Dig That Radio [Featured]

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Ok, so this is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while now. It’s going to be long and it’s going to be about a topic that is both generally universal and intensely personal. Music. Specifically, video game music, both original and inspired by, some of which will be included along the way. So feel free to fire up some of your favorite tunes, or jam on some of the ones here, grab a snack, and let’s jump in.

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Social Anxiety Order

One Year Later
Cambridge - One Year Later

I’ve certainly never been a stranger to social/internet outlets. I’ve been consistently wandering around the online public space for a long time. I explored AOL 1.0 in the early 90’s, was part of online communities, forums, etc. I started building websites around the same time and was part of the “Independent Web” movement in the late 90’s/early 00’s. I watched the death of camportals and the rise of the “blog” (I remember Josh Kinney famously asking me “What was the internet before the blog?”). Originally it was “push to publish” services like Blogger and it’s lightweight version, Blogspot, that gave every person on the web a chance to have a voice. The rise (and fall) of assorted social media waypoints has provided a nearly continuous supply of outlets for anyone and everyone looking to fill up the internet with their personal content. More well known sites like Makeout Club, Friendster, MySpace, etc, to the smaller ones like BME:IAM (One of the first, real, networks. Sadly, currently in it’s death-throes.) and DeviantArt (though I’m not sure DeviantArt can be considered “small” anymore), and the millions in-between. We all know these stories. We live them every day, for the most part.

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This isn’t the last…

I’ve been thinking all morning about where to start this. I can’t really decide on an appropriate starting point. How about…

9 years ago I trekked to Los Angeles on a personal adventure and found myself waking up on Sycamore St. in Hollywood. I was in the apartment of my new friend and upcoming professional photographer, Michelle Star. I woke up, kept quiet, got dressed, and walked to Starbucks to start my day. Opportunities abound…

Yesterday I arrived in Los Angeles on a continuation of a personal adventure. Today, I found myself waking up on Sycamore St. in Hollywood. I was in the apartment of my old friend and well known professional photographer, Michelle Star. I woke up, kept quiet, got dressed, and walked to Starbucks to start my day. Opportunities abound…

Too “history repeating”? Hmmm, how about…

I’m sitting in a Starbucks on the corner La Brea & Santa Monica in LA. I’ve sat in this Starbucks before, 2 years ago, while on a break/materials gathering mission while working on a job at Paramount Studios. I can see, from where I am sitting now, the GameStop and Target I went to, looking for a Mad Catz Rock Band Drum Cymbal Extension Kit for the stage I was building for the “Get Schooled” media event (see “Résumé” above).

Funny where you end up sometimes.

Not quite what I was looking for. Just the act of being here is changing how this is progressing, adding new potential to the mental mix.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in LA, a city I’m on record for not being a huge fan of after living here 9 years ago. I’ve warmed to it a bit in the time since, but it still doesn’t sit right with me. “New York State of Mind” is playing on the radio. I loved living in NYC when I did. It’s not the city for me anymore really, sadly, but I wouldn’t trade the time I spent there for anything, good or bad. As I’m thinking of all those old times, feeling nostalgic, I look out the window to my left. A girl on a fixie just got hammered by a car on the corner of La Brea and Santa Monica Blvd. The car takes off. She is banged up, but ok. Her bike is rough shape. I rush outside to help.

The same thing happened to me 13 years ago on 8th & Broadway in NYC. I’ve told the story a thousand times. I start to wonder if it’s some kind of cosmic sign. My old life and my new life colliding? My past catching up to me? A chance to pay back some karma? I hold the belief that there really is no such thing as coincidence, you just need to be aware and recognize events as they happen, then try and decipher their significance. So now I’m sitting here thinking about what that might be.

A bit esoteric. How about just some recap action?

If you’ve been following this website, blog, journal, experiment, whatever it is, for any length of time, you’ll know that I have a history of being a bit all over the place… in more than just one regard. That wanderlust is seemingly baked in to my DNA/soul/consciousness/whatever. It’s driven by my perpetual feeling of a lack of purpose, or sense of really belonging anywhere. I move around a lot, try new things, and generally try and fill my life with skills and experience.

