Kathleen Edwards - Empty Threat
2) While at my local Bull Moose music store, I picked up a free copy of Magnet magazine. The last page held an essay by Phil Sheridan inspired by the republication of The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, an author who killed himself four years ago. Sheridan argues against the constant repackaging of dead artists’ works. I tried to find a full copy of the article, but couldn’t - so here’s an excerpt.
3) I adore XTC. The ability of their melodies to burrow into my brain, refusing to leave for days, is one I admire. If it were the design of a creature intent on laying eggs in my head, I wouldn’t care - because I’d be humming all the way until those maggots crawled out of my forehead. Maybe it’s in poor taste to talk about bursting heads before I post a video that references the assassination of John F. Kennedy. If I made you uncomfortable, I’m sorry. When that guitar kicks in, you’ll forget all I’ve said here.
XTC - “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”
4) My recent episode of Soundtrack Stories referenced City Year New Hampshire, a place where I spent two years of my life serving the youth of the Granite State. The site recently held its graduation ceremony. Before that day, a corps member posted this essay, a reflection of the year. -Paul
“You Will Be Waiting”
2) Okay, so I don’t know how I missed this one. I think it’s because I haven’t been reading The Daily What enough. But this song, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, has become a sensation. It will never, ever replace “Friday” for me, but that’s okay. It seems to be serving a completely different purpose for people. Instead of inspiring venom, it’s inspiring creativity - something we here at The Compass adore. Here’s a mashup of 75 videos featuring the song. Below are two full versions that are featured in the video and worth hearing on their own.
“Call Me Maybe” - Carly Rae Jepsen: POPDUST SUPERCUT
3) I firmly believe the best covers are the ones that dramatically reconfigure the song. Ben Howard (who is roughly one month younger than me) does that with his version of “Call Me Maybe.” It’s awe-inspiring and is sending me back to the woodshed.
“Call Me Maybe” - Ben Howard
4) How many times have I tried to do a cool cover on the accordion only for it fall apart? Four times. Sarah (I assume that’s her name) kills it with her version of “Call Me Maybe.” I think I’m in love.
5) Still with us? Thanks. Here’s a video from a band that almost was. I almost saw Rooney open for Weezer back in 2002. However, we arrived late and were only able to see a portion of Dashboard Confessional’s set, then Weezer. As we left, we were handed copies of Rooney’s demo. The following year, I was able to exercise my hipster cred for the first time when their debut came out. But that album didn’t really take with people, and the band never really made it big. But I still have that demo disc, and this song is on it. Welcome to summer.
“If It Were Up To Me” - Rooney
That’s one giant leap for Lego. Two Canadian highschoolers have wowed the Web with their video of a Lego toy taking a balloon ride to near-space.
The video, made by Toronto 17-year-olds Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, shows a tiny Lego man holding a Canadian flag with the blue curve of the Earth far below and the black of space above. It is the latest example of do-it-yourself near-space photography by an amateur balloon launching team.
The teens used a weather balloon to carry the Lego minifigure and set of cameras, one with a fish-eye lens, into to the stratosphere, ultimately reaching a height of nearly 80,000 feet (24,384 meters) before the balloon burst, according to the Toronto Star . Once the balloon popped, the Lego man and its attached cameras fell back to Earth under a homemade parachute.
Pictures that they have taken:
Just think: while Doogus, Phelps, Lorenzo and the unnamed narrator of Fucked Up were living deplorable lives, two Canadian teenagers were planning how to send a Lego man into space. Touché, Canada.
Deep down in our minds, past all of our education, past all of the roads we’ve driven down, movies we’ve seen, faces of strangers, lies some of our earliest memories. We cannot willingly access this information. It shows up occasionally in dreams. We see rooms that we cannot remember, conversations, faces, weather, sounds, lighting, billions of tiny details that feel so familiar yet we cannot prove they ever existed because it was so long ago. These images rest in a very complex area of a very complex organ. We file them in the folder entitled “Maybe.”
One of these memories for me comes from when I wasn’t old enough to walk. I remember my mother carrying me from outside into some strange bunker-looking hallway with florescent lighting and unpainted cinderblock walls. In the hallway was a table set up with some papers on it, a lockbox, and a camera. There were two people there, one in a lab coat and another authority figure, possibly armed. I remember crying and my mother telling me it was ok. I remember they took my picture and I remember them giving me a shot. All of this may be true or it may be a dream that happened a long time ago but because of the amount of time, I do not know if it actually happened. Anthony Sabourin is proof that it did.
