Monday, February 27, 2006

The Saddest Music In The World

Son of the meme... the first 20 tracks off my iPod shuffle this morning:

1. Never Mind The Why And Wherefore (H.M.S. Pinafore) - D'oyly Carte Opera Company
2. Untitled Song For Latin America - The Minutemen
3. Uneventful Past Finally Catches Up To A Boring Man - Onion Radio News
4. Chain Gang Of Love - The Raveonettes
5. Paper Bag - Fiona Apple
6. I Know - Fiona Apple
7. Grow Fins - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
8. We're Coming Out - The Replacements
9. Cuckoo In The Wood - Minna Reverelli
10. Glad All Over - The Cold
11. Rockin' The Joint - Esquerita
12. Chalte Chalte - Lata Mangeshkar
13. Worried Mind - Ray Charles
14. Toadies - The Minutemen
15. She Came Burning - Korekyojin
16. Girl U Want - Devo
17. I'm Going To Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) - The Cold
18. Ghetto Of The Mind - Pete Rock & CL Smooth
19. Rock 'n Roll High School - Ramones
20. Staring At The Rude Boys - The Ruts

You know, I admit I've never been drunk, although I've had a tipsy little buzz here and there in the past. And other than dropping acid once and smoking pot twice I've never really experimented with recreational drugs either. I've tinkered with the Eastern ways of meditation and yoga, as well as the more western practice of professional psychiatry and psychoanalysis. And yet nothing I've tried, positively nothing, has come even close to both cleansing and altering my mind and body as one as effectively as going for long walks or runs with my blessed iPod on shuffle select (with 3159 songs and climbing). During that hour or two that I am alone with my music nothing else exists in the universe but myself... and the way I was. I don't know if that makes any sense, but how can I explain? It's like the clutter of my life evaporates. And not all bad clutter, in fact much of it is baggage that's just as good if not wonderful, like my family and friends and boyfriend and the positive influences in my life. But in a way it's like a ritual shedding, a peeling away of all that is pushing and pulling me from the outside leaving nothing but the initial basic prototype of myself in all my unpainted primer gray glory. It really is the most intensely solipsistic experience that I've ever known, and believe you me I am one to know how to live in an island amongst herself. But at the same time it's a good way to reground myself, to sort of bring myself back to the beginning of time and remember what it was that drew me into music in the first place, and what kind of relationship I have with it today as an adult with a different perspective on life than I had when I was 12, or 20, or 30 years old.

In order for it to continue being an important part of my life, I need to redefine where it belongs in it again. Things are going to be changing soon. Big projects are in the works after I move. Big music-related projects. Too early to discuss yet, though. But I will keep you informed.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Thousand Fragments

It's beginning to dawn on me what an absolute ninny I've been.

I have been so stressed over the past two weeks, and becoming overwhelmingly depressed as a result. And although stress in moderation could be considered normal under the circumstances -- with the house closing in temporary limbo, and all the new tacked-on closing costs, and the monthly mortgage that turned out to be a bit higher than either of us expected, in other words the usual one-imbroglio-after-another that every future homeowner goes through -- I appear to be letting the suspense and subsequent stress get to me a little. I'm typically quite a patient person, and remain fairly calm and controlled under pressure, so I'm not sure why I'm letting "the little things" bug me like I am. But for some reason today (perhaps after talking with my mother earlier) I've felt more relaxed, less depressed and wigged-out in general than I have since I... uh, I guess last remembered feeling this way. In fact I feel rather foolish for carrying on so for as long as I have, and I apologize (again, I know) for being a grump here for awhile. Once I'm able to step back a bit and put things into perspective I'm always able to remind myself that all things considered I really don't have a damn thing to be stressed out or depressed about, especially when I know so many other people who are suffering through far worse that what I'm dealing with right now. The phone will get fixed, Melissa. We will get the house, Melissa. We will move all these records and CDs and DVDs in a relatively organized manner -- and you know it's funny that I'm more worried about moving all the DVDs and crap more than I am the actual furniture. Heck, right now all the stacks of DVDs are being used as furniture!

So anyways allow me to get back into actual music information for a welcome change around here.

Apparently Cowboy Mouth is scheduled to perform on Ellen DeGeneres' morning show this Tuesday. Yeah, they appear to have a new album out, although I don't recall seeing it in my store.

