Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two Subjects in One

It was three and a half years ago...

... it came into my world...

... it changed everything. FOREVER.


iPod Touch

Was that dramatic enough for you? I believe Apple would be proud. So anyway, in conjunction with this new device I was unwillingly introduced to iTunes.

"What the heck?! I have no choice but to use this bulky-ass program to sync my MP3s with my iPod?"

I was uncomfortable to say the least. Prior to iTunes, I was using WinAMP to listen to my 600-some songs... which used up only a fraction of my 15" monitor. Now I have what seems to be an entire operating system running my playlist. It took a long time to get used to it, but it came with plenty of perks, i.e. album art, the iTunes store, apps for the iPod touch and a very organized interface.

POINT:
With this new device, I now had my entire playlist: meaning all my ripped CDs and previously-downloaded MP3s in the palm of my hand. I no longer had to burn CDs to listen to in the car every day. I took it all with me on one device. Now keep in mind, this was 2007. Not that long ago, people!

The first iPod was released in 2001, sporting storage capacity of a whopping 5 or 10-gigabytes. So while still being behind the times with my first iPod in '07, it's been only 9 years since this technology really came upon us. Before that, our listening pleasure was determined by how many CDs, audio cassettes or eight-tracks (I said it) we felt like lugging around. In this world of "less is more," we are slowly perfecting the art of stuffing all entertainment into one 3½ oz. computer that boasts audio/visual superiority among countless other peripherals.

CD players are out! Don't need that ESP (Electronic Skip Protection) anymore, SONY. My iPod has no moving parts, thanks. It's doubtful that children in middle schools know what an audio cassette is or what a boombox was used for <---preposition.

Where this hardware shrinkage may seem to bother me, in all honesty, I'm thrilled with the technological leaps in entertainment hardware we've seen in the past few years. And while I could go on for hundreds of boring paragraphs, I must digress. I'm really here to discuss the difficulty I now have when faced with this self-imposed, nerve-racking question:

"What the hell do I want to listen to now?"

While I'm generally known to crank up Megadeth or some corny 80's tune, I'm finding myself indulging more and more in my favorite French-Canadian group, Chromeo. Their 3rd and latest album in September, "Business Casual" has had me bobbin' my head for 3 months and shows no signs of wearing off. If you've heard their 1st two albums, then you're probably a huge fan. To best describe Chromeo's sound, I can only use lead singer, Dave 1's, own words:

"We just started this quest to rehabilitate a whole chapter of music
which, to us, was one of the most interesting and most progressive...
and most humorous at times as well... Certainly most funky, you know
cause it's that junction of funk and early days of hip hop and...
electronic music.
"

So there's much influence from the 80's in their music. But what about their videos? Well, take a look and see:






Hmmmm...

1. Irrelevant warehouse scenarios... check.
2. Intimate choreographed dancing drowned by dramatic lighting... check.
3. One man coveted by numerous "Perfect 10"-type women... check.

Need I go on? Check them out if you want some good party music. They'd fit perfectly into your iTunes collection.

Love as always,
Manoli

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Pain of it All

Stalemate:
I stand facing every direction with nowhere to go.
Every move riddled in pain.
Stuck on death row.

The Queen is dead.
The pawns have scattered.
My allies, like autumn leaves, turned colors and fled.

Alone, here, I stand,
a King to no one.
Trapped on my own land.

Bewildered by my forever twilight state,
I stand.
Leaving life to fate.

Make a move or die alone.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Love Notes

I had an idea a couple weeks ago that I needed to put to paper. Rachel got dressed up today and muscled through the cold wind in her cutest outfit. Thank you, Rachel! This is one of my favorites. Looking forward to more shoots.

Click the picture below to get a larger view:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

wecanknow.com

So, many of you may have seen the ridiculous billboard currently posted over the Double TT Diner on Route 40 and Ebenezer Road. It claims that Judgment day will be coming May 21, 2011. I and a few friends went to the website (wecanknow.com) to, if for anything, get a quick laugh. It was amusing for a while, then I just got irritated. I contacted them to get my point across. What was my point? I don't really know. Maybe you can tell me:

"To whom it may concern:

I feel that Jesus would be disappointed at the general layout of this website. He would've preferred using a more up-to-date web design program, such as Adobe Fireworks or Dreamweaver, maybe. He was the first man to dabble in web design, you know? You should have some of those flash music players with a snazzy playlist. I think maybe Sade would add a nice touch... a smooth atmosphere (Smooth Operator pun). Perhaps you should consider a warmer tone when it comes to your choice of colors... Maybe something more earthy. I've been watching HGTV a lot lately, and really love their programming. Isn't it fun watching people paint walls with soft colors? Jesus would've liked that. I've included a URL that could help you choose a more suitable color palette for Jesus.


