1.05.2009

Epic 10 of 2008: Hot Eatz, Cool Treatz Edition

See more posts in the "Epic 10" Series

These extra five days have put things into perspective.

It wasn't until I was wasted, cold, and sex crazed in New York City on December 31st, listening to a terrible group rendition of "Auld Lang Syne," that I could even really begin to comprehend that the year was over.

2008 was pretty solid in Eatzville, and here's a few of the reasons why:


Epic Album: 808's and Heartbreak



As the de facto "music guy" on the blog (Only because I haven't posted about anything else, and I've been silent in every major debate on macks and sweetness, despite my intense interest in the subject) I may as well start with this.

First off, stay with me. I'm aware that some Mailers may view Kanye West as "less than Epic," or the fated, "not Epic enough." He's controversial on so many levels. However, if you look at his 808's and Heartbreak from a mainstream American point of view (something that we should all still be concerned with) what you see is rather surprising.

West could have shit out the same symphonic rap for another 4 years if he wanted, he would sell millions, be set for life, and all would be good. However, the dude instead made 808's; a strange, personal, and low-key album of electronic music.

Gone are the lyrically urban hip-hop references and rapping, 808's lines now focus only on emotions. He made subtle and elaborate beats that, like the best electro, borrowed from genres of music that are less than expected. He decided to challenge himself, and his listeners, a rare quality in today's mainstream musical landscape.

Just listen to the immense detail. Check the robotic vocals (autotune and treated vox didn't originate with T Pain, mind you) of "Love Lockdown," combined with legit tribal drumming and imagery. Dig the synthesizers on "Paranoid" that just scream "Bizarre Love Triangle," and British dance music in 1987. Get lost in "RoboCop's" strange mechanical symphony of glockenspiels and sirens. Marvel at the fey new-wave dance keyboards that close out the sad "Coldest Winter," and listen to the bizarre as fuck fusion of My Bloody Valentine-esque guitars, vocal distortion, and r&b on "Street Lights." WAIT, THERE'S MY BLOODY VALENTINE GUITARS ON A KANYE WEST SONG?!!!

If you want a reason why we're seeing a change in the narrative of race in America, that isn't the Obama story, look no further than this.

A world famous rapper is borrowing elements of white avante garde rock music and European IDM, and presenting it in a package that people as diverse as 9 year old inner city girls to non-ironic upper class college dudes can enjoy and relate to simultaneously.


Epic Read: The Rum Diary



This, Hunter S. Thompson's first novel from the early 1960s, wasn't published until 1998. This fact rocks my fucking mind. A modern tragedy!

The Rum Diary is the story of a young American man from Kansas who poses as an accomplished journalist in order to work at a newspaper in the wild, lawless city of San Juan.

Looking for a crazy time so that he may live and feel free, the main character is torn between this and his sense of values and general respect for people. Accordingly, the city of San Juan in the late 1950s serves as a metaphor for the character's own personal dilemma; filled with insane, angry natives the city is becoming further tempered by American industry and tourism.

It's got sweet news room scenes, shady government dealings, sex, and lots of steak eating and alcohol.

Not only is this book sweet as shit (and the catalyst for my recent intense interest in novels regarding desperate young men going on wild sprees of insanity and abandon) but it is the first thing I've ever read where I feel that nearly all of the main character's decisions and actions are the things that I would do as well if I were him. A pleasantly surprising read from a fat writer that wore fishing vests a lot.


Epic Meals: McDonald's Dollar Menu



So unlike most people, who loved McDonald's as children and later realized how gross it was, I am kind of the opposite. I used to think it was gross, now I think it's awesome. Here's why:

2008 will be the year where I was more of a bum than ever before. I was unemployed for 75% of it. I realized the college life was quickly becoming a thing of the past and decided to milk it for all it was worth. I've carved my bank account down to fifteen cents before. The days where my glorious mother and father would replenish the coffers always felt like I had just defied incredible odds of poverty. This year, I got really good at being a bum, but still having my cake and eating it too. Honestly, I'd do it again, it was fun as shit.

The only real reason I got in this predicament was because my priorities were skewed; girls, studio time, hosting parties, and, the most expensive; drinking. To my 22 year old mind, all of these hold precedence over having enough food, doing laundry, and gasoline. So needless to say, my meal budget was never stacked.