So now I’m sitting in a familiar Starbucks on La Brea and Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. This morning I woke up on the couch of an old friend, a friend I met here 9 years ago. Yesterday I was walking through the fog in Santa Cruz.  So, just how did I end up in this seat?

Approx 2 years ago: I move from my apartment in Las Vegas, NV to Boston, MA for a shot at a fulltime job at Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. It’s a longshot, but the culmination of a lifetime of freelance work in the videogame event industry. Long story short, I get the job and become the Event Specialist for Harmonix. I go on to help produce events like E3, PAX (East & Prime), and Gamescom. I also slide into a kind of defacto photographer role for the team I’m on.

Approx 6 months ago: I quit my job at Harmonix Music Systems, Inc after the company is sold by MTV/Viacom and internal event production is scaled way down as the studio shifts it’s focus and new partners exert influence. I make the decision to move to Paris, FR for as long as a travel visa will allow. While there, I also travel to places like Cannes, Brussels, Antwerp, NYC, Bierves, Le Mans, etc. While in Paris I work on not just my photography and writing, but on myself. I try and sort out all my personal short-comings, my flaws, my weaknesses… the things I don’t particularly like about myself. I attempt to reconcile the two sides of myself that I feel are constantly at odds with each other. To find some kind of balance. In the process I end up boiling myself down a lot. I discover a lot of things about myself and for the first time in a long time I feel like I have priorities. I solidify some goals, make plans, and feel not only a sense of purpose, but also of belonging and comfort. I start to consolidate and focus on what I want in my life. A new me starts to emerge.

Seattle
Seattle

Approx 1 month ago: I leave Paris bound for Seattle, WA. I’ve spent as much time as I could in Paris without risking deportation. For the first time in a long time though, I don’t want to leave where I am. I actually like Paris and the life that was starting there. Duty calls. I’m headed to see Suki Valentine, a friend from way back, from the old New York days. She’s building and opening a new store in Seattle and I agreed to help out with the opening. She’s offered me a place to stay while I do. Though I’m sad to leave Paris, I am excited at this opportunity. After nearly 5 months of creative and emotional focus, I’m going to see if my practical skills are still sharp. I find that not only are they, but I am able to find some the balance I had been working towards. I start shooting photos for the store after it opens. I build massive playlists and DJ sets as well. I work on social media. I meet a lot of great people and even get a chance to shoot some photography on the set of a film in Olympia. I kind of like Seattle and the potential it presents. I seem to have started down the path I was working towards, but something is missing.

Approx 1 week ago: I leave Seattle, bound for Santa Cruz, CA. The housing thing didn’t quite pan out as expected in Seattle. I slept on the floor of the store a lot. I slept on the couches of new friends. It was fine, I’m adaptable and experienced. I’m good at making due with what is available. The hospitality and kindness shown to me by new friends was amazing. I’m not really comfortable with that for too long though. I don’t like intruding on people’s lives, no matter how much they insist that I’m not.

Patton
Patton

So it was off to Santa Cruz, CA, the home of my best friend, Stephen, his lovely fiancé Heather, and their hilarious Welsh Corgi, Patton. You can read more about that in the post right below this one. There will be another incoming shortly, a follow up on my time spent in Santa Cruz.

Yesterday: It’s an intensely foggy evening in Santa Cruz. Stephen drops me off at San Jose airport and I board a little prop plane bound for Los Angeles, CA. It’s a more introspective flight than usual. Since the plane never clears 25,000ft during the whole flight, I can watch the sun set below the California coastline and the lights of cities twinkle on. The two stewardesses are hilarious. They dole out complimentary drinks with wild abandon. The front cabin stewardess talks like she’s smoked two packs of Camel Light Wides a day since she was born. It was entertaining.

Sunset
San Jose Sunset

The fog is just as intense in LA when we land as it was in Santa Cruz when I left. It lends a kind of quiet to the arrival as we slowly descend though it. You still deplane to the tarmac on flights like this, and we’re all standing in the fog waiting for our luggage to emerge. It’s surreal and still kind of quiet. I get my bag and all that quiet goes away the second I emerge from the other side of LAX. It’s like the car version of white water rapids if it was a race and you were allowed to jump into the rafts from the sidelines. Cacophonous madness, but that’s LA. I knew what I was getting into.