I have never met Anthony in person. He lives in Canada. I do not remember the exact days I began to follow him on tumblr or twitter; it had always just been that way. I began to notice that this other person named Anthony was reading the same things I was reading, listening to the same music I was listening to, caring and noticing and going about his life surprisingly similar to myself. It was then I realized that my previously mentioned dream was a reality. At a young age, some secret organization took my blood and began making Anthonys all across the world. I have found my Canadian doppelganger.
Of course we are not completely the same. We’ve had different life experiences that has led to different sets of skills. For instance, Canadian Anthony is much more adept in fiction writing than I am and today, I would like to celebrate that skill of his. I asked him this week if he would like to be a guest writer and even though he is supremely busy this week, he still found time to send something for the Compass and we are highly grateful for that. He is a fantastic observer and this piece called Shark Cave 2 fully demonstrates the Anthony-ability to take in the world around us, be frustrated by it, find it humorous, then panic, then somehow come up on top in a strange sort of way that was not intended at all. That is the Anthony way.
Now until we can figure out why we were cloned and sent around the world, we will just have to live our lives the way we always have. One day, we will have to find the other Anthonys from around the world and form a super-union to fight some great evil and save humanity. But that time is much, much later. For now, we will stick to writing. I cannot express enough my gratitude for Anthony sharing this with us and we will most definitely post future work by him as long as the secret organization is cool with our contact with each other and it doesn’t fuck with the space/time continuum. Enjoy.
Shark Cave 2
Before Barry Francis made a sandwich that started talking to him, he was procrastinating a lot.
Barry had sat in a brown plaid chair, staring in deep contemplation at the dull glow of his laptop screen, which rested inert on a coffee table. He leaned forward, elbows on knees; hands pressed against his face, and read.
It was a screenplay for a movie titled “Shark Cave 2” that he had been commissioned to write. So far, he had an establishing shot of a cave, and one character saying, “Hey, I wonder what’s in that cave.”
He had also written down the words “Presumably sharks,” but then deleted them.
This had taken two hours.
Barry squeezed his eyes shut and his head exploded into hundreds of thousands of dense, black, Courier New font, 12-point-sized letters that formed the unwritten whole of Shark Cave 2, with plotlines dripping off his ceiling and character development that could have been scraped off of the headrest of his chair, but when he opened his eyes his head was regrettably still intact.
The cursor was still blinking on an expansively blank word document. Expansively blank turned to oppressively blank, and he admitted to himself that his problem with Shark Cave 2 is that he just did not know how to write a pornographic movie.
The first Shark Cave, it turns out, was a remarkably lucrative adult film that proved a risky hypothesis: there were a lot of people out there who wanted to watch other people fuck, and then watch these same people get eaten by sharks. The cave setting was probably incidental to the film’s success, but it allowed for some dramatic lighting. When it came time for the inevitable Shark Cave sequel, the producer ran into a small problem – the man who wrote the screenplay had died in what a police investigation called “a cocaine-fuelled harpoon accident,” off the coast of California. These things happen.
The producer looked at it like, what are problems if not opportunities for solutions? He had read this short story published in a prestigious academic journal written by a Barry Francis, and it was this thing about how a farm hand had to shoot this horse, but really it was about capitalism or some shit? And there was no sex in it, but the dialogue was good. Plus these literary types need money because no one cares about horse capitalism, and the producer figured that horses and sharks are pretty much the same thing anyway. So he called up the lit journal and got Barry’s contact information, and approached Barry with the job offer. He even comped Barry the special edition DVD of Shark Cave, for research purposes. It had a topless plastic blond riding a similarly plastic shark, and you could tell what was what because one of them had realer looking skin.
For Barry, this was one month’s rent and more free time to write his novel. The way he thought of it was that it wouldn’t be a lot of work. The producer explained it to him – essentially, Barry just had to write the set-up for each scene. The cast had already been signed, and the actual sex scenes were predetermined, however Barry could arrange the order of the scenes however he wanted. “Except,” the producer said, “the orgy is usually last. Now, Shark Cave is different, on account of sharks eat a lot of the cast. So, artistically speaking, if you feel that the orgy works best second-last, follow your muse, kid. Oh, and someone stole our prosthetic shark, but we did find this shark fin prop. So don’t write ‘A shark jumps out of the water and eats so-and-so,’ write ‘there appeared a shark’s fin,’ or something and then we’ll take care of the fake blood. I guess this means that the characters have to be in the water first? You can figure it out.”
