Monday, December 29, 2008

Staple Collage




I made this collage just now out of stuff that I didn't have any specific use for. It was all lying around my desk and my living room, not being useful for anything, but not wanting to be thrown away. I didn't cut anything and I didn't even use glue, just staples.

Now that the collage is done and has been scanned in and posted here, I think it's okay for me to throw it away. But I'm not sure if I will, even so, now that it's become grander than the sum of its parts.

***

The blog I like today is Eric McHenry's blog Evan Said It. Eric is a great poet, but devotes his blog entirely to exploiting his son Evan and daughter Sage, publishing their precocious, adorable quotes. This blog will be on my blogroll soon.

***

It took me a really long time to finally download new updates for iTunes; I was running version 7.1 for like a year. Now I have 8.0.2, which includes the Genius tool, which I have been using. What Genius does is create playlist "sets" of similar-sounding music, so if you're in the mood for a certain kind of sound you don't have to make a playlist yourself. Genius has just told me that "Oh! Sweet Nothing" by the Velvet Underground is similar to "Turn a Square" by the Shins. But is it?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Warm Wishes

I spent (am spending) this Christmas housesitting for Ruby the terrier, at one of my favorite housesitting venues. Though I didn't get any writing done this time, this household gets good reception for WFMU (with a good-sounding stereo) and I also got to watch a lot of Futurama and Pimp My Ride. I've decided that, in 2009, I'm going to be more like Xzibit and less like one of the people who want their rides pimped. Think about that for a minute and realize how much sense it makes.

Last night I sent a group text to a bunch of my friends that said, "Merry Xmas! I don't wanna fight tonight!" and, though that is just a lyric by Joey Ramone and not my original phrase, I really didn't.

Nothing more to say today except merry Christmas to all of you! This was a super-busy year for me, wherein I got inspired by wonderful people both familiar and new, for all of whom I'm truly grateful.

I am full of mushy embarrassing love.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Xmas Facebook Statuses (all rejected)

Amanda: out of all the reindeers, you know you're the mastermind.

Amanda don't wanna fight tonight.

Amanda sure did treat me nice.

Amanda can see a better time, when all our dreams come true.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things Not Discussed

WHFR is on vacation until 2009, but when I come back I want to do another "talking" show. Last night Joe and I used one of my mic breaks to talk about how 2008 was, as well as discuss various vagaries of music and radio, and I enjoyed doing this, only I don't think I said as much as I wanted to.

Something I really wanted to treat more fully: the issue of desperation. I'm worried that, in saying I had a terrible year and felt desperate all the time, I may have made everyone (incl. myself) all sad. What needs to be said is that feelings of desperation or anxiety can fuel bursts of creativity and "doing." Boredom can do this too (I caught Ana talking a bit about boredom later on in the night, paraphrasing Proust in her Zine Show). When my friend Johnny said he misses his desperation, I told him he doesn't -- what he misses is the urgency that rises out of it.

Also, I didn't have as terrible a year as all that. A lot of good things happened with my writing and DJing, and I met tons of amazing new friends. Possibly I'm telling myself right now that I had a bad year, through the lens of winter solstice darkness and holiday stress overload.

Joe, are you up for a New Year interview? It would be rad! I look forward to a heavier Joe on-mic presence anyway, with Ryan T's return to the webwaves.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stress Symptoms

This happens more often in times of stress, like 'round the holidays, than it does in other times. But it does happen frequently every winter no matter what.

For a day or so I go around moping because I have lost my gloves. I wear my backup pair of (fingerless) gloves all the time, like, even right now while typing, but I suffer through the cold without a pair of fingered (!) gloves over them, because I am not ready yet to buy a new pair. It is a stubborn and silly way to behave.

Then, just as I'm about to cave in and buy new gloves, I discover that the lost gloves are inside my hat, and I have been wearing them on my head this whole time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Naz

Apropos of Christmas, I guess, I'm thinking of the Naz. Did you know that that's what they called Jesus in the all-jive translation of the Bible?

This is also what my stepfather used to call my father. The Naz.

Nobody calls me that, not even after they consider my God-given ass. Some people call me the Czar or the Zar.

Now I wish I had a copy of the all-jive Bible. I have only ever heard of it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bus To Bus

There used to be a "SubTalk" subway ad (an internal-promotions tool for the MTA) about bus-to-subway transfers, one sentence in which read: "You can transfer from subway to subway, subway to bus or bus to bus." The type was laid out so that the final line of the ad read like this:

bus or bus to bus.

I always thought that was really weird and discomfiting, and I used to look at that line of type and say "bus or bus to bus" to myself -- and also "to bus or bus to bus," using enjambment from the previous line. This was already a few years ago, but I am still fascinated by the way those words look together -- the existential Hamlet echo and the absurdity of the context. It is still important to me, and I think that its still being important is also important.

The inclusion of a comma before the word "or" -- the serial comma or "Oxford comma," a grammar convention that I usually uphold, though it is never strictly necessary -- would have made the whole thing totally insignificant.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Millennium Rock

Millennium rock is the name I give to the kind of rock music that was all over Top 40 radio from 1998 to 2001. Smash Mouth, the Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox 20, Sugar Ray, and Third Eye Blind are all shining examples of millennium rock. I hate it, but to say you hate that kind of music is like saying you hate having your arm broken.

