Wednesday, May 31, 2006

May 31 Is Talk Like Mark E. Smith Day

Yeah. So let's see just how long this lasts-suh!

Now go check out Paula Rego's spiffy art. Loves me those dog women.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Breast Defense

I'm not certain how I can account for the disturbingly broad patch of deep red broken blood vessels appearing on the top swell of my right breast. What the heck did I do to myself yesterday? I went swimming for about a half hour -- I was going for an hour but I started getting foot cramps and had to get out -- and my bathing suit is pretty strenuously tight up on my upper torso due to the whole big boobadge issue but when I took the suit off to shower there wasn't any bruising as far as I could see. After the shower I rubbed them with baby powder and I still saw no bruising. I went to work, did my usual thing, no discomfort of any kind, and when I take off my clothes at the end of the night -- WHOA NELLIE! I mean it's BIG. Big honkin' rash bruise broken blood vessel-y thing. And it doesn't hurt, but ho lordy it's a might unsightly. I mean it looks like someone pummeled me. In the ta-tas. What could possibly cause something like that, I have to ask? How could I not notice someone coming up and giving me a swift kick in the yobs while I'm busy going about my day? Or maybe, perhaps... brushing up against them?

For some reason I am reminded of one of the more stranger incidents involving my breasts that I can remember in recent years. Something that I admit still embarrasses me to this day.

Pretty much anyone who knows me in the flesh knows that I'm more than I tad endowed. However I'm not one to draw attention to them in public and have spent most of my adolescent through adult life trying to de-emphasize them through modest clothing, heavy coats and high-collared shirts. I definitely wasn't calling attention to them that one night back around 1995 or so back at the Nsect Club, this nightclub/music venue where Joe used to book and DJ. It was around 2:00 am and the band The Paper Tulips had just finished playing and the club had closed. With the exception of maybe 5 or 6 stragglers the club had cleared out of customers, and the Tulips were breaking down their set and getting ready to come back home with Joe and I to spend the night at our place. Anyway, I remember having something in my hands that I wanted to go put out into my car so I headed out the front door to the parking lot directly out in the front of the building.

My car was parked to the left side of the relatively small parking lot, with another car parked directly next to it. Other than that the parking lot was completely deserted of cars and people. With the exception, that is, of a single male individual pacing nervously around in circles out in the dead center of the lot, all by himself.

He appeared to be in his 20's, very tall with sandy blonde hair, and a sort of rich-boy preppie dress, with his hands in his pockets, meandering aimlessly with a slight fidgety air. As I exited the building and began heading to my car he immediately looked up at my direction and without hesitation began walking straight towards me. At first I thought that maybe he was going to pass me and head back into the building, but his eyes were glued straight to my face, and his look was vaguely menacing. He was walking fast and purposefully, and it became more evident the closer he came that he was attempting to make some kind of physical contact with me. If I didn't know any better, from the speed and momentum of his gait, I'd say he was actually trying to collide right into me.

I managed to dodge him at the last second and walk around him, making it to the passenger side of my car. I was a bit shaken up by that almost-confrontation, until I suddenly realized that the guy had turned right around and was heading back towards me over at my car. Striding purposefully, with that same menacing look on his face, eyes boring right into mine as if to say, "Yeah, I'm assaulting you. Make no mistake, missy." I have been in assault situations before, but it's been years since I've had to defend myself, and like any potential attack you never know what you're dealing with beforehand. Yet a part of me still held out hope that the car parked next to mine was his and he was just walking to his own car. But that other car was parked next to my driver's side and I was standing on the passenger side, so it was when he finally came around to where I was standing it was immediately evident that he wasn't getting into his own car. He came nearly 3 feet in front of me before I dodged him again and started walking briskly back towards the building again.

Strangely, the guy wasn't reaching out to grab me or anything. Twice he could have done that easily, but didn't. I couldn't figure out what his game was, but I was definitely in no mood for playing.

At this point the front door of the club opened, and out walked Joe and Bill, one of the bouncers and a friend of ours, and the members of The Paper Tulips and the opening band, all together and getting ready to leave to meet us back at our house. With relief I ran to catch up with them, trying not to look like I had been panicking. As I caught up with their stride I suddenly noticed that the guy had caught up with us also, and was walking swiftly with the rest of the bands as they turned the corner of the club to where their van was parked over in the loading zone behind the venue. Suddenly I felt a slight twinge of relief, thinking that maybe this guy was either with one of the bands or was associated with the bands in some way, just the way he quickly assimilated with the group and headed off around the corner with them. Still, he didn't quite look like someone you'd expect to be in a punk band. I already knew Greg and Toast from The Paper Tulips pretty well from a few years previously, but I didn't recognize this guy at all. Then again The Paper Tulips have gone through more drummers than Spinal Tap so for all I knew he could have been a new members that I hadn't met the first time around, so I quickly -- and admittedly quite eagerly -- chalked it up to that and let myself relax again. Probably all he was doing was following me around because he knew his band was coming home with me and they were going to follow my car anyway, so uh... maybe he was just hanging out with me? Being... erm, creepy? Invading my personal space? Um, oh well. It was all over now. Right?

Wrong. As the band turned the corner Joe and Bill and I stopped for a few minutes out in front of the club and chatted a bit. Bill, although not very tall, is exceptionally well built. Does a lot of weightlifting and is all bulging biceps and bodacious pecs. Tats up and down his arms and legs, Henry Rollins style. Black mohawk. And as chief of security, openly carrying a gun. Plus Joe was standing there, too. Either way, I felt fully relaxed and safe in their presence, and just kicked back a minute while Bill told Joe and amusing story about something or another, and I just stood there casually rocking on my heels, listening and laughing along, my back about a foot away from the outer wall of the building.

Suddenly the guy come back from around the corner again. Hands in his pockets. Eyes boring into my face as he seems to be trying to walk in between myself and where Joe and Bill are standing, completely oblivious to his presence (like me, I think they assumed he was a member of the band, too). My alarms went off once more. But I thinking, noooo, he wouldn't dare try anything funny with me here, would he? Less than two feet away from two other guys? One muscle-bound, pistol-packin' punk rocker... and her boyfriend?

If he were really trying to pass us he was still walking a tad close for comfort towards me, so I backed up as far as I could, pressing my back flush with the wall behind me to give him as much room to pass as he may need. There is no way your normal, average everyday person would try to respectfully pass through our cluster without touching any of us from the wide amount of berth I was giving this man.

And then it happened: The guy walked towards me, turning his back to face me, and slowly brushed his back firmly across my breasts before continuing on.

When I turned to look at him, he was looking back over his shoulder towards me. The look in his eye was... challenging.

A look that punctuated that move in a way that I had never fully experienced or expected. I have had plenty of men "accidentally" brush up against me in public places and move on as if hoping I wouldn't notice. But his defiantly meeting my eyes afterward took me by complete surprise. As if to say, "Yeah, I did it. What are you gonna do about it?"

And what did I do about it?


Jesus Christ. I fucking did nothing.

