I don’t want to go to church and pretend I’m religious and ask the priest man why he gave me a palm leaf and have him keep raving about my shoes. I don’t want to read my biology textbook for “fun” on weekends. I don’t care about the alternation of generations in angiosperms and how it’s so “special.” I don’t want to read Warhol’s boring diary. He’s annoying. I don’t want to visit the zoo to do a lab when there are no animals there. I don’t want to cut up a fetal pig or starfish or crayfish and peel out its guts. I don’t want to make speeches, especially on stupid topics. And I sure as hell don’t want to take courses all summer and catch caterpillars for research all alone in DC.

This semester is no fun because I don’t look forward to any class. Last semester I liked/could at least tolerate all of my classes. I know I won’t like next semester either if I double up on sciences, do shifts at the hospital and take a comm theory course. I’m not liking any comm courses either…so maybe I shouldn’t major in it. I also feel like I always need an english course to balance things out, but I definitely don’t want to major in that. I’m never going to figure out what I want so I’m going to end up stuck with what I have. Sad thought.

I just want to read my Vonnegut and Better by Atul Gawande (and kind of wish I had some math to do).

Yup. This is the type of post you get when I’ve been in the library since 2pm and know that I won’t be out until I see the sun set and rise again.

YAY FOR BIOLOGY and toasty libraries that dry out my contacts. I took honors bio last year… Swear to god I was never taught a thing that I’m learning now in that class.

I also do this thing when I’m nervous where I check up on all my grades and calculate the exact scores I need so that I can get an A overall… and I just did that and I basically need an 95+ on every assignment I get for the rest of the year to make that happen (which is only about 2 or 3 for each class). I’m queasy. I don’t like. The sucky thing about college is that your grade is based off of about 3 or 4 tests. I screwed up this semester and now I’m playing catch up. College has made me neurotic.

Here’s a song that I just discovered. I like. This version replaced one of its verses with a verse from a missy elliot song (the parts about money and clothes)… weird haha. I thought I liked it but I think I like the original verse better.

kbyeeeeeeeeee. work time/ look at this cute salamander!Su

Why do my your morals jump out the window hand-in-hand with my your youth?
Because I run on bitter coffee and the fear of failure.

Funny People

March 25, 2010

Many funny things happen to me daily. They are not funny to me. To name a few:

1) I was about to go to bed one night in Anguilla last week and I placed my TWO WEEK OLD Mac on the floor next to my bed. I thought this would be a bad idea, but I was lazy, and thought that the worst that could happen is a bug crawling into it or something and attacking me the next day (thank god that didn’t!!). So I looked at the Bose radio clock next to me to check the time, then went to bed. This is the one night where I went to sleep without any trouble (I usually lie there for a while before I could pass out). However, around 3AM or so, something magical happened. A CD (where did this come from?!?!) inside of Mr. Bose, the radio crazy 3-in-1 contraption, ejected and hit a glass (I remember thinking that it weird that a random glass was on the nightstand), which tumbled off and woke me up. Annoying. I woke up in the morning to find a lovely dent on the top of my new computer. I was angry and very confused, but mostly angry. The fact that I was to blame for the poor placement of my computer makes me even more angry. I found out that the only way to eject the CD is with this little button on a little controller which was all the way on the other side of the mean machine. Maybe some little heavy bug was a bitch and stepped on it or something.

2) The next day, I had to hang out with my cousins (of course) and their friends. They’re all younger than me and they wanted to go on the banana boat (and I really did too secretly). So, we went. Long story short, we all flipped off in the middle of the ocean, you know, where the water gets really dark and scary indicating there is life beneath you.  I got kicked in the nose on the way down and I actually thought my nose was broken because the sides were bruised the next day. Then the current started pulling me away from everyone no matter how hard I tried swimming, so I gave up and floated away for a bit. Then I was rescued and was given the option to sit on the actual boat, but I chose to get back on the banana boat, naturally. The second time seemed to go pretty smoothly, until we suddenly flipped again… This time, I felt as though some giant picked me up by the head and just smashed it full force into concrete. Well, I was forever dizzy for a few days and had a large bump on my head which still sort of hurts. I would check it out, but I am lazy… and you know where laziness gets me. Oh, and supposedly it’s rare that people flip off the banana… BS.

