out of egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and i shake the dirt from my sandals as i run

Friday, October 27, 2006


What we're seeing here, in a sense, is the growing, the birth pangs of a new Middle East.
-Condoleeza Rice

We realize that this is a major inconvenience for our large blogger population, but we hope that you will agree that the uptime stability you will get in the new system is worth the short-term hassle of switching over.
-email from EZArchive.com

Yeah, I'll compare my blog to the Middle East. What.

I've said it before, but EZArchive, the file host of choice for music bloggers because of its low rate and (until this fall) speed and ease of use, is the shittiest site in the world. Apparently they're switching over to new servers, which has invalidated all their links and rendered null the meat of this blog.

I'm finding creative ways to upload music in the meantime, but most music links from August and earlier will be dead until EZArchive updates to a system that doesn't suck a fat dee. Anyway, you shouldn't be downloading free music in the first place. Shame.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jaan-e-day 06

Matt gave me the alley-oop on this one, and I'm not sure I can live up to it, but I can't back down now. History in tha makin yall. This weekend we finally saw my Bollywood movie.

flashback! the camera pans to the window and we dissolve to 2005

Friends and pals will remember that I spent last fall working as a PA on a Bollywood musical shooting in New York with an all-Indian crew. Kids, culture shock is a funny thing. Due to a technicality (the caste system) in the Indian labor system (slave trade), I was classified as one rung above Untouchable. What I mean is that "PA" is likely a less apt term than "servant."

If you want the basic story dirt, it's back here, at the genesis of the blog. But here's the thing: way more people read and link to my blog today than a year ago, and I kind of want people in India to find this on google while they're researching their favorite stars. So listen up, google.in! I spent two months working as the personal driver for the star Akshay Kumar, on the film Jaan-E-Mann!

dinga dinga dinga dinga dinga dinga dinga dinga

L ro R: Osh Kosh B'Gakshay, Polish hairstylist whose affair
with Akshay I can niether confirm nor deny, Jeeves

I will be the first to say it: I was a bad servant. Frequently Akshay would call me after leaving a restuarant where I was supposed to pick him up. I would be parked two blocks away, and he would be displeased. "Adam! Where are you! We are standing out in the rain!" he'd bark sweetly. "I'll be there in 30 seconds," I'd offer, "but you really don't have to stand in the rain. Go under the awning." But Akshay was right, and I a fool: if he'd gone under the awning, how would I ever learn my lesson?

I promise I'm taking a picture of the sign. Sir, I assure you.

Jaan-E-Mann was formerly spelled Janeman. Before that it was Jaaneman. The inital spelling change happened just before shooting started, when the producer went to a fortune teller, who told him (I shit you not) "one A is better than two for you." Boom. Name change. The second spelling change (reinstatement of the second A, double-hyphen-infusion, extra N because I mean why not) happened after shooting had already moved back to India, but I can only guess that it had a similar (but possibly even more crazy?) reason.

surely I didn't come all this way to not bootleg

Anyway, flash to present. Here we were, about to watch this thing, get it over with, pull the trigger on the last year. We'd made a day of it - Matt and Aaron and I had mediocre Indian food for lunch, then walked around to some of the spots in Brooklyn where Jaan-E-Mann had shot, and finally we'd made our way to the Times Square theater where we'd endure the three-hour extravaganza. LET'S DO THIS

for some reason this movie starts in space

Well, I don't want to belabor it: the movie was three hours long, as all Bollywood films are, and it was a musical, as all Bollywood films are. You see a movie like this, you go in expecting a certain level of absurdity. Or, as Ilana (who studied Bollywood in college and got me this job) told me, You can't judge another culture because you don't understand.

BUT - I am only human, and a racist human at that. This movie was in Hinglish, which is not a language but a style of dialogue that alternates Hindi and English by the sentence. Thankfully, we had subtitles to help us out.

wait you did what?

I did indeed appear in the movie, in a dialogue scene at an outdoor cafe where I was operating the stereo for the background dancers. One common conception Indians have about the United States is that pretty much everywhere you go, there are black people dancing all the time. On the set I'd tried to tell them that this wasn't necessarily the case, but I couldn't prove it, thanks to the group of break dancers Salman Khan pays to follow him around.

Ultimately, I don't regret this experience. I learned a lot about myself as a worker (I suck?) and as a driver (I'm from New Jersey?). And as the movie finally ended, and Preity Zinta finally discovered that Salman still loved her (advice: you find this out quicker when you are not singing 75% of the time), there was only one thing left to do.

Seeing your name in the credits of something is the real closure. In this business, no one gets paid enough, everyone works too hard, but there's something satisfying about being in the credits. Almost like...getting credit. But of the six PAs, only Sam and Ilana were listed, as "Mr. Sam" and "Ms. Elana." After working seven days a week, 15 hours a day, for two months, I got a second of wide-angle screen time and no credit.

India, you're on notice.

Friday, October 13, 2006

new cds

A lot of people say they like summer because they don't care about sounding cliche, but I prefer the fall, because that's when all the good movies and CDs come out, and because I burn very easily. But this post isn't about sunburns or movies, even though you should see the Departed because it is the sheet.

