Friday, June 30, 2006

Is this really happening to me?

According to my alarm clock, it is 3:02 a.m. This is, of course, an hour when I should not be awake and an hour when I should not be blogging. Too many honest things show up in my blogs when my mental guard is down. It's rather lovely. Lovely and pathetic.

So where have I been? I'd love to give you a detailed itinerary, but I'm afraid the truth would bore you. And the truth is that I rapidly completed spring term only to be launched into summer term without any detox whatsoever, which just about killed me until I grabbed a few of what I like to think of as trashy novels and what I believe the rest of the world calls New York Times Bestsellers. I'd made my way through two paltry 300+ pagers and I still feel the need for the dollar theatre. I'm not sure what I'm teaching in, oh, five hours, except for the fact that I'm at the end of my first week and will need to see personal essays in another week. What crazy person takes a spring or summer class? It's all just much too much.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

it's just a ride

When my aunt asked me if I wanted to use her extra ticket to see Movin' Out tonight, all I knew was that it was dancing and it was Billy Joel. Then I did a bit of research. This "rock ballet" was choreographed by Twyla Tharp and is awesome (in the proper sense of the word). Tharp's style is so patently her own (this picture from "Uptown Girl" doesn't do her justice) that it's worth it sans Billy--although that was pretty cool too.

And as I was watching, I was thinking about how Zero and I had a conversation about finding new territory to jumpstart our writing--or rather, my writing. I thought at the time I needed to road trip. But I found something tonight, something that made me feel intense and violent and powerful and all those things that theatre sets loose in my head.

To be perfectly honest, I came home and there was no one here and I crashed because I wanted someone so much that all that intensity became this need that I try to pretend I don't feel most of the time.

Cue the music.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tick Tock

We want Ophelia to be relevant to women of today. So maybe she wants power. . . but she doesn't want to lose her femininity. She wants to be a corporate executive, but she wants to have babies at the same time. And somewhere deep in her psyche she's tired of being the waifish hippie chick, and she wants to assert herself and she just feels like she's saying, 'Look, cut the crap, Hamlet, my biological clock is ticking and I want babies now!' It's that angst-ridden--
Reduced Shakespeare Co. The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged)

About a week ago Tolkien Boy and I were recruited to give Foxy J a much need break. Being the loyal Fobs that we are, as well as president and vice president of the S-Boogie fan club, we showed up to the Fobcave to escort S-Boogie to the summer festival going on across the street.

After the requisite trip on the merry-go-round, S-Boogie was ready for something a little more sophisticated--the boats. Small, mechanically operated boats designed to accomodate four children. We watched a group go around and around and around (as S-Boogie herself so deftly articulated) and then it was her turn. She joined a dashing young fellow she later referred to as "her boy" (I could take lessons from this chick) and Tolkien Boy and I watched her go round and round and round.

But I forgot one thing. No, not how cute S-Boogie looked in her sun hat and sunglasses, although she was a picture of maritime perfection. I forgot to mention the bells. Each boat had not one, but two bells attached in front of the seats with a convenient string attached for ringing. And with the din created, you'd think that the whole point of the ride was to ring that bell. Over and over and over as they went around and around and around.

After a few minutes of watching and listening and keeping my tongue still from voicing my thoughts, TB turned to me and with that disarming, charming smile of his, said, "Is that the sound of your biological clock?"

I think I made some clever retort, such as [insert facial expression here] and went to free S-Boogie from her boat in order to move on to the next attraction: cars that went around and around and around.

This is a fun little story to tell, but it's got me thinking. And then there was the 3-month-old son of my ward's second counselor, who I spent part of Gospel Doctrine making faces at today (I wasn't teaching).

About five years ago I had a plan. I was going to get married when I was older--say around 21--and by the time I was 23, I would have my first kid running around, driving me crazy. Instead I'm writing a term paper the night before it's due, making my way through a 12-pack of Diet Coke. And while I'm relatively satisfied with my life right now, I wonder how long that satisfaction will last before this biological alarm is more than the din of a carnival ride.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Diet Coke with Lime

So blogging. . . it's this thing I do. . . when I have something to say. . . or not.