So, what are you doing this summer? Anything good? I just went on vacation to Ocean City. I really did it up this year because next year we'll all be dead. Isn't that awesome? I even brought my dog along. He loves the sand. Jesus loved dogs. I think He had a Saint Bernard. Too bad those dogs have issues in warm weather. I think He should've sprung for a pit bull or maybe a chihuahua, you know; maybe something with less hair that was better-suited for the Mediterranean climate. You remember when He went out to the desert for 40 days? It really wasn't as bad as they made it out to be in the bible. He brought Lucy along. That was His dog's name (short for Lucifer). See, when it was mentioned of the temptations, they were referencing His hardships with the dog. Between the original bible scripts which I keep in a Mead folder next to my leather-bound edition of "The Hobbit" and modern-day translations, a lot has been misinterpreted. You see, when it was mentioned that Lucifer tried to hand Jesus a STONE to turn to bread, it was really Lucy trying to get Him to throw a BONE. She wanted to play fetch. He wasn't really in the mood. And so He said onto her, "Lucy, please stop. C'mon, Lucy. Really? It's too hot right now. Where are you getting all this energy?"

I'll send you a Xerox copy if you would like one, although it's written in Aramaic. I learned to read the language when I was 13. My father picked up a drifter on route 40 named Randall who was fluent in over a dozen languages. He was traveling to South Dakota, hoping to make it in time for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. His plans fell through when we took him in for a year. He cooked and cleaned while we provided him with shelter. He was mostly a kind man and loved to play Old Maid, but he had a little bit of a temper at times. It was apparent when we would mention his mother that he had a strange childhood. She had a mustache. Long story short, Randall didn't know how to speak Aramaic. I learned how to speak the ancient tongue on youtube. Jesus loved youtube.

Have you seen any good movies, lately? I watched "Young Frankenstein" while on vacation. I love the way they portray Frankenstein's monster. He's so mischievous and lovable. I have a nice dog who loves Jesus.

Boy, it's getting late. I should be going to bed. I have a photo shoot in the morning. Some people I know want a family portrait to put on their wall so they can sit and stare at it until May 21st, when they die. I hope they smile. Do you like cheese? I could talk to you for hours. Anyway, good night Jesus people.

I love you,
Emmanuel

P.S. Who's your favorite Apostle? Mine's Judas."


Have a good night, folks.
Manoli

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Honesty

I often preach honesty, and 99% of the time I practice it. The last 3 months have seemed to last a decade. There have been definite changes, for most of which I wasn't prepared. Living in the same house since the age of 4 leaves you with a sense of comfort that's hard to shake.

Mom and Dad always took care of things, and life in itself was from most angles, a breeze. Childhood was a dream that I would relive an infinite amount of times if it were possible. We had bikes, Nintendo, Sega Genesis, TV, freedom, good schooling, love, FOOD, etc. We weren't thrown in a room when we were bad. We were taught lessons and made to realize why we were wrong. We weren't abused. Our parents weren't at the bars while we were home with the babysitter. They were dedicated people with 2 things on their minds:
  1. Their children.
  2. Some form of sleep.
Being surrounded by a family that cares about your every emotion/need is something you take for granted as a child. It often takes a heavy dose of reality to give you that jolt... the jolt that tells you to wake up and grow up.

That being said, Dad passed away when I was 14. He had battled 3 strokes over a span of several years. He beat the first 2 and came back ready for another war, but the 3rd one proved to be much more serious than it's predecessors. It sent to him to the hospital, indefinitely. We would visit and he'd be conscious. Problem was, he couldn't speak. You could tell he was frustrated. When I would visit, he would look at me, and I could see his pulse rates on the monitor go across the board. He would tear up, so I would too. It was scary, seeing your father helpless. He was the strongest man in the world when I was a child. Now he was confined to this room; I recall it resembling something out of a Marvel comic book. His bed was advanced. It had a countless number of buttons that might as well have been in Braille. The memory can't be accurate, because I remember him almost suspended in air. I think I was short and had to look up at him. It was a confusing time in life. Onward... Mom was at the hospital the night he died, and most every other night. She closed his eyes, put on her straight face and told me the bad news in the morning when I woke up. I recall going to school and not telling anyone. I had no idea what to say to people. There should be a system for these sorts of things. Perhaps, an announcement. I remember going through the entire day pretending it didn't happen. My mother picked me up at the end of the day, along with my good friend, Bill. She somehow or another announced the news to Bill, and he was speechless. I know he was wondering why I wouldn't tell him something so important, but I had no answer. As an adult, it seems much easier to sit someone down and say, "I have some very important news. I need your undivided attention for just a minute. Thank you." As a child, I didn't understand what or how to say these things.

