Friday, July 31, 2009

no, no, thank me

hey guys, matt ward here. thanks a million for coming out to my show; i hope you really enjoyed it. i have to take a minute here and say, i do enjoy showing up in town with a pile of completely beat up instruments and really throwing myself into a show. i'll admit, i have been trying to convince seltzer to get rid of that 2003 american p-bass, but some people are incorrigible. also, that is not my father on rhythm guitar; musicians should be able to enjoy long careers just like anyone else. while i've got you here, i thought i might explain a few things, since i've heard there were a few arguments on the way home over the show itself and some of the music we played. first off, i'm matt ward, and it's not like i'm going to just stride onstage and bang out the actual lead part on the first song. you see, my guitar is a big part of the act, and guitars don't always like to be played until they have a chance to warm up a bit, get the tenor of the audience, that sort of thing. you notice how we have to pay this guy to hug the guitar backstage during every song i'm not using it? so if you see me only gradually working my temperamental six-stringed associate into the music, don't think i'm some kinda ego maniac standing up there taunting you all by pretending i'm just going to wear a guitar around my neck all night. secondly, i hope you enjoyed my high tech 'virtual window' visuals. ok, ok, i'll just say it now - that was a quicktime movie - but seriously, to all your venues out there, be aware that i am going to show up with an essentially static motion picture that you'll need to run on a projector, and it lasts about an hour. think of it this way - one thing you'll always remember me by is that shadow of a window burned into your system. i'm not going to apologize for it, because, well, i made a video and asked you to play it. it doesn't get much simpler than that. also, don't try to tell me to be more personable. just be aware that i talk onstage way more than jay farrar does, plus i have more charisma. it's not even like he puts on a remotely bad show, so just shut up before i have to get testy.

ok, folks, you still with me? i know people might have some preconceptions going in to a performance, so it's worth sharing some of this with your friends. for example, you might think the musicians will perform the songs like they were on the record. thing is, i'm musically precocious, and unlike those guys who are sick of playing their big hit, i pretty much have no desire to play anything normally. were any of you standing out there thinking about the guitar melodies i skipped? well, if that bothered you, hopefully you laughed it off when i pretended for a while that i could only play one-handed piano. come on guys, i'm basically a musical genius. speaking of which, don't forget to buy indie rock band: m. ward when it comes out this christmas. it's not like you'll be spending your hard-earned on guitar hero: adam seltzer. as i was saying, though, wasn't it so much better while the smug folks were still convinced i was half afraid of the piano? also, i hope some of you brought your friends who think folk music is boring, and that they're now lost in the city wandering in a feedback-laced fog. i have to admit, the look on y'alls faces when i basically destroyed the entire sound system with my guitar is now the featured exhibition in my mental art gallery.

i know some of you bring dates on these concerts, and while i wish you could get a discount, i'm sure you were pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere i provided. come on, even that guy who was sitting down and air drumming had his girlfriend superglued by his side. that one was all me, buddy, so again, remember this when my video game gets released. just get used to great things happening when you see me. i'm matt ward. i mean, adam seltzer plays bass for me. the lead singer of norfolk & western, maybe you've heard of them? what? no, neither of us were ever in the jonas brothers...i said he sings in norfolk and western! ok, now i'm just going to have to go home and cry.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

when beets attack

what foods offer the most extreme combination of unappetizing flavor and poor nutritional content? it's not fair to say "this particular brand of cookies," because chances are there are similar cookies you would eat. if you absolutely hate macaroons of all makes and varieties, that is a legitimate suggestion. my early nomination is beet chips, which taste like beets but have loads of fat. there's no benefit from the fat; devouring beet chips would be a good way to put on weight while hating every minute of your excess consumption. cheese, at least ordinary cheddar, offers good taste but occupies a surprising amount of the fat you are supposed to intake for the day. i have always liked fine cheeses, but when it comes to the processed kind that shows up in fast food, i say it's far from worthwhile. i have always found it strange that the first question after ordering a veggie burger is whether you want cheese on it. you're probably already going to eat french fries and consume plenty of grease that way, so skipping the cheese seems like a small favor to grant to your body.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

it's all presentation until someone asks

you are getting sucked into a black hole. not the kind that astronomers talk about, just a sort of lonely corner of a moderately sized city. in this hole/corner/solitary dwelling, you find a large supply of pretzels. the pretzels are crunchy and taste a little bit like something you had one time and couldn't get enough of. now you have more than you could possibly need. fortunately, you also have a pet bird that likes the pretzels. that's right, a bird. as you throw pretzels to the bird, you notice there are actually faded stripes in the dark wallpaper that makes the room so ugly. in this space, you do not actually have many things, but you have more than just a bird and some pretzels. for example, there seems to be a thin coating of sand on the floor. you might take this as a sign of neglect, or of someone's odd way of giving you a pile of sand. surely if you gathered the sand from the entire room, the extent of which so far escapes you, you would have a pile.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

