Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mix Memories: Volume Two

"So Much For The Afterglow" by Everclear
This may have been the first song where I could cite influences. I heard the opening forty seconds of this song and thought, “These guys must have been influenced by the Beach Boys,” and thought I was a goddamn musical genius. I mean, this was in eighth grade when it was an absolute miracle if I could think about something other than boobs and vandalism for more than ten seconds.

"Flat Top" by Goo Goo Dolls
The Goo Goo Dolls' album A Boy Named Goo represents a specific time in my life. It was the summer before seventh grade, I think. I'm not sure. I just remember either playing video games at Jeff's house or having bunk bed wars with my brother. I also remember thinking this song was a wonderful social criticism. Leave it to a sheltered 12-year-old to think that the Goo Goo Dolls were the new Black Panthers.

"Alex Chilton" by The Replacements
When I accidentally discovered The Replacements in second grade by rooting through his cassettes, I thought they were a secret. It was like this fun little punk band that only my dad knew about and had unknowingly bestowed upon me. Then, years later, he bought their later albums for the family and I realized that The Replacements evolved into one of the most influential bands of the 1980s. Then all my family did was listen to this song in the car, making The Replacements our family's band. It was nice of my dad to share.

“The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth” by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
In the summer of 2007, I was doing my first internship at the magazine and it was my first adult job and I was starting to feel like a real sell-out asshole. It was summer and friends were on road trips and I was working in an office building. I would end up staring at my computer or staring out the window contemplating just why the hell I was trying to grow up. To combat such feelings, I listened to this song every day in the elevator and would rock the hell out. So, with just a big moment of silliness before working, I felt way better about it all.

"I'm A Flirt (Shoreline)" by The Hood Internet (Broken Social Scene vs. R. Kelly)
Bret put this on at Chris and Rich's Christmas party one year and then everyone talked about how R. Kelly should just join Broken Social Scene and make us all really happy. Seriously, any mash-up with an R. Kelly song is almost immediately everyone's favorite jam.

"Debaser" by The Pixies"
If I had to choose one band to be remembered as the soundtrack of my high school weekends, it would undoubtedly be The Pixies. I feel like that's almost the only band my friends listened to in their cars. When I think of all the weekends spent at Julia's, I can almost always hear The Pixies on in the background. However, it was my dad who told me that the song was about a film by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí called Un Chien Andalou. I thought it was just about randomly slicing people's eyeballs.

"Only Got One" by Frou Frou
I got really obsessed with this song right before leaving for Australia. I was 19 and I had been wanting to go to Australia since I was in grade school. My grandmother and I arrived in Sydney and she took a nap after the 15-hour flight. I, on the other hand, took an hour-long bubble bath in the only tub to ever fit me. It was like three feet deep and six feet in length. I had all the bathrooms lights off except for one soft night light and, with the Sydney skyline out the window and this song playing, I honestly don't know if I've been so goddamn delusionally happy since.

"Buggin" by The Flaming Lips
I remember listening to this song after doing yard work at my grandparents' house with a stupid amount of bugs around me. That's about it. Also, this song isn't very deep, but it's really, really cool.

"Like I Needed" by Rogue Wave
I stole this album from my school newspaper. It references Star Wars. It combined two of my favorite things: Star Wars and stealing.

"Pictures Of Success" by Rilo Kiley
I have no idea how many times Rex and I listened to this song when we drove out to Arizona, but it was a shit-ton. The time was June 2005, I was barely 20 years old, Rex was 19 and each of us had way too much free time. So, somewhat on a whim, we road-tripped it to visit Ashley, who was staying with Eileen for the summer. We got there around midnight and it was still hot. Within minutes of arriving, Rex and I were swimming in the backyard pool and cackling our lungs out, all while some crazy storm started up and lightning was cracking above us. Both girls watched us swim like drunk little kids and then the four of us drank more beer together, sitting around Eileen's bedroom listening to music. I don't remember when, but sometime that weekend, we were all passed out, spread about Eileen's bedroom and this song came on again, and it was so ungodly perfect.

