Monday, October 30

Tomarken Über Alles

I really don't think there's any good way to express just how much I wanted to be on this show when I was a kid.
[Listening to: Pantera, "The Sleep"]


Sunday, October 29

Welcome to Cowford

How can you tell you're living in the south?
When you see a house sporting Christmas lights -- in October.
I mean seriously, it's what -- two nights before Halloween? Even the frikkin' malls haven't started putting up their holiday decorations yet.

You know what the scariest part of this whole thing is? When you see a house like this, a house with Christmas lights on waaay too early -- you immediately know how it came about. The people living in this house weren't overcome with Christmas spirit. These people didn't spend last weekend perched on top of some rickety stepladder tacking those light strings up one by one.
They just plugged 'em back in.
[Listening to: Slunt, "The Best Thing"]


Thursday, October 26

Nejimaki-Dori Kuronikuru

"I wonder," I said. "What can you understand in ten minutes?"
Ten minutes may be longer than you think," she said.
The other day I was tooling around with my phone, just sorta killing time while waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, when I unexpectedly came across a picture of you.

Not that I didn't know it was there. It's just that I wasn't expecting to see it at that moment.

I was scrolling through some jack-o-lantern photos I'd taken the other night, looking for a good one. I had come up with an idea the night before -- something from the experience I thought I could turn into a story, and my mind was busy exploring those ideas when the image appeared on the screen.

It's blurry. Out of focus. Almost like it was taken by accident. It's the kind of cel phone picture most people delete so that they could take another one. It's the kind of photo most people would delete so that they could take a better one.

But I keep it.
It's a picture of us together.
And sitting there alone that morning, with only the sound of the coffee brewing in the kitchen to keep me company, it dawned upon me that it's probably the only picture of us that I really have.

Maybe this won't make sense, but we never really needed photographs together.
Until now.
I miss you. I miss you so very, very much. I know you're off doing amazing things. But I wish you were here, with me,
in our blurry little photograph.
[Listening to: Taproot, "Facepeeler"]


Wednesday, October 25

The Avatar and The Seal

The other night I helped my son carve a jack-o-lantern. He picked out the pumpkin at the store, drew the face on it, and then together we dug out all the seeds by hand. I told him all the seeds and stuff were the pumpkin's "brains" and I made all sorts of horror movie monster movie sounds each time I pulled some of it out.

Everything was gong smoothly until right at the end, just as I was working to finish everything up, when I pushed too hard and felt the serrated edge of the knife dig into my fingertip. Nothing fatal, of course --

But when you cut yourself just right...
I moved quickly into the bathroom, applying as much pressure as I could until I could get the wound under some running water. When I arrived, I took the pressure away so I could start the faucet.

There is something fascinating and yet horrifying about blood. Even as I type this there is a tightening along my spine as my body unconsciously remembers the sensation that accompanies that sort of bleeding.
It was like I couldn't look away, even though all I wanted was for it to stop.
The cut was right on the surface, but the blood itself was deep, thick red - like it had come from somewhere deep inside me. It fell all across the blanche white of my porcelain sink, spattering like rain and then running like paint.

Have you ever cut yourself like that, where it's not deep but it bleeds like it is? Where your eyes lock in on it so much it's as if you can feel your pulse rushing through the breakage?

I'd run water over it to clean the cut, but every time I turned off the faucet on the sink the one on my index finger would start up again. It was a bizarre experience, one that probably lasted only a few minutes in reality, but existed second after second after second in my eyes.
How unsettling it was to know how fragile my senses felt,
even though my system was never in any real danger.
[Listening to: Killing Joke, "Sun Goes Down"]


Tuesday, October 24

Buckwild

I think I'm a racist
At first I just thought the whole thing was kinda silly. You know, like someone putting monster truck tires on a minivan or something. It just looked wrong, felt fake. I think like a lot of people, I just thought eventually it was going to go away.

