Sunday, February 1, 2015

Things that are Probably Bad Feng Shui, I Would Guess

Sleeping with socks on or anything covering your feet
Keeping the toilet open
Letting pets lie on the furniture
Having a picture of a skull anywhere
Eating in the bedroom
Eating prepared food from plastic containers
Letting the sheet get twisted when you go to bed
Having partly-broken Venetian blinds
Having neon lights that flicker too much
Letting a raccoon come inside
Leaving a mug out with lukewarm coffee in it
Having chairs face away from each other

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Love L.A.

I did some things when I was in California recently to visit my beloved friend Karolyn. Here is a "blog" about the things I liked and found interesting there. Growing up in New York, I'd always heard a lot of shit-talk about the West Coast and Los Angeles particularly: everyone is superficial, it is polluted, people there don't treat you nicely unless you're rich and/or good-looking. Well, these problems exist in New York too and for the most part I found the "temperament" of the city similar to that of my own: artistic, fun-loving, nice enough, doing one's own thing. It was a great trip you guys!

The Last Bookstore has new and used books and, in size and dustiness, is similar to the Strand in NYC. What's different about it is that it displays works by local artists plus art installations/sculptures that use old books. There's a shop inside it where you can buy framed art prints. Perhaps best of all, they sell records too.

Galco's Old World Grocery is in the hip, suburban-vibed Highland Park neighborhood where the houses are adorable and all the dogs are Chihuahuas. This place sells every type of soda pop, specializing in the antiquey ones that are hard to find elsewhere. Yes, of course they play oldies on the PA and when we were there we heard "Love is Strange." I bought three bottled sodas: Moxie, Cheerwine, and Lemmy.

The Dresden is a short drive from Karolyn's house and so we needed to go. You have seen it in movies; it's the fancy bar where lounge musicians Marty and Elayne sing pop favorites requested by the audience. I heard them sing/play "Stayin' Alive" and also met like the friendliest bartender EVER who let me pay for only the first one of my four drinks.

Of course I shopped at Amoeba Records! Everything you, East Coaster, have heard about this franchise is true. It's enormous, there is a staggering amount of great vinyl, jazz gets its own whole giant room, the prices are reasonable (about 25%-50% off what the same records would cost here, depending on the item), and everyone was both knowledgeable and friendly. I spent an entire afternoon there, shopping for a box full of music which I later shipped home to myself via UPS, and didn't want to leave.

Stories in Echo Park is another new/used bookstore. We didn't spend much time here but I picked up my new favorite book for our ever-expanding toilet library: Singer-Songwriters (pic below). This place had a great selection of music biographies and such and a cute-looking cafe.

We took a side trip to the desert, and stayed in a lovely Airbnb house behind THE END in Pioneertown. It turned out our host was also the owner of the shop. She sold SUPER CUTE vintage clothes, shoes, bags, and jewelry; I bought a purple Benetton sweater from the late '80s that I adore. This place is right down the hill from the famous music venue and BBQ place Pappy and Harriet's, where we saw a band and had a boozy dinner. Joshua Tree park is just a short drive away, too, and made for a beautiful hike.

This is just a small sampling of the things we did; I'm leaving out the fancy donuts, the view from Griffith Park Observatory, the superb dinner special at Little Dom's, and the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and more. Rather than being sad to no longer be in L.A., I'm grateful to have spent a week there and saved up some vitamin D in my body. Now I'm back in Brooklyn where it is cold and snowy. I have fond memories.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Idea: Change Rock Music from Guitar-Centric to Accordion-Centric By Going Back in Time

