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39) Happy Birthday, Henry Rollins!

punk-love-b-day-henry

“Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.”
― Henry Rollins

Today is the day before that revolting holiday that makes single people want to vomit a box of chocolates onto a bouquet of black roses before ingesting a lethal dose of cyanide.

With that disclaimer out of the way, in lieu of tomorrow’s twerpy twitterpated, chocolates for sex love fest, I am celebrating Henry Rollins birthdate 2.13.1961, the day the Soviet Union fired a rocket from Sputnik V to Venus. Romantic, isn’t it?

Henry was born in the year that marks the beginning of Generation X – 1961, the erection of the Berlin Wall. Henry shares the same birth year with Barack Obama, Princess Diana, and Douglas Coupland.

Henry is unique in many ways among his contemporaries. He understands America and the globe more profoundly than most Americans. He has been to damn near every major and minor city all over the U.S. and abroad thousands of times over throughout the years of his spoken word tours and intense gigs with Black Flag and Rollins Band.

He knows the streets, the crowds, the unique culture of every place he has been, spending long nights drinking black coffee and writing in dingy hotels, reflecting on everything he sees and feels and hears. A true solipsist, he is a master of himself and a friend of no one in particular. He is a productive, sober, and explosive voice of our time, kicking his ego to the curb with genuine and excruciating self-reflective truth. His razor sharp insight cuts deep into the corpse of the Gen-X zeitgeist.

Solipsist by Henry Rollins - signed at Spoken Word Tour at McDonald Theater • March 6, 2003

Solipsist by Henry Rollins – signed at Spoken Word Tour at McDonald Theater • March 6, 2003

I met Henry the first time in March of 2003 in Eugene, Oregon after a spoken word show. I have never witnessed anyone blister through a performance with the same elevated composure, perfect articulation, biting commentary, and thundering voice raking the audience into bleeding stitches for two hours without a pause or drink from the unopened water bottle on his stool. I was impressed by his intelligence and unique perspective on politics and relationships.

Five years later on another day in March of 2007, I found myself driving to Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood to attend the book signing of Punk Love. Henry had co-authored the book with an old friend, Susie J Horgan, a photography student and co-worker with Henry at Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop, who unknowingly photographed the emerging punk movement in the late 1970s in DC. This time I brought a personal letter to give to Henry.

Driving down the 101 to Laurel Canyon was like cutting through a crack in the pavement; windy and craggy, down into the bowels of the places cockroaches live and rock stars overdose on heroin. A meandering, overused road, dizzying homes of celebrities past, and suddenly, after several turns I was quickly approaching Sunset Boulevard.

I stopped at a light and viewed a man, looking older than he likely was with a creeping beard and red eyes holding a cardboard sign ‘NEED BEER.’ He posed with the sign next to his head, did a little hop and transferred the sign switching it like an old flip clock radio. He hopped again and rotated the sign in an upside down arch to read ‘FREE PIZZA BOWL,” his eyebrows twitching.

I couldn’t help but think of Vanna White turning the letters around on the Wheel of Fortune. The man grinned, showing his yellowed-teeth standing outside a small shack with a broken door hopping from side-to-side and assuring me that I didn’t need beer or a free pizza bowl.

My whole life living in Southern California, I rarely came to Hollywood. Sunset Boulevard was more like a gaunt figure in an outdated, oversized designer suit: colorful and small with bold billboards jutting out like rusty railroad spikes half jammed in the ground. I wondered what other burned out creature with yellowing teeth might want to have their way with me, stick a knife in me, stick a cock in me just because I’m walking around with this hole. I turned on Sunset Boulevard, then made a left on the side street adjacent to the Viper Room where River Phoenix overdosed on a speedball in 1993, an event I remember shedding tears over.

I pulled around the back of the bookstore where Henry’s website instructed to park in a tiny lot, where I found a space. Thank goodness I showed up an hour early.

I walked from the minuscule back parking lot around to the front. The sun was low in the sky and the orange of it saturated the streets. Long, jagged shadows haunted the sidewalk. Outside of the bookstore, magazine racks lined the small entrance of Book Soup. Everything on Sunset Boulevard seemed like a small rabbit hole into a perceived illusion of space, oddly private and strangely decadent. Inside, I was bombarded by towering vertical shelves of books – the opposite of the sprawling big-box bookstores I was used to. There was no room to walk, claustrophobic corners with no place to sit, like a cat in an undersized box.