But it didn't. It took hold, grew -- evolved into something else. It's a part of the world we live in now, no matter what you think of it. Unfortunately, I'm starting to think that this whole attitude of mine is a reflection of my age. That it has something to do with getting older, losing touch.
But whatever the reason, the fact remains:
I can't stand wiggers.
I think what bugs me about Wiggers is this feeling I get that it's all just put on for show. That it's just a costume kids wear to make themselves feel cooler than they actually are. But really, I think what bothers me the most is the impression that the whole thing is somehow insulting to the very culture that imitates. Almost as if wigger culture was the equivalent of the old time minstrel shows or something.

Perhaps for a time that's what it was, but now it seems like it's everywhere. It's part of the culture. And when something reaches a point like that I think you have to take a step back and re-evaluate your thinking.

For example, I happen to think Fred Durst is kind of a dipshit. But I'm starting to wonder if I have any real right here to point him out and call him fake. I mean, I don't question Eminem. I don't have a problem with the Beastie Boys. For whatever reason, I don't have any problem thinkng that the way they act is probably the way they more or less are as people.
So why do I give them a pass but continue to bag on Fred?
Think about it, is that stupid red hat he always wears any different than a country music fan from New York city wearing a cowboy hat? I mean, it's not like there are dudes standing outside Travis Tritt concerts pointing at people and shouting "You're no farmer!"
And perhaps that's what worries me.
I'm starting to think that I'm projecting my dislike of Fred Durst the personality on Fred Durst's lifestyle as well -- to the point where if I see someone around town sporting that same look (and believe me, I live in Fred's hometown -- they're all over the place here) I have a hard time not putting them all in the same boat.
And therein lies the problem:
Because the last time I checked, that's called prejudice.
When it comes right down to it, I think the whole thing for me centers around the idea of authenticity. My problem with most wiggers I encounter is that I simply don't buy it. It feels like an act. As much as I'd like to think that I judge people on their individual merits, it's pretty clear that sometimes I just can't.

I guess what I really don't like is how much this whole wigger thing illuminates just how slippery the slope really is with these kinds of things. If you flip it around, it's not too difficult to interpret my wigger problem as the equivalent me going up to someone and saying "Be more white." -- and that's dangerous ground to be walking on, you know?

Because really, what is white culture? What is black culture? By attempting to define these things, wouldn't we be helping to identify, if not strengthen the divisions between them?
That's not what I want.
What I want is a culture that's open to new and different ideas, encapsulating of them all without ignoring where they came from. At the same time, I want the freedom to be able to appreciate, even laugh at the differences without feeling like I'm crossing some line.
That being said, this is hilarious.
[Listening to: The Specials, "Little Bitch"]


Monday, October 23

Gunshot Glitter

I remember the first time I heard Jeff Buckley. I was sitting in the car waiting to pick up my ex-wife home from a job (this was back when we were still together). She was on temp assignment as a legal secretary, helping them catch up on some project or another. We only had the one car, so after I dropped her off to work for the day I would drive it to my job and then come pick her up when the day was done.

While I was waiting for her to come out so we could go home I killed time flipping channels on the car stereo. I ended up listening to the local college radio station, when they played this incredible song I had never heard before.

This was before cel phones were everywhere -- so I wrote down as many of the lyrics as I could on the back of an envelope, and when we finally got home I called the station asking who the artist was. The DJ who played the song had left long before I got home, so the person I was actually talking to didn't immediately know what I was talking about.

I'd only heard the song once, but eventually I found myself singing as much of it as I could remember into the phone until the person on the other end of the line figured out what I was talking about.
Almost as funny as the way I discovered Jill Scott.
[Listening to: Jeff Buckley, "Everybody Here Wants You"]


Sunday, October 22

Dauphine

Whenever I think about going to see a movie, I always ask myself two questions:
1) What's playing right now that I want to see?
2) What's playing right now that I actually want to see on a big screen?
I don't know -- with the proliferation of DVD's and cable movie channels making it so much easier to see movies whenever you want, going to the theater isn't really all that big of a deal anymore. Unless of course you're like me, and you still love going to the movies.

The big screen, the smell of the popcorn, reacting with an audience -- there's still really nothing else like it. It's just that I'm not really willing to trade two hours of my life away to whatever shitty idea Adam Sandler cooked up this week just so I can have that experience.

Perhaps that's why I've been so torn these past few days. Because of all the movies currently playing right now, there is one that I think might be good to see at the theatre, if not for one tiny little snag:

I'm starting to think the film is going to suck.