At this point the front door opened again and a small group of about 5 or 6 male and female twentysomethings stumbled out, laughing and chatting and heading to their car, parked next to mine. And the guy followed them. It was then that I realized that he was with this group of people, who had been finishing up their drinks inside after Last Call. What had he been doing in the parking lot while his friends were inside? Pacing around nervously? Stalking girls to their cars? Rubbing up against their tits in front of people who could potentially crush his skull like a pinata?

Joe and I headed to my car, he getting in the driver's seat and me in the passenger seat. At this point the guy was standing next to his friends car, while they were milling about, completely unaware of the events that proceeded them. And as he stood, arms crossed over his chest, with a self-satisfied smirk on his face, his eyes never left mine. And mine never left his, until we pulled out of the parking lot and into the main road. And from that distance I could still see him glaring at me, unblinkingly defiant, until he was no longer in my line of vision.

So why did I not do anything? Say anything to anybody? I told Joe on the way home and he was angry that I didn't say anything as soon as it happened, that he and Bill could have made sure that the guy left the property immediately. But the guy was already leaving the property, as soon as the deed was done. Later that night Toast asked me why I didn't just deck the guy on the spot. And I had to really think about that for awhile. And the truth is, I don't know.

I wasn't angry that he touched my breasts. I'm not so phobic about them that I lose my shit if I guy touches them in some way. Heck, if a guy asked me nicely enough I probably would let him touch them (over the shirt and all). They're just a part of my body, like my arms and legs and head. When you got boobs as big as mine you get used to bumping into folks with them almost daily, and I've grown quite used to all that over the years. Doesn't phase me much anymore.

This accomplishment was obvious a very big deal for him. The fact that he seemed so satisfied with himself, that he went through all that trouble, chasing me, stalking me, pretending to be with my crowd, daring to do something in the face of potential beat-down or even a blast of pepper spray from my keychain -- all just to cop a quick, cheap feel, I was overwhelmed with a sudden pang of deep pity for the guy. It made me wonder what kind of everyday life this otherwise normal, innocuous-looking young man must lead to feel so desperate to chase a girl down in a deserted parking lot at 2 in the morning just to touch her breasts, and be so proud of it. For the briefest second, I almost wanted to cry for him.

Mostly I was completely consumed with rage. Rage that he would have the temerity to make a woman feel so threatened, so utterly terrified for my life, just to get what cheap thrill could for a few passing seconds of obviously unwanted physical contact. I wasn't wearing anything revealing. No low cut tank tops or tight sweaters. I was "advertising". And even if I was, what the fuck gives him the right to threaten my safety? But that's just it, isn't it? He knew it wasn't his right. That's what gave him so much satisfaction. If he had asked politely to touch my breasts, and I let him, the thrill probably wouldn't have been as sweet as it would have if he just took what he wanted instead.

But more than anything, I am thoroughly enraged with myself. For freezing in the headlights. For doubting what had happened, as if it still could have been a mistake. For being afraid. For being everything that he hoped I'd be; a weak, willing victim.

And it's not like I haven't defended myself before. When I was fourteen I was sexually assaulted by a boy that I've known all my life as a friend. Although I won't go into too much detail of the event itself (let's just say that a long-handled, two-prong barbecue fork came into play) I still managed to bite and scratch and scream and kick and claw my way to freedom, and to this day I am still proud of knowing what I can accomplish when an otherwise docile, mild-mannered chickie baby like myself gets her back up literally against the wall. But this guy... no, it wasn't a life-threatening experience like I had at fourteen. I didn't feel like my life and my virtue was at stake, so that fight-or-flight instinct never rose to the surface. It did when he was stalking me in the parking lot, definitely. But once he revealed his intentions, to just touch my breasts and walk away, I gotta tell ya, it was almost a relief. But I was still mad. Mad that he put me through all that absolute idiocy, made me relive all that shit from my past, just to brush up against a girl's breasts like an awkward teenage boy who'd never gotten laid. But why didn't I do anything? Why didn't I yell? Or at least say, "HEY!"? Or perhaps the real issue is... why do I keep encouraging myself to let people take advantage of me so often? Like I'm not worth defending?

I don't know why I'm suddenly thinking about all this right now. Maybe it's something I do need to think more about. It's not just about my breasts. There's something deeper within the skin's surface. Something I need to work on. Or to face head on. Or however.

Girls, how have you dealt with this kind of thing, when it happens to you? How often have to defended yourself? Or at all? I'm just curious.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sprechen Ze Nerd?

First 20 tracks on my iPod this morning while watching... er, uh... "the arts".

1. "Artistic Roll Call" - Bill Hicks
2. "Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing" - The Minutemen
3. "Candy/The Hunchback" - Terry Southern
4. "The Big Foist" - The Minutemen
5. "Little Ole Wine Drinker Me" - Merle Haggard
6. "Viva Del Santo!" - Southern Culture On The Skids
7. "Bad Girls Go To Hell" - Hakan Libdo
8. "Willie Nelson (Take 2)" - Miles Davis
9. "Plexus" - Ruins
10. "The Sound Of Music" - Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
11. "Freedom Of Speech" - Above The Law
12. "Resolution" - John Coltrane
13. "I Feel Lost" - Psyched Up Janis
14. "Womans Dub" - Lee "Scratch" Perry
15. "So There I Was" - Shelley/Devoto
16. "Weather Two" - Michael Gordon
17. "Miverena Rahavana" - Noforonin-Dratsiambakaina, Hirain-Drazaivelo, & Christine Zanany
18. "Eminence Front" - The Who
19. "Killer Inside Me" - MC 900ft Jesus
20. "I'm Serious" - The Cold

Sunday, May 28, 2006


I want to apologize for the general lack 'o posts these days, especially this week in particular. I've been actually trying to make a conscious effort to limit my internet time for a spell, hoping it might kick-start me into getting more creatively motivated. Not to mention getting back into my health streak again, and too much puttering around on the PC can't be what anyone might consider healthy. Plus... well gosh... I really don't know what to say these days. I haven't bought any new music in awhile, or seen any movie that stirs me to gush about it. I tried going to see the new X-Men movie Friday night but every showing was sold out. Pretty much should have figured that out on a holiday opening weekend. I spent most of Saturday at work covering my ears as I passed my fellow associates as they all tittered away about it to themselves. See, Melissa? Like actual intelligent folk they bought their tickets in advance. Duh-HUT.

I mean, really, is anyone even the slightest bit interested in hearing about the minutiae of my days? That I spent my Sunday morning with Joe in our usual Sunday morning routine of having breakfast in the back yard while our son Tyler sits in the tree? Then mowing the lawn? And now Joe is going to watch the Indy and I'm going to run over to the store to buy lightbulbs and then come home and shave my legs in the bathtub? Is anyone even remotely fascinated by the fact that ever since I stopped taking that Avandia I haven't been able to stay awake for more than an hour at a time, and it frustrates me so much because I so do not want to go back on the Avandia again? Also, also! It's hot as blazes outside!? Well okay, I suppose you don't need me to tell you that.