Thing is, I only like Cowboy Mouth all right. They have some nice tunes and all, and I've seen them live once or twice. The really interesting thing here (okay interesting to me) is that the guys in Cowboy Mouth, a New Orleans-based band, are very good friends with Ellen's brother Vance. Vance toured with Cowboy Mouth back in 1998 (bottom photo shows Vance playing guitar onstage with CM when they were opening for The Barenaked Ladies that summer) and in the 80's he was in a band with several Cowboy Mouth members called The Backbeats:

I got this vinyl EP off although mine is autographed by all five band members (and I am very familiar with Vance's distinctive serial-killer scribble), and yeah, that's ol' Vanceypants there on the far left. Ivan Neville produced this record and it has this sort of very poppy slight rockabilly-80's-style flavor happenin' (I'd put up a file but yousendit is down at the moment). Also Steven Soderbergh directed their first video back around 1984 or 85 (pre-dating Sex, Lies & Videotape!), and I know a guy who went to college with Soderbergh's sound editor Larry Blake so I contacted Mr. Blake and we have several really nice discussions about some of the upcoming projects he and Steven were working on at the time, and he told me that he and Steven had just run across the old Backbeats video that he made just before I contacted him and there was discussions about me maybe getting a copy (old readers may remember all this from a few years back -- then again maybe not) but turns out it didn't happen after all. I think Soderbergh is toying with the possible idea of putting out a disk of early old film projects that might include that video so he probably doesn't want it floating around out there by the dubious likes o' me. Not that I'd bootleg or anything, and I was willing to sign anything they gave me at the time. Still, it was pretty cool talking to Larry Blake and everything. Very, very nice man, and it sounds like Soderbergh is as well.

Anyway, where was I getting with all this? Oh yes, Cowboy Mouth. And Vance.

Cowboy Mouth is hardly the caliber of A-list celebrity that Ellen usually has performing on her show. She is obviously throwing her weight around to get her brother's old pals some high-profile exposure, and that means I wonder if there will be an actual Vance sighting on the show that day. Maybe even sit in with the boys once more?

Okay I know, weak music entry for now. Give me time, homies. I've apparently gotten rusty at this.

Does The Fun Never Start?

Well apparently I still don't have full fucking phone service. That is, I can dial out, but no one can call me. And my voice mail still isn't operational. I have no idea how many phone calls I've missed, and I was definitely expecting some big ones.

Shit. Just let me sleep 'til Wednesday. Hell, don't even wake me up then, either.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Magic & Loss

Something went away today, and it made me very sad. I could have saved it, but instead I chose to let it evaporate into the ether. My little landscape forever changed. But in the end it's a good thing. It's healthy to let things go every now and then.

And speaking of which, it is not a good thing that I cannot find my old Buzzcocks T-shirt. The one that just turned up while we were packing stuff this past week. I will be extremely put out if I accidentally took it to the thrift store this morning with the rest of my old clothes. Damn if I have to go there tomorrow and pay, what, a damn $1 to buy back my damn Buzzcocks shirt that I got for free from the band anyway.

Yeah, back in 1991 I manned the T-shirt booth for the Buzzcocks while they performed at Outer Limits, and I got a free Buzzcock AND free Steve Diggle T-shirt as payment. Even better, I got to hang out with the band backstage and play broccoli-soccer with Steve and Pete Shelley. We tried to get them to come pumpkin-snatching with us (it was Halloween) by telling them that it was "perfectly legal here in America" but I don't think they bought it.


Sat 25: 4-cl
Sun 26: 2-cl
Tue 28: 2-7:30
Thur 2: 10-5
Fri 3: 9-4
Sat 4: 4-cl

Soup 'N Old Clothes

Last night I received an email invite from Jack to attend the Havana Nights and Cabaret benefit hosted by Alfred Molina on March 4th, but obviously I had to write back and decline (I am sending a donation through Paypal, though). As busy as things are right now and as penniless as I am I would relish the opportunity to see Jack again in the flesh (mmm, Jack-flesh) this year in whatever he may be working on (Complexity?). Or even better see him and Fred Molina on stage together, and work in another chance to talk to him in person once more. Gahh, too many things to wish for right now. And I am too tired to think or even type at the moment. I need to at least try and lug some of these bags of old clothes and the old computer monitor down to the thrift store before I head out to work. I apologize if I'm not making much sense right now but baby I am plum tuckered out. I may go back and edit this later when I'm more alert, provided if I made some mistakes or said something alarmingly embarrassing. I'm sure you good people will let me know if I have done either. You do take such good care of me.

Oh and by the way, when I die, please make sure that this song is played at my funeral service. Thank you.

Ha Ha Ha - Flipper (7-day M4a file)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Free Money

Welp, after wrestling with Verizon this morning trying to get my home phone re-connected again since I was initially under the impression that we would be having a new house by today, I was ready for a serious breather. In a mood for instant consumerist gratification I headed on down to Border's Books with my birthday gift card right as they were opening the doors for business and picked up a couple o' frivolous diversions. One of which is the DVD to Stroszek...

And ex-con turned street musician named Bruno, his prostitute girlfriend Eva, and his eccentric elderly neighbor attempt to leave their poverty-stricken lives in the Berlin ghetto behind them and shack up in a trailer in rural Wisconsin because, well as you know, things are better in America. Wackiness apparently ensues. Rumor has it that Joy Division's Ian Curtis was watching this movie right before he hung himself, so whoo-hoo, ringing endorsement! But seeing as how I've been on this decade-long Herzog kick and this three year long house-buying endeavor has been an almost Fitzcarraldo-like Herculean task I might actually find something to relate to in Bruno's adventure. If not something to make me wanna also hang myself in the kitchen while listening to Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life". At this point that ridiculously overexposed Carnival Cruise anthem alone might to the job for me.