I haven't been writing much at all. Blogging, poetry, journaling, papers. I'm working on a lit-crit for the infamous Authenticity class, due Monday, but it's like whatever switch in my brain that drives me to write has been turned off. (Odd that I'm explaining it here, in writing, isn't it?) Nothing is really clicking. All I know is that everything hurts and not even Diet Coke with Lime can fix me.

Maybe next week.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Have a happy what?

Things have calmed down. And by things I mean the daydreaming, the mood swings, the food cravings (although it took almost a dozen Krispy Kremes), etc. In their place, well, you know. . .

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I must be crazy.

It's his fault really. I mean, he remembered me. He gave me a hug. He ran through the parking lot after me to say good night.

And all I had to say was "Good night. Here's my number."

Of course, this is the real world. And in the real world, things like that don't happen.


This should be a short snappy post, but I have one final comment. Is the initial premise of Hitch true for women too? Or is it just for unattractive men who want attractive women? What happens to the unattractive women then? We're just left to rot? Or is there a woman date doctor waiting to teach us how to snag a man?


PS2. This isn't a biological time clock thing. . . at least I don't think it is.


Yeah, I know. Deal with it.


Here's the thing. Everyone keeps saying, track him down, become his friend. Which I know is an important step. But I have friends (and I love my friends). I'm really not looking for another one. What I want is someone to cuddle with (Roommate and I voted this the number one relationship perk) and to kiss and to notice when I make an effort to be attractive (the bro-in-law has this down for LaLa) and to want to listen to me. Which presents an odd problem: Do I need someone in my life who understands and appreciates my writing or is that optional?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Welcome to Zupas

Welcome to Zupas

I seem to have spent the past week at Zupas creating my version of the perfect salad: romaine lettuce, bleu cheese dressing, cucumber, egg, crispy chicken (the roasted chicken is too bland and the avocado is mushed-up, ice-cream-scooped). That leaves room for two more toppings. One vegetable, which varies. And coconut. I don't know what possessed me, but it makes me happy happy happy.

In other news, Haagen-Dazs Mayan Chocolate ice cream. Chocolate with a hint of cinammon. To quote Virgina, "Stop It."

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Zero Review

1. Jejune, R.I.P., “Early Stars”
I first heard Jejune at the Troubadour in Los Angeles back in the late ‘90s. (That wasn’t the show when I was stung by a bee at the ol’ Troube, thank goodness, although other pitfalls have come and gone) (see, the stage has this metal stripping around the edges to hold the carpet down that catches on your jeans and leaves you with a row of unstitched denim tufts along your thighs) (I tell you, I was always due for some form of self-destruction when I went to the Troubadour, sometimes mild, like thrashing my jeans, and sometimes extreme, like the time the singer for Death By Stereo crouched down on one knee, grabbed me by the hair, wrenched my face up next to his sweaty, unshaved cheek, and we screamed into a spit-saturated mic for a stanza; now that was a sore throat...alas, I digress.) Jejune was playing on a four-band bill that also included Gameface (suck city, man), Sense Field (a revelation), and Jimmy Eat World (pretty dang good, really—this was before they sold their musical souls for a hit single). Jejune performed second.
So I’m waiting for Jejune to start, and this tiny woman—Araby Harrison, I’d later discover, the band’s singer—walks up on stage and straps on a dirt-brown Fender bass that’s nearly as big as she is. By the time she put it down, I swore that I’d name one of my daughters Araby. I was totally in love, blown away, eagerly entertaining all the cliché superlatives that suddenly had new meaning in light of what I’d heard. This track, “Early Stars,” perfectly captures what I experienced—a slightly bad sound system, roaring guitars, and Araby’s pouty alto-cum-diaphragm voice plunging through the mix like an icepick into tapioca pudding. It’s what made second-wave emo so exciting when it first emerged from rock’s underbelly: oscillating dynamics, pathetic (see: pathos) vocals, two-guitar harmony—and it all flowed from this girl like lava.
When I left the Troubadour, my ride’s car was being towed down the street.

