Wednesday, December 31, 2008

on the eve of an obama new year

2009—finally! This new year holds so much promise, so much hope, so much change.

With less than a month to go, all the hype over Barack Obama’s inauguration—and Bush’s retirement—is about to boil over.

Curt “1.20.09” buttons and t-shirts—the day Bush leaves office—have populated hipster bookstores and independent coffee shops for over four years. I don’t remember as much anxious anticipation when Clinton faced impeachment, either an indication of how much worse things are this time around or a sign that republicans lack the ability to make trendy accessories.

But anyway, as the date draws nearer, I have to ask myself, why am I not more excited?

I should be. This is what we’ve all been struggling toward. Every time Pres. Bush or one of his ilk make John Stewart’s day with an fourth-grade lingual gaffe or example of social incompetence, I adopt the same reaction as my peers—eyes rolled, hand on forehead, make a “pishhh” sound with mouth before expressing utter disbelief that a man elected president could behave this way. I, like nearly 80% of American, desperately need Obama to hurry into office.

However, my apathy for Obama’s takeover becomes more apparent to me every time I go out with my girlfriend. She (and her mom) are obsessed with Obama, to the point of yelling and cheering whenever they see a TV news segment or an Obama bumper sticker. In contrast to their, at times overwhelming, enthusiasm, I feel like a party pooper.

I guess I’m just still skeptical. I know that a president—excellent figurehead and scapegoat that he is—never works alone. Obama’s appointments hold as much political significance as his election, though they have received much less hype. Some choices worry me a little, such as Hillary Clinton and retaining Robert Gates.

There’s also a lingering distrust over the reality of Obama—Obama the man not Obama the idea. His orations inspired so much hope, but will his actions?

An article in New York Magazine by John Heilemann ( titled “Bush and Barack, Bedfellows” summed up my feelings well:

“That all this has come as such a shock to so many owes to a misreading of Obama as a starry-eyed idealist—when there was ample evidence that lurking just beneath the surface was a hard-eyed, sometimes hawkish realist,” writes Heilemann.

This isn’t a pessimistic criticism of Obama so much as a reminder that Obama, like any president, is a politician. All the idealism aside, the hard realities of our economic situation, war, energy crisis, etc., and the constant game of political positioning and posturing still apply. It gets in the way of all that raw optimism I so desperately want to feel.

Obama’s election marked a monumental point in American history, what could be the highest point in this century’s zeitgeist, and a defining bulletin for our generation. Not since the post-Nixon wave of political disillusionment that dug a sharp precipice between politicians and the American people have people displayed such widespread optimism. “Change,” to me, stood for hope, hope in a future people could believe in and support instead of rolling eyes and enduring on the motto: “he’ll be out of office soon.”

For the sake of my mental health, I’m going to make an effort to forget all the negative for a while; just let it all go. Obama is a politician, but he’s a new kind of politician, a unifying, hopeful politician—for better or worse. That, at least, is something worth getting excited about.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

the grand experiment

I'd just like to say, quickly, that having a blog has been a real love/hate exercise. At times I get very into the idea, but for the majority, posting is so low on my priority list that I find it hard to get anything together.

I post most often when I'm at my computer trying to avoid work, which could be a problem now that I have begun my first ever...


Thank you, Lolcat, for illustrating my dilemma.

Imagine a world, in which distraction is merely a click away, sometimes closer. Behind the open window of Microsoft Word lecture notes, tabs and tabs of internet memes clutter my screen. This class is going to be cake (delicious must eat it...), but working up motivation and concentration provides enough challenge. I signed up for this session to circumvent taking POS 160 during the school year and, I assumed, I would be doing nothing important over the break anyway. Two weeks of doing nothing important later, I have sub-zero work ethic.

However, coffee solves all problems. Where would we be without it? Probably exactly where we are now, posting on this blog, minus shaky hands and a full bladder.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

how long a moment lives

I’m standing here holding you
Surprised your head still fits
like a puzzle-piece prong
between my chest and chin

Moments before
you ran to press your smile into me
Your coats and bag
flung in haste to the floor

You hit me
a gale that takes my breath
and for a conscious second
we are every cliché couple

reunited in countless rendezvous before
Wordless in bliss
Tangible and real
I will my nerves to remember this touch

and give them time
to settle a debt they’ve long endured
My other eager senses
jealously screaming to experience

The pressures of embrace fade
and you move away
to hug your patient parents
But I’m still a flash behind

Floating blind in the moment of contact
Feeling full to fulfillment
I can already tell
I won’t discern another thing all night

Friday, December 12, 2008

holiday first fridays

So, a week after actually going to First Fridays in Phoenix, I'm going to post about it!
For those who don't know First Fridays, it's a monthly art walk downtown along Roosevelt Street and the area immediately surrounding. Started about 10 years ago, the event has grown exponentially in the past five, becoming so large the city expanded it, closing an entire street south of Roosevelt for vendors. I wrote an article dealing with Roosevelt earlier in the year so I also know the city plans to close a second street starting in January.

For me, the most important component of First Fridays is the atmosphere. Particularly as the night progresses, there's a feeling of youthful expression and experimentation—art and independence everywhere. Creativity seems to feed off of itself and things get progressively more crazy the later you stay.
Case in point: impromptu break dancing ring—

also, guy with flaming staff—

Sheriff Joe hatin'—

It was cold enough to warrant a light over shirt—wintery enough for Phoenix residents. Vendors pleaded, "last chance for holiday gifts" and the like. January should be colder, though I'm starting to doubt the weather's ability to change at this point.

There was also an incident with two, flannel-obsessed girls, possibly wasted, who seemed friendly enough until they suddenly flipped shit on my friend for giving them "that look." Good times.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

+7450 ft

It's hard to appreciate winter when it remains 80 degrees here in Phoenix. However, I did get a chance to escape to northern Arizona with the folks over the break.

Even in Flagstaff it was pretty hot, but we drove by some snow—a light dusting at best. Still, it made for a cool (pun intended) change of pace.

I'm headed to First Friday's in Phoenix tomorrow. Provided I remember my camera, look for another post shortly.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yeasayer; Sayyeaer


I've been so wrapped up in school—his semester reached new levels of ridiculousness—that I've barely had time to breathe. Frankly, I don't want to get into it now. I'd rather post some of these awesome pictures I from Yeasayer at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Nov. 25th.
For those who don't know Yeasayer, they're an experimental band from Brooklyn, NY. They have a definite Indian, psychedelic feel. This was the second time I've seen them—both times at The Rhythm Room—and it was quite an experience. The band added a spiritually appropriate lights show that synced with the music beautifully.
Yeasayer only has one cd out, titled "All Hour Cymbals," but it's great.
The lights made so much difference. Last time, Yeasayer came with MGMT, a band that has gained a huge following lately. MGMT played second and Yeasayer third. The venue was packed for MGMT, but half the people left before Yeasayer. It was a little sad. This time the place was packed for Yeasayer—an appropriate compensation.
I'm pretty pleased with the photos. The lights made awesome photos and provided light for me to take the photos.
That's it for now. I'll try to update more often with interesting material. Until then!