Crate Dig: “Gearheart,” Analogue Transit

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Pretense: Crate-digging a bit, dusted off this vinyl cut biorhythmic riff from back in the Aughts… indie zeitgeist mood music, still relevant, increasingly astute aural vantage on the mod world, more than worth its weight in vinyl, and beyond worth the turntable whirl #giveitaspin

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“I am the truth, the thing you long to hear. I am analogue, I am analogue;” so opens duo Kwaku Aning and Jeff Shreiner’s formal introduction to the music world – and moreover, magnificently introduced the music landscape for 2010 in a softly spoken, but strongly cemented artistic tone.

Analogue Transit’s freshman album compiles acoustic and electronic sounds so authentically that it gives a soul to the seemingly synthetic – granting the machine a mood, and becomes the heart behind the gears. Raw piano and stoic strings ride alongside classically crude industrial effects. These juxtapositions craft an atmosphere that reflects artists’ core, as they harmonize with beautifully melancholy vocalizations, and more importantly, animate the catalyst for this second decade’s creative identity.

and Kari On with … Fool’s Gold

Interview, Soundtrek, TK:ATL

So, this aKO … installment shines the spotlight on a former-and-forever favorite band du jour: Fool’s Gold. I had the pleasure of interviewing lead singer, Luke Top, for TITLE Magazine back in the day – so figured, why not get reintroduced for the first time. #exactly

title5coverCheck out the feature piece at TITLE‘s MagCloud … and a behind-the-script, best of the rest that didn’t make the pages, below the jump – enjoi

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Want to See a Daye Boy Smile? Pay Attention.

art, TK:ATL

I’ve never met GREATeclectic, but I know him quite well. I’ve yet to feel more innately connected to someone with whom I’ve never shared conventional contact; but that is the beautiful mystery that is the Great Mister Daye. He conveys and connects with the world and the one individual alike, because he is his work; as with any masterpiece, that connection lives in the unconventional void – where authenticity cannot be barred by limitation, and catharsis cannot be marred by sterile sanity. He lives in his work – it is in that shared space where I feel, and it is in that shared experience where life is present.

TrapperKeeper – Best of 2010: G.O.O.D. Fridays

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Oh, hai “that time of year again,” didn’t hear you come in – well, have a seat and make yourself comfortable. I’m not spectacular at year-end reviews… I prefer life like I prefer my albums: gapless. That said, I hat-tipped six artists, songs, and albums that made me pause and take time to jot the time and place – year included – over the last 300-someodd days; and six creations that embodied and encapsulated sonic aesthetic for 2010. Why six? Why not? To the six I take, to have and to hold; forever like a TrapperKeeper, Pop safe in the fold. #enjoi

Round Five (finger discount) for G.O.O.D music

“Power” (Remix) ft. Jay-Z & Swizz Beats G.O.O.D. Fridays – Kanye West

#histwocents: “What do it mean to be the boss? It mean second place is the first one who lost; the crucifixion, the being nailed to the cross – truth or fiction – it’s a hell of a cost: do the dishes.”

#mytwocents:

If Jesus Walks; Muhammad marches. I just don’t know where to start or finish with this… what to say that hasn’t already been said by the Louis Vuitton Don? Power clap for the preacher, preacher – enter Kanye: “fresh out the club, just took a half an hour nap,” why? Because he naps twice as long as the average celebrity’s life span. He’s an artiste, emerged from the shadow of his former fame – or infamy #neitherherenorthere. That said, power is founded on two things: The Fear, and The Fame – and what Ye doesn’t have on-hand, he’s got inventory. West is proof that in art, as in life, one man’s Gospel is another man’s Jihad #preachon

Music Monday: 40 Reasons, #40 – M.I.A.’s “Born Free”

A.V Hub, Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

Maya Arulpragasam cemented iconographic status last decade as the brazen bamboo banga – the staple sound of subwoofers from Sri Lanka to Santa Monica. She laid out her vision for this decade in music in NME magazine – the running theme of which was, “whatever they did last decade: don’t.” M.I.A.’s Arular and Kala play as soundtracks to the past decade’s apocalyptic crusade against genuine culture. She went larger-than-life with indigenous-gone-electric sounds that were catchy enough to become a mainstream radio mainstay (because, well, that’s Pop). This decade she’s going bigger and badder in a politically-charged punk way that highlights the American idiocy in last decade’s domestic attempt to do the same.