3) Things were going really well for once today. I woke up at 4:30, did my paper half dead (but I really liked writing it, weird), showered at 8:30 and got to my 9:30 class. Perfect. After class, I finished editing my paper and did another mini essay for my next class. Got to my next class on time, took great notes. Excellent. 1:35, out of class. Got to the library and read over my paper for the last time, perfect. 20 minutes before class, I find out that I don’t have internet for some whatever freak reason the universe hates me and feel a little woozy because I can’t email the paper to myself to print it out. I work on that for 10 minutes, finally worked. I go to the computer library to print. The computer crashes on me. Then I get it to work and I find out all the printers in the library just malfunctioned and died. Now, this teacher for my next class that was going to start in 10 minutes from then is very anal about punctuality and my dorm is 10 minutes from the library. So I was mad late and was speed walking to class all nervous when this stupid green peace annoying advocate lady who stands on the street with those paper clippy boards approached me and I literally freaked and yelled NO! I’M TOO LATE in her face. I feel like a bad person now. I want to apologize. I’m not that mean. After a good class though, I was crossing a street while heading back to my dorm, when the wind decided to blow around the nasties on the apparently dirty streets of DC directly into my eyes. It literally felt as though someone threw a handful of sand in my face. I looked like a cripple blind lady crossing the street and I couldn’t see clearly for the next 2 blocks… Matthew… I don’t like crazy eyes. I’m going to stop my day there. I refuse.

I’m not even going to get into my Tuesday. Tra already knows about/ it’s too  embarassing and unfortunate.

A little tidbit about me: I like funny people, but I don’t like funny people. Get it? No, you probably don’t. I’m not implying any self-hatred here.

APRIL COME ALREADY!!!!!!! & LOOK AT THIS HUGE STRAWBERRY!!!!!!Su

Why?

March 17, 2010

“Why?” is the question I find most pressing to man. Because of our ability to perceive cause and effect, we are constantly asking “why,” it is how we have learned since a caveman rubbed two sticks together to create fire. The looming big sibling of the “who, what, where, when” family, “why” offers the colors and shapes of an idea where its comrades simply offer boring thin black outline. Who, what, where, when = John went to the store yesterday. Why = Because he had to buy the morning after pill for that cute asian girl in his chem class that he had hooked up with that Saturday since the condom they used popped during climax. See? John became much more interesting after that key three letter question.

In our generation, Google is the answer to all our questions. As much as Wikipedia, KGB, Bing, and all those other fags try to edge their way into our cyber arsenal of infostreams, Google is by default where we go to automatically answer any question we can ponder. So naturally, asking Google “why” should offer some interesting results, right? Well, I decided to test this theory.

Inspired by a particularly gay Superbowl commercial, I decided to ask Google “why” and see what it suggested I was thinking (seeing as how Google is psychic, and can answer your question even before you ask it!). The results were no less than.. well.. see for yourself.

…Wow. (This is a real google search that I did, try it yourself)

I’ve decided to fold the world on its head and try to answer Google’s ten questions, which presumably are the ten most asked questions on the internet, which is… troubling. Hopefully I can clear up some of what clearly are the existential questions of our time.

1. Why are Black people so loud?

Ahh, the age old conundrum. What is it about my people that encourages such high volume, at time when normal speaking would be more than appropriate? The fact that this is the most searched question (presumed by its position in the suggestions) is no surprise. I’m kidding. It’s a shock. It’s also hilarious. The only answer I can offer, confused masses, is that more often than not on the national and global scale, Black people aren’t listened to, so we feel we have to yell to get our points across (HA! Feel guilty now don’t you! Yeah you do!).

