Back from Vegas. Lost $100. Tried to hide from the rain. Ended up getting my ears pierced, and learned I have really meaty lobes when I could hear the needle go through the cartilage. I figured it was a little odd that I only had the septum piercing, so voila! And I got a dagger for my gay ear. Oh, and a stud on the left ear, but that’s boring. Oh, and I ended up driving in the median after falling asleep. Oopsie. My 2013 Honda Accord really does handle off-road driving pretty well. I won’t be doing that again.
I could have also titled this post “Who Gives a Fuck?” I’ve been quieter on social media lately. I deleted Twitter months ago. I last posted on Instagram on December 8, and aside from cross-posting stuff from here and Insta there hasn’t been a post on Facebook since my European vacation. I have checked Facebook and kept up what my friends want to share with the world. But I’m getting more and more disillusioned with us giving our data away to be sold away all willy-nilly to advertisers. I guess a company could come here and grab all of my posts here to give information to advertisers, but damn it, at least it makes them work for it, put some sort of effort for it.
I’m well aware that I’m trying to bring back the experience of being online back in 2004, and I’m well aware of the dangers of falling into the romanticism of nostalgia. But I really hate that our lives and what we share on these social media sites have become a commodity that gives us NO PROFITS. It’s sort of like how in Berlin they prefer to use cash rather than cards because the specter of the Stasi and Berliner’s absolute priority for privacy. As annoying as it is when I travel there, I admire their determination.
I don’t do the new year, new me thing since it doesn’t matter what the fuck I do, I’ll always hate myself. But I went and got a new tattoo last weekend. It’s just paint splatter that frames my already existing leviathan cross tattoo. It’s only five days old hence the scabbiness, and I don’t know what itches more: the tattoo or the arm hair growing back. But me likey.
As for reading, I’ve already gone through Don DeLillo’s White Noise and Fernando A. Flores’s Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas. I’m on to Nicolai Gogol’s Dead Souls now.
Off to Vegas for the weekend for my cousin Gina’s birthday weekend. We’ll be hiding from the rain in Vdara. Maybe I’ll win big and be able to live a life of leisure that I was built for. One can wish.
This is pretty fucking hilarious, but the congressman from Bumfuck, Nowhere, California did not get the votes required to become Speaker of the House in three attempts today. I guess this leads us with no second person behind the Vice President in the presidential succession chain for now. I must say this schadenfreude for the Republican party makes me giggle. Some people are talking about going outside of the House for a speaker or having a coalition house, whatever that would entail. As fractured as this country has been in its history, this almost never happens. I must say this is one way to make politics interesting for me — make it be a completely historical farce!
So here is the annual tradition, my cooking of 떡국 (Dduk gook) for the New Year. This year’s version had an angus brisket instead of a flank steak, and it was boiled for two hours to make the broth extra flavorful. It came out very well, so I’m hoping that it brings me lots of prosperity this year. It better, or else I’ll kiss these fucking Korean traditions off.
A lot of old farts around my age (and even some younger than me!) keep bitching about how shitty music is, how Gen Z is ruining music. If the only music you listen to is pop music, then yes. It’s crap. But pop music has always been mostly crap. Pop music is design to be loved by the masses, so of course there will be nothing revolutionary or profound about it.
But there has been some good music to come out this year. Here are some of the things that I’ve kept in rotation that came out this year:
Petrol Girls – Baby. If there is anything as exhilarating as “Baby, I Had an Abortion”, I don’t know what is. Angry feminist post-hardcore from the UK and Austria, this is a perfect soundtrack to the post-Roe dystopia we find ourselves in. Long live the riot grrl!
Chat Pile – God’s Country. Sludgy guitars and heavy lyrics from Oklahoma City. To quote their Bandcamp page: There’s a sick irony to how a country that extols rhetoric of individual freedom, in the same gasp, has no problem commodifying human life as if it were meat to feed the insatiable hunger of capitalism. If this is American nihilism taken to its absolute zenith, then God’s Country… is the aural embodiment of such a concept.
Diamanda Galás – Broken Gargoyles. Fuck. Just fuck. Here Diamanda features words from German poet Georg Heym who wrote about the horrific state of people institutionalized with yellow fever. Their delirium, the treatment they suffered and the isolation in early 20th century Germany just feels appropriate after the last couple of years, huh? This is just two tracks, each clocking around 20 minutes, and they are pure horror.
Rhys Fulber – Collapsing Empires. Is this industrial? Ambient? Trance? Whatever it is is quite mesmerizing, soundscapes that you lose yourself in. It’s definitely not as harsh as everything listed above, and it’s certainly not Front Line Assembly. It is good in its own right and shows how amazing Rhys’s ear is.
As for older things, I’ve been listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails, particularly The Downward Spiral and The Fragile. But one thing that I couldn’t get enough while I was in Europe a few weeks ago was Hole’s compilation My Body, The Hand Grenade. Not only does it have early songs like “Turpentine”, “Retard Girl” and “Dicknail”, but it also has “Old Age” which always fucking brings me to tears:
Maybe because I’m not sure if Courtney wrote this or Kurt did since Nirvana also has a version of this song. But I prefer Hole’s version.