Music Monday Preview: 40 Reasons to Be Excited About Music

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

In light of Rolling Stone’s new revamped site

and heightened sense of irony… oh wait, they’re not kidding about Will.I.Am being a reason to get excited…

I’ve decided now is as good a time as any to compile a bit of an ongoing column of 40 (likely more – or less) reasons why I’m excited about music – the good, the bad, the ugly and some niches in between.

2010 looking like a supersonic renaissance. Where 2000-2009 saw the death of artistry in the face of superficial artifice, 2010 sees the release of vapidity and a return to verity. Supersonic in the sense of music transcending – and/or adding immense depth and layers within – just sound unlike anything we have seen before.

We live in an age of unparalleled resources that enable musicians to become true artists – those who

create music that transcends sound and builds entire atmospheres, worlds to the point of sight and tangibility; given the modern resources, it’s only natural to equally focus on expanding that experience to reality: actual visuals and mixed media.

Performance artists can make their multimedia visions a reality, and traditional musicians can enhance their songs to whole sonic landscapes of limitless sound.

Before the forty reason foray – reason the first and foremost… the brass tacks as to why music is always reason to get excited: it makes the people come together – the bourgeoisie and the rebel

Watch this space: I… can’t count on Rolling Stone – killer concept, but they killed said concept (read: “You hear it all the time… ‘Rock is dead,’ and well, mea culpa”). As Andy Warhol said, though, “You have to be willing to get happy about nothing,” but I’m a Gen-Yer and in world 2.0 I’m more than willing and able to get excited about everything – after all, Pop goes the culture.

Thinkpieces, Vol. 2: Edie Sedgwick

TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

Some artists defy the nature of the here today, gone in thirty seconds nature of pop culture, and especially that of the Internet’s role in that cultural development. “Thinkpieces” is a way to get you, the reader to stop, pause and reflect on moments of not just cultural brilliance, and even more so, cultural significance.

“I would like to turn the world on, just for a moment … just for a moment,” so spoke Andy Warhol’s brightest burning – and arguably quickest dimming – Superstar, the girl on fire, the Poor Little Rich Girl, Edie Sedgwick.


As much as April 20th is the unofficial holiday celebrating the blurred, covert cool, touted taboo identity of this Lost Generation; Edie Sedgwick, born on this very day in 1943, is the unofficial harbinger of the Hipster – “It’s not that I’m rebelling. It’s that I’m just trying to find another way.” Everything about Edie was cool, everything about Edie was “now,” everything about Edie was so beautifully disastrous. Her significance is insignificant, if only because it was so superlative, but so temporally isolated; and if only because of that fact: her obituary is our biography those dying to live, and forever living under the shadow of that spectacular demise.

Artist Spotlight: Nick Lepard

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Nick Lepard: painter by way of Vancouver with portraiture as richly layered as his artistic perspective; check out my interview with Lepard.

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“My goal is to reflect people in the modern world, but not the modern world itself;” meet Nick Lepard, a 22-year-old artist by way of Vancouver. As the product of a media immersed society, Lepard’s artwork represents the human in the midst – not necessarily at the whim, or in complete control – of a world that is constantly changing, and “here one minute, gone the next.” His portraits capture the essence of the person: layered, multi-faceted, rich, deep, integrated, contemporary, classic, and complete in the face of fragmentation.

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THE DROP: M.I.A. and Lady Gaga – Where’s the Beef? An analysis…

TK:ATL

This isn’t a drop: it’s a deluge.

