Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MrIndieDay vs. New York

There's a quietly understood notion that when something is occurring in New York, even if it's a pigeon taking a shit from a Central Park tree, it somehow holds more significance, or is of greater interest.

So much so that, as unscientifically evidenced by various FB postings, people will make note that when they're doing something, they're doing it in "New York".

Staring at birds shitting...in NYC!!!! (Uploaded via Blackberry @ 4:33PM)

This is in sharp contrast to saying something like "Hanging out with friends...in Neptune, NJ". By the way, don't forget the leaves may be placed at the curb starting Friday, as written on the town's event page!

Which rake can I take?

I say this in an almost disconnected fashion, but I also succumb to it. It's a particular stigma in the northeast US; just the very mention of NY elicits images of concrete glamor and Julian Casablancas-esque swagger.

Though I'm sure NY doesn't have an awkward solo album.

It is, however, a shit city. There. I said it.

I visited NYC recently as a trip just to hang out and pretend I have the social stature to be snooty at the Metropolitan Museum. Living in Newark, NJ, it's a couple train rides away. That's all well and good. I have nostalgic Dominican memories as a kid of riding the train with my parents to NY and back, because...well, I don't remember. But I got Pizza Hut. So there.

...Hooray trains?

But then we actually get to New York. And there came the sociological atrocities.

I mentioned in a post a year ago about the massive amount of human traffic that incessantly pervades the town. People constantly to your side; you cannot take 4 paces without someone brushing past you. This was exemplified in the train ride, when, in trying to exit, the passengers hustled and found themselves abruptly choked by the fact that the door is 4 feet wide. Exiting the train was disastrously uncomfortable.

The Japanese are unimpressed.

What?? Too soon??

As we make our way out of the subway and to fresh (But not really) air, NY greets us with frantic vehicular traffic that makes me wanna smoke a dimebag. If there is one truth about NYC that foreigners don't fully understand, it is that you do not, by any means, want to drive in it.


Eventually, me and my friend found ourselves lost and somewhat frustrated as we exhausted ourselves trying to find the right subway train to get to our ultimate destination. The town takes itself for granted; it is a city that has its own learning curve.

Trying to look for the subway controls in the manual....

Once we did find our particular subway (After walking literally in a square like retards), we found ourselves again overwhelmed by a populated train. Fortunately, the impromptu Mariachi band that entered the train gave me some delight. I clapped along, both because I did like it and because the passengers were being jaded douchebags. I know, this happens in NYC often, but staring into the abyss while someone plays their heart out is a shit way to look coolly jaded.

Or maybe they should've just gotten it over with and play "La Cucaracha".

Or maybe they were an indie Mariachi band, refusing to play conformist pop material.

We exit this subway, and start making way towards the MET. By this point, we've found ourselves a bit frustrated, and our legs a bit tired, however undeterred. Still somewhat excited, we entered a bustling MET and made our way through its various sections. We were drawn to the paintings in particular. This environment's a little unusual to me; my life has not set me up to properly appreciate art and culture for what it is. But being a creative person, I found what little pleasure I could in looking at antiquated ugly people and casually painted beheadings.

But then, I felt it. It was in the air. It pierced through the ears. It echoed against the walls. It emanated from their v-necks. Hipsters.

I am cardigan and what is this.

I take pleasure in pointing them out. Namely because they can look so ridiculous, they parody themselves. But there was no point; they were everywhere. It would've been like gawking at a blade of grass in a meadow.


The glasses, the art history majors, the lazy hair, the flannels, the shoes that look like hooves. It was in full force.

What annoys me about them isn't their choice of style or music. It is something a little deeper than that. That pretentious wave of persona that wafted through the cubes of the MET. That's what got to me. That the MET became less a place to appreciate history/culture, and more a place to be seen appreciating history/culture.

This is, admittedly, very presumptuous of me. But instinctively I felt what I felt, and was promptly discomforted.

The thing is, though, this ethereal douchebaggery pervades the entire city of NYC. It is an enormously inconvenient grid of buildings, cars, trains, and people who don't care. And yet, it has an arrogance about it that whispers to you with every step, "We're so awesome 'cause we're us". Or maybe that was me.

In our head.

We made our way out of the MET, visited Central Park to play the "Let's stare at how weird people are" game, and, showered in exhaustion and homesickness, made our way home. The final blow was the dark hole in my wallet that laughed in my face every time I looked, which speaks to how expensive NYC is with little actual reason. Again, another whisper.