I also picked up a paperback of The Human Stain by Philip Roth. Because I've been really getting into his work this year, and he reminds me of the friend who got me into him and how much I really miss him right now. Reading Roth makes me feel a little closer to him, smiling over all the little lines and passages that I imagine he'd might get a rise out of as well. What a tremendous influence his exquisite tastes and recommendations have been on me over the past few months. By the way, has anyone ever seen the movie version of this? We have like a bazillion used copies of the DVD at my work for under $10, but I wanted to read the book first before I thought about checking it out.

So today was meant to be my closing day. Instead it will be the day where Joe and I run all over town putting out proverbial fires at the mortgage agency and who knows what else in order to expedite this process as fast as is superhumanly possible.

And it's so cold and rainy outside. I wish I could just go for a very, very long walk.

How To Put Your Budgie Down

I'm really sorry for the lack of music-related posts over the past few weeks. I've been such a basket case over the whole house-buying inanity and I know that has to get pretty damn boring to read just about every over day. Yeah, I realize that it's generally pretty dull around here anyway, but every once in awhile I need to remember that there are hobbies and other diversions that usually help with the whole filtering out of the real world on occasion. Not that I typically have any trouble filtering out the real world most of the time.

I do have some music-y stuff coming up in the near future. It's just that I've been up since 5am and I'm a little too stressed out and blurry-eyed to dissertate. For now I'm participating in one of those endlessly attention-diverting music memes on the web and putting my iPod on random shuffle, then writing down the first 20 tracks as they play in a row. And, like, no cheating and whatnot:

1. Intro - Bad Brains
2. The Heavens - The Raveonettes
3. Wildflowers - The Holy Mackerel
4. Shostak Ombrich - Ruins
5. All Of Me - Big Daddy Kane
6. So It Goes - Nick Lowe
7. Angel Of Death - Slayer
8. Hot Ride - The Cold
9. Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens - Louis Jordan
10. Auf der Rip - Lisa Ward
11. Outer Space Girls - Spice Girls
12. When Problems Arise - Fishbone
13. Willie Nelson (Remake Take 2) - Miles Davis
14. I'll Go Crazy - James Brown
15. Downtown (demo version) - The Cold
16. I Got Dat Feeling - DJ Kool
17. Wouldn't It Be Nice - The Beach Boys
18. No Black Mutherfuckers In The House - Prince
19. Nothung Pt. 2 - Peter Brötzmann, William Parker, and Michael Wertmüller
20. Black Slacks - Robert Gordon & Danny Gatton

Eh, not exactly my most diverse random selection. Then again how often does one get to hear Alpine yodelling five songs after Big Daddy Kane? (Big Daddy Kane, BTW, is the mack daddy and may wind up one day becoming the future Mr. Melissa Pittman, if I can help it).

And yes, I like a Spice Girls song. ONE Spice Girls song. I suppose whatever cred I once had just got shot out of a canon without a parachute. But hey, just keepin' it real, yo.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Last Visible Dog

So there's a good chance our new closing date will be next Wednesday. Maybe its not too late to get my boss to pencil me in... er, out of the store that day. Maybe I should even ask for both days off, just in case.

I think the thing that's bothering me the most right now is the whole intangibility of the situation, of the house being just thisclose to being within reach. Joe's Uncle Steve, whom we have been calling back and forth for most of our advice (he is the resident investment advice columnist in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine) and he mentioned that sometimes sellers will try to take the house back and put it up for sale again when the closing date get delayed, so we are struggling with that potential possibility at the moment. I'm just so invested in this place -- emotionally invested, so to speak, that it would be pretty horrible to lose it all now over something as minor as waiting five days for the gift money check to clear the bank.

But I'm thinking positive. It's basically my nature to always think positively. But I do tend to get a tad wiggy when I don't feel like I have a firm controlling grip on the situation. And I sometimes have a hard time letting things go. But I'm convinced that this won't happen here.

Sigh. Oh well. Now for a little change of topic, these have to be two of the strangest one-panel comix I have seen in a damn long while. That second one is a total WTF. At least Gary Larson double-dog dared to make a smidge of sense every now and then.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Waiting For The Big One

Fuckity-fuckfuckfuck. I suppose I spoke too soon.

The closing date has been postponed until next week, although I have no idea what day.

And what royally sucks is that I don't know if I can get a day off on the fly like that. I talked to my boss about it today and she seems very understanding but at the same time she's gotta take care of her own business, y'know. She'll give me next Thursday off for now. After that I guess I'll see.

