MTR – 10/4/2013

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My Knowledge of the Wild West, or any West, is Restricted to Blockbuster Movies and Runways.

And so because I thought the course would pretty much entail watching the movie and perhaps answering a few trivial trivia questions I ended up in a “Film and Culture” class.

This was a good idea, because the movies are actually phenomenal.

This was a bad idea because my professor pretty much talks through each one of them… incessantly.

The most recent  film we watched was 3:10 to Yuma.

I was instructed to take note of the presentation of Good Vs. Evil as represented through the yata, yata something something boresville.

Honestly, I spent the entire movie making notes about the wardrobe. Which I loved. Seriously. Every Outfit. No exceptions

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The leathers, the metals, the chambray. Clothes that were intended to move around in. Clothes that weren’t meant to be pretty. Clothes that were made to last and clothes that made a lasting impression.

The clothes are so quintessentially masculine. Nothing is intended to be soft. I love that.

The Wild West understood menswear.

And in typical Michael T. fashion, I made a long list of pieces I need to try and find before winter and, unfortunately,  I did not write one page of an essay that may or may not be due tomorrow.

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The Breakdown:

1- If I did so happen to be a character living in the Wild West, I would most certainly be a villain. I always prefer the villains. Good guys doing right because it’s the right thing to do is so corny to me. One guy able to shake fear in a entire community of people, I like that. I’m sick. Either way, Bad guys wear black. Remind me to include that bit of logic in my essay. The only exception I can think of is ‘Men in Black’ but I dislike every one of those movies…so it technically doesn’t count.

Solid black, structural, well-tailored, Epauletts (the military looking thing on the shoulder of the jacket). Every Western villain needs a jacket that says, ‘You see this? I run this” Mine would be this one from Banana Republic. I think it’s something close to $400. Being a Western villain isn’t cheap.

2- It’s not a western until there’s a cowboy hat. I want to invest in a legitimate one, but I want to make the investment when it’s the ironic thing to do. I have some hipster tendencies I just can’t manage to shake. Since I attend and HBCU where the object of affection is Iphone 5c (please tell me the only difference isn’t that it comes in color. That has got to be the biggest racketeering scam in history…cute commercial though.) and $400 tennis shoes, I can saying shoveling out money for a cowboy hat would be quite ironic.  Sometimes I picture me and my large cowboy hat traveling the streets of Chelsea near the place Andy Warhol shot the film Chelsea Girls. Hmm. actually, the entire thing might be a bit Bob Dylan. I’ll revise the idea, but I’m getting a cowboy hat.

3- The leather duffel bag. If I was an article of clothing and/or accessory, I’d probably be a leather duffel bag. I have no premise to justify my conclusion. I just love leather and duffle bags, and this allows me to combine both worlds into one magical accessory. Plus, when you’re a western villian, I imagine you have a lot of carry-alls. Weaponry. Money from bank robberies. Rope to tie women to train tracks. You’ve gotta be prepared.

4- being a Western Villain means having a horse. Having a horse means having to ride a horse, I imagine having to hold that rope thingy would dry out your hands. You simply can’t be an effective western Villain with dry hands. Keep them covered with leather gloves. I think Black gloves overdoes the whole bad-guy thing, so my pair would purposely offset the rest of my outfit in a butterscotch brown. If I can’t be the quickest sharp-shooter, I’d like to at least be the sharpest.

5- Cowboy boots are so EXPECTED. This pair from Aldo is a bit contrived, but I think it covers the general idea. Leather (Honestly, i think this boot is textile. which means ‘not leather‘ which means ‘I’m not buying it‘. Also, Urban Outfitters keeps trying it with these ‘Vegan Leather’ Pieces. I’m not dumb. You’re too cheap to use real leather and you STILL think you’re going to get $500 out of me for a jacket. Please. You’re not Anthropologie. well..actually..you are..but. Okay Whatever you get it.)

6- This particular piece is a ring designed by Giles and Brother (…some time ago if I’m not mistaken). Jewelry designer, Philip Crangi is among one of my personal design heroes. And this piece is a railroad spike embossed and curved into the shape of a ring. I think the idea is genius, and I think a western outfit is the most acceptable time to wear it, since the West is often associated with the expansion of the U.S. Continental railroad. If  you care about fashion, I bet you care nothing about the trans-continental railroad. And if you care about the railroad you probably aren’t very interested in this entire rant of a website. In such case, sorry.

7- Villains run on time. This watch has a steam-punk vibe that I think goes with the entire westernized-look. Which makes the entire look more modern. My point is you should buy me this watch.

8- Villains sometimes wear corrective lenses. If I was a villain, i wouldn’t be one of those reckless gun-slinging ones.  I’d be calculated, and polite, and prior to pulling the trigger of my pistol I’d recite a bit of poetry. Hmm. Perhaps I’m thinking of Dr. King Shultz of Django Unchained. But then I would have to think of Django, and Spike Lee would really prefer I didn’t,  so I won’t. Unrelated, recently I ran into a woman who resembled Mrs. Minnie (as in “Minnie Don’t Burn No Chicken”) from the The Help. I SWEAR she looked JUST LIKE Mrs. Minnie. When I pointed it out to a friend, she said my remark was insensitive as well as inaccurate. Perhaps this all could have been avoided if I was wearing corrective lenses.

