Friday, September 29, 2006

Kaydee Caine: Rest in Peace

When will I ever learn to stay away from movies that make me cry?

I remember seeing Menace II Society in the bargain theatre a few months after it was released. At 23, my only exposure to black culture consisted of hip hop music (I could frequently be seen shakin' my white ass to Soul II Soul in the privacy of my living room) and a few African-American acquaintances. I was naive, at best, and knew only of the Watts area of Los Angeles from an American History class, where the 1965 riots were mentioned casually, in passing.

Watching Menace for the first time was like getting punched in the gut. I had never heard people talk like that. I had never seen people die like that, or fight like that. LIVE like that. Was it real? I knew enough to understand that movies sensationalize and oversimplify. I think I told someone later that I liked Boyz N The Hood better. On many levels, I still do. But, Boyz didn't make me cry. I didn't connect emotionally with the characters, and it lacked a clear protagonist. In Kaydee, I found an anchor. When he fell, I fell. I was lost. I wanted to reach through the screen and take it all back, reverse time, scoop up that little boy in the red footie pajamas and just hold him til it all went away. That feeling was even stronger for me this time around. It's been 13 years since I saw that movie, and the tears seemed to come even easier. Shit, maybe it's because I'm a mother, now. Maybe I'm premenstrual. But Tyrin Turner will remain immortal for the humanity he brought to Caine.

And of course, we also have the Hughes Brothers to thank, too. I continue to be a fan of their work, especially the 1999 documentary American Pimp.I had to watch it twice, because the first time I was too shocked to pay as much attention as was warranted to really "get" it. Let's not forget From Hell, which was inspired by the comic of the same name, a collaboration from Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell.

And hey, you can't go wrong with a lollipop like Johnny Depp.

I Remember No. 2 Pencils

Here's a great article from the NY TIMES regarding the lack of a definitive "back-to-school" ritual once we are no longer in school.

Clean Slate

I remember no. 2 pencils. They were always so fresh and new, and the first few days the classroom was filled with the sounds and smells of sharpening. And clean white paper. I always liked college-ruled, because it gave me more room to write on one side. Oh, and there was nothing like creating that one-of-a-kind book cover for your school texts. I always spent hours at the kitchen table with discarded brown paper bags, crayola markers, and a ruler, trying to make my books look "cool."

Kip Hawley Is An Idiot

How To Make A Freedom Bag

I am still trying to decide if I want to push this envelope in my own life; I'm going to be flying to Florida for Thanksgiving this year. If it weren't for the sake of my 2 year old daughter....damn. I am just too conflicted about it. I'll have to settle for the fantasy of it, for now.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hot Diggity-Dog! or Mommy's Book Club

I am not as up on pop culture as I used to be. And since I get my books from the library and I cherry pick cable TV with a DVR, I seemed to have missed two exciting, recent devolopments.

Jeff Lindsey's second Dexter novel: Dearly Devoted Dexter.

And the Showtime original series Dexter, inspired by his work, starring Six Feet Under alum Micheal C. Hall, which premieres this Sunday.

I am almost wetting my pants with anticipation.

I was introduced to Lindsay's Dexter Morgan quite by accident, when my stepfather-in-law donated his usual stack of readers club cast offs last spring. On the top of the stack, sat Darkly Dreaming Dexter. I actually shifted it to the bottom, because I am not much of a serial murder kinda gal. I read Sue Grafton's Q is for Quarry first; another book that introduced me to yet another fantastic character, along with many future hours of enjoyment as I vowed to work my way backwards through the alphabet. After wading through another mystery which paled in comparison to Grafton's work, and the poignant fiction of Ayelet Waldman's My Daughter's Keeper, I came back to Dex.

By the end of the first page, I was hooked. I spent the next two days immersed in the introduction of solid foods to my then 8 month old daughter, and brutal serial murder.

I simply love how my accidental, circumstantially delayed gratification affords me these lovely opportunities (I believe it might be termed Serendipity; coinkidinkally the first book I ever read --at six years old-- until it literally fell apart).

So now, a new book and a new series in which to sink my choppers. It reminds me of the day I finished Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, only to discover that though the book itself was published in the mid-90s, I only had to wait three weeks for the sequel, Son of a Witch, to go on sale. I was only too tickled that very same week to find a used copy of the original Broadway cast recording of Wicked: The Musical, which remained the soundtrack of my life for months. If hard-pressed, I could likely sing 80% of the libretto by heart, without accompaniment.

