Saturday, August 28, 2010

My First Day Back In Town

Rome. I'm in its limits. Huh.

The two main issues are mainly the heat and the wi-fi. As complaints go: There's worse. The library's nice and there's a fantastic iced cappuccino available for under $2, so it's hard to complain. Also, there' s a ground based power outlet, which means I can type this. I should talk to the guy who does wifi.

Under 24 hours later, I've got wireless internet, the iced cappuccino is still fantastic.

I ought to explore Rome, which often means making decisions that involve basically ignoring my ingrained desire to have outs of situations. In other words: Say yes to ideas like finding a bar at midnight in a shady part of town, or getting off of a bus before the right stop because everyone else is doing it. (And yes, I did just call Rome a town. It's so Midwest of me. I know.) The ingrained desire is to always have a way home on my own. My safety and autonomy are paramount, back home. Here, I have to learn very carefully to ignore that in favor of something more enjoyable and restrictive.

I know I'm using the prescriptive in that last paragraph. For example, the getting off the bus with a gaggle of other kids I only loosely know, but united in the fact that we're all American did not end well, if the destination was the bar. We never found it, and getting off the bus with the other drunk Americans was the first bad decision that led to other ones. The group split again, between the people who were sure where they were going and the couple (handsy boy and handsy girl) with the map.

They split, with hesitant promises to meet up at the Spanish Steps. I headed with the couple, with whom we braved the roman streets. The cars didn't stop for anything, which meant we dodged cars and ran across hazy cobblestone lanes a lot. It hit me when we got to the river in the middle of the city, (which I'm not looking up because as soon as I get on the internet, I'll never leave) that I was very much not at home.

We skirted the bright, noisy tents of the circus/festival on the banks of the sky and I knew instantly, there is an analogue for this in the City, but nothing really like this feeling of being among friends and being very, very far from home. There was a language spoken I didn't recognize, bright lights and lots of people who did not look like they wanted to rob me. In other words: an air of intoxicating possibility. Shit, there was even a bridge that didn't have some obvious mechanism to raise it. There were lots of these bridges! As far as my eye could see (say, about two either way), bridges carved by hand.

We traipsed up the Spanish Steps, finally. I hummed the chorus to Spanish Bombs,by the Clash for the rest of the night. We split up from the handsy couple (likely to their delight) somehow, and after finding them only after becoming certain we were taking a cab to our next destination, which ended up being the wrong place, and sent us on another adventure.

That another adventure will be on Wednesday. This is a natural stopping point, anyway.

But for now, I'll end with the Clash's Spanish Bombs, since it's

a) a great song
b) germane to both
b i) my state of mind
b ii) the place

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More On the Title

Subsidized Sincerity is a title that, hopefully, expresses unease and acknowledges the negotiation and fudging of truth in life, specifically, my own. I mean, that fucking Monetize button. I think it's laughing at me.

It's a title, that I hope, stirs the pot enough to get whiffs of half-truths, lies that are accurate and humorless laughter. I feel comfortable with those behaviors. Maybe it's what I've been reading for the last 10 or so years. Those books are based on compromise, being trapped and forced to make a decision that isn't satisfying but permissible.

Not satisfying but permissible. Wow.

It's about being tainted but still trying to do something. Damnit, something. That actions, even if they are checkered, suspect or not entirely pure still have some kind of value. Doing good when everything's cool and you have superpowers is easy. Doing good when you can taste the blood and vomit mixing between your teeth, the bed is empty and your job drains every milliliter of your energy is much harder and worth so much more.

That's why I chose Subsidized Sincerity.

Oh. I go to Rome (as in Italy) for three months. I leave in three hours. I think the third post will be in Rome, as many of the coming posts will be.

This post's song is by the Long Blondes, as a tip of the hat to a couple of my friends and to the Phonogram comic series generally. It's one of the few Long Blondes songs that I enjoy because it's fun and not depressing. That's all I'll say. See you in dreams.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Inspiration Only Lasts A Few Rounds.


The blog title is a Crime In Stereo lyric. (They're a band and they broke up. It hurts.)

This post's title is a piece of advice I got and failed to enact many times.

But, occasionally, I did follow up on it. And so, here it is. This isn't Eleven Names. This is whatever follows. As for why the title, well, it's a Crime In Stereo lyric. But, more truthfully, I hope it expresses, vividly, a little bit of unspoken conflict of modern life.

(I just noticed the tab labeled Monetize at the top of the page. All I can do is smile.)

I'm figuring out the template for the posts as I go along, but if I can swing it, I'll try to have a youtube embed of the song that inspired or is most representative of the update at the end of every post.

At the moment, youtube is not finding a direct link to the song from which subsidized sincerity comes (called "Warning: Perfect Sideburns Do Not Make You Dangerous"), so here's a pretty good live set of theirs that contains the song. (It's at roughly 2:40. Roughly.)

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