It's unfortunate that this terrible music had to be the soundtrack to the most exciting and revelatory part of my youth. I wonder if it had any hand in my becoming a miserable, untalented person, insofar as I am miserable and untalented. (I am feeling bad about myself today.) I confess that I liked that one song by Fastball that went, "Was I out of my head was I out of my mind / How could I have ever been so blind / I was looking for an indication, but it was hard to find." I don't like it anymore, but back then I used to turn the radio up when it came on. I hope this doesn't mean I am doomed to fail in all of my creative pursuits.

Wow, thinking about millennium rock is much more depressing than I thought it would be.

What are the 10 worst millennium rock songs?

1. Sugar Ray, that song about the four-post bed
2. The Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris"
3. Third Eye Blind, that terrible song that was in all the movie trailers
4. The song "I'll Be," which is like, "I'll be your cryin' shoulder / I'll be a love suicide..." Is this the Goo Goo Dolls also?
5. That song that begins, "I wish you would step off of that ledge, my friend"
6. Smash Mouth, "All Star"
7. That terrible Santana song that's like, "Gimme your heart, make it real, or else forget about it"... I believe it is called "Smooth"
8. That song about closing time

I can't think of two more without using a search engine. I came up with those eight very quickly, right off the top of my head. An earlier version of this post included "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies, but even though the Barenaked Ladies are irritating I don't really want to classify them as millennium rock. And I feel the same way about Sheryl Crow and that song "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks. Now that I'm thinking about the music of this era I can't get all these terrible songs out of my head, and I'm sorry I began.

Oh, I just thought of one more: the one that's like, "Tell me, did you sail across the sun, did you make it to the Milky Way..." I think there's a lyric in it that goes, "She talks like spring and she listens like June."

***

Today, in the elevator of one of the dogs I walk, someone had stuck a Post-It that said:

Dog TEDDY died last night (12/10)
Condolences and thanks to all who loved him.


Below this a few people had written kind messages about this dog. One child had written, "He was the cuddliest dog in the building."

I wished very much that I had a camera phone, and I almost stole the note, but I realized how awful that would have been, so I didn't. I didn't know Teddy, but I had seen him around. He was a chocolate Lab.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Am Tired Thoughts

If I weren't so tired, I'd draw something right now and then scan it in and post the scan. The drawing would be of me talking to the young man behind the counter at the ARChive of Contemporary Music holiday sale as he was bagging up my records. He was wearing his parka and scarf indoors and looked pretty cold.

You know the DayQuil high? Isn't it great? I have never done Ritalin, but I imagine the effects of DayQuil are similar: you're alert and speedy. It happens every time I recover from a cold, as now: I keep taking the drugs a few days after the cold is gone, and get a ton of writing done. (NB: I do not drink during the course of medication, nor should you; acetominophen + booze = liver failure.) My mother, never a big drug user even in the sixties, has said she once in a great while did coke and then vacuumed the house. If you know my mom that is funnier.

I walked Luke today by himself, because his sister, Leia, had lately eaten a bunch of dark chocolate and had to go to the vet. Luke and Leia are Cocker Spaniels.

Future short stories of mine will include a lot more drawings. They will also be better, and less about stupid bullshit.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Have Been Writing A Lot

Good nyews, everyone! My friend Christy has resurrected her online journal called One Page Stories. I'm going to be in it. Here's one sentence from the story that is going to be in it:

Disoriented, I picked up the receiver, and waited for the black-and-white monitor to kick on and show me what was happening outside.

I'm almost done with a personal essay. It is in the final scab-picking phase, which is the phase when you wait a little while for a scab to appear over the story and then you pull the scab off and wait for the story to scab over again. Here is a sentence from that essay:

It was a trite choice, but appropriate -- the reproach toward she who used to dress so fine and laugh about everybody that was hanging out, but now has to make a deal with the mystery tramp, had never made so much sense.

The three old stories I'm tinkering with currently are: "Hotels," "Grasshopper's Funeral," and "Keepin' Together." I am not going to include any lines from those.

I feel over-focused aka obsessed. I'm home for the weekend and I think my parents are annoyed by the constant presence of my laptop at the table where we eat our meals.

My parents are fine. We watched the Fred Astaire movie Swing Time, which has a lot of gambling in it, and then talked about how common gambling used to be in the 1930s. While cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, my stepfather and I reminisced about the time when I was ten and I asked him what "As salaam alaikum" meant, and he told me it meant "I like salami" or, translated directly, "it is salami that I like." I knew that he was kidding, and that he thought I knew the answer already, so to avoid humiliation I had to go find out on my own.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Whorescopes

I get amused by the ecstatic teenager tone most horoscopes are written in. "Way to go, Aries! All the stars are shining gloriously for you today, and it's your time to let your hair down and celebrate as only you know how!"

My horoscope for today told me, "Let your ego go shopping and let your soul take over." Dang, you don't need to tell ME twice! Shit!

Seriously, isn't it always your ego that goes shopping? You can't shop with your id, that would be like, "I need some... tears... fun... mother's arms stuff? Do you have?"

I hate all my records and it is time to get new records. Just downloaded What To Do About Them by the Swirlies and am getting all 1990s-ed.

Are you sad for any reason? Listen to this.