headlines proved utterly useless

if there's one thing that's great about the spread of internet technologies that allow people to share news with friends, it's the fact that we are no longer at the mercy of a newspaper's own inane headlines. i realize that there's a special art to reeling in readers, and that some papers manage to do it in an entertaining manner. however, now when anyone can come up with their own tagline and post a link, there's much greater opportunity to reach people, and they might actually say what they found to be the most useful information in an article. i will get to a point in my life where i stop reading articles that i am only interested in to confirm that i already know the 'new' thing that is referenced. how much better is it when a friend sends a link and 'this is about these new purple apples' than when you see something like 'new apples dazzle with shocking hue.'

Monday, July 27, 2009

Golf lessons

Spent the evening at the driving range, which allowed me to try out my roommate's yardsale clubs. Amazing what is available for five dollars once a few years of wear have cone along. Normally, I do not golf but I have never had success hitting a driver, which of course meant that I had to try a dozen or so times tonight. On the way home I noticed that in order to get the clubs into my friend's hatchback, I had to lean the clubs such that their combine weigh was on the three that stuck out the most. Of course at times that seem to make everything difficult it's good to be able to remember the actual value of the clubs, which by now must be about a nickel.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

fake yard sale

i am not selling any of the following items, which might be available for free if they do exist:

-neon hats
-poor quality and/or broken mobile phones
-nonfunctional computers
-1lb chocolate blocks
-exquisitely broken-in denim
-vhs tapes
-company softball team hats
-unmatched ankle socks
-magic-themed lunch boxes
-cancer-causing water bottles
-matte black silverware
-shaq posters
-aircraft models
-battery-powered fans
-vintage personal care products
-lettuce-selection instructions
-decaying editions of ibsen plays
-sportcoats, both worn and unworn
-hotel notepads
-missing writing instruments

watching and keeping time

i'm on my tiptoes, even though it hurts. i don't mean to be sneaking up on you like this, but sometimes it's impossible to find my way without taking a few chances. i can see, just over your fence, that something must be happening, because there's a light flickering and some voices that just drift far enough to meet my ears. i have an invitation with my roommate's name on it, and you have to admire the care with which i preserved it, given that it had been left with the trash last night. my key, which i am reluctant to use tonight. for whatever reason, i thought it might be fun to stop sulking and make an effort to get to know you. there's only so much dirt one can examine, so many patterns in the carpets of our mutual friends, before it grows inevitably old. i had a song in mind i wanted to share with you. it's not famous at all, since i basically jotted it down in my sleep. it's funny how memories elude us when they're so important; my brain is stuck going over and over the same things until they break like those belts your mechanic likes to replace. it wasn't such a bad song either, and maybe this morning i could have hummed the tune. by now your phone should be ringing. walk over here for a minute, leave that torch-lit yard, and you might still hear it echoing in my ears.

Friday, July 24, 2009

taking, giving, finding nothing left

i took a big step today and broke one of the patterns that has served me best over the past few years. generally, i like to fit music to situations, and there is something chilling about the right sounds played in the lonely dark hours of the evening. while i may continue to acquire new albums that adapt themselves best to those moments, it is nonetheless impressive to me that i still find them valuable. tonight, i took the rare step of risking a listen to one of my prime late-night discs at a much earlier hour and, while this experiment has seemingly little cost, i was surprised how the music adapted itself to its new temporal surroundings. nonetheless, i now find myself finishing the evening far later than was necessary and yet still supplied with ample reserves of music that suits the occasion. perhaps it all goes back to today's strange discovery. having spent much of this week visiting family, i have seized upon the opportunity to shoot endless baskets, initially with an inconveniently deflated basketball. for days, i saw no reason for the need to bounce, dribble, shoot, rebound, and continue. finally this afternoon i noticed the exhaustion that this exertion had finally exhibited on my legs was, in an inexplicable yet significant fashion, satisfying. the whole time, perhaps, i had been building to the moment i would realize i felt as if i had walked all day. i suppose part of the feeling is a sort of sense of pride over putting in a more than merely solid effort. the question, of course, is a solid effort at what? i don't play basketball and have no plans to start; in fact, any practice i put in is most likely an effort to keep from missing too many shots the next time around. i suppose it's fine to have hobbies we don't pursue for the traditional reasons, and at some point soon, i'll probably go back to a full-time someone who can't play basketball.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

not that into hats

the hat problem is not just about fading. i have been extraordinarily disappointed in how my red nats cap has aged, especially since the fabric around the brim seems on the verge of tearing while the hat itself looks new still. clearly, a few more years in the sun are needed before the pigment gives up on life and turns that sort of bleachy beige. it's not fair for something to become physically ruined while still looking new. it's not just me either; i recently asked a friend how long he'd had his hat, as the fabric at the brim was about as ruined as one of my classic ones. his was less than 3 years old; mine is 15 or so. clearly someone is skimping on quality.