Arrival
Arrival

Michelle and I chat on the drive. We catch up a little bit. I see her new place, drop my stuff. She’s been awake for 25 hours and is out pretty quickly. I drop onto the couch in her living room, putting pretty much everything aside for the evening. Stephen had let me borrow “Do Travel Writers Go To Hell” by Thomas Kohnstamm, so I start in just to see how it is. 3 hours later, I finish it. I start it over again, book marking passages with, appropriately, old boarding passes, airport receipts, and TSA inspection notices. Some of the paragraphs read like I wrote them, or at least like I thought them. Paragraphs like:

I am rarely lonely or depressed when I travel alone – except when I first wake up in the morning. My eyes adjust to the surroundings and I try to figure out where I am and what I’m doing there. One white ceiling with cracked paint is the same as the next. It is also a point in the day when I have too much space to reflect on the events that have led me to where I am, and to think about what else I could be doing with my life.

By the time I was though the second read, it was about 5:00AM. So much for sleep. I hadn’t really eaten all that much in the past day or so either. Sleep was in order. I’d figure out food tomorrow. Dreams were strange. I was up by 10:00AM. And now… here I sit, tip-tapping away, trying to get all this in order. LA is going to be a bit crazy (more on that later).

So yeah, something like that. Not the most detailed of recaps, but you can always just go read the individual posts if you’re interested.

And now we’re caught up a bit. For those that really know me, they know that I am omitting parts of this story, including one of the most important parts, actually, but that’s the way it is for now. The time isn’t quite right for that.

So that’s where I sit, literally. Dinner with my brother tonight and a shoot that starts first thing in the morning.

Hi there…

My camera.
My Canon EOS 60D: II

Whoops, I went live.

Well, not really “whoops”, I suppose. Anyway, so you’ve found your way here. Now the question is, “Where is here?”

This is //dropslash[dotcom], though you may have found your way here from dropslash.net, dropslash.org, and/or KyleMercury.com. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. They’re all the same thing.

I’ve been running this site for about 12 years now, 10 as it’s own domain. The archives go all the way back, so if you get really bored, dig away. There are some chunks missing, mostly from when I stopped using Blogger for a while and manually updated the entire site myself. I’m currently in the process of restoring all that content. Not everything is formatted and displaying at 100%, but the bulk of it is all here. As for the rest of the site, it’s about 85% here. I’ve always relaunched at about that and then worked around while the site was live to fill in content, make design tweaks, and edit existing content. This is probably the most expansive and ambitious redesign I’ve ever attempted. I’ve basically ported every drop of content from all the past versions of the site, and my satellites, into this one monster via WordPress. I come from the old school of design and I’ve always coded everything by hand. This is my first WP attempt and my first step away from that “all by hand” process, but I’m working hard to dig in and really make it my own.

As always, this new redesign (version 28), was inspired and themed by a song that I have found particularly applicable to my life at the time of the relaunch. That song, this time around, is “Iron” by Woodkid.

The odds are also good that you found your way here by one of about a billion social media outlets, probably Twitter, or maybe About.me. I’m not difficult to find with any real effort. dropslash is Kyle Mercury, Kyle Mercury is dropslash. You can look for either across the internet and probably find your way back here. If you really want to know more, you can click any of the navigation links up above or any of the other social media links to the right.

About… again.

This is dropslash.com, the home of Kyle Mercury. This is the 27th version of this website and I will get around to refilling in the content as best I can, as time allows.

Following design tradition, this new version is inspired by music. In this case “I Am” by Hednoize from the album “Searching For The End”. It was originally based on the song “The Road”, and progressed to “Woven”, both also from “Searching For The End”, before being finalized as “I Am”. The plan I had for my life mirrored “The Road” very closely but, although it continues to reflect my general greater mindset, like all good plans, it changed. I found myself somewhere unexpected, playing a role I hadn’t anticipated. “I Am” fits that theme nicely.

While I work to put all the content back in place here, you can find me at all the typical social media outlets.

Like I said, the content from the older versions of the site will slowly make their way back here. If you go digging you can probably still find bits and pieces, here and there. There is a lot work ahead, but the site needed to change as my personal priorities change. I hope the redefinition of things here will provide a bit of clarity.

So welcome back, if you’re a regular, and welcome, if you’re finding this site for the first time.