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Alex Carnevale

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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in jesse pinkman (2)


In Which Why Does It Feel Like My Feet Can't Leave The Ground

Onwards and Upwards


Breaking Bad
creator Vince Gilligan

It was about halfway into the series finale of Breaking Bad when I started thinking about a conversation I once had with Gordon Libby. He was like, "I'm really tired of everyone on television being a criminal I can't empathize with." I just looked at him and sipped a mai tai. These fucking people.

You know the type of individual who goes around saying, "I don't know why everyone is so into Breaking Bad, why are they always saying I should watch it; I am content with Vuillard's The Stevedores and the complex moral cinema of Eric Rohmer..." I forgive this sort of person everything, because it is the American way to use your own ingenuity to make yourself look better, feel better, seem better.

is this the AARP? You...wield too much political power, sir.Throughout this last episode, all of the people Walt met told him, "You look like hell." The irony was that he never looked better; as a criminal mastermind the stress lines looked like they were about to split his face. Standing in front of his wife as God intended, he looked super beautiful and charismatic.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think they knew Walt very well, at least not how I knew him.

There's only one day left in Subway's $5 dollar footlong promotion, Skyler. I must be going.
The most emotional scene from last night's Breaking Bad finale was Walt's conversation with his wife, because he lied to her. He said he cooked meth because it made him feel alive. This was complete and utter bullshit, a master class in telling her what she wanted to hear. In the final analysis, Walt was able to forgive these people who did nothing but profit from his own acumen.

I don't know what Walt did that was supposed to be so bad. I guess people think cooking a drug for others to enjoy is wrong. I don't where they learned this. Everyone he killed, he had a damn good reason to do so, especially Mike. That fuck Mike.

no one knew how to hibernate quite like this woman

Simple things you could learn in any basic chemistry course. We don't have any of that ingenuity, it's all fabricated in factories across an ocean. That's where things are made, at great cost but with great benefits for those who risk it. Every day Flynn went to school, Lewis drove him. I never found out why it's dangerous to drive a car with only one foot, there wasn't some shit-for-a-head AMC half shaven twitter handle to explain it to me then after the show was over.

as unhappy as every other unpaid intern

For years Walt and Jesse never had sex, or had sex so infrequently they never mentioned to it anyone. Watching Walt stroll around Gretchen and Elliott's palatial estate, it reminds you what a monk he really is. As the poet said, "I have sacrificed everything, including sex and woman, or lost them, to this attempt to acquire complete concentration."

Watching the scarred Jesse Pinkman sail into the sunset, I couldn't help but think of all that was given him. He had no purpose in life; now he feels happier than any man who ever lived.

shocked there wasn't a last visit to marie, at least send a gift basket, maybe some prunes and a reminder she's a shoplifter
Entitlement festers and grows. Gretchen and Elliott only lock a part of their house. Fear is divided routinely by windowpanes, support beams. Cutting something up reduces its power, of course. The simple shattered presence of a man they know is enough to frighten them. Can you imagine these people storming the beaches of Normandy? (As a side note, I found the character of Elliott to be bracingly anti-Semitic and I have written a letter to Vince Gilligan strongly expressing my disapproval of this meme.)

gretchen, you lie to charlie rose and this is what happens, ask his interns
And it's easy to survive a gunshot wound, especially if you're pretty sure one might be coming. A spin-off would just ruin this.

We could have forgiven almost any choice that Walter White made, because we knew it was up to him and not ourselves. This is a teaching moment, because children are not taught a theory of forgiveness, they are taught a theory of punishment. Forgiveness faded from the whorl roughly the same time that AOL merged with Time Warner. It re-emerged for me the first time I killed a dictator I could only see on a video screen. Monsters deserve death, but only some crimes make a person one, not all. (Like Walt, the last person I forgave was myself.)

dividing lines GET IT
I have to admit I did instruct people to watch Breaking Bad, and when I did so, I managed a certain unctuous tone in my voice. The tone of voice I used to tell them to view this experience was identical to Todd's admonition to his progenitor - "You shouldn't have come back here, Mr. White" - in every way but one: my admonition was sincere.

I do not expect people to always do what I ask, but they do need to know that I ask it for a good reason. It is because I love them and I want them to be happy.