Also on the comp are several songs from their MTV Unplugged session including their cover of “He Hit Me (It Felt like a Kiss)” written for the Crystals by Carole King. There is something about Courtney’s voice, command and dramatics that make these early Hole songs so captivating still all these years later.
I made a concerted effort to read this year, and it’s been interesting. The definite highlight was finally finishing William Gaddis’s JR which was a borderline-absurdist masterpiece in a critique of postwar capitalism and conformist culture. I had attempted this book for decades and finally got through the pages of mostly unattributed dialogue.
The most haunting book I read was Adam Lehrer’s Communions, an exercise in exploring the final days of various artists who died of opiate addiction. Each chapter focuses on a different artist, and it’s hard to decipher whether it is speculative fiction, a biography, art criticism or whatever. In the end it doesn’t matter because it is written so compellingly you just fall into the narrative and take it wherever it leads you.
The strangest book was by far Ivan Boris’s My Week without Gérard, a drug-laced detective mystery about a reporter who is searching for a vanished superstar French philosopher in Paris. Coffin sex, tons of different drugs, shitty magazine editors, Surrealism, mind control, secret societies and conspiracy theories. Imagine if Foucault’s Pendulum took more acid, hated everyone and just didn’t give a fuck. There is a reason why “Ivan Boris” is a pen name.
The book that angered me the most was Al Burian’s No Apocalypse because of sheer jealousy. I’ve always loved how he wrote through his Burn Collector zines and columns in the dearly departed Punk Planet magazine. I mean sure, he made some great music with Milemarker, but his sharp observations always made me jealous.
Everything else was pretty okay. They kept me entertained enough.
I hope in the next year to be a better reader. I do have some ambitions and hopefully will get through them. One of the things I hope to do is to read more subversive literature because fuck these right-wing Nazis who want to ban books, demonize drag queens who just want to help with children’s literacy and just be an obstacle to kids who want to escape their oppression of ignorance and parochial repression.
In high school I knew that reading could be subversive hence reading stuff like Aleister Crowley’s Diary of a Drug Fiend and other decidedly non-curricular books. But never once did I think I would be stopped from reading those things because I thought that adults were so clueless as to only see the act of reading and the nerdiness involved in that and not so much as to what I was reading. If anyone tried to get between me and my books then, I would have fought tooth and nail. Ah, the days when I had energy for that shit.
I guess this picture is telling me that I need to play my records more so that my record player isn’t a source of bewildered curiosity by my cats. I recently got my copy of Frontline Assembly’s Tactical Neural Implant limited edition blue clear vinyl and wanted to play it. Bubbas was very interested in this.
I wanted to get out to Smorgasbord LA today since it was the last one of the year. Despite trying to recruit some people to come with me, I ended up just going by myself. Which I guess was ok since I did get some Xmas presents.
I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year. Work has been pretty shit, but it’s been my first year with my babies. I don’t have any plans these next few weeks, so I guess it’s more decompression from Europe.
It’s funny how things are framed. It looks like the Republicans are going to win a slim majority in the House from the Democrats, and the narrative is that the Republicans were eviscerated. I guess being a midterm election with a relatively unpopular President, the opposition party should come away as the big winners. I just thought it was funny that even though the Dems lost the House, they were seen as the big winners of the election.
Locally it looks like Karen Bass will be the new mayor, so it will be status quo. The county will have a new sheriff, but ACAB, right? I don’t know. As you saw in my last post, none of this gets me optimistic. Whatever.
We don’t get any time off before the 2024 presidential elections thanks to the fucking Cheeto announcing that he’s running again. Fuck us. Ugh.
On a totally different topic, I’ve been making artindeepkoma.com into a place for my photos. You can also click on “Pictures” on the header menu to see it. See? Pretty! I’ll be leaving for Europe next week, so I’ll be putting up some pretty photos on that site. I guess I’m trying to get away from social media.
I just don’t know what the hell is going on anymore. There is one party that has become so blatantly fascist in their rhetoric that it even makes asshole clench when I think of them taking power. Then there is the other party that wants to say that they are fighting for the people but still take their marching orders from the multi-billion dollar corporations.
Just watch. Come January we will have a senator from Ohio who wrote a book about the plight for poor white folks but was funded by the ultimate venture-capitalist supervillain from Silicon Valley. We will have a senator from Georgia who doesn’t have any comprehensible thoughts but does know how to spread his seed. We will have congresspeople, governors and state officials from all over who believe in the most far-flung nuttiest conspiracies that make Robert Anton Wilson chortle from his grave.
And things ain’t no picnic here in California and LA. I think the biggest issue we face in this city is the homelessness crisis, and even though we have democrats up and down the leadership and executive roles, fuck all has been done about it. These spineless weasels are busy lining their pockets with money from developers, so much so that building a single toilet facility in a park in San Francisco costs $1.7 million! Here in LA, the former city councilman for my district was ousted being implicated as the ringleader of a corruption ring in city hall with developers by the Feds. My current city councilman refuses to resign after being a part of some racist-ass power grab bullshit that was caught on tape. And the choices we have for mayor are a real estate developer/mall builder/USC president and a congresswomen who got a scholarship for a masters program at USC by questionable means.
So you see why I stocked up on alcohol not only to prepare for election night and the new era of batshit crazy conspiracy-laden fascism that will surely come. Maybe my upcoming European vacation at the end of the month will truly be a search for a new home?