Monday, August 31, 2009

amazing recommendations for now

if you want to start appreciating the weirder music in your collection, purchase an analog modeling synthesizer. the default lame thing to do with that is make dance music, which many people have already done poorly. if you want to do something more serious/experimental, you'll find yourself looking for a degree of guidance. suddenly the deerhoof and sin fang bous type stuff is easier to appreciate during daylight hours.

see air if they tour the us this fall/winter/whenever. the 0.1185 people who took up my previous recommendation will get even more smiles out of the experience. bonus: one of the new songs is 'sing sang sung,' which is way more hilarious if you ever knew someone who liked to conjugate the english verb swim in order to make fun of the silly sounding english language. note: air is a good example of french people acting like they're way cooler than you because they think it's funny. if that's not true, just pretend it is and (again) get even more smiles out of the concert experience for taking my advice.

start a textbook company that isn't trying to rip people off. apparently the new way to fight the tyranny of used textbook sales is to convince schools to push the use of a paid website that you sell access to as part of a textbook bundle. those who purchase the textbook used don't get access, until they pay for the site on top of their used textbook cost.

when starting a band that pushes the limits of a particular genre, don't necessarily bother listening to anyone who's trying to do the same thing. hopefully you'll push the limits in a different direction by default.

during a move, throw out all items that are not useful or valuable. sentimental value should only count in rare instances.

the best way to save money on sporting equipment is to avoid knowing anything about new developments - this is true of all things, but if you're american you probbaly own specialized equipment for five sports you play intermittently. it's easier to avoid news on tennis rackets than mobile phones, you know? example: when was the last time the nyt ran an article on a tennis racket? how about a smartphone? personal note: i went to the driving range with my roommate's 2nd hand rusty clubs and had a blast. i have never been able to hit a driver but finally was able to get that to work intermittently. if you'd told me those were the best clubs in the world and they'd looked the part, i would have believed you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

sidewalk chattter

imagine an animal. sort of like a guard dog. this dog, however has no teeth. its paws are the size of weather balloons. each hair in its coat is made of a different type of paper. somewhere on this dog is a long hair made of money. somewhere else is a carbon copy of your birth certificate. at least seventeen of the hairs are falling slowly from the dog's body as it shakes its head at you. oddly, you notice as the dog smiles that it has a coiled tongue like a frog. you wonder if you should back away. unfortunately, as you try to leave the dog, you come in contact with an angry pillow. the pillow is yelling at you and gesturing wildly. you wish that you had taken a course on nonhuman languages in college. fortunately, the pillow has a meeting to attend and leaves. the sun does not seem to be overly bright. removing your sunglasses, you are surprised to find the dog is now smiling at you. a bird whose legs are approximately three feet in length steps into the street but does not stay within the crosswalk. this action forces a taxicab to brake suddenly; as it does, a man goes flying to the pavement, carrying a small umbrella but losing his hat in the process. his shoes are constructed from hardened sea foam, and they look comfortable. as you start to wonder where these shoes might be sold, the dog looks back in your direction, and you have two questions in your mind. you can remember also that you have spent hours wandering in the hills with this same dog. each hair that fell as you walked seemed to be a page from a different book your teachers had forced you to read in elementary school. you think more about thes questions you want to ask. no one seems to be waiting to answer them. you consider the possibility that the dog might not be your dog. your dogs coat would have poems, your friends' favorite stories, or lines from famous orators. now the question is: are you looking for a pet store or a dropped leash?

Friday, August 21, 2009

i'm a generous type

uh, hey guys - matt ward here. wanted to check in. anyone else just confused about which random hush records track is your ringtone? everytime i hear semi-familiar lo-fi strumming i start dreading it's conor bugging me about...anyway, hoping y'all just can't get enough of the august weather and stuff. ok, for real, i was having the absolute worst week. just ridiculous, like your mom steals your lunch terrible, you know? ok, but i'm cheering up, because you know maybe i was a little jealous about how well this new fruit bats disc was received and then...eric sold "when you love somebody" for a movie trailer? hahahahahahahaha rotfl!!!! i mean seriously, now that he "makes waves" with the fast crowd all the time, like what - did james mercer buy a houseboat and eric got jealous? really? some professional advice, man, you gotta stick with class, k? protect the brand, my friend. and if you need a little chance to shine after all that sidemanning, maybe you should join and tour with a folk supergroup. oh...wait...sorry, i took that gig. i'm matt ward, and i can still blast eric johnson's subtle indie nerd glasses off his face. hey eric, really, no hard feelings. we can be buddies; i'm always on the lookout for sidemen. could be worth your while, maybe if you hang out with me, i'll teach you to cleverly misspell your name.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