Might be time to whip out the old skool posts that I found a few months back. Funny (and so fucking self-indulgent) to see just where my mind was way back then. Sad to see not much about me has probably evolved a smidge since.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Mon 29: 4-cl
Tue 30: 2-8:30
Wed 31: 11-7:30
Thur 1: 11-7:30
Sat 3: 2:30-10

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Glory Be Unto Dean

Chris Lanier's Abner Dean article from this month's High Hat made me seek out and purchase Abner's first book on eBay: It's A Long Way To Heaven, an original 1945 pressing.

The dust cover is a bit jacked up, as would be expected, but the book itself is supposedly in excellent condition. Hopefully, since it hasn't arrived yet. Just that I don't believe that any of his books are still in print any longer, so this is really the only way to get your hands on his work, it seems.

But my God. I am utterly enthralled with all that I've seen so far. Abner Dean drawings often depict naked humans, although they are never drawn to be objectified. Very few nipples, and no genitalia. Yet their humanity is stripped and laid bare in a manner that's far more shocking and unnerving than anything drawing attention to their nudity for purely prurient purposes.

There's almost something frightening about his pictures. Or edgy, perhaps is the word I'm searching for. Some of the drawings I've seen are just simple, funny sketches where the humor lies between the layers of nuance.

Others I spend long periods of time studying to pick up the meaning, only to discover that perhaps the meaning lies within myself -- that there is no right or wrong definition. Only what the observer takes away from it. Or perhaps how it might apply to the observer. And to me that's what makes some of the greatest art in the world, no matter how simple the lines are that we follow towards that path.

I'm especially eager to get Abner Dean's second book, What Am I Doing Here, published back in 1947 (also long out of print). He really honed his craft in this collection, and his detail to backgrounds are astonishing. Check out these incredible excerpts from the book!

Argh. Like I need more books already. I just packed my brand new 4x7 bookshelf with nary an ounce of daylight in between volumes. Don't tell me I already need to move again for more crap space. bitchbitchmoanetc.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Girl The Earth Talks To

I wish I knew why I am so stressed these days.

Nothing feels real to me. It's as if my hand passes through everything I touch. As much as I love my new house, I don't feel as if I'm home yet. Like I'm on a vacation that may end any minute now. That it's all too good to be true.

I hate the physical carriage of my body. I know, people keep telling me I don't look like I've gained any weight, but I can feel it on every fraction of my frame. And I hate obsessing over it, but going backwards as I have after all the hard work I've done in the last 3 years is really seriously bringing me down. It's not the fear of gaining weight back. It's the fear of losing control. It all amounts to me not having the control over my life that I used to. And as much as the motivation still thrives within me, I cave under stress so easily these days, and that's not what I normally do. It's an everyday reminder of what a failure I'm becoming, after nearing so close to my goal.

I got a promotion at work. The one I've been waiting for. And yet I feel more under pressure than ever to perform. The thing is, the stock in my area of profession isn't exactly on the rise these days. CD/DVD stores all over the country are losing sales, as I'm sure most of you can already guess, and the heat is on to either upsale as much as possible or come up with more creative ways to sell more product (although preferably not to the expense of the mega-parent company or, y'know, actually dropping prices or anything, of course). But I've been there. Done that. Why should it be bothering me now, though?

Folks tell me that I've been through a lot over the last few months, what with the high-stress move, my friend dying, then my grandmother, and now the pressure of being possibly made a manager, among other things. Being in debt. Losing some friendships. And I suppose that's true and all. Maybe I do need a vacation. Some time to myself to deal with all the situations that have been flung my way. But I'm afraid that my vacations will end up being much like my days off, lonely and depressed and not wanting to climb out of bed. At least at work I don't have time to worrying about stress, as I am most often already in the thick of it as it is.

I'd love to go somewhere. Nothing clears my head quite so thoroughly than being as far away from wherever I am at the moment while I'm stressing out. The trip I took to L.A. last year during that difficult period was the most rejuvenated experience I have had in awhile. Hanging out with darling Brett, and getting to see the immensely talented and (purr!) dashing Jack Stehlin in The Misanthrope. I just don't have funds for that kind of thing right now. I really wanted to go to the Vision Festival in New York this summer, too. I suppose that might still be workable, as it is less expensive than a week-long trip to Cali. Airfare and a room at the Malibu could be in my budget range, possibly. Or better yet crash at David's, although his teeny place in the lower east side is already stacked to the ceiling with bodies as it is.

In the last few months since I've moved I have regained contact with my old friend Khaled from Morocco, whom I haven't spoken to since I was in Casablanca almost 9 years ago. He's in the process of starting his own business venture and he's curious if I'd like in on some commission work on the side. He's eager for me to come back to Casablanca so that he can show me around the rest of his country -- Fez, Marrakesh, Tangier. Ride along the beaches. Head out into the Sahara. Climb the snow-capped mountains. Man, I can't tell you how seductive that all sounds right about now. But again, still out of my price range. In debt as I am, a stick of gum is out of my friggin' price range. But I suppose a girl can dream. Or "houlm", as Khaled as taught me in Arabic.

I just need strength. And maybe time. I'm just impatient, I guess. I'm not a control freak. I don't demand perfection. I'm one of the most laid-back individuals you will probably ever meet. I just want some peace of mind again. Not feel as if the floor is giving way beneath me. I think that's what I'm lacking right now: Stability.

Sorry for unloading , guys. But you know, monster on a rope and all that.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

My First Laugh In The Last Two Minutes

Really. Really. Bad. Tattoos. No, really.

And the last one on page 2. Seriously. I want to hide under my blankeys.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Revenge Of The N.E.R.D.

Why am I such a freakin' magnet for crazy people? What is it about me that makes nutty screamy burlap bag-shoed tinfoil hat-wearing batshit insane people zero right in on me and think to themselves, "Now there's an otherwise solid, perfectly pleasant, unobtrusive individual who looks like she doesn't get enough ca-raaazy in her life."? Because damn if the nice weather didn't bring them out in droves this afternoon. And wouldn't you know it, they all wanted to go music shopping, too.

Man, what a wretched day. Half the store staff called out. Pretty much a busy Saturday working the info desk, answering the calls, and running the floor throughout most of the day. I've been screamed at by several customers, nagged at by multiple managers, had my nipple squeezed HARD by a three-year-old little boy while his father just stood and watched, and then proceeded to collide head-on with Pharrell Williams as I was storming out of the ladies room while he, his girlfriend, and his bodyguard were heading into the men's room (yes, all three went into the men's room together, and then emerged less than a minute later -- WTF?). Pharrell is notoriously quite nice, though, so he didn't sick his surly goon on me or anything.

I picked a bad day to quit drinking coffee.

Fiddlesticks. I'm having a pint of Haagen Dazs and watching the Season 2 DVD of Deadwood tonight.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Sat 20: 11-6:30
Sun 2: 11-7:30
Tue 23: 4-cl
Wed 24: 11-6:30
Thur 25: 10-5:30
Sat 27: 9-4:30

More Of The Same

First 20 songs on my iPod this morning as I head out to sell some old DVDs. Ironically, no Buzzcocks this time around.