Of course I just spent this whole week on the phone transferring power, phones, cable, etc. for that date, and now I suppose I need to call everyone back and reschedule. And have the furniture delivery send my new chair to my parents' place for the time being.

Jesus, I'm tired of this. All I want at this point is for everything just to be over and done with.

Mythical Beasts, Secret Societies, And Dirty, Dirty Porn

Another formerly elusive member of the "2/20 Society" came forward this weekend. Krzysztof, my dragon (one of two) presented me with the Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology which as the title suggests covers a tremendous amount of material but not a lot of detail, each entry being an average of one paragraph to three sentences long. Kind of like when Larry King wrote for USA Today, but only slightly less desultory and surreal. Still a very fascinating read and a lot of information I actually never knew.

Oh, also to the left hand side, propped against Krzysztof's sturdy hoof... er, hm. Appears to be an art film. One of those non-NEA subsidized commissions, I assume. A strong whiff of Euro-faire, distinctly Hungarian in location, although sadly lacking in robust Germanic flavor, yet still strangely, ah, Aufklärungsfilme in general content. Either way it was the thought that counted and both Krzysztof and Eeyore will be allowed to sleep in the bed with me this week (if you can actually count that as a reward). Although Krzysztof has been known to be rather a blanket-hoarder. Hoarding is very much a part of a dragon's intrinsic behavior.

Somewhat affiliated with the 2/20 -- I also got a chair yesterday, courtesy of my beloved parental units. A reddish-brown leather chair with matching ottoman for a true President's Day Weekend Blowout steal, which will be delivered to my hopeful new residence this weekend. Sweet Jesus, I do so hope we close this Thursday. Otherwise, boy life would suck. Life in fact at the present feels unnaturally on hold until Thursday comes and goes. I guess I'll try and keep posting periodically, just to keep my mind off... gaaaah!... everything going on right now.

Sorry folks, I guess you're stuck with me.

Monday, February 20, 2006

To Melissa On Her 37th Birthday...

Yeah I know I used the same photo last year, but really some things do bear repeating. Especially when done in Jon Stewart's high-pitched womanly trill.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I'm The Other "Butt Sistah"

Stone Age Tribe Kills Fishermen.

I actually have become more deeply fascinated with the enigma that is the Sentinelese people within the past year, after having first read about them in some book although I can't remember which (maybe back when I was reading Guns Germs and Steel, although when I refer back to its index I can't seem to find any mention of them anywhere) and I would love to find a more thoroughly detailed book if possible. Although I suppose that truly is impossible, seeing as how what we actually do know of the Sentinelese could probably fill one side of a sheet of paper double-spaced. There are a lot of websites about them, although I really was hoping for something a bit more... um, substantial I guess. But I guess that's it, really. What is already out there is all we really know:

  • Only about 50-100 in existence.
  • Lacks tools to build fire.
  • Push shoddy canoes along with poles.
  • Naked.
  • Fish with spears.
  • Kills intruders (and evidentially more competent fishermen) with spears.

So anyways, if anyone knows where I can get my mits on a book or vid or what have you, then you would here on out be forever known as Teh Swellest. No really, I mean it.



Sat 18: 9-5
Sun 19: 2-cl
Tue 21: 4-cl
Wed 22: 11-5:30
Fri 24: 9-5
Sat 25: 4-cl

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Reach The Beach

I suppose any time someone moves away from their home, no matter how much they didn't like where they were living, there will always be those "little things" that we'll miss from time to time.

Like my little picnic table in the small clearing over toward the side of my building. I sort of refer to it as "mine" because nobody ever seemed to use it, as my more inconsiderate neighbors often preferred to sit on the stairwells going up to the apartments instead, and just as often don't bother to move out of the way when you want to actually use the stairs to go up or down and have to step over their bodies as if I am the one inconveniencing them (grrrr some things I definitely won't miss). But I spent many a scorching hot summer afternoon at this bench tanning my infected upper arms while reading my Flann O'Brien book, or a boggy summer evening watching the fireflies flit through the tall grassy reeds over there in the background. Just as many a bracing winter tucked into my wool coat watching the snow fall, or just listening to my iPod under the bright winter stars. Here, I drew in my sketchpad. I worried over money. I stressed over work. I daydreamed about travel. I imagined myself sitting across from a variety of different people and having peculiar but stimulating conversations. And I wished to be living someplace else. I think I wound up planning so much of my future at this little bench that it can't help but become a permanent fixture of my past.

My closing day is Thursday. That is, if everything keeps moving at its current momentum.

My God. So much has happened to me at this little apartment.

