Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Greetings, Humanity

Feet, thigh, and calf muscles burning. So, so tired. Trying hard to not fall asleep now at 9:15 pm. Hello? Somebody please talk to me. Don't let me slip under...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pied Beauty?

Jeepers... all that swimming and being out in the sun Sunday afternoon really made my freckles pop out like gangbusters. Funny, some people I've known for decades have never known that I had freckles as a child (I was called "Half-Pint" by family due to my vague resemblance to the then dappled-cheeked Melissa Gibert) but they faded slightly at time went by. But when I get a bit of a tan on me the little brown dots on my nose and across the bridge poke through, and it makes old friends do double-takes. I remember one night years ago at the Nsect Club I was standing in the dark directly under a black light near the DJ booth when Joe stepped out and, staring at my face for about 15 seconds, grinned and exclaimed, "Melpster! I didn't know you had freckles! They're adorable!" He then took my face in his hands and kissed each of my cheeks before scampering off into the smoky, pulsating din. So even people who have known me intimately, seen every inch of me up close, have never known that I had them. It's just funny how days like this I look in the mirror and see the little Half-Pint I once was peering back at me. Yeah, I ain't doing the braids thing, though. Well for starters, have you actually seen my hair?

Speaking of childhood, since I'm still sort of mulling over the subject of books that shaped and influenced us as children this week, I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you gentle readers, pertaining to the topic at hand. I would really appreciate it if someone alerted me to a copy of Marigold And The Dragon by, I believe, Fred H. Crump. It's been out of print for ages, and I haven't seen it on eBay or any other online auctions, and my area isn't known for its multitudes of vintage book shops and other such outlets. Big, BIG influence on me as a little girl. Although I never owned a copy I checked it out of my local library so many times it was falling apart in my clutches. The illustrations were in black and white but the detail was memorable, with clean lines that later when on to influencing my own drawing style. I would even be willing to discuss finders fees, like maybe 20% of the book price. Or we can work something out in trade, perhaps.

You know the old theory that little girls' adolescent obsession with horses is the first real awakening into adult sexuality? If that theory were true, I'd say for me it was never horses; it was dragons. Like horses, there's that combination of physical strength and muscular beauty that heterosexual girls will later seek out in romantic male companionship (it's no wonder we call sexually virile men "stallions"). But when I was 12, my bedroom walls were covered in dragons like Jenna Jamison in a boy's college dorm room . Back then, much to my mother's consternation, I was constantly picking up garden snakes in the backyard and poking at wild alligators in the creeks of Hilton Head Island during summer vacations, so naturally dragons were ideally the ultimate reptilian embodiment of the budding Herpetologist money-shot. Whether I was aware of all this Freudian nonsense back in the day, I can assure you that my sexual obliviousness never picked up the signal. Or maybe it did, but I was just so completely unaware of what I was feeling, as young and stupid as I was. But Marigold And The Dragon, er, brought that... certain... tingle to me that as a slightly more sexually experienced adult I am all too familiar with; the sensation I get when I read a particularly stimulating passage of erotic literature, or seeing Steve Holmes perform in Harcèlement au Féminin, or just being in proximity of a desirable man, smelling his distinctive scent, feeling his warm breath on my neck...

Ahem! You get the picture. If anyone has any leads to that book I would be gratefully indebted. I'm going to go now and, uh, re-read my prized first edition Advanced D&D Monster Manual. Under the covers. Heh heh.

Monday, August 28, 2006

How Did It Go?

Okay, not... as bad as I was expecting. Things may be bleak, but our doors aren't closing anytime soon. The boss lady was optimistic, at least. I received a lot of unsolicited positive feedback from everyone, which helped put me immediately at ease with the way I've been handling myself in my new position. And I've been put permanently in charge of used product, which pleases me, since that is my pet area in particular and I have about 1,001 ideas for improving sales in that department that I just need greenlit. I'm going to type out a detailed proposal here at home this week to present to my boss on all the projects I've been hatching secretly in my brain that I think may ultimately boost revenue, seeing as how used product is practically 100% profit on store level as it is. Don't know how much it will help in the long run, but at least it's something.

I am utterly nauseous today, but I still need to go into work tonight, seeing as I managed to drag myself into the meeting at 8am this morning. Just the sight of all the fruit, cheese, and bagels that my boss laid out for us was making my gills turn green. I was hungry when I got home, but now I'm feeling stomach-achy all over again. I guess that was the ucky sensation in my belly this morning, instead of nerves (or on top of nerves). Gonna go lay down for awhile.

Thanks again for puttin' up with me, fellas.

Dance Band On The Titanic

Looks like Greil Marcus has a webpage. And a new book, which I predict will be filled with many obscure historical instances that he can correlate with songs by X-Ray Spex and the Sex Pistols. And, of course, I'll be buying that sucker. May as well not break up the ol' Marcus collection and all that.

Yes, I'm up early. Mandatory manager's meeting at work this morning, and I have a sick feeling in my tum tum that I know what its all about. I know its way too early to fret about these things. But it never hurts to stay in practice.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Glad To Know You're Out There

Friday, August 25, 2006


Mon 28: 4-cl
Tue 29: 12-6:30
Wed 30: 10-5
Thur 31: 3-cl
Sat 2: 10-6:30

Why I Learned To Swim

The Friday Five:

1. What book or books were special to you in your childhood?
I don't know about special, but when I was in kindergaten the kids in my class would always clamor for our teacher to read to us from the classic story The Five Chinese Brothers, the version written by by Claire Huchet Bishop and illustrated by Kurt Wiese, which is still in print to this day, exactly how it looked back in 1974 when I was 5 years old. And that book scared the livin' cheese outta me. Children drowning. Smothered in ovens. Beheadings with antiquated medieval technology. As we'd all sit in a circle on the floor around our teacher's chair as she read along and flashed the illustrations to the class I was the little girl in the back row cowering under her floor mat with her pigtails stuck in her ears trying to snuff out my teacher's voice -- and it didn't help that she insisted on making graphic sound effects for each brother's gruesome execution, either.

