Living On The Edge (And Then Falling Off)

Posted by prla1983 on October 29, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

I was going through some single paragraph reviews of albums that interest me in the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (a dubious list as every other) and came across this fantastic bit about AC/DC's "Highway to Hell":
Upon being promoted from the band's driver to its lead singer, Bon Scott immediately came up with his singular formula for recording vocals: He downed half a bottle of bourbon, chased it with some weed and a fat rail of blow, and proclaimed, "I'm ready." Then he got the take. Scott was a force of nature, and by AC/DC's fourth studio album, he and guitarist Angus Young had become an explosive one-two punch. "You'd need several volumes of Britannica," Young noted, "just to chronicle what Bon got up to in one day." Inevitably, Scott's wicked ways caught up with him, and he was dead six months after Highway's release.

Talk about living on the edge...

Anyway, it's been a fun little trip so far and it got me to pop in Weezer's Blue Album again after so much time. This fits in perfectly with my alt/indie rock recent mood and now I'm convinced this Weezer album is definitely one of my favorite albums ever. I just love the lyrics, the guitars building up this huge wall of comfortable noise, the pop sensibility, the simple pounding drums, River's voice, everything. It's good that albums like this exist and are within reach. Somehow it makes me feel good amid chaos and that's something to cherish.

The world has turned and left me here
Just where I was before you appeared
And in your place an empty space
Has filled the void behind my face.

Ain't it?

Melting Pot

Posted by prla1983 on October 28, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

Lately, as far as music is concerned, I've been pretty much going back to my earlier life of indie/alternative bands and beyond all the stuff I've been rehashing, I'm becoming familiar with Interpol. I guess these guys showed up on the radar just after I stopped monitoring it but it's a good thing I'm picking it all up now. It does have the Joy Division vibe (of whom I listened to the "Substance" compilation earlier today and enjoy it immensely) but I think they totally have an identity of themselves.

As usually happens, I was going through some online stuff about the band and a Pitchfork interview with vocalist Paul Banks came up. At some point he says:

You can't just imitate and keep coming up with ideas. You have to be tapping into something that's pure and unconscious in yourself or you'll have no career. You've got nothing to draw from. So the idea of starting a band because of Nirvana and thereby trying to sound like Nirvana is totally not the case. Nor is it the case a lot of times when people talk about a band's influences. Anybody that's in a band probably has millions of fucking influences and loves music so much that they're totally cross-genre and don't say, "I only listen to this." That's for non-musicians to say: "I only listen to this or that type of music." I think musicians love all music, or at least that's my case. Neil Young and Crazy Horse was a huge influence, folk music-- fucking Leonard Cohen-- those were all big influences. Jane's Addiction was a big influence. But at no point did I ever say, "I'll chemically fuse these sounds together and some kind of concept and develop a band sound as a result of that." Our band's sound is developed out of the four of us influencing each other.

Quoted for truth. Incidentally I doubt my musical abilities but I've been claiming exactly this for so long that I can't really understand people who only listen to a single style of music. For me, that would be a very scary place to be trapped in. But to each his own, so I'm not complaining and everyone is entitled to listen to whatever the fuck they enjoy listening.

Just a thought. Sucks that there's no tickets left for Interpol in Lisbon next month. Serves me right for not waking up earlier. Metaphorically speaking.

Quote Of The Day

Posted by prla1983 on October 25, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

"English people aren't impressed. There's this automatic assumption that any degree of success means that you've cheated. Or you're full of shit."

-- Thom Yorke in Meeting People Is Easy


The Enigma

Posted by prla1983 on October 21, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

In every breath you take
In every move you make
In every step you fake
Your thoughts unknown
You are the enigma

Is this all in my mind?
A sick trick of the delusional kind
The illusion that grabs me and doesn't let go
Wouldn't it be nice to just say no
Wake up and know you're not right for me
No longer sell out for free

In every word you don't say
In every letter you don't read
In every signal you don't give
Your thoughts unknown
You are the enigma

Are you in?
Or are you out?
Will you help me understand?
Far away and unable to bridge the gap
Searching for the right words, bleeding good will
Lost in the haze of your deafening silence

We're not taking any of the advice
And we will pay the price
Right or wrong
Sometimes you just don't care
Self destruct, crash and burn
Blame someone else for the wrong turn

