Archive of posts tagged with "lifey"

February 3rd, 2013

Sister Act

awesome daughters
random iconic photo
charlie & neeks on the trike
yeti cuties


January 31st, 2013

It Was 10 Years Ago Today…

yung wayne wonder on the mic

Almost incredibly, it was ten years ago today that I put my first blogpost online, less than a week into a six month stay in Kingston for doctoral research, accompanied by my better half — my partner on Hope Road, as I ultimately dedicated the dissertation — who blogged along with me. Written in plain ol’ HTML — if I had known about the recently launched Blogger, I would have jumped on it — and posted to a domain that I let lapse long ago (but which is all archived here), it began bloggily enough:

it is my intention to keep a daily, or near daily, weblog of my thoughts, experiences, and other media that i record or create while in jamaica. not only is this a great way to force myself to articulate some things on a regular basis, but i hope that by sharing ideas, sounds, and images with a larger audience i can invite others to get in on the conversation.

A great deal of that first post is, frankly, hard for me to read (probably for you too — don’t feel obliged). And not just for the typical reasons of feeling like a different person and cringing at my naive former self. No, it’s just some really awful writing, almost the whole way through. Not only is it rather muddled (if, ok, a first post and an attempt to condense several days of activity and months of preparation), it’s riddled by doubt and qualification, on the one hand, and by smugness and narcissism on the other. Shit, maybe my writing is still like that, but I think I’ve been able to get away from some truly bad grad-school habits over the years, especially the endless hedging and explication. It’s funny that even then I was consciously struggling with these issues —

to some extent i am striving to expunge jargon from my vocabulary and to speak and write in clear, simple prose. on the other hand, i am swayed by the feeling that i can express myself more succinctly and precisely with these newly accented words of critical/cultural/post- studies. words which tend to sound either vague or big to the uninitiated. words like discourse and liminal.

LOL. I can’t even tell if I’m being sarcastic there at the end. Despite the cringeworthy moments, I have to remind myself that I was writing in a strange hybrid style mixing personal fieldnotes and public-facing presentation — not only unorthodox from the perspective of field research but with little aside from gonzo journalism as a guide (not that I was trying to do that either). It was a risky voice to assume at the time, and it’s still a dangerzone I find myself inhabiting here and on Twitter and every other (semi)public forum where private/unguarded/frank talk mingles with more carefully crafted performances.

I’d be remiss not to note that the way I ultimately got myself through that awfully awkward phase was, fairly simply, by keeping up a “near daily” regimen of putting my words together and putting them out there for anyone to see — just as I had promised to do. But I shouldn’t exactly say “got myself,” since it was the engagement and encouragement from friends and strangers that made these posts into something more than notes to myself. As folks found the blog and left comments and sent me emails, a deeply fulfilling and remarkably fast feedback loop began to emerge (especially in comparison to academic conventions and tempos). Over the years, such a discipline — in combination with a real community of co-readers (reading me but also reading the world along with me) — has helped me to find a voice that feels less awkward and more authentic. I’m grateful there’s a record of all of that, even if earlier versions of myself are sometimes, as they say, not a good look.

forever <3 that tam becca knit me tho

In lieu of reposting much prose from my initial post here, I’d like instead to highlight some short recordings I posted, mostly attempts to record and represent our new soundscape but a couple whimsical collages too and snippets that, looking back, seem to capture some little moments pretty vividly.

Like an aborted excursion on Hope Road, cut short by sudden rain–

Or the sounds of kids playing at the primary school across the street — quite a delightful part of our daily soundscape:

Or the stray dogs that liked to hang out in the yard behind our apartment and bark and howl, often pathetically, at night — not quite as delightful, but an inescapable part of the sound of Kingston:

A few weeks later I chopped up the barking and whining for “Dog Gone Diwali,” a humorous attempt to cut-and-paste some very local sounds into a riddim that was at that moment totally ubiquitous and which I wanted to better understand by recomposing (this was the spring that Sean Paul’s “Get Busy” ran the world, though I swear “Sufferer” was the more popular Diwali voicing inna JA):

Along those lines, my initial post also included an odd bit of dancehall concrète, a piece I whipped up in front of and with the help of a live audience at an ICT conference Rebecca and I attended in the hope of making some contacts to help with our volunteer work in prisons and schools. This was a little schtick of mine back then — making a little ditty out of the sounds people would make in front of my laptop — sometimes with great results, sometimes more meh, but usually at least producing an interesting memento of sorts, e.g.:

