Support Your Favorite Indie Musicians

Guest post by The Beast from Seattle, cross-posted from his blog.

Just wanted to put the word out there — Bandcamp is waiving their cut of anything purchased on June 5th, starting at midnight PST. (You can check this site to see when the event begins in your time zone.) Many artists lost their primary income when concerts were cancelled. Streaming services pay very little for indie acts– You have to listen for over eleven straight hours on Spotify for the artist to earn one dollar. (Assuming about three minutes per song, and it’s likely even worse as it’s divided between labels, each band member, etc.) I cancelled my Spotify premium subscription and started giving that monthly fee directly to the artists. It feels great to actually own the music you love and not rely on internet speeds and corporate overlords. It’s also nice to send a word of encouragement with your order; they might even write back!

You can use this site to enter a Spotify playlist and get links to purchase the music on Bandcamp. A lot of labels and artists are donating their proceeds to charities, many focused on racial justice. Of those I particularly recommend Dais Records, Dark Entries, and Sacred Bones Records. Finally, if you’re into dark wave, minimal wave and post-punk music, I recommend everything in my collection! I’d love you to follow me there so I can check out your taste in music.

The Myth of Quarantine Loneliness

Content Warning: Bleak world views

It seems to me you lived your life like a can that certain points of view in life are underrepresented – usually thoughts on the darker tip.  While these can take a dim view of humanity, I won’t call them misanthropic.  True misanthropes are not functioning within reality or reason, or from a position of true understanding.  I believe you can look at people with a realistic, sometimes grim view, and not be one of those “people are scum / normies die” type of bastids.

To take a look at the less romantic side of human nature, I turn to the darkness itself – The Beast from Seattle.  This is less interview than discussion, as I have similar views.  Today we’ll be talking about the Quarantine Loneliness – the idea that people will be in social need, reach out to each other, have heartfelt if remote connections through electronic means.  Allow us to call bullshit on that.  Proceeding thus…

 

 

GAS:  Welcome back to the soundstage at Big Satan Studios.  How’s life been treating you?

drawing of the Beast from Seattle, a blue devil

 

 

BfS:  Not bad, though I’ve had to take a break from social interactions, for reasons I’m sure we’re about to discuss.

GAS:  Haha, that we are.  So.  There are a million articles about how people are going to be lonely in quarantine, how we should reach out to isolated friends, offer each other support.  How’s that been going for you?

BfS:  I totally bought into that hype, was all psyched up to be supportive to my friends but…  Where are they now?  I kept having to check in on them to make sure they weren’t dead every couple weeks, and they seemed annoyed with even that much interaction.

GAS:  Annoyed?  Give us an example of one of these interactions.  It’s so far from what we’ve expected, it might not be believable.  As close to verbatim as you can get without doxxing a friend.

BfS:  Well, I said hi to a friend a couple times on Discord, and they didn’t respond, so after several days I said “Are you okay?” and they said “Yeah, I’m busy and feel crappy.”  Or something to that effect.  I said “Oh, sorry” and they never wrote back…

GAS:  So lonely!  Such need, crying out to be fulfilled.  As we’ve discussed previously, I have much lower social needs than you, so there are not many places where I’m social.  But in those places?  Activity has been comparable to usual – or considerably reduced.  People aren’t talking, aren’t reaching out to each other.  Or is it just us getting whiffed on?

BfS:  Not sure, a lot of our social interactions are through hobbies/creative pursuits and seems like people aren’t engaging much in those either.  It’s strange to me though that the main mood that seems to be prevalent in people these days is surliness.  We’re mostly not friends with people with children so it’s not them just being annoyed with kids being in their hair all day either.

GAS:  I do believe it is possible that this increased social need among the quarantined is real, but that it is restricted wholly to the very closest friends and family.  That said, I have family that are not reaching out to me any more than usual – if at all.  And I have people who have personally told me I’m their best friend or one of their top two, and not any especial contact from them.

BfS:  Well, if they seem annoyed with people reaching out to them, it makes sense they wouldn’t do it either.  The strange part is, some of these people have explicitly said they were lonely or complained about their friends ignoring them.