2. What was particularly special or memorable about those books?
The twisted irony is that I actually quite liked the book. All the brothers looked so gosh darn happy to be tromping off to their deaths like they did, although to be fair they all knew that they weren't going to die anyway, what with their weirdo X-factor powers-thing passed along in the family. But I did feel sorry for the boy who drowned at the beginning of the book. The fact that it happened out of sight just off the edge of the frame made it almost worse to bear, because my inexperienced child-mind pictured all manner of disturbing ways that he may have suffered in his demise. But you know, it was still a happy story. The one brother whose smiling head was bobbing up over the surface of the ocean always rather pleased me.

3. Have you re-read any of them as an adult?
I have my own copy of the same book, so yes, I have read it since.

4. If so, were the books as good as you remembered them?
Less scary, I suppose, from an adult's perspective. Then again, maybe more so. Still can't understand why as a little girl this book unsettled me as much as it did, but on the other hand I thought Der Struwwelpeter was a real stitch. German children in lederhosen with Wolverine fingernails and freaky fro? Five-year-old comedy gold, that is.

5. What do you think about movies being made out of children's classics (like the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of The Rings, etc.)?
My philosophy on this subject has always been that as long as resulting product is good, then by all means have at it. I'm not so much a stickler for literary accuracy as I am in keeping with the spirit of the story. I wasn't a huge fan of the recent Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe despite how relatively faithful to the plot it followed, because it just lacked the warmth and life of novel (not to mention the distractingly dreadful CGI). However the 1939 film version of The Wizard Of Oz, as much as it strays from the book, is still one of my favorite movies of all time. But I admit I'm not always like that with other literary film adaptations, for some reason. I mean don't get me started on all the Bronte sisters books put to celluloid. But I suppose with children's books the memories one retains usually has more to do with the feeling the book gave you reading it rather than all the tiny details, so I'm a bit more lenient with that particular genre. I just don't think I'm ready yet for a film adaptation of The Five Chinese Brothers. Directed, no doubt, by John Woo. Mutherfuckin' bruthas come out with guns blazing. Both pistols turned sideways, of course.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Divinity Lessons

So um, yeah. That Ultimate Prince disk did come out yesterday. For considerable less than what I paid for with the promo last week. Yeah, I feel a bit of a tool... now, of course, but I don't regret trying to scoop that puppy up when I had the chance. I'm all about taking potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunities when the rare moment presents itself, practically screaming in my face that this is my last chance. Luckily this isn't my last chance to get a refund from the store, since foreseeing this I knew in advance to save the receipt.

I did get the latest release of the original version of The Wicker Man, which also came out yesterday.

I am however deeply bummed that it's still just the 88 minute American version, what with the Neil LaBute remake coming out soon I was hoping for a slightly more definitive package like the one that came out a few years ago in the wooden box (one of my regular customers told me that he had that box and sold it back to us, but I don't ever remember seeing it come through) which is now out of print. Still, it's movies like these that remind me what annoys me about modern day horror films, with the overabundance of stylized graphics that remind myself that some of these directors appear to be more heavily influenced by Marilyn Manson than Herk Harvey. This is a movie that subtly crawls under your skin, and the natural beauty of the landscape, the congenial people, and the cheery Celtic folk ditties that permeate throughout the picture add to the overall air of unsettling menace ( I hear that one of the songs from this movie was even used during a sex scene in the movie Hostel to create that similar feeling, but I haven't seen Hostel yet so I can't say how it went over). So I suppose I'll check out the new version when it finally comes to DVD. As much as I enjoy the original, something tells me I shouldn't spend theater prices just yet to check out how LaBute manhandled it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Discreet Timing

I'm in one of those moods tonight. I'm in that rare mood to heat up some extra-buttery popcorn and snuggle in for an thoroughly intimate viewing of Black Narcissus.

It's a movie I highly recommend, particularly for Kathleen Byron's untamed performance as Sister Ruth, a young woman at inner turmoil with her faith and her feminine desires while secluded away in a missionary deep within the lush, fragrant, beautiful, and breathtakingly erotic jungle of the Himalayan Mountains.

If you haven't seen it yet, run out and snap it up this instant. If you have, then pop it in again and revisit the experience with me.

And don't forget your popcorn.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Nothing Ever Goes To Plan

I really, really think I may have to put myself back on Avandia again, and I really, really, really don't want that to happen. But since I stopped taking back in, um, April or whenever that was, I have slowly and steadily declined into the thoroughly unproductive sleep machine that I was before 2001 when my insulin resistance was through the roof and I hadn't a whiff of sugar energy to speak of. Like then, I am waking up at 7am, zonking back out at 10am until noon, catnapping at 3pm until 5pm, and crawling into bed exhausted at 11pm or midnight at the latest. And this is just on my days off, for on work days I'm just barely trying to keep myself upright and I come home ready to hit the hay, or pass out in front of the television and whatever movie Joe has brought home that night. And coffee doesn't have any effect, other than I am still dog tired but just unable to go to sleep because of all the caffeine. And I've been trying to quit coffee this summer, since I'm not really all that big of a fan but I drink it to stay awake and least mildly alert at work. But when I'm home I find myself falling back into my old patterns during my insulin resistant years; sleeping, too tired to exercise, and totally fiending for sugar, which I rarely ever did when I was on Avandia. And I hate this. I hate not wanting to exercise like I really and truly love to do. I hate hovering over sugary substances at the grocery store like a honey bee at a picnic. I hate nodding off like a nacroleptic at work. But more than any of that, I positively abhor the very idea of spending $95 to $125 a month on Avandia pills just to make me function at least one notch above a garden slug.

If I can go one week -- one measly week without sugar, I think I could get back in the race again. Heck, I've done three years straight without sugar. Once it's out of my system I know I won't crave it any more. And I know what a fighter I am. But dadblastit, I'm so tired of fighting right now. Or rather, I'm just. so. tired.

How Now Emo Cow

Until I get my iPod shipped off (again) I suppose there's always the iTunes shuffle to amuse me.