M.I.A. sat down with NME to take a stand on where music is headed in the coming decade. Most saw her choice words, as choice cuts of beef served up at the table of Lady Gaga. However 1) Pop Stars don’t eat and 2) any avid reader and Pop Culture connoisseur would see that the article is not so much a direct attack on Gaga, as it is a misdirected critique of the mainstream, and industry in general; so that leaves the beef: untouched. M.I.A. is a major artist, an iconic figure from the past decade, commenting on the future of music; the future of music as we know it is Gaga, and so what better case study to reference than the Lady herself? Where the response has gone array is in people’s general lack of perspective on the artists, and the art form. Brass tacks: I read the article and thought I was reading a self-deprecating dialogue between Gaga’s Fame and Monster… some sort of existential exercise in literary catharsis for her new album… I don’t know. M.I.A. and Lady Gaga are a theoretical tandem, they share a Pop iconography. They both represent the future of music from the Sri Lankan hood to the Haus. Point/Counterpoint: for every question NME posed, and every response M.I.A. gave, Gaga has been posed a similar – if not identical – question, and below are her answers: verbatim. Before you pick a side, let this be your guide, a little Pop primer that gives reference points and poses the biggest question of all: “so wait, where is the beef?”

 

NME: Do musical tribes still exist?

M.I.A.: “There aren’t tribes any more – how can there be when we all live in computers, on social networks? People listen to and access music differently now, so the tribal thing has to be reformatted.”

Lady Gaga:People believe electronic music is soulless – and it’s not. Do you know why I know it’s not? Because the soul that I feel from my fucking beautiful fans at my show cannot be a lie – it can’t. I’ve never in my life seen the intensity in their faces – I mean they bloodsuck and kill to be together; I mean there’s glitter, and there’s sweat, and there’s dancing, and there’s hairbows, and they believe in it so much and it’s real. In those moments: it’s real; and they bring my music to life.”

My Two Cents: Tribes exist, and both M.I.A. and Gaga are tribal leaders (paws to lil’ monsters). The firewire sparked the bonfire around which the new musical tribes dance; the future of the musical tribe? Gonna be okay.

Cherry-Cherry-Boom Jailbreak: Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” ft. Beyonce

TK:ATL


Chains, much like man, cannot hold nor stop Lady Gaga; they must only hope to contain her and, shortly thereafter, succumb to the reality of inevitable acceptance and reverence.

Down to brass tacks – and knuckles: this. video. should. be. illegal. If Lady Gaga wasn’t so original, she’d be criminal – oh … wait. This video comes off the heels of her iconic Paparazzi video, also directed by Jonas “Brother Please, I Use My Cojones” Akerlund.

After all of the hype, the question remained in the back of every monster’s mind: “but really, can anything make “Bad Romance” look bad, can Gaga even top herself at this point?” The collective answer was “yes… bxxch is bad.” “Telephone” takes the theme of “Paparazzi,” douses it in Tarantino cinematics – sets it off – and sends Gagaloo off to see the Wizard, the Wizard of HBO Presents: Oz; it’s Pulp Fiction turned Pop Fact. Welcome to the GrindHaus of Gaga

“Telephone” is a tale of three terrains: the pound, the pussy wagon, and the public.

The pound:

The hold is Gaga’s Haus. Rolling solo dolo in a sea of chain gang Cholas, Gaga owns the video and the prison just like she did Hollywood and Vine. Right from the jump Gaga turned the walk of shame into the walk of Fame. She comes through the Pen harder than Baltimore: when the guard says “I told you she didn’t have a dick,” half the American male population breathed a sigh of relief at the confirmation of their heterosexuality – the other half re-questioned their own, and wondered if she was packing more than they were. They say the clothes don’t make the man, but as Gaga said of her VMA Paparazzi performance:

People say I’m no more than the clothes I wear; that’s exactly right: if they bleed, I bleed.

So what do the clothes say about her now? She goes hard. Kanye would never rock a mink fur in the winter like Killa Cam, Gaga would never rock anything less than chains and haute couture with killas, man; Hov might rock Versace shades four years straight, Gaga rocks Newport shutter shades: all. day. Pain is beauty: Emphysema of the eyes is ballin’. The new thug misses takes rumors and throws them on the ground – she will not be a part of the system. People say Gaga’s a crackhead; well, the news called it crack, she calls it Diet Coke – cans… as curlers. She rocks Virgin Mobile phones in her pants: cherry cherry boom boom – you’ve been popped.

The Yard is her field of peerless competitors – the T Swifts, Rihannas, Ke$has and Katy Perrys. It is the L.A. Reids and Diddys. It’s the sharks with which she swims. She came in an assumed farce, and comes out a feared force. The prison is Gaga’s playground, she goes to the depths, mingles with the monsters, and moves on to the next one – but she’ll be back.