GAS:  I remember these people.  You have to admit, they are a bit odd as people go, and may be outliers.  Like guy number one, you know exactly why he’s like that.

BfS:  Yeah he was always that way, even twenty years ago.  Complain that no one cares about him, and ignore people saying ‘I care about you!’ because they aren’t glamorous enough.

GAS:  He is so incredibly twisted.  Narcissistic or histrionic?  If we’re allowing ourselves that ableist armchair funtime.  I say histrionic, because it’s more associated with dramatic self pity, right?

BfS:  Heh, I don’t quite remember the difference.

GAS:  Yeah, it’s been since high school for me, so better to leave that to the experts he’ll never see.  As for guy number two, he’s harder to peg but I think he’s got a low key resentment about a situation that’s been going on, oh, about a half year now, and feels like passive aggression might get him what he wants?  And that he can somehow play it both ways and act like we’re his best friends while doing that?  People are vexing.

BfS:  Yes they are.

GAS:  But assuming this is more than just a couple of goofballs being goofy, that this is a thing a regular person might do, what does it mean to complain about being lonely, and subsequently be a mind-melting slughead when socially engaged by somebody?

BfS:  Yeah, leaves me wondering what they would even want out of someone.  You’d think– someone’s lonely, they want someone to talk to and someone to check in on them.  But no.  Why not?  All the articles predicted it, and it made sense at the time…  Being isolated would make people lonely.  So why do I hear less from people now than I did before?

GAS:  It’s counterintuitive.  But I’m better than you at imagining how others feel, my perspective not constrained by depression-colored lenses.  Jim Everyman is stressed, a little depressed, so he turns to TV, video games, etc. Maybe he’s one of the people who feel compelled to look at the news, or the social media version, even knowing it will bum him out – contributing to the feeling he must recover his okayness with deeper dives into passive media.  Vegging out.  So when someone makes a social move at them, they don’t have the energy, phone it in.

BfS:  Wild that as much as people bitch about how busy they are at their jobs, it actually gives them more mental space to be capable of holding a conversation compared to being home all day.

GAS:  We’re not just talking about active rebuffs here.  We’re talking about zombie conversations.  People shuffling through with a token “uh-huh” regardless of what you say or do.

BfS:  I did eventually get five words in with the rebuffer above, and complained about how everyone’s so absent, and he actually agreed with me.  Although that might have been the token ‘uh-huh’ as you say.  Mostly it’s just complete absence, though you can occasionally roust someone for a feeble exchange that feels like talking to a poorly calibrated chat-bot.

GAS:  There was that NPC meme some internet nightmare people tried to boost for a while, suggesting their political opposites were mindlessly parroting their party line and unable to have genuine interaction with their thoughts, akin to NPCs in video games with limited AI and scripts.  More right wing projection, but the idea that people often phone in their conversations?  Spot on.

BfS:  I think most video game NPCs would be more lively and vibrant.  Everyone seems more like people woken from a deep sleep, mumbling into their drool-soaked pillows.

GAS:  Sleeping, dreaming.  You’ve mentioned to me before that conversations in dreams – especially those on phones – have a weird quality because you speak and expect a response, but your brain doesn’t realize it has to create that response, and what comes back is deflections and nonsense.  Let’s roleplay that for a moment, by way of example.  *your phone rings*

BfS:  Haha, we’re doing this?  Okay.  “Hello?”

GAS:  “…”

BfS:  “….Hello?”

GAS:  “Whut.”

BfS:  “Hello, who is this?”

GAS:  “…It’s Christopher.”

BfS:  “Hey, Chris. What’s up?”

GAS:  “… … … …”

BfS:  “Are you still there?”

GAS:  “Yeah.”

BfS:  Haha, so realistic.

GAS:  So when people are responding to social interaction with non-committal grunts, or the banal pleasantry equivalent, you tend to call them “dream people.”  Sounds more flattering than NPC.

BfS:  Yeah, not quite ‘Dream Lovers’ or ‘Dream Babies’ though.