1. "Days Of Being Wild" - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
2. "What Love" - Moby
3. "Little Girls" - Oingo Boingo
4. "Impetus" - Clutch
5. "Rock Tha House" - The Gorillaz
6. "Do You Love What You Feel" - Rufus & Chaka Khan
7. "Debonair" - The Afghan Whigs
8. "Planet E (House Mix)" - KC Flightt
9. "Pump Up The Jam" - Technotronic
10. "Talkin' All That Jazz" - Stetsasonic
11. "Mrs. Worthington" - Noel Coward
12. "The Ladder" - Prince & the Revolution
13. "I Love To Fuck" - Nobodys
14. "Paris 1" - Jon Hassell
15. "Willow Weep For Me" - Art Tatum
16. "Parents Today" - NOFX
17. "Commit It" - Sex Positions
18. "Blind Man" - L.A. Carnival
19. "I'll Come Running" - Chica + The Folder
20. "It Was A Good Day" - Ice Cube

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Sun 20: 2-cl
Tue 22: 11-6:30
Wed 23: 3-cl
Thur 24: 10-6:30
Fri 25: 2-8:30

Friday, August 18, 2006

Rodney On The Rocks

I think Rodney is officially dead. He's been actin' mighty poorly lately, freezing up every time I try and use the search arrows when I'm on the shuffle playlist so that I have to let his battery run down before I can recharge and reboot him again, although I must admit I do have that way of really putting the hammer down on that search dial in that intrinsically OCD way of mine. Er, not to mention the numerous times I've dropped him on the treadmill where he'd hit the conveyor belt and go flying backwards into the wall behind me. The ol' war horse has hung in there, by cracky. But now he's not breathing. No pulse to speak of. Joe tried working with him all day yesterday and pretty much called it. And I think my warranty has finally run out, although after one visit to the Apple store already I think his runt-of-the-litter health problems just finally just caught up with him, as was inevitable. I held his cold, flat, square body in my hands. I pressed him against my heaving breast as if my body heat would revive him. I stroked hy name engraved on his shiny metal back. Then I slid him gently into his blue canvas sleeve, velcroed him snuggly inside, and tucked him away on the shelf above my computer cabinet. Au revoir, sweet Rodney Amadeus Bingenheimer Anonymous. During a time in my life when friendship was desperately needed and yet on the wane, you were the most faithful companion I had in just these last two years alone.

Well, fudge. Now I need a new iPod. And I'm not likely to see that kind of loot anytime relatively soon. Although I did splurge and gank some new used product that came through this week... one of which was a bit, um, exorbitant for a used CD that actually wasn't the highly sought-after long-deleted first Traveling Wilburys album. But more on that later...

Because first I got the freshest Scritti Politti White Bread Black Beer, of which I've heard good things, and not all of them from Scritti Politti fans at that. I used to have their single to "The Perfect Way" back when it was released in 1985, but other than hearing a few tracks from older albums here and there I've never really owned anything else by them in all these years. So far of what I've heard it's a pretty mellow album with bright, pulsating synth rhythms and sinuous acoustic guitar pieces with production and songcraft often likened to that of XTC. This is the first track off the album, "The Boom Boom Bap", to sort of give you a taste of the entire disk.

"The Boom Boom Bap" - Scritti Politti (m4a file)
Available for 7 days.

The latest from Slayer, Christ Illusion, of which I am reading from several reputable sources is the best thing they've put out since Reign In Blood and since that is pretty much the only Slayer album I'll even listen to these days that's praise that matters, as far as I'm concerned. Here's the first track off the album, "Flesh Storm", which like many of the rest feature heavy imagery of politics and war, especially what goes through the minds of soldiers living day by day in the face of suffering and the effluvia of death. "Ever wonder what it takes/To be questioning your faith/This is what it's like/When it happens every Goddamn day".

"Flesh Storm" - Slayer (M4a file)
Available for 7 days

The brand new The Brand New Heavies Get Used To It. Tracy has been touting this album for awhile on her On The Verge website so I thought I'd take a used copy home and give it a spin. A little different from previous outputs, with a pretty even amalgam of neo soul, disco, funk grooves, and old-ish school R&B send-ups like this second track off the album "I Don't Know Why (I Love You)" which I believe samples a Jackson 5 song but it's been awhile so I can't remember off the top of my head. Some of it is a little too smooth and overproduced for what normally gets my blood pumping (a problem I have with many neo soul artists) but what I've heard so far sounds like it will grow on me with repeated plays. Damn, I could really use one of them iPods right now.

"I Don't Know Why (I Love You)" - The Brand New Heavies (M4a file)
Available for 7 days.

Okay, now lastly, the bigg'un.

Ultimate Prince was originally scheduled to be released around the same time at his new album 3121 and our inventory has been saying that we were due a shipment for some time now, but they never came in, and Kevin told me that he heard that they had decided not to release it after all in order to focus all their promotion on the new material instead. So when this baby came in used (from a regular customer who sells back a lot of promos) I want into store-wide spazz mode, practically running a lap around the inner parameter of the building clutching the disk to my chest screaming "AHHH! AHHHHH! DIBS! DIIIIBS!" before I suddenly became embarrassingly aware that I was the only one showing any interest in the damn thing anyway. But no so much because of a lack of interest in Prince, but the fact that we were selling this used at $49.99 which was too rich for everyone's blood, including mine. When I went home the other night I puttered around on the web a bit and noticed that Amazon had the durn thing as an import and being sold (new and used) doe $95, so figured that had to be about right if evil thing hadn't been intended for release after all -- and knowing Prince like I do I could see him pull an album at random and hold it almost indefinitely (The Black Album, anyone?) so yeah, one way or another I was gonna scrape some pennies together, by gum. But with a boost from Tracy's employee discount card (I really need to get me one-a those) I managed to shave off 20%, so yeah, that's not too bad for an album not scheduled to be released anymore. Since the first disk is nothing but the original single versions of all his early Top 40 hits, of which I already have, I'm basically getting it for the second disk full of remixes and 12"'s, many of which, er um, sounds like I may already have as well, but it least it does have the totally awesome 12" version of "Let's Go Crazy", titled Special Dance Mix here, that was originally featured in the opening scene of Purple Rain and has the wicked guitar solo and chaotic piano bridge that I love so much. Take a gander, if you've never had a chance to hear it:

"Let's Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix)" - Prince (M4a file)
Available for 7 days.