The film is called Marie Antoinette, the latest from acclaimed screenwriter/director Sofia Coppola. Touted as sort of a "revisionist" biopic, the movie is based around Lady Antonia Fraser's book "Marie Antoinette: The Journey" -- which offers Antoinette as an emotional teenaged girl forced into a position she was hardly prepared to handle at a time where the tides of French history were all about to change. What makes this interesting is that it presents an alternative snapshot of someone who in a lot of ways has historically been portrayed as a bit of a villain, almost a personified justification for the rise of democratic idealism in Europe (which helped sow the seeds of revolution against the British Royalty for the American colonists).

Coppola has been careful to point out that the movie isn't intended as a history lesson, and that she's taken a lot of liberties with the flow of actual events in favor of presenting this characters' story. And while many people seem to have problems with that (the film was apparently booed after it's debut at Cannes) -- it's actually one of the reasons I was first interested in seeing it.

From The Madness of King George and The Last Temptation of Christ, all the way back to Milos Forman's Amadeus, alternate takes on history have always fascinated me.

I mean, who are we to say what these people were really like? Plus, fictionalized histories offer storytellers a unique opportunity to examine characters within pre-defined boundaries. I mean, regardless of how many changes Coppola decides to make with the history surrounding the story, there's no escaping the fact that an angry mob stormed the palace at Versailles, took Antoinette prisoner, found her guilty of treason, and eventually led her to the guillotile to be executed. A film focused on Marie the person offers us a the chance to possibly see what actions she and her court might have taken that could have avoided that tragedy.

Think for a minute about all the buzz that surrounded Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code -- what really fueled that excitement (aside from the religious controversy)? Personally, I think it has a lot to do with the suggestion that while the environments and situations these characters are in might be extraordinary, their personal desires and motivations might not be that far from our very own. By personifying historical figures with modern insecurities and sensibilities, we as viewers get the chance to find common ground with them as people instead of the untouchable icons that the history books and religious texts make them out to be.
Or to put it another way: these stories are like one of those internet meme quizzes,
except the question isn't "What Would Jesus Do?" -- it's
"Which Jesus are You?"
Maybe that's why I'm having trouble with Marie Antoinette. Because with all the hype about the new wave soundtrack and the idea that the film portrays "the loneliness of being female and surrounded by a world that knows how to use you but not how to value and understand you." -- I'm starting to question just who exactly this film is intended for.
When suddenly it dawned upon me:
* A boyfriend who doesn't offer enough attention or affection
* Parents who tell you what to wear and force you to get a job
* A pervert uncle who kinda creeps you out
* Rival girls spreading rumors behind your back
In short, two hours of people walking around in fancy shoes and dresses while listening to New Order and the Cure?
This isn't a movie, it's a livejournal!
I'm not saying Sofia Coppola isn't talented. But it does occur growing up as the daughter of one of Hollywood's most successful filmmakers might give her an inside track when it comes to making a movie that finally tells us just how unbelievably difficult it is to be young, rich, and beautiful.

And in the end, maybe that's the real problem. I have a MySpace account -- I don't need to spend nine bucks to hear 14 year-olds whine about their parents. And while I still think that the overall style of the film might be something to see, I just don't know if there's going to be anything there for me personally to relate to.

The funny thing is though -- if I'm right in my suspicions, then the actual audience for this film is a choice and select group. Because when you think about it, Marie Antoinette might not have chosen to leave Austria for France - but when she got there she found a way to make the best of it for herself on her own. She made no apologies and lived large, and even when an armed mob threatened to storm her mansion, she stood tall and told them to bring it on.
Basically, Marie Antoinette is Scarface for the trust fund set.
I can totally see a private screening of this somewhere in Beverly Hills where the likes of Paris Hilton, Amanda Hearst, and Emma Bloomberg are all holding hankercheifs to their faces while they repeatedly sob "It's true, it's sooo true!"

Who knows, maybe the climactic scene in the movie features Kirsten Dunst standing defiantly in front of the mob shouting,
"Say Hello to My Little Dog!"
[Listening to: Peter Murphy, "Cuts You Up"]


Friday, October 20

Will This Never End?