These are the brightly colored threads weaving a brilliant tapestry within the otherwise gray landscape of a cultural wasteland.

On a far less overly-dramatic Sarah Bernhardt note....

I found a new way to cure a crabby toddler.

Hmm. My Mom used to call me Sarah Burnhardt (which, I have come to understand, was a common practice among mothers of her generation). Somehow, I don't think she knew Ms. Burnhardt, arguably the most famous actress of the 19th century, was also a hooker with a wooden leg.

Soapbox Rantings

Rain, a restless soul, and a plethora of sirens in the near distance push me from the comfort of my repose. For the second night in a row, I am faced with the dilemma: do I go back to sleep and feel like a groggy piece of crap in an hour and a half when my daughter opens her little life to the world, or do I stay awake and pump myself full of coffee like I did yesterday? The caffeine overdose resulted in a manic amount of posting on zefrank's site. I am not even sure I want to go back there today, I am so sick of seeing myself post. Sometimes, it's almost OCD-ish, pushing the reply button before I even know I'm doing it. Just gotta check to make sure the button still works, one more time, if it doesn't work, the house might burn down.....

Query of the hour:

Why don't I just start making crystal meth?

I'm already being treated like I'm cooking. The new and improved federal law doesn't go into effect until September 30, which mandates a personal monthly minimum of 9.2 grams. Some stupid web article estimates that to be "about three packages." Um, hello? The only packages I can find are .6 grams each (20 pills per pack, 30 mg per pill - or am I doing the math wrong?!). So I should be allowed to buy 15 packages per month, which averages out to one 20 pack every other day. Which is half the amount of Cold & Sinus meds my husband (who suffers from constant sinus problems and refuses to go to the doctor) consumes every thirty days.

I'm supposed to fill out and sign this little piece of paper every time I buy the shit. I admit to looking for the space where I sign over my next child, and peering behind the counter to be sure Rumplestiltskin isn't lurking there. I fail to see the ultimate logic in the endeavor. Unless there is going to be this mass, nation-wide computer program magically instituted on September 30, how is this law going to really work? All I have to do is make a rotation of the 15 to 20 or so pharmacies in my area. I haven't tried buying the stuff from Pennsylvania is ten minutes to the southeast. I could trip over the state line any time I wanted to and pop into a RiteAid to get our "fix" when I've tapped out my connections in my hometown. All these thoughts are racing through my mind and it really cheeses me off that my power as a consumer is so off-kilter over a drug that isn't illicit, isn't considered to be a "controlled" substance, nor is it a drug for which a prescription is required before purchase and use. But yet, this is a DEA matter, and I'm left feeling like some kind of drug addict cruising the streets for my next cold med high.

Sidebar: in the same article referenced above, the flaw -- the gaping hole -- in the law is acknowledged, but that doesn't seem to be much of a bother for our government. Surprise! Another poop law jumps out of the cake. Also, this article very clearly posited that the law leaves room for further interpretation, later on down the road. Which is good, later on down the road. But for right now, at is infancy, it makes it a truly bullshit law. Stoking the fire under my bloomers to full supernova efficiency, this article stated that it's still on the shoulders of pharmacists and pharmacy employees to essentially profile customers who wish to purchase pseudoephedrine products; that people who are noticeably shaky, uncommonly thin, and exhibit dental problems are prime suspects for the use and/or propagation of crystal meth. Well, guess what? My husband was in an accident recently and his top plate was cracked. He has a legitimate health problem that caused a dentifrice decline, his rather thin frame, and ironically, since he takes so much pseudoephedrine, he can appear shaky at times. I have encouraged him to quit taking so much, but as his wife I can only lead him to the water. And now, I feel like I'll be damned if someone else forces him to drink.

Oh yeah. And I wanna know where all the back door selling is going on. Sign me up.