2. Counting Crows, Films About Ghosts: The Best of Counting Crows, “Angels of the Silences”
Who says that Counting Crows can’t R-A-W-K? No one, hopefully, after hearing this barn-burner. I can only imagine how many speakers they blew recording it. And, yet, it’s more than that; after all, Counting Crows is staffed by a group of very talented, trained musicians, and to merely rock would be beneath them.
Thus, we have this, a very refined stompfest. On one hand, the rhythm guitar bangs out a moderately fast, palm-muted four-chord pattern (G#5—Amaj—Emaj—B5, if you care) for most of the piece. On the other, the lead guitar solo in the middle is so incredibly musical (it even briefly hints at an oblique motion-based run toward its climax) that you know that no theory-devoid punker could have conjured it, even by accident. Add to this Adam Duritz’ voice, which—in my opinion—sounds fantastic when it’s strained, and you’ve got a winner.

3. Tom Waits, Big Bad Love (Music from the Motion Picture), “Long Way Home”
I’m no Tom Waits fanatic, but the genius of this song is self-evident. His voice—which was described in his lawsuit against Frito-Lay as “a raspy, gravelly singing voice [...] [,] like how you’d sound if you drank a quart of bourbon, smoked a pack of cigarettes and swallowed a pack of razor blades [...] [l]ate at night [...] [a]fter not sleeping for three days”—is present in all of its tainted glory. I’m not sure whether this song is inspirational—when Norah Jones later covered it, she made it infinitely more poppy, more upbeat, and I’m not if that’s correct—or not, but it is what it is, and it’s honest. Waits is no sellout, even when he writes a song for a movie, and that’s one of the biggest compliments I can give.
I’ll confess that the first time I heard Waits sing, I didn’t like it. Nope. That voice was just too much, the growling and all. But I took a deeper listen, and that voice—which previously had sounded like fingernails on a very coarse chalkboard—took on a tenderness that few vocalists achieve. For further evidence, take a look at Waits’ album Mule Variations, which is simply unbelievable in its blue-tinged notes.
An interesting anecdote: When Waits’ son asked him why he didn’t have a regular job like everyone else, he said, “In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, ‘Look at me...I'm tall, and I'm straight, and I'm handsome. Look at're all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you.’ And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, ‘Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest.’ So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.”
Well said, sir.

4. The National, Alligator, “Abel”
ALERT! The National is now my favorite contemporary band—and this song comes very close to being the band’s shout-along anthem. You must download this song. You must. You will then not be able to get it out of your head, but that’s a good thing. You can dance to it. You can yell to/at it. You will thrill. The percussion work alone is worth a Nobel Prize.

5. The New Amsterdams, Story Like a Scar, “Turn Out the Lights”
The New Amsterdams emerged from The Get Up Kids, a lovely little indie-pop group that I must’ve seen live about half a dozen times. This is the definition of sweet melancholy, and I love it. It doesn’t depress, either, which is always a plus.

Well, I think I’ve rambled enough.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Theme songs

I like to have theme songs to keep me company. I'm sitting here, watching Elizabethtown (ah, yes, the obsession returns) with Ladies Jane and Virgina, and thinking about how good music can make any story--even my English major life--seem brilliant.

Lately the song has been "As Far as I Know" from Paul Westerberg's Folker album (courtesy of The Zero Review). I know it's been a while since I've done this, so I hope you haven't grown too used to editorgirl sans lyrics, because here it comes.