Anything I may say
Anything I may do
Is certain to be
A mistake


Blind Spot

Posted by prla1983 on October 19, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

A self deprecating prophecy
Such amazing delicacy
It's not the way you want to be
But there's no other sight you care to see
The jigsaw drifting out of place
Clutching at straws with nothing but a face

Analyze, jeopardize
Every day wearing the same old disguise
Every hope scarred by coffee and cigarette burns
Tears and holes in the fabric of the soul

Black swan says check mate
Don't believe a word he says

Sheets are cold, you left without a trace
You never been there in the first place


The Eraser

Posted by prla1983 on October 16, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

The more you try to erase me, the more that I appear

(Thom Yorke)


Posted by prla1983 on October 13, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

But am I here?
It's kind of hard to tell
I do a good impression of myself
But what's normal now anyhow?

(Porcupine Tree)

Just To Let You Know...

Posted by prla1983 on October 11, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

...that I'm still here. And that I should probably quit posting these title-first sentence connections.

Life is made of ups and downs and if you've been unfortunate enough, or bored enough or any combination thereof, to be following this blog recently you understand that my lows are particularly low. If you knew me personally on a daily basis, you'd also notice my highs are particular high. I don't even want to look up the definition of bipolar disorder.

But anyway, we're always learning to live throughout our entire lives and whoever thinks otherwise, I pity you. These past few weeks have been particularly intensive on that learning to live subject and I guess finding out one or two (or more) truths about life has been scary enough for me. The question I beg to ask and which begs to be asked is this: We can prepare for most things in life... but can we prepare for life itself? Always the one with the hard questions, right?

I've been fighting a good fight of not letting the highs soar so high and, most importantly, not letting the downs plunge so fucking deep. This is a constant battle, I tell you. Kurt Cobain claimed he "missed the comfort of being sad", on "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge In Seattle", off In Utero. I hear ya, Kurt, wherever you are now. Sometimes - most of the time? all the time? - it just seems and feels so much easier to revert back to ourselves, close the door behind us and conveniently forget others exist and that the world is still ticking away outside.

I've been trying to learn what is valuable and what's not. Been trying to learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Been trying to learn which fights are worth picking and which are not. Been trying to learn who is my friend and who is not.

I haven't really graduated on any of these accounts. But I've learned that I will never get it completely right. It may be obvious to you and superficially it is also obvious to me, but deep down inside where it matters the most, there's still a longing for perfection, for getting it all right, the proverbial bull's eye. But there are shades of gray and you have to pick your favorite one or at least the one you can afford.

As those guys I love once said:

Here before me is my soul
I'm learning to live
I won't give up
Till I've no more to give

Damn right. That's hopeful as hopeful can be.

The First Day...

Posted by prla1983 on October 08, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

...of the rest of our lives.

That's how we probably should face everyday, Carpe Diem and all that you know?

It just seems so difficult... every day.

You know?

Grow Up, Will Ya?

Posted by prla1983 on October 05, 2007 • 1 commentsEmail This Post

I've been around for over 24 years now. Put that way I notice it is almost a quarter of a century. It's been an... interesting ride so far and I can't really complain much. But one thing I've been noticing is that I have trouble feeling exactly how old I am.

I've always been the type that gets along much easier with older people than people my own age. Back when I was 8, I remember my best friends were 16 and 13. When I got into university (already under aged for reasons that I will not get into right now) I was 17 and bonded instantly with the guys that were 20 and over. Over time, the weak links I had with those in my year became fewer to the point that there's simply no one my age I deal with on a daily basis. All my house mates up to this point were older than me, usually by a couple of years.

So when I was, let's say, 14, if I got in contact with someone 24, I'd regard him or her as a fully grown adult. I mean, wow, at 24 these guys must have seen everything and there's probably few secrets still out there for them to uncover. Now that I find myself being 24, I feel like I'm really 18. Now that I'm among the older guys at university - not to mention I shouldn't be there by now - I look at all the other people, especially the ones that just got in and are 18 in their majority... and I feel like I'm just one of them. By now, whoever is reading this is probably thinking "yeah well, what's your fucking point anyway?" and I applaud whoever thinks that because I'm pondering over the exact same thing.

But in any case, this brings another question. When is the inflexion point? When will I suddenly start feeling older than I really am? Will that ever happen? Or will I just be hoping I was younger but feel exactly my age? Hold your blue pill jokes for a moment there, please.