But, uhhh... this morning I noticed something else. The album listing on CD Universe's website has it listed as being released... August 22nd. Next week. For $17.49. Whoops.

Okay, so I'm a Prince nut. Living in sin with an even bigger Prince nut. At least I'm the most popular girl at work right now, because now that I went and bought the damn thing everybody wants a freakin' dub. Guess that'll learn me.

She's In Parties

The Friday Five:

1. Do you really make wishes when you blow out the candles on your cake?
Yeah, actually. I do.

2. Have any of the wishes ever come true, if yes?
Yeah, actually. They have. I find that the key to wishmaking is keeping them relatively realistic. But you get awarded points for difficulty if you still manage to keep them a little edgy by making them very, very specific.

3. How do you feel about birthdays? (e.g., love the attention, just another day, don't want anyone to know my real age, etc.)
I don't generally make a big deal about it myself. As painfully introverted as I am I get a little bashful and embarrassed sometimes when people lavish too much attention on me. I do, however, think it's very sweet and flattering that they remember and care, and as embarrassed as I am I'm still deeply touched by it all. And I have no problem telling people my age. I never understood why older women try and convince folks that they are younger than they are, since I imagine that it would just make them look twice as old. Maybe I should start claiming that I'm 60 right now and see how many lucrative Oil Of Olay endorsement offers I get.

4. Tell us a favorite gift you've received, or something you'd really like for your next birthday.
Wasn't so much a physical geegaw as it was a hilarious circumstance. Joe rented a limousine on my 26th birthday and we drove around Norfolk blasting Rick James and stopping into local record stores like Skinnie's with bourbon glasses in hand, and then Joe had the driver take us to Denny's (yes, back when Denny's gave free meals on birthdays) where all my friends were already waiting to surprise me and after lunch we all went across the street to the movie theater and saw Army of Darkness and basically just laughed our collective asses off. So see, that's my kind of birthday present; a little high class, a little ghetto fab, and toppin' it off with Ash kickin' some serious undead ass. And he works in hardwares, y'know.

5. What flavor cake?
Pie! WHO WANTS PIE???!!!! Wheeeee!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Entente Cordiale

It's gonna be a gas working with my old friend Kevin at the store from here on out. He's transferring to my store from the Norfolk Wherehouse to be our new POS manager since Amanda is leaving at the beginning of next week. Kevin and I have known each other for going on 18 years now, having worked together in various local record stores as far back as the 80's (his cousin Ted was my boss over at the old Music Man from 1989-91), and when the two of us get together reminiscing it's like that scene from the movie Jaws where the guys are on the boat showing off their battle scars like old war vets, with Kevin rolling up his sleeve saying "I got this one from a customer at Music Man back in 1988..." and me throwing my leg up on the table saying, "Oh yeah? Well I got this one from a customer at Fantasy back in 2002...". So yesterday when Kevin walked up to me on the floor and we got to catching up with each other, there was this detection from my end of an odd sadness between us. Or a bit of resigned defeat. Or a shrug of inevitability. Maybe a mixture of all three. But when I told him that I was happy to have him working with me again, just like old times, he just sighed and said, "Yeah. Or just happy to keep doing this for as long as either of us are able to at this point." Whether he knows something I don't, or if he's just another fellow music biz veteran familiar with all the signs and the harbingers that hark back to the closing of the Music Man, both of us just sort of looked each other in the eye and nodded in mutual agreement.

Speaking of vets, I also just learned yesterday that my friend David, former Music Man associate and Manhattan Tower Records manager, no longer works at Caroline Records, a position that he's held for almost 13 years, and now works delivery for for NYC's UPS. I was told by a mutual friend that David was even offered a job with another record company but he turned it down. The music business, he said, was just too unstable right now to invest his future with another label.

How long do I have to keep banging my own thick skull against the wall before I finally start seeing the writing on it?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I've Been A Bad Friend

I realize that I've been missing some birthday shout-outs this month, and even a few from last month, so let me start making amends right here in the middle of, uh, this month (oopsie):

Jack, whose birthday was back on July 21. I feel like a dodo because I had your date all calendar marked and ready to internally celebrate but looking back on that day I now remember that I was extremely ill and not to mention royally tweaked on Robitussin so please forgive me for forgetting. But I thought about you all month, actually, if that makes up for anything. :-)

Wemblee, whose birthday was August 2nd. Thank you for everything, especially your phone calls and your wacky sense 'o humor. Can't believe we live one state away and I still haven't met you in person after all these years. I know, I suck.

Erinita, whose birthday was August 7th. I really hope you're having a blast living out west, and thank you as always for checking in with me. I haven't called Ticketmaster charge-by-phone in awhile. Is that still your voice, Voice?

Last but certainly not least, I have a friend whose birthday is, uh, either this week or next week, I believe. I don't know exactly what day, but the only reason I know it's this month is because it was 8 days before he first introduced himself to me one year ago this month, and as much as I would love to bombarded him with cool DVDs and mixed CDs, all I can give is my eternal thanks for coming into my life when he did, and not a day goes by where he's not deeply missed. If you're still out there, Happy (early?late?) Birthday, sweetheart. And my best to you and your family.

Er, who else have I missed? (eep!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Destination Out

I am in deep, deep need of escapism right now. I've ripped down every history book off my teetering shelf only to discover that I know each and every one of them practically by heart. It wasn't planned, and it definitely wasn't budgeted, but on my way into work this morning I ducked into the Barnes & Noble next door and charged a little escapism to my debit card.

The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin (original German title: Das Passagen-Werk). I need a new history book. And philosophy book. And art book. That's what's so swell about Benjamin. He's your one-stop shop for all your historical/philosophical/artistical (artistical??) needs. And look LOOK!... it's got pictures, too.

Joy In The Morning by P.G. Wodehouse. Because I bought it a year ago and lost it before I even cracked the damn spine. And because I need a little funny in my life right now, and Plum provides, baby. Plum provides.