1. "One In 1,000,000" - Lene Lovich
2. "Wildflowers" - The Holy Mackerel
3. "I Am Your Mind Pt. 2" - Roy Ayers
4. "Many Mansions" - Sonny Sharrock
5. Go-Go Gadget Gospel" - Gnarls Barkley
6. "Stacked Crooked" - The New Pornographers
7. "Happyland" - The Trouble With Larry
8. "Pipe Dreams" - Jimmy Beck & His Orchestra
9. "Sound System" - Operation Ivy
10. "Little Rock" - Sonny Sharrock
11. "Rosalyn" - The Cold
12. "Chahe Koi Mujhe" - Chiekh Lô
13. "Window" - Fiona Apple
14. "Gone Daddy Gone" - Gnarls Barkley
15. "Yesternow" - Miles Davis
16. "I'm Not Down" - Thea Gilmore
17. "Evening Sun" - The Famous Pies
18. "Across 110th Street" - Bobby Womack
19. "So Round So Firm So Fully Packed" - Merle Travis
20. "Funky Broadway" - Wilson Pickett

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Go Me

Tuesday I had gone in for routine bloodwork that I do every 6 months which I had actually put off for about a year around this time so I was well overdue. It's basically to monitor my glucose levels since I've been taking Avandia for about 4 years due to my insulin resistance. It's kind of the opposite of diabetes. Sort of. My pancreas is over stimulated and produces an overabundance of insulin, burning through sugar energy so fast and furious that I basically wasn't any good for anything anymore -- on my days off sleeping 'til 9am, falling back to sleep at 11am to 1pm, taking a much needed nap from 3pm to 5pm, and then drifting in and out for the rest of the evening until I collapsed into bed at 9 or 10pm and slept like a lump for the rest of the night. At that rate my pancreas would have pooped out on me by the time I was 40, and then I would indeed become diabetic.

Now when I first started taking Avandia back in 2001 I was dosing at about 18 milligrams a day. This was back at my top weight, naturally. Over the years as I've shed the pounds I've bumped my dosage down to a measly 4 milligrams daily, which is what I've been taking for a little over a year now.

When I went in for bloodwork Tuesday it was because I had run out of my prescription and I was due for new testing before I could get a new dosage, so I hadn't been taking any Avandia for about 4 or 5 days previous and I told them that this may reflect on my test results, which they made note of.

Well, I just got off the horn with the GYN. She says that from the weight I've lost as well as just eating healthy and exercising like I have, my (fasting) glucose levels have gone from 95 while on Avandia last year, to 87 off Avandia this year. Basically she really sees no reason why I should be taking Avandia anymore and said that she'd let me go a month without it and then check my levels again to see how I fair before making a final decision.

So there you have it. Through the power of healthy, balanced foods, low sugar, and regular exercise I have actually altered a defective involuntary organ to reserve itself. All from losing over 140 pounds. Sure, I just gained back about 25 of it over the last two months since I moved, but I'm working on that right now. I just walked.... um, I don't know how far... okay locals, I walked down S. Independence Blvd. from Lynnhaven Parkway to Holland Road, and back. Took almost two hours, but anyway I'm going to try and maintain that route until I build my lost strength again. And I'm trying to stick back to the Weight Watchers plan again, which has been hard, especially with a damn 24-hour Farm Fresh right across the street from my front door. But I've been eating mostly fresh fruit and sushi lately so I suppose that's still okay. I still don't drink sodas or eat fast food. I still maintain a moderately low-sugar diet, using Splenda for coffee and tea and hardly any junk food. Pretty much lost the taste for heavy preservatives over the years as it is. Once I get a handle on my hunger once more I can start losing weight again and regain a little of this muscle mass I've lost over the spring.

But still. No more Avandia. No more $90 bottle 'o pills every 3 months that I could never really afford (yes, that's the amount that the insurance doesn't pay!). I can have all that, and still maintain staying awake and alert without two naps a day? I'm a little floored by all this too-good-to-be-true information. Not even quite sure how to even take it all in.

I've been so depressed lately, feeling like such a monumental failure over the last few months. But this. This makes me, pardon my français, feel like fucking goddess. I done it. I've achieved my goal of improving my health substantially over the last few years, and I have less Rx receipts to show for it. And I can still do it. I can knock off these added 25 pounds and still get down to my desired weight, and still have the strength and energy left afterwards to maintain a reasonable active, exciting lifestyle.

Well, we'll see about that last one for now. ;-)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bad News Girl

Finally unpacked all the books.

And all I think that's missing right now is my copy of C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew, and my ginormous volume of The Complete Hothead Paisan by Diane Dimassa, which particularly bums me out because I think that bugger's out of print now. O Fortuna! Haven't I already grieved enough this year?

On the other hand, I did find something that made my bowtie spin and my pigtails stand on end (what the hell was I wearing this morning?): One of my own self-drawn "comic books" that I made way back around... holy crap!... 1982 or 83-ish, I think. Daaaaamn. And bloody hell, I haven't improved a lick since I was 13 years old. Okay, now I really am depressed.

I may post a few pages anyway in the next few days. If anything just to make the whole cycle of humiliation complete.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hasta la Vista, Pinhead

SCORE!! .......

Hokayokayokayokay.... hasn't this album been, like, waaaay out of print for the last, oh I don't know, millennium or two? Or twelve? Wasn't this playing in the background back during the signing of the Magna Carta? Maybe? Am I somewhat off the mark there? Am I overdoing it a bit? And how embarrassed am I that we had it in my store all this time -- I who often do not hesitate to brag over how I know nearly compact disc we carry in our store without hardly having to check the computer inventory -- and it it was only a flippin' $7.99 ta boot? Not counting my employee discount? Can somebody give me a woot-woot and raise the roof for me? Cuz seriously last time I tried raising the roof myself I banged my elbow on the door frame and it smarted a good full hour afterwards, therefore it was established early on from that point that I just haven't gots the "skills", or whatever the kids are calling it these days. Or you can just simply say "Pipe down, Melissa, you're a spazz." and that more often takes care of things right on the spot.

Guess what. Chicken butt? The power at work went out AGAIN. Last night, while I was trying to make up the hours lost from the LAST TIME the power went out, although this time it was thunderstorm-related and not oh-my-god-what-smells-like-hair-on-fire-related like the inventory night of last Sunday. Only this time it was slightly more wacky and zany what with all the customers still in the store that needed to be rounded up like cattle and moved to the front of the store to get them out of there, and believe me even near-to-total darkness won't snap some shoppers out of that browsing reflex, no matter how impossible it is to see what you're buying. And at this point in my retail career I can safely attest that browsing is indeed, very very much, an involuntary reflex.