GAS:  So what does this look like in real life?  You had that example before, “are you OK?” three weeks later “Nuh.”  “wanna talk about it?”  “…”  That one was kind of extreme.  What’s another way this goes down?

BfS:  Besides just giant gaps in conversations that feel like “… … …” when you’re waiting on a response…  Sometimes it’s just drastic subject changes, talking over people, ignoring questions, on and on.  I’d chalk that up to bad reading comprehension for internet communications but it happens in real life too.

GAS:  Real life?  I’ve spoken to my brother and father in brief recently.  Didn’t notice that happening.  What happened with you?

BfS:  Maybe that’s just the usual for me!  I get talked over a lot in verbal conversations.

GAS:  My brother is a good case in point.  On the internet he doesn’t say much, what he says is thoughtless or jokey and always brief, and he has horrible reading comprehension and empathy.  On the phone he was more like one might expect for a normal human being – not so impaired.  This suggests maybe the real culprit here is internet communication.  I’ve long felt that people treat it differently from in-person interaction, more of a light touch, like it’s all disposable and meaningless.

BfS:  But now it’s all a lot of us have, so why be even more light with it now?

GAS:  Good question.  To that all I can say – either quarantine loneliness is a total myth, or 99% of the people we know regard somebody else as their social all.  They have somebody else in their life, maybe in meatspace, that they rely on utterly for all social needs.

BfS:  But why would that social need be more diverse when they’re busy with their usual routines?

GAS:  To my original theory – the stress and isolation actually makes them less sociable in the broad sense, with most of the people they know.  If they do have a social need, they feel it’s easier to focus it on whatever person happens to be their number one.

BfS:  So the need for Netflix/TV/Video games is actually greater than social need?

GAS:  Pretty much.  As we’ve previously discussed, I – the cat privileged with self esteem and the ability to tolerate TV and passive media – have less need for social interaction than you.  Passive media is my go-to way of relieving stress and setting my mind free.  We can be in the same room doing nothing, not talking with each other, and I will feel socially fulfilled by being physically around you.  Easy for me to imagine quarantine pushing that a little farther.

BfS:  If that’s the case for so many people, wonder why none of these people writing articles predicted it?  TOP TEN WAYS YOUR FRIENDS WILL BE SURLY DICKS AND ONE WEIRD TRICK TO IGNORE THEM

GAS:  People writing the articles and thinkpieces are in concern mode – looking for problems to solve, people to help.  They imagined a need that perhaps is vastly bigger in imagination than in reality.  Because they were looking for problems – not because they actually observed reality.

BfS:  Well, it made sense.  Why would being more alone not make people lonelier?  It’s hella weird, man.  Is there anything that would make people actually be lonely?

GAS:  I think even under normal circumstances, popular culture from books to TV have created a very distorted view of how humans behave, what they need to feel fulfilled, how they should or would interact with each other.

Reality is that we have our instincts, we have our acculturation and our psychological influences, and we act on that.  Result: Most people are more self-interested, shallow, thoughtless, and banal than any story or film ever created would lead you to believe.

We’re zombie-walking through life.  The people with the most dramatically interesting lives are usually hell people contriving conflict for its own sake.  The rest of us are up our own asses and only interested in each other’s feelings insofar as it props up our lives as the centers of our respective universes.

BfS:  Heh, that’s bleak.  Reminds me of how I’ve had to – in writing fiction – change characters based on real life people to be more kind and thoughtful because they seemed too cruel and one-dimensional to be believable.

GAS:  In narrative art, all people need is love and friendship.  In real life, once we’ve achieved a bare level of feeling like we have the right to continue existing, we check out.  The reason I have lower social needs than you – I have self esteem, so I don’t need to improve it by checking in with others to verify that I am, in fact, tolerable.

What do we need then, if not actual friendships with any depth or meaning?  We need a small stable of regulars to say, “sup” now and then, when we are checking to see if we are OK.  Friends as dipsticks to gauge your need for an oil change, not friends as people we genuinely care about and who care about us.  If somebody says they care in even the phoniest way, that’s enough of an illusion to make us feel socially adequate and keep rollin’.

