for my college team at an outdoor rink in Chelsea Piers. I saw the White Sox win the World Series in 2005 at Mickey Mantle's restaurant near Central Park while on a date with a girl from Italy. 

The last two Octobers I watched from the living room of my San Diego apartment and now I've witnessed the excitement of this year's pennant chase here in Austin. The classic deciding game Friday night between the Phillies and Cardinals will forever be etched in my memory as I watched it unfold in amazement while eating baked ziti and sipping beer at an overpriced bar/restaurant down the road. (I attempted to watch the first game of that series at another restaurant last week but once the Texas Longhorns game started, every television in the bar was switched to that crappy meaningless game against Iowa State and I was screwed. Will certainly always remember that, too.)

I wasn't alive in the late 1960s but from watching Ken Burns' baseball documentary over and over again, I've come to associate the baseball events going at that time with the social upheavals and global events going on at the same time. In that documentary series, each decade gets its own lengthy treatment and the 60s is by far my favorite. The Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, the assassination of JFK (and RFK, Malcolm X, and MLK) aren't ignored, in fact they are perfectly weaved in to the baseball events in that decade as Bob Gibson's Cardinals dominated the era, Carl Yastrzemski carried the Sox in '67, the Orioles built a powerhouse and Washington DC nearly burnt to the ground after rioting in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Protesters burned their draft cards and choppers flew over the jungles of Saigon.

As incredible as the crescendo of this baseball season has been, it will always be associated in my mind with the movement springing up in downtown Manhattan (my former stomping grounds) and spreading across the nation, the peaceful uprising and dissent against oppressive oligarchy and austerity measures. I confess to being a severe baseball addict, but as exciting and engaging as it has all been this year, the Occupy Wall Street news has been competing for my attention since it began in mid-September. The baseball games have often absorbed me in transfixion but at the same time my thoughts are constantly with the people out sleeping on the cement in the cold New York autumn.

Now, on to the baseball...

It seemed like nothing could touch the melodrama and excitement of the regular season's conclusion, but then we witnessed a Divison Series that featured four tightly fought matchups, three of which went down to the final game, and two of which saw huge upsets. The Rays series only lasted four games but the last three of those were all nail-biters. Now the smoke has cleared and we're left with just four teams in matchups that look to be just as competitive and entertaining as anything we've seen all year. Here are some thoughts on the two series we will watch over the next week.

National League Championship Series
Cardinals (90-72) vs. Brewers (96-66)

The Brewers were a popular World Series pick but I don't think anybody imagined they would be in this position, facing their sworn enemies for the NL pennant. The Cardinals don't belong here. They lost their best pitcher before the season began, were written off as a contender in Spring Training, and were trailing the final playoff spot by 9 games in early September. When they managed to climb all the way back into it and win on the final day, that only guaranteed them a match against the best team in the major leagues, the 102-win Phillies. Well, they've slayed yet another dragon and here they are.

This looks to be an extremely close and exciting series. These two teams genuinely don't like each other, they had some bean ball incidents this summer, lots of trash talk, and they represent two different poles on the spectrum---the Cards are the gritty, scrappy veterans and the Brewers are young, loud-mouthed and here for the first time. The Cardinals have been doing this for a good 12 years now, this is their 6th appearance in an LCS during that span while the Brewers organization had not won a playoff series since 1982. At that time they were still in the American League, led by manager Harvey Keunn, they were known as "Harvey's Wallbangers" and they went all the way to the World Series where they lost to... the Cardinals! (Dan Okrent's great book 9 Innings covers those Brewers at length.)

On the field, the teams are closely matched in the rotation, bullpen, defense, and lineup. While the Brewers boast a superb top-three starting pitchers in Yovani Gallardo, Zack Grienke, and Shaun Marcum, the Cardinals' top-three are no slouches and perfectly capable of matching up against the much more heralded Milwaukee trio. Chris Carpenter leads the St. Louis bunch with his alliterative appellation and strike zone carving repertoire, young lefty Jaime Garcia put up basically the same numbers as Carpenter in fewer innings, and Edwin Jackson is capable of matching zeroes with anybody the Brewers have. Both teams run deep in the bullpen, too.

Both teams pack high-octane offenses mostly led, again, by superior trios. For Milwaukee it's Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks in the heart of the lineup while St. Louis relies on Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman. Combined, those trios match up pretty well although maybe the Cards have a very slight edge. Outside of those, the role players seem to tilt in the Cardinals' favor. Third baseman David Freese would be a household name by now if he could ever stay healthy because the boy can hit. Yadier Molina emerged as one of the better hitting catchers in baseball this year, shortstop Rafael Furcal has looked like his old self in this postseason, and the Cardinals even boast a pretty strong bench (that micromanager Tony LaRussa loves to employ).

In comparison, the Brewers have a few more liabilities on offense. Guys like Casey McGehee, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Jonathan Lucroy can pop out a homerun every now and then but they had poor seasons overall. Neither team is any good defensively, although I think analysts are sometimes a bit too overzealous in dismissing the Brewers in that respect.

Really, the teams are so closely matched that there's no way to pinpoint a particular weakness that will decide the series. It should be one for the ages, perhaps the best LCS since the Red Sox and Yankees in 2004. I prefer to see the Brewers win and they are my pick because they have homefield advantage but I think it will go all 7 games and feature plenty of fireworks.

American League Championship Series
Tigers (95-67) vs. Rangers (96-66)

This matchup, to me, looks closer than it really is. The Rangers are a far superior team, in fact, they were probably the best team in all of baseball this year (Baseball Prospectus has a rather complicated extraction that bears this out). Jon Daniels deserves a lot of credit, he was the youngest general manager in baseball history when he stepped into the role for the Rangers in 2005 at the age of 28, and he has built this team into a well-rounded, deep powerhouse.