I was over in the Musica Latina section, helping round up the Mexican customers by following them towards the door in the darkness in a sweeping gesture with my hands and repeating "Cerrado! Cerrado! Lo siento, cerrado!" (that's about all I know) and I kept brushing past the back wall over in that section where we keep most of our movie and celebrity stand-ups that we have for sale. Now we have this one stand-up of the chick that played the last Terminator from T3 that looks just like this:

And I was telling one of my fellow associates that as I was chasing people out of that section I kept running back over to it because from a distance it looked like a customer hiding back in the dark. He asked me what would I do if somebody actually did jump out in the darkness from behind the CD bins like that and I told him that quite honestly I would probably wind up wetting myself. So yeah, I admit I set myself right up for that one as the associate then went and hid the Terminator stand-up in the now pitch-black hallway leading back into the break room and then nonchalantly encouraged me to go down said hallway to see how daaaark and spoooky it all was now. And of course I fell for it like the dipshit I am, and let me just add that those white grid-like things behind her actually appear to glow in the dark, or maybe that was just the stars I saw when I flew backward on contact and hit the floor laughing. And I stayed down there howling for a good minute or two until the associates helped me back to my feet. Serves me right, I suppose. However do I walk right into these traps like I do?

Fortune favors those who use the potty beforehand, because at least I didn't wet myself like I thought I might. Hey! Score again!

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Sun 14: 2-cl
Tue 16: 4-cl
Wed 17: 11-7:30
Fri 19: 4-10:30
Sat 20: 11-6:30

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Water Drops On Burning Rocks

Today I spent the whole afternoon baking cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Cookies to give to my new next door neighbor, who just lost her father last week. And cookies for a girl who works for Joe, whose mother passed away as well.

An old friend of Joe's, a young guy who used to work with him at Peabody's, died. Joe attended his wake the other day. I also just learned of my great uncle, my late grandmother's brother, succumed to cancer two days ago.

I miss my grandma. And Tom, too.

Death, man. I'm so over it.

I'm trying to find ways to subliminate all this resulting depression into something that doesn't involve me putting anymore food in my mouth, which is all I've been doing over the past few weeks. I bought two CDs that's I've been itching fer...

Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters' Dub-Triptych, a 2-CD set that compiles 1972's Cloak & Dagger proto-dub featuring Tommy McCook with bonus tracks including an instrumental of "Jungle Lion" and a version of the title track with horns, along with 1975's Revolution Dub on Disc 2. But the real reason for buying it is the inclusion of the legendary 1973 Blackboard Jungle Dub which has often been sited as possibly one of if not the first Dub releases ever, as well as had previously never been released in CD format, especially sounding this good since I've heard that even past vinyl and cassette pressings have sounded like varying degrees of shite for however many years. And what little I've heard so far has been quite utterly hair-raising.

And finally the long-awaited release of Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere which came out this Tueday although the single "Crazy" has been the UK's #1 most downloadable hit for over six months prior. The latest project from Danger Mouse (AKA Brian Burton, the mad hatter behind Gorillaz and the marvelous Jay-Z/Beatles mashup The Grey Album from the previous year) and former Goodie Mob-ster Cee-Loo comes across to my ears both as clean and eclectic as DJ Shadow's earth-shaking The Private Press and Sly & The Family Stone's planet-smashing There's A Riot Going On, where funk-n-soul meet rap-n-rock in a eruptive head-on collision the aural equivalent of the album cover's artwork. They even toss in a cover of the Violent Femmes' 80's college radio classic "Gone Daddy Gone", seemingly out of nowhere. What th' hey, right?

I stared at myself in the mirror for a good 20 minutes today, probably the most I've ever studied my appearance for as long as I can recall. My hair's grayer. My face, plumper. My eyes a little more hollow and sunken in than I last remembered.

I need to regain control over my life again, goddamit. The old me is coming back. Resurfacing. She's a scrapper, a fighter. And she don't cotton to the blues for too long. Nor does she tend to refer to herself in third person so she's gonna stop right here before she gets even more full of herself than she already is.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Endless Grey Ribbon

After going through all those videos from the 80's yesterday afternoon (yes my head feels much better now, thank you for inquiring) I was suddenly gripped with another mental image from that time period of a video that also seem to get a decent amount of airplay in 1983, although the song itself came out in 1979; Ummm um um.... a wedding in somebody's house? Some dude marrying Carlene Carter? Rockpile as the wedding band? Yes, of course I'm talking about the video to Nick Lowe's "Cruel To Be Kind", which in a way marked the first time when I was probably ever exposed to a visualized concept of a song that I had already heard previously on the radio, having actually seen this video slightly earlier than that summer when MTV rerouted my brain circuitry in that indelible manner. From all the times that I had heard that song as a kid I had never once pictured in my head pleasant matrimonial imagery being a part of that concept, which I suppose is why they went with it. And I guess that's why it's always sort of stuck with me all these years. I have never since been able to hear this song without the images from the video coming back to haunt me. Is that a good thing?

I saw Nick Lowe in concert when Joe booked him at the Nsect Club back in 1994 when he was touring in support for his slightly more countrified outing The Impossible Bird, but wound up getting him to autograph my copy of Labour Of Lust, considering the influence "Cruel To Be Kind" had on me as a wee sprat. And I know most of you have heard the track already but I'm just going to put it up here anyway as a sound file, just in case you don't want the imagery of the video link above affecting your deep lyrical appreciation of Teh Angst.

"Cruel To Be Kind" - Nick Lowe (m4a file)

File available for 7 days.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Taking Tiger Beat (By Strategy)

Well I sure clocked in about, oh say, 2 hours total bed rest this morning. Slightly less loopy than I was all night long, and still just too rainy to go walk off the remaining pent-up nervous energy. And I have the day off since it was expected of me to have been at work all night last night, but here I am with no money, too rainy to walk down to Mt. Trashmore, comic book stores don't open 'til 11:00 am, which would be pointless anyway since, again, no money. And still wired. Um, kinda.

Times like these I'm grateful for the existence of the Youtube, where I spent most of last night searching for weird-n-wacky music videos that I remembered from the early 80's and basically wiled away the wee hours just laughing my ass off. I first got MTV back in the summer of 1983 so most of my first impressions of the channel came from what was being shown at the time; new wave and glam metal lipsynched by alarmingly unattractive white people (although Michael Jackson's "Beat It" video was just starting to break the surface on the top-of-the-hour rotation cycle). So out of utter self-indulgence or sheer boredom (you decide) I selected 15 videos dating back to that memorable Summer of 1983 when I was 14 years old and spent most of those three months plopped down in front of the telly, knees tucked under my chin, unable to move to eat or sleep or use the potty in deadly fear of missing what just might become the newest in modern cutting-edge Toni Basil video technology.

