Monday, December 31, 2007

Braced For The New Year...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sick Of Me Yet?

Welp, here we are. The obligatory end-of-the-year look back in anguish blog post that I always can't help but to crank out in an attempt to purge myself spanking clean before the start of the new year, but I promise I'll keep it short and relatively un-dramatic. If any particular theme ran true in all my post this past year, brevity, not necessarily of wit, was definitely the soul of it. And I'm sorry about that. As the useless brain cells start to shrivel and flake away at this age the gift of elocution becomes increasingly less.... er, uh... less... yeah. Uh, well. Maybe it's best to only pay attention to the words I'm not saying. They're less open to interpretation these days than the ones that I actually do.

And for once, there were probably too many predominant themes to this year to chose one overall. But I'll go for the one that probably counts the most, and that's my finally learning, gradually, to overcome a lot of my shyness and social reticence and let people back into my life once again. The last year was tough, especially losing someone (in a sense) that I connected with so strongly I began to doubt if I'd ever find another friend that close and meaningful again. My entire life, I have always had difficulty making close friends. Childhood was awkward, but considerably easier compared to adolescence, when puberty divided me from the rest of my peer group and I suddenly discovered that I really didn't have much in common with most of the girls -- and later, women -- that I met throughout my life. But I don't fault other people. I believe it to be 110% myself and my habitual solitary nature of feeling like an outcast since childhood that has kept me from adopting the normal routes of socialization that makes me connect deeply to other people. In other words, people do seem to sorta like me. But they don't ever really get to know me, apparently. Or that's what my former boss who, God love her, was the first person to sit me down one day and explain it all to me in ways that I would beg other people to lay out for me for as long as I could remember. And what she said was true; I don't socialize much. I don't let on to what I'm thinking or feeling, or take initiative to open a conversation. I tend to steer away from groups rather than to insert myself and stake my claim in the conversation. In the past, I was told to my face, point blank, not to do that. Go away, this doesn't concern you. And that rejection always haunts me, and colors the way I socialize in public. The internet is one thing, although I still carry a lot of that insecure baggage here as well. I feel like the odd woman out in many message boards, newsgroups, and social organizations where despite finally getting to converse with people I have something in common with, I probably still come off as the aloof and distant contributor in some manner. And even if I didn't, I'd still fear I would be. I have met a few very lovely people that I connect with via the web, and for them I am grateful. God knows what kind of woman I'd be today if I had such an invention as a kid to get me through those long, awkward phases. Although maybe we all need to go through those coming-of-age phases without such a crutch or else get eaten alive in the real world. Maybe it's a good thing I was thrown into the deep end to learn to swim while I still could.

But anyway, this year I made a private resolution to try and open myself as much as I could to the possibility of making friends with the living once again, and I... I think it's beginning to take. I started out doing what I normally don't do, which is accepting invitations to parties from the girls at work. Never much of a traditional party-er, me. With S. and those guys a party usually consisted of no booze but lots of inspired insanity, like driving out during city-wide blackouts and videotaping customers at late-night Denny's eating in the dark. Parties with the kids these days really does seem to consist of beer, and all the ways it can be consumed, while remaining as sedentary as possible while it happens. Plus I might add the nearly 20-year age gap between myself and a majority of my co-workers, who listen to 80's music with a sense of wistful irony while I hear it and cringe, actually remembering the party I was at the very year that 80's music came out. But you know, I learned by doing this how much I really do enjoy these kids, and really have come to love them over time. And that's the underlying frustration in all of this: I long to love people. I crave to connect with someone. I want it so bad sometimes it burns a hole right through me. But there's that issue. That social barrier that I need to overcome. And despite the parties, despite the fleeting moments of inspired insanity, I still feel on the outside, wanting in.

This year I have started accepting invitations to weekly Sunday breakfasts with Mike and Al, two people I have known for going on almost two decades, but through them I am meeting some wonderful new people who also attend these get-togethers. Almost all of whom are between their 40's and 50's so I'm the "kid" in this scenario for a change. But nearly all have been involved in the local music or arts scene in some form or fashion to where we have something in common, know a lot of the same people, attended the same functions, and quite frankly can actually carry on a conversation about The Buzzcocks as opposed to Fall Out Boy for a refreshing change of pace. And I look forward to those Sundays. To the time spent with these people, every one of which I love to pieces. And I still can't tell if I have developed that connection with all of them, but part of all this is to open myself up again to real-life friendships and flesh-n-blood interactions, the way it used to be before circumstances made me more a slave to the internet where my obvious awkward shortcomings are not quite as crippling. I would like for things to be the way they were, pre-internet era, where I went out more and socialized and didn't care if I was making a good impression because I was too busy having the time of my life with the most terrific people on the planet. Now I have met some truly terrific people again. Now I am hoping this new year not only brings out the best of me... but if anything, brings me out as well. Out of the house, that is. :)