As we rode the train back to obscurity, I realized that it does provide situations and circumstances that you probably would've never experienced elsewhere. Even now, I look back somewhat fondly on this massively inconvenient trip.

This was so much fun let's do it again!!!!!

But the city itself is not actually a great place. It is a city that has forgotten to appreciate humanity, and takes pride in apathy. It is a place where shops exist not turn a profit, but merely to act as 3D billboards, because the rent is too expensive to make any positive revenue. It's where sincerity is murdered, and jaded facades hi-five bloodied hands.

Of course, the city will continue to host my friends' various "omg lets go to ny" trips, in a perpetual search for those strange moments that just could not happen anywhere else. But the city's lost it's luster for me.

Let it be known that I've written this blog without one "Empire State of Mind" reference.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Comprehensive Analysis of Starbucks' Atmosphere/Ever Heard Someone Ramble About Useless Shit?

This collection of words was written on the fly as I observed. Every break in the writing was real, and none of this was pre-drafted or brainstormed. You are reading the stream of my disorganized consciousness. Let the creeping begin.

I wonder how customers view shot calibrations. When shots are too long or too quick to draw, it means the espresso/water mixture is fucked up, resulting in murky or watery shots, respectively. So there are times, as is right now, when baristas will stop the drink making process and fix the shot time. Customers generally don't seem to understand this, because lattes, to most people, doesn't involve espresso shots. It involves hot milk, sugar, and coffee.

I think I can hear "...don't give a shit." trailing off from a sentence in their heads.

Look at her go. She can't shut up, and manager lady doesn't care about her convo anymore. Neither do I. IT IS SO CUTE.

Another social oddity involving SB is the intimacy involved-

I've got to stop staring at her ass.

...Between its partners and its customers. They are incredibly well-acquainted, with every facet of one another's lives commonly shared and known. Ever stopped to chat with a D&D employee on break? Hell no. Not that you'd know how to speak Indian anyway.

This is deeper, however, then the mere openness of us baristas. It is the environment that engenders interaction. Often, customers will speak and be overall more talkative amongst themselves as well. There's also a constant amount of laughter and smiling that happens, particularly at the register. All of this would be almost maniacal in, say, a Wal-Mart.

It lies in the architecture/design of Starbucks. The atmosphere is especially created to not only keep people coming, but to keep them inside the store. The collusion of its soft, home-like browns and greens, the dim lighting that's only particularly strong around the barista workspace, and of course that persistent scent of fresh coffee charms people in a subconscious way.

Starbucks' mystique is in fact not an inexplicable mystery; it's a testament to the power of architecture, design, and the nostalgia, purposefully designed and wielded to positively influence a person's social experience there. It's kind of amazing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Comprehensive Breakdown of A Starbucks' Baristas/I'm a Complete Stalker

This collection of words was written on the fly as I observed. Every break in the writing was real, and none of this was pre-drafted or brainstormed. You are reading the stream of my disorganized consciousness. Let the creeping begin.

Big-Worker Momma Lady - Thorough, attentive, robotic. Experience up the ass, I'm sure. Knows the words to rattle off for every situation. Manager? I asked: of course she is.

Issues: Seems a little too directive, but she's a manager. It's in her blood.

That One Lesbia---

Goddamnit I like her. What is it with me and dykes?


That One (Assumed ((As In I Hope Not))) Lesbian - Talkative, considerate, smart.

Issues: Doesn't know when to shut up. Not that this is annoying. She's a quirky dork. That's TOTALLY cute. Okay. Dismissing stupid smile/gushing now.

The Straight Guy - There's always the one. He's a great barista (The foam on this milk is fucking sexy). He's passionate and kind enough. A winner. Probably a shift supervisor.

Issues: Looks bored/has hipster-esque "Ehhhhh yeah" aura. But it's hardly disconcerting.

The Chubby Girl Who's Way Too Happy - Another Starbucks staple. Unlike my store's CGWWTH, she seems genuinely nice. Everyone gets along with her. Is likable. Yay.

Issues: None. Well, that I could discern; people who smile too much are always broken toy dolls on the inside.

Maybe she's not gay? Maybe she's just that nerdy? Or maybe I'm gay. I'll shut up.

The Old Lady - Has kids. Aces mundane conversation (A must-have skill for SB). She's a blast to talk to though. I usually hate moms, but I'll make exception.

