Sunday, February 12, 2012

PRE-TOUR FITNESS CHALLENGE

Feeling out of shape and barely able to make it through our set on our summer tour, I decided in Sept '11 to get serious about getting fit. I had the perfect deadline- our European tour at the end of January '12. Before our flight left JFK how much could I increase my endurance? How much fat could I replace with muscle? Well, as I write this I'm on tour. I took my after photos 4 days later than planned (...punk time), after working out in a Swedish community center, which we all went to after playing a show. 


I started at around 115 pounds and a size 5 pants.
I ended at around 115 pounds and a size 1 pants.


(This is why I've never cared about weighing myself, at least for me it's totally irrelevant.) I didn't change my diet at all because I fucking love eating. I will say that there was definitely an unintentional increase of apple eating (been on an apple kick) and decrease of Nerds eating (I usually eat a few boxes a week, I more or less cut them out... mostly because I was just really feeling apples more.) I ate fried food just about every day. My dinners were often late at night (I work late.) I worked out 4-6 days a week, save for the week of Christmas and the week before tour. 


Other than my usual somewhat healthy +daily fried tofu vegan diet, my road to success was paved with these 3 things: (aerobic) kickboxing, pilates, and Insanity Fitness (which I liked because it's a super high-intensity 60 day program with a printable calender that helped me stay on track.) 


This challenge's goal was not to change the way I look, but how I feel. And it worked. I'm blasting through sets, have way more energy throughout the day, I'm wayyyy less stressed out, and without getting into too much detail... sex has been bangin'. I have now become some sort of fitness thumper, spreading the good word of Shaun T (of Insanity) to my friends and anyone who will listen. Now that the challenge is over the urgency of my workouts has definitely calmed down but my love for it hasn't waned at all.  Every night before we play I get down to it- push ups, jump squats, pilates, usually on filthy venue floors. I've learned that to work out on tour I have to be fearless with dirt and shameless with where I do it, but it's worth it. Last night in Vienna, Austria I broke a personal record- 50 push ups! A few months ago I could barely do 3! Anyway... enough talk. Ladies and gents, friends and foes, lurkers and weirdos, let us now take a walk from down the path of my fitness journey.


BEFORE.
Here I am making ramen on tour (after swimming) in July '11- 115 pounds, size 5 pants.
  
MIDDLE.
Here I am on December 3rd, '11 feeling preeeettty fucking good- 115 pounds, size 3 pants. 
 
END.
Yeah yeah, I'm sweaty and beat here (just played a show AND worked out for an hour) buuuuut...
Feb 2nd, '12 - 115 pounds, size 1 pants

MIDDLE- side

END- side 
(I just rolled with the whole lame fitness photo thing- there's no not embarrassing way to do this)

MIDDLE- back

END- back

VICTORY IS MIIIIIIIIIINE!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

EURO TOUR NUMBER 4, the flight.

"So uh... is anyone... a nervous flyer?"

They all shook their heads and smiled. We stood crammed together into the back of the shuttle bus on our way to our terminal, everyone marveling at the planes sitting neatly lined up on the tarmac. Everyone but me. Our flight was leaving in an hour. Kingdom and Wrong Answer, off to shred across the world. As the shuttle neared our terminal, my stomach dropped like an anchor desperate to keep me on land.

Dear. God. Help me.

The first time I flew by myself I was 13. I started crying at takeoff. The longer the ride went on the more hysterical I became. At one point I had a small group of flight attendants around me, one asking me to quiet down because I was "scaring the other passengers", another cooing to me like I was a wailing infant she could lull to sleep, another feeding me statistics about flight safety. I was unreachable in my panic, moaning, "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!" and sobbing until we landed.

That experience could easily be any of my flight experiences. My fear of flight is an ageless thing- never easing, never wavering, never maturing. I will forever be a plane baby. And there I was again at the airport, whimpering inside.

Outside our gate, I thought about what it means to be straight edge. Everyone agrees that it covers drinking/smoking/drugs, some morons branch off to semi-religious-moral-right-wingedness and think it also somehow relates to sex blowing intelligent minds everywhere with its unrelatedness and stupidity, and finally there's the big grey area of "legal drugs." Over the years I've met kids who don't eat chocolate because of the trace amount of stimulants, I once met someone who refused anesthesia when he got his wisdom teeth pulled because he didn't think it was straight edge to have his consciousness altered... even for surgery. Personally I don't give a shit what lines other people draw around their sobriety. Your edge and its parameters are literally of 0 interest to me. I do however have a great interest in my own, and thar is what was on my mind as I paced outside of our gate holding 2 sleeping pills. Could I, should I drug myself for this flight?