One thing is obvious, though. Girls are developing much faster and much earlier these days. Or was I simply too busy playing Championship Manager, Command & Conquer, playing soccer and listening to all those Offspring and Nirvana records?

What Happens Next?

Posted by prla1983 on • 0 commentsEmail This Post

Continuing along the theme of expectation, which I kickstarted yesterday, one of the things I've been thinking about, for all the right and wrong reasons pertaining to my own personal and convoluted little life, is what happens next. I mean, you expect, it doesn't happen. How do you deal with it? Surely there are different ways to get at it and all seem to involve some degree of healing. If we see it that way, then maybe we should think about ways of not letting the cut be as deep as it would otherwise be. Because the deeper it gets, the longer it takes to heal and, honestly, the more it fucking hurts. That's prophylaxis for you.

A prophylaxis is a measure taken to maintain health and prevent the spread of disease. (from

That's also an interesting way to look at it. As a side note, I always marvel at metaphors and how they always seem to exist for any and every subject. And they usually come straight from nature. Awesome.

In any case, it seems that we also need to differentiate between different degrees of expectation. If you expected the weather to get cold and then it doesn't, that's quite alright. Worst case scenario, you'll sweat a little and that can even be good to you. If you expected an A in your latest test and you get a B, maybe you get a little dispirited. If you expected your paycheck at the end of the month and it's not available yet, that may cause some trouble, sometimes a lot of trouble. If you expected to meet a friend but something came up and he or she didn't hesitate to forfeit your encounter, then you probably get sad, question the friendship and will think twice next time. If you're in love with someone and expect it to be mutual and then it's not, it can put your self-esteem in the gutter.

Clearly, the closer we get to the heart, the more dangerous expectation becomes. Not being heartless is however exactly one of the things that makes us human and we're not in the business of becoming inhuman here. Getting back to the point, in these extreme cases, how do we prepare? How can we avoid taking the hit straight on the chin, knocking us out cold? How can the cut be, if not superficial, at least not too deep?

Again, we're thrown into a balancing problem. How can I adjust expectation so as to believe enough in what I want but avoid getting seriously hurt if it just doesn't happen? One hell of a good question. Right now, I have no idea.


Posted by prla1983 on October 04, 2007 • 1 commentsEmail This Post

While I go about my daily life - even as dim and gloomy as it's been as of late - I sense that my "background processor" is constantly chewing at some sort of metaphysical meaning of life type question. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What am I doing wrong? Will the world ever close shop? Am I an asshole? You know, that kind of stuff.

One of those questions concerns happiness and how happy - or unhappy - we are. In particular, what is the measure of happiness? From the get go, I guess we can pretty much agree that my definition of "happy" can have little resemblance to what you or anyone else thinks being "happy" or happiness is in general. Certainly there is at least one point that is safe to assume: it leans more towards feeling good than feeling bad (Monsieur de La Palice would be proud).

But am I happier than you are? Is it the other way around? Is it even comparable? Am I happy at all?

In the end what prompted me to write this is my sudden realization - which is entirely up to debate - that happiness is intimately related to the concept of expectation. Meaning that if I greatly reduce my expectations, it's much more likely my degree of happiness will increase. If I don't expect something to happen, it just doesn't matter. On the other hand, the more I expect, the more I can get frustrated at.

But are expectation and happiness, in the limit, inversely proportional? In the extreme case of increasing your expectations to the very top, I think you're pretty much up for a huge disappointment, decreasing happiness. Or, you are one lucky sonofabitch for whom the cosmos is working for and makes everything happen for them (I know a case or two which at least look like they have that going for them).

On the other hand, what happens if you reduce expectations to zero? Will you guarantee happiness that way? Probably not, if it were that simple the world would be a better place (or would it?). In all likelihood, all you would achieve was a complete lack of interest and motivation. Happiness killers, let me tell you. (Then again, is there a direct relation between expectation and motivation? I sense there is, but maybe there's more to it than meets the eye. Food for thought).

So is it safe to assume that the virtue is, as they say, in the middle? Expect, but not too much?

Maybe. And maybe not. Finding that balance, be it in the middle or a little to the right or left, seems to be one of those challenges that make life arguably interesting. And incredibly frustrating sometimes too.