9- I think cases and notebooks are just as valuable as the shoes on your feet. Small details that make HUGE differences. The wood paneling on the holster of a pistol, much like the wood paneling on my iPad case. I suppose that would require me to invest in an Apple product…and I wont.  Not with that aggravating Siri. You mean to tell me in a world where I’m attempting to remove myself from speaking to anyone, I can pay to not be able to escape the opinion of someone who DOESN’T EVEN EXIST!??? Ah. no. I think I’ll save my $699 and then almost $100 additional dollars a month. Apple, perhaps I should buy you a cowboy hat and sleek wool coat, because evidently you go around robbing innocent people.

Magazine Clippings I Don’t Have the Courage to Throw Away

I know since the arrival of Pinterest, nobody really pulls things from magazines, and looks over all the clippings when they should be sleeping, like I did a majority of my high school years. But there are a few images/catalogues/magazines, I can’t bring myself to toss away. They’ve had such a large bearing on my style, and to get rid of them would feel like I’m just tossing the foundation of my very aesthetics.

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Pulled from a copy of GQ ages ago.

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Yes. This image was the reason I went into my scooter phase. Which was a great phase.

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I hated not ever being able to find pictures of black men in mainstream magazines, so when I found this, I stashed it.

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When I’ve ‘made it’ this is what I Imagine it’ll look like.

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I have a very secret obsession with LeBron James. Not current LeBron James, I mean, back when he played for the  Cavaliers. I preferred his style then. I have no idea what he’s doing now. I mean… it looks right, but I think his look has lost his authenticity…and I think style is really just a reflection of whats occurring on the inside….I digress, but see where I’m going here.

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Check the date. 2006. The year I got rid of most of my white shirts and replaced them with gray shirts. All because of this spread. No joke.

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I like that I have no idea what the story is in this advertisement is.

A Minute-By-Minute Explanation of Me Not Slapping a Trick

This morning was as follows:

8:15- Wake up to a T25 informercial. Incase you don’t know what that is:

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I immediately start to become frustrated with my body.

8:25 I can’t find my usual brown moleskine notebook. I am now frustrated at my brain in addition to my body.

8:45- I leave my dorm in the midst of a Brazilian bum bum informercial promising to give me a tighter and more lifted butt in at least two weeks. I’m tempted to at least write down the number.

8:52- I return to dorm. I almost forgot my rhetorical analysis of a super insensitive essay defending sweatshop labor. I’m pretty convinced my analysis will mark the end of such an awful practice. However, I thought my last analysis of violence in video games would at the very least STALL the release of Grand Theft Auto V. Needless to say, it didn’t.

9:17- Breakfast. The smoothie line is abundant with people who I doubt will even appreciate a good smoothie right now.

9:19- As fate would have it, I run into a friend, she’s carrying a purse I recommended close to a year ago. I love that it still looks great. She does too, I suppose. We had a discussion about managing time effectively and focusing on what it is we’re passionate about as means of staying focused. I usually require coffee before having an actual conversation, but I make an exception, and honestly, It was the most stimulating conversation I’ve had in the least two weeks.

9:30- Im running late to class. I’m having a stimulating monologue consisting mostly of swear words.

9:37 I don’t know what is occurring in this class. Not because I’m late, but because this professor has an accent reminiscent of Rafiki from The Lion King. I write what I think I might hear him saying, and I’ll attempt to make sense of it later.

9:42- I think he just said ‘Playaboy Shirt’? okay. whatever. write it down.

9:50 – The guy sitting behind me dropped his pencil. Since I’m sitting closest to it, I logically, and philanthropically pick it up.  He did not say ‘Thank You’ when I handed it back to him. I feel tempted to take the pencil and toss it across the room, just to make a point.

9:55 I blame today’s irritability on the fact that I’m running on four hours of sleep.

10:12- The professor refers to me by first and last name. I love when professors do that.

10:35- Back at my dorm, because I forgot a stack of short stories written by other students that I corrected with extensive notes on improvement. Turns out the entire stack of papers was in my backpack the entire time. I’m exhausted.

10:44- I make an executive decision to nix today’s denim jacket. I think people get too excited at the start of fall. 70 degrees is not a feasible excuse to bust out your over-the-knee boots. chill out. literally. figuratively. whatever.

10:47- Two people getting off an elevator claim to be sick. I make an executive decision to take the stairs instead.

11:55- I crack down, and buy a 5-hour energy shot (I really want to see if they’ll sponser me….like seriously) I also purchase a pretentious looking ‘lightly carbonated’ soda claiming to give me energy and help me focus. It’s 3.50 for eight ounces. I know a bargain when I see one.

12:04 Running late to creative writing class. Which oddly enough is early when observed in the relative state that half the class still hasn’t arrive. I’m not right, but I’m righter than everyone else.

