Monday Morning Commute: Durban’s dilemma

Durban's Dilemma

If there was one thing Durban hated, it was his bedside electronic crow.

Every morning, every goddamn morning, the metal-feathered automaton would leave its battery-perch, hover above the bed, and screech directly into Durban’s face. It didn’t matter to the faux-fowl whether Durban had a day off from the mineral farm or if he was dreaming of his ex-girlfriend from Jupiter or if he was in the midst of an ethanol-fueled fever dream. And this is why it was such an effective companion.

`Cause at 5:45 AM, the electronic crow was guaranteed to terror-scream Durban back into consciousness.

To be fair, Durban recognized the practical value of his name-brand, top-of-the line robot-rooster. After all, he wasn’t going to wake up and go to work completely of his own volition. And who could blame him? It takes a special sort of masochism to rise early enough to catch the first boneshaking Teleport-Shuttle of day to Rhea, the most bastardly of Saturn’s moons, only to spend the next eight hours scavenging for traces of Lupillian.


But without the bird, Durban wouldn’t get to Rhea on time. And if Durban didn’t get to Rhea on time, there’s no chance an operator would save him an excavator. And if Durban didn’t excavate Lupillian, he wouldn’t be able to pay his rent. And on most days, the thought of not paying his rent on time positively horrified him.

But on one fantastic Monday morning, Durban decided that his hatred of the crow was more palpable than his fear of landlord-ire.

5:45 AM crept into existence, and the crow came to life. Shaking itself off of its docking station, the bird began to flutter upwards. But Durban had awoken nearly a half-hour before, plagued by a crotch-burn no doubt gifted to him by the discount Prosti-Clone he’d rented on Ganymede. So with one eye open and a fire plaguing his urethra, Durban waited for his every-morning adversary to strike first.


Whoosh! The whiskey bottle spiraled through the air! Smash! The crow simply hadn’t been programmed to anticipate such an attack, and as such its beak was decimated by the hard glass corner of the bottle’s ass. The bird spent its last few seconds writhing in robo-agony, head caved in and vital sparks bleeding into the air.

“Well, I guess ya still woke me up, eh?” Durban was crouching down to assess the damage. Seeing that the target was destroyed, he took a self-satisfied swig from the whiskey bottle and walked over to his much-littered coffee table. From the table, Durban snatched a stack of comic books.

“Fuck work. And fuck birds. Today, I’m drinkin’ and readin’ comics.”


Welcome to the Monday Morning Commute! As OL’s weekly gathering for entertainment show-and-tell, the MMC is digital nerd-discussion at its finest. Here’s how it works: I’m going to showcase some of the fun-stuffs I’ll be munching on throughout the week. Then, you hit up the comments section and show off the enjoyment-snacks you’ll be stuff into your own mind-gullet. In the process, we geek out and debate and talk all sorts of nonsense.

It’s wonderful.

Let’s go for it!

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Dark Lords and Masters, what have we done to offend you so? It wasn’t bad enough that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are going to be Turtle Lookin’ Motherfuckers and nothing more in their reboot? Now we have Kid Cudi rolling up (ha!) into the franchise?

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Monday Morning Commute: The Mediocre One

Hello there, fellow drone-bees! The workweek is upon us yet again, and we once again find ourselves hiding our true desires behind dead-skin masks. For forty hours a week, even the strongest and most original amongst us assume the personae of the tired and damned. In these times, we are nothing if not the hollow shells we’ve worked so hard to fill during off-hours.

Gatsby is jolted in the middle of the night, awakened by the American nightmare that sees him whimpering ,”Gatz…Minnesota…Dan Cody…”

Draper drinks and screws and sells himself into a life of luxury, and yet cannot shed the skin of Whitman’s despondency.

Kent writes the headlines that Superman inspires, but Kal-El will never get over the fact that he is the last survivor of a doomed lineage.

In spite of our most transcendental aspirations, there will always be forces working to keep us tethered to the material realities. And the most formidable of these forces is the bastard-thief known as the workweek. So there’s any hope of saving ourselves, we’ve only got one option.

We must remove our entertainment-swords from their scabbards and use them to slit the throat of the bastard-thief.


Welcome to the MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE! I’m going to show you the various bits of entertainment I’ll be using to preserve my spirit during the workweek. Your task, should you feel up to it, is to hit up the comments section and show off the ways you’ll be keeping your heart alive.

Let’s do this!

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Welcome to the Moon. What’s Your Poison?

If I owned a bar on the moon, these are the types of jams I’d blast. Tap your toes. Nod your head. Mack on a babe in a spacesuit.

Cudi Isn’t Kiddin’


Kid Cudi is mainstream hip hop’s next potential savior.

Ok, let me step back and add a preface — I’m a twenty-two year old, white & nerdy (-6 points for the Weird Al reference) suburbanite who grew up listening to metal and drumming in a prog-metal band. With that being said, I truly believe that Kid Cudi is going to be next great, worthwhile hip hop act.