Back to my original train of thought. Since this is a federal law, mandated by the government and currently under the umbrella of the DEA, the big question is -- if it can be proved that I have purchased more than my 9.2g monthly allotment, what is my crime? Moreover, what is my punishment? Would Dostoyevsky be able to wrap his head around the idea? Is it possible and reasonable to assume I could be considered a federal criminal of some kind even when I'm not manufacturing crystal meth? How would the law justify any sort of federal retribution against me in this case? Are they going to hang my picture up in the stores, am I going to be America's Most Wanted Housewife? Will I soon be demonized by John Walsh, my neighbors interviewed -- she was a nice lady, kept to herself, I can't believe she bought so much Advil Cold and Sinus, and right next door -- It all requires further net research, which pisses me off even more because I have already waded through so much poorly written and drawn-up law speak, enough to choke a horse, or a small horse -- maybe a pony.

The bitter irony yesterday at my local grocery store....I waited in line at their bloated little pharmacy, and the cashier recognized me from two days previous. She asked me casually, with nervous eyes,

"Is this for someone else in the family? What was your last name again?"

And I immediately felt my anger mount to a bubbling orchestra of expletive-laden responses, just tingling upon my tongue. Instead, I sighed, and said, "No. It's for me. Just like it was for me last time. But I don't see how that has anything to do with me buying this stuff today because the law doesn't go into effect for another two days, and it's not a law for me, it's a law FOR YOU."

"Um, I don't know what you mean by that."

"I mean, the law is about the sale of pseudoephedrine products. It is not about the purchase. Since my purchase is not an issue, you really don't need to know who I'm buying it for."

She shot a look up over the dais, at the pharmacist, who oversees all from above (asshole). He gives me this withered look before telling her quietly, "Just sell them to her." I paid in cash and said as loudly as I could over the several conversations in progress around me, the sound of the grocery business wafting about in the rafters, and the bad muzak from a speaker directly above, "Now I can put that new chemistry set to good use."

Fifteen minutes later, in the self serve check out lane where I scanned the last of my purchases -- a six pack of Guinness Extra Stout -- the check out girl took the driver's license I extended in her direction and just handed it back to me without a second glance. I was too tired, deflated, and defeated to level a scathing public indictment over that, but inside I was still seething. The automaton at the pharmacy counter wrote down my ID number and studied it like she was looking for Waldo, and then I can't even get the slag at the checkout to look at it (after she asked for it) when its procurement might prove I am not indeed of age. So don't remind me I haven't been 21 for a while. It's the principle of the thing, I tell you!

I was half hoping someone would stop me before I left. I really wanted to get into it with the security guard, who has to be at least 60 years old and looks about as imposing as my sister in her favorite Victoria Secret pajamas. If I played my cards right, I could position myself against the wind when he launched his pepper spray, and then laugh at him before I ran away.

I vow to rage against the dying of this light. If for no other reason than to get the stupid drug completely outlawed, because I personally think pseudoephedrine should be a controlled substance. But until it is, I should be able to buy it, with impunity, to my little pea pickin heart's content.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hodge Podgery

I haven't written anything lately because I haven't been able to find one, single, interesting thing with which to hit the ground running. So last night, I jotted down a few things, and it turned into a sort of stream of consciousness kinda thing. And then I noticed that I hadn't published an entry for over seven days, and I thought, "Shit, I'm letting my blog die again."

So, for lack of anything better, here are some excerpts from my fractured brainpan.

I am trying to teach my 2-year-old daughter to be leader of the pack -- of our dogs. We've got two yappy canines: a Pomeranian and a Miniature Poodle. I have been struggling with my daughter because she doesn't put up much of a fight when the dogs jump on her to steal her food (she's a grazer, and doesn't like to sit in the high chair for very long). I keep telling her that she's the boss, and she's bigger, but it doesn't seem to register. As if to further my very point, last night I gave her the dog's treats, so that she could administer them herself, and my "rule" is to have the dogs sit before they get their treats. I'm saying, "sit" over and over again as the dogs bounce around -- because they see that the weak link has possession of their treats -- and what does my daughter do? She sits. I can't help but laugh. And of course the dogs don't sit. They just keep bouncing around. Dorks.

My daughter is sick. She has a cold, and a bit of a cough. Last night she slept better than she has in days, but she is still clinging to her sick personality, which consists of asking for cookies all day long and whining when she doesn't get them. It is getting very annoying, although I do like the fact that she wants to sit on my lap more often.

Convivial is a cool word to say, over and over again.

When I wrote that down, I remembered a scene from the movie Super Troopers, where one of the officers bets another officer that he can't say the word "meow" 10 times during a routine traffic stop. Which reminded me that I want to watch that movie again. Funny stuff.