On top of this, I'm a terrible eater. I forget to do it until I'm very hungry and then I crave instant satisfaction.

But wait, I just blew all my money on "spirit-of-the-moment" shit thinking it would work out like always! Well it did, in the shape of two glorious golden arches.

A dollar double cheeseburger from this franchise empire may not be the best thing in the world. Hell, usually the cheese isn't even really on the patty, the onions are little squares that might actually be Styrofoam, and you have to drop the twenty two cents for a little packet of sauce just to give it all some flavor.

But on those terrible, low bank account evenings at William and Mary, nothing was better than being able to fill up my growling stomach completely, and only for $3.50. Whenever I do have more cash, I'm never trying to go McDonalds, but like a best friend, it's nice to know there's a place out there that's always got your back.

FUN FACT: In 2008, while nearly every other business imaginable posted major losses due to the growing economic recession, McDonald's posted a 7% profit which analysts attributed to the success and popularity of it's dollar menu.

America, fuck yeah.


Epic Mailer: Brandon Martin

Yeah, yeah, so Edgar Keats and I are self promoting quite a bit. But anyway, I think 2008 was the year that Mr. Keats came into his own as a musician and has utterly blown me away with his abilities and unique voice. Drum power, drum power. He's the only dude that can understand what I am trying to say musically and "get it" right off.

He has the attuned sense of dynamics of any great songwriter.

If 2008 was the year shit started to come together, then I hope that 2009 will be the first real year of Lubec, thanks entirely to this great friend. So many sweet songs to be unleashed!!! oheydrbrrr....


Epic Brew: Orkney Skull Splitter



"Eddie, meet your demise," chirped Chris Tracy, his exaggerated beard and smile only making the impending doom more inviting.

He pushed the red capped bottle across the table. The beautiful Scottish sky behind the legit-looking pale skinned warrior was nothing if not inspiring.

"Alley-oop," I said.

We all know the allure of discount beers. That's why nothing was more enticing than the Green Leafe's half off burger night, with half off micro brew dogz. Before long, Chris and I would down three of the these delicious, robust Scottish 8.5% ABV babies and just be sittin' pretty.

Once spake a dude, "Satiny smooth in the mouth, deceptively light, and dangerously drinkable."

Named after a famous Viking Earl known only to his peasants as "the skullsplitter," headaches were never so tasty.


Epic Activity: Motorcycle License



Look at it. Just look at it. Sexy, retro, performance perfection. Granted the above stallion belongs to my father, but this year, I got to drive it.

This year was the beginning of my lifelong motorcycle love affair, as predicted in Daves n' Daveins' 10th grade ContraBand ode, "Motorcycle Eddie." The license was easy enough given that I've been around it all my these years, but to be able to ride the bike on your own, man! It's a whole new way to experience moving.

Riding a motorcycle is like driving a race car high. Naked. You notice things you would have never imagined you could perceive about speed and scenery before.

I'll always look back fondly on the times in the summer when my dad would follow me in the car, nervous that I would wipe out on his prized possession, as I raced around on Ashland country roads, happier than ever. I will somehow get one. Soon.



Epic Hottie: Britta Phillips



I'm not really one for celebrity crushes. They're unattainable, fake, and lack anything real that you find in a normal average joe or jane. But man, Britta fucking Phillips!!! Dream girl. Total bone zone. Pound Puppy. Ewww.

Move over Kim Gordon, you've been replaced by this sweet voiced slo-core vixen of the late Luna and currently in Dean & Britta with husband Dean Wareham of Luna and Galaxie 500.

Wait.....husband?!?! FuCK!!! IT's PICACHU!!! GOD DAMNIT!!! AAHHHH!!!!



Epic Tool: Moleskine Notebooks



Overpriced, douchey, and really pushing the supposed Hemingway connection, these stupid little fuckers somehow won me over.

Since discovering them this year (late in the game), I've since filled up four with lyrics, future band names, notes, and pictures of stupid shit (I found out I can still draw sweet battleship wars like back in the day). It's nice to have a little organization for it all even if it means I drop $16 dollars for what is essentially a pleather bound set of thin notecards.