brush me

when i say that i am on the wall outside your bedroom window, i trust you will understand i am speaking figuratively. i can see myself plastered all around your house, so it seems nothing but fair that i be allowed to watch from outside it. though you have spent your life walking past and through me, you will appreciate this fact: i always tried not to stain your clothing, your hair, or skin. i feel more like a basis for your existence than a force that has shaped it, but i will humor myself by claiming to have some of the answers. i know what everything flows into and what it means to be blacked out. i know the sting of labels, of external creations that redefine one's identity. i have been marked, scrubbed, and covered over with fresh versions of myself. eventually i gain some character, and it's then that my value is least.

Monday, August 17, 2009

results were negative

sorry i missed the thing last night. i was on the phone with your parents and they kept shouting. i realize that i lost the pretzel-spitting contest at the stadium last week, but i didn't think being your butler for a week would involve anything this serious. please just give them the toaster back; you already have seven. i don't think anyone other than you is interested in the great wall of toast project, because basically most people have no idea why you would want to wake up surrounded by the synchronized popping of freshly browned toast, even if you are hungry in the morning and like to eat in bed. i think it's more the conceptual part of it that people haven't grasped, because i am guessing you wouldn't be spending all that time on freecycle if you weren't inspired by something more than the timely arrival of breakfast.

anyway, your dad calmed down a bit when i told him you'd reconsider the atlanta trip this fall. i know you're planning on being in a lot of one-act plays and the rehearsals will be demanding on your time, but this is your family. it might not help the cookie controversy get fixed any quicker, but at least you and your sister will have a chance to talk about something. seriously, i think the massachusetts state legislature did a lot of people a disservice by not making a real decision, but eventually the two of you will have to work something out. meanwhile, after your parents hung up, molly came by and asked if you still needed the hairdryer. i hope you aren't trying to toast anything with that, because this seems to be getting beyond eccentric and more into loony. did you see the rebroadcast of the game though? molly and i watched most of it, because we were trying to remember if the part where you decided to eat a hundred swedish fish was when the announcer got bored and started talking about jelly donuts or something about performance enhancing drugs that made you think you could pick up the couch if you ate enough sugar. we got totally distracted though because they kept showing these ads for a local deli that uses the names of us presidents in a rap. it's intoxicating; i think i'm going to make a ringtone of myself singing the chorus. i'd ask you to clarify the swedish fish thing since it's such a good story and i can't tell it right now without knowing, but molly told me we could watch some show about something else tomorrow and figure it out. oh, and the doctor's office called.

Friday, August 14, 2009

it's ok too

dan told me he is looking for something. i didn't hear these actual words, but more of a whisper. i listened carefully, because he was turning pages in the dictionary all through dinner last night. he often goes to the library with no set agenda, other than to find some books. he listens to the radio on weekends. of all my friends, he is the only one who watches documentaries. most of us laugh about that, and i don't think he cares. dan keeps a journal in which he records brief descriptions of important moments in his life. he is a thoughtful person who has been to over twenty different states in the past three years. he eats at different restaurants each month and discusses them with all of us. he keeps stamps in his wallet. dan is looking for something, and he probably won't know when he finds it. i know he is looking because he told me in the soft tones of a weary young man. not everyone whispers with words.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