In the end I did it, coddling myself like the baby I am. By the time we started boarding the plane I was really feeling it. I approached the ticketer so doped up I sounded like a talking pull-string toy with a dying battery ("yeesssss heerrrrreee iiiissssss mmmyyyy passsssppoooorrrttt") It didn't matter though, the panic came anyway. The tears started trickling as the ticketer said, "Enjoy your flight!", then I wept as we walked the long platform to the plane, I cried as we stored our luggage in the overhead compartments, and once in my seat, I sobbed. And then... a miracle. A fucking altered-conscious miracle. I fell asleep... and slept the entire flight. Thank you to my friend Anish who recommended that I take those pills- you saved my bandmates a lot of embarrassment and my tear ducts a lot of work.

If you'd know to know what happened after the plane landed, I'll be telling the stories day by day on Kingdom's blog.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

KINGDOM - REGENERATE MUSIC VIDEO

KEWL MUSIC off the THREADS ep released in video format featuring Yan, Josey, Vedika, and Donny. Expert film work by myself and Dave. Directed by myself and Dave. Made on Windows Movie Maker by myself and Mark. Repost this and I'll be forever in your debt. :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lately (in photos)

Vegan caramel apple pie, Dave's bday, my Mom and little sister, Occupy Philly, Halloween, Ella, Pippi, my Dad, some friends, some weird gifts, some partyin.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cool coolguy, cool guy

Or "how to make me dislike your band in 13 words."

This is an email I sent to a to-remain-unnamed-fairly-new-and-mostly-unknown-band:

"Hi there. You guys are awesome, my roommate and I have been jammin your tunes for the last few days. But a question: where can I find your lyrics online? Thanks!
-Davin"

And this is the response I received:

"You should be able to google it, a few different sites have them
-Dickhead" (name change mine)

Seriously?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Forever? Whatever. (part 2 - breakup post)

(This is part 2 of  Forever? Whatever. (an anniversary post).)



I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Dave. We were in the band sleeping quarters behind the venue we'd just played in Cologne, Germany. It was the first week of February. I had come down with the flu earlier that morning, broke a fever mid-day, and by the time we hit the stage that night I was delirious. It was bad, the kind of flu that's more like a ghostly possession, like some sickly shadow of a long-gone soul inhabiting your body and forgetting how to use it. In the middle of our set it took me, and either not remembering how to hold it or how to excuse oneself, it peed my pants. Well,  I peed my pants. In front of 300 people. With the man I was about to fall in love with standing beside, guitar in hand, laughing, as I told the entire crowd what had happened (which I did not out of possession but because I am a moron.)

After the show I hobbled off on my crutches (did I not mention that I also had a fractured bone?) to the sleeping area to change and clean up. The band quarters were quiet and empty. Sounds from the crowd outside drifted in. The heat in the building hadn't been turned on yet and it was so cold I could see my breath in the bathroom. Teeth chattering, miserable, freezing, sick, sweaty, urine-covered, feverish, and one-legged, I peeled my pee-pants off and climbed into a shower that was no bigger than a port-o-potty, turned the nozzles and prepared to cleanse in a purifying stream of scalding hot water but was met instead by a single, icy drip.

I twisted and contorted my body beneath it, trying to rinse the shampoo out of my hair but succeeding only in patting the lather down. As I tried to rinse the soap from my goose flesh my whole body quaked from the cold in full-body hypothermic shakes. I became too exhausted to stand and braced myself against the wall, wincing each time my weight shifted to my injured leg. The laughter of my band mates and the crowd continued to drift in through the window, and, perched like a flamingo in that leaking refrigerator of a shower, too cold to get out, too cold to stay in, sick, in pain, and alone, I cried in frustration.

After the shower I crawled into my bunk and drifted off to the sounds of the guys filtering in, boisterous and hungry as usual. Forks scraped on the giant, metal containers that held the remnants of our meal from earlier that day. Dave tiptoed over and shook me gently. "Davin? Davin? You awake?" I was, but couldn't move to tell him. "You awake? Wake up and drink some tea. Come on, you need some tea." I pulled my bag down and nodded. Dave crept into the next room like a mouse, trying not to disturb me. Two minutes passed and suddenly Dave was screaming, "Is this fucking thing broken?! How the fuck does it work?! DAVIN NEEDS TEA!!!!" and then came the sound of someone trying to strangle an electric water boiler. The guys grew quiet, and I giggled under my sleeping bag. Two minutes later Dave was back at side, smiling sympathetically, gingerly presenting me a steaming cup.