Speaking of which, I have been invited to a New Years Eve party at Hunter's house this year with the rest of the breakfast gang (all except for Mike, whose band is playing Thumpers in Elizabeth City, NC tomorrow night), so I'm baking cookies and bringing the pinot noir. Jeepers. Probably my first actual New Years Eve party since I rang in 1996 with S. all those years ago.

It's true I'll never find another good friend as close to my own soul as she. And missing her is, I've told myself, perfectly okay. But letting it happen over again with another bunch of equally great people is like opening a fresh new chapter in my life, and I'm all about the whole fresh new chapter idea in a big way. Hopefully once I get past that persistent social barrier, I can hope they mind like to have me around as much I like having them around as well.

Anyhoo, all I can say is that so far this New Years is considerably better than the strep I had last year. Here's to a strep-free year to everyone! NO STREP! I command you all!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Brrrrrubber Biscuit?

Happy birthday to my darling Jose Vlad! And in keeping with the tradition of flagrant annual birthday cheesecakery, and since we've been watching an awful lot of Angel on DVD lately, here is a lovely snapshot of Charisma Carpenter...


Friday, December 28, 2007


Sat 29: 3-cl
Tue 1: 1-8:30
Wed 2: 9-5
Fri 4: 3-cl
Sat 5: 9-5

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Radical Stance

First 20 tracks on my iTunes while sitting here refusing to go see Alvin And The Chimpunks...

1. "Barbie Girl (German Version)" - Aqua

2. "Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson

3. "My Machine" - Boris

4. "Eminence Front" - The Who

5. "Lottery Winners On Acid" - The Crimea

6. "Harlem Woogie" - Jimmy Johnson

7. "The Power Of Love" - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

8. "A Funky Song" - Ripple

9. "Blue Funk" - The Effigies

10. "Melting Blue Delicious" - The Wild Swans

11. "Who's Making Love" - Johnnie Taylor

12. "I Will Refuse" - Pailhead

13. "Sandstorm" - Darude

14. "Jimmy's Got A Little Bit Of Bitch In Him" - Funkadelic

15. "MD 20/20" - Big Chief

16. "Pick Up The Pieces" - Average White Band

17. "Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad" - Wanda Jackson

18. "Things To Remember" - Willie Nelson

19. "All Rights Reserved" - The Chemical Brothers

20. "Tribute (Right On)" - Pasadenas

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas To All

And remember, nice girls don't wear cha-cha heels.

Monday, December 24, 2007

How I Wish It Would Fake Snow

So I survived another holiday retail horrorshow. Actually not so bad, really. Probably not a good thing, in the long run. But I imagine most places were suffering about as bad as we were at some point. People just aren't buying things like they were in previous years. Gas prices? War fatigue? Maybe it's the start of a new, less materialistic spyglass glimpse into our Christmas Future, where all the little Who's down in Whoville hold hands around the Christmas tree and sing fah-who-for-aze and eat roast beast and say fuck you Planet Music, I negate your Josh Groban and all he represents, and we would then be sooooo *~happy~*, all of us, every one. Well, here's to next year for all that to happen, yeah. In the meantime Mike is coming over for video games and I think I'm going to take a stroll around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights for a spell. Walk off some of the brownies and candy and ham biscuits that everybody brought in at work today. Before the glut puts me to bed at an embarrassingly early hour.

Another one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, "Fairytale Of New York" by The Pogues, featuring the late Kirsty MacColl, is also one of my all-time favorite romantic ballads for its realistically dark and vertiginous tale of tempestuous punk rock love. Thought these days the song makes me think of S. and how much we both adored this song, and I'm sure it brings even more intensely heartbreaking memories to her as it does to me. Okay, now I'm getting all verklemmt. See you on the other side, fellow revelers! I love you. Yes, I mean you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