2. Why can’t I own a Canadian?

I’ve been wondering this for a few months myself. I mean, they serve no purpose on their own, and we all know Canada is pretty much America Jr. Think about how much more productive we could be if we all had our own Canadians to do our mindless errands and busywork for us? We’d have a Utopia! But alas, I think owning a Canadian would come with its own complications, ultimately making it for the better that we cannot. What do Canadians eat? How does one care for a Canadian? They are probably very expensive, and clearly don’t appreciate in value. There would have to be some sort of Canadian trade and exchange rate, commerce laws, taxes, and a bunch of other things that we’d probably want the Canadians themselves to take care of organizing for us. In all reality, it just wouldn’t work out.

3. Why is my poop green?

I’ve met the big green monster twice in my life, and I remember each time very distinctly. Both times, I could feel that this wasn’t my typical poop, that something in the texture and smell and delivery was just off. I’d then turn around for the typically triumphant work review to find a spinach green mess where some charming brown friends usually swam. I’d ultimately attribute this to poor diet choices, something with too much grease or something. If it’s happening often, I’d suggest getting checked out. Also, if you refer to your feces as “poop” and you’re old enough to use a computer, I’d suggest getting checked out.

4. Why did I get married too?

I realized this was a search about an upcoming Tyler Perry movie of the same name. I’d like to strangle Tyler Perry with my bear hands. As in the hands of a bear. To ensure that he died. Next question.

5. Why is the sky blue?

To answer this question, I’ll refer to one of the best children’s programs ever, Arthur. DW had recently opened a makeshift museum in the families backyard, and claimed to hold the answer to all of life’s scientific mysteries. The Tibble Twins ask her why the sky is blue, and she responds “because all of the other colors were taken. Grass is green, dirt is brown, the sun is yellow, clouds are white, roses are red, etc.” Arthur, frustrated as usual by DW’s antics, rebutted that the sky was blue because air particles only reflected blue light. In a genius chess move, DW yells “prove it!”, instantly crippling Arthur’s seemingly foolproof argument. Backed into a corner, he swats the ball back to her, demanding that she prove her hypothesis first. Finally, in an episode of rhetorical debate fit for college level analysis and appreciation, DW responds “look around you! Is grass green? Is dirt brown? Is the sun yellow? Is the sky blue?! I rest my case.” Socrates would be proud.

6. Why do dogs eat poop?

I don’t have a dog, never have, probably never will. I’ve only had a turtle, my beautiful late best friend, Iris. Iris used to eat her feces every once in a while too, but this was only during cases of extreme duress, either when her tank was in dire need of cleaning or when we had ran out of turtle food and kept forgetting to pick more up at the store so we would feed her bits of bread and lettuce. I’m sure this wasn’t good for her, but she seemed to like it. Anyway, I’d assume it’s because they smell bits of meals passed on in the carpet presents they leave. I mean, honestly, if you could find a way to eat that sirloin stake dinner again, for free, wouldn’t you? (Beeteedubs: At the time of this writing, I have gone a month without eating meat. I contemplate suicide every day. I will never do this again in my life.)

7. Why are people posting colors on people’s facebooks?

…I have absolutely 0 explanation for this. People post colors on peoples’ facebooks? I haven’t gotten any… Fuck you guys for not giving me any colors! Assholes.

8. Why do cats purr?

Again, my only pet has been a turtle, so I have very little experience with cats. However, from everything television and movies have shown me, cats purr when they are fucking loving life. When everything is going their way, and they couldn’t think of a complaint if they wanted to. How fantastic must that be? Shit in your life is so good that you can’t help but physically express it in a deep, sensuous, throaty, barely audible groan? I’d love to have some purr-worthy things happen to me these days. Maybe my standards are just too high?