And then I is it that I can find a movie like Super Troopers funny, but also laugh my ass off while watching The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? They are two very different types of comedy. I guess, if I'm hard-pressed, I would admit to liking the easy laugh a little more than the laugh that requires me to think.

I was clearing out old programs on my DVR this week. I watched several episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" and I was struck by the fact that I know I can't dance, but I wish I could dance. Whenever I hear music with a good rhythm, I want to dance, and my body starts to move in that direction, but the results are comically pathetic. It's like I have the soul of a dancer, but the body of three year old (when it comes to dancing). I feel it inside of me, but it doesn't translate physically. It's so frustrating; I'll be forever relegated to my living room, behind closed drapes.

Drapes. Now there's another funny word.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Death of Anna Nicole's Son Reported "Not Natural"
My first reaction upon hearing this news was very near to heartbreak. I can't imagine giving birth to one child and then quickly losing another. My second reaction, upon hearing that the initial coroner's statement that young Daniel's death was "not natural" was disgust and sorrow. I have no knowledge of Anna Nicole's lifestyle, but I am not alone in my impressions over the last several years that she often appears to be under the influence of something, and it ain't just stupidity. Having lived for many years with a man addicted to hydrocodone, I can't look at her and not think that the woman is "on something." I will not be at all surprised if the cause of her son's death is due to the ingestion of some kind of mind-altering chemical.

The celebrity confession industry of late has included many admissions of pharmaceutical abuse -- mainly opiates/painkillers. The tearful, tortured and sincere filmed disclosures - a la Barbara Walters -- are nearly ubiquitous, and treated as a form of edu-tainment. We congratulate them for coming forward and enriching us with their travails. The general public -- and I'll admit, I am among them, once in a while -- seems to devour all the salacious details, with little regard for their dysfunction and the illegality of their behavior. The rule of thumb seems to be, the more likable and famous a person is, the less likely they are to be viewed as addicts and criminals.

Art, however, does not seem to be imitating life. The common folk who are using and abusing prescription drugs are prosecuted, yet the doctors who prescribe the drugs seem to be, for the most part, free of any responsibility or blame. To coin a phrase once used by my favorite vlogger, allow me "to get anecdotal on your ass." A woman with whom I was once acquainted, was being prescribed the same scripts for percocet, vicodin, valium, and soma, from three different doctors. Every month, she managed to enlist the help of another drug abuser to assist her in paying for the scripts. Her various partners in crime took their cuts (the average street cost for any of them varied, from $4 - $8 per pill), and she was left with the remainder of the pills, sometimes 50 or 60 of each every month.

None of the doctors ever knew about one another.
None of the doctors ever cross-referenced pharmacies.
No one ever knew what was going on.

Until it was too late, and my friend died, the official cause listed on the coroner's report as "acute drug intoxication." No one, including myself, believed she wanted to end her life. But her poor and self-destructive choices nonetheless resulted in her passing. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. But doctors should be held accountable, too. Our "war on drugs" still seems to be focused on the bottom rungs of the ladder, so it's ultimately those with the problems, who need help, that are getting punished. Meanwhile, the D.O.'s who didn't follow protocol continue fucking up with no one to answer to but their own consciences, if they have them at all.

My soapbox is creaky. But this topic in its entirety is still a sore one for me. My heart goes out to Anna Nicole and her family. It's unfortunate in this case that the apple may not have fallen far from the tree.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

If A Skinny Model Falls In The Forest...