The Pussy Wagon:

A Gaga bailout from Beyonce made sense after “Video Phone;” after “Telephone” though it seems more audacious than the government bank bailout. Oh Honey B – Hov might want to guard his cookies because Gaga took a bite out of that Honey Bun like it was Bey’s bad girl meat.

One-on-one, Gaga at 23 can go toe-to-toe with any celebrity, artist, icon, or contemporary. Anyone who said Gaga didn’t bring it to “Video Phone”… said that because they didn’t know any better, and Gaga kindly brought it back. She rides shotgun, she plays the part of passenger – and still manages to upgrade the pilot. Whether in a pickup truck, or in the booth laying down tracks, Gaga is Pop’s deadliest partner in crime – and she is K-Slaying it right now. Gaga: unshakable; the game: shook like a Polaroid picture.

This is when the video shifts though: from the true garage grit of a prison flick to the pseudo-sugary sweet hypersaturation of a cracked-out candy la-la-la-land – from sharing the comfortable misery of monstrous mistresses, to shielding herself from the flashing lights of Hollywood and their Venusian trap death kisses. Here we go from killin-it-with-the-prison-campy to killing-me-with-the-uber-kitsch.

The public:

If the prison was Gaga’s Haus, the diner is her public – and she runs them both like a boss. “Paparazzi” saw the death of the celebrity, “Telephone” is the follow-up that turns the table on the viewing public. In a restaurant full of stars (Semi-Precious Weapons, I see you) and citizens – Tyrese playing the hybrid of “Hey, don’t I know you from?” – everyone is a starving roadside voyeur-exhibitionist.

The fiends either want to see, or be seen – but regardless, it’s all part of the scene. When Beyonce kills Tyrese it’s that redemption – whether it is one celebrity pulling at another like crabs in a barrel, or just a man holding down a good woman, it’s all about ambition – Beyonce bailed Gaga out to kill the beast. The fiends eyes had been sticky like honey on bees since Gaga was chillin’ with Wale in the DMV.

Inevitably, she “always knew you’d take all my honey;” Gaga knew it’d be like this when she was in the kitchen. Stylebiters, swaggerjacks, haters, that greed – it’ll kill you. The fiends want it though, they live for the celebrity rise and demise – and it will undoubtedly be the undoing of the public. Decked out in Americana from head to toe – it is almost too apropos.

Hidden-in-plain-view is the celebreality of our hyperconsumer country eating up entertainment to the point of amusing ourselves to death. While with one hand she liberates inmates and monsters; so with the other Gaga serves and satiates our insatiable appetites. That splendific poison that we simply cannot push to the side – she supplies that fatal fuel until we reach our own delicious demise. It is the celebrity-obsessed culture – not the celebrity itself – that is lead headfirst – and left heartless – on the diner dancefloor.

So, Gaga cooks up a feast like crackcake samiches and feeds the beast – til the world goes Pop. She’ll gladly return to the Pen, but to the pits of the prying, pleading, perverse public is a place to which she promises she’ll never return again: on to the next one.

All of this is to say that “Telephone” is living proof that Gaga is her own gauge. She creates and shatters her own standards – standards that no other artist can even fathom. Her hype recalls Williams’ name. She makes everyone get on Akon’s time – every artist should consider retirement after this. It means Pop will never be low brow – ever.

This video is not a game – she’s having tons of fun, but she’s not playing with you: this is real. Rome wasn’t built in a day – I can’t be expected to make coherent sense of this masterpiece within a few hours; besides, I left my head and my heart on the dancefloor.

A Dime, A Dozen: Lady Gaga and Kanye West – Monstrous Mavens

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

And then there were two: Lady Gaga and Kanye West – the only two.

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Lady Gaga and Kanye West are the artists of the decade not only because they embodied Pop culture, but because they were integral catalysts engaging and propelling those artists and works that built this decade’s Pop landscape. Madonna and Jay-Z set the blueprint from a dictating parental standpoint. Gaga and Ye set the blueprint directly blazing the path, as conductors leading the way for the new creative class of which they themselves are members. They didn’t need a subtitle outside of their own names because their names are Pop – however, one can’t resist an alliterative play-on-words.