A tall man with greenish eyelids was sitting behind a cramped counter like a morbid doll stuffed inside a child’s closet. I landed on an oversized art book at the front entrance; the largest book I’d ever seen. It was the size and thickness of the Ten Commandments, or so I speculated. I opened each page and watched it fall like an enormous leaf: a collage of handwritten journals, splattered with color and images cut and clipped in strange juxtapositions. I felt a nagging for a design project, the excitement of creating something new, washing over in smooth overlapping layers. As I was feasting on this wondrous book, just to my right, I see Henry Rollins walk through the door. I continued turning pages as his eyes looked in my direction and scanned the perimeter like a cyborg.

“Hey, Henry,” said the man behind the counter in a familiar tone.

“How’s it going,” Henry Rollins replied, disappearing into the meandering cavern of the bookstore. I was glad he was here. Like me, I suspected, he wanted to show up early and hang out browsing books, taking in the scene before the throng of strange creatures showed up.

I decided to explore, passing through the fiction aisle and up to the information desk. I wanted to know where the science and technology section was located. A girl with blonde hair and smudgy black eyes took me to the spot. I found Richard Dawkins’ books and looked through titles I hadn’t seen before. After a few minutes, I made my way to the entertainment and music books, knowing I would find Henry there. I shuffled into the little room.

Standing with his back to me, he was wearing his usual plain black t-shirt. I could see his tattoos poking out underneath, a skull and snake and the word ‘Damage.’ I stared at the Black Flag logo on the back of his neck just under his hairline. It reminded me of a barcode label. His long dark brown wavy hair from his Black Flag days was now short with flecks of grey; his face unchanged, still severe and handsome.

I walked across from where he stood to a large section of music biographies and saw The Lady Sings the Blues, the story of Billie Holiday and smiled at her solemn gaze. I found a book on the Pixies, and remembered seeing them at the Hollywood Palladium in 1991. I almost turned around to ask Henry if he happened upon a band that merged jazz and punk together, but decided against it. I didn’t want to bother him while he was immersed in books. So I just looked through mine enjoying the moment of sharing the space with him knowing that I was standing next to this amazing person who rages inside like me. I felt calm and content as two lonely birds on a rusted wire sit, lost in thought, sharing a moment of serenity between storms before flying away to another experience.

Book Soup "Punk Love" Book Signing • West Hollywood, March 2007 L to R: Henry Rollins, Lisa M. McDougald, Susie J. Horgan

Book Soup “Punk Love” Book Signing • West Hollywood, March 2007         L to R: Henry Rollins, Lisa M. McDougald, Susie J. Horgan

The bookstore began to fill up and Henry stole away and met up with a tall woman in a black dress in boots with long curly brown hair. It was Susie. She and Henry chatted while they hung Susie’s historic photographs for the presentation. Since I was there first, I stood nearby to make sure I could be up close. When most everyone filed in and we were all crowded around the back of the store, Henry and Susie introduced themselves and told us stories of how they met, the ice cream shop, and the infamous photo of Ian MacKaye’s brother, Alec that ended up becoming the icon of the American punk movement.

Susie continued her career as a photographer. Just like any movement, she and Henry were caught up in the swirl of a youth rebellion against a world that seemingly felt ineffectual. The moments they shared with us were precious moments of the spirit of youth in a collective expression of music and primal connection in a world that was indifferent to their lives, their hopes, their pain, and their future.

I couldn’t help but feel a deep sadness that I couldn’t be a part of this moment in time, with all of these young and beautiful faces full of life and energy and angst creating something new in a worn out world. I was only 4-years-old when Susie snapped these photos. My own experience with hardcore punk came much later after the core of the movement had merged into New Wave. Sometime in high school in the early 1990s, that’s when I discovered Black Flag, Rollins Band, Fugazi, and Minor Threat. It was fresh to me, but the ice cream had already melted by then and Nirvana was the new youth movement.

I remember giving my letter to Henry and shaking his hand again. I asked him if he had any career advice as a writer. I was immediately embarrassed after I said it. He laughed and tweaked his face.

“Career? Career?! What I do… it’s not a career. It’s painful.”

Henry was right. Writing is painful. And I’m sure he would agree that writing, just like music is also cathartic and healing and necessary.