BfS:  It’s weird, man.

GAS:  Now for the promised non-misanthropy.  As I said, I have more ability to intuit how other people are feeling and relate.  It’s easy to see this and think, man, people are meaningless cardboard cutouts, nobody cares about nobody so what’s the point?  Kill em all and let gawd sort em out.  That is a mistake.

We’re all the center of our own lives because telepathy doesn’t fucking exist.  The level of intuition and empathy that happens in stories is also a myth.  Some people might be sharper than others in this respect, but for most of us all we can do is build on instincts and illusions.

Nobody is doing this out of malice.  We just genuinely imagine that our zombie-talking ‘friendships’ are deeper and more emotionally connected than they are.  We believe we care about each other, and that kind of makes it true?  We just don’t do that in the heartfelt or meaningful ways depicted in media and fiction.

Everybody is the center of a universe, in which their own thoughts and feelings are more important and profound than anything around them.  Self esteem is, in a way, the construction of imaginary friends to say we’re acceptable.  We then transfer the voice of our self esteem onto others ventriloquism style, and imagine we’re as loved as we feel we should be.

And if you don’t feel love for yourself, you’re assed out buddy.

BfS:  Oye hoye what a dialogue…

Guess it’s all a bit disappointing, because that was going to be the bright side of an incredibly bleak situation.  Hey, at least your pals will be around to hang out with.

GAS:  The crux of the issue.  This was a big disappointment for you, specifically.  I’m sorry, man.  At least you have GREAT AMERICAN SATAN.

BfS:  Thanks, man.  Guess my friends weren’t reading the same articles I was.  That whole time I was getting psyched up to help people, and I was the one who needed help all along…

GAS:  And with that, another uncommon viewpoint has been published, hopefully to find purchase in the dark soil of the internet, to be found by those wondering – why does nobody feel the way I feel?  Guess what, ye miserable of the earth?  You are not alone.  Except insofar as we all are.  You know TF I’m talkin’ about.

Interview With The Abyss

Content Warning: Depression thoughts.

Hello. I have a healthy level of self esteem. I don’t always feel great about myself, but it’s unequivocally when I deserve to feel bad about something. I can tell the line, bright and clear. And my mind practically has a wolverine healing factor for keeping me feeling hunkydory most of the time.

Most people feel worse about themselves than I do. Hard for me to relate, to know why or what it’s like. But I’ve had a long association with somebody who has an especially rare mix of high levels of self respect and black hole levels of self esteem. It’s a window into another world that can be educational to look into – if you’re brave enough to deal with the damage of it looking back.

Here I present a loose conversation on the topic of self esteem, between somebody who has it and somebody who will never know what it’s like to be OK with one’s self. I introduce you once again to The Abyss, my mans The Beast from Seattle.

 

 

GAS: Beast, how do you like being on the Great American Satan Show?

 

 

BfS: It’s just swell, thank you.

GAS: Nice, nice.  So you’re a specimen today, if that’s alright.  Can you bear the scrutiny of the howling masses of I think seven people who see my articles and probably won’t read them if the word count creeps up like this?

BfS: I think I can handle it.

GAS: So in our past discussions, we’ve reached some ideas about what self esteem is.  Until I gained some perspective on what it’s like for someone without, I didn’t even notice it was a thing.  But now I can see it, and I feel I should preface this with the vague operating definition we’ll be using.

It seems that as social creatures we have an instinct for ranking ourselves with regards to others – we can’t escape a compulsion to form a self valuation, often at an absurdly young age.  I was among peers, middle childing.  We both suffered a great deal of neglect and abuse (myself more the former, you more of the latter), but I had peers in my siblings, which helped me establish a baseline sense of myself as acceptable.

This is the thing: Self esteem is, in part, our baseline valuation of ourselves.  You’re the abyss, I’m Bazooka Joe chewing gum.  The perverse twist here is that you have self respect.  How would you differentiate self esteem and self respect?  For the listeners.