is it possible that somewhere there's a diner with country fried tofu-steak on the menu? is it possible i will find and visit that diner in the next week? we may never find out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

in which dyes and fabrics are discussed at length

i have a couple of theories about what is wrong with america, but the important one is that we purchase too many pre-faded hats. this seems only to be a problem in the cotton category, as polyester and wool are much less likely to actually fade in real life or in some weird fading factory. if wealthy, lazy people really want faded hats, they should pay someone to wear the hats for them until they're properly broken in. i think perhaps the ability to flop down a twenty or two and obtain a perfectly weathered hat proves just how far we have gone to indulge the fancies of those who want something that has only artificial value.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

minding my business

i became somewhat alarmed at the number of times i had to write the same perso al information for the university's benefit this evening. i owe them some paperwork monday, so it was time to work it out. the one thing i could not tolerate? writing my race where no prompt of applicble choices was available. i suppose the nature of things is that i am so uncomfortable being called upon to write down a name for a given race that i would choose silence in the form of a blank section of paper rather than complete the assigned task. it was bothersome that no disclaimer was given as to the necessity or (i hope) optional nature of the question. elsewhere in the stack of papers was a more familiar race query, with checkboxes including "not disclosed." i left the entire set blank.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

worst alarm clock on record

i was awakened this morning by the most disturbing noise, which was a real downer for me. i had neglected to set my alarm however, and the roommate producing the noise did do me a favor by allowing me to wake up in time to attend worship services. imagine a high pitched squeal, nasal in character, formed into words. that's how i began my day. i don't even remember what he said and it doesn't matter. i wanted so badly for that noise to stop.

Friday, July 10, 2009

a little blackened spot on the wood of the deck

I heard a story one time about a little boy whose parents missed his birthday. He searched the whole house for the presents he knew they'd left him, and when he found nothing he thought about crying but didn't. There was no one around to see, so he made himself a birthday cake -- which was completely imaginary -- and placed a single candle on it, which he lit with a match he'd found in one of the kitchen cabinets. He didn't sing Happy Birthday to himself, and he didn't give himself any fake gifts. The birthday party he'd created for himself had no beginning, really, but it came to be somewhere as the wax dripped down the sides of the crayon-like pink candle. He put his face next to it and watched the smoke rising in bursts from the flame, saw the molten wax overflow onto the floor, and thought of all the things he'd wanted to get for his last birthday and none of the toys he'd been given that were now broken, lost, and forgotten. He thought about his friends' parties, about the year his dad turned forty and all his friends from work came over to surprise him with a pinata full of the tiniest chocolate bars known to man. He didn't think much about rabbits or Santa Claus or pots of gold, but he did wish in an indistinct way that something magical would happen for his birthday. The candle burned slowly, but shrank noticeably as the hands of clock the boy was not watching traced a familiar dance across its face. He got up and walked away before the flame died and his party ended, but not before he made a wish that he would remember not to tell a soul.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


i happen to be a big fan of fashion, but maybe in a self-destructive way. it's hard a lot of the time to maintain any particular look, which of course means that i have a sort of undefinable personal style that trumps most of the disguises i tend to choose for myself. a good chunk of high school was given over to a pair of boat shoes and tucked in shirts so i could be 'preppy seth,' but for most of my recent life it's been tough to purposefully maintain any particular guise. it's easier for me to be 'something trying to be something else' than any particular pure archetype. however, maybe if i exercised a little restraint when it came to clothing purchases, i wouldn't have these dilemmas in the first place. case in point: letting a friend talk me into buying a pair of bumblebee-inspired shorts.

what exactly does one wear with a pair of yellow and black checked shorts? sometimes i go with the untucked short-sleeve shirt and a necktie i wouldn't actually wear on a sunday. i often feel like i'm being a bit obvious when i pull out the purple and grey xs rugby shirt, but it does look decent with the shorts. shoes are easy for the moment, because i still have my yellow/blue/red ones. eventually it'll have to be all white or the slip ons with the little zebras all over them. a big problem for me is that i like sneakers so much that, despite my extremely particular taste, i tend to acquire them at a rate that's a little faster than is strictly necessary. the problem with shoes is that unlike, say, granola, abundance of new stock leads to greater longevity of each individual item. i guess i could get away with just my running shoes and the slip ons, but that would eliminate a lot of flexibility in the types of outfits i can put together with the unknowably large collection of footwear actually in my possession. thus, i think i will just keep on until i am forced to stop. you just have to know when you're on to a good thing.