Whenever I am in doubt and feel terrible about anything, I retreat to Henry’s collected work. He makes the most sense, speaks to the darkness inside all of us more than any person I know. When I am depressed and angry, I know that he is also depressed and angry. Whether he realizes it or not, I have him to thank in many moments in my life because he is a stubborn rocket burning on in a futile universe.

Happy Birthday, Henry!


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21) When The Wall Fell: 25th Anniversary

I was 14-years-old watching the incredible events unfold on television. The military guards put down their guns and thousands of people cheering, crying, holding hands; soldiers handing roses down to the people on the west side of the Berlin Wall. The world hadn’t seen anything quite like it before. I cried with them, knowing this was a big moment. A small crack of sunlight crept through the thick disillusionment of my young mind. If an imposing, concrete wall running through the middle of an entire nation could be brought down, then maybe there is hope that the world can change, that people collectively can do the right thing.

The beginning of the Cold War and installation of the Berlin Wall in 1961 marked the birth year of many who identify with Generation X.  As young adults, Gen-X entering the workforce and in high school, witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago on November 9, 1989. This is the story.

“No one has any intention of building a wall.”
— Walter Ulbright, German Democratic Republic Head of the State

Walter Ulbright’s statement on June 15, 1961 was in response to the rumors that had been circulating in Germany over increasing geopolitical instability. A month later the construction began of what would eventually become a massive wall that would separate Germany in two. The Eastern government intended to prevent Eastern Berliners from escaping the Soviet sector of Berlin, cleverly deceiving the German people by reporting that its intentions were to prevent the West from invading the East. Approximately 138 persons and children died attempting to escape beyond the Wall.

“Between 1945 and 1961, well over four million East Germans left their homeland for the West, the greatest voluntary mass migration in recorded European history.” – Peter Wydon

The erection of the “Anti-Fascist Protection Wall” or Rampart marked the beginning of the Cold War. In just a few years, the arm of Communism incased Eastern Germany in a brooding gray barrier that stretched 111.9 kilometers from the north border to the south border. The citizens of Germany were unwillingly torn from their families, thrown out of their homes and stripped of their freedom for 28 long and painful years. Helpless citizens took out their aggressions by painting visual images that echoed their cries for freedom on the face of their intrusive enemy – the Wall.

In 1998, I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Berlin. Several pieces of the Berlin wall were salvaged for public display. I visit the museum at Check-Point Charlie. I could never fully comprehend the significance of the Wall coming down in 1989. Visiting Berlin nine years after the event, I felt the deep impact the Wall had on those who lived on either side of it. There was a deep feeling about the place, a kind of residue. It was present on every street corner, every shop, every alley; I could feel it at the Saturday market in front of Humboldt University and the silence of Babelplatz, the place where Hitler burned the books. Despite it all, industry was booming in the East and one could see thousands of cranes for miles into the horizon.

A piece of the Berlin Wall • September 1998 • photo by Latchkey Lisa

A piece of the Berlin Wall • September 1998 • photo by Latchkey Lisa

Layers upon layers of paint covered the Berlin Wall. Author, Terry Tillman photographed the endless murals before its destruction in a book entitled, The Writings on the Wall: Peace at the Berlin Wall. Tillman was a motivational speaker who had traveled to Berlin on several occasions and was profoundly influenced by the emotional turmoil of Berlin’s divided people.

The artist of the mural (below) is unknown. A cracked gaping hole in the wall forms a skull exposing walls behind walls in a labyrinth of dark gray and black. Two tall buildings in the distance appear as hollowed out eyes. In between stands the T.V. Tower, a powerful symbol of Germany. The German flag ripples in the wind at the top of its point against a dismal sky.

Image Source: The Writings on the Wall: Peace at the Berlin Wall by Terry Tillman - 1990

The Writings on the Wall: Peace at the Berlin Wall by Terry Tillman • 1990

The cracks and jagged edges form abstractions and materialize as other parts of the skull – a nasal cavity, a deformed jawbone with the mouth slightly agape as if shrieking in horror. Piles of bloody human skulls and bones lay crumpled at the base. Written protests can be seen in various places along the shattered walls of the mural. “If you think the system is working ask someone who isn’t,” cries one. Others say, “What you think and do comes back to you,” and “Kilroy was just another brick in the wall.”