“Well, Pepsibones, what makes you think that?”

Well, three key points (which, for my sake, can be conveniently listed) stand out:

1) Exposure — This dude is getting pushed hardcore. As I said, I generally keep my ear turned to the harder hitting scenes/bands. And yet, I can’t help but hear about the sickness that is Kid Cudi. Between the Day’n’Nite single receiving continuous (or is that incessant?) radio play and features such as that in last month’s Spin, Cudi seems to be sneaking into the (pop) cultural consciousness. I mean, fuck, when I loaded up OL today the guy popped into the banner at the top and said hello to me.

In short, Kid Cudi is getting the media push needed to help hip hop. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m sure there are plenty of better (whatever that means) underground rappers — but without the exposure their words aren’t going to reach the masses. While I might have hoped for last year’s Esoteric vs. Japan: Pterodactyl Takes Tokyo! to have received more attention, I wasn’t surprised when it didn’t blow up and change the game; the exposure just wasn’t there. With Kid Cudi, it is.

2) Stylistic Plurality — When I subject myself to the radio or MTV, I usually find myself balking like the old man on the block, “Bah! All this rubbish sounds the same!” In the era of five-second ringtone hooks and a reliance on autotuner that makes Kirk Hammett’s wah-pedal use look like occasional experimentation, anything that breaks the mold is greatly appreciated. Not only does Kid Cudi bring a different, more earnest perspective, he presents it a number of different ways.

The A Kid Named Cudi mixtape features mellow, introspective numbers like 50 Ways to Make a Record & Man on the Moon (which shares its name with Cudi’s full-length), the danceable stoner’s love song that is Maui Wowie, a couple of more freestyle-feeling showcases such as Cudi Spazzin’, and hometown anthem Cleveland is the Reason (it is shocking that I’ve yet to see this track supporting a montage of King James dunks).

If Man on the Moon makes use of even half of the styles found on Cudi’s breakthrough mixtape, we’re all in for a treat. Again, between the exposure and success of Day’n’Nite, the people are already going to give his shit a chance — and when they see that he offers something for everyone, they’ll be hooked.

3) Inspiring Kanye to Stop Sucking – Up until November 2008, Kanye West was a hero of mine. In spite of the fact that he is one of the most arrogant pop culture figures of recent history, I couldn’t help but love the guy. Every interview and appearance found him talking all sorts of crazy shit, but I would just laugh it off, preferring to bob my head rather than shake it.

Maybe it was the fact that at his best, Kanye managed to truly inspire me to look past the preconceived paths laid before me and carve my own way through the brush of life.

[Good Morning]

Look at the valedictorian scared of the future

While I hop in the Delorean.

Scared-to-face-the-world complacent career student,

Some people graduate, but be still stupid.

They tell you read this, eat this, don’t look around…

For a time, even Kanye’s most heedless lyrics were awesome in their own ridiculous, hilarious way.

[New Workout Plan]

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and get them sit-ups right &
Tuck your tummy tight & do your crunches like this;
Give head, stop breathe, get up, check your weave
Don’t drop the blunt and disrespect the weed.

Yes, it’s hard to defend such songs as having any sort of deep literary merit, but they made me smile & laugh, and that certainly counts in my book.

But then Kanye broke up with a girl and lost his mind. Or something. The result: the dismal 808’s & Heartbreak which contains neither the mindful insights of personal empowerment nor humorous musings about girls and weed and drinking and all that other awesome shit. No, all that 808’s provides is autotuned ramblings about lamenting love.

[Coldest Winter]

Goodbye my friend will I ever love again?
Goodbye my friend will I ever love again?
Goodbye my friend will I ever love again?
Goodbye my friend will I ever love again?

Brilliant. And for those apologists that claim “It’s a heartfelt track about love!” I offer two counterpoints: 1) How heartfelt and raw can words be when processed until they sound like a robot? 2) Just because something is heartfelt doesn’t mean it’s any good.

But now we have Kid Cudi, carrying with him the inspiration to restore Kanye West to his former (admittedly arguable) greatness. Kanye enlisted Cudi to help him with 808’s & Heartbreak and the product was the slightly less reprehensible Welcome to Heartbreak. Since then, Kanye has dedicated himself to crafting tracks for Kid Cudi’s debut, including the reworking of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face into the much more overt lauding of oral sex that is Make Her Say. West even went as far as to contribute a verse, returning to his old jovial, fun-loving form in the process. Again, it may not be mentally dazzling, but even being entertaining is an improvement at this point.

Sure, the idea of Kid Cudi helping elevate Kanye back up to the plateau he once reached is wishful thinking. But even if this doesn’t become reality, Cudi’s good enough on his own to make a long lasting impression on the mainstream rap world that is, in my opinion, suffering from the fatigue of thematic repetition. Mark my words, Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon is going to be the relevant rap album of 2009.

That is, of course, until Lupe Fiasco puts out Lasers in December.