It’s good to be back! I have a piece I’ve been working on for awhile now, “Goosebumps”-esque, that I should be showing you guys soon. It’s about a toaster.
Anyway, here are more videos of awesome live songs that I think you all will enjoy. I wanted to showcase this idea of well-timed madness, a control of chaos. It may sound insane at some points but at every single moment, the musician has complete control. It fascinates me how precise these artists can present a feeling.
- Untitled - Frank Zappa
- For the Love of God - Steve Vai
- Song for the Dead - Queens of the Stone Age
- Heathen Child - Grinderman
- I’m a Man - Bo Diddley
- I Was There - Fucked Up
- Underdog - The Dirtbombs
- Game of Pricks/I am a Scientist - Guided by Voices
- Throw Away Your Television - Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Damn Good Times - They Might Be Giants
- 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson cover) - The Flaming Lips/Linear Downfall
Going off of what Paul was talking about:
I spent the majority of my thursday inside the movie theater. The local theater held a Dark Knight marathon where they showed all three movies right in a row, the newest one starting at midnight. What happened could have happened at any theater. Any one of us could have been in that theater.
I received a call from a friend today saying that her father was killed in a car wreck a few days ago. Everything seemed so fragile today. I’ve never been good at dealing with that feeling, the feeling that death is possibly minutes or seconds away. We just don’t know.
The feeling is paralyzing but what else can we do but finish out the day, lay in bed, and then get up and move on. We can’t let our mutability stop us from living. We can’t. Everything seems strange for a couple of days but our minds and our way of life has a way of distracting us from the deadly truth. We are not immortal. One day it will all end and you probably won’t see it coming. That is the truth. The only truth. You will die.
But you still have choice. Live in crippling paranoia or walk onward with courage. Things happen. Really shitty things. Let them ruin your day but don’t let them ruin your life. Mourn and cry and look inward, but smile and talk and laugh. Feel and grow. And if you can breathe, be happy for that and go from there. Things will always get better.
Here are recommendations to start you in that direction. Be careful out there. For me.
Recommended Book: Miracle in the Andes
Recommended Album: Channel Orange
Recommended Evening: Klosterman Sees Nickelback and Creed in One Night
Recommended Sealab: Aquarius Reef Base
Recommended Candy: Hi-Chew
Recommended Topical Pug Video: Fuckin’ This One
Recommended Beer: Moose Drool
Recommended Tweeter: @IronMaiden
Recommended Alternate Version: Transformer by Gnarls Barkley
The waitress is strange
She used to be the hostess
I guess she moved up
Her pay is the same
She just has to do more now
She doesn’t look glad
Who cares? I’m tried
Just bring me some coffee, black
And speak up, it’s loud
“That must really suck;”
Ali grins with her coffee
“I know you love cheese.”
The pills aren’t enough
It still hurts most of the time
There are much worse things
I forgot bacon
Flesh from a lesser creature
Prove my dominance
Chewy, sweet, salty
That was a child one time
Reduced to a strip
It was born to die
To pass through others’ organs
Life ends in my mouth
The waitress comes back
Eggs and potatoes and toast
Their roots are not seen
Where did they come from
The eggs came from a chicken
The toast from a field
Potatoes, the earth
Coffee from another land
Someone brought these here
How many people
Have put their hands on my food?
Just shut up and eat
Do pigs dream of God?
Your food’s getting cold so stop
Dreams of God and shit
That is really gross
Don’t ruin your appitite
They must know something
That they aren’t alone
That they are made from atoms
That make up all things
From a distant star
Condensed in a hog
Exploring our life
The delicious Higgs boson
That gives breakfast mass
Old people walk in
One day they could be breakfast
Chewed by aliens
Grinding and spicing
Using our meat for a hash
Our eyes as garnish
Alright, that’s enough
Eat your food and pay the bill
And try not to choke
Hi everyone! Happy Fourth of July!
My name is Anthony and I am still alive. I’m just an asshole. Sorry I was gone. Sorry I ignored you. I am back. I have tons of new things to share with you. I have changed. But not a lot. Most importantly, I missed you.