I'm feeling oddly sentimental this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This Is Why We Have Nice Things

The other day when I was discussing the upcoming release of Metropolitan on DVD I received an anonymous message in my comment block from an agent of the highly-secretive "2/20 Society" (which always seems to know exactly where to find me around this time of year) informing me that it would be, er, unwise of me to purchase that DVD for myself this week, despite how much I had previously expressed the desire to do so. Then this evening I was shocked to discover that the agent in question was my own beloved stuffed Eeyore, who was presenting said DVD to me much in the manner that he was in the photo above when I entered my apartment after being out all afternoon. A few days shy of 2/20, but that is often how these kinds of organizations operate. You know how it is. Element of surprise and all that.

A-thousand a-thank-yews, dear Eeyore. And I promise that your super-secret identity will die with me. (uh, oops)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Twinkle Twinkle Blah Blah Blah

This was in my fortune cookie today:

"Your love of music will be an important part of your life."


Now how exactly am I supposed to add "in bed" after that?

In other news, I have had this song running through my head all morning.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Jazzed, Is

Feather in my cap, bitches.

I shant reveal my sources, but I may have just hit the live jazz mutherload. A friendovafriendovafriendovafriend is a technician who also just happens to run sound for hundreds of jazz artists when they are performing all over Yurrip, and he's made just as many recordings from straight off the sound board during these gigs. He doesn't sell them, but I've seen the print-out of everything that he has and great googly-mooggly I could have sat there all day flipping through that spine-snapper of a volume if I didn't have other obligations, like say, work to attend to. I received three random burns from my friend this morning, just as a sample: Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London 2/04, Swedish neo-bopsters E.S.T. live in Zurich 4/28/05, and some straight bop from Roy Hargrove Live in Berlin 11/01. Downloading into iPod as we speaketh.

The list... whoosh. I can't even begin to go into it. Miles, Coltrane, Sam Rivers, Don Cherry, Fred Anderson. Okay, I'll stop.

Just secretly found out that tomorrow is jazz hook-up friend's birthday. I need to make her something extra special and swing by her office in the morning to surprise her. But whatwhatwhat? She frikkin' has it all. Gah!


Here's to hoping that all my friends and family up north in the NY-Boston area are safe after that serious snow-job last night . And here I was bitching about the comparative flurries we had that would inconvenience me to brush off my car with a broom the next morning.

Please be well, all of you. I'm thinking of you. (Yes, you)

Strip Poker And Fourier

Another goodie coming out tomorrow...

One of my all-time favorites films (actually all three of Stillman's movies would probably make my Top Ten) comes out in a Criterion Edition with... shit where did I put that damn Entertainment Weekly (yes I have to read EW every damn week like an crack whore, sosumi)... I think audio commentary with the director and some outtakes and whatnot. Just in time for V-Day. {{wink}}

Now everybody go jump on it so that they can get a hustle on puttin' Barcelona and The Last Days Of Disco. Hollaback for the Chris Eigeman Trilogy!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Do Baby Do

Coming to DVD May 2nd....

Doesn't appear to contain many features, but that's okay for the time being. My VHS is so old now I'm afraid to even sneeze near it. But thar it is, and I bet it looks gorgeous.

Anyway, back to packing.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Pinker And Prouder Than Previous

Five little things this month that amuse me, abuse me, relax me, and Hermann Maurice Saxe me (okay so that last bit made no sense at all but heck any time I see an opening to find a way to rhyme Hermann Maurice Saxe then you'd best believe I'll jump all over that mother).

The Office (NBC): Nope, it's not the BBC version that I hold so dear. But then again it no longer has to be. The show is really starting to develop its own individuality, largely due to the performances of actors Rainn Wilson and Steve Carell. I would say that their characters could be interpreted as being a little too broad and over-the-top, but I personally know and have worked with too many people just like both of them to make that assessment.

"Shipbuilding" - Robert Wyatt (7-day M4a file): I think I might actually enjoy Wyatt's version of this song over Elvis Costello's. Something about his falsetto makes it more strangely plaintive and ethereal, when all I hear from Costello's voice are perceived undertones of slight sarcasm. This song makes me think of the first time I ever rode the Chunnel coming into London from Paris with visions of hollowed-out factories and dilapidated smokestacks dotting the gray landscape rolling past my window, and I tried to imagine what this place must have looked like during the Falklands War.

Clinique Superdefense Triple Action Moisturizer SPF 25 (Normal to Oily Skin): One of the few indulgent cosmetic luxury items I allow myself. This gunk feels abso-freakin' marvelous on my skin. Lighter than air, keeps the zits away, and my face feels as soft as a baby's ass. Of course now that I just typed this out Joe is bound to read it and start playfully slapping my cheeks and calling me Baby Ass Face. Like he's ever needed an excuse before.

Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson: British journalist Jon Ronson tags along with several noted (and not so notable) socio-religious activists and conspiracy theorists from all over Europe and the United States, most often resulting in humorous situations. Lots of focus on the famed Bilderberg Group, along with interviews with the surviving Weaver family from Ruby Ridge, the bumbling Islamic militant Omar Bakri Mohammed, and David Icke, the former BBC-TV sports announcer who preaches his theory that an alien reptilian race has secretly taken over the earth, just to name a few.