9. Why did the chicken cross the road?

“To get to the other side!” Seriously, who the FUCK thought of this joke? Like, at some time, somewhere, some person was born, thought of this joke, told it, and then died, and we as a human race have not been rid of it yet. It is the single worst joke ever made, ever. Was it ever funny? Has it ever made anyone laugh? Is this a matter of cultural and societal changes? Is this an archaic relic to a time when something as simple as stating the fucking obvious could make one laugh in the midst of miserable and torturous farmlife? I remember it confusing me at 5 years old and pissing me off every time I’ve heard it since then. Seriously, what a stupid fucking joke.

10. Why don’t we just dance lyrics?

I actually checked out this tune in order to answer this question. It’s a country song by Josh Turner about a bored couple that decides to combat the “craziness” of the world by dancing in their living room. Pretty gay. I’m surprised that of all the songs that start with “Why” this would be the most searched, seeing as how the lyrics consist of two bridges and two choruses, and simple monosyllabic verses that are clearly audible after the first listen. Who would ever need to read the lyrics to this song? Well, you asked, and I said I’d answer, so:

Baby why don’t we just turn that tv off
Three hundred fifteen channels of nothing but bad news on
Well it might be me but the way I see it the whole world has gone crazy
So baby why don’t we just dance

Guess the little bitty living room aint gonna look like much
When the lights go down and we move the couch its gonna be more than enough
For my two left feet and our two hearts beatin’ nobody’s gonna see us go crazy

So baby why don’t we just dance down the hall, maybe straight up the stairs bouncin’ off the wall, floatin’ on air baby why don’t we just dance


Baby why don’t you go put your best dress on
Those high heeled shoes you love to lose as soon as the tunes come on
On second thought just the way you are is already drivin’ me crazy so baby why don’t we just dance down the hall maybe straight up the stairs bouncin’ off the wall floatin’ on air baby why don’t we just dance

Ah cut a rug

Well it might be me but the way I see it the whole world has gone crazy so baby why don’t we just dance Oh baby why don’t we just dance.

…Told you it was gay.

So there you have it. The world’s top ten googled questions answered to the best of my ability. Now you can go out into the world armed with the knowledge you need to school 99% of the ignorant people you’ll come across. And if SuTra can provide that knowledge for you, we’ve done our job.

-Tra

Mass Appeal 1.2

March 8, 2010

There is a feeling that I associate with it so strong that it’s almost unbearable. It’s that feeling that I used to get when I groggily woke every Saturday morning in my closet of single during junior spring. It wants to take over, but that’s impossible now, so it hovers. It sits, settles at the pit, and I change. The time has passed and I used it for games. So let go. It’s not mine anymore.

 

Tell me we both matter, don’t we?

B, you and me won’t be unhappy.

Mass Appeal.

March 2, 2010

Tra here (finally, I know).

People know me for liking hip hop. I dress the part, talk the part, I’m from the right neighborhood (FLATBUSH POSSE!). I go to the shows, buy the albums, I write the rhymes, scribble the tags, make the beats, all that good stuff. Hip Hop as of late has taken on many faces: a soundtrack to rebellion and coming of age, a billion dollar industry, a source of social commentary and a magnet for criticism. Throughout my time at my quiet little prep school, I saw hip hop become an outfit, something that kids grew up and put on, but didn’t live. I was considered, along with my partner in crime Sam, a guru of sorts, and people would regularly ask me random questions about artists and albums, as if I were an encyclopedia. This reaction makes sense; where they were looking into a culture they knew they weren’t of, I seemed to just be it, as simply as I breathed. I wanna take this time to share with you guys the moment that I truly found this hip hop thing, through my encounter with the music of one specific group.