"Penelope" by Pinback
When I discovered this song, it became the only song I listened to for, like, two weeks. I came into the school newsroom one afternoon wearing an Explosions In The Sky shirt with doodlings of cavemen on it. Katy said it looked like the shirt ripped off her brother's band. I told her that the shirt was for a band that's been around for a while and asked what band her brother could possibly be in. She said Pinback. I was quite speechless. I then told her to tell her brother that this song was incredible. Her response: "You know that song's about a pet fish, right?" I did not, and it suddenly made the song seem less beautiful.

"Painter Song" by Norah Jones
During my first year of college, I fancied myself a painter. And guess what? I can't paint, and I knew it within minutes of trying. But that didn't stop me from listening to this song shirtless in my garage while messing up some canvases with paint for a few months.

"Two Janes" by Los Lobos
This song was my absolute favorite song off the album Kiko, which, even in my twenties, I still consider to be a flawless album. When I would snag the cassette from my dad's glove box to listen to it in my room, it was the first time I thought I was really expanding my musical horizons. Keep in mind I was in, like, third grade, so my horizon was pretty much my front yard.

"Atlantic City" by Bruce Springsteen
I remember showing this song to Rex in my Oldsmobile on our infamous drive to San Diego for a party that most definitely wasn't happening. I told him how Bruce Springsteen recorded the entire album locked up in a bedroom in some old country house with just an acoustic guitar and a four-track recorder. When we showed up to the Mira Mesa House and found out that there wasn't a party, we just drank a bottle of whiskey and a jug of wine out in the garage and recorded songs on acoustic guitars we found.

"Mine Tonight" by Lucero
When you're driving down the California coast for any stretch at night as some undergraduate who hasn't figured things have a lot of time to figure things out. I don't know how many times I drove down to the Mira Mesa House with Rex, Jeff and Matty Punk, but it felt like a whole lot and this song always seemed to be playing on those night drives down the coast and it put me in the weirdest mood.

"I Still Miss Someone" by Johnny Cash
I got really into to this song at the wrong time. This melancholy tune is about missing someone in autumn. Well, it was summer and I didn't miss anyone. I was just getting drunk in people's jacuzzis and stuff. Johnny Cash and I don't always see eye-to-eye.

"Epistrophy" - Cootie Williams
I listened to this song a lot when I'd smoke cigarettes at the Chapman parking garage behind the law school when I was a senior in high school. I think I'd narrate random stories over it. I don't know why. I was just looking to get out of the house on school nights and the beginning of this instrumental almost invites narration.

"Kingdom Come" - Coldplay
This song was playing when I dropped Sam off at their airport when she first left for Spain. I couldn't listen to this song for a year without feeling sick to my stomach. Now, I just wonder why the hell Coldplay doesn't write more quiet epic acoustic jams instead of the same twinkling falsetto arena rock hits.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Holy Hell, Vegas

Well, I just returned home from my first ridiculous Vegas trip and it was...ridiculous.

I've been to Sin City many times, though only twice since turning 21. The last time was a year and a half ago when three friends and I stayed at a timeshare and mostly just hung around roulette tables and giggled a bunch.

This time, however, was for a bachelor party and now I get all that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" stuff. It was hundred dollar dinners in suits and sleeping on the floor in a bathrobe. I don't remember a whole lot of our last night there, but I do vaguely recall us going to a club with some girls until 8 a.m. and then walking the entire strip back to our suite. Also, this morning, I found a note in my pocket written in Spanish from a girl apparently named Bri saying she misses me and wants a beer. There's also some mention of kisses. Hope I made good on that one.

Thanks, Vegas, for letting me touch grim death for a brief moment.