And It's A Good Thing

The last Sunday brunch before Christmas was a low-key affair, with not everybody quite showing up, but still a wonderful moment out of my work week where I can interact with humanity in a manner that doesn't require me to bustle about finding Andrea Bocelli CDs for them (and wouldn't you know it -- now that these people's constant gripes holiday prayers have been answered and Josh Groban finally put out a Christmas CD this year, now they're crabbing non-stop about why Bocelli hasn't put one out yet himself -- or even more bizarre, Paul Potts, who just who just won Britain's Got Talent this year and has his first album on the shelves as of just this autumn... I'm surprised these people aren't furious that he already hasn't had a retrospective box set out so far [But I digress!]). It was warm yet rainy, and I arrived nearly 30 minutes early to D'Egg down on Main Street in downtown Norfolk (one of our usual brunch mainstays) so I browsed about Prince Books across the street and spent some money that I probably shouldn't, but needed to since I found a few things that I couldn't get anywhere back at the beach.

Alison Bechdel, famed creator of the syndicated comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For chronicles her life growing up with her late father in Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic complete with her expressive black and white art and prose that can be sometimes almost Chekovian in the way it can be both comic and tragic at the same time. Alison's relationship with her aloof, exacting father who died a repressed homosexual (the same year Alison herself came out during her college years) that was popularly considered a suicide is dissected in patterns and diary-like remembrances of the life of a daughter growing up and trying to piece together the enigma that was the most imposing and complex presence throughout her young life.

And at last, The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, another autobiographic-novel from a female perspective, this time of a Tehranian girl coming of age during Islamic revolutionary Iran, from her high school years in Vienna far from her family, to her self-imposed exile from the home she always loved. This book is now a a film, done in Satrapi's same stark noir-ish style art, which recently won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. I've seen several volumes here and there throughout town, but never the entire series, so I'm massively stoked to be finally getting this.
So anyway, our breakfast friends Mike C. and Donna were spontaneously married a few days ago, and they gifted us with some home-baked Christmas goodies, like white chocolate pretzels, nut-brownie cookies, and roasted marshmallows dipped in chocolate and rolled in peppermint. Needless to say, my tum-tum be hurtin' mighty fierce right now. But it was all good, baby. In fact, times like today I'm reminded to be thankful for having more blessings to count than too few. And it's nice. Very nice, indeed.

Three Cheers For Anything

Tonight may be the night I whip out my Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version of "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians", one of the two MST3K Christmas movies I like to re-watch this time of year. Well, any time of year, really, as their enduring themes of joy and giving and Pia Zadora and rampant xenophobia are timeless. I burned a copy of my old original TV recording for Miranda earlier this week and she said that it was "amazing". And you know what else is amazing? DARLENE LOVE! Who plays it so exquisitely straight in this current Saturday Night Live "TV Funhouse" segment by Robert Smigel called "Christmastime For The Jews". The Jon Stewart shout-out near the end still tickles me every time.

This one goes out to all my Chosen Peeps, including Joe, although he's not a practicing Jew. He just likes pork rinds way too much. All the others, you know who you are (word to your muthah, Wem! xxx).

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Mon 24: 10-6:30
Wed 26: 3-cl
Thur 27: 10-5
Fri 28: 9-5
Sat 29: 3-cl

How could one not expect the final Saturday before Christmas to be a nine hour non-stop exercise in consumer futility, desperately scrambling for baffling things that people desperately need three days before they are supposed to be giving it to someone else, and how surprised they are to discover that no one in town has it anymore since most retailers won't be receiving any more shipments of anything until after the holidays? How did I survive it all on less than four hours sleep and a wicked bladder infection? I don't know... uh, confidentially, I don't think I did. Which is why I'm home right now missing the undoubtedly hilarious Toys For Tots wrestling event downtown with Joe and the gang while chugging cranberry juice and watching The 40 Year Old Virgin on the USA network for the umpteenth time. Mother of Yod, I'm grateful I don't have to work tomorrow. Although Christmas Eve, if the past is any indicator, promises to be even nuttier. And by association, so will I.

So I'm tired. Gonna go back to my movie now. In the meantime in keeping with the spirit of the musical countdown to Christmas whatsit here's another track off of Willie Colón's Asalto Navideno album. My favorite, actually. A live version of "La Murga" which I think means "street band" or something like that, I can't remember. Three years of Spanish class in high school and all I can remember how to say is "The cow passes in front of the house", which actually comes in more handy to know more often than you'd think. Anyway, enjoy the tunes. I'm gonna go figure out my new-fangled dishwasher.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Wish I Had A Watermelon Tambien

Got my Christmas presents from Joseph this week, which consisted of Angel season four on DVD, and another audio book to The Onion's Our Dumb Century series which we listened to Wednesday night while we fell asleep, which didn't take long for me considering how insane that day was at work. And my Christmas present from my parents arrives early tomorrow morning in the form of a new dishwasher since my old one sorta exploded and shot water all over the kitchen floor. Wow. I think Christmas has pretty much virtually come and gone for me already this year. Now if we could just have this consumer momentum for the rest of the year at my store. I still can't believe my old friend quit Wednesday. I mean I can understand it. I just can't believe it. And he was my "rock", too. Oh well.