Epic Sweetness: Somali Pirates



I'm actually a little surprised that this hot topic of the past year wasn't analyzed for it's sweetness at some point on this blog. I mean, what more could you want?

First off, the Somali pirates don't see themselves as pirates, but rather "the coast guard" of Somalia. They see the real pirates as the international fishers that cruise the waters off of the country and those that take advantage of Somalia's general disarray.

So what do these men do? They capture giant Saudi oil tankers and shipping vessels of other countries and hold them and their crews for ransom!



However, here's where it gets interesting, and where these men become more than just sea shanty terrorists.

The pirates have found that as long as they play it safe and courteous, nobody gets hurt, they get around two million dollars a tanker, and everyone is happy.

Most companies that run these massive ships have found that giving in to the pirates demmands and paying them has turned out to be a lot easier than trying to get the ships back by force.

Also, did I mention that the pirates are the most pimpingest dudes on the planet?!?!

In a recent BBC phone interview with the pirates, the BBC found that the Somali men were huge celcebrites in Somalia and living larger than life.

Robyn Hunter writes, "They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars...Piracy in many ways is socially acceptable. They have become fashionable."

It really is like in a movie, Hunter going on to note that the pirates have an elaborate specialized hierarchy within the group such as dudes with the sea faring knowlege, tech guys who operate all the GPS, and ex-militia men who serve as the muscle of the operation.

Additonally, the pirates have become known for their elaborate drug fueled parties, investment within Somalia and even the act of purchasing nearby islands and turning them into their own industrial and financial centers inviting investors and luxury clothing outlets and other properties.

Did I mention that they also treat the hostages like the most esteemed guests? One gang of pirates hired internationl chefs to specialize in the cuisine of each hostages native country!

Is this sweet?

Sweetness isn't even worthy of defining this.


MOST EPIC SHIT: Bears!!!



The names have been changed. But the story remains true.

The fall break hiking trip in the Shenandoah National Park was a great, relaxing, and beautiful time with close friends and a few people to get to know better. I had gorgeous countryside, brilliant red leaves, and a tent shared only with girls. It was great.

With the majority of navigational responsibilities willingly taken up by Dumbass Fucker, the older boyfriend of our hippie acquaintence Batshit Crazy, the rest of the group could simply relax as the duo checked out the map from time to time to make sure things were cool.

Problem was, neither D.F. or B.C. could actually read a map despite their years of hiking experience. Throughout the trip, the rest of us decided to let it slide.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the group early and hike back to my car, along with B.C. Her boyfriend intensely studied his map, surrounded by the hundreds of dollars of camping gear he had obtained. At a stop near a beautiful valley bridge, he determined the ideal exit for us.

"It'll be about a mile back to your car, only about 500 ft. elevation difference, shouldn't take more than an hour," he said knowingly.

"Awesome, I just want to be sure to get back before dark," I said, still firmly entrenched in my go-with-the-flow, solid bro attitude that I had maintained for the entire trip. I did not notice the black clouds of an impending shit storm brewing overhead.

At 4 PM, the girl and I left the group on our one hour journey back to my car, strategically parked in an all-night convenience store lot. With us, we carried a trash bag of all the leftover refuse of the group. A nice thing to do, we thought. Off we went, excited to rest our legs in the car after an entire day of intense mountain hiking.

However, after an hour, we were forced to come to an unfortunate truth. It would not be a mile back to my car, and we were only then at the foot of one of the largest mountains in the area. We were going to have to climb one of the tallest (highest!) mountains in the middle of the night, to get home.

Time went by slowly. We trudged up the side of the mountain, it's steep angle never flatlining. The girl started to fall behind due to exhaustion and the constant burn in our calves. It was nearly night.

"Let me help you," I said, holding gently onto her arm to help her keep going. "If you need to take a break just say so, it's no problem," I reminded her. Sure this sucked, but I was feeling good about keeping my cool.

More hiking.

After a while the girl whipped out her flashlight, an interesting thing that she wore on a headband. My trusty Mag Light had unfortunately died out the night before, leaving us in the complete dark, on the side of a moutain, with one forehead mounted flashlight.

That's when it happened.

Ten feet infront of us, on the thin, rocky path, a tree began to move with a violence usually reserved for bands of disgruntled foresters.

IT WAS A FUCKING BEAR!!!