Dairy Queen's Caramel MooLattes: Despite the controversial name, a damn fine yummy concoction. And I am not a big fan of DQ or soft-serve ice cream in general. Since I am getting back on track with my diet again I try to limit myself to one of these a week, but with the obvious traces of CRACK COCAINE lining their product and guaranteeing repeat business the body-wracking withdrawals have been forcing me back there twice this week, and this just won't do. I have 25 pounds to lose, people. Send me some words of inspiration. And perhaps a hefty case of buprenorphine.

What A Revoltin' Development

I apologize for the sporatic posts over the last week or two. Things have just been nutty around here with getting my loan approved and getting those pesty debts paid so that my loan can be approved, and then there's the whole 'nuther dilemma of packing. For you see, I own a truly utterly outright ridonkulous amount of CD's, DVD's, LP's, VHS's, books, toys, a freakin' piano, and just not enough boxing and bubble paper to go around. Every time I throw out another trash bag load of crap I no longer need I turn on my heel to find another bigger, crappier bag 'o crap waiting to get lugged away and I don't predict any forseeable end to the whole lot of it. It's dispiriting, to say the least.

And it doesn't help that I keep bringing more crap into the house, like this complete Blackadder series on DVD...
But it was used, and 20% off at that, and I've wanted it for like, ever. And considering that now our store is beginning to enforce its previously slackened rule of not letting employees purchase used items until after two weeks of their arrival I was fortunate enough to convince my benevolent boss-lady by whinging like mewling infant to let me take it home with me the day it was bought back, knowing full well that this wouldn't stick around our store long otherwise.

Cripes, and I still have that second season of SCTV in my stash that I haven't bought yet. Like I can afford another damn DVD right now. Especially since I'd like to pitch about half of what we have already. And Joe wants to ditch a good bit of the LP's. No, not my precious... er, preciouses. {Golem} my pressss-iousssss...{Golem}

Or more like...

{Silence Of The Lambs}

Precious... Prrressss-ioussss... ?


{Silence Of The Lambs}

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Thur 9: 11-7:30
Sat 11: 3-cl
Sun 12: 11-6:30
Mon 13: 10-4
Thur 16: 2-8:30
Fri 17: 9-4:30
Sat 18: 9-5

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It Is Happening Again

I imagine it's unlikely, but does anyone remember a post I made about a year or so ago about how over the past few years I have grown increasingly, inexplicably hypersensitive to seeing or hearing violent acts portrayed in books, movies, television, etc.? I am beginning to think that since then it's gotten just a little bit... ah, worse. That is, I think.

Or that is I really don't know what to think. All I know is that the situation has reached a point where I find myself incapable to sitting through any of the long list of movies that I have been dying to watch for so long without having to leave somewhere during the film when the violence starts up. Even at the hint of violence, or a detailed discussion of it, has me scurrying under the bed faster than my mother's cat when it hears her walking through the house rattling its bottle of ear medicine. Scenes of violence that as of before now would have never even phased me, would have had me making the sort of George Constanza "that's gotta hurt!" wisecracks in the MST3K spirit of the situation much to the amusement of my surrounding friends. And now... huh, wow. Things sure are different these days.

And the thing is that all my life I have always been a big fan of horror movies. I can never get tired of watching Phantasm. The Evil Dead trilogy is Shakespeare to me. I could spend hours discussing the nuances (or that thereof) of Herschell Gordon Lewis gore flicks. But none of these pictures have ever bothered me before. And to be honest they still don't. And I think the reason why I have always enjoyed horror movie violence is because there was never a moment, even as a child peeking between my fingers during the scary parts, that I didn't believe that what I was watching wasn't really happening. Just like listening to the Misfits or watching Tom & Jerry cartoons, the violence was just that -- broad, flashy and over-the-top, like something out of a Technicolor comic book.

But what I am beginning to realize more and more is that I no longer believe that it is the violence itself that's affecting me; it's the suffering. It's watching life in agony, in prolonged torture, wishing and praying for death. And perhaps even meeting death, knowing that it's coming, and that it's going to be the worst possible way that you'd ever imagined dying, and having absolutely no control over the matter. I think that's what's really fucking me up these days. Having the reality of that possibility thrust into my face on occasion, and me unable to take that in and ruminate on it. Forcing me to confront it.

It's gotten so that I can't even leaf through my copy of American Psycho anymore, despite how funny I always thought it was. This album cover by the band Mortician upsets me so much that I have to keep burying it in the back of the bins so I won't have to look at it when I pass that aisle at work. And all I could think about while watching Grizzly Man is please please please don't play Treadwell's last moments on tape being eaten alive by a bear because there is just no way I could go through life after that without his sobs and cries haunting the rest of my days. And what's worse, even though Herzog never played it for the audience to hear, it haunts me worse than if he had played it because the suffering that I hear in my own head must be a thousand times worse than what he could have heard through those headphones on that tape.