...and a slightly less skinny model takes her place, will anyone notice?
Spanish Fashion Show Turns Down Twigs
I wonder myself how much of a difference this could/would make. It'd be fantastic if the fashion industry adjusted their attitudes to include more buxom women in their catwalk shows. There is, however, so much evidence of their preferences for twiggy boygirls all over the magazines runway shows and television and cinema...I personally don't find much to be attracted to, aesthetically, when I see these women, except that the clothing looks nicely draped on their bodies. But that's because their bodies could easily double as mannequins or hangers with heads (I don't know if Kathy Griffin coined that phrase, but she's the only person I've ever heard use it, so we'll give her credit). I mean, everybody knows what it's like to see something in the store and think, "Wow, that's pretty" until they try it on in the dressing room under those horrid lights in front of the unforgiving three-way mirrors.
I don't actually have a problem with skinny models. They don't inspire me, and I don't want to be one. I do take issue with their influence on our culture, seemingly from the bottom up. Not having access to any valid statistics, I can only speak anecdotally; it seems like there are more young women and now even girls who are nearly killing themselves to attain an unrealistic and unhealthy "ideal." As a fat girl, I ask, what the hell is ideal about not eating?
We interrupt this blog for a Friends stream of consciousness moment. Monica: You know the camera adds ten pounds.
How many cameras do you have on you?
It's interesting; thick girls round the world had their hopes dashed when it became apparent that the hoopla over Jen Lopez' apple bottom turned out to be a passing fad. There are simply not enough women who look even remotely normal in the entertainment industry. Certainly, I understand it's not about reality, it's about fantasy and escapism. We can't, however, ignore the obvious ripples in our cultural pond as a result. I hear all the time, in some form or another, celebrities complaining about being role models. All the back-pedaling in the world is not going to change the fact that the cart is already ahead of the proverbial horse. A teacher of mine once stated, "It doesn't matter the way things should be. What matters is the way things are."
And as long as it's deemed fashionable and acceptable to look like an emaciated coke-whore (it's not how you feel, it's how you look), I'll be the fat chick in the corner everybody dismisses for eating too much and not working hard enough to fit the mold. I can only hope that my own daughter will view me -- and not some mangy stringy version of the Olson Twins -- as a role model, and that she'll see I struggle with my BMI not because I want to look like Kate Moss, but because I want to participate in life, not watch it from the sidelines in a hoverchair cuz my ass is too big to walk.
In the meantime, I'll be waiting in the forest for my turn on the catwalk. I will most definitely need to pack a lunch.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Please Don't Talk About Murder While I'm Eating or There Will Still Be Cake Tomorrow

You get all hot and bothered at the strangest times and places
But you don't notice the looks on all the other faces
You're dressed for the summer in the middle of December
What you've all but forgotten, I painfully remember

Now I don't care in the least what you're reading.
Please don't talk about murder while I'm eating.
Let's not talk about murder while I'm eating...
~the inimitable Ben Harper
I have no statement to make. I just love that song.
I made a great pot of coffee this morning. But then, I like to think I make a great pot of coffee every morning. I cut my coffee budget by 80% (because we're kinda broke, since we aren't working right now). I have to make due with Chock Full O' Nuts, when I was accustomed to stuff from the Coffee Fool & Gevalia. Once I returned to grocery store grounds, I returned to my roots, via Cleveland, specifically Ohio City. An old friend of mine still lives there, and when we met in my second year of college (1989) this was one of our hangouts, along with several others. My friend could charm the pants off a priest, and she was able to procure the "recipe" for Heck's fantastic brew: unsweetened cocoa and cinnamon in the filter. It does wonders for crappy store-bought java.
My sister would like to be a licensed personal trainer (sorry, I am too scattered to segue). We started an exercise regimen yesterday. I've been sedentary for far too long. And fat. I remember vaguely what it was like, for a few years anyway, to be a size 10. At 155 pounds, I was always able to fool the "guess your weight" booths at the fair, and shocked my friends by being able to fit into their clothes despite the fact that they were often at least 25 pounds lighter than I. Though I don't harbor any fantasies of being that svelte again, I would like to look at the scale and no longer see a "2" at the left of the numbers I squint to see (when I bother to look at all).
So we took a walk for 10 minutes (today it will be 15, since I plan to arrive on time).Then I rode the recumbent bike for 15 minutes, at an average speed of 80 rpm. After that, I was re-introduced to some basic weight-training moves (once upon a time I strength-trained; that's one of the things that kept me a size 10 for while). I went to bed feeling muscles I hadn't felt in years. And the great thing about exercise when you're so overweight: you burn way more calories than somebody skinny. Take that, Lindsey Lohans of the world.
So we'll be doing this every day. When my sis can't join me, I've committed to her and myself at least 20 minutes of cardio (probably walking). This will work out well, since my Mom is struggling to lose the weight she put on over the last several years due to stress about work and family junk.
My biggest challenge in this will be changing my eating habits. Currently, I don't eat enough, sometimes skipping breakfast and lunch, and then pigging out at dinner time, as well as snacking after midnight. I must reshape the way I consume food, as well as how I look at food. A favorite mantra of my best pal in high school was, "Eat to live, not live to eat." And my approach to sweets (mostly anything chocolate), especially, needs drastic revamping. It's what I like to call the Apocalypse Plan: eat it like the end of the world is coming. Along those same lines, a Weight Watchers leader once said, "You don't have to eat the whole cake. There will still be cake tomorrow."
And tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Some Things That I Like That Are Gay