Speaking of Christmas at work, I've convinced the staff to let me play the Asalto Navideno album by Willie Colón, which my former Puerto Rican boss introduced to me by playing it in the store every Christmas season because it reminded her of hearing it at Christmas block parties in her childhood neighborhood in Brooklyn. Released in 1970, the video clip above is a 1973 live performance of one of the album tracks "Aire de Navidad" ("Air Of Christmas") with Colón wielding the trombone like a rock star and the resplendent Hector Lavoe on lead vox (right before the drug problems became an obvious pressing issue). They look like they're having hella fun up there. And mad good salsa any day beats the living snot out of another bleak Josh Groban snoozefest. Sweet baby Jesus, that should go without saying.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Oh What Joy And What Surprise

My all-time favorite Christmas song since I was a child, complete with fan-made video as well. Love love LOVE the choice of photos used for the accompanying slide-show. I played this song in the store the other night and the kids all thought I was nuts. Oh well, there's something new.

And for the record, I really do want a hippopotamus for Christmas. If I didn't have one already, that is. :D

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grooving On An Inner Plane

Today was one of those work days where you just gotta question everything that you're doing, everything that you've put your heart and soul into, and wonder whether or not you're the tough one who knows how to suck it up and be the woman nobody else knows how to be.... or discover that you're the pussy that everyone else is not because they're the smart ones for not investing as much into something so ridiculous as you did yourself. As of today, for the first time, I think I'm leaning more towards the latter. You ever have one of those moments when you first discover that everything you know just might be wrong? I hate days like those.

I'm still kind of reeling from the events of the day. All I can still hear in my head is the murmur of shoppers, the beep of the cash register, and how the Suzy Boggus song "Two-Step 'Round The Christmas Tree" that we keep playing in our store always sounds like "Goose-Step 'Round The Christmas Tree" to my ears. I think the holiday blues are finally upon me, as of tonight. Sigh.

I miss riding around neighborhoods at night looking at Christmas lights like S. and I used to do every year for the last, oh, fifteen years or so. I wonder if she still rides around looking at lights. I miss Coleman's Nursery with her, and the animatronic bears and elves and getting hot apple cider and buying bags of espresso coffee bean candies and driving home hopped up on mouthfuls of beany goodness and enough caffeine power to light up Plume Street, if we hadn't have already unscrewed all the Christmas lights off the top of the parking garage that they leave up there all year 'round. I miss... dude, I can't even go into all that I miss.

I do, however, miss the old Fishbone. Everything up to Truth And Soul, because I lost interest in their new sound after that. But this song, and this video to "Wonderful Life (Gonna Have a Good Time)" really does bring back the old school memories of my freshman year of college when I first got into the band, and how I grew so obsessed with them I almost at one point considered getting a tattoo of their fish logo on my ankle, and if anyone knows anything about me I am wildly allergic to the very idea of getting a tattoo of any kind, no matter what the subject or situation. I've seen these guys countless times live, once when I was crushed so hard against the stage I nearly passed out, and then later that night I did pass out on hood of just dave's car at the Open House Diner later after the show. Anyway, I love these guys. I really, really love these guys. Not my favorite song from them. But a favorite holiday memory just the same. And I certainly need more of those.

No More For Me, Thanks

First 20 tracks on my iTunes sitting here wondering why the hell I have to be up so damn early this morning...

1. "Bomba Na Motema" - Kalima Pierre

2. "Tops" - The Rolling Stones

3. "And So Is Love" - Kate Bush

4. "Mr. Goodnight" - Prince

5. "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" - Jay-Z

6. "Ride The Donkey" - The Tennors

7. "I Can See For Miles" - The WHo

8. "Former Airline" - Wire

9. "Isabel" - Unrest

10. "And The Beat Goes On" - The Whispers

11. "Bop Til You Drop" - Rick Springfield

12. "Life Is A Miracle (Miracle Mix)" - Pato Banton

13. "Housequake" - Prince

14. "Proud Mary" - Ike & Tine Turner

15. "Old Man From The Mountain" - Merle Haggard

16. "Back Of A Car" - Big Star

17. "I Should Care (Take 1)" - Thelonious Monk

18. "Nowhere To Hide" - Downtown

19. "Love Ridden" - Fiona Apple

20. "Let Love Rule" - Lenny Kravitz

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Are You The New Butler?