Over the course of this spring I hope to revisit a number of the more interesting posts from our likkle Jamrock fieldwork adventure. If they’re not too embarrassingly full of qualifiers and parentheticals, I might even run one on occasion as a full re-post here. I don’t think any readers, even longtime friends of W&W, should be too annoyed. I mean, really, it’s been ten years!

our sweet spot on hope road

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January 17th, 2013

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

It’s a little hard to believe, but our little girl turns a big 5 today! Shine on, my dear–

painting @ jess's
girl + grape
nico @ HONK!
ukelele royal
state of the art #dec2012

5 years flush with joy & pride & love. You’re an awesome kid, Neeks, thanks for being you.


January 20th, 2012

The Internet Today

The first time one of my daughters said “internet,” I was deeply curious about what she might understand it to be. So I asked. Here’s how it went down:

“Did you get it on the internet?”

“What do you mean?”

Slight pause.

“I’m just saying ‘internet.’ … Internet.”

It was an awesome bit of backpedaling, but it’s not like Nico didn’t know what she was talking about. Surely I had told her many times before that I was getting some video or other “on the internet” (although this time I was just searching for an mp4 on our harddrive).

Of course, defining “the internet” in plain terms is no simple task, even/especially for experts — never mind elected officials (for whom even the proposal of a relatively reasonable metaphor, say a “series of tubes,” can lead to eternal ridicule).

Anyway, as tweeted, we had occasion yesterday to revisit the exchange. This time both Nico and Charlie offered up awesome answers — with no evasions — and I even got it all on video!

As we were getting back in our car after lunch at a local diner, Charlie asked me if I wanted to buy a newspaper. I told her I didn’t and then said something to the effect that I could read the same stories on my phone — that is, on the internet. At which point I had to ask, in a somewhat strange and serious and playful voice, “What. Is. The. Internet?”

To which Nico replied, rather reasonably, if in her own strange voice (a “boy’s voice,” she tells us)–

I thought that was great, so I took out my internet phone and asked her if we could re-run the Q&A for the camera. The kids love seeing themselves on video, so Nico agreed, and that’s what you see up there (with my question inadvertently truncated).

After which, natch, Charlie needed a turn. At first it seemed like she was just going to rehearse the same exchange herself (complete with funny voice), but instead, operator-style, she threw a curveball. A hilarious curveball, especially after my follow-up —

The funniest thing is, they’re both kinda right.

Ah, digital nativity.

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January 17th, 2012

Portrait of the Young Girl as an Artist

Happy 4th birthday, you inspired/inspiring kid, you —

nico, signer of name
nico, drawer of cool "guys"
nico, drawer of cool "guys"
nico made a mad face
nico guy for fern
portrait of sheepy
millie's mom chasing millie in the park
nico draws a father/daughter pic!
Dear Daddy

You’re welcome, darling! Anytime…


January 11th, 2012

Found & Lost

actual colors depicted

We found the CD above a few blocks from home as we were walking up Concord Ave last month. It was badly scratched, probably the reason for its unceremonious discard — and no doubt compounded by however long it had been kicking it by the curb. All the same, it was awfully alluring. I immediately twitpic’d it, tweeting to g0d that it might play, and stuck it in my pocket.

Back home, I couldn’t get much further than the second track (though, notably, it fared better in my car system than my computer), but fortunately Track 1 was a whopping 15 minutes and several songs long. The contents, though still pretty mysterious to me, are about as awesome as I had imagined they might be, considering the crazed white baby, intense pink, and unauthorized Tinkerbell cluttering the cover.

Appropriately, the opening is epic. I keep wanting it to break into an 808 State jam, and I keep wishing I had an inkling of what they were saying. Since the first two songs really run together, this first chunk I’m sharing is a good 8+ minutes:

At about 8:30 into Track 1, there’s an amazingly reggaetony riff and vocal (which I’m sorely tempted to sample), but from there, rhythmically-speaking anyway, the track heads more into saidi than dembow territory:

Finally, just before the CD crapped out, it offered up one of the funkiest versions of happy birthday I’ve ever heard —

I can only really approach this at a fairly superficial level of sound & image, sorry to say, since I can’t read or understand the language at all. Any help with that, or with finding other (and less scratched) recordings like this one would be much appreciated. Decent kids cocktail is hard to come by these days!