On a site which I frequently visit, another visitor posted a thread in the forum entitled "something I like that's gay." For me, gay has never applied to homosexuals, though I know that's a widely accepted term. For me, depending on the context, gay can denote stupid, silly, useless, annoying, goofy, incongruous....unfortunately they are all on some level "negative" but that's not because I have a problem with gay people. It's just the way I've always used the word.
Besides, I don't want to argue semantics. I want to talk about things that I like that are gay.
RockStar: Supernova. I missed Tuesday's ep, but I caught it on DVR. Incredible performances! My top three would be Toby, Magni, and Storm. I am on my way to the website, because I don't feel like watching last night's ep to find out who will be going to the finale. OK, hold on.....Oh, poop. Storm goes home. I am pissed. I have serious issues with Lukas. Whenever I listen to him sing, I'm struck by the affectation he puts on in his pronunciation, and I almost always have a difficult time understanding the lyrics. Well, I am confident this is not the last we have heard of Storm. I hope to hear that orginial "What the What is Ladylike" on the radio soon, livin' large. PS. Are her boobs real? They looked like perfectly stiff melons under that wife-beater Tuesday night. Defying gravity.
Target (pronounced Tar-zhay, as in French). I cannot stay out of that store. That's really all I have to say.
Pogo.Though I am not as addicted as my husband, I still play waaaay too much Tumblebees. It is really hard to do when you are stoned.
Hello Kitty.Alright. Let me break it down for ya. As a child, I was quite satisfied with my quality of life, and my parents did a lot for my sister and for me. However, we didn't get everything we wanted, and that included all the Helly Kitty gear I loved but could never justify to my Mom. So now that I make my own dough, I fear that I am still purchasing the things I wish I'd had 25 years ago (including a cordless phone & a hairdryer, of all things!). That Kitty is sooo Kool.
I think this stuff some might refer to as "guilty pleasures" but I really don't like that phrase, mostly because I don't feel the least little bit guilty. Maybe a little embarassed (but I can't be too embarassed since I made it public), but not guilty.
If I ever get any visitors here, on my glorified journal, maybe someone can share the stuff they like that's gay.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair) ~ A musical gem I discovered whilst sifting through the site this evening. Sandi Thom went from doing webcasts in her basement to a record deal with RCA. For some reason, the song reminds me of a passage from Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
If it is true that the history of music has come to an end, what is left of music? Silence?
Not in the least. There is more and more of it, many times more than in its most glorious days. It pours out of outdoor speakers, out of miserable sound systems in apartments and restaurants, out of the transistor radios people carry around the streets.
Schonberg is dead, Ellington is dead, but guitar is eternal. Stereotyped harmonies, hackneyed melodies, anda beat that gets stronger as it gets duller -- that is what's left of music, the eternity of music. Everyone can come together on the basis of those simple combinations of notes. They are life itself proclaiming its jubilant "Here I am!" No sense of communion is more resonant, more unanimous, than the simple communion with life...bodies pulsing to a common beat, drunk with the conciousness that they exist. No work of Betthoven's has ever elicited greater collective passion than the constant repetitive throb of the guitar....the sadder people are, the louder the speakers blare....
I am not sure I completely ascribe to the view that the history of music is over, or that its "glorious days" are gone. But, I do admit to getting significantly depressed when I ponder the likes of Paris Hilton getting an album ("I like, cry, it's so good" she was recently quoted). Personally, I think she should just look pretty and keep her mouth completely shut (unfortunately she seems to have difficulty with that on many levels).
Ani Difranco laments on the track "Fuel" from Little Plastic Castles: "People used to make records/as in a record of an even/the event of people playing music in a room/now everything is cross-marketing/it's about sunglasses and shoes/or guns and drugs, you choose."
My solution is not listening to traditional radio any more, unless it's left of the dial without commercials. Otherwise, I "tune in" on the 'net. I don't have an ipod, but there are plenty of "webcasts" and since I am an AOL member I have access to AOLMusic which, though not an exhaustive catalogue, it suits my needs quite well, and saves me money (I haven't purchased a CD in years -- just single songs via computer).
No doubt about it, music, and the process of making music, has changed, and not always for the better. I miss my vinyl. It had a warmth to it you just can't reproduce in CD form. The CD industry has improved the manufacture of the medium, as well, so that some of the kinks have been worked out concerning longevity...and since it's only been about 20 years, I'm sure they'll get better. But still, there is no way to compare the first time I heard Joni Mitchell sing inside my bedroom from the needle on my Sears turntable.