I'm thinking since Christmas is a week away, I may post a few songs and videos that remind me of this time of year, or Christmases from the past, or whatever else I can find that might fit the season and whatnot. Not like I have much else to post about these days, unless you wanna keep hearing about my swollen knee until New Years.

So my first choice...

Some of my early 80's Christmas memories involve watching the video to "The Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie on the then-inchoate MTV channel. Me not being fully aware of Bowie except for the odd MTV video like "Ashes To Ashes" and "Fashion", although I remember at the time Bowie looked almost exactly like the stepfather of three of my best friends (sisters) and it used to give us the giggles watching this, as simple as the imagery is, and later just how odd a pairing this really came to be. Der Bingle and the Thin White Duke almost look like they could be sharing a cup of cocoa in matching red reindeer sweaters in Bing's gothic cardboard mansion together. Maybe in an alternate universe they could share interests like, oh, golfing one week, buggering Elton John the next (okay one is an urban legend I know... we don't know for certain if Bowie likes to golf). But to this day I still like the stiff, stilted world that they inhabit, and it keeps me in that safe and happy place I was in as a young girl.

God, I would love to know that feeling of complete safety and warmth once again. And to maybe see Bowie recreate this moment with someone like, oh, Bootsy Collins these days. Heck, anything with Bootsy Collins is a very merry Christmas as far as I'm concerned.

Autumn Is Your Last Chance

So works been picking up. Which means I've been laying low online since I come home bonkers from exhaustion and a sudden bad knee on top of everything else. Typically holiday sales only really happen within the last week before Christmas and this weekend kicked things off with just myself and another (new) girl on the floor doing all the leg work and now my legs... well, they don't work.

But it's kind of refreshing to see CDs being bought again, even if all everybody seems to want this year is Josh Groban's new Christmas album Noel, in which a little piece of me dies inside every time we have to play the wretched thing in the store. Not like it needs the push. People have been bitching for years that Groban hasn't put out a full-on Christmas CD, so I suppose this year everyone gets their friggin' Christmas wish (but me).

Other holiday disks that seem to be moving well are yuppie-loved Celtic Women Christmas, Newsong's The Christmas Shoes, because nothing screams the holidays like yo' dead mama's feet, and Miss Patti's Christmas by Patti LaBelle, which even her fearlessly strong vocals can't quite save the relatively milk-safe production values of the music itself.

Still, it's been rather fun selling music again, and I admit I look forward to the holiday shopping season if for anything to get to push music on people again, since in this day and age nobody else during the rest of the year is buying any.

There's a Christmas party Thursday night. I suppose I need to make cookies. Mother of Yod. At least I got the majority of my shopping done. That's got to be a first for me.

Friday, December 14, 2007


BWAAHHahahahahahahahahahahahasnickersnort *hiccup* ::dies::

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Fri 14: 4-cl
Sun 11: 12-8
Mon 17: 3-cl
Wed 19: 9-5
Fri 21: 3-cl
Sat 22: 9-5

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Man Who Invented Himself

As I currently seem to be on a bit of a Vance lust fancy this evening, I'm been meaning to post linkage to the page of old clips from his 2 years at The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, all of which I already have but extremely difficult to find online, or in my case, searching the continent for people who remembered to turn on their VCRs from 1999 through early 2001. These totally make me wanna whip out my old TDS Vance burns again, though the clips here are obviously of higher quality than the multi-generation dubbing I had to meticulously mine from over the years. Good schtuff, anyway. Hope you all enjoy.

So Joe's been sick with the cold and has holed himself up in the guest bedroom for the last three nights, trying to stay one room away from me at all times so that I don't run the risk of catching it myself and follow it up with my usual post-cold Death Cough. I've already had it twice this year, the second which lasted several months, so I'm in no hurry to repeat that again for the New Year. I am very happy that Joe is no longer working at the video store anymore, since he was never in any position to call out sick. Now he can stay home, rest, and take care of himself properly, which puts my mind far more at ease than worrying about getting the cough again. It's a tad lonely, sure. But an ounce of prevention, I suppose.