Today is a holiday. You are probably going to read and hear a whole bunch of stuff about America today so I figured instead of posting something patriotic, I will instead feed into your downtime and share with you some recommendations for things in case you need them. They have no theme. They are just links of things that you may want to investigate further. Because I love you.
Expect new posts soon. And expect more recommendations; this will be a regular thing. Until then, enjoy your day! Relax! You’ve earned it! See you soon. Don’t blow off your hands today.
Recommended Book: Ender’s Game
Recommended Album: The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends
Recommended Particle: The God Particle
Recommended Drive: Interstate 26
Recommended Tweeter: Merle Haggard
Recommended Beer: Art of Darkness
Recommended Anthony: Anthony Sabourin
Recommended Reason for Seeing Magic Mike: Nonexistent
Recommended Pizza Roll: Totino’s Pizza Rolls
Recommended Radio Station: KEXP
Right now, I am currently watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and I cannot help but wonder what the fuck happened with this movie. It’s not very good. The original three were incredible but this one doesn’t fit.
There is one question on my mind that I cannot figure out: is this a kids’ movie? The dialogue is over the top, the aliens look more like cartoons than ever, there are borderline offensive alien accents, shiny spaceships and bright colors. There really aren’t the same types of conflicts from the original movies. There are no struggles about faith, no conversations about power, leadership, and responsibility, no existential musings about the universe and what keeps it all together. Just pod racing and fart jokes. There was a weak attempt to talk about economic struggles through some sort of bizarre form of dictatorship run entirely through holograms but that doesn’t last long. Actually, I don’t even know what the Galactic Trade Federation actually does other than bitch. The only redeeming qualities of this movie are Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson.
This movie is necessary though. This movie was obviously going to make money. He knew that the moment he sat down to write it. No matter what he wrote, millions of people all over the world would empty their wallets for months so why bother to try? Why challenge yourself? When he sat down to write this, the big questions, the questions that produce great writing, were already answered by the last films. All this movie is is a backstory. All plot and no substance, going after the senses but not soul. But it needed to happen. I suppose Lucas later realized that if he was going to describe the origin of Darth Vader, he was going to need to try harder. He would have to portray the descent from innocence to anger. He would have to explore ideas about corruption and expectation, examining what makes a person take the easy route instead of the best.
With that in mind, perhaps the first three episodes are not so much of an exploration of the powers above but of the powers within. What if these movies are about George Lucas’s internal struggles with the Star Wars franchise? Everyone is banking on him to create something as historical as the original trilogy but there is too much pressure. Now that there is tons of money on the line, a vast and devoted army of followers who perceive his word as universal truth, a Galactic Trade Federation-esque production of merchandise, maybe Anakin’s story is Lucas’s trying to fight the person he has become. The characters warn him of the impending dangers of the powers he has but there are far too many eyes looking on him. When he starts to slip, there is no return and he partially destroys himself and becomes the monster he is. A powerful, influential, and historically important monster. The struggles in this movie are not between good and evil. They are between George Lucas’s soul and the man he has become.
Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just about the dirty politics and blowing shit up. Anyway, your trailhead, if you choose to accept it, is to fight with yourself in whatever way you chose to define “fight.” That is all. Jar Jar Binks is racist.
I’m back! Sorry I was away for such a long time. Many things have happened. The main reason I disappeared was because after five years, my computer decided to destroy itself from the inside out and it took a little bit to find time to replace all of its innards. That’s finally done now and it runs better than ever but I lost every photo I’ve ever taken and every word I ever typed. Fuck. Now that I typed that out, it makes me feel really shitty. But what can you do? New beginnings I guess.
Speaking of new beginnings, another reason I was gone was because I have a new girlfriend. That has been the greatest feeling I’ve had in my entire life. That’s been keeping me preoccupied, obviously. By the way, her name is Ali and she has a twitter account. She is an artist (a really fucking impressive artist at that) and her work will no doubt be showcased here at the Compass soon. But anyway, at this current moment, I have the time to sit down and actually write something to completion.