If you read other music blogs, you've probably already heard a ton about these albums. You're just here for the free mp3s. Fine, I can't stop you.

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

Generally it's exciting when a band you like comes out with a new album, but sometimes it can feel like a hassle - you like this band, so maybe you feel like you owe it to them and to yourself to get their new album. But then you have to track it down, go out and buy it or download it or get it from a friend, then listen to it, get familiar with it and internalize it, and the truth is that you don't always feel like doing all that.

I was reminded of that when I perfunctorily bought the new Rapture album, which hasn't wowed me, and I thought of it again last week when this came out. Mostly I thought about how I wasn't especially hyped about a new set of songs that use archaic words like "chimbley" and "legionnaire." But I got it anyway, and what I forgot is that I love this band simply because they write really pretty songs. The song below is about a Japanese man whose wife turns into a crane, but who cares.

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife 3

Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor

This leaked a few months ago, hyped to impossibility, and got delayed multiple times before it actually came out last month. I hesitated to buy it because I already had the leaked version, but it was a good gamble because the official release is significantly different; new song titles, new songs, more guests, etc. And it's really good. By the end of the first track he's already laid down his philosophy for life, and it's a good one.

Unfortunately, the excellent Trials and Tribulations from the leaked version has morphed into a new track called "Pressure," which now has a verse by Jay-Z about (surprise!) how good a rapper he is, and a chorus that goes (seriously), "it's my life, everything I do I do for you." Also there's a shitty track that sounds like linkin park. But other than that, honestly, it's very very good. I'm stating the obvious, but there really is no greater guilty pleasure than listening to rap music on your ipod in a public place where everyone thinks you are just a REGULAR WHITE GUY.

Lupe Fiasco - Just Might Be OK

The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America

This came out a week ago and there's already a backlash against it, partly because of all the "album of the year" and "anthem for a generation" drool it's already gotten, but mostly because of its almost-perfect pitchfork review. But don't forget that for something to inspire a backlash it has to be good in the first place (exception: Garden State). The main problem people have with the album is that it basically bites Springsteen. But I'm 23, I don't know from Bruce, and as always, if you're going to steal, steal from the best.

The album is 40 minutes long but it feels much shorter, which is a good sign. It makes me want to get drunk, which is a good sign. It inspires a lot of air guitar, which is a great sign. And before the internet, you would've just had to take my word for it. Isn't that super?

The Hold Steady - Massive Night

a heartbreaking work of staggering jesus

our senior year, meghan made a movie about lounge singers. and lesbians. also it was a musical. she asked me to be a backup dancer in one of the numbers, and I said sure, what do I care if all of school sees it, har har. the other day I realized she'd put it on youtube.

anyway, it's my musical screen debut, in the role of nun #2. check my precision moves at the 24 second mark.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

bergen street

last month I moved, from crownspect heights (I invented this name and I am certain it will catch on) to boerum hill. I already miss the dirt-cheap bulletproof chinese place across the street that I had 4 or 5 times a week, the boost mobile chimes calling to me when I got off the subway, and the ubiquitous fried chicken.

still a neighborhood that has bars and sit-down restaurants in it is pretty cool. now my life has boat, zaytoons, the brooklyn inn and something called the Nascent, a cafe on my corner that sells very expensive snacks to bizzarely dressed people. in general, an upgrade, though nothing can replace the boost mobile chimes.

here's what the old place looked like on moving day:

josh was already tired from not helping me move

and here's what the new place looked like yesterday:

moose head apparently visible from street, say landlords

but no more on the new apartment, because for that we have a blog. yes virginia, a blog.

my original idea for 236bergen.blogspot.com was to have a public forum for myself, matt and dave to say disparaging things about each other. it'll most likely evolve into something broader than that, though I play to say plenty of devastating things about my roommates no matter what happens.

for instance: did you know that matt considers the people of staten island to be second-class citizens? fact. a true fact. and I could go on, readers - these men are deranged. but i'll save it for the house blog.

oh yes this is going to be very stupid. [oh yes this is going to be very awesome.]

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


hi folks!

I am back to do more "blogging." I took some time off to find myself. Here's what I discovered:

People like me better when I don't blog for two months. Each post on my blog tends to get me at least one "you're an asshole" or "your blog makes me want to kill you" from someone I know. Usually this person is Matt Nathanson, but the point is that for the last two months, Matt hasn't said any of those things to me, and it's pretty sweet.

I considered stopping the blog, so that I could, in the words of thoreau, "simplify." (this might have been emerson. I do not remember and I don't have a google.) [nts: necessary to quote and cite if it's just one word? unclear.] BUT now matt has a blog of his own, so now he knows what it's like to be a public figure assailed from all sides by critics and bitches. and so I press on: in the words of Nas, "you can hate me now, but I won't stop now. real niggas."

I think tomorrow I'll post some photos of the new apartment, and then after that maybe some music. bottom line, it's a blog again. hold onto your peepees.