Starting way back, I was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn in the winter of 1991. Hip Hop just was. It wasn’t what played on the radio or what was on BET, it just was. It is very hard to describe to an outsider what this means, but imagine what country music is to someone growing up in the plains of Texas or what the brass band is to someone in the swamps of New Orleans. Everything you see, hear, and feel is synonymous with the music. Its not that art is imitating life, or life is imitating art, but that they are both in a constant race to imitate each other, always just a babyhair apart. Hot 97 was always on somewhere, always within earshot. In that way, I had no choice but to be receptive of this culture, it was my own, more than any other I could conceive. Imagine if you can, someone that has lived in a cave since the day they were born. He understands nothing else. To him, the cave is the extent of existence, and every day whatever the cave brings to him he just naturally absorbs, its his definition of being. This early 90s Flatbush was my cave. I was entirely engrossed, but I was also blind to what was actually around me. It wasn’t the world, it was simply a cave. And it was only until after I had stepped out of the cave that I could truly see its essence, its history, and its beauty.

Fast forward years later, to the fall of 2002. I had just started 6th grade, and in these formulative years one begins to understand their brain as their own, and not just an extension of whatever authority stands in front of them, whether it be a parent or teacher or whatever. At this points I had my own opinions, my own belongings, and began to adopt my own style. In this quest for individuality, I had gained a mild obsession with skateboarding. Now, this is before today’s Skateboard P and Lupe Fiasco drenched hip hop culture where skaters rap and rappers skate. Back then, skateboarding through Flatbush got you looked at like a fucking white boy wannabe faggot, and I had to deal with ridicule more than once because of my unique interest. But still, a persistent pre-teen Matthew subscribed to Transworld Magazine, ran through two Mongoose boards until I finally got a Alien Workshops Heath pro model, and of course, played the shit out of every Tony Hawks Pro Skater game that came out. Now, by the fourth installment, THPS was as famous for its soundtracks as it was for its skating, and I was always attentive to the music in the game (partly because I played it my every waking, non skating moment). And here lies the moment for which I’m writing this post. I just cracked open my copy of THPS4 and was running through a practice session, feeling out the new game, when this began playing from my televisions speakers. Listen for a bit before you continue reading.

“No way, you’ll never make it.”

Those words are etched into my brain more than any others in the English language, because those words took me out of my cave, and let me see it for the first time. Here I was, playing a video game about a hobbie of mine that I had seen as having 0 to do with my culture, and out of it came sounds that spoke to my very essence. The ominous riff, the dusty drums, the sporadic yet intuitive scratches of the vocal sample, and then, in a monotone exclamation capping the entropic experience I found myself in, Guru explained to me what was happening, through those six words and the lyrics that followed. This, I thought, is what my mind sounds like. If I could somehow translate my experiences, my thoughts, my emotions, personality, and spirit, directly into sound, this is what it would sound like. After 12 years of seeing hip hop in myself, just by default and at no self willing, I had finally seen myself in hip hop. I found Matthew Andrew  Trammell, a person that was truly just coming into being, expressed outside of me, to me. At a time when no one truly knows who they are, I had a moment where I completely understood who I was, and what it sounded like. That moment changed my life.

Throughout 6th grade I became avidly obsessed with this song, and later on Gang Starr as a whole. As time would pass I would hunt the music that sounded like this, discovering Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt and Ready to Die and later on Midnight Mauraders and Black on Both Sides and Resurrection and all the classics that have become the Hip Hop Canon. But nothing will ever compare to the moment where I first heard Guru’s voice. That will stand as a pillar in my life, that shaped and continues to shape who I am in the deepest corners of my subconscious, and the most faint images behind my eyes.

It was announced recently that Guru went into cardiac arrest and was in a coma. He just underwent surgery and false rumors of his death spread widely last night on the internet. This news came as a shock to me; since Gang Starr’s last album, Guru has been present barely above a whisper to his most loyal fans, and there was no indication of bad health, such is how these things happen I guess. The thought of him dying, of the world losing his voice, rocked me to the core in a way that I couldn’t understand. That is, until I really thought about what that song, and his voice, meant to my life. Losing it would be losing a part of myself too abstract to articulate and yet to innate to deny. As I pray for the best, I realize I’m hoping for more than one of my favorite artists to pull through. I’m hoping for the world, for me, to never lose Guru’s voice, to lose that moment.

It’s hard to explain.

-Tra