I partly feel as if I should explain myself these days, why I've been so stressed and, as a result, depressed, because I don't like giving the impression that I'm a mopey chick and a general downer to be around. I mean maybe I am, I don't know, but I do know that I'm not normally like this -- or at least without reason, but I hesitate to go into it at length here because it's primary work-related, and most people at least locally know where I work and I don't want to dive too deep into the internecine machinations involved within our parent company and ourselves and start unnecessary rumors about things that definitely not happening -- at least right now. Just that a lot of my year-long suspicions about what's going on in the company are slowly, day by day, being confirmed. That feeling of a multi-million dollar company spending lavish amounts buying up other popular retail chains and remodeling and and expanding, and our singular store is, well, let's just say is seeing less and less of this abundant generosity. And I do realize that the market is changing, that ye olde brick-n-mortar record stores all over the country are getting pummeled to the point of potential extinction (I don't think that's an unrealistic projection). But after my meeting today with my boss, realizing just how far our individual store is going to have to seriously retrench in order to meet our bottom line, I was driving home from work and letting my already frayed nerves become increasingly unraveled, and I entertained crazy, nutty thoughts of sabotage within the company. Is it thoroughly paranoid of me to think that this could all be some sort of plan from on high? Dare I say a sort of indirect scorched-earth policy to starve us out of there and close us up and write us off as redundant? Am I nuts? Quite possibly (another topic for another time). But we are the only store with our name in the country owned by this company, so there's not much in the way for them to invest in national advertising. We are, however, the largest retail CD/DVD store in the sister cities, as well as perhaps the rest of the state. We're still hurting, yes. That's a given. But we don't appear to be given as much boost as the national chains that our parent company owns. I know, I'm being vague and I'm sorry. I don't want to elaborate too much right now, since I am still in their employment and this is, of course, the internet. I will say that since I'm full time and manager-in-training I have slightly more job security than most. But for how long? Job security or not, I certainly don't feel very secure right now. Not with anything.

Anyway blah blah blah, I know. Sorry to keep bending your proverbial ears, guys. Thanks for being... out there... for me and all that. You folks is toppers.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Language Is A Virus

I was tidying up around the Musica Latina section when a young Mexican gentleman approached me in the aisles:

HE: "¿Tu habla español?"

ME: "Um... un poco."

HE: "Ah." He smiles flirtatiously. "¿Cómo te llamas?"

ME: "Melissa"

HE: He blinks. "¿Cómo te llamas?"

ME: "Melissa"

HE: Another hesitation. "¿Cómo te llamas?"

ME: "Melissa"

He scratches his head.

HE: "Cómo. Te. Llamas."

ME: "Muh. Liss. Ah."


ME: Pointing now at name tag. "MELISSA!"

HE: "Ah." He nods, smiles politely, and just sort of wanders off.

Okay, question: ¿Que la chinga?


Mon 14: 11-6:30
Tue 15: 3-cl
Wed 16: 9-5
Thur 17: 3-cl
Sat 19: 1-8

Saturday, August 12, 2006

September Gurl

I think I'll be taking a little time off in September this year. That is, if I can get the days off that I'm gunning for. Maybe a week off to relax, de-stress and decompress, and a day or two to go somewhere other than where I've been. I'm craving like mad to go back up to New York City, record shop, see worthwhile movies, eat at Sonali, but realistically I think Washington D.C. will probably be more along my budget this year. Also Al has a cottage down in Nags Head this summer and he's invited Joe and me to stay with him for a few days, and maybe even Mike, too. Either way, I need a break -- at least one break before I completely crack my gourd when the holiday season rolls in and I'll (potentially) be in a full lead position dealing with all that hassle. I really feel like I haven't stopped going in circles since the move, pretty much since January or February or... gadzooks, has it been that long? Christ, no wonder I feel like I've been beaten with a stick. It's time once again for that annual soul-purging getaway that always somehow does me a world of good. And I do love D.C. I'll be quite satisfied with that.

Time now for an update on the new house weirdness. Other than the mystery stain in my front driveway, I appear to also have a tiny space roughly 6 inches in circumference just inside my back door that I have come to refer to as my "dead zone". Or "deceptively-dead zone" is more like it. I have an invisible area right in front of my back door where insects as varied as spiders and roaches to ants and houseflies wander in like that little town in Village Of The Damned and drop down as if dead, only to come back to themselves once they are removed from the "zone". And I haven't a single rational explanation for it.

This fly certainly appears to have kicked the bucket, hasn't it? Lying on its side, little creepy fly legs folded into itself. But I knew better. For you see, I know. After this photo was taken I gently picked up the fly with a paper towel and opened the back door to toss him out into the garden, but before his little fly body even hits the ground he spreads his wings and zips straight up and off, in complete control of his senses once again. Strangest thing I would have ever seen, if I hadn't already seen it the 2 or 3 other times this has happened.

So anybody got any ideas about what's up with all that? Could the previous tenants have bombed the house for bugs, but like, only in a 6 inch area by the back door? Or are there other, more -- dare I say -- suuuupernatural elements at work here? Quite frankly I'm scared to stand in that spot. Maybe I should go in with a rope tied around my ankle and have Joe pull me back out. Or better yet, send my minions out to steal neighbor's pets out of their back yards Thomas Edison-style and perform my experiments on them instead. Hm. My next door neighbor's grandchildren are bouncing on their trampoline right now. Hey kids! Auntie Mel's got a popsicle for youuuu!

Friday, August 11, 2006

This Isn't What It Looks Like

First 20 tracks on my iPod this afternoon just goofing off and being a lazy so-and-so...

