Someone Else’s Speech for Graduates

Written on August 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

One time (right now) I read this article about some guy giving a college graduation speech. It’s this speech. And then I rewrote it as my own speech, which I prefer better, because I’m young and selfish, just like the guy giving the original speech expects me to be.

What are old people good for, besides ridicule? Tales of regret.

Once, I was poor, and it was awful; once, I worked at a slaughterhouse, and it wasn’t. I’ve imbibed poop-water in a distant land, and shot a hockey puck at a girl I fancied. Once, a mousey nervous-hair-chewing new girl came to town, and moved away, and I was kind of kind to her when she was around, though mostly she wasn’t; that’s because I was selfish. Everyone thinks they’re the invincible lead in their own story within a greater world; it’s not that we don’t care, we just can’t see outside our stories.

It makes being kind tough, but as we get older, our reflexes dull and we can’t play FPS games anymore, so instead we play casual Facebook games, and we learn to slow down, and be less selfish, and give our money to Gameloft, and Zynga, and others. We realize through endless microtransactions that we’re more of a minor cog in the machine than the lead of the story.

And like that, life grinds you down into dust, but it’s like fairy dust. And if you have kids, you sprinkle them with it. Many of you have decades of the stuff on you, and inside you; you’re breathing it in right now, your parents’ lives.

I’d say “don’t be a dick”, but some Trekkie already made that speech, so I’ll just say this: In 80 years or so, I’ll be 134 with robot legs and laser eyes and a lot of cats, and hopefully some of you will have come to the same realizations I have and become kind, and when you are as kind as the Element of Kindness, and we’re all living in space, drop me a line, and I’ll say “I told you so”, and we can arm-wrestle with our cybernetic future arms and toss back a space brew or seven. Cheers.

Every (Hipster) Music Critic’s Year-End Top 10 List Explained

Written on January 26, 2011 at 12:46 am, by Alfonso Surroca

Upon reading this article on the predictability of year-end top 10 lists, I decided to make my own. Because someone called-out Pitchfork (and me) for being as predictable as the year-end top 10 lists referred to in that article.

10. Any self-respecting egoitst music critic is going to pick his/her personal favorite as #1. Also, Mumford & Suns is a hipster Dave Matthews Band, and fuck them. There I said it.

9. If the author didn’t understand Four Tet’s latest record, then there is little hope for him as a music critic, because it’s not dense. He’s dense.

8. This is America, and it’s OK to hate on other countries (ironically, of course). So, fuck foreign records. Exception: British bands. Because we speak their language.

7. What an amateur. Any self-respecting hipster music critic will not include any breakout successes. Rather, they will deride the bands’ rise to the top and declare them to be uncool sell-outs. “Arcade Fire? Yeah, they used to be cool, back when they were unknown and in that one Apple commercial.”

6. Obama is president. Hipsters don’t have to go on pretending to like hip-hop anymore. It’s a post-racial world.

5. The old-timer records belong further down the list because they’re only even on the list for irony’s sake. Everybody knows a good hipster has no sense of history. What’s history? Huh? Fuck history, that’s what.

4. Yes, Kanye West does deserve his own spot, despite hip-hop having no place on a modern hipster music critic’s top 10 list. Because Kanye transcends hip-hop. His beautiful dark twisted fantasy is our beautiful dark twisted fantasy. He speaks to us. He understands us.

3. This is the slot for the obvious sub-mainstream hit, actually, the one that almost made it, but didn’t. Because bands who almost sell-out but have to lick their wounds and come crawling back to college radio are the best. Oh, MGMT, it’s nice to have you back.

2. This is the spot for whichever album everyone else chose as #1, obviously. Let’s call this spot “Your Favorite Record is Only my #2 Pick”.

1. And finally, a good hipster music critic is going to put his/her personal favorite here. This is for the album that he/she either a) lost his/her virginity to, b) listened to the most while being high, c) listened to while sitting on the hood of a car looking at the night sky and musing or just pretending to be in a John Hughes movie or something. For example: 2008–M83, 2009–Animal Collective, and 2010–Beach House.

Day 360: Amnesia

Written on January 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

Day 360: Amnesia

My Friday night lasted a long time, well into Saturday. I started playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent, known as one of the scariest games in the survival/horror genre, the way it’s meant to be played: In the dark, with headphones, from 2AM to 5AM. Awesome.

Day 359: First Week

Written on January 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

Day 359: First Week

So, the first workweek of the year’s almost through, and it’s gone by as quickly as any other.

Day 358: Night at the Pub

Written on January 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

Day 358: Night at the Pub

Tonight I hung out at one of the local pubs with my brother and another buddy, and that was bette than the usual aimless drives.

Day 357: Still at Cafes

Written on January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

Day 357: Still at Cafes

I’m spending most nights at a cafe on the computer or reading an (e)book, just as I did before.

Day 356: Still Driving

Written on January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

Day 356: Still Driving

In this year, as in the last, I’m still racking up the miles driving alone at night. I prefer the night.

Day 355: So, New Year

Written on January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

Day 355: So, New Year

I don’t do resolutions. So, it’s 2011, and I’m doing the same stuff I did in 2010. Big deal.

Day 354: 2011

Written on January 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

Day 354: 2011

Unlike Christmas Day, businesses are actually open on New Year’s Day, and it’s easier to make less of a fuss about it and just go on about my business. That’s the way i started the new year.

Day 353: New Year’s Eve

Written on January 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm, by Alfonso Surroca

Day 353: New Year's Eve

I spent New Year’s Even much the same way as Christmas Eve, driving around, frequenting cafes, and not doing much of anything. And then I watched movies through the night.