you may have seen my films

i'm trying to make room for the flowers you handed me, i'd just stuff them in my jeans or something but i have a million dollars in unmarked bills in my pocket. no, come on, it's not like a big deal or anything -- just some cash. plain old hard-won money, like it's just a means to an end. oh, i get it. no, seriously, you can't really tell can you? i was surprised too. and they fit well; you know i'd never go the baggy route just so i could carry the down payment for my new place in malibu. right, right, i haven't signed anything yet so i can look at my options. now that was not what i'd expected you to...ok ok, i'll think about automobiles too, but do i really need to get anywhere that fast? no, come on, i know that's an option too and probably those are way safer, but do i look like i want to hire a chauffeur? oh stop looking at me like that. no, come on seriously, you wanted to drive my car? that's so cute. way cuter than the flowers. hey, don't get me wrong...i totally appreciate the thought. anyway, like you wanna make out?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

it also smells nice

thursday is when i cut my hair, and reimagine the reality of myself. it's a great day for sporting, or a good laugh. thursday is when i read letters from old friends. mostly they ask for my latest happenings. most frequently i tell them about my rock collection. i do not, generally, find many rocks on thursdays. that is not to say that i spend the day indoors. i prefer a good stroll if i have the time. thursday provides opportunities for merriment, also for late-evening shopping. i like to picture myself in a rowboat, not drifting or going anywhere. i will be here, and tomorrow still.

you are folk. i am monster

hey folks, matt ward here. sure hope those of y'all in the dc area got enough out of the two m. ward shows this past month, cuz there won't be any monsters of folk for ya come fall. y'all maybe wanna day-trip to nyc to see us? or hit up antwerp? i hear international airfares are pretty low in the cold months. so, since we're way too much of a big deal to play spencer krug's favorite venue - and i don't care if they found a sledgehammer so his people could smash a tv - or really to bother with anywhere else in the area...ok sorry i just lost my train of thought. krug said he was bad at guitar? dork. so let's make a deal right now. i'm matt ward and if you ever hear me say that, CALL 911!

how many of you are convinced i'm just kidding about the concert thing? well, it won't actually take us three days to get to stockholm from philly, true, but you think we're stuffing another city in that itinerary? seriously, do yourselves a favor and just plan your m.o.f. road trips now. i should probably ring krug on his cell now so...oh that's right, he claims he doesn't have one? i guess when i pull my april fools "let's get a project going together" on him and carl newman i'll have to call carl and he can try to reach spence on bejar's mobile or something. what else do you expect? i'm matt ward. come watch me give jim james guitar lessons this fall. and there is no way i am spelling his name with "y"s.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the narrow and sturdy string

what's strange to me is not the path of change in my life, but its existence. i never intended for college to be much more than a diversion from the lethargic childhood that deposited me, mildly confused and slightly overfed, in the dormitory for a freshman year. i had no objection to starting school, merely accepting it as a station i would eventually leave. my first surprise was the dislike it brought out, as i always had thought i could accept most things with ease. regardless, i hated the dorm, mostly because it was home to viruses, decaying food, and people who were able to absorb me into the organisms of their friendship with far too little effort. the worst part of a social experience is modifying your habits to fit in with others'. i suppose the college years are a good time to get used to this necessary form of surrender, simply because there is so little one is interested in doing other than nothing much at all, and that is an agenda that can easily be served.

school, like those early friends, had a way of pulling me behind it that was mostly acceptable. what i found halfway through my sophomore year was that education was finally teaching me things. it's not that i had never paid attention in school, or found it difficult due to its dull nature. i guess there just had to be a point, much later than anyone would have guessed, when my brain acquired more than a scattered shower of information. learning, a concept i had heard of but not actually lived, began to shake me from my skipping-record habits. i wouldn't be able to lie to you and say i developed into a remarkably different person, learned art, or anything of the sort. i remained bored and sadly malleable, but the dollars wasting themselves on my education began to smile just a tiny bit as they passed me in the street.