So perhaps it's not so much the violence, but the true realism brought on by the act itself. Even when the suffering isn't portrayed onscreen it doesn't matter. In fact it often makes it that much worse, that must more frightening. Because as much as I laughed and thrilled to such cartoonish splatter-fests as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Nightmare On Elm Street, it was Errol Morris' The Fog Of War that really kept me up at night with all the house lights turned up bright. Hands down the most truly frightening horror movie that I've seen in years.

But what I'm talking about here isn't really so much fear. It's sorrow, I suppose. Distress over the suffering of others. Of the realism of true horror and it's consequences.

I also mentioned back in my original post that I was beginning to believe that a lot of this distress and sorrow came along shortly after the events of 9/11. Watching it all unfold on television as it was happening, and even watching it again (I have the entire day's events on NBC recorded on three VHS tapes) didn't really affect me. It was shocking, alarming, yet at the same time not precisely real to me. Like watching one of my many beloved horror movies, I felt disconnected from the actual event itself, with its suspenseful, timely toppling of the World Trade Centers like some outlandish effect from a Michael Bay summer blockbuster. As much as I was aware that it was really happening, I still felt distant from it -- the same sort of distance I always got from any other violent movie where I didn't have anything reality-based invested in it.

But it was a few weeks later when my father showed me a computer screen saver that somebody gave him of the events of 9/11, like a macabre slide-show starting with the planes crashing into the building all the way to the images of firefighters picking through debris for survivors as well as fallen comrades. And yet the image that struck me the fiercest was of the people jumping from the tower windows. These people who were so desperate for escape from death, even if their escape meant inevitable death by other means, were what horrified me to the core. A close-up of one jumper, a faceless balding man in a white shirt and tie who strongly resembled my father, brought immediate tears to my eyes. The realization hit me then that this was somebody's father, someone whose daughter loved as dearly as I love mine. And soon the man jumping from the window did become my father in my mind, and all I could picture was my dad, a kind, gentle and phenomenally generous man who has dedicated so much of his life to community service and philanthropy, being put into such a desperate situation due to violence as to having to make that kind of snap decision on how end his own life, finally put everything into sharp perspective to me. And not just in relation to the events of 9/11, but to all violence and suffering in general.

Gosh... I dunno why I am becoming the way that I am. Who really knows how it all started or why. But it's starting to concern me a little. I'm not usually this much of a wimp about these things. And yet here I am, wimping out in the most wimpy of ways. I used to think it was just a post-9/11 trauma phase, but now I'm just not so certain anymore.

Does anybody else out there feel like the events of 9/11 made them more sensitive to watching violence in movies or television? Or even less sensitive? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Weekend Update

I think the home inspection went pretty well. My biggest concerns were addressed, namely the AC/heating unit which appears to have been switched out since around 2001. Also new roof, total new plumbing... in fact the only thing they need to repair is the door to the backyard as well as the door to the adjoining shed. The house doesn't have gutters so the rain water has been just rolling right off the roof and filling up the patio all the way to the French doors that open into the backyard, causing a lot of wood rot in the door frame and along the door edge. Of course that means Joe and I need to purchase us some gutters within the next year, but with spankin' new doors it won't be urgency right at the moment. Other than that, I think that's really it.

I'm, uh, stoked.

Boy, have I been a mental case all week. I wish I could just shut down for a day or two and recharge. I have so many other financial obligations from the past month alone that I still need to address before I can finally relax with a modicum of peace of mind. I think I've been so busy with that right now it's barely registered that I'll be moving soon. Away from the beach. For the first time in almost a decade.

I almost feel like I need to give the oceanfront one last go-around. I never really liked living this close to the annual tourist deluge every year. But I'd like to take advantage of a few of the things that I did enjoy doing when I lived down here -- hit up my favorite restaurants, go to the Marine Science Museum, maybe grab S. and do the Seashore State Park ghost watch and torment the hippies at the Edgar Cayce Meditation Garden thing again. And of course, Nancy's Nook. Yew know what ah mean, local ladies? Mroaawrrr...

I don't know. It's weird. Okay maybe not, really. But it just doesn't seem quite real to me yet.

Friday, February 03, 2006

What Does 3121 Mean?

The good news is that I found my long-lost Gruppo Sportivo CD locked in the trunk of my car.

The bad news is that my car/house keys are now locked in its place.

How many times has that been now in the last three months? I swear sometimes I'd lose my head if it wasn't already bolted on at the neck. At least the locksmith came in just under an hour this time.