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August 25th, 2011

A Pucker Is Born

the willing victims —

pucker #
pucker #
pucker #
pucker #

the sour culprits

black black cherrrrries


June 12th, 2011

See How Time Fly #2949



May 18th, 2011

See How Time Fly

charlie in red
charlie peek

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April 6th, 2011

April Is the Cruelest Month

What is it with early April? Two days ago we mark the assassination of MLK, yesterday is the day we lost both Layne and Cobain (some years apart) — I don’t talk much about my grunge years here, but rest assured I sported mad plaid in the mid-90s — and today was the day the Rwandan genocide began in 1994, taking some 800,000 precious lives before it was over.

April 6 also marks a memorial closer to home. 12 years ago today our dear friend, Sharif Moustafa, a core member of our tight-knit West Cambridge crew and the BFF of my younger brother, suddenly collapsed on the same basketball court where we all spent countless days and nights — a court now named after him.


Thinking about Sharif — his life and his death — makes me want to write about our neighborhood and our city and things like race and religion and community, but rather than mobilize his passing for some politicking, I’d prefer to focus on Sharif here — and on the larger questions his untimely departure raised for us with regard to loss and mourning.

None of us really knew how to deal with losing a dear friend, with no warning, in the prime of his and our lives. Some dark, cathartic days followed. The strangeness of encountering Muslim forms of mourning and making peace was, I think, actually quite helpful in bringing some of us — some of us infidels, that is — to terms with an experience that seemed to resist explanation, that seemed in its own way utterly foreign.

(The Moustafas’ religious life was largely a private affair — one conducted in the privacy of their family home or outside of the neighborhood entirely, with fellow faithful in Greater Boston — and Sharif’s death was a notably rare moment where that veil was lifted.)

For my own part, inspired by the likes of “T.R.O.Y.,” which itself became endowed with new meaning in the wake of Sharif’s death, I wrote a “Song for Sharif,” an attempt to work/rap through some of the intense feelings I was having and witnessing, and though I actually recorded it and shared it with my friends and with the Moustafas (including his devout parents, who loved the Umm Kulthum sample and didn’t mind the additional blasphemy of sampling Koranic recitation), all of whom received it positively, today I find the recording a little too heart-on-sleeve to share more widely without embarrassment.

So allow me instead to offer a few lyrics that remain resonant (and perhaps work better on the page than in my cracking voice) —

How to persevere through this sudden shock of a loss?
Some cry, some wail, some chant their hum-du-Allahs
And some to a cross wanna grasp
How else to fathom the chasm left by a friend who’s passed?
So many questions to ask, so much left unsaid
Some people punish themselves, wish it were them instead
On new ground I tread: how to fill this void?
First time I find that emptiness could have such heaviness
I guess we just gotta remember the very best
Please rest in peace, my brother, you know you passed every test
Of friendship and family and everyday I plan to be
Reminded by the visual memory of the man I see
And when I cannot see, I’ll still hear your tune
You’re like a favorite song, that always ends too soon

Now, I’m not saying any of that’s profound or anything. The process of writing the song was much more about articulating the confusion and searching that followed our friend’s passing — and which, in retrospect, looks a lot like a stage of mourning, both for our friend and for ourselves. Along these lines, I was happy to run across the following quotation from Judith Butler over at Zunguzungu today; to my mind, it presents a poignant and helpful bit of thinking about mourning:

… Perhaps one mourns when one accepts that by the loss one undergoes one will be changed, possibly for ever…I do not think, for instance, that one can invoke the Protestant ethic when it comes to loss. One cannot say, “Oh, I’ll go through loss this way, and that will be the result, and I’ll apply myself to the task, and I’ll endeavor to achieve the resolution of grief that is before me.” I think one is hit by waves, and that one starts out the day with an aim, a project, a plan, and finds oneself foiled. One finds oneself fallen. One is exhausted but does not know why. Something is larger than one’s own deliberate plan, one’s own project, one’s own knowing and choosing…

On that note, May flowers anyone?

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March 24th, 2011

2 Años Con Charlie!

Happy birthday, bug —

bugged-out buggles
apples & hummus
charlie cap
om =)
american gothics
classic lil kiss
charlie mustard
charlie dots
me & charlie & lobsta
charlie in red
charlie dip
charlie buggles the laundry
charlie scopes out the mobile #
charlie looks out the window
foot in hand, bottle in mouth
babe & babe
hugs from dad
my three girls
me & charlie

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I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com


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