Dave had chosen a sleeping spot near me that night, he always did. And as we always did, we stayed up late telling each other our deep, dark secrets- me through the haze of influenza, him through his barriers that I was the first to bridge (Dillon, if you read this that was for you.) Then it happened.

The guys were in the next room eating and talking loudly. Dave lay in the bunk adjacent to mine, the tops of our heads nearly touching, his eyes turned up to mine. We were talking, Dave said something, then blinked. When he spoke, he spoke as my friend. When he blinked, he blinked as my friend. But when his eyes looked back at mine... well. I was shocked by what I saw. He had, without a doubt, the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. I suddenly noticed the strange milky-blue hue of his whites. The odd ashy shade of his eyebrows, the giant, shining, grey blue eyes themselves, vibrant and subdued at the same time as if they were painted by a skilled and subtle hand. He was a quiet masterpiece. He was, without a doubt, the most handsome man I'd ever seen in my life. But it didn't stop there.

It wasn't just the color of his eyes that shocked with me their depth and complexity. It was everything about him. He was caring, loyal, kind, and funny. Humble yet confident, positive and motivated. He was someone who I trusted completely, and someone who trusted me back. He'd seen me at my worst and stayed by my side. He'd seen me at my best and been happy for me. He was, it dawned on me then, right then in that 1 second where his eyes flashed away and back to mine, the singularly most spectacular human I'd ever met, and all I wanted to do from that moment on was be with him all of the time in whatever way possible for as long as I could. My whole body, my mind, warmed. I was in love.

That was in 2009. Dave and I have spent the days and years that followed  in domestic and hardcore bliss, living together, touring together, eating and writing and recording and working together- doing everything, together. Never have I experienced a love or happiness so all-encompassing as the love and happiness I share with Dave.

Which is why it was so hard to break up.

Here's more or less exactly what happened as told by mostly- (semi-not-really-ok-yes-we-really-talk-like-this) fictional dialogue:

"Um... I think we're just friends. I think our relationship is over."
"Really? Hmmm I don't know. I still love you."
"Oh I still love you too, but think about it... this seems kind of... over... right?"
"....You know, I think you're onto to something. Holy shit."
"I know right?"
"Man this sucks."
"I know, I wish I could change it. But we had a good run right?"
"We had a great run! Wait so... how does this work? Does one of us move out? Isn't that what happens in break ups?"
"You don't want to live with me?!?!"
"No of course I do! Do you want to live with me?"
"Duh. We live so well together."
"Yeah we do. But... can we do that?"
"I think so..."
"... Ok good. So we'll live together and when the lease is up..."
"...when the lease is up..."
"...we can get another place?"
"Yeah!"
"I love living with you!"
"I love living with you!"
"So if we like uh, see other people we just won't bring them home."
"Obvi."
"Ok... cool."
"This isn't going to be easy..."
"... but we'll find a way to make it work."
"You aren't going to leave my life are you?"
"Pshh what are you, crazy? I'll always be here. We're partners in life."
"Yeah, we are.... Man, people aren't going to understand this."
"No, but people are stupid. Who cares."
"I love you."
"I love you too."

--

Several friends have told me that Dave and my breakup proves to them that love isn't real, but I think that's just insane. I think our break up proves the opposite.

Dave and I loved each other as friends, then our love deepened when it became romantic, and now- and I've got to admit this surprised me- our love has deepened yet again by breaking up. Because neither one of us wanted to be in a romantic relationship that wasn't right for the other, and we're both horrified by the idea of being apart- but not because we're comfortable, not because we're scared, but because we legitimately love being around each other.We inspire each other,and we have so much left to do together. Bands to start. Classes to take. Brunches to make. Inside jokes to tell again and again and again. Countries to visit, trains to ride, foreign disease to catch and cure. Neither of us is willing to throw that away just because one element of our relationship has changed.

I'm not thrilled by the idea of him seeing other people, and likewise he's not thrilled about me doing the same, but we are willing to navigate these uncharted waters, perilous as they may be, because to sail without the other is an agony that neither of us can endure. I would, and will, go to the ends of the earth for Dave. I will arrange my life to make sure the shape of his fits in. We aren't together, but we will always be together, and this is proof that love can be truly unconditional, continuous, forever.