1. "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. The whole Renaissance Fest motif of this video reminds me of that part of the English village in Busch Gardens Williamsburg where everybody is dressed just like this, dancing in the streets and with maypoles and lutes and shit. My friends and I used to walk through the town square shouting "Bring out yer dead" which I imagine most of you nerds who have walked through that very same Ren Square have done countless times yourself. Also I used to have a friend named Sheryl who looked exactly like the spastic blonde chick in this video and whenever she wore a skirt she'd grab the hem of it and dance around just like this, much to all our amusement. And you know that part near the beginning of the video where she waves to the singer and smiles like a retard? Sheryl could do the perfect imitation of that. Most often in public places. I have the strongest memory right now of her running down Atlantic Avenue at the beach that summer waving to the traffic on the strip just like that.

2. "New Frontier" by Donald Fagen. Love everything about this video. The cinematography. The editing. The delicious sexual tension between the shy boy and the girl with a "touch of Tuesday Weld" and the lips that spell Y-E-S. The late-50's Cold War aesthetics of bomb shelters, Brubeck albums, and Picasso's Three Musicians posters springing to life. Love the song, too. Sharp, lively animation from Cucumber Studios who did a large amount of the animation for music videos at the time (Elvis Costello, Tom Tom Club, etc.). And the part where Fagen sings "Yes we're going to have a wiiiing-diiing...." for some reason always made my friend Jeanne burst into hysterics.

3. "AEIOU Sometimes Y" by EBN-OZN. Another one that strangely enough also reminds me of being at Busch Gardens with my friends back in the summer of 1983, sitting on the edge of that water fountain right at the entrance of the park spouting out quotes from this song like "CALL me if you WANT to!" or "Hey! Do You wanna go OUT-tah?" Mostly another hot-for-teacher scenario, especially since the teacher looks to be somewhat of a cross between sultry, lippy European actresses Anna Karina and Lysette Anthony. Unfortunately the main protagonist looks more like David Lee Roth in a wifebeater and ultra-bad rat tail haircut who if had actually started following me down the sidewalk and running circles around me and acting like an all-around arrogant tool probably would have gotten instantly decked on the spot. In fact I kind of like mentally picturing it all going down that way. So yeah, we all thought this video was a real stitch, although we were all a little worried about that one very disturbing little boy in the classroom who for some never explained reason looked as if he had been repeatedly punched in the face.

4. "New York New York" by Nina Hagen. My first glimpse of this shocked-headed East German chanteuse with the vocal range vacillating between Brünnhildesque Teutonic bombast to head-spinning-and-pea-soup spewing Linda Blair daemonica. I have memories of Jeanne quickly scrambling away from the television set, pointing and sputtering "What the hell is that?" the moment her Kabuki-like visage invaded our screen and subsequently our previously sheltered teenage suburban existence. Didn't stop me from later rushing out to collect nearly every single album she ever put out on vinyl. All of which I still have to this day (one of which I actually found a Salvation Army thrift store for 75 cents).

5. "Do You Wanna Hold Me?" by Bow Wow Wow. It should therefore be no surprise that my girlfriends found Annabella Lwin's toned down, more commercial, and frankly much cuter version of Nina Hagen's look a lot more accessible, as we all went through a brief period of Annabella idolatry that summer, spending afternoons trying to fix each other's hair and make-up just likes hers. I think I might still have an audio tape of myself and my friends, including Sheryl mentioned above, singing this song, all of us dreadfully out of tune and arguing in between verses over interpretations of muddled lyrics. Honestly... how abstruse can such simplistic lyrics as these possible be?

6. "I Eat Cannibals" by Total Coleo. Oh my word. Bad, bad dancing. Even worse hair. And please bring back the subtlety and delicate nuance of Nina Hagen's make-up over these morbid raccoon eyes and blood-red wide mobile mouths. Refresh my memory what any of this has to do with eating cannibals. And again it bears repeating: Bad, bad dancing. What's worse is that I used to own the single to this song.

7. "Greetings To The New Brunette" by Billy Bragg. No, this video doesn't date back that far, but I can never get tired of watching this gorgeous piece of work. And the song brings instant tears to my eyes. Too bad they so very rarely showed it. Guess they needed more space devoted to that Total Coleo video. Payola's a bitch, baby.

8. "Paranoimia" by The Art Of Noise. Okay I know this video also came out around the mid-80's, but I was hugely into and influenced by The Art Of Noise all throughout the early 80's as well. Although I found the Max Headroom persona vaguely entertaining for less than 2% of that time during the decade. Released at the height of Headroom hysteria, I used to find this video mildly amusing with only a hint of the creepiness inherent in everything Max Headroom is and does, but now I just find the whole thing out-and-out nightmare inducing. "Am I dreaming? Nooo. Then where am I? In bed? Then what am I doing? T-t-t-t-talking to myself..." {{shudder}}

9. "Screaming In The Night" by Krokus. Ooooh, I have got to send this link to my brother. He and I used to laugh so long and hard over this ridiculously overwrought metal opera that must have rocketed waaaay over budget for what was being put out there at the time. What video vanguards these Krokus fellows once were! Like all metal videos of their time, the plot seems to revolve around the lead singer and his girlfriend getting trapped into this John Norman Gorean-like dimension that appears to be located in the attic of some greasy spoon diner, if any of that makes any sense, and it shouldn't. And what's really pathetic is that back then I used to think this video was like OMG sooooo romantic and saaaad. Oh noes! Girlfriend dies horribly! Now she's a VJ on some cheesy MTV knock-off channel! See her heartbroken lover stomp all over people's food as he rudely strides across the lunch counter to scream into the television set, as if she could actually hear him from beyond the grave! Why don't they make more freakin' videos like this anymore??

10. "Why Me?" by Planet P (Project). I once got in a heated debate with Sara Trexler over whether or not this band was called Planet P first before changing their name to Planet P Project, since I have both original albums on vinyl and I could have sworn that the first album was just called Planet P (am I wrong? cpg, where are you when I need you?). Well the video seems to refer to them as Planet P so I'd like to think I'm still right, either way. So anyway, I do dig this video. I've always been fascinated by the whole concept of astronaut's wives. Gazing worriedly to the heavens as her beloved embarks on the absolutely unknown. It really must be one of the loneliest and terrifying kind of marriages I could ever imagine.

11. "Jeopardy" by Greg Kihn Band. I know you gotta remember this'un. A nice day for a white wedding, until {{gasp}} weird, lo-budge special FX and gratuitous ball-n-chain allegories abound, complete with plenty of things to scare, like zombie attacks and Kihn's feathered mullet. Like if David Lynch tried to direct a sitcom written by David Cronenberg. Only slightly less pretentious.

12. "Hyperactive!" by Thomas Dolby. I think this video came out in 1984, really. But I tend to actually remember it more from watching Friday Night Videos than seeing it on MTV in those days. Another one of those what-the-fuck-am-I-watching concept pieces involving psychiatry, Mummenschanz inspired tear-away head boxes, and very disturbing headless dancing ventriloquist dummies. No less traumatizing 22 years later, as I've just discovered.