In his more self-assured moments, Barry thought that the whole situation would make for a funny anecdote during an interview with The Paris Review. Maybe future scholars would analyze Shark Cave 2 in a misguided attempt to find extra meaning in his more serious work. The truth was, Barry needed this job. The student loans from his MFA were crippling, and magazines were not fighting over the rights to publish his next short story, which was about how a young boy loses track of his alcoholic father at a petting zoo/America.
Now Barry paced his one bedroom apartment, thinking about why would people even want to have sex once they found out there were sharks in the cave? Wouldn’t they just leave the cave? All of his furniture was fascinating. He would write, he decided, but only after listening to some music. And while he was listening to music he checked his email, and while checking his email he decided to check out just a few websites, and he became cognizant of what he had done three hours later, when it was his own bloodshot eyes versus seventeen tabs about the life and times of Pedro Martinez. He was mortified, but also strongly convinced that the Dominican was the most dominant pitcher of the steroid era, and morally outraged with the lack of YouTube coverage attesting to this fact.
Panic set in, and Barry disabled Wi-Fi and wrote the words “CUT TO:” and vague ideas of barely perceptible scenes burst through a grey matter fog. His brain was a lit up switchboard and he started thinking, do they have switchboards, what’s a switchboard, how do phones work and a thousand other tangents. He was really almost onto something here, but he was also vaguely hungry and felt like making a sandwich.
Shark Cave 2 in all of its near-tangible glory was stillborn. By then Barry was in his kitchen looking for cold cuts and condiments. Naturally, Barry was making a club sandwich. For perspective, his toaster held two pieces of bread, and so he decided to make a sandwich that needed three. This was becoming an excursion, and his screenplay became sentient for one miraculous moment in order to think the thought: “I am not happening.”
His laptop fell asleep.
Barry had moved the laptop over in order to make room for his club sandwich. It rested amongst crumbs on a white china plate. He was just about to pick it up when, in a deep, authoritative voice, the sandwich said, “Hello, Barry.”
“Ahh,” Barry said, not knowing what to do with his hands anymore.
“Barry,” the sandwich reiterated.
“I am not talking to a sandwich.” It didn’t have an anthropomorphic mouth or vocal chords or anything.
“When are you going to write Shark Cave 2, Barry?”
Barry studied the sandwich. It looked no different than any other club sandwich. The pieces of bread didn’t move like a makeshift mouth. Barry backed out of the room and into the kitchen, and started going through the plastic cold cut wrappings, the container of mayo, the toaster, the cutlery in the sink – nothing looked like it would cause a sandwich to speak. He microwaved the bacon, and was thinking along the lines of maybe microwaves gave his sandwich superpowers, but admitted to himself that that was pretty dumb.
“Barry, I am telling you,” the sandwich said, “there are no answers in there.” Acoustically, the voice sounded like it was coming from the other room, not from inside Barry’s head.
“I am not talking to a sandwich.”
“You kind of are, Barry.”
He slumped back in the chair, perplexed by three layers of toast.
“Don’t you want to know who I am, Barry?”
“…I’m God, Barry.”
“God doesn’t exist.”
“But I’m a talking sandwich.”
Barry looked at God, the sandwich, and admitted that it brought up a compelling argument. They sat in silence for a while before Barry quietly said, “I don’t believe in you.”
“Why? I am right here.”
“You are made of bread and turkey and lettuce and tomato.”
“What is God, if not made from the fruits of the earth?”
“I am hallucinating.”
“No,” said the sandwich, “you aren’t.”
“Well then, why me? Why my sandwich?”
“What? That’s not an answer.”
The sandwich paused, and then tentatively said, “This whole corporeal manifestation thing, it’s…not very precise.”
“So this was a mistake.”
“Yes, Barry, but I-”
“Fallible God-sandwich!” Barry said, jumping up from his chair, arm jutting out into an accusatory finger.
“Yes, Barry, but I think I can help you with your problem.”
“What, with Shark Cave?”
“You know that’s like…a porno, right? With lots of sinning.”
“Barry, I am pretty passive about a lot of stuff.”
Seriously, this was a club sandwich.
“What’s the catch?”