Today, 25 years later, marks the anniversary of when the Wall came down, not only as a significant moment in history, but an important one in the development of the Generation X psyche. It was one of a small number of victorious moments that proved that things could change to a generation that harbored no hope for the future. Regardless of how some feel about the politics of Ronald Reagan, we were all inspired on June 12, 1987 to hear him speak the words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

 

SOURCES:

Stuttgart, Baedeker. Allianz Travel Guide: Berlin The Complete Illustrated City Guide. Trans. Jarrold Andsons Ltd. New York, NY: Macmillan Travel, 1988. page 100-101.

Tillman, Terry. The Writings on the Wall: Peace at the Berlin Wall. Santa Monica, California: 22/7 Publishing Company, 1990.

Wyden, Peter. Wall the Inside Story of Divided Berlin. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1989. Page 46.

SUPPLEMENTS:

The Abandoned Buildings of the Eastern Bloc


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14) H. R. Giger – Honoring An Important Artist

I recently learned that one of my favorite contemporary artists and an important figure for Generation X died at age 74 on May 12, 2014.

H. R. Giger

HR Giger in the 1980s. Photograph: Louie Psihoyos/Corbis Courtesy of: http://www.sagactoronline.com/

H. R. Giger, a Swiss artist celebrated for his creation of the darkly beautiful aliens from Alien and its sequel Aliens. Giger was an important window into human anatomical psychology. Highly controversial and seemingly perverse by many critics, he laid open the biological functioning of sexuality in combination with surreal landscapes that reflect the darkness of the modern world. Giger won an Oscar for his work on Alien.

Alien Xenomorph Creature

Alien xenomorph developed for the film Alien by HR Giger. Courtesy of: Boingboing.net

I’ve always been deeply affected by Giger. His work depicts a shadowy garden of human sexual functions, exploring all that we are and the disturbing possibilities of a human biomechanical future. He colors the haunting quality of my own childhood growing up with my father’s guns and industrial wastelands that lurked below my pristine mountain home; a world changing at terrific speed and the sense that there was nowhere else to go but rot in place.

In Giger’s work, nature is confined, twisted, wrenched apart, trapped, manipulated and in it the soul is barely visible through filmy eyes of nymph-like femininity surrounded by creeping things hugging, grasping and penetrating every hole. Giger lays open the body to show us the pipes and fittings, juxtaposing sexual organs with mechanical chambers of guns, metal and organic mutating cells. These opposing elements become biomechanical creatures, a new species, a gallery of deformations and experiments. Giger is certainly not the first to explore this organic world. His ideas were greatly influenced by Hieronymus Bosch, a Dutch artist from the 13th century dark age.

No. 341, Witches' Dance, 1977 acrylic on paper/wood, 200 x 140 cm   Courtesy of: http://homepage.eircom.net/~donpjkelly/hrgiger_gallery.htm

No. 341, Witches’ Dance, 1977 acrylic on paper/wood, 200 x 140 cm
Courtesy of: http://homepage.eircom.net/~donpjkelly/hrgiger_gallery.htm

Perhaps Giger sensed that we are standing at the gates of manipulating our own DNA, that our technology will thrust us into an unimaginable new existence. There is the feeling of inevitability, that we have no control over the transformation – the most frightening thing about his work. Freedom and choice potentially replaced by servitude and Orwellian control. Have we damaged the planet to such an extent that the only way we can survive is to change our fundamental biology? Giger explored these ideas and the filmmakers used his imagery, pushing the limits of these nightmares not to be grotesque for its own sake, but because we must think about them.

Artists like Giger, force us to the think about the uncomfortable, the icky things about ourselves, the things we must explore in a time we have the freedom to explore them. Without understanding this realm of the human condition, the horrors we could face might make artists’ work such as Giger seem as cheery as Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers in comparison.

I designate H. R. Giger as an Honorary Solo Gen X Warrior and may he rest in peace in a cemetery with a prominent tombstone.

Some people would say my paintings show a future world and maybe they do, but I paint from reality. I put several things and ideas together, and perhaps, when I have finished, it could show the future.  — H. R. Giger


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12) Facts About Generation X

Gen X is the first generation for whom the global reach of technology began to allow a significant number of individuals to share experiences across national boundaries in many (but by no means all) parts of the world.
Tammy Erickson, Harvard Businesss Review

AKA
Blank, Lost, MTV, Latch Key, Baby Bust, Slacker, Unknown, Punk

AGE
Born between 1965-1981, Generation X is also referenced between 1961-1981, culturally as well as demographically.