My sister had to write a speech for her class about someone they love and deliver it in front of everyone. She chose to write about me and then sent me the transcript. I read it through my phone sitting in the parking lot of the Vince Lombardi rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, right before the George Washington Bridge in New York City. I cried. So first will be her speech and then my response. I hope you enjoy!
It feels good to be back. Feels so good, man.
Happy Kid: A Letter to My Sister
An Untitled Speech
by Elise Martino
Anthony Michael Martino. I know this name has absolutely no significance to any of you and you are probably confused, curious, and wondering to whom this person might be. This person is my brother and he is probably my biggest role model in life. All my life I have looked up to him as an inspiration. For fun, we used to drive around random places with our sunglasses on, windows down, and blasting music. Those days are some of my favorite memories. But, eventually my brother turned 18 and left for college in New York. This was hard for me mainly because it meant that I would be living at home without a sibling and when he left we didn’t get to talk as much. Sure, he came and visited a lot but even now its different since he graduated college. He left then and moved to Washington D.C. to work with an organization called Americorps and now we really can’t talk as much because he is always working and I think that’s the hardest part for me. It’s hard knowing that I will now only get to see my brother about 2 times a year. Even though I don’t get to see him, I still miss him more than words can describe and he is still the one person who keeps me going. Anthony is the kind of person who is never down in the dumps and never abandons his goals. I know he is always just a phone call away or even a skype call away, but to me, it’s not the same. He always comes home and says how much it bums him out that he had to miss his sister learning to drive, and getting her license, and growing up. I know he is my older brother, but sometimes I feel like its harder for me to watch him grow up because I know we will never get to create memories like we used to because he is an adult now and I barely get to see him. I miss having my big brother around to help me through the good times and the bad times. It seems like time flew and now all of the sudden he is grown up and living his life. I love my big brother so much and I just wish he could be around more. He has taught me so many life lessons and he is honestly the one person who I can turn to for anything.
An Untitled Response
by Anthony Martino
You are not alone in these feelings. It hurts how much we have grown apart and I can only see your life through miscellaneous bits of technology. If it is any consolation, I think about calling you every day. When we do talk, I always ask you how school is going; I ask you to tell me about your teachers and your homework and your detentions and bad grades and the pictures of sea life you draw on your tests when you don’t know the answers. I ask about your friends and what you guys do for fun. I ask about the music you listen to and the parties you go to and how our puppy is doing and what foods he eats now. Watson is a picky dog but I still need to see him eat breadsticks because apparently it is the greatest thing in the world to watch, according to your texts.
I miss you, Elise and I’m sorry I haven’t been there in person every step of the way. I wanted to be there in the car with you the day you got your license. I wanted to be at home waiting to guilt trip you after you got your first detention. I want to be there to scare the living piss out of the first boyfriend you bring home. My plan was to just sit at the kitchen table and clean all of the gigantic knives mom has in the kitchen and just stare out the window and quietly repeat the words “I hope tonight is a good night” in a whispery version of the Batman voice. I’ve thought about all these things and it kills me to know that I won’t be able to. I’m going to try my hardest to be there to help you move in on your first day of college, which no doubt will be an ivy league. At least I can get really drunk at your wedding and make a great toast and embarrass you, provided you have an open bar. I’m not going to miss that for the world.
There is a reason I left you guys though. There is a reason why I felt comfortable travelling so far away from home. It is because I knew you would make it. I knew you would be fine. And you proved me right. You’ve done everything better than me so far. Your grades are better. You have more friends than I had. You have a direction. As much as you look up to me, I have a confession to make. I have no idea what I’m doing. I run my life like a massive experiment on an hour-to-hour basis. I travel around the country so much because I don’t quite know my own place yet. Its not easy. Moving to Washington D.C. in a post-9/11 world is probably the scariest thing I’ve done and I know how much you and everyone else at home worries and I’m sorry for that. I need to challenge myself in order to keep going. I wanted to challenge you to see what you were capable of and you went above and beyond my expectations of how successful you could be. You are my role model, Elise and I am very jealous of how well you’ve navigated yourself through middle school and high school.