1. "Jive Talkin'" - Bee Gees
2. "Suck" - Nine Inch Nails
3. "Abortion Is Illegal" - Sylvia Anders
4. "Destination Unknown" - Missing Persons"
5. "Dragon Attack" - Queen
6. "Ain't No Cowgirl" - Otis Taylor
7. "St. James Infirmary" - Louis Armstrong & The Hot Five
8. "Abraham Jefferson Washington Lee" - Sterling Von Tilzer
9. "Theme From An Imaginary Western" - DC3
10. "Mexican Caravan" - Butthole Surfers
11. "Rock 'n Roll High School" - Ramones
12. "Drafted Again" - Frank Zappa
13. "Sugarlight" - X
14. "Florentine Pogen" - Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
15. "Sweetie Pie" - Eddie Cochran
16. "Silver Black - High On Fire
17. "Missing Hit Man" - The Cold
18. "Moja (Part 1)" - Miles Davis
19. "Renegade" - Styx
20. "Won't You Fondle Me Medley" - Paley, Gumble, Sloane

Nothing New To Retort

The Friday Five:

1) What was the bravest thing you have every done?
I really don't know what I would consider my bravest moment. I suppose I have done things that some might categorize as brave more out of self-preservation, like fighting off an armed rapist with my bare hands. But I tend to define bravery as being afraid to do something but doing it anyway, because you have a choice to either face your fears or let them control you, and the act of choice to face your fear is to me the true definition of bravery. Therefore the severity of the situation we face is relative. No, I have never raced into a burning building to save a person, but although I have never been faced with that situation I think about it and feel far less apprehension undertaking a task like that than, say, getting in a confrontation with someone over some random, idiotic thing, because as illogical as it sounds I have a far more complex fear of mere confrontation than of burning buildings. I think 3 1/2 years of working for Ticketmaster's customer service department has made burning buildings in my mind look positively warm, toasty and inviting by comparison.

2) Describe the meanest thing you have ever done.
I've definitely hurt my share of folks over the years, but I'd like to think that about, oh, 97% of everything that I've ever done to that result was truly and honestly not intentional. That is, I'd like to think that. I'm always too continuously plagued with guilt over my own damaging actions that doing them deliberately just to be mean would only end up hurting myself more than the intended victim. Inside, however, I'm as mean and nasty a normal human being as the next schlub. Therefore nothing I've ever done to anyone comes anywhere remotely close to what I've merely thought about doing to someone else.

3) Tell us about the nicest thing anything anyone has done for you.
I think I've answered this one before, but I have had just too many nice things done for me in my lifetime to narrow it down to just one specific instance that outweighs all others. My needs are small. I don't require gifts or grand dramatic gestures. Sometimes just receiving a phone call or email from a friend who just wants nothing more than to say hi to me speaks volumes more than anything else on a George Bailey scale of generosity. Nothing makes me feel happier than to know that somebody was just reaching out only because they were thinking about me.

4) What was the most insane thing you have ever witnessed or done?
Are we talking about things I've seen in movies? Or on the news? Or is this strictly events that have occurred in person? Truth is not a whole lot tends to shock me anymore -- either that or my definition of insane varies from those of others. I remember when my former roommate set his hair on fire and ran through the pit at a False Sacrament show and I just sat there at my table watching and thinking, "Well, there goes Lou with his hair on fire." Man all these questions are annoyingly vague this week. Or maybe I'm being the annoying one for not coming up with any specific answers for any of them. Ah well, maybe I'll have something more substantial for the last question...

5) Describe the most "out of character" thing you secretly want to do.
OH ho ho ho ho HO! On second thought, never mind.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Good News, P.F. Chang's Is Still Standing

This was the scene from right outside of my record store early this afternoon. The black smoke was pouring out a lot more than what this photo leads one to believe...

The Virginian-Pilot © August 10, 2006 Last updated 8:12 PM Aug. 10

VIRGINIA BEACH – Four cars were engulfed in flames in the Town Center parking garage at lunchtime today, sending thick clouds of pitch-black smoke from the building.

Police evacuated the Armada Hoffler tower and many surrounding businesses, but nobody was hurt.

Hundreds of business people in shirts and ties, dresses and heels were forced to leave their offices and the restaurants surrounding the tower. Dozens more came from Pembroke Mall across the street to watch the spectacle.

People milled around the sidewalks, the streets and the parking lots in and around Town Center, staring up at the thick smoke that belched from the building for a half-hour.

Officials said the gas tanks and tires in the car exploded, causing the heavy black smoke.
There are no sprinklers on the fourth floor of the parking garage, so there was nothing to immediately douse the flames. There are sprinklers only in the first three floors of the parking garage.

Meanwhile, traffic on Virginia Beach Boulevard continued flowing in both directions. Police closed two intersections within the Town Center complex. Many fire trucks and police cars were positioned around the main tower.

It is not known how long the parking garage will be closed

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I Call Shenanigans

The future in laptop technology? I dunno, man. I see issues. Like, right off the bat. Plus I wonder how many people will actually buy the silly little things. I'd feel like an absolute tool just carrying one around in my shirt pocket.

I just had a dream that I was watching that new Pink Panther movie with Steve Martin (which I have never actually seen) but the plot to the movie was basically the same as Brideshead Revisited (which I have also never seen, but have read the book), except for some reason it also featured Hugh Laurie in his Bertie Wooster role and Kevin Smith as... uh, a guy who owns a comic book store. Yeah. Even my dreams aren't all that imaginative anymore.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ain't It Funky Now

Oh, and speaking of Greg, since he found the link first, this was the very first time that I had ever seen or heard of Stevie Wonder, back when he appeared on Sesame Street with his band performing "Superstition" in the early 70's. I remember as a little girl thinking how funny it was that his head kept swaying every time he stopped singing, and I have since never not been able to hear this song without associating the mental image of that one kid in the orange shirt trying to bust a move on the fire escape. And I never realized that was Ray Parker Jr. there on the guitar. Anyway, good times. Funky good memories. Thanks, Greg!

And dude, check out that gold medallion on Stevie's chest. I think I saw Harry Hamlin use that same piece to ward of Medusa in Clash Of The Titans. Bling-bling!