12:23 Actively engaged in critiquing classmates short stories. The group consists of four of us. I think the guy to the right of me is high. He’s laughing at everything I say. Everything I’m saying is not funny.

12:34- The guy next to me just pulled out snacks from what looks to be a ziploc bad. He offered me a chips-a-hoy cookie. I politely declined. There’s a snickers in my bag waiting to be made love to. I will one day apologize to my body for the garbage I’ve put in it.

12:47-On the way to my next class I spot a gentleman. His necktie is improperly tied. I’m on my way to an ethics class. I decide if it’s ethical to kindly pull him to the side, properly tie his tie and make my way to class. Like a little sartorial guardian angel with a web blog.

12:50- A group of white people are standing outside the cafeteria preaching a gospel of damnation. They’re holding large wooden crosses, large enough to crucify a toddler. I go to a historically Black University, an the whole thing kinda looks like a Ku Klux Klan rally. Always know your audience.

1:00- Ethics class. The class feels like i’m baby-sitting a six year old that won’t stop asking questions I just don’t have answers to. Why is that okay? What if this happened instead? How come? Who says? I want an A in the class, but not THAT badly.

1:07- one of my favorite classmates just walked into class. I don’t know her by name, but I know that she always looks like a bucket of hot water was poured on her right before entering the room. I think it’s funny.

1:17- The girl sitting behind me just asked the SAME question I asked last class. She is praised as a genius thinker. When I asked, the professor shut it down publicly.

1:25 We’re examining the eskimo culture. Supposedly they leave their elderly out in the cold when they become too difficult to care for. People widely agree this is not a morally correct practice. I think we do the same thing when we put old people in a home. I’m blatantly curious if the professor find our culture morally correct if we ‘agreed’ that their practice is morally wrong? He dances around a response. It frustrates me.

1:37 We are seriously watching a part of a documentary regarding villagers in the amazon nursing baby monkeys from their own breasts. I’m done.

1:45: I’m done with class for the day. I’ve killed not one person. I feel like since the start of the day, I’ve felt tempted to smack almost everyone with a bat. But I fought the temptation. I’m morally correct. I better get an A in that class.

‘How Do You Write?’…and other questions I can’t effectively answer via text message.

Truman-Capote-by-Andy-War-006

This is Truman Capote. He can help you write. I am Michael Thomas. I cannot.

I’m not a spiritual writer by any means.

You won’t hear me talk too heavily about inspiration, or lack thereof. I don’t discuss mood, or life experience. For every Oscar Wilde, there’s got to be nearly a hundred Stephanie Meyers hoping their garbage idea will be the big break that throws them into a world of caviar, vampires, and movie rights.

My mentor is one of those finicky spiritual writers, and I certainly don’t intend to defile her character in any way, but she is also hysterically broke.

“I want to retire, and live on a boat in a swamp, probably in Florida.” She zealously explained.

I loosely translated that to, “I pretty much enjoy abject poverty”

If that’s her idea of a good time, I most certainly won’t stop her. I’m cynical, but I’m no dream killer.

My passion to be published arises usually when I browse J.Crew catalogues. I currently don’t have almost $120 for a cotton raglan shirt. I’m only 23, and this is the 21st century, so logically speaking, I shouldn’t have almost $120 for a cotton raglan t-shirt without illegally peddling narcotics, which I am against, but becoming increasingly not againt.

What I am unquestionably against is having not one pair of Cole Haan shoes in my closet considering I’ve collected their catalogues  for the last half decade.

That’s pretty much injustice if i’ve ever encountered it. An injustice I intend to die fighting.

More questionable than the lack of Cole Haan in my closet are the questions I’m asked in regards to the art of writing.

Every so often I receive a request to write an essay for someone followed usually by a dollar amount ranging from damn-near nothing, to the cost of lunch for a few days. Even less often, I receive an email or text message that says quite simply, “How do you write?”

To which, I rarely ever have a response. Mostly because I’m unsure if I’m being asked a trick question. Text voice is pretty hard to decipher.

If you are asking for writing advice….I don’t know what to tell you.

You did compose the email.

You were able to sound out letters when placed adjacent to one another and eventually, you formulated a sentence.

You’re on the right track. Keep it up, add a tragic twist in the plot and you’re pretty much Nicholas Sparks.

If you’re asking my specific advice from the spiritual element of writer, I have no advice to give you. Firstly, I’m not published. Do you take medical advice from a student who hasn’t finished med school? Do you frequently seek the legal advice from a student who hasn’t passed the Bar Exam?

And so it is the same way I have no real advice to offer you about writing from the standpoint of a man whose notebooks smell of coffee and failure.

I can tell you what works for me.

1- Cut out pictures of blazers you want from J.crew that you can in no sensible way afford.

2- Tape the image to the back of your writing notebook.

3- Refer to them before writing.

4- After writing, ask yourself if what you’ve written will put you closer to earning previously mentioned blazer or perhaps a Pulitzer

If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.