I’m able to stay away for so long because I know you are doing great. Yeah, you have mood swings like a mothefucker but I know on the inside, you are going to kick life in the fucking balls and prove to everyone that you are the best at whatever you set your mind to. I tried to instill that in you all these years because I was unsure that I could do it myself. I didn’t want you to make the mistakes I’ve made; I didn’t want you to miss out on anything. I wanted you to be better than me. And you are.
Working with City Year has actually made me closer to you, believe it or not. Right now, I work in the lowest performing middle school in Washington D.C. in one of the hardest neighborhoods in the country. I work in a school where the fire department doesn’t show up when the alarms go off. I get threats against my life on a weekly basis. Recently, a student told me he was going to bring a gun to school and now I may have to go to court because I am a witness. This can’t be easy hearing this when I call home. I can’t even imagine the emotional pain I’ve caused our family and I am deeply sorry for that. But when I see my kids in class, when I see them actually learning, I think about you. I think about how I want them to be just as great as you are. You are the gold-standard of excellence and I am infinitely proud of you. I see all of my flaws in these students. I see the ignorance I had in middle school. I understand how serious it was that I had to write all those apology letters to teachers for my behavior. I failed English in 6th grade, the grade I help teach now, and then I went on the become and English major in college and hopefully one day earn my PhD in literary theory. Anything can be done as long as you believe in yourself and I believe in you.
We’ve been given an amazing family and I am proud and unfathomably excited that you are my sister. You are going to be so happy with where your life is going. I am now and you’ve done everything a billion times better than I have. Don’t worry about a single thing but don’t ever give up. Keep reaching for what you can never have. Grasp towards infinite space you will never know what true sadness is. I love you and can’t wait to see where life will take you. As always, I’ll be right there next to you. I never left.
Next time I’m home, we will drive down River Road together and blast Bootsy Collins and Gogol Bordello as loud as you want.
In the summer of 2007, my family, my girlfriend at the time, and I went on a cruise around Europe and Northern Africa. These are the pictures I took aboard our ship, the Costa Concordia, which now lays on its side off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio.
It is strange to think about. The boat we were on, that we had great memories on, is the one that ran aground. The rooms are not gone but are now filled with water. They still exist. What gets me is the fact that it could have happened when we were on board. Everyone has to go through the mandatory drill on the first day in case something like this happens. I undoubtedly didn’t take it seriously at the time but went through the motions of finding the life vests in the room and then waltzing into our muster station with some sort of smirk thinking that it was stupid. I would have been unprepared.
The girls stayed in a beautiful room near the top deck with their own balcony. My dad and I were in a much smaller room a few feet above the waves. At night, I would sit in our window and listen to music and watch the stars. I was fascinated by the amount of space between me and the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. It blew my mind to think of all the things that could be underneath us at any given moment, of all the things that could be above us.
The ship also took us to Tunisia before their revolution. The people and hills there still exist despite what happened to their government. The bed I slept in on the boat still exists despite what happened to the ship’s hull. Events happen that can change the direction of a person’s life in an instant and the best we can hope for is sufficient preparation. I should take things more seriously. Not for myself but for the people who care about me.
Ships sink, governments fall. The oceans reclaim their elements, people reclaim their freedom, and we reclaim our ways of getting by day to day with help from those around us. The people we love are the ones we surround ourselves with and if something tragic happens, they are the ones we turn to for guidance and strength. To lose them would be incomprehensible. This could have been that time and my heart hurts to think about those few who lost someone within the same rooms I shared so much love in.
One afternoon while we were standing on the girls’ balcony, the ship carried us straight into a wall of fog. There was no subtle transition. It was a wall of grey and we quietly collided with it and fused into its wondrous unknown. Nothing can compare to the odd feeling it had, a solid blanket of the unanswered questions. What is to come and what could I have done better?
Well let me tell you, readers, thursday the 12th was absolute bullshit.