Spoiled Milk

I've been accused of ruining an entire thread on someone else's site. Since I kinda think they might be right, I'm no longer going to post in that thread, or on the topic involved. Not there, anyway. I do have more to say, though I anticipate I'll get it out of my system soon.

For days now, I’ve not been able to put my finger on why ManhattanBrendan’s initial replies to the 9/11 post bothered me so much, since I am hip to the fundamental ideas behind his insistence on recalling the Collateral Damage^TM, and I agree that Perspective^TM is vital.

It came upon me this morning, quite by accident. I found a piece of mail in a box from my old house, which ended up in the storage garage I shared for a time with my current spouse, which is now in our new (to us) garage. A letter from a creditor addressed to my ex. I hope Sears has gotten their pound of flesh (though I doubt it).

The problem, for me, with someone pointing out “It could be -- and is -- much worse” is that
1. It’s overstating the obvious and
2. This immediate call for perspective invalidates a person’s experience, and also in this case, a person’s remembrance of an experience.
It reminds me of said ex, who often following physical abuse would decry, “Well, at least I didn’t break any bones/knock out any teeth/kill you.” Sure, these extremes never happened. Though I was thankful I hadn’t lost the tooth that had broken through the skin of my mouth and made its way through to the other side, forming a strange little bloody tear through which I could stick my tongue, somehow knowing it could have been worse (and is worse for others), didn’t make me feel any better. I had never been punched in the face before, after all.

When I transport myself back to that exact moment, and its immediate aftermath, I remember thinking only of myself. My frame of reference for that sort of thing was very small. The current American frame of reference to this kind of tragedy is small, too. And while I support the desire behind many of your posts, Brendan, I don’t support your methods. Harsh reality and cruel truth are important and necessary (the unexamined life is a life half-lived). I'm no stranger to Doing The Right Thing Even Though It Hurts (I flushed my mouth for many days with full strength salt water because even though it made me cry I knew it would help me heal).
Being a vessel for something larger than yourself sometimes turns you into a great big wet blanket. You are Ricky Ricardo to my Lucy.

I’m also left thinking that you can’t put a shelf-life on your feelings. It’s like you are attempting to pour everyone’s mental & emotional milk down the drain, just because of the expiry stamp, without at least taking a whiff from under the cap, first. Perhaps I’m turning, but I’m not curdled yet.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Day After Labor Day

Congress is back in session today, after a five-week break. The president is asking law-makers to make temporary tax cuts permanent. He is also moving his mouth to make strange noises about something called "less reliance on imported oil."
Wildfires in the pacific northwest continue to rage. I guess some people who know stuff about fires and fighting them are saying the 2006 acreage destroyed by this year's fires is twice that of the yearly average over the last 10 years. And that this might be a "trend" due to lots of trees that died this year from some bark disease, and also the fact that they've had several seasons that were particularly dry. No rain. Dead trees. Sounds to me like Mother Nature is just doing her job; considering that the majority of trees out there can't even germinate without fire, and their ranks were thinned by malaise, I am not surprised the weather is cooperating.Make no mistake, I will always put (most) human life above other forms of life. But isn't this "problem" indicative of our insistence as settlers to live where we just shouldn't live?
As a people we consistently approach nature in a reactive way. My biggest bugaboo on this score are dams, and, as one poster on sciforums remarked, "the great dam scam." I don't know if it's a singularly American perception, that dams will save us from all that naughty water. I do know that too many people don't get the science behind it. I wrote a paper on dams in college, based on research I did via the Fish & Wildlife end. For the most part, any dam that's not built by Mr. Beaver is a potential threat to human life. Essentially, man-made dams are put in place to give people a warm and cozy feeling when it rains, so they can keep putting photos and family mementos and electronic equipment on the floors of their basements (I'm speaking about folks who aren't at or below sea level, of course). Unfortunately, the inconvenience of soggy feet is forgone for the larger catastrophes, when men in boats come to rescue you off your roof. Damn dams.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Starting Again

