Tuesday May 13 2014

17th Street (May 13 2014)[i]

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Hanging out with Beck in a newly acquired apartment. He owns a huge collection of books upon stacks of books—bookshelves everywhere. I open up a desk drawer where I put all my cash money from the workday—trying to count it. Beck is making a pizza from scratch in the kitchen.

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Waking up just before 1 p.m.

Oat Flakes and Berry Cobbler Granola with Almond Milk.

General chores. Repotting plants.

Double Egg Sandwich with Mayo and Tomato. Banana. Homemade Kombucha Tea (from Will).

At the Rec Center playing some 1-on-1 and 21. I was scheduled to work a part-time shift at China Wok but after calling my bosses they didn't seem to need me. So I chill at the Rec and play some full court games for adult basketball.

Navel Orange. Baked Salt n Vinegar Chips.

Leftover Lentils, Brussel Sprouts, Onions, and Quinoa. Reed's Ginger Ale.

I've got a date with Elliott tonight. We ride bikes up and down the boardwalk—taking it all the way up to 82nd Street. It's been a while since we've hung out so we have a lot to catch up on – the latest and greatest on ideas, ambitions, friend news, etc.

Stopping by Bella Pizza for a few slices.

I head home a little before midnight. When I arrive I see a familiar long-haired face in front of the house...Anthony. I didn't have the opportunity for an official welcome home hug until now. There're a lot of people here meddling around in the dining room: James Graves, Kevin, Aj, Richie, and Jessica. Anthony's frenetic spirit hasn't weakened one bit. He's still acting like a puppy dog or a jester running around and getting everyone riled up. He looks somewhat thinner in the face since I last saw him, which would've been less than a year ago. There's a lot of excitement about a possible new travel/film project between him and Skippy where they'd all take a year long road trip across America and Ed Harris would provide all the camera equipment needed. Whenever Anthony's around there's no lack of that electric 20-something spirit.

Anthony barges into my room throughout the night while I catch up on writing and reading. He sprawls out onto my bed and insinuates he'll be sleeping here tonight.

He assures me, "Don't worry. I'll leave the room when you need to masturbate. Discretion is the better part of valor my friend. I'll just sleep on the floor over there."


He starts off asking about Ana, the new important person/partner in my life—then, asking about Phil Gray and what he's doing—then quoting something he read the other day..."People only value the internet as much as the internet makes them important………And if you have a whole separate life on the internet that has promoted you and over valued you or has highlighted you in a specific way that in real life you don't have then you will value it that much. But if you're someone who in no way is serviced by the internet then you're just like ah well whatever it's the fucking internet. But then to me the quote was a little empty cause I thought well that's true of anything. I value anything that helps make me feel like I've got a bigger sense of self-worth."

I missed Anthony and his high-strung critical energy.

"Here's what bothers me: For, let's say, a hundred and twenty thousand years if someone had an image of a train in their head it was because they'd actually seen that train and now for the past hundred years...if I asked you to think about a baseball game, or I asked you to think about a kiss under the bleachers, or I asked you to think about a summer sunset some of your first images in your head without you even realizing it would be TV/movies. And for 99% of human existence up until the past century that was never the case—there were actual things that you experienced so now all of a sudden these images aren't ours! For some reason these images that we've never really experienced have replaced the images that we have because they're so pervasive and it freaks me the fuck out! If someone asks you to remember things and you give TV and movies more than you give your own life...you gotta take a step back at that point—I think that that can't be healthy to a degree, man. This is the first time in life, in civilization when we are less human than we've ever been. There is such a disconnect between actual experiences and simulated communal experiences in a virtual world—we've created a whole simulated world online. People have never been able to handle anything healthily—people have never been able to do things in moderation. With TV...do they just watch a little bit of it and reap the benefits of it? No! They fucking sat there for thirty fucking hours and turned into fucking zombies. With even radio! And sometimes I think when books first came out I bet you there was a vocal minority who was like you're getting taking out what's really happening right here, right now and you're going to some place that doesn't exist. It's not a question of what's evil and what's good. It's just crazy—we're always trying to get out of the right here and the right now, which is nothing new. And it's accelerating because of technology. How much does real technology play in our evolution as human beings...and that scares the shit out of me...because it shouldn't."

Me: "Technology is designed to shave off seconds and minutes from our lives."

Anthony: "And it becomes a question in me, the age old Kurt Vonnegut thing: what do you do with that time? Someone who says they don't watch TV and they spend four hours on Facebook or Tumblr and they think that it's not like as bad. It's the same exact thing."

Me: "Well, it's all about choosing what to do with your time—being wise with your time. That's the real problem."

Anthony: "And there's no way you can think that forty years from now people are gonna wanna wait even ten seconds for anything."

Me: "For example, even look at reading articles online—they're always really short—they're always like three paragraphs long."

Anthony: "Of course they are. Because they know your attention span."

Me: "You're going through it and you're like alright I'm done with that. Oh what's next? Oh what's next? And there's always another article to read. And you never retain that information."

Anthony: "Not at all."

Me: "And when you read a book—you're spending a lot of time with that book so you retain the information."

At some point we finalize our thoughts on the future of society and he leaves the room.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Corner of 17th and Mediterranean. Image by me.

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