In the meantime, I've been sorta of digging on this Sandy Dillon chick. Kind of channeling that Howlin' Wolf vocal style there, ain'cha kitten? Anybody heard anything else by her?

Wasn't That Shirley Temple's Ship?

Last night there was a customer in our store, short skinny guy with a widow's peak of short-cropped red hair, meandering around our store and talking covertly into his shirt sleeve about the CIA and how they "need to call John Langley and move the troupes in" or something (John Langley, or somebody like that, supposedly created the show Cops, I guess) and just wandering around being a weirdo. Well, he was back again today. He presented Brian with a note that he claims he found in the store and demanded to know which one of us had written it in our handwriting. The note said something about the CIA and "I know what the lollipop is because the lollipop is what you do to relieve the stress" or something like that. The guy proceeded to explain that one of our staff was following him around the store last night and then circling him in his car in the parking lot and then he claimed that he tried to make him get into his car to have oral sex with him at gunpoint. Naturally the person he described was nobody on our staff. And naturally the note was written by the guy himself. He started rambling on about how he knew all about the CIA following him and that he knew all about the "lollipop", which he said was in reference to ship's name in a Star Trek episode (?) where a person was paid a thousand dollars (???) to kill himself by hitting himself over the head with a hammer (?????!!!) and then the guy started charading the action with his own hand to, I suppose, "hammer" the point home. Yeah, so. Anyway, that was my Adventures In Psychosis this afternoon. On to the latest acquisitions.

The long-awaited release of The Name Of The Band Is Cowboy Mouth on DVD, which promises to be chock fulla Vanceypants goodness, or as much as someone who isn't the focus of the band can be. Still haven't seen it yet, since watching anything right now comes in dribs and drabs. Oh, Vance has indeed left Cowboy Mouth and appears to be working on a new pilot, although with the strike going on I can't help but wonder how that fairs at this point and time.

Ole' ole'!! Robyn Hitchcock and his long out-of-print early classics Black Snake Diamond Role, I Often Dream Of Trains, and my favorite, Eye are finally released in this way yummy box set I Wanna Go Backwards complete with original album cover art for each disk, and two extra disks While Thatcher Mauled Britain: Demos '81-'90. Also comes with a free download at, a sampler that apparently won't be available until October 2008. Heck, I'm just stoked about the old Hitchcock. My last indulgence for the year. That is, wellll...

I had to get this used copy of Good Time Tonight by Big Bill Broonzy, cuz it's, y'know, Big Bill Broonzy. 20 tracks, original mono recordings, all early works. Welp, that tears it. With all this good shizzy I simply have no reason to leave my house anymore.
Eh, except to go to the freakin' mall tomorrow and finish my Christmas shopping. Then comes the lifetime of self-imposed seclusion. I can hardly wait.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Y'all Come Go With Us

Just got back last night from a last-minute overnight stay in Floyd, VA to visit Joe's mother Lucy and then drive over to nearby Ferrum to see Joe's old stepfather Leighton who was coming into town again for the first time in 20 years. And seeing how it really has been about 20 years since either Joe or I have seen Leighton we were both pretty eager to drop whatever we were doing (which wasn't much) and haul ass across the state and make the visit ourselves. Plus I was anxious to see the old college campus again after all these years. Leslie told me that it had changed quite a bit, but I had a hard time picturing it in my head the way she kept describing it to me. Ferrum, as well as Floyd, are both little more than a stoplight in the middle of the mountains, or in Ferrum's case, they haven't even upgraded to a single stoplight yet. But pulling into Floyd at about 9pm at the single intersection that marks the settlement, I have rarely seen a spot in all of Virginia like looked like it was practically designed to sell picture postcards (and believe me, a lot of Virginia looks like that in a lot of different ways). Old-timey mercantiles, quaint country store fronts done up in dazzling Christmas displays, and more well-scrubbed white people in woolly holiday sweaters cavorting about than a Hallmark Christmas television special. Lucy and her former boyfriend David were playing with their band at a folksy little restaurant on the "strip" and Joe and I ate dinner and enjoyed the show, with Lucy on the fiddle and David on the Celtic harp with five other musicians playing old Irish, Scottish, and American folk music, while once or twice Lucy got up to sing and did a particularly heartbreaking rendition of Dan Seals' "Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold". It's been awhile since I've heard Lucy perform, and it was a nice way to relax and unwind after the hectic six-hour drive on the cold, rainy interstate and vertiginous mountain roads to get there. Route 8 is a genuine death trap, kiddies. I shat you not.