I am attempting to resuscitate my blahg. I don't even think I could adequately provide a synopsis of what's happened in the last 10 months. Maybe I'll try to throw in a few thumbnail sketches later. For now, I'll have to be content with just picking up where I left off.
The following is expanded from my "babble book" (a journal I keep on my bedside table for dreams, stream of consciousness shit, and sleepy ramblings), this morning around 4am.
Brushes With Celebrity

Maria Von Trapp 1980 - My Mom was set to play the lead in The Sound of Music that fall at the Music Box. That summer, we went on vacation to the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont, and I think my Dad wrote ahead and arranged a meeting with Maria herself while we there, to surprise my Mom. We spent about 10 minutes in her little sitting room. She looked like Peter Parker's grandma, only shorter. The coolest part of this whole thing was that later, on opening night, she sent my Mom a telegram wishing her luck on her performance.

Robert Redford 1983 - Again a family vacation scenario, this one Christmas in Salt Lake City, Utah. We were on our way to Florida for the next leg of our journey, waiting at a ticket counter (can't recall why). My Mom, sister and I were sitting on our bags as Dad talked to the ticket agent. A scruffy ski-bum type guy walked past us, smiled and excused himself, asking the woman behind the desk if the flight from NYC had arrived. I remember he was wearing a hat like Indiana Jones, which made him totally cool in my book (I was 13). As soon as he was out of earshot, the clerk said excitedly, "Do you know who that was?" For the next 20 minutes, we followed my Mom following him, prodding her to ask for an autograph. She never did.

Trent Reznor Halloween 1989 - I was at the Agora Ballroom to see, among others, a local band called Lestat. Having yet to fully embrace the local music scene which characterized my later college years (I had only just joined the ranks of campus radio DJs), Nine Inch Nails was not in my frame of reference. I just looked up the realease date, and it was a scant 11 days after Pretty Hate Machine hit stores that I ran into him at the bar. He lit my cigarette. I thanked him. Whoo-wee! A bunch of girls accosted me in the bathroom afterward. I had no clue.

Mikhail Baryshnikov early 90s? - The date and exact location of this encounter is filed in the trash bin of my brain, apparently. All I know is, my Aunt, who was (and still is) business director of a local symphony, pulled strings and got us into some ballet performance in Cleveland. From what I now know of Mischa, I would guess it was an early performance of the White Oak Dance Project. All I knew then was that he was the hot guy from White Nights. I'd never seen ballet like this. My experience up to then was Swan Lake, Nutcracker....this was something entirely different, and Baryshnikov was so amazing to watch. Here's the best part: afterwards, we were on the list for an exclusive meet and greet cocktail reception. I remember when he entered the room, my first reaction was, "Oh my God, he's so short." We shook hands and I actually looked down at him (I'm 5'8" in heels) and melted like buttah. Damn, that man is beautiful.

Mark Wahlberg & Mario Lopez Spring 1992 - I was interning at a radio station in Cleveland Heights [back then it was Jammin' 92, the Party Pig*] in the Promotions Department. I volunteered to be the unofficial "ambassador" for the morning show, which featured a celebrity guest on Fridays. I picked up donuts each week on the way in, made coffee, and showed the "stars" where the potty was. The only two people that made an impression on me were Marky Mark (he took off his shirt at the autograph signing featuring 50 nasty girls whimpering and giggling. I got stuck behind him trying to get out so I could go to class, and he had tons of acne on his back. Gross.), and of course the kid who played Slater on Saved by the Bell. I got my photo taken with him, even though I never watched the show (I was friggin' 22 by that time). *During my stint there, I had to drive the official Party Pig vehicle, an old pink caddy, complete with fuzzy pink interior and plastered all to hell with promo stickers. Humiliation on a grand scale.

People often ask me why I never procured autographs. I've never been one for signatures. I think it's kind of gay. I don't need a piece of paper with an impersonal and hurried note to remind me of meeting someone. I do wish I could have gotten more photos than just the one with Slater, though. I think I threw that picture away when we moved this spring.
My pathetic experiences with glitterati. Poop.