Oh, and before I forget, Prince is going to be on SNL tomorrow night. For the first time in ages, a reason for me to watch that show again.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Sat 4: 12-7:30
Sun 5: 2-cl
Mon 6: 4-cl
Wed 8: 11-5:30
Thur 9: 11-7:30
Sat 11: 3-cl

You know the other day when they first announced the Academy Awards nominations, I was watching the E! Network station and I could have sworn that they said that Charlize Theron was up for Best Actress in Aeon Flux. I swear to God, that's what it said on the screen. And yes, I had spent nearly three days straight believing that Charlize Theron was nominated for Aeon Flux. Is that sad or what. Well then again I never saw Aeon Flux. Maybe she did a good job, I dunno. Did she ugly herself up for that one, too? Anyway, I suck. I know.

Oh and while I'm on the subject, Kung Fu Monkey (A.K.A T.V./film scribe John Rogers) made me snicker a bit yesterday.

Zaphod's New Favorite Band

The loudest concert I ever attended? That's easy. The Flaming Lips.

And I had been warned, by crikey. Warned by those who had previously seen and heard and lived to tell the tale -- those who didn't need the aid of the written word, sign language, or interpretive dance in order to communicate as a result of the experience so at the time I was willing to chalk it all up to punk rock urban legend; Aside from The Who at Charlton's Football Stadium, could any band really build such an accepted reputation for being that willfully, unreasonably loud?

Speaking of The Who, remember how Pete Townsend purportedly lost part of his hearing in one ear when Keith Moon's drum kit exploded on the Smothers Brother Comedy Hour?

I think it's safe to say that I acquired what I would later refer to as my "F'Lip's Ear" that night in 1994 when Joe booked Da Lips at the old Machine in Virginia Beach right around the time when the band was touring in support of their Transmissions From The Satellite Heart album. I shared a table with David of the Waxing Poetics that fateful evening. Or rather under the table was more like it, as the two of us were in sudden desperate need of any buffer zone handy the very second they launched right into the immense obstreperous assault that was the first song of the night's set. Or perhaps we wound up down there due to the Santorini-like force of the explosion blowing us backwards out of our seats. We were hunkered down spitting on torn shreds of cocktail napkins and cramming them into each other's ear canals, but nothing oh God nothing did any lick 'o good. Mother. Fuck. That. Was. Loud. Holy Mother of Jeebus if I could just come up with some kind of hyperbolic analogy to underline the point to each and every one of you gentle readers that these boys were some... some noisy sonsabitches. And ironically they sounded very little like what they would later evolve into in the more recent years. Whoosh. Loud, people. That's all I gotta say. We're talkin' Disaster Area loud. Like, hear them in a bunker on another planet kind of loud.

After the gig the band spent the night at our place, and autographed the front and inside of my copy of Oh My Gawd!!!... The Flaming Lips. Just the sight of this record cover brings back memories of that night almost twelve years ago. Not to mention certain disquieting I'm-back-in-'Nam-again-flashback feelings somewhat accurately reflected on my facial expression in the top photo (the second photo is the inside gate-fold of the album, which by the way is clear vinyl).

Anyway, this is the M4a to "The Spiderbite Song", the story of which is supposedly based on strange-yet-true events within the band. Although rumor has it that the actual spider bite was later determined to be just an abscessed track mark from one of the band member's frequent heroin abuse.

The Spiderbite Song - The Flaming Lips
(This track is only up for 7 days. Let me know if anyone has any trouble with it. No complaints leads me to believe that it's all running smoothly.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I Am The Huntress

I'm meeting with the home inspector Saturday morning to go over the place, and I'm writing a check list of everything I want him to make sure to look for, in case he doesn't do it on his own. After what happened to my brother after he bought his condo a few years ago I'm not feeling too trustworthy of anybody at this moment. Meanwhile today has been a mad scramble trying to track down all the little things on my loan officer's check list, including this year's W-2's, which as of 9:00 am this morning I had clutched in the tenacious grip of my left hand and then by 9:01 am had promptly lost it, and was late for work tearing up the already torn-up apartment looking for it, and still have not found it. And... {{erk}} oh balls. I just realized while typing this that I left my pay stubs in my locker at work, so I'll probably have to swing by there again tonight on my way home from my parents' house, which is where I am now trying to get copies of the last few years' W-2 and other sundries. Eek... and my bank is closed now so no statement copies until tomorrow.

Nuts. So much I was hoping to get done today, and so little actually accomplished. And I'm as exhausted as if I have just given birth to, uh, something. Feh. That's it, I'm done for today. I shall soon head home and repair to my fainting couch for the evening, the back of my hand pressed daintily to my forehead. I'm putting the away message on the IM, and you'd best believe I'm takin' that damn phone off the hook, that's fer sher.

Was I this stressed out the last time I moved? That was, what, nine years ago? When all three of us basically had a month to vacate, and I moved my whole existence into this current residence sight unseen?

I wish somebody would walk up and down my back. That's what it really feels like it needs right now. I'm pretty certain that this is not exactly the safest panacea for my problems but dag nabbit I'm feelin' mighty grumpy and seriously achey-poo-poo.

I promise a far more interesting optimistic post once I've recuperated.