i had never expected a college degree to mean much, but even as a dimly-lit recluse, i find it comes in handy. the hours i spend pressing down the carpet with the side of my head pass so much differently than in the past. i find despair lingers just as expected, watching patiently from a corner as i recite the few lines of the commencement address i managed to commit to memory. some people have said they never liked memorization. while i can't fault their logic, i would rather perish slowly with a whisper of half-recollected poetry sticking to my lips than simply watch myself waste away alone.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

turtles are trickier than you think

i was on a walk through the woods last weekend, when i was suddenly hit on the shoulder by a falling tree branch. generally, time outdoors provides me with a chance to relax and to mentally reorganize my compact disc collection. i think i own about three hundred various recordings, and since i never was into that giant jukebox craze, i have to be careful about how i arrange them in order to make sure that i have access to the most appropriate music each week. since my calm thoughts were broken up by the scrape of the large limb that struck me, i completely lost my focus and had to stop right there in order to catch my breath and recover my senses. i was lucky to find a small, almost pillow-like rise in the ground, and ample leaf cover that i arranged over me as i lay down and closed my eyes. before i knew it, i was dreaming about a kitten stuck in a tree. the kitten, i soon discovered, was actually in the clutches of several turtles, who apparently had climbed the tree to share a meal. in my dream, i was shocked by the potential sight of turtles eating a kitten, but i had to know whether that was really what was about to happen. fortunately, as soon as the first turtle began chomping on the kitten's paw, it escaped. the turtles then proceeded to sneak up on a raccoon that was also up in the tree. at this point in my dream, i was startled awake by the falling of acorns, which melted into the leaves covering me like hailstones hitting a hot stove. i had no idea where i was at that moment, having been so distracted by the vivid nature of my dream that i could not find my way through the woods. as i brushed myself off, i realized that i had forgotten to change my clothing before commencing my walk, and that i was now wearing a dirt-adorned dress shirt, complete with french cuffs. i seemed at least to have removed my cufflinks before leaving my house, which was a good thing as they are secretly worth approximately seven hundred dollars. i don't always like to have money in the bank, and so i find it useful to spend money on things that can easily be pawned in case of emergency. although i was disappointed to have carelessly worn my nicest blue shirt into a bed of leaves, i smiled to myself at the wisdom that had prevented me from losing the valuable cufflinks. the sun gradually set as i stood in the doorway to my room later that evening, watching the rays of fading light flicker past two lifeless eyes staring at me from the shelf above my bed.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

i get it! oh i get it.

the shins are trying to turn their band into a reality show: last shin standing. i am fairly certain i watched that. they could follow former band members after they get tossed, so we'd be able to see whether they moved on to new projects or miserable failure. i used to avoid reality shows, but i spent over forty minutes friday night (note: in lieu of actual social activity) watching people throw some type of acid at whaling boats and then act incredulous when the whalers used sound weapons on them. i'm against whaling, sound weapons, and throwing acid at other people's boats, so it's a tough show for me to watch. last shin standing would not be tough to watch, especially if they had a show focused on how james mercer secretly wants to destroy the fruit bats. "please eric, please forget your silly nerd-folk band and join my vastly successful indie pop group. look at it this way: you are a professional musician with a record contract and no wikipedia page. together, we can change that. well, at least you'll get to be on our page. also, i will allow you to take walks on the beach with me, make me eggs and toast, and potentially you will be able to pen one strange little song per album. in other words, it's better than toiling away in your band getting heckled opening for son volt. oh, and we'll be getting rid of jesse at some point, btw. you wanna help with that? could be fun!"

i would also look forward to the episode where jesse sandoval talks about getting kicked out of the band for being a lousy drummer. oh wait...he actually did say that they got rid of him because he couldn't play well? i hope there were cameras watching. when i read about it, i thought it made some sense. after all, while i don't know whose fault it is, the shins definitely are one of the worst live bands i've seen. i mean this in the relative sense; obviously it's easy to be a terrible band, but it's hard to write great material and be uninspiring live. possible new example: the antlers. i was shocked when i saw how well their new record was reviewed, such that i had to go back and actually look at my ticket stub to make sure it was the same band. you knew there was a reason to save those, didn't you? the antlers were the first of 3 bands that played, and around 10 people were there to see them. i had listened to some of their stuff and found it intriguing, so the bad show was a surprise. i doubt i will bother seeing them again, unless they start a reality show.

more animals than necessary

do you like animals? do you own more than three animal-themed items? would you like to hear five songs about animals? go on over to rocktastica and listen to some animal tunes...then vote for your favorite. i can't remember who i voted for, but there are some good entries.