This tone of voice was also meant to convey that by following through with my request, they would attain something divine for themselves, provided they fast forwarded past all the office scenes where Skyler flirted with Ted. (Those were gross.) When I watched Breaking Bad, I thought of those individuals I told, and whether they were thinking what I was as I watched, or thinking of me at all. Sometimes, but only sometimes, I miss her.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location and the former vice president of the United States of America. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. He last wrote in these pages about the fourth season of Downton Abbey

"UFO" - One Eskimo (mp3)

"Alvar" - Goldfrapp (mp3)


In Which It's The Universal Signal For Keys

Totally Broken


Breaking Bad
creator Vince Gilligan

While watching an episode of Louie last week, I found myself mystifyingly turned on. It was the episode where Louis C.K. is out on a date with a pretty lady and a ruffian of a teenager threatens him. Louis doesn’t really do anything except back down, then follow the kid to his house in Staten Island. I couldn’t tell if it was his actions or his lack of action or his sad sack face, but during that episode (and as it turns out, every subsequent episode of Louie that I’ve watched) I wanted Louis C.K. more than I’ve ever wanted a person on my television screen.

With the exception of one Walter White.

Something about seeing an overworked, run-down jackhole who is trying to make it work in his terrible weird life gives me some creeping down there. It’s like some real husband heroism no matter how screwed up their version of reality is. You’re a piece of shit but you’re doing it for your family. And sometimes you happen to lose your mind at the same time. A family man who can also wield a gun and blow up a nursing home is highly attractive.

Over the course of four seasons of Breaking Bad, endearing ignoramus Jesse Pinkman reached new pinnacles that involved my analyzing and critiquing his fashion choices as they evolved from highlighter yellow hoodies to sophisticated black leather motorcycle jackets. I didn’t mourn the loss of his one-time girlfriend Jane one bit. Good riddance. But always in the background — from my viewing perspective, keep in mind — was the elusive Walt. Getting what he wants. Bossing people around. Taking control of shit.

The first episode of Breaking Bad's fifth season opens with Walter White and his breakfast. Walter has grown his fucking hair back. And he’s got on some stylish “young people” glasses — he’s either living in the metropolitan East Coast and driving a much hipper, more vintage car or running for his life. Has Walter traded in his Midwestern persona for a cosmopolitan version of himself in order to evade whatever is likely following him? To be determined. Maybe Breaking Bad is en route to becoming the Friends of meth making.

Each season of the show has started out slow and built into something maniacal from which one cannot turn away. But what bothered me about the season premiere isn’t that things are already unraveling too fast, it’s that it had a dumb setup. No one questioned the fact that Jesse, Mike, and Walt all knew that they were being filmed until now? Why did it take them until this point to figure out that the tapes are somewhere? Call me a skeptic, and yes, Walt and Jesse are still amateur criminals, all things considered, but Mike is not. I refuse to believe that that dude had not thought of this a long time ago.

In a moment of true Jesse Pinkman ingenuity, a plan is devised wherein a mammoth magnet is manipulated to destroy Gustavo Fring's incriminating laptop. The way Jesse tries to get into the conversation while Walt and Mike (Daddy and Mommy) figure out what to do is hilarious and frustrating. Just listen to the dude! They do, and he’s right, and of course he is, because we’re at a point where it’s okay to enjoy the highly satisfying role reversal this show has promised us from its first season. All would be perfect if that douchebag Ted Beneke wasn't still alive.

The revelation at the end of Breaking Bad's fourth season that Walt poisoned a child to get Jesse allied against their boss isn't so easily glossed over. We know that yep, dude is evil. And that’s an important thing to note. Because like Medea before him, we have to keep asking how much of what he does is actually defensible? I mean, is any of it?

Despite the new glasses, new hair, and new attitude, I felt most unnerved by Walter White’s new persona during his episode-end "hug" with wife. It was a long, unsettling embrace with several back rubs and not much squeezing. At the end of it all, Walt uttered a terrifying “I forgive you.” After all Walt has done, he has now granted himself the power to forgive someone else. Talk about egomania.

Some doors are left open. I’m not just talking about the car door that Mike brazenly left open after signaling the universal signal for keys. I mean a picture frame with a Swiss bank account written behind it, a truck precariously tilted on its side, a Ted Beneke who supposedly “won’t talk,” which is what I’ve been asking for since the day he was introduced, and Saul’s involvement, which continues to get heavier every day. But in the eponymous words of Walter White, “we’re done when I say we’re done.” I’m done.

Dayna Evans is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. You can find her website here. She last wrote in these pages about a river of ashes.

"You Could Be Mine" - Ben Taylor (mp3)

"Not Alone" - Ben Taylor (mp3)

The latest album from Ben Taylor is entitled Listening, and it will be released on August 14th.