NUMBER
Generation X are smaller in numbers – 61 million, compared with 81 million Post-World War II baby boomers and 85 million Millennials. These numbers reflect the U.S. Census Bureau population in 2010.

PARENTS
The majority of Generation X was born of the Silent Generation born between 1925-1945.

LATCH KEY KIDS
This generation was referred to as the first latch key kids. Unlike other generations, Often, Gen X children were home alone after school as both parents were working.

VOLUNTEERS
Gen X is the most philanthropic and volunteer-driven, close to 30% each year between 2009-2011 compared with other generations according to the Corporation for National and Community Services.

BIRTH CONTROL
Gen X is the first generation born and raised during the introduction of the birth control pill and the legalization of abortion.

INDEPENDENT
Due to high divorce rates of the parent’s of Generation X and being home alone, Generation X has adapted a level of independence that sets them apart from other generations.

This generation has watched more TV and as a result has probably witnessed more violence and murders than any generation in history. In addition, X’ers’ gloomy view of the world has been shaped by such numerous negative events as the Persian Gulf War, escalating crime, riots, AIDS, the nuclear threat, and pollution.
International City-County Management Association, MSU

Teens Less Healthy Than Parents

“Never before has one generation of American teenagers been less healthy, less cared for, or less prepared for life than their parents were at the same age.”
– National Commission, The Spokesman Review

 

 

Some resent the baby boomers in a big way. They feel that the boomers spent too much time partying and messing up the world that X’ers have inherited. Now, the X’ers have to fix it, and they see the boomers as standing in their way. This view has made them highly cynical. – International City-County Management Association, MSU

SOURCES
Wikipedia – Generation X
Catalyst – Workplace Generations


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03) Gen-X: The Birth of a Label

The Gen-X label, as we know it today, is the primary definition for those born roughly between 1961 and 1983. As these odd creatures grew up in a swirling jumble of punk, pollution and porno, the world was becoming anything but child friendly. These kids were already cynical adults by age 7 and left on their own to figure things out for themselves, often taking longer to get a handle on life, family and career. So, where exactly did this mysterious label come from?

If you look at the occurrences of the Gen-X label over the last 61 years, one can easily point to three specific years that stand out in our collective conscious: 1953, 1964 and 1991. After 1991, the label evolved into a core marketing term loathed by frustrated advertisers struggling to get Gen-X consumers to try new products (an attribute I personally admire).

Some descriptions (and birth years) of GenX overlap with what I call Generation Me [AKA Millenials], but it’s clear that the GenX description is incomplete and often misguided. – Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., author of Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before.


 X – Original

We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm we realised that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with. – Robert Capa, Magnum Photographer

Robert Capa, famous war photographer and founder of the label, Generation X. [Image via Wikipedia]

Most historians agree that the first appearance of the term “Generation X” was verbalized in 1953, by war photographer Robert Capa, almost a decade before the actual folks were born and officially christened as Generation X. Capa’s “Generation X” described young people with a fatalistic view of the future. The label read like an aimless particle in space or an unknown variable in an algebraic expression. If one cannot understand it, X is a placeholder until further study can manifest a clearer definition.

In a Huffington Post article, Christine Henseler dissects the GenX label origins:

Most people think that it was born in 1991 when Canadian writer and visual artist, Douglas Coupland, published the popular book Generation X: Tales of An Accelerated Culture. That’s not the case. In fact, it all began much earlier, in 1953 when, as Dr. John Ulrich eloquently details in GenXegesis, “The Queen’s Generation: Young People in a Changing World” was published in the Picture Post in the United Kingdom. This piece was later published as a three-part series titled “Youth and the World” in the United States’ magazine called Holiday.


X – 2.0

In 1964, the first printing of Generation X by Hamblett and Deverson, was published in an attempt to capture the voices of the nation’s youth at the twilight of Beatlemania. The sentiments taken from the Mod subculture and other rock youth groups in the UK revealed a cross-section of kids with a palpable discontent for their parents, civic and political institutions, and a disillusioned outlook on the future.