BfS: I hope they can’t really hear me… well… It’s funny that I don’t know that I would have made the distinction between the two myself, until we began to talk more about it. I knew I had lousy self esteem, but never would have thought of my self respect as being anything remarkable. I guess I would say that it’s a feature of having a strong sense of justice. Even though I can’t regard myself, I know that I don’t deserve to be treated poorly. Seems stranger for someone to have the reverse.

GAS: That is exactly how I would have stated it.  We’ve talked about your dreams before, and an occasional theme of them is righteous indignation.  You stand up for the oppressed, or call situations out as unreasonable.  It’s part of who you are.

You can’t love yourself in the tiniest degree, but you can say, hey, the unlovable deserve a baseline level of respect and rights.  It’s a deeply weird combination.  It makes sense to develop the one to make up for the lack of the other, as a kind of defense mechanism maybe.  The remarkable thing about it is that you have probably better self-respect than most people.  It’s impressive.

BfS: Thanks? 🙂 I like to imagine it’s a bit more dignified than the other way.

GAS: It is.  Self esteem is a funny beast because I think it puts someone like myself on a grade to narcissism, capable of some loathsome levels of disregard for others.  And people like myself can’t help but show our ass at every opportunity.  We feel entitled to share our opinions at all times and in all venues, whether that’s sensible or not.  The difference between a commenter and a lurker.  The lurker is never embarrassed.

BfS: Interesting you should mention that, as I once did a research project on ‘lurkers’ — AKA the majority of people on the internet.

GAS: I’ll take this aside for a moment.  Any interesting conclusions, or was it too hard to find anything out about the ghosts in our machines?

BfS: It probably would have been more interesting to focus on the commenters, as they’re such a small fraction of users, less than one percent in many cases. Probably the most interesting thing I gleaned was asking people why they didn’t comment, and they generally said ‘I didn’t think anyone would care.’ Which is mostly true. So what makes commenters think otherwise?

GAS: Self esteem!  Back to the point, seamlessly.  I didn’t notice this about myself until I got to know somebody better who formed a stark contrast to it.  I have something inside, not like a voice but just as powerful as if it was.  It’s a sense of entitlement, maybe.

I just don’t doubt for a second that I’m important enough to matter in a conversation, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Does that make sense?  I can see the vast size of the human species, in our billions, and our cosmic insignificance.  And yet I feel like I could be one of the grandiose npr liberals @ing the fascist orange on twitter, if I used that platform.

BfS: Sounds pretty wild, my dude.

GAS: They say you have a slow wave in your brain.  Something isn’t as powerful as it should be, hence the depression and such.  But to you it’s like time is standing still, stretching out into a horrid infinity.  This is a little off topic, getting into depression more generally.

The reason I bring it up is that it seems like as powerfully intelligent as you are, and as much as you get done compared to the rest of us, wiling away your dark infinities, how could there be anything slow about you?  But science mans said there is.

BfS: That’s true, my neurologist said it would be normal for a 70 year old man. Does seem strange, doesn’t it? That people being able to sit still to watch a TV show have more active energy in their brains than I do. Takes a lot of energy to feel okay, apparently.

GAS: And that’s the magical mystery.  I feel like I am not doing anything extra at all.  When I see you hating yourself, it seems so energetic, so much like that is the extra.  That is the energy.  But no, I am the one with energy.  It’s an invisible energy that says, hey dude, the world is yours.

BfS: You got tha power.

GAS: But you say it seems like everyone around you is bottomed out barbiturate zombies.  Nobody has the energy for a real conversation at your speed, or at least depth.  You say something meaningful and one of us is like, “Cool bro.  Imma go watch commercials for laundry detergent now.”  It just seems funny to think that slow wave produces more thought than whatever energy it is that allows me to live in comparative bliss.

BfS: Yeah, that it takes more juice to sit around and watch the Avengers for the 10000th time than to have a decent conversation. Does really astound me how difficult it is for some people to think about anything. Nothing to do with intelligence, it could be about their opinion on peanut butter cups. I’ve had better conversations with four year olds than some adults. And to think, that being an undead on downers is actually more processor-intensive?