I cannot freaking believe this -- I'm supposed to be having a job interview over the phone right now (the first hint of a job I've had in weeks), but the number the recruiter gave me is wrong!
I'm 15 minutes late for an interview I don't even have to be at!
[Listening to: Suicidal Tendencies, "You Can't Bring Me Down"]


Thursday, October 19

Flaky White Stuff

So Volkswagen has this whole new series of commercials running on TV lately promoting one of their new cars with an interesting little gimmick: Buy the car and they'll give you a free guitar that you can actually plug into the dashboard and play. Apparently they've got this little guitar amplifier wired into the car's stereo system -- which I have to admit is a pretty cool idea, albeit not a new one (back in the day ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons comissioned Marshall to retrofit a number of his cars with amps as well).

The commercials themselves have featured three famous guitar players -- Slash from Guns and Roses, Nigel Tufnel (aka Christopher Guest) from Spinal Tap, and blues guitar hotshot/teen idol John Mayer playing in their own styles on different versions of the guitar. When the first ad featuring Slash came out, I found myself kinda caught up in the idea because even a crappy free guitar (and believe me, the ones they're ponying up utterly suck) still counts as a free guitar. Plus, it's not like I couldn't take one of my own non-crappy guitars and plug it in there if I wanted to.

But then I came to my senses and started asking myself some serious questions like, "Just where the hell am I gonna use this?" I mean, it's not like I can drive the thing up the stairs of my apartment complex so that I can sit home at night and practice my favorite songs.

Of course I know that's not really what they were thinking when they put this idea together, but really -- are guitar players supposed to drive this up on stage? Are entire bands supposed to buy cars so that if they should ever break into one of those "impromptu" concerts on the beach all the parts can be heard?

Sure, chicks love guys who play music - but do you honestly think women around the world have been dissapointed by the lack of opportunities to meet rocker bad boys in parking lots?

Not to mention the fact that no matter how much they want to call it a guitar amplifier, it's still hooked to a car stereo -- and there's only so good something like that's gonna sound. Anyone who's ever had that one buddy who's madly in love with his car audio system knows the ultimate joy of having to cram into a CRV and listen top Boston's "More Than a Feeling" over and over again so that you can appreciate the full tonal range of that one little speaker at the top of the door.

Now imagine that same guy strapping on a $150 Les Paul ripoff, plugging into his glove compartment, and struggling through Stairway to Heaven for all to hear, over and over and over again.

But above and beyond all of this lies another issue that's been eating at me ever since I saw the first commercial.
Who are they really trying to sell these things to?
I mean yeah, I'm a guitar player and I love my instument. But what's this favoritism being shown to the six string? I mean, even as much as I'm excited about a car that seems to be custom-made for shredders, when's the last time you saw a rocker driving around in a new car at all? Furthermore -- when you get right down to it you can plug just about anything you want into a guitar amp and make it louder. A bass, a vocal mic..
Two turntables, perhaps?
I think all of this really hit home the most when the commercial with John Mayer started running. John Mayer, who despite his best efforts to establish himself otherwise - is kind of a teen idol/pop star kind of dude. John Mayer, who played in one of Dave Chapelle's funniest clips - talking about the ways white people react to guitar music.

Maybe I'm making something out of nothing here, who knows -- but it just occurs to me that if the commercial featured a DJ cutting records on the thing, it would sell like absolute gangbusters. I mean lets face it, custom cars and hip-hop music is a marriage made in heaven. Or to put it another way -- How many times have you found yourself at a redlight next to some tricked out Mitsubishi Gallant booming Eric Clapton out of the speakers?
      The song's called "Ridin' Spinners," not "Riding Johnny Winters"
I'm not saying that Volkswagen doesn't want minorities to buy this car.. but I'm telling you, there's just something a little fishy about the whole thing.
I mean, just imagine if they started showing commercials
for those old school-type VW buses covered in bumper stickers
and flower paintings with a bunch of cops behind the wheel.
[Listening to: Brazilian Girls, "Jique"]