Still Coming To

My boss' birthday party/Amanda's going-away party Saturday night was actually a real hoot. Introvert that I am I don't often take up invitations to hang with the staff outside of the proverbial office too often, but damn if it wasn't the best laugh I'd had in several dreary weeks of, uh, not laughing quite so much. We had 20 people from my store and the Barnes & Noble next door, with whom we sometimes share staff so we've had this sort of symbiotic/incestuous partnership for years. And as it stands, the B&N is staffed almost entirely by gay men and my record store is staffed primarily by lesbian women, and somehow I wound up at the end of the restaurant table with all the gay men who as the night progressed (or regressed however you wanna look at it) good-natured words were exchanged between both warring sides and, well, gay men I've noticed have often had the advantage of dishing the dirtiest, and my straight ass was on the floor seized with the kind of hysterics I haven't felt since the last time S. and I hung out with Sef. You just don't know how much I needed to be there that night, kiddos. You. Just. Don't. Know.

You know what else kicked ass this weekend? Getting a couple 'a primo Death Match compilation burns from Greg T. in my mailbox! Thankyouthankyouthankyou, dearheart. Not to get all mushy on ya, but knowing that you're out there makes me feel all happycakes inside. :-)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bye-Bye, Love

Dude. You were one crazy mofo. And so was your album Forever Changes. But it is still one of my favorite records of all time. Descent into madness never sounded quite so sweet since.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Mon 7: 10-5
Tue 8: 3-cl
Wed 9: 11-6:30
Thur 10: 10-6:30
Sat 12: 3-cl

Space Age Whiz Kids

The Friday Five:

1. How much time do you spend on the Internet daily?
It depends, I guess. Today I spent about 4 hours total, maybe. An hour or two early this morning, and about two just now because I was talking on the internet phone with Khalid in Morocco for awhile. Just all depends on what I'm doing that day and what I have planned. Most days I just leave the web on and check my email periodically throughout the day, and that's about it.

2. What are your favorite 3 websites?
A couple of online movie and music message boards, and some of my friends' blogs. Really that's about all I visit on the actual web on a regular basis, unless I'm logging on to look up something in particular. No real sites that are my favorites so much as I just go where my online buddies hang.

3. Do you eat at your computer?
You know it's just recently come to my attention that the only times I do get genuinely hungry are when I'm at the computer, which is weird because other activities such as reading books, watching TV, or any other activity that involves either following a string of words or staring dull-eyed at a monitor doesn't have that affect on me. Therefore I am consciously attempting to cut back on my web time each day in order to get back on my weight loss regime until I get down closer to my goal again. I suppose we'll see how long that idea lasts.

4. Pick one and why - Reading the news online or in a newspaper?
Lately online, since my free newspaper delivery stopped coming. That is, once my next door neighbors moved away.

5. How many people are on your instant messenger buddy list?
Actually quit a lot since everyone who has ever emailed me with an AOL account has somehow been automatically installed into my IM buddy list. I don't use my IM, so it's not like I talk to any of them in that manner anyway. But it's interesting seeing people come and go all day, like sitting at a table in an outdoor cafe, casually people-watching. I see some folks that I don't even talk to anymore pop on and off and it always makes me miss them a little. On the other hand, I could potentially spend the entire afternoon quietly stalking Vance DeGeneres without him ever knowing it.

Show You How To Hustle

Oh, the Pharrell signing at my store the other day went okay, I suppose. It was hot, of course, so people were a little crabby. but overall it went off swell and folks seems to enjoy themselves, especially once they were able to pour into the air conditioned store 50 at a time and at least lay their eyes assuringly on the man of the hour. I was in charge of crowd control, but everyone behaved themselves very well and I think they all got what they basically wanted from the man, who is always a very personable, very courteous fellow even when he's in town and shopping on his own (or with his bodyguard and increasingly taller and taller model girlfriends). Pharrell is from Virginia Beach, by the way. He and Chad Hugo from The Neptunes/N.E.R.D. went to the high school directly across the street from my record store.

That's Pharrell up there with some of my work posse, a pic I ganked from Brad's myspace page. I split before this photo was taken so I'm not in it, but there's my pal Tracy over to the right who appears to be mortified to be having a frappuccino hanging out of her mouth right when the picture was snapped. Next to her in the white shirt is my boss Nilda. I'm actually going out with her tomorrow night to celebrate her birthday.

Yeah, speaking of the store, uh... do any of you long-time readers from the old blog remember the nutty homeless man that used to come into the store a few years ago and scream at the classical CDs? Or rather he would quietly walk into the classical room, stand and press his face to the far wall beneath the large paintings, and scream like a lunatic until one of us ran in there and told him to leave. Well, looks like he's returned. At least (whew) it sure smells like the same guy. He was MIA for about a year, I guess, but now he's back with screaming jets, although this time he's lost the battle with the classical CDs and has learned to just keep to the pop/rock section -- and yes, he still talks to himself. Very, very loudly. And I gotta tell ya, the dude can drop some mad science. When he used to be a frequent visitor I would often follow him around the store with a pad and pen and write down everything he said because some of it had an almost free-form, Captain Beefheart imagery that I admit I found thought-provoking. Well, now his new schtick appears to be, uh, licking things. Especially cash registers and metal detectors. And um, God knows what else. Quite frankly I'm afraid to touch anything in that store anymore without Nilda's economy-sized container of Clorox wet wipes, let alone what other parts of the man's body he might be anointing our machinery with. But so far he hasn't physically bothered any of the customers, even though Barnes & Noble next door have banned him from the store because apparently he was going around behind female customers' backs, gently touching them with a pointed finger, and saying "whore" to each one. Which frankly I think is hilarious but I can see how others wouldn't be as amused. He did, however, walk past one of our new employees and clasp the boy's shoulder in passing. The poor kid ran up to me with a look of terror on his face, pointing to the perfectly outlined filthy hand print on his purple shirt.