Friday, July 15, 2011


done in contemplation by jake kilroy.

and i pack my bags.
i pack them with lists.
lists of relatives.
lists of friends.
lists of enemies.
lists of lovers.
i'm taking them with me.
and i'm out the door.
one bag is going in my car
and the other's going in the river.
i swear to god.
who ain't on any list.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Wrote A Novel's finally done.

I finished writing my novel last Friday afternoon. Two years and 600 pages later, I now feel slightly less full of shit.

This, of course, is a huge relief, because when I start something, there's always a good chance I'm not actually going to finish it. So I did and now I'm reading it from start to finish for the first time and I recognize a huge difference in tone and tempo between the first and last chapter.

I mean, it makes sense. I literally wrote this book all over the place.

I first started writing it on a cliff in Mexico, which turned out to be the prologue. Then I wrote the opening two chapters when we were moving out of our party house in Orange. That summer, I wrote about eight chapters while goofing off in Seattle. I wrote four or five chapters while trying to figure out my life in Austin. Then I wrote ten chapters as a working stiff in Irvine. Finally, I took an indefinite leave of absence and moved onto other projects when I hit writer's block, but I came back this spring to finish the last few chapters in Los Angeles on my corporate lunch breaks.

Though I've been continually working on the book for two years (not consistently or constantly, however), I haven't really mentioned it on too many occasions. Sure, several of my close friends were aware that I was writing a book, but we never talked about it in great detail really (except for Chris, who is sort of my unpaid editor). And, sure, I discussed it with friends that have written or are writing books (Celeste, Non, Jason, Alex, etc) to compare experiences and encourage each other.

But, very earlier on, I felt the risk of becoming "the guy who's indefinitely writing a book" (just like the guy who has a great idea for a movie and will one day write the screenplay and the the guy who is always playing music but not making any). After enough times, someone is bound to say, "Hey, shouldn't you be done by now?" And, naturally, the writer would fly into a blind, murderous rage (even thought people should call you on your shit). So, now that it's done and I've told everyone, I've found myself in conversations about my book recently and it seems strange.

People want to read it, people want to know about it and people want to know what's next. My friends are very supportive, as this could all be one really crazy book of nonsense, like some epic saga about robot gigolos and the fembots who love them.

I've started at least five novels. Most of them didn't make it past the third chapter (though they may one day). Back then, I told people I was writing a book (oh, I was so proud). These days, though, I feel like the reaction should be more "oh my god, finally" instead "hey, congrats, man."


I don't really know what the point of all this was. It's mostly just to say that I've been lying to you all since I was 16. I've written a lot over the past ten years. But I was in a high school classroom when I told my friends that I wanted to write books. I was in college when I told a friend that I just wanted to finish a book. And it was only a year ago when I told someone that I just wanted to finish this book.

Well, everyone, I'm telling you the truth now. I swear I'm a writer and I've got 600 pages to prove it.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"from a bedroom window, the sea"

"from a bedroom window, the sea"
hopelessly by jake kilroy.

from a bedroom window,
in a city that hums in the winter
and whistles in the summer,
i can see the harbor,
through the trees,
over the hills,
beyond the power lines.
and what waits there?
boats and ships and yachts!

all men in white aching
to free themselves from being men.
women in dresses,
boundless in energy,
remarkable in beauty,
waiting in vain
to escape womanhood.

of thrills, of waves,
of the nurturing calm of the sea,
a playground for those without borders,
for those without ties,
for those that sail,
like kites and balloons,
some cutting, some floating,
but always as lost as much as found;
a profound weightless, guiltless, endless idea,
as the five senses become schools of fish,
too plentiful for understanding;
with only enough thought
to know that we would like to stay
until our muscles come full circle,
until our bones feel leaky,
until we are nothing but water,
working just enough to be a mirror for the sun,
sleeping heavily for new kids to swim,
watching the world go on and on for eons,
always with the depth to change.

i watch from a bedroom window.