13. "You Don't Want Me Anymore" by Steel Breeze. Now this video actually pre-dates MTV for me, as back in 1982 or so local popular handlebar-mustachioed disc jockey Mike Arlo had a half-hour video program 8:30pm Sunday nights called Mike Arlo's Video Radio of which I remember this delightfully mondo-craptastic synth-driven piffle spun out in heavy rotation wedged between the offerings by KISS and The Scorpions. This has almost everything that my copy of Michael Shore's book The Rolling Stone Book of Rock Video claims makes a rock video successful: decadent sets, filtered lenses, tricky editing (love the old Model-T inexplicably teleporting every few feet ahead of itself at the beginning of the video for no apparent reason), scantily clad women, objects breaking, water splashing, and things blowing up real good. And yet it still... fails, somehow. Oh, well. At least they seem to have fun making it.

14. "O Superman" by Laurie Anderson. Goddam am I glad to see this video again. As far as the medium goes this to me is as near to perfection as any I've seen to date. No flashy visuals to overwhelm the minimalistic craft of the song itself. Just Laurie's striking face, charismatic persona, and a single white spotlight on the wall behind her. Fuck, I love this woman.

15. "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" by Kid Creole & the Coconuts. Alright, I fibbed. I've never seen this video before until today. But it's still going up here because, dammit, it's Kid Creole! With Coconuts! And two decades later he is still the Mack Daddy. Oooo, snap!

Seventh Inning Itch

Has anyone ever been in a position where they were having a session of scorching, sweaty, angry sex with their partner and then suddenly the whimsical tinkle of music emanating from the ice cream truck passing under your open window comes out of nowhere and it takes every ounce of your resolve not to burst out into uproarious laughter and ruin the romantic moment?

Er, okay, I thought not. Never mind, then.

Yep, I'm still awake. Still got the vut-vuts. And I'm a little, er, boy crazy at the moment. And the only decent porn I can find online at this point in time is the video to House Of Schock's "Middle Of Nowhere", which I actually already have on tape complete with multi-generation dubbing static so this much cleaner version down at yonder youtube really brings out the miraculous curves and angles of Mr. DeGeneres' rather, uh, narrow denim-clad backside when he saunters cowpoke-style over towards the car to ravish the sleeping Gina Schock within. Okay so he doesn't ravish her. But dammit this is my filthy little fantasy, alright? Besides, my deeply cherished copy of Harcèlement au Féminin is in the other room right now. The movie which, by the way, first introduced me to this magnificent blue-eyed Bavarian...

Behold. One of the few men alive today who has seen me naked and actually came away from the experience relatively unscathed. Although I'm sure the many resulting scars beneath the surface run soulfully deep.

Oh hell. Why did I have to go post a picture of Steve Holmes from that movie? Now I gotta go take a shower. A long one. Outside. In the rain. And no more fucking coffee for me!!

Wired For Sound

The first 20 tracks on my iPod ass-early on this rainy Monday morning, up with the vut-vuts and puttering restlessly around the house...

1. "Making Plans For Nigel" - XTC

2. "As In Life (5 Movements)" - Destroy All Nels Cline

3. "A Selection" - Fishbone

4. "Carmen" - Spike Jones

5. "My Male Curiosity" - Kid Creole & the Coconuts

6. "M'Lady" - Sly & the Family Stone

7. "I Don't Want To Talk" - The Cold

8. "Private Joy" - Prince

9. "I'm In Love" - Wilson Pickett

10. "Valley Girl" - Frank Zappa

11. "The Year Of The Elephant" - Wadada Leo Smith

12. "Cadenza For Viola" - Elliott Carter

13. "Dancing In The Moonlight" - Thin Lizzy

14. "Park Inn" - The Futureheads

15. "Heartbreak Stroll" - The Raveonettes

16. "She Shot A Hole In My Soul" - Clifford Curry

17. "The Screams Of Passion" - The Family

18. "Everyone's In Love With You" - David Byrne

19. "Killer Queen" - Queen

20. "It Was Easier To Hurt Her" - Garnet Mimms

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Conceptual Eyestrain

I've been grumbling all week about having to do inventory tonight. I loathe inventory. 7 long hours of hunching over CD bins counting every piece by hand while RGIS follows behind with their little scanners as we argue over whether we just counted 456 pieces or 455, and with a store the size of a Hechinger, formerly known as "The World's Most Unusual Lumber Store" (in fact when my CD store first opened in place of the old Hechinger those words were still deeply sun-bleached into the wall right underneath the record store sign, and on that opening day my friend and I were wandering around looking at all the CDs and remarking, "Wow, this really is the world's most... er, unusual lumber store.") the job takes close to 3:00 am before wrapping up for the workday. But after less than two hours into it the power goes out. In fact it goes out over a large blockage of Virginia Beach, as a power pole somewhere down the boulevard catches fire and puts many a neighborhood's porchlights out -- all except my own, apparently, after giving Joe a quick call to confirm our power status at home. We at the store ended up eating pizza delivery by flashlight and just running our mouths until we went home an hour later. So, no inventory. And here I am after having chugged a bucketload of coffee at 7:00 pm and a brief disco nap at 1:00 pm expecting to pull an all-nighter, and I am nowhere near tired. I am, in fact, the exact opposite of what I thought I was going to be right about this time; blurry-eyed, punchy, and hating the very sight of CDs. Nope, I am none of those things right at this moment. I have now what my friends and I commonly refer to as the vut-vuts, which is the sensation you get after having had an inhumane amount of caffeine and as a result you're all wired and giggly and you want nothing more to do right at this moment than to go knit a 30-foot-long rugby scarf for your Uncle Nelson. Yeah, I think I'm going to be up for awhile tonight, regardless.

Maybe I'll go count my CDs.

Ain't Goin' Out Like A Suckah...

Is it something in the hormone-laden milk they drink for lunch at school, the shock of fresh air they are forced to breathe when they play outdoors for their one hour a day, or the toxins they're inhaling through their Barbie Doll's hair that's making thou... er, several girls between the ages of 7 and 12 come tearing into my store over the past week with spittle in the corners of their rosebud lips, madly raving for a copy of "Doin' The Doo" by Betty Boo.

And it's not that they're mad for wanting it so desperately. Quite frankly, I love the song myself. It's just, uh, where exactly are they hearing this circa 1990 nugget from an album that's been long out of print? Has it been getting recent radio play? I mean I ask because I don't listen to radio and I haven't set hoof in a dance club proper in almost a decade, let alone when this bouncy track used to dictate the dancefloor during my bygone era. One father towing his little girl behind told me he needed the song for his daughter's dance troupe to rehearse a routine set to it. And again, out of print. Although I do believe her Best Of CD is available as import these days. Alas, our store can't special order imports. So many little girls sadly getting turned away. Daily, almost. But where where where the heck-a-doodle are they hearing this song? From an artist that I had always assumed was just one of many early-90's danceclub diva one-hit wonder types?