Sunday, October 15

Upstairs at My House

I Can't Get to Sleep -- I think about the implications of diving in too deep (and possibly the complications). Especially at night, I worry over situations I know will be alright -- perhaps it's just imagination.
But day after day it reappears..
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear.
Ghosts appear and fade away
Alone between the sheets only brings exasperation. It's time to walk the streets - smell the desperation. At least there's pretty lights -- and though there's little variation, it nullifies the night from overkill.
Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
...Come back another day
[Listening to: Nouvelle Vague, "Blue Monday"]


Friday, October 13

Chop Me Up and Feed Me to the Poor

Remember when we used to race each other down the stairs, sliding on our backsides one bumpy step after another? Remember when I started growing my hair out long and dad would call me a "waif?" Remember making that videotape at your house while building a fire? Remember the times I hung out at the record store you worked at for hours and hours just to have a chance to talk to you? Remember the night we switched shirts, the day you made me soup, and the writing on your wall? Remember all the different ways we figured out to play that part from Tom Sawyer? Remember the Earthquake, the Wildebeast, and the Funky Green Thing? Remember the gig at Einsteins, the surf at Gate Station, and parties with the Pope? Remember the trail we used to drive around and the beachhouse after dark? Remember red skies, dragonflies, orange cars, and dove bars?
Remember at college when I fell into that horrible depression and
couldn't do anything but sit on the couch and watch cartoons all day
Remember halftimes at football games, hockey on TV, and two word post-it notes? Remember canoodling under the desks in Poindexter's class? Remember Halloween parties and group photographs? Remember shadows on the wall, excited phone calls, and the day Laird finally felt like the wrong choice? Remember his first cry, his first smile, his first steps? Remember how things were, how things got, and how things fell to pieces? Remember Cafe Wednesdays, Dunkin Donuts Coffee, and what the fortune teller said? Remember happy hours at Morton's, falling asleep at Syriana, and the truth about Nurses? Remember Murikami emails, secret stalkings, and text messages on New Years Eve? Remember snooping in my place, finding your printer, and spilling something on your shirt? Remember the staring, the drunken dials, and the best thing ever? Remember sushi Vanessa, pepper monkeys, and the motherfucking walkoffs? Remember singing on the beach, slamming at the show, and falling off the bed? Remember how I told you we would find a way?

Life comes at you fast. Everybody knows that. There are ways to slow it down, but.. I don't recommend them. Because when things change speed you start to lose your depth perception, and it becomes difficult to tell the difference between the things that are far away and the ones that are happening right now.
That being said, it seems like I've been stuck to this couch ever since you left.
[Listening to: Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Cities in Dust"]


Thursday, October 12

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

[Listening to: Hurt, "Falls Apart"]


Wednesday, October 11

Sekhmet's Descent

They're creatures of grace and agility, born with the ability to climb and balance in even the tightest of spaces. Aincent cultures worshipped them for their regal nature and independent spirit. People tell you that no matter how lost they get they can always find their way back home. Those same people will also tell you that when a feline falls, they'll always land on their feet.
Someone forgot to let my cat in on the secret.
The other day I hear this horrible crashing sound coming from the bathroom. So I go in there to see what the deal is,
and I find Aja scrabbling to get out of the toilet bowl.
Best I can figure, she jumped up on the window sill, took a bad step, and ended up in the drink.

I felt horrible for her, but at the same time there's just no way to not laugh at something like that. Then again, it's not like I'm the king of grace or anything myself over here. I'm still the guy who fell asleep in front of his boss his first week on the job. I'm still the dude who fell out of his own bed once while trying to impress a date.
So yeah.. my cat's a spaz.
Kinda runs in the family, knaamsayin?
[Listening to: Josie Cotton, "Johnny Are You Queer?"]


Tuesday, October 10

Severina

There is a moment, unexpected but true, where all the longing, all the lonliness, the desires, the frustration, the envy, the regrets, and the limerence well up like water from a fast-rising sea. A moment where the innoculous nothings, the curious hungers, the so-called diversions of the moment
quickly,
calamitously,

and whether you want to admit it or not
     beautifully
Becomes something else.
[Listening to: Breaking Benjamin, "The Diary of Jane"]


Saturday, October 7

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

[Listening to: Namie Amuro, "WoWa"]


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