Let me get this out of the way: I live in Texas right now and the team Daniels has assembled is an admirable one, but I'm not a fan of this team at all. Eric over at Pitchers & Poets recently wrote a nice piece about why he's pulling for the Rangers despite their shady associations (George W. Bush being the most prominent one) but I'm not falling for it. I'd certainly like to root for this team because of a guy like Jon Daniels and what he's done here, but I've been to the ballpark, I've watched this team for years as an Oakland A's fan and I just don't like them.

As I wrote earlier this year, the Detroit Tigers are a team that I can root for. They represent a decrepit, broken down and demoralized city that has hosted baseball since the beginning of the American League. Detroit is a rich sports town with a great baseball history. Texas? I couldn't watch a Texas Rangers playoff game at a bar because a fucking Texas-Iowa State college football game was on. I can't root for that kind of stupidity. Anywho...

The Rangers are an all-around powerhouse that can beat up any team and their dad. Adrian Beltre blasted three homeruns in one game the other day and he's probably the third-best hitter on this team (behind Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton). The lineup is absolutely scary. If there's one thing that might be in the Tigers' favor here, it's that there are so many right-handed hitters in the lineup and Detroit has an all-righty pitching staff but the Rangers don't seem to care what hand the pitcher throws with. They'll blast off against anybody. The Detroit offense can put up runs too, most of them will come from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Jhonny Peralta is an interesting player not just because of the misplaced "h" in his name but because he seemingly resurrected his career in the Motor City and renewed his status as an offensive threat. Alex Avila, the rookie catcher, had a spectacular season at the plate but so far in the playoffs he hasn't shown up (just 1 hit in 16 at-bats).

Like every other part of this team, the Texas pitching staff runs deep. If five starters were needed in a playoff series, they could throw out five great ones, but they only need four so Alexi Ogando was put into the bullpen and we all saw what he's capable of last night (97 mph fastballs at the corners). This very interesting rotation boasts three tough lefties and a righty who remade himself after a stint in Japan. The Japanese league guy seems to be the only liability here as Colby Lewis followed up his superb 2010 campaign with an up-and-down season this year (he pitched fine, just gave up way too many homers). Detroit depends on their workhorse Justin Verlander, the easy Cy Young choice this season, but he seems to be losing steam this past month or so. They'll need him to pick it up and possibly pitch 3 times in this series if they hope to win. I predicted Max Scherzer would have a huge year for Detroit before the season, but he didn't. He pitched well with plenty of strikeouts but, like Colby Lewis, he surrendered a bunch of homeruns. I worried about that coming into the playoffs but Scherzer pitched great against the Yankees in two appearances so look for him to be a big part of this series.

Joaquin Benoit basically became a national hero with his heroic relief effort for Detroit against the Yankees to seal their demise in the previous round, and the Tigers do have a nice bullpen. But nothing comes close to this Rangers relief group. As I mentioned, they brought Alexi Ogando out of the pen in Game 1 yesterday and he was nearly untouchable. They also have two of the best relievers in baseball over the last few years, Mike Adams and Koeji Uehara, at their disposal and then flame-throwing Neftali Feliz as the final piece. Even their middle-relief or platoon pitching options are solid. It's gonna be really tough to score against the group late in the game.

I really don't like the Rangers but there's no denying how strong they are as a team. While I will be rooting hard for the underdog Detroit to knock them out, I don't realistically see it happening. My pick: Rangers in six.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Potent Quotables: Cosmic Contemplation

"Ancient stars in their death throes spat out atoms like iron which this universe had never known. The novel tidbits of debris were sucked up by infant suns which, in turn, created yet more atoms when their race was run. Now the iron of old nova coughings vivifies the redness of our blood.

"If stars step constantly upward, why should the global interlace of humans, microbes, plants, and animals not move upward steadily as well? The horizons toward which we must soar are within us, anxious to break free, to emerge from our imaginings, then to beckon us forward into fresh realities.

"We have a mission to create, for we are evolution incarnate. We are her self-awareness, her frontal lobes and fingertips. We are second-generation star stuff come alive. We are parts of something 3.5 billion years old, but pubertal in cosmic time. We are neurons of this planet's interspecies mind."
--Howard Bloom, Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century

"Physicist Roger Penrose, who helped develop theories about black holes, has said that the chance of an ordered universe happening at random is nil: one in 10 to the 10th to the 30th, a number so large that if you programmed a computer to write a million zeros per second, it would take a million times the age of the universe just to write the number down."
--from Rob Brezsny's book Pronoia (in fact, both quotes came from this excellent book)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Occupation

For a few days now I've been hoping to compose a lengthy post about Occupy Wall Street and the global uprising but haven't had the chance. I will hopefully get to put my thoughts together soon, after all I spent years down in that area of Manhattan and particularly Zuccotti Park (mentioned here a while ago), went to school right next to Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge, my experiences down there are even one of the meanings behind the title "A Building Roam." It's highly significant to me that this communal flowering of awakening and dissent has blossomed from a spot on the map that has played such a huge role in my life and growth.

I spoke to my sister on the phone today, she's living about as glamorous a life as any 23-year-old could right now, staying in her friend's brownstone on the Upper West Side, commuting to work by way of strolling through Central Park. I asked her about Occupy Wall Street and she said "you mean that protest thing?" She had heard of it, seen it on the news but rather aggressively told me "I don't care."

Well, I am thankful that there are so many people who do care.

Right Here All Over (Occupy Wall St.) from Alex Mallis on Vimeo.