Issues: Despite the overwhelmingly sweet demeanor, she has the face and voice of someone who's yelled about wire hangers before. A lot. It's nothing evidential, though. Just an inference.

I think the CGWWTH goes out with a black guy! Wow! I'm proud of her. And sad for African-Americans.

The Gay Guy - SB staple #3. Has a strange fauxhawk-ish hairstyle, a bit of eyeliner, and a popped collar that beautifully (I'm lying) hides a neck that has decided to recede into his chest, forming a pelican swoop.

Issues: Trying a little too hard to be stylish. He came in with large white-rimmed sunglasses. The collar-pop, besides being an obvious compensation for his hermit neck, looks less about throat insecurity and more about looking cool. The baristas also became a little more introverted upon his debut, but I could be applying subjectivity here. 'Cause I'ma hata.

More SB-related disturbingly stalker-esque rambling analysis tomorrow.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


"Hey, Brian, you'll be burned out."

"Nuh-uh, fuck your face."

I'm burned out.

Spending an immense amount of time being a bandmate and barista has left this blog hanging. Don't worry though; it's nowhere near dead. I'm just spent. I'll be back, as big a pretentious twat as ever.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wipe tears, replace with smiles.

As you might've already heard, an unprecedented earthquake, and its tsunami aftermath, has decimated Japan, and potentially other parts of the globe. This will/has undoubtedly dismantled the structure for modern civilization in some parts of Japan, and will likely be a lengthy, and arduous, rebuilding process.

But before we roll off the melodramatic FB statuses and the telethons where Kanye will have another opportunity to use reverse racism while Mike Myers wishes he was dead, please, let's remember to keep a smile on our faces. To laugh not only despite, but in spite of this grave situation. It's never done anyone any good solely to sit there and pout about something.

And if you are making an effort to openly cry for Japan, please make the same effort to donate to or volunteer for the inevitable campaigns that will come of this. Because no matter how many people answer "What's on your mind?", that society will remain in its drenched rubble until you get the fuck up and do something.


Someone should've stopped Team Magma.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Every Young Adult Should Have Life Alert 2

Later in the day, as I took the bus home from work having forgotten this touching moment and the rest of my Miralax-laden morning (Last "old people have diarrhea" joke I swear), the bus found its last stop, my stop, and people began to unload. It was an unusually packed bus, so I became somewhat jaded by the sight of all these people. I was perhaps 4 or 5 people behind when I noticed something a little strange in the corner of my left eye.

2 people were left before I realized that at least 6 or 7 people had walked right in front of a small elderly lady, who was at the very first seat of the bus on the left, when the exited. They streamed past her undeterred. The last person before me actually bumped into her right shoulder as she cowled, waiting for the gush of people to pass by.

If you want to understand what has driven the recent anger on this blog, this moment is the perfect microcosm.

Annoyed, I abruptly stopped, feeling the slight misstep of someone rushing behind me, and waited for this lady to make her move. She noticed the opening, and began a slow drift for the exit. She had particular difficulty getting off, easily taking her about 4 seconds to get down 3 steps.

Feeling impatience behind me, I grabbed both handles of the door in a gesture that could only be described as a roundabout "Fuck everyone on this bus". She was getting off first.

Amazingly though, she did this without making one sound. Completely hush, she exited the bus, and entered another. It was as though she didn't care. Not just for the river of dumbassery that blocked her on the bus, but even for my white-knight antics.

Yeah old people are slow. Yeah they're intolerant. And come on, it's just funny when they slap an emergency lever like it's a stop button.

But I do love that they're able to avoid giving a shit in a world that provides too much of it. That there is an incessant protest against the mainstream structure of society that is implicit in their quiet and meticulous actions.

This is something I wish I saw more of in my peers, whom I feel don't understand and don't utilize the control they have in their lives. Lives that have been dictated for 20 years by an unsubstantiated obligation to go to school, and what little television has to offer.

I'm not gonna suggest everyone uses the elderly as a model for their convictions, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to observe them a bit, and embrace the attitudes and experience they convey with every step.

I'm totally gonna be that old guy everyone hates. Fuck.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Every Young Adult Should Have Life Alert 1

Taking a bus at 10 in the morning provides a glimpse into a world someone my age doesn't often see. Mostly because we don't want to. Usually doing something else during this time, we forget one very significant detail about the proverbial hump of a day's routine:

The elderly own it.