So from 1996 and on, Mom had to pick up a job. She didn't work as long as my dad was around, so there was a bit of an adjustment to be made. It was no longer, "drop off the kids and go home." It was now, "drop off the kids, head to work, pick up the kids, go home." This left her with many more duties as a mother than she had before, and in less time. Truth be told, I can't imagine how much she went through with Dad passing. Someone can tell you over and over, but until you feel the emotion, you're clueless.

Now this one is heard throughout the world after a father's passing. "You're the man of the house, now."

Really? I'm fucking 14. I just got pubes a couple years ago. How the hell am I going to take care of this house? This is confusing. Anyhow, I got a job at the family bakery. Well... let's say I started getting paid to work at the bakery. We (Pete and I) had been working there since 8 or 9 years of age. So, with the money I was making, I started paying the phone bill and little things like that. I thought I was really being a big man now. At 16, I had a real job busing tables. Guess who dropped me off and picked me up. Mom. I worked at Strapazza for 3 years until it was time to get a car. Then, I relieved my mother of her driving duties when I got my Civic. She was still working much harder to keep the house going than I understood at the time. Her jobs consisted of cooking, prepping and washing dishes at 3 different restaurants. I don't know many people that would accept those jobs, nowadays, but my mother didn't have much choice. She didn't speak much English, so she took what she could get. It was about keeping the roof over our heads.

Either way, this went on a while... another 14 years or so. On April 2nd, at work, I missed a couple of phone calls on my cell phone from my sister, Kelly. Normally, she'd call to say hi. I didn't hear my phone ring. Then the work phone rang and I answered. It was Kelly. She told me something was wrong with my Mom. She fell down and they thought she had a stroke. I ran out of work. Mom was small: 5'2". She didn't weigh too much, but I was always afraid of receiving that call, either from a family member or from Mom, herself. It was probably because of Dad's passing that I always anticipated something happening to her.

I went straight to the hospital. Nobody was there yet. My uncle went along with the ambulance. He didn't have a cell phone. It was nerve-racking. I asked if they had an ETA at the front desk. Nobody had a clue. Eventually, the ambulance drove up and my uncle appeared. I saw them pull out the stretcher and I went to the door. As they pulled through, I went to see my mom. She was paralyzed on one side and I had to talk to her on her right. She spoke to me in a muffled voice and told me her head hurt and that she fell down. I didn't know what to do. For the first time in my life, I didn't know who to turn to. Mom was crying and I couldn't talk to her. She kept trying to explain to me what happened. I held her hand and cried. They told my uncle and I that one of us would stay with Mom, and one of us would have to fill out papers. I had info, so I had to fill out papers. That would be the last time I spoke to my Mom. April 3rd, the following day, she was pronounced brain dead by the doctor. How they do their jobs, I don't know. They must have to tell families on a daily basis that someone important has passed away. I'm sure reactions vary, but how do you bring yourself to tell people that a loved one is gone? I'm sure it takes experience, but what a job.

Anyway, as we (family and friends) sat in the conference room, a stark realization hit me. Mom was gone. Just down the hall, her heart was beating, her lungs were being pumped in and out by machines, but she didn't feel anything. She was numb. Her hands, although still warm, didn't accept mine like they used to. I didn't want anyone there anymore. I just wanted to be alone with her. April 3rd was the last day I would see her before the viewing that following Thursday.

I was hoping to make a few points, but got into details I wasn't previously willing to disclose, and went off on a tangent. Here they are:
  1. I was never the man of the house until Mom passed in April. She kept this house moving, and in many ways, kept the family glued together. I would be insulting her by saying I helped out as much as I could.
  2. I apologize to my friends for my absence the past couple months. It's been tough adapting to this life. I don't have time like I used to. I might not for a while. I love you all and thank you again for all your support during this ordeal.
  3. As far as the title, "Honesty," I'm sorry if I haven't been honest. If I tell you I'm ok, I'm lying. Life isn't the easiest it's ever been, and will take some time to level itself out.
Thanks again for the support,
Manoli

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A New Day

showered in Sunshine
the Daisy, withered, wakes up
to a world anew.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tobacco and Booze

chemical lips
adhered to mine.

a poison kiss
clouds my thoughts.

high on your breath
and the taste of want.

the scent of sex bleeds
through your skin.

i'm addicted.
I. am addicted. to your drug.

don't stop. please...
do it again.