After the show we went back to the little cabin that Lucy and David were sharing about 2 miles down the road from the intersection.

The cabin living room, where we sat and relaxed and caught up after the gig. I gave Lucy my old copy of Castle Waiting, which she seemed very excited about. And Joe showed David the comic book we've had for years that we only just noticed recently mentioned David by name, in reference to the bestseller he wrote about 20 years ago himself.

The bedroom at the cabin that Joe and I shared, with all our "overnight" luggage strewn across the bed. We're quaintin' it up in style!

We brought Tyler and Buchanan with us for the trip. Tyler because he hasn't seen Ferrum since we've last seen it. And Buchanan because his little hippo ass would be pissed if we had left him home.

Next morning we drove up the mountain overlooking Floyd to visit Lucy's sister, Joe's aunt Sumani, who is building a house on a shared community-owned 100-acre property up there. We trudged through the woods to see Sumani's two cows, Nandi and Shanti. Nandi took a particular shine to Joseph. He's got that natural knack with women.

Joe and Nandi with Sumani's new house in the background.

The front of Sumani's soon-to-be eco-friendly new digs, complete with solar panels for home heating and her solar boiler. Also has a root cellar and a living roof, and that entire front area will be the space for her new garden. Oh, and a wee little cat door there in the front, too.

The side of Sumani's new house. The slanted roof catches rainwater in the low gutters, which runs down into the filter pipes and comes out of the little white spout there on the lower center of the photo. She seems to be ready for The Big One. Er, whatever that big one is.

After the visit with Aunt Sumani we make the 30-minute trek across the mountain to Ferrum (passing old Runnet Bag River, where I used to drive up to many early mornings and wade out to the giant rocks, lying there and fall asleep listening to the water rushing by) where we meet Leighton for breakfast. Living in Martha's Vineyard all these years, seventy-seven years old and still as whip-smart and funny as anyone I have ever met. Here three generations pose in the restaurant parking lot.

The old "77". I can't believe it's still here after all these years. Even some of the waitresses still work there since I used to eat at this place regularly back in my college days. One of the last times I ever saw Leighton was having breakfast with him here back in the summer of '88. Still around the corner from the bank where I kept my money, the mini-mart that used to be Frank's Market, and the laundromat where I was molested by the old mountain man. Ah, memories.

After breakfast we went to visit some old neighbors of Joe's family further up the mountain over Ferrum, and spent a few hours there under the unseasonably warm afternoon sky telling old stories (Joe was struck my lightening as a child in this same yard!) and harmonizing together while Lucy played a variety of instruments. Here's Lucy as she cranks out "Going Down This Road Feeling Bad" while Leighton enjoys a beer.

Lucy fiddles around.

Moms, pops, and a very perplexed-looking son. Joe often wondered if he was left on someones doorstep at a tender age.

After the visit and before we left for home, Joe and I made a stop at the Ferrum College campus to stroll around the very site where the two of us initially met and dated during that first year together in 1987-88. That was my dorm on the far right, Susannah Wesley Hall (the girls dorm) in 1987. My room was top floor, 5th from the left. Joe's dorm was Chapman Hall (the boys dorm) the one on the right. Dude, I can't tell you how many record albums are probably at the bottom of that lake. Probably tons of, like, Rick Astley and shit. I remember Joe and Brian and I making boats out of wretched old LPs and marching down to the lake to set them afloat. Of course, being albums, they sank straight to the bottom. And the lake seems to have far more ducks now than it did then. We had one ugly little duck that my roommate Amy named Fred, and when that duck would be floating serenely across that water surface Amy would stick her head out of that top floor 5th-from-the-left window and scream "FRED!!!!! FRRRRRED!!! COME HERE FRED I HAVE BREAD FOR YOOOOUUU!! COME HERE FRED GODDAMN YOU FUCKING DUCK!!!" which would could hear from where I was standing taking this picture. Yeah, I kinda don't miss living with that.

Joe and I climb the hill to the student center, where the cafeteria, post office, and several student lounges are located. I remember the day after Joe and I first kissed (well, first made out in the school chapel) and I was walking out of this building from the post office, having just gotten a letter from my old friend Jeanne Gainer from back home. I saw Joe coming up the sidewalk and I got suddenly very shy, but trying to play it cool because I was still trying to impress this guy. Well, I open my letter and Jeanne had sent me a picture of her and her pumpkin patch, surrounded by pumpkins as high as her chest, and I laughed so hard I fell over and tumbled down this very same incline all the way to bottom. Where Joe was standing to greet me. Yes, I'm all full of smooth moves that way.