It's why the Price is Right is on and why the world feels like it's in the middle of a Prunelax-addled enema. It's the senior primetime.

Their prescence is felt so strongly it's almost as though they anxiously await the 10AM hour like a 20 year old Facebook's excitedly about Friday night.

"Like this if you can't wait to bother everyone in line at the Shop-Rite this morning!!!"
(Uploaded via Jitterbug at 8:59AM)

This was reflected by my bus ride (Oh that's where I started), which passes through the obligatory "All the old people sit in front of this" apartment complex, a small town neighborhood, and eventually a shopping center.

Tangent time: What compels the elderly to sit on benches routinely as they stare in the sky? I dunno, but it sounds like an opening to a terrible joke.

They slowly and delicately settled onto the decrepit caravan with an engine with complete oblivion; one of the strangest, and most admirable, details of the elderly. If punk/anarchy at its truest form is dependent upon little a shit you give for the feelings/convenience of others, the elderly are the most real punks I've ever seen.

This was surmised by this small black lady, who found her stop was coming soon, as noted by her apt unseating, a move which looked as though she was having her own framerate issues.

In an effort to relay this, her left arm made a move for a red object in between windows as her right arm meekly held her frail body in position. She then wantonly slapped at it.

It was the emergency lever.

Fortunately she didn't pull it down, and as she was standing I was making the effort to find the "STOP" button for her, which I did successfully. But I couldn't let this small detail go; she simply took it for granted that this must have been the stop tape, and did not care (Or perhaps even fathomed) that she would be making a silly mistake.

She walked deliberately towards the front, helped by an older gentlemen who grabbed her arm while he was in his seat towards the front. I thought this sweet of him, but my cynicism quipped "Maybe he just likes that. What if he just wants to touch arms 'cause it's hot?"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jesus Looks Like Your Gas Attendant

After reading this article and, of course, being highly skeptical about it, a piece of the story caught my eye:

"Over time his visions became more believable. He described Jesus..."
Something tells me he didn't say "Jesus looks like your gas attendant, daddy."

Let he who is without NJ state law cast the first pump.

But what if he did? What if he said "Jesus was black"? What would this story have been then? Would the integrity be any different to the readers? Hell, would they have even mentioned that he described Jesus?

Haha, okay Colton, but seriously shut the fuck up.

Bet the book, which is 4th on Amazon's Top 100, probably wouldn't have happened.

The undercurrent in this story, and the very reason why it's even a "news" story at all, is that it confirms ideologies many people already believe in. It's another piece of psychological reinforcement; an anecdotal representation of "I WAS RIGHT!!!!". Look back: this month old "news" is the most popular page on the site. We eat this shit up.

Yeah, I keep placing "news" in irritatingly sarcastic quotations. But not because "OMG RELIGION SUX".

Said Emma Dawkins.

More because there is nothing new about someone getting high on anesthetics and seeing shit. Much less a kid, who's clearly predisposed to and familiar with the concept of God and Heaven. His dad's a pastor, after all.

There is a bit in this story, however, that catches me frozen. Apparently, in the drugged-up premonition, he learned of his mom's miscarriage and brought it up, much to the mother's surprise.


Colton was supposed to have no prior knowledge of it.

The only reasoning I could figure is that Colton could've have overheard discussion of this, without understanding what exactly was buzzing in his ear. The sounds colluded in his subconscious, add some drugs, and voila, "omg mommy had a miscarriage".

It's the proper verbal reaction.

But even then I'm making a pretty tough shot in the dark.

Not that it matters though. This doesn't shift my philosophies on God and whatnot. But it makes me kind of sad that this is considered a piece of news. A story that people apparently have to hear. I mean, clearly, they want to. Hell, I want to. But do we have to? Does this really do anything more than help us seclude ourselves in our little psychological bunkers?

And where are the "I had surgery, I woke up, and there's no God, bro" stories? What if Colton got up and told his pastor dad "Daddy, I didn't see anything. God doesn't exist."? I'd imagine this entire story AND book would've been nothing more than an awkward moment between a father and his son.

Or Dave After the Dentist.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Credit where credit's due

Props to BoN on their latest nod: Soccer Wrap-Up. It's actually a great summary of the day's events in all things soccer, and breaks the monotony of their previous blogs.

Now if only it wasn't about soccer.

(I'm kidding, put the caps lock away)