Apparently Boo, real name Alison Clarkson, has had a few hits beyond "Doin' The Do", as well as written several hits for other artists and has recorded under her real name was well. She originally started out as a member of late 80's Salt-N-Pepa clone dance group She Rockers before pumping out her debut solo album, Boomania, of which I still have my copy, and I still remember the walls of DJ's Records plastered with her cartoon character persona back when I worked there from 1989 through 1990. I suppose in this day and age her sassy hubris combined with her comic book heroine Diana Rigg on The Avengers vesture appeals to a certain contingent of the fledgling X chromosome. I suppose it beats having them idolize Hilary Duff, anyway.

Therefore I feel it is my civic duty to put a temporary file of "Doin' The Do" up on my blog for the week, a place to direct the yung'uns to download if they are still needing the track for the dance recitals and the slumber parties and the gangride drive-bys and ahoy-hoy. I'll also add the She Rockers single "Get Up On This" as a bonus, for it 'tis a damn fine snappy tune. Sometimes it's nice to see how some things never completely go out of style.

"Doin' The Do" - Betty Boo (m4a file)
"Get Up On This" - She Rockers (m4a file)

Files are available for 7 days only.


Tue 9: 10-5
Wed 10: 12-8
Fri 12: 2-10
Sat 13: 10-6

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Fat Oprah Effect

There's a new High Hat out this month. Another collection of political and pop cultural essays, including Gary Mairs' entertaining report from an old-skool punk reunion festival named "The Very Definition of Lame", a discussion of the fascist aesthetics in the films of Wes Anderson by David Nordstrom, Phil Freeman looks back at the "baddest man on television" from the failed 90's TV drama Profit, and Chris Lanier's interview with one of my favorite cartoonists, Keith Knight. Just to name a few. Happy highhatting!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

When Obsession And Devotion Collide

This has gotta be the most awesomest mash-up ever slapped together. How have I never realized how seamlessly Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" and "Every Breath You Take" by The Police melt into one another as if they'd been married since birth? Not to mention brings out a whole new layer of meaning to each original song's lyrical content when sung together as one. And how surreal is it that I remember that Ben E. King video from MTV back in the 80's when the movie Stand By Me hit theaters? Plug in your guitar, River Phoenix.

Linked from the plethora o' goodness over at Mashuptown .

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Jabberwocky Trajectory

If posting becomes increasingly sporadic in the next few days it's more than likely due to my internet connection going kablooey, as in the lights on my cable modem have been rapidly riding up and down the panel like one of those old-fangled "Love Tester" machines. I'm snagging this rare window of availability right now to pretty much let you all know the deal. And that goes for emails as well, although I will make them Priority One as always.

In other news, great googly-moogly this Merle Haggard CD is kickin' mah ass. Astonishingly good shizzit.

Pretty nifty new music blog called Unicorn Meat. Interesting amalgam of music MP3's which she only appears to keep up for a limited time, much like I do.

Also I've been playing the dickens out of this song "Combat Songs And Traffic Fights" by this peppy little pop combo from Cologne, Germany called Timid Tiger. It's available for download on their myspace page. And they've got a cute lil' mascot, too.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I'm Bringin' Home Good News

Well, poop. One of them rotten stinkin' rat-bastard trustafundians (def: one of those white suburban rastafarian types) probably ganked that last copy of Lee "Scratch" Perry's Dub-Triptych that I've been eyeballin' over the past month, assuming that it would be there forever and ever until it finally, happily went home with me. Knew I shoulda stowed it away when I had the freakin' chance. But at nearly 20 clams retail even with my discount I didn't see it in my immediate future... that is, not until I got my promotion, and this weekend I was in a mood to celebrate. Celebrate on a budget, sure. But man, that bites. Hope you're enjoying that gloriously remastered "Blackboard Jungle Dub" wherever you are out there, ya lil' dredlocked pipsqueak.

But that didn't stop the party. Nosiree, Robert. I still managed to spurge, flashing my crisp new fifty dollar bill at the cash register like a high roller as I picked up a few new things... NEW things, I would like to point out for those of you who by now have forever marked me an inveterate cheapskate (have no fear -- I promise not to let all this new loot go to my head).

I finally get to sink my talons into at least one of the new series of Merle Haggard and the Strangers re-releases of his earlier, meatier 60's period albums -- in this case the the two-in-one Mama Tried/Pride In What I Am, which were originally released to 1968 and 1969, respectively. A fairly even mixture of covers and original material from a real outlaw of country music, a man who was actually in Folsom Prison right around the time when Johnny Cash was writing the song (which is covered here as well). And Haggard's own work is just as moving. Lyrics like "I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole" still have the power to stir and provoke as anything Cash has come up with in his most fecund creative period.

Natalia Lafourcade's self-titled solo album. A 2003 Grammy winner, according to the little sticker on the cover, but I'm just finally coming around to it now (toldja how far behind I was). A lot poppier, more danceable, and techno-driven than her more rockin' outing with her band Natalia Y La Forquetina, I've heard many comparisons to a Mexican Nelly Furtado and yeah, I can see it definitely. But I think I'm liking the actual songcraft of these compositions even better than that admittedly quite good first Furtado album, plus Miss Lafourcade's voice is just so delightfully enjoyable. We need more "edgy" young pop divas like her out on the market, and I imagine her all-español vocals (which I happily prefer) is one of the few things that must be keeping her from getting a lot more US mainstream airplay.

Lamp Fall, The brand spankin' new one from Senegalese singer/songwriter Chiekh Lô, a former protege and label-mate with Youssou N'Dour puts out his first solo release in 6 years as of last Tuesday. Slapping a contemporary Brazilian/reggae/soul-spin on the Afro-Carribean danceable rhythm traditionally known as Mbalax in Senegal, he even has former Famous Flame sax player Pee Wee Ellis on a track or two, which can raise several an album's stock instantly as far as I'm concerned. Dense, intricate playing, and righteously cheerful. Just what I need right now, as a matter of fact.

On top of the new purchases, Tracy gifted me with the two latest Roy Hargrove releases, both coming out simultaneously May 2nd...

One of which, Distractions, has his returning with his funky Rh Factor band for a funk-fueled, neo-soulish outing with some guest vocalists like Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, and D'Angelo to name a few...

And the other being Nothing Serious with his Roy Hargrove Quintet, returing to his original acoustic bop style, with a touch of swing and salsa to give it just the sweetest tang.

And if things weren't as swell as it is, Amazon sent me a package! Well I uh, ordered it, natch.

Jean-Luc Godard's Band Of Outsiders on DVD, something that came by me highly recommended. You know, I don't think I've seen a Godard film since 2001's Éloge de L'amour (In Praise Of Love) when it came out in the theaters, I think. I was in New York City during a scorching hot summer and I decided to retreat from the heat by ducking into the deliciously air-conditioned Angelika to see this, and promptly zonked out in the theater seat about halfway through. I think I few days later I came back to see it again with some friends and passed out again right around the same point in the film, so needless to say I missed quite a bit of the gorgeous visuals. But the dialogue really played with my head while I had weird heat-induced fever dreams of French people and... um, some kind of romantic existentialism? Or whatever the heck was going on in that picture. Not like I was awake for it or anything.

So anyway. Yeah, I'm good for while. For however long awhile can last.