Some boys playing football in the open field behind the cafeteria. That's the gym behind them, where I used to go swimming. I took horseback riding lessons a little further up that mountain behind the building. It truly is a splendid sight to see in the early fall, when the gold and red leaves are still on the branches.

I used to work in this cafeteria during the summer months, and boy has it changed. It was closed at the moment but I took this picture through the glass doors. That soup and salad bar used to be a conveyor belt where we'd put our dirty trays down and they would travel down into a little slot in the wall where they would be cleaned in an assembly-line fashion in the back with hose and a long trough of sudsy water. Once Brian set a plate of Doritos on fire and sent them on the tray down the conveyor belt, and we could hear the dishwashing staff in the back shriek and go nuts and turn the hose on it full blast. Later that summer Joe got arrested for sneaking in at night and sliding through the conveyor belt slot so he could break into the arcade in the student lounge below to play video games all night. Even funnier, some other kid we new was already there, having done the same thing before Joe had squeezed his way in.

Overall despite the many changes to the student lounge, the new bookstore, and two other new buildings, Ferrum College really didn't look any different from when I was there back in the 1980's. I wandered the campus with the good and bad feelings I had about being there again, remembering the intensity of everything, and how much this little spot in the mountains shaped my life, and made me so much of what I am right this minute. Ferrum was the first place and the first time in my life where I met people that I truly could relate to, as strange as that may sound today. Only in the boonies could I meet individuals where I didn't feel like such an outsider anymore. People with my passions for music, where even the simplest pop tunes took on such rich, complex, and downright frightening textures in this foreign landscape, on these country roads under the ominous shadows of these sleeping giants. I really wish I could have stayed longer. Maybe even overnight. Hike through the cold, dusky mountain forests with Peter Gabriel and Public Image Limited on my Walkman like I was 18 years old again.
Eh. Maybe in another twenty years.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Mon 10: 3-cl
Tue 11: 9-5
Wed 12: 9-4
Thur 13: 3-cl
Fri 14: 4-cl

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bin Hidin'

Did film director Morgan Spurlock find Osama Bin Laden?

I admit it sounds highly improbable, and no doubt makes conveniently terrific press for his new upcoming picture. But now I want to get my mitts on this brief clip just to see what freaked everyone out at the Berlin International Film Festival this year.

Now if his next film could just be called Where In The World Is Melissa's Cellphone?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh The Hilarity!

First 20 tracks on my iTunes at 1:30 in the morning listening to Joe and Mike make weird grunty noises in unison while playing video games downstairs in the living room. Nice to have the dear boy back home again.

1. "Sejollo (Whip Dance)" - Yma Sumac

2. "Safety Dance" - Men Without Hats

3. "Guitar Solo 3" - Neil Young

4. "Deacon Blues" - Steey Dan

5. "The Garden" - Faithless

6. "Heroin Face" - The Cure

7. "Yesternow (New Take 4)" - Miles Davis

8. "Omaha" - Moby Grape

9. "The Good Kind" - Monkeyboy

10. "Ain't Love Grand" - The Famous Pies

11. "California Blues" - Merle Haggard

12. "Typical Male (The Real Mix)" - Grace Jones

13. "Can't Hardly Wait" - The Replacements

14. "Savory" - Jawbox

15. "Tear Stained Letter (Live)" - Richard Thompson

16. "Blues Suede Timbs" - Candiria

17. "You're My Best Friend" - Queen

18. "Planet E (House Mix)" - KC Flightt

19. "Helicopter" - XTC

20. "Pouring Rain" - Fishbone

Monday, December 03, 2007

Notorious J.D.

The unutterably luscious Jewel De'Nyle will chat with my "Jobber Joe" and co-host Joey Tuesday night on "The Minority Round Table" at CTI, 11pm EST. A porn star on a pro-wrestling program? She will be discussing her upcoming DVD release The Notorious Jewel De'Nyle & Shelly Martinez, who is a former ECW star/current TNA knockout, and just be her own equally notorious spitfire self. By the way, she is Joe's favorite porn star, and one of mine as well. Why? Well, just look at her.

Tune in, sports fans. I guarantee I will be, too.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Mon 3: 3-cl
Tue 4: 3-cl
Wed 5: 9-5
Thur 6: 3-cl
Sat 8: 9-4