Lady Gaga: Pretense: Lady Gaga as we know her was created – not born – in 2006. Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” depicted the goddess’ epic emanation from the ocean. Zephyrs, symbols of spiritual passions, blew the goddess of love, sexuality, and beauty onto the shore. Lady Gaga emanated from Stefani Germanotta. Bowie, Warhol, Queen, and Lady Starlight – symbols of pure Pop Glam passions, blew the modern iconography of love, art, sexuality, and beauty onto the world’s greatest stage: New York. Gaga is only three years old, but her creator was as integral to Pop Art – within this or any decade – as her creation – if only because of the masterpiece she made.

A Dime, A Dozen: Beyonce and Justin Timberlake –– Bandstand Breakouts

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Round 5 of “A Dime, A Dozen” brings us to a woman of fate and the captain who went solo before his ship sailed out and sunk: Beyonce and Justin Timberlake.

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Beyonce and Justin Timberlake: This pair led two of the biggest gold mines of the 2000s before breaking western harder than a Frisco earthquake –– but it paid off and thus is why they are indisputable Pop icons of the decade. Destiny’s Child is one of the best selling female groups of all-time (wait imma let you finish <–– watch this space). *N Sync, one statistic: 2.4 million albums, 1 week –– and Justin still went solo like he had no strings attached. Knowles is like a Diana Ross, and Timberlake like an Elvis who distracts you with an MJ studded glove. These two remained relevant in a decade where their new selves rendered their original selves irrelevant –– they were the video that killed their own radio stars.

A Dime, A Dozen: Amy Winehouse and Lil’ Wayne – The Inkwell

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Round 3 of “A Dime, A Dozen” brings us to the tatted – but oh so talented – tandem that is Amy Winehouse and Lil’ Wayne: The Inkwell.

ADAD AWLW

Seemingly limitless, infinite, amounts of ungodly God-given talent flow through the veins of these two. Amy and Wayne are those kids in the corner who your parents warned you about – but didn’t need to because they were out of your league anyway, in their own special way.

Music Monday: Interview with Fool’s Gold

Interview, Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Hey strangers; in the midst of my winter hibernation (read: cold, hard hustle) I peek my head above ground every now and then to highlight those creative sparks that keep me warm and fuzzy, and the frostbite at bay.

So, this Music Monday installment shines the spotlight on my new favorite band du jour: Fool’s Gold. I had the pleasure of interviewing lead singer, Luke Top, for TITLE Magazine’s latest issue.

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Great feature

Unforgettable, Vol. 6: Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak

Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

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If Graduation is Fame, 808s & Heartbreak Kills. In the wake of Graduation’s superlative Indian summer high, 808s and Heartbreak is the inevitable comedown – the crash of the coldest winter. West described this album as “Pop Art,” in its ability to merge hip-hop credibility with mainstream appeal to innovate authentic music in a way only paralleled by Pink Floyd: Welcome to heartbreak – the dark side of the moon.

Unforgettable, Vol. 4: Amy Winehouse – Frank

Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Mind Flow

Amy Winehouse

Amy, Amy, Amy… born to blossom, bloom to perish, sleep to wake again. Drake says you can’t bring the future back, but when Winehouse asks of herself in 2003’s Frank “Where’s my moral parallel?” she defied that theory. Back to Black was the fateful answer –– the artistic masterpiece, and beautiful disaster –– but as it preceded the U.S. release of Winehouse’s true debut, pre-“Rehab Frank became the answer to its own question.

Unforgettable, Vol. 3: Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

As the old saying goes, “the sun never sets on England;” so the new saying seems to be, “the talent never fades in Britain,” and in both cases it is in the darkest moments where light burns brightest. Enter Amy Winehouse. Before Hov’s heavily-mediated man-on-a-mission 2009 Auto-Tune massacre, Amy killed it softly; before Roc Nation rocked “all black everything,” Amy Winehouse took it Back to Black. Let’s revisit the death and renaissance of rehab.