also, in case you are wondering, this is the week of the analog modeling synthesizer. maybe just the week of the keyboard instrument. they come in far too many varieties. perhaps next week will be the week i purchase one. also, it remains nearly impossible to write 10,000 words of a novel in one week. maybe it's pointless to even have that as a long-shot goal. next week maybe it'll happen.

i spent today trying to write, shopping, talking on the phone, shopping, trying to write, and researching keyboard instruments. at various times i gave up trying to write and watched television. i spent yesterday trying to write and watching television. at some future point i may be able to divide my days between trying to write and teaching myself the guitar. i could also teach myself the analog modeling synthesizer. however, i already own a guitar. on the other hand, i already can play other keyboard instruments fairly well. thus ends the week of the analog modeling synthesizer.

Friday, August 07, 2009

since you asked

i'm sorry for the veiled threats about your imported rugs. i have always been a little bit jealous of your taste in home decorations, so you'll have to forgive me for making an analogy that suggested i might physically harm some of your favorite household treasures. it's just been one of those weeks for me. i had a few friends over last night and we were playing rummy in the driveway when i became aware of several small stains on the whitewall tires of my toy wagon. i generally don't keep toys around so that other people can make a mess of them, so i had to call the game while i investigated the situation. no one admitted to the crime, but i took their fingerprints anyway and called my favorite private detective. she was on vacation in detroit, visiting her sister's former butler, but her machine directed me to an agency i hadn't worked with before. they sent someone over right away. unfortunately, these businesses seem to be lowering their standards lately, as the individual who arrived in my driveway looked to be approximately seventeen and was wearing a german sweatsuit. i half expected a techno video to break out in my driveway while he looked around for evidence.

it was about an hour later that he finished up, and i have to admit, i got so bored that i wandered inside to make a watermelon smoothie with some freezer burned tropical ice cream. i generally try to avoid liquid desserts, but i find it refreshing to drink something new when i'm in a stressful situation. only halfway through the smoothie, i found myself looking for something more substantial and ended up devouring about half a packet of water crackers i had left on the sofa the night before. you know how it's impossible to match your cheese and cracker intake so that you run out of both at the same time? one of the reasons is that if you leave the crackers lying around the house, someone's bound to just eat them all...or, in the case of adolescent private detectives, take them back to the office in the hopes of getting a bored lab technician to share them and spill about some of the firm's more interesting clients. sure, ok, i'm just imagining that last part, but the fact is that the second half of the crackers turned up neither in my trash nor my stomach. i thought the point of avoiding fathering my own children was that i wouldn't while away my middle years wondering why my favorite foods could disappear with no explanation.

two hours later, i heard back and the investigator had failed to turn up any usable prints. it strikes me as elementary fingerprint science that you should be able to tell on site whether you have an actual print. after all, if you can't tell what is a print, how do you know what to take with you for further examination? i suppose the problem was really that the young hero who had stopped by my place was more interested in insect life or plant identification, and had simply gathered evidence of the wrong life forms. i can accept a phone call that says they couldn't tell which person was guilty, but please just give me a refund if you're investigating the wrong species.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

the perils of moderation

is there a reason chocolate syrup comes in such a large container? i consider myself a fairly confident ice cream eater, and i probably add some syrup thirty percent of the time i have ice cream. i also use it on pancakes and other random foods, but it seems like my chocolate syrup is going nowhere fast. the good news is that it doesn't expire until either july 2110 or july 21 in 2010. it's hard to tell for sure.

when i recently discovered that my roommate was leaving town, taking his movie-streaming game-playing muh-sheen with him, i realized it was time to make my 'films to see shortly' list obsolete. taking a glance now at the allegedly unnecessary compendium, i see that i made little progress during his final hours in our presence. i think i am okay with that.

excess isn't always bad

when i look at the stars each night, sometimes i hope i'll see nothing. many people are annoyed by unpredictable behavior, whether it's their cable service, the post office, or coworkers that let them down. personally, i can't stand the knowledge that things will never change. the night sky just doesn't shift around enough for me to get excited about the emergence of this or that constellation. perhaps we could privatize the night sky. one of those hollywood firms could do something special with such a large canvas. i wouldn't even fast forward through the celestial commercials. consider that a promise.