Go back in time and ensure somehow that accordions are made cool and mainstream. Next, return to present day and enjoy accordion-based early rock 'n' roll, classic rock, and more! Starting with Chuck Berry duck-walking as he plays the accordion. Bob Dylan plays accordion and sings "Blowin' in the Wind." Newport Folk Fest footage of many folk singers convening and carrying their accordions. Beatles on Ed Sullivan in suits wiggling their heads while playing accordions. Jimi Hendrix kneeling and gesturing before his burning accordion after setting it on fire onstage. Image of Eddie Van Halen strutting onto stage, grinning and hoisting accordion. KISS in full makeup and with accordions. Imagine a Stooges song like TV Eye conceived and played on the accordion: how to achieve the same blistering, savage sound and could it even be done? (Yes) Album cover of London Calling has Paul Simonon splay-legged and bent over about to smash his accordion. (ASIDE: Would rock stars be less often wiry/skinny or at least have bigger arms because accordions are so heavy?) Intricate and technically brilliant accordion solos by Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. Rick Nielsen with five-headed checkerboard accordion. OR MAYBE these people, not preternaturally gifted to play accordion, would never be famous at all??? Biggest rock star of all time is Tom Waits? Weird Al Yankovic non-comedic balladeer a la, say, Dan Fogelberg? MUCH more recognition for Flaco Jimenez of the Texas Tornadoes etc. Whole world different. This is just an idea that a group of us started talking about this past New Year's Eve, but we can discuss it more if desired. Certainly it is something to think about.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Birthday Wishes

This year, I wish for an abundance of money -- a suitcase full of money would be good, but if that's not possible I will settle for continued steady income and continued great relationships with my pet care clients, all of whom I value very highly and feel grateful to have. Also I would like to win at slots.

I wish for a good reputation and to be thought well of by my friends, peers, and potential mentors for my smartness, interestingness, and general competence. Maybe I should amend that to just: I wish to be considered competent by everybody.

In the past few years my relationship with pop music ("records") and the study thereof has grown deeper. I wish for my appreciation of records, songs, sides, artists, rock biographies, picture sleeves, hooks, grooves, etc. to continue to bring me happiness. Whether or not there's a career for me in music (and I have no reason to believe there is, nor did I ever), I want to always love it.

I wish for an audience with a variety of small pigs, small goats/lambs, bunnies and other small tame rodents, and other small and cute animals.

I love my friends, my family, and the nice man I share an apartment with. One great wish of mine is to show these people how much I appreciate them; to do as much as I can to deserve and keep their love, because they've made my life very good and they should be reminded of that. This does not go for our cats, who can go F themselves.

Most of all, this year I want to put art into the world. Stories, essays, drawings, song parodies, Sculpey statues; whatever. Whatever it takes to do it, this year I want to do it more and better. I want to do it the best.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A New Blog Post Finally

This is a new blog post. I'm considering starting a new blog that's slightly more focused on a theme or two or more themes, but I'm not sure yet how it should look. Possibly it would be OK to just continue to post stuff in this old blog. I am not sure.

Today, I went to the hardware store to buy some light bulbs -- I had bought a couple of lamps that needed special tiny bulbs. It was shocking how long I'd had the lamps in my home with no bulbs in them. Walking around the hardware store was peaceful and exciting at the same time; I love going to the hardware store because it reminds me of all the things I need for my home and all the things I already have. Too, knowing that I have the wherewithal to improve my home myself is empowering. I bought the light bulbs and walked home with them.

On my street, at the top of the steps leading to the front door of a house in the same row of houses as mine, I met a man carrying a small puppy named "Duncan." Duncan had an injured leg and so was a special case: though he was a little puppy, it was hard to give him the exercise he needed because he had to stay off his leg. When I walked up the steps and started to pet Duncan, he wiggled and licked my hand and was very cute. He had shaggy blond hair.

Next, I went into my apartment and installed the light bulbs into the two lamps. Seeing for myself that I could now turn the lamps on gave me a feeling of deep satisfaction. Lately I have tended to feel this way, deeply satisfied by mundane things and activities.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh, Stella, Stella for star!

Stella's memorial, continued. Here are a bunch of drawings and stuff from when we were all so young.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stella Overman

Stella, the dog that Gabe and I adopted when we were 22, was put to sleep yesterday at the vet near Jefferson, NY, where she had been living since 2001. Nobody is sure exactly how old she was, but we know she was no younger than 14.

I first met Stella when I was working at Dog and Company, a pet care outfit based in Williamsburg and the East Village (my first job out of college save a brief, terrible stint at the NBC Experience store). Her owner was one of our boarder clients, which meant Stella came to stay at the facility overnight for a week or so at a time. Back then she was a slick, wiry, and very nervous dog; we were always cautioned not to feed her on the last day of her stay because she would vomit in the car.