- One of my team members at work was in a car accident. Everyone is ok. But it was a car accident. Most people don’t enjoy their day after that.
- My homeroom teacher was not present in class because she got in a physical altercation with a tiny student. She probably will not return.
- Three people were shot a few blocks away from the school and we went on lockdown for a bit.
- Our 8th grade math teacher’s car had its windows busted in by some asshole.
- Upon saying “Have a good weekend, man” to one of my students, he replied with “Fuck you, faggot.”
Middle school is the greatest.
But even after all that, even after the thoughts provoked by James’s piece this week, I don’t feel bad. In fact, I feel pretty goddamn happy. Things come and go and the things that ruin our days are erased with each sunrise. The worries and fears and frustrations of the past eventually leave our consciousness and we continue forward. There is so much good yet to come that we should not worry about the fucking horrors we cannot control. So you know what? Fuck thursday. It’s friday now. Here are some links.
- This is a video of David Bowie performing “Moonage Daydream” and it is cooler than you. Note the stage hand at 4:23 that pulls Mick Ronson back as to not vaporize the audience with his guitar solo.
- Here is a picture I found on reddit of a bunch of cows rioting in the suburbs.
- I have purchased the following books and have begun to read them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
- The following is the result of when you type in the word “pizza” into Food Network’s recipe search. There are 87 pages. Knock yourself out.
- @mackiemaneater has shown a decent amount of support for the Compass. According to twitter, she may not be doing the best emotionally right now. It is time for us to show support back. Say hi to her. She also has a tumblr.
- This is the trailer for Wes Anderson’s newest film Moonrise Kingdom. It looks incredible. In related news: Bill Murray continues to be the greatest human being that was ever born.
- This is Astronautalis performing “The Case for William Smith” in someone’s living room in Denton, Texas.
- Saccharin is the name of the artificial sweetener found in Sweet’n Low. Scroll down to the “History” section. It is surprisingly funny and beautiful.
- Happy birthday to the father of Paul and James. You are a good man. This is my gift to you.
I’m going to tell you a story. When I first started working in the public school system, I felt pretty good physically. I felt refreshed in the mornings and was happy to be a part of something very important by the end of the day. When I got home, I smelled like sweat and cafeteria but I was proud. My pants would have some pen marks on them from when students would try to write on me when I wasn’t looking. I wasn’t angry; I wore it like a badge.
A few months went by and I started to become physically tired and homesick. I was spending the same number of hours at work as I was at my apartment, a twelve-hour split. I would wake up angry about how horrible some of the conditions are and arrived back at my place numb. I began to cherish the weekends more.
One friday in mid-October, I came directly home and went to bed. Fuck going out to the bars. I didn’t know how people had the energy. Upon waking up around noon on saturday, I made breakfast and then decided to take a nap. I was awake for no longer than forty-five minutes. I woke up later that day around 8 p.m. confused, frustrated, groggy, and melancholy that I had wasted a full day. I had no idea what to do with myself. The longing to be home in Kentucky was almost unbearable and I decided to leave my basement apartment and walk around the neighborhood with my camera. This resulted in roughly 70 photos that perfectly encompassed my mood. It made me feel much better. Sometimes it is difficult for me to express how I feel. It usually all comes out in a scramble of words and noises. Conversations with friends sometimes feel like packages filled with puzzle pieces from different puzzles.
The result turned out completely surreal, hence why I left the pictures in color from my usual preference for black and white. Everything seemed fake yet every problem seemed so very real. It was something that at the time, I could not have possibly translated into words and looking back at these photos now, I realize that the initial feeling was completely preserved in the strange colors, focuses, and angles of these shots. The following are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy/understand.
This picture is of folk singer and all-around-American-hero Woody Guthrie’s new year’s resolutions from 1942.
Most people make only one resolution and more times than none, it is unoriginal and half-assed. Woody Guthrie said, “Fuck you” to that and wrote 33 amazing resolutions. Have fun at the gym and quitting smoking.
Wake up and fight,