Forever? Whatever. I'm a believer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

GO VEGAN FOR 29 DAYS FOR MY 29th BIRTHDAY!



Before I get into this, here is the facebook invite that explains it all and that I would love for you to RSVP to so that I know how many people are doing this:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=123511697740979

The deal: On Wednesday, July 27th I will be turning 29. There's only one thing I'd like for my birthday and I'm asking all of you for it: Go vegan for 29 days (yes, that's 1 day for every year I've been alive. IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!) If you decide to stick with it, spectacular! You'll notice few downsides of better health paired with the lessened suffering of animals and pollution of the earth. If you don't it's ok you've still given me a wonderful gift, tried something new, and spared 15 animal's lives. 

If 20 people do this, 300 animals will be spared.
If 50 people do this, 750 animals will be spared.
If 75 people do this, 1,125 animals will be spared.

That is awesome! That is the best gift ever. If you did this for me, it'd really mean a lot! Go RSVP! Tell your friends! Please help make my birthday the best ever!

Friday, July 22, 2011

ZANG!

Dave and I dreamed this up together, then made it a reality. If you'd like to order one, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A rapture carol

I love playing would you rather. I play it all the time. And at 5:50 pm on May 21st as I watched the blackest, most ominous and terrifying cloud I've ever seen start to envelop Philadelphia, my mind bouncing between that ridiculous 6 pm rapture prediction and my menstrual cycle which was over 2 1/2 weeks late, I thought,

Would I rather be pregnant but have my life spared if God, were there such a thing, came down and killed all the heathens, of which I would most certainly be grouped in with, but gave pregnant heathens the choice to give birth and live,

OR,

Would I rather die and remain childless?

I didn't even have to think. I would rather die.

Keeping one embarrassingly suspicious eye on the sky, I cleared my mind and made my way to my friend's "meet the baby" party where, from a safe "babies make me nervous" distance I met all 5 pounds of her little newborn. I sat on the couch across from them and chit chatted with the other attendees about this and that, the whole while stealing glances at the wee one. After getting offered to touch her teensy feet I thought to myself, "If I'm pregnant, I'm going to get an abortion." When I left my friend was breastfeeding, her gigantic boob hangin' out, the teeny tiny person stuck on the end of it.

I made my way over to the Converge show, realizing as a I biked under spooky skies that while rapture may have been a sham, my uterus, which I've always kinda thought of as a useless token of my femininity, an internal knick knack if you will, is in fact a functional bit of business and that despite my best efforts to will my womb to be hostile, it's not.

I was interested to see what'd become of Converge. I grew up seeing them in small venues all over New England, but as years passed their and shows got bigger and the crowds got stranger,  I stopped going. The last time I saw them was in 2001. 10 years later with no knowledge of any of their records past Jane Doe, running on 3 1/2 hours of sleep, covered in glitter from work, fresh from a baby viewing, in the hot, humid basement of Broad Street Ministry I watched Converge, and it was just like I remembered. Only... not. It was actually a lot like the bathroom of South Station.

South Station's bathroom in Boston is a place I've passed through for years and years, very much like a Converge show. When I was there a few months ago tidying up in the mirror, it struck me how many incarnations of myself had stood in that exact spot, doing that exact thing. I've aged in that mirror, watched phases of my life pass, seen myself grow up. Converge's set held a mirror up to me again, forcing me to face that while so many things are constant, I am not. They were the same band with the same crowd reaction, but I felt the years between us. I'd seen Converge as a goofy 16 year old in jnco jeans moshing for the first time, I'd seen Converge as a grinning, finger pointing 19 year old crammed practice space at 2 am, but never once had I seen Converge, nor did I ever think I would see Converge, as a non-participatory 28 year old maybe-pregnant woman standing quietly. But there I was.

Sitting at a full and lively table in Chinatown after the show shoving broccoli into my mouth and while everyone gossiped and joked, I thought about what it really means for the world to end. Sure, Jesus didn't do his thing and the ground didn't swallow us up, but for me rapture still had a distinct "your life is over" feel to it. For one, I might be pregnant. The idea that I can even get pregnant infuriates me, that particular ability not being one I asked for nor want. For two, I'd have to get an abortion. I considered pain, complications, inner city clinics, and timing this potentially hazardous excursion with touring and working, enraged that this bullshit could force me to miss either. And then I thought, Shouldn't I be more torn about what to do in this situation? I ran through scenarios of touching baby feet, my baby's feet, of giving it to a family that wanted a child, of this and that, but at no point did I feel swayed or touched or changed or convinced or motherly or incubatory. I'm just not a breeder. Twas not meant to be, for me.