Unforgettable, Vol. 2: Lily Allen – My Second Mixtape

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Fresh off the heels of her brilliant My First Mixtape, Lily Allen released the appropriately-titled follow-up, My Second Mixtape. Compared to MFM, MSM is darker, heavier, more urban, more chaotic – like Day & Night. It’s unforgettable because from the mindset of a young artist facing the sophomore slump – an artist fed up with the scene, coming down from the freshman high, in search of a definitive, unique voice and place — comes the musical mosaic of an artist on the brink of senior status.

Whereas MFM was a UK millennial girl’s devil-may-care-but-i-care-greatly look at her persona in relation to music – all of it – MSM delves deeper to the core of her person in the midst of modern music. Like MFM, MSM has an infectious sound; it is a smattering of drum n bass, r&b, rap, psychedelic, etc. There’s dozens of themes and messages hidden within the lyrics, titles, and beats – again, Lily requires dissertations not reviews – but beyond the complexities is the simple fact that everything this girl produces, makes sense. More importantly, everything she produces makes sense of everything of which she is a product.

Unforgettable, Vol. 1: Lily Allen – My First Mixtape

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Lily-Allen-007

Good Morning. What’s so special about Saturday morning? Depends on whether the Friday night before it was memorably forgotten… Art is said to imitate life, but it is an amazing moment when the imitation collapses in the presence of life as art. Much like that one strikingly familiar stranger from an otherwise forgettable Friday night, Lily Allen is that one perfectly imperfect artist – person – in an otherwise forgettable genre of overproduced pop avatars – personas. Her understated introduction to the world, My First Mixtape, was that Saturday morning wake up from the flashy Friday night of .com 40 puffery. Fear not: all isn’t lost in the MySpace generation; for the ten thousand avastars, there is Lily Allen: the reason, that just so happens to rhyme with silly. So, allow me to reintroduce herself…

My First Mixtape is a taste of why Rolling Stone said,” Lily Allen is not just a pop star. She’s a genre.” Vis a vis, Allen’s albums don’t call for reviews; they call for deconstructions.

All-Time Vilest Villans in Pop Culture … Honorable Mention: MTV

TK:ATL

Words and Good Thoughts: What Happens When Archived Posts Get Hosted On New Themes… i.e. What Happens When Your Links Die #LifeAndDeathOfDigitalArchives P.S. The Words and Good Thoughts Remain #readupchildren

Really? Well, seeing as it is pop culture I’ve got a few honorable mentions after the jump …

I

“Honorable” Mention(s):

Ringtones:


Now anyone can be an artist — I’m looking at you Soulja Boy

Obviously no culture there, but I think I can hear the Pop — wait, no … no, that’s just what’s left of his career – thought I had something there, alas

Tweens:

II

they dictate the next big thing in pop culture — and are every marketer’s dream demographic …

Tweens. They’re a hot market, they’re complicated, and there are two in the White House: Sasha and Malia Obama. What do tweens consider cool? Music was at the top of the list, followed by going to the movies. “Being smart” ranked third tied with video games followed by electronics, sports, fashion and protecting the environment, according to a report.

so, i guess be on the lookout for vampires that protect humans, are really cool, and are immune to garlic, wooden stakes to the heart, and sunlight

III
MTV:

IV
case rested. Reality TV — my bad “Reality Drama,” thanks MTV! Just what I wanted … like the gift, that keeps on … keeps on giving … and taking

Case not rested, MTV deserves more than that. MTV is the baddest most vilest villain on the Pop Culture block; it owns the block, it’s bigger on the block than Jenny — and that’s big. That said, the state of pop culture reflects on MTV; the state of pop culture now is about bank statements, not making statements. Thanks MTV.

Watch this space: someone call Andy quick, and better call Edie for backup; Pop is only a few weak fads away from life-support — well, that or a permanent conservatorship a la the one and only …

I’m coming home again …

Soundtrek, TK:ATL, TK:DC

Spring Break! Second semester senior year of undergrad — it breaks even. I’m headed home to pull a Sherman on Atlanta, then back here to pull an Obama on DC — it breaks even. Either way: I’m coming home again …

… ming home again

yes, i know. you can’t “come home again” as they say. but i’m not they — so, naturally, i can.

touch bases again after I touch down … til then: be good. be well.