GAS: I’m probably a little aberrant in this respect, a little more chatty.  But I’m a lot closer to them than I am to you.  Something that’s become a topic of discussion in our lives pretty often is the difference between passive and active media.  Writing, RPGs, even some video games require some active engagement.  Reading books, watching movies, listening to music, perusing social media – these are the things that can wash over you.  Minimal effort, passive.

For a person like myself, passive media is an anesthetic to chill me out after the tension of a day’s work.  But you have no attention span for passive media.  Can hardly watch TV and movies, always have to be doing something active.  It seems exhausting.  You are allowed no anesthetic.

BfS: Even listening to music seems a bit beyond most people these days. They gotta hear it 10+ times before they can decide if they like it or not. I guess to me, if I was chilling out that much, I’d just go to sleep! And I hate going to sleep.

GAS: Guess that’s getting off topic into the undiagnosed ADHD territory.  Bringing it back, you have the major depression / nega self-esteem combo, even if it’s higher speed than people expect.  It’s vexing.

It’s one of the things that convinces me there is no justice or inherent goodness in the universe, certainly no god: that humans are cursed with having this self-valuation.  We can’t just be – we have to rank ourselves.  And for some people that means never knowing what it’s like to feel alright.

What’s the best you’re able to feel, and how do you do it?

BfS: Oh man, I have this app that tracks your mood, and I’m basically ‘fine,’ tops. I went to a couple good concerts that bumped it all the way up to ‘good’ back in 2019. Best for me is being able to focus on something I’m interested in and forget I exist.

GAS: For me, it feels like I always forget I exist.  I can lose myself in anything that catches my eye.  I’m not a consideration or sticking point in my own life, which is one reason self esteem is invisible to me – feels like a non-thing.  But it seems like, if this slow wave of yours is related, maybe my self esteem is a constant reassurance that I am OK, and can safely be forgotten.  Sound about right?

BfS: It could be, might be a secondary thing. I’ve met people with lousy self esteem that can seem to forget while they veg out, and only feel bad when they get reminded of their own existence.

GAS: The other way this difference between us manifests is in loneliness.  I rarely feel lonely, but you often feel that way.  I’m not socializing any more than you are.  Why the difference?  Is my self esteem, my fast wave if you will, something like company to me?  An unspoken voice in my head?  Or is it just that the pain of hating yourself makes you feel the need to be more engaged – as a way of getting outside of your own mind?

BfS: It could be as simple as an extrovert/introvert thing, I might be some kind of repressed extrovert for all I know. We know some people with bad self esteem that are also extreme loners, so it’s hard to say.

GAS: It’s vexing to know I can be over here chilling, and just being in the same room as you without speaking, I’ll feel good about that.  Like I have whatever company my mind needs.  Meanwhile, the reverse can never be true.  I am insufficient funds for your social needs.  I’m not offended, exactly, but I do feel sad for you on the regular.

BfS: LOL it’s okay, man. Life sucks.

GAS: Well, per the words of the great sage Dr. Phil, I think there is a cure for your bad self esteem that you could try.  Might help.  Next time you feel inclined to hate on yourself, just simply STOP DOIN’ THAT.  It’s the wisdom of Texas.

BfS: (Insert thinking emoji) Will do.

And with that, he was cured!

Guest Post: I am the Stranger

Guest post by The Beast from Seattle

The life of an Atheist (from Visconti's adaptation)

The life of an Atheist (from Visconti’s the Stranger)

I have what you might say is a ‘strained relationship’ with my mother, for reasons not worth getting into here.  But we do spend some time together and as she is a big reader, I often loan her books I’ve already finished, despite our wildly opposed tastes.  One summer I gave her a stack including The Road, a couple books of poetry by Rimbaud (it had that ‘weird style’ where the words ‘don’t make sense’ apparently), and The Stranger by Albert Camus.  It wasn’t meant to be a pile o’ bleak, just what I’d been reading at the time.  A week or so later we were in the car, where she’d normally go on about her troubles at work and coworkers that she doesn’t like.  This particular sunny afternoon, she paused for a long moment and told me this…

“If you’re ever on trial for something, even if you didn’t do it, make sure you pretend to be upset.”