Back at home laying in bed, I felt like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. I had lived a resurrection of my past during Converge, I had been in the present of this periodless purgatory, and I had seen the future suckling my friend's tit. I had seen the end of the world on rapture, where my current path would lead me, and I went to sleep feeling decisive about decisions I hoped I wouldn't have to face.

In the morning I woke up, rolled over to hug Dave, and then, color me blood red... I felt it. The drip. The kickoff drip. I ran to my window with glee, tossed a handful of tampons down to a little neighborhood girl and shouted, "Trade these in for the biggest tofurkey in the health food shop's window! Deliver it to the nearest woman whose monthly is late! And here!" I tossed a couple of thick, white pads down to her, "Keep these for yourself!" She skipped off smiling, and I promptly collapsed into crippling celebratory cramps, mumbling "bahhh humbug" at my lower abdomen.

And that's it really. Maybe my uterus really is just a knick knack, like a off-time cuckoo clock popping out at random hours and weeks and months. Maybe I needed a good shake up. Maybe in willing my womb to hostility I offended my other lady parts and they staged a revolt for attention. I have no idea.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sneaky

I recently came across my old favorite pair of shoes. I've long since stopped wearing them due to stain and discoloration (turns out it's a bad idea to walk into the ocean with your shoes on), but taking a tip from my friend Avalon who I saw wearing some dope ass gold sneaks the other day, I whipped out my gold screen printing ink and some black acrylic paint and worked some magic. Behold:

Kryponiceties

I'm in the process of booking another tour. 3 weeks around the Midwest. As I told Pames, shit is about to get real flat.

It's been awhile since I've booked outside of areas where I know a lot (or any) people and I'd forgotten exactly how frustrating the process of shooting in the dark can be. But more than the frustration of time put in for little result (I'm 3 solid days deep of booking already and I'm not even half way done), what's been really ticking me off is the attitudes of some of the people I've encountered.

Promoters can develop a very unnecessary and undeserved air of superiority. Kids who book shows in tiny towns in states so remote that you occasionally wonder if they even exist somehow get it in their heads that their connection to a venue makes them so unbelievably cool that they do not need to extend common courtesy to you. Not to diminish what promoters do, because it can be a TON of work (I stopped booking shows long ago because it was so overwhelming), but what most of these kids do is call a venue, secure a date, and make a facebook invite. Congratufuckinglations, you're superman. No need for niceties, you're single handedly saving the world.

All I ask if for a little use of manners. Just a little. I send out very polite emails, I'm very grateful for help, I put a lot of work into my band and into booking it, all I ask is that you respect me and what I do enough to give me one little manner. Just one.

Our first bassist used to tell me time and time again to stop being nice to people, that to make it in hardcore you had to seem above everyone else. He'd correct my emails from "Thank you so much!" to "Sweet." or something equally as aloof. He'd say that when people came up to me at shows to tell me they liked us that not only should I not show gratitude for the compliment (and believe me, we weren't getting many back then), but I shouldn't even speak back, I should just nod and keep going. This ego-inflating constructed coolness is an epidemic in hardcore. It's bizarre because I don't really get who wins with it. Is it the miserable isolated cool kids on their imaginary high horses, or the people (like me) who get bummed out by them?

I used to make the mistake of thinking this was one big scene, but I know now that there are many scenes occupying the same place. Hardcore is like a house of mirrors. Genuine hardcore remains in the middle clear and unscathed, but it's almost impossible to find. What you'll see for the most part is what it's surrounded in, reflections picked up by mirror after mirror that warp and distort, each taking the image from the other, twisting and bending it to an almost unrecognizable form. It's a creepy fun house, and I'd never thought I'd say this, but I get why people head toward the exit.

Speaking of what sits in the middle though, I went to see Wisdom In Chains a couple days ago. They were excellent as always and just put out a new 7", Pocono Ghosts, which I am listening to as I type. And you know when you go to a show and some band you've never heard of totally blows you away and you're like, UM, WTF? That was a band called Masakari at this show. Give 'em a listen.

As far as the exit goes, I don't think I'll ever go looking for it. There are moments I experience here that I'll never find elsewhere and could never replace, bands that still move and speak to me. It's rarely captured, impossible to explain, but someone sent me this and I think it comes close: (I'm one of the big mouths on the left)


And on that, I'm off to bed. Got a full day of booking ahead of me. Let's hope I don't get anymore supermen.