I just found out recently that the guy isn't really homeless at all, and even lives not too far from myself. But every day I see him shuffling zombie-like as always down the boulevard with his backpack and long, gray, matted hair, staring straight ahead at all times, and conjuring up imagery of children with nails in their heads and dogs that serenade you with old Sonia Dada tunes. Man, I wish we had a picture of him with Pharrell up there.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

String Me Along

Days like these, I'm thinking of cooler, nay frostier times gone by -- or as frosty as things tend to get in my part of the Mason-Dixon. And for some reason Elliott Carter's String Quartets No. 1 & 2 - Composer's Quartets really sets the mood, even though I originally bought this album on a humid evening at Los Angeles' Amoeba Records on Sunset (and I thought my store's classical collection was relatively impressive). Carter, a protégé of Holst, made a name for himself in the pioneering Neo-Classical/avant-garde set, although this is the only work I have ever heard from him, and my friend at work who's our resident classical expert keeps steering me away from his section because he "scares him". Although I have noticed that a few of the Carter CDs that we carry have been produced by a local gentleman who comes into the store from time to time so I might hit him up on some other recommendations. Something about this album makes me want to take an icy shower and then lay naked on my soft, cool bedsheets and let the ceiling fan brush every microhair on my hide dry. Think refreshing thoughts, my comrades. And enjoy the calamity.

"Fantasia: Maestoso - Allegro Scorrevole" - Elliott Carter (m4a file)

Available for 7 days.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lil' Bow Wows

What was it that my girlfriends and I loved so much about Bow Wow Wow lead singer Annabella Lwin back in the early 1980's? That the band's percussion-driven new wave pop "I Want Candy" and "Do You Wanna Hold Me?" were the few grooves getting our drowsy 13-year-old asses off the couch and dancing to Saturday morning airings of American Bandstand? That the early larvae-stage days of MTV strip-running their videos open our eyes to images of (albeit toned down) punk fashions and attitudes? Or could it be that Annabella, being so close to our own ages, has a mother that lets her like totally pose naked and have a real boss mohawk?? Well naturally at the time we weren't exactly aware of how much her mother protested the whole naked issue (I think I read that in the Malcolm McLaren book I have, however much of it you wanna take at face value), but I had to admit we all thought the whole mohawk thing was pretty keen. With our limited resources of hair gels, hair sprays and curling irons we all somehow managed to achieve some semblance of mohawkedness through the sheer force of our intrepid pre-teen will, and once I painted my aunt's face in an exact replica of Lwin's then-famous cheetah paint and then gleefully let her recount the instances of gawks and stares she received when she went out with it still on as she visited the local bumpkintown drug store to pick up some panty hose. I think it all came down to, well, Madonna hadn't existed yet, so who else were we wee things gonna gloam on to? Annabella was a peer. But much, much cooler than us. We all wanted to be in her righteous cool-girl, mohawk-sportin' posse.

Funny how I don't have any Bow Wow Wow on my iPod right now. Hell, you know how all the songs go anyway. So here's a video that I remember from way back when. Probably the first time I ever laid eyes her, in fact. Oh, and Joe booked them a few years back at Peabody's down at the beach. And lawd, the woman is still fiiiiine....

"Baby Oh No" - Bow Wow Wow (Youtube video circa 1982)

Not Now James, We're Busy

First 20 tracks on my iPod while cleaning the downstairs bathroom.

1. "I Own You" - The Famous Pies
2. "Blood And Thunder" - Mastodon
3. "Just Like A Woman" - Bob Dylan
4. "Former Airline" - Wire
5. "Cherry Bomb" - The Runaways
6. "Mein Herz Brent" - Rammstein
7. "Grab The Titties" - Pharoah Moench
8. "Bad Guy Reaction" - The Rezillos
9. "Tanqueray" - Johnnie Johnson
10. "I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away The Ending" - New Radicals
11. "Legend Of A Wheelman" - The Fleshtones
12. "Sante Yalla" - Cheikh Lô
13. Slippin' And Slidin'" - Little Richard
14. "Never Never Gonna Give You Up" - Barry White
15. "Septone" - Muhal Richard Abrams
16. "Frulings Bravour-Jodler" - Lydia Huber und die Lustigen Cheimgaumusikanten
17. "Ain't Nobody Straight In L.A." - The Miracles
18. "Untitled Song For Latin America" - The Minutemen
19. "Charlie's Enormous Mouth" - Frank Zappa
20. "Kansas City" - Wanda Jackson

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hello, Teenage America

The summer of 1990 brought an inchoate Nine Inch Nails to the old Peppermint Beach Club down on the oceanfront, their album Pretty Hate Machine already a minor underground club hit and steadily rising. But that night, one of the hottest, most sweltering pits I had ever experienced, Trent Reznor and Co. were cleanly and evenly blown off the stage by their own opening act, the as-then unknown to me Meat Beat Manifesto, with their pulsating electric rhythms, engaging floor show, and nasally call-to-arms rapping style of frontman Jack Dangers." Accompanied by musical partner Jonny Stephens the stage minimalist settings consisted of three male dancers in spiked, fleshtoned body suits attached to one another with a length of umbilical cord, tossing about a giant spiked ball that resembled the ball end of a spiked mace weapon. The sheer amount of spiky hilarity involved in the performance brought about many a gag with my friends who attended the show with me, so that every time we saw anything adorned with a number of lengthy spikes instantly acquired the appellation "Meat Beat ___" (shortly after when the movie Edward Scissorhands appears in theaters, we laughed heartily at a random clock with a sunburst of spikes in the family's living room when my friend Dave loudly proclaimed it a "Meat Beat Manifesto clock"). And somehow the joke just never gets old.

Intoxicated for weeks after the show we suddenly went on the prowl for anything we could find by the band. Tracking down a copy of the group's second album 99% was looked upon as an almost Grail-like accomplishment in discovery, and it wasn't long before Joe was spinning trax at Friar Tucks and reminding other patrons there who had attended the show exactly what it was that made so many people say "Nine Inch who?" Although the CD lacks some of the energy from the live experience, and the last two shows I had seen, although good, never quite achieved that first show moment of epiphany, I still get the chills every time I throw on the "Dog Star Man/Helter Skelter" segue and recall S. and I drenched in sweat flailing St. Vitus style in the pit ("Helter Skelter" was hers and my favorite song). And I gotta say Jack Dangers is by far one of the nicest, sweetest guys I've ever met in the business.

"Dog Star Man/Helter Skelter" - Meat Beat Manifesto (m4a file)

Available for 7 days.