“Nothing. Just, being omniscient like I am, I have some unique insight to bri-”
The sandwich went on and on, in it’s own pleasing, relaxed cadence, but Barry wasn’t listening, he was thinking about religion. Maybe he had been wrong. Maybe religion wasn’t so bad. Church might be nice, like as a relaxing hour to spend watching elderly people sing. These people were happy, right? Barry had a grandmother who was a fervent churchgoer, and she hated black people, but that was because she was a racist, not Catholic. Barry himself was sceptical regarding the existence of a God, but now here it was right in front of him, saying:
“…because it’s not just about the sex, it’s about the story too…”
And even if the church were a flawed institution, with God back, surely it would improve. It would have to, even if they had to keep God in a freezer, because club sandwiches are not built to last. People would be so happy.
“…and I just have so many ideas! Like then she says, ‘I’m wet,’ and it’s because she’s in the water, right? And he says, ‘This is a hard job,’ because trying to survive shark attacks would be hard! But it’s also because…”
But would people even believe Barry? They found virgin Marys in grilled cheeses every day. Jesus water stains formed underneath overflowing toilets. It was ridiculous. Barry wouldn’t even believe in it if it weren’t happening right in front of him. How would Barry be able to convince even one other person, let alone the whole world. Everyone knew how sandwiches worked. Barry would be labelled as insane and nothing would change. Nobody would believe
“…end credits. And later, could just drop me by a church?”
Barry had to eat the sandwich.
He picked it up and shoved it into his mouth, trying to eat as fast as he could. It was a little cold, but still delicious. The bacon, the turkey, the cheese and bread and mayo, the lettuce and tomato – the sandwich ratios were perfect. Before the last bite, there was a knocking at his door.
Barry shoved the rest of the sandwich into his mouth and swallowed without chewing. He just ate God and somebody knew.
The knocking continued.
Barry wiped holy crumbs off of his shirt and pants and onto the ceramic floor. With his feet, he tried to sweep the crumbs under the chair. He ran to the kitchen with his plate and put it in the sink, turning the water on to wash away any evidence, real or imagined. He grabbed all of the sandwich prep stuff and threw it into the garbage; turned the water off.
The knocking grew louder, more urgent.
Barry ran to the door and composed himself.
Try to look like a normal guy, just hanging out and eating sandwiches.
He opened the door.
It was his landlord, body hair personified, wearing sweatpants and a sleeveless undershirt. “Barry, there’s a gas leak, we have to evacuate the building,” he said, and then he walked away towards the neighbouring apartment.
Barry left the apartment in a daze, and joined the crowd of other tenants filtering down the stairs. They looked worried and confused and he blended right in.
Shark Cave 2 never happened. Two weeks after hiring Barry, the producer received from him a handwritten manuscript in the mail. It was a set of detailed instructions on how to make a club sandwich, so the producer shot a movie by his swimming pool instead.
The other day, we took our last drive together. The final milage was 106,282 miles. That day felt like your last day. You were as loud as a jet that day. It was like driving a pet to be put down. I can still see you on Google Maps.
I went all over the country with you. We just drove to Montana. The trip before that, we drove to Sarasota and we broke 100,000 miles together. You have been my sanctuary. You housed my family, my friends, our first Bonnaroo team when we forgot to bring tent spikes and the wind blew it over and it filled up with water. You held my belongings from school, new cd releases, countless bottles of bourbon, my secret panic attacks, two flat tires (both during snow storms at night), my garbage, my DEVO hat the rolled around in the trunk for a full year, snacks from Danielle’s mom when I couldn’t handle Vermont, people I will never see again, makeup in the ceiling fabric on the passenger side, parking tags, steam drawings on the windows, a court order, anger and loneliness and tears and blood and sweat and Sprite and snot and understanding.
We went to Ithaca, Florida twice, two different Manchesters, River Road, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, all over the Berkshires, Connecticut by accident, Harris Hill, Troy and Albany, the Mass Pike, the New York Thruway, infinite Georgia nothingness, up and down Cape Cod, Nova Scotia, yuppie neighborhoods in Madison, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Yellowstone and back again, Buffalo, Baltimore, Boston, Lockport, Lake George, Franklinville, Seabrook, Bozeman, Gettysburg, Little Big Horn, Universal Studios, Belle Vernon, Scranton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, West Virginia but only when the sun was down, Burlington where I was forced to keep you in a storage facility in South Burlington, Nashville to Kentucky, Carlisle, close to Long Island, Rochester, Washington D.C., and home. You were my home and my best friend. I’ll miss you.
I will always keep a black ear X-tacy sticker on the bottom left of the rear window in your honor.