Generation X by Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett • Courtesy of Wikipedia

Generation X by Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett • [Image via Wikipedia]

The quotes below were taken from an article posted on February 28, 2014, The Original Generation X, on BBC.com.

“Marriage is the only thing that really scares me…”

“Religion is for old people who have given up living…”

“I’d prefer to do something for the good of humanity…”

“You want to hit back at all the old geezers who tell us what to do…”

60s Mod Culture

In 1964 the paperback Generation X hit the bookstands. Its candid interviews with teenagers still make fascinating reading 50 years on, says Alan Dein. • [Image via BBC.com]

Two years before the original book, Generation X was published, Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, echoed some of the explosive opinions expressed by the youth culture.

…my glazzies were stuck together real horrorshow like sleepglue. – Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Movie Still from A Clockwork Orange, 1971

Movie Still from Stanley Kurbrik’s, A Clockwork Orange, 1971 • [Image via wall.alphacoders.com]

In 1976, Billy Idol would name his punk band – Generation X, after Hamblett and Deverson’s book, appropriately fusing the Gen-X label to punk music. In its active years, the band was an underground punk phenomenon until Billy Idol would make a name for himself in the 1980s with Rebel Yell and White Wedding, among other hits. Generation X’s music would later gain popularity, as rabid fans of Billy Idol would unearth his earlier work with Generation X. Like the enigmatic Gen-X generation, the band, Gen-X would disappear into the cracks of culture and re-emerge in screaming fits of unwarranted exposure.

Generation X Band

Billy Idol named his band, Generation X, after Hamblett and Deverson’s Generation X, a book his mother owned. • [Image via thep5.blogspot.com]

Britian's Punks

News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio), • Friday, April 29, 1977 • [Image via Newspapers.com]


 X 3.0 Reloaded

In 1991, two symbolic events would further define an isolated and exasperated youth culture, the release of Douglas Coupland’s Generation X: Tales Of An Accelerated Culture and Nirvana’s Nevermind album – both creating an enriched sound and philosophy of Gen-X in the wake of Operation Desert Storm and the year’s end collapse of the Soviet Union.

[Image via modernmrsdarcy.com]

I just want to show society what people born after 1960 think about things… We’re sick of stupid labels, we’re sick of being marginalized in lousy jobs, and we’re tired of hearing about ourselves from others. – Doug Coupland, Boston Globe, 1991 (Wikipedia)

This Book Review of Coupland’s Generation X, written by Michael Hutak, describes the early 1990s third wave of despair, hopelessness and insights into the Xers of the struggling to navigate a stagnant economy, not far removed from the discontent of the previous incarnations associated with the Gen-X label.

Coupland's Generation X - 1992 Book Review by Michael Hutak • Courtesy of hutak.org

Generation X by Douglas Coupland – 1992 Book Review by Michael Hutak • [Image via hutak.org]

In 1991, I was in my junior year in high school, ditching classes on a regular basis, frequenting Rocky Horror Picture Show performances at the Balboa Theater and drinking MGD’s (Miller Genuine Draft) with my friends on a trestle in San Timoteo Canyon at midnight waiting for the next train so we could hurl our empty beer bottles into an open railcar. I fantasized that I was an empty bottle in a pile of woodchips and ride the train forever.

[image via 'Rennaissance Girl' photo by Rae • trg-photos.blogspot.com]

[Image via • trg-photos.blogspot.com • photo by Rae]


 Gen-X Today

All generations are defined and re-defined as they collectively adapt, respond and interact with technology; grow older and with self-reflection, become a little wiser.

In his book, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman suggests that the movie, The Empire Strikes Back, is “the seminal foundation for what became “Generation X,” and similar to Capa’s first utterance of the “X” label, Klosterman’s view of The Empire Strikes Back “set the social aesthetic for a generation coming in the future,” as if it were a pre-determined outcome.

Chuck Klosterman: A Voice of Generation X

[Image via Wikipedia]

…all the clichés about Gen Xers were true – but the point everyone failed to make was that our whole demographic was comprised of cynical optimists. – Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

Generation X will continue to define itself by action and though, this generation may be comfortable with their imposed namesake, this they will speak for itself in ways that may not be realized until a later date in history. It truly is a generation that doesn’t have time to explain itself, but not inclined to take anyone else’s word for it.


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