The next 30 seconds are insane. Somehow, I immmediately pull out my pocket knife and the old Mag Light from my backpack. I'm brandishing both, ready to bash a bear. Then, I start to do the stupidest thing you can do when you run into a predator. I run. Luckily, right as I start to bolt, the girl begins to talk loudly to me.

"So what are you going to do Eddie, when you get home?!?!," she yells.

Suddenly I realize what's up. Don't move, and talk loudly. That apparently makes bears leave.

"I don't know, I'll probably go to sleep," I yell back, realizing that this girl may have just saved my life.

I notice some movement to my right. Through the moonlight about 20 feet into the woods, a much larger bear is moving slowly. I can see the massive curvature of it's slumped back. The leaves smash underneath it's paws.

For the first time since the ordeal started, I have my first real thought.

"This is just like in a horror movie," I think to myself. I can hear the family of bears moving around us as we remain completely still, talking loudly. I feel like I'm being toyed with before the kill.

After about 30 seconds, we can no longer hear any movement. It's just darkness and our breath. For the first time in my entire life, I'm considering the fact that I might soon die.

We start to move again, much more cautiously than before. I'm scared shitless. Then I realize something. We are still carrying the bag of trash from the campsite. What worse thing could you be carrying around bears than rotten fruit and used soup cans with ravioli paste on the inside?!?!

"We gotta get rid of that bag!," I exclaim. "We've got to!"

"No, we can't, that wouldn't be eco-friendly," she says.

By this time, I'm in complete survival mode, the bears could be anywhere. The bro-ish Hot Eatz of before was no more. My anger at being so misdirected in the darkness by this girl's boyfriend suddenly boils to the surface.

"Wait, what?," I ask, in the inflection of someone who just learned that their mother had in fact been an octopus from space who fucked earthmen.

"I mean, it's not natural, like an apple seed could grow here and it wouldn't be native to the area, we can't be responsible for that," she intones matter of factly.

She was so delusional in her own non-profit eco bullshit that she would rather get stupidly mauled to death by bears than plant a fucking apple tree. Kind of ironic really.

"We're throwing it away!" I yell at her. I step up to her menacingly. In the dark, she suddenly notices the fury in my eyes. I tower over her petite body.

I rip the bag out of her hands and hurl it off the side of the mountain. As the bag falls away, I can barely make out the last vestiges of orange sunlight somewhere in the vicinity of Roanoke.

I turn back to her, even more angry than before. She looks at me in the exact same way as in those old commercials where the Native American Indian cries one single tear as he watches the white men build factories and nuclear power plants.

"Let's fucking go," I scream directly at her.

For the next hour we walk in the darkness, terrified to stay silent, so we continue to make conversation, despite our complete hatred of one another.

We fake conversation for the next twenty minutes, expecting any second for another bear to pop out. I have virtually no light except the scant times that I can use a bit of hers. It was the most terrifying hour of my life.

Soon, our conversation wears out due to exhaustion. I decide to sing some songs to fill in the silence and drive away bears. Problem is, I'm so freaked, I can't remember the words to any songs, except, strangely, the show tunes I learned during my vocal lessons.

I serenade the wildlife of the Shenandoah Valley with the likes of "Some Enchanted Evening," and "I Won't Send Roses." Jesus, if it was my last song, couldn't it have been "Teenage Riot" or some Neil Young or something!?! I COULD HAVE DIED SINGING SHOW TUNES!!! FUCKING SHOW TUNES!!!! THANKS 2 K HATE!!!

The sight of the road through a clearing was the most phenomenal feeling in the world. Nearby is our ticket out of the god foresaken place.

The ride home was pure unadulterated silence.


Honorable Mentions: The Big Take Over Magazine, that sweet night with Dave in the soccer field, blazers and oxford shirts, coach's wife

4 comments:

OKAAAAAAAAAAAYGUYS said...

"That sweet night with Dave in the soccer field"

Hot Eatz said...

Yeah, I fucked Dave, didn't make my ten though...

Quilliam said...

It's more of a "12" experience

Coaltrain said...

I'm so glad you never told me all of that camping experience so I could read the full thing here.

There's something so glorious about you hurling a bag of trash of the side of a mountain to keep away the bears. It's like that book "My Side of the Mountain," except totally not.

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