The owner was a young woman whose last name was Overman. I spoke with her on the phone a couple of times but never met her. She'd adopted Stella from the Humane Society a couple of years before and now was trying to give her the greatest life possible: a Park Avenue address, lunch at sidewalk cafes. But the dog, who had a few behavior problems, proved too much for her when she decided to move away from the city. She surrendered Stella to the care of Dog and Company until we could find her a "forever home."

Gabe Silva, one of my best friends from college who remains a dear friend today, was my roommate at the time and also the one who got me the dog care job. We lived together at 604 Riverside Drive, constantly drinking. I had misgivings about adopting Stella, but he leaned on me every day: "When are we going to get Stella Overman?" (She was often referred to by her first and last name, to distinguish her from the other Stellas we took care of.) Before I knew it, Gabe and I were calling her Stella Our-Dog, pronounced like Stella Artois.

Stella was a sweetheart at home with us: she would sleep with Gabe on the futon and nudge magazines out of my hand with her nose, so I could pet her instead of reading. She had a smirking, mischievous air; her back legs swung back and forth when she walked, because her tail was always wagging. However, when we left her alone in her crate she raised the roof for hours -- neighbors complained about her piercing, incessant bark. We could never take her into the dog run because she would climb the fence and run away, chasing squirrels.

A couple of weekends I rented a car to visit my parents upstate along with Gabe and my then-boyfriend, Jordan. We took Stella with us, though she did puke every time, and noticed that in the country she became a different dog. She could run around and chase/murder animals, and never had to be alone for long. My mom and stepfather recognized this; they told me they would adopt the adopted and take Stella in as their own. A few months later they got Tilly, a farm puppy who became Stella's constant companion. Stella was the boss of the duo -- Tilly, an anxious "Velcro dog" that needed to be cuddled all the time (my stepfather calls her a "faggot") existed in sharp contrast to Stella, who was aloof and queenly. Tilly would also never kill, whereas Stella regularly got into trouble for attacking animals bigger and more dangerous than her. During her tenure she had run-ins with deer, raccoons, beavers, and porcupines.

(Gabe's routine, spoken in the voice he created for Stella: "Well, I tell you Tilly. There's one thing you should neeeever eeeever do, and that's chase a porcupi -- OH LOOK A PORCUPINE!")

Throughout Stella's long life in the country, there were a few things about her that remained a mystery. Weird clues would surface that we never traced: why did she love anyone who smoked cigarettes? Why was she so cautious about the doggie door, hating the idea that a door would close on her? Just how many chipmunks, groundhogs, bunnies, and even cats did she kill unbeknownst to us in her long days of roaming unsupervised? We'll never know. The important part was that she was loved by us all for exactly what she was: weird, funny, disobedient, full of life.

There is so much more I want to say about this dog. I knew her for essentially my entire adulthood. But in the interest of space it's best for me to just open it up to comments from you guys. Leave some! RIP STELLA XOXOXOXOXOX

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It's my birthday today. Here is the card from my mom (outside + inside), which features an eerily accurate portrait of me that I assume she commissioned some artist to do. When you open it up it plays "I Will Survive."

And here is the front of my stepdad's card. This is, hands down, my favorite photo of the three of us ever taken.

Yay! I'm going to go out of my house and do some stuff now.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Money Gig

I don't talk about it too much because I imagine it's boring, and I'm a weirdly precious "artist" and artists sometimes get cagey about things they do for money, but I have a column now on Patch Fort Lee. It's called "Culture and Character" and delves into the hearts/minds of Fort Lee-ians, commenting upon the arts scene and slight oddness of that Northern NJ community. The articles go up every Wednesday; here's one, and at the bottom are more links to some others. You can Facebook-like the pieces and recommend them, if you are inclined to do so.

I am really enjoying the job so far. When I was growing up, my fam and I would pass through Fort Lee every weekend on our way back into NYC from the country (it's the last town in New Jersey before you cross the George Washington Bridge), and it's fun learning more about it. So close to the city, quite small, full of interesting history and strangeness.