last week, i discovered that my dog was allergic to termites. considering what they say about glass houses and the like, i figured it was time to finally throw out the futon. you want your furniture to give life to the apartment in a metaphorical sense. it really is downhill once that becomes a literal fact, and i don't care if you tell me i should be glad i don't have fleas. tomorrow i'll be over at your place revving your luxury convertible's engine in the driveway and drinking your seltzer. remember, it's always important to examine life from an optimistic perspective. you should be glad i won't be burning the ticker symbols of my favorite stocks into your persian rugs.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

don't mention beets

i've never been able to convince myself that film was the industry for me. i met a studio executive once who insisted that each person's favorite scene was cut out of rented movies before they were delivered to their door. "it's a tier-based system, get used to it," she said, and i kept thinking there was more to that. i have a problem with people who insist that they understand things better than i do, although i realize this is a bit of an issue. of course, doctors have never worked well for me, as they go about in their stain-advertising outfits refusing to look you in the eye. i think in order for medical care to work for me, i would need to make a primary visit, take a few days to conduct some research on the diseases i'd been given, and go back with suggestions on my potential treatment. i guess, with my outlook on the world, life is more about forcing myself to learn than anything else. for all the efforts i had to make finding information about the film business, one might think i'd be able to explain how to raise funding or secure a distribution deal for an independent project. lisa tended to talk more about shellfish than celluloid, a habit i can forgive her for as she grew up in a coastal area and was immensely nostalgic. if it is our homes that make us who we are, i certainly have to thank her parents for avoiding areas of the country where more important foods are grown. food talk disgusts me, not in the moment so much as because i hate knowing about what i eat. can you imagine staying up past one, looking for information about pesticide technology, just so you can hold your own with a dirt-brain college student who just happens to be the son or daughter of professors who teach viola performance at an agricultural school?

one more switch

one roommate moved away forever today, and another flew off for a much-deserved vacation. there's a difference to the silence in the apartment this evening, but i have chosen to make the best of the situation by listening to tara jane o'neil while sitting in the dark. obviously, due to the presence of a brightly lit screen in the room, the darkness is far from total. it is interesting, however, how the partially illuminated innards of my former workplace stare more assertively towards me now. i can't remember being this sad to see a roommate go, but i suppose this event is a precursor to so many expected milestones over the next year or so that i can't watch it with my usual detachment. it's strange to be able to live in the same place more than once these days; how many people leave reluctantly only to sweep back in just before the automated license renewal comes in the mail? i have only had one permanent address here, and it's invalid come september.

the odd thing is how things of mine turn up at moments when i'm looking for something i actually need and have only temporarily misplaced. i can't locate the right t-shirt, but there are bottles of this or that sauce that definitely date back to my previous tenure. having abandoned them once, and finding that releasing my grip was not enough for the pull of the world to separate them from my life, i find it difficult now to dispose of even the most useless once-discarded items. things left by others while i was gone seem almost to be my own. i find myself inventing scenarios to explain a collection of ordinary objects, similar to but clearly not my own. it's not important that they are definitively mine, but more that a story exists that might link them to me, because i am supposed to know more about this place than any other. although i can think of reasons to stay, in truth i was the first to make definite plans to relocate. the others merely found it easier to pursue their own goals knowing my future was secure. i'm ready to leave the apartment, but i can imagine a day when habit brings me back, hopefully without the need to look back inside.

Monday, August 03, 2009

rumors abound

I have heard a few things lately. Hints of this movement in the populace, of trends washing ashore, or vacant spaces in our minds about to be occupied. The passing of one month is a chance to reflect, but shortened memory and the overwhelming nature of things these days requires that we all pause and consider what we have lost, and perhaps what will shortly disappear forever. We must stand motionless in the face of crossing currents, feeling for a brief minute that we know their number and aim. Occasionally, fate and design push us off the silent beach and we are left wandering again. Peace, as all things must, proves a temporary acquaintance and not the lifelong partner of anyone's dreams.