I thought it was the most bizarre thing I’d ever heard, and it took me a few days to realize– she thought I was l’étranger.

In the first pages of the novel the apathetic main character doesn’t cry at his mother’s funeral, which serves as evidence of his heartless nature in his future murder trial.  Regardless of what that implies about my relationship with my mother (Maman est thankfully not morte), it said a lot about her opinion of me.  Note that she said ‘pretend to be upset,’ because nothing could upset me as the stoic, humorless bastard I am.  Years before I settled on being an atheist, and identified as an agnostic (on Facebook alone probably, as I can’t imagine wanting to have that conversation with her), she told me she was fine with it as long as I ‘believed in something.’

We believe in nothing, Lebowski!

We believe in nothing, Lebowski!

Being an atheist would be troubling, as though I was smoking and she’d tolerate it for now, ‘as long as I was healthy.’  Why?  Because it was disturbing to think that I might really believe in nothing.  To her, Christianity is a pleasant, happy thing where you’ll meet dead relatives in heaven and live in familial harmony forever.  Being an atheist is denying that, not only for yourself, but denying that it even exists.  It’s the reason people say ‘Aww,’ and wrinkle their foreheads when you mention your non-beliefs.  (Or is that just me?)  Being an atheist is being a hater of everything, believer of nothing.

and I mean it

We never had that conversation again after my views changed, but she’s seen me cry at a funeral, laugh, grumble about my own job.  Yet I am still l’etranger in her eyes.  Maybe it was just my taste in books– bleak poetry, nihilistic philosophy and babies on spits.  At least she didn’t focus on the last part.  Well, I’m off to go stare at the sea, stare at the sand, and not kill anyone of any ethnicity.

The Cure performs a song inspired by L’Étranger

drawing of the Beast from Seattle, a blue devilThe Beast from Seattle was born in the ’80s, is a big queer goth weirdo, and the kind of person who’ll break his keyboard trying to get every last cat hair out of it.  He wrote a term paper defending lurkerdom and normally never comments anywhere, but Great American Satan will keep squeezing posts out of him until his natural tendencies win the day.

Guest Post: The Carmex of Music

I will occasionally be posting for my guest blogger. He doesn’t want a wordpress account so he won’t be making these directly, but I’ll label them as “Guest Post” and put his blurb at the bottom.

(art by Al Columbia)

Don’t hold out on me, Bruh.       (art by Al Columbia)

I told G.A.S tonight that I shouldn’t be allowed to listen to the Pixies with my headphones on. Invariably, I will slowly turn up the volume until it’s maxed out and my brains are dribbling out my ears. This is something unique to this band, and whatever hearing loss I have now I blame entirely on them. It must be some arcane musical wizardry, along with the way their songs always seem to end too early, no matter how many times you listen to them. I liken this phenomena to that of Carmex lip balm.

Once in middle school an outbreak of Carmex addiction hit the seventh graders hard, I among their sad, chapped numbers. If you were unfortunate enough to leave your denim jacket on the back of a chair, you’d come back to parched junkies digging through your pockets for a dip into that little yellow pot. Many the Trapper Keeper and Peechee were edged in medicinal grease after a tube released all over the bottom of a backpack.

I went cold turkey, and to this day I yearn to feel that uncanny burn on my lips. Snopes claims this is a hoax, but they’re obviously in the pocket of big balm. So, I say that the Pixies are the Carmex of music, damaging to your physical health but delicious and addictive. But I ain’t giving that shit up, and they never ruined any stationery.

drawing of the Beast from Seattle, a blue devilG.A.S. told me to write this as a blog entry, so here it is as introduction to me, the Beast from Seattle. I’m a big-time lurker so I normally never comment anywhere or even as much as write on Facebook. I wrote a term paper defending lurkerdom, but I will fight my natural tendencies and write something here once in a while. About me: I was born in the ’80s, am a big queer goth weirdo, and the kind of person who’ll break their keyboard trying to get every last cat hair out of it.