I'm in love with someone that doesn't exist
Keep looking for them everywhere I go
I'm in love with something that doesn't get kissed
It doesn't exist
As far as I know

I'm in love with a face that I've never seen
Once upon a place long time ago
I'm in love with a time that never took place
That's easy to trace
As far as I know

And I know everything that I need to sing
I know everything I'm in love with the sound that I never hear
As long as I watch your TV show
I'm in love with that girl that doesn't resist
That doesn't exist
As far as I know

As far as I know, the stars in the sky are dull
As far as I know, compared to your eyes only
As far as I know

I know everything I need to sing
I know everything
I erase the drums, that won't hurt me none
I'm in love with a dream I had as a kid
I wait up the street until you show
That dream it came true, but you never do
No you never did
As far as I know

I hope you made it through the song--it's beautiful and fantastic and you should come visit me and ask for a listen. And then I'll clarify that I'm not thinking about a girl. Promise. No lesbian inclinations here. But the rest became surprisingly accurate last night.

Because there is a boy.

Actually, I'm going to revise that with "man," but same thing.

He's someone I met last year and I never thought I'd ever see him again. But I did, last night. And he remembered me. But in this case, the theme song is all too appropriate.

[/sappy stupid girly soap-opera trash]

12:20 a.m. What this means, so I don't have to puzzle it out when my head is on straight: it means that my finding said male attractive is about as productive as my finding John Cusack attractive. And we all know how that story ends.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

any minute now

You really should just skip over this post and read The Zero Review.

I tried to explain to Lady Jane tonight that I feel like something is missing in my life. If you look at my poetry, and even my posts, it's what I spend most of my time thinking about--the gaps, the absences, the holes. I'm not complete yet and no, before someone says this, I don't ever expect to feel complete or satisfied or perfect. I don't want perfect, at least not yet. But I want to feel. . . something. (Perhaps what is missing is the ability to articulate.)

I asked the Jester tonight if he wanted to see Death Cab for Cutie with me in August. (For the newcomers, the Jester is my almost 16 year old brother.) He wasn't too excited. Wait. Let me rephrase that--he wasn't excited at all. Even when I told him I'd pay, that it would be my birthday present to him. I told him to think about it.

My family was in P-town on Monday and brought the treadmill with them. This isn't a normal occurence. In fact, it was a pain. But they left the treadmill in my front room and I've found a nice alternative to eating my weight in whatever is close at hand. Round one for Mom.

I sent my poetry off to Bat City Review. I have a few more on the list, provided I can get my printer working again. Oh, and USF (South Florida) is now at the top of my list for PhD. Jay Hopler is there. Jay Hopler is amazing. And they're in the process of designing something similar to Houston, which should be in place just in time for me to start.

Adam Zagajewski is in the June edition of Poetry. I'll be picking it up tomorrow, along with some decent running shoes. I've been wearing flip flops on the treadmill. Not a good idea.

Good idea: good night.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Zero Review

I do have many important things to say/blog, but these brilliant music reviews written by my brilliant friend Zero keep showing up in my inbox and it seems such a waste to not share them with you. So this is me, sharing. Take it away, Zero.

1. New Order, Singles: New Order, “Ceremony” AND Joy Division, Still, “Ceremony (Live)”
As most people wearing black Joy Division t-shirts know, New Order was formed from the ashes of Joy Division after Ian Curtis, Joy Division’s lead singer, killed himself. This song, “Ceremony,” was never recorded in a studio before Curtis’ death, although it can be heard on Joy Division’s live album, Still. The quality on that track is really awful, although it gives a glimpse into what this song was supposed to sound like, that is, before Bernard Sumner and company recorded it in the studio as New Order. Now, Bernard was a fine guitarist, a fine singer, but it’s interesting to see the two songs side by side. When Mr. Sumner sings it, it’s moody, sure, but Sumner’s voice just has a hint of muted—happiness?—to it, the same happiness you hear in songs like ”Bizarre Love Triangle” (admit it, you’ve danced to it, we all have). When Curtis sings it, though, it’s a shout in the dark, a man screaming to be heard above himself. Watching forever, indeed.

2. Onelinedrawing, Sketchy e.p. #1, “Aeroplanes”
Onelinedrawing is the name for Jonah Mantrega’s solo project after he finished up Far. I saw him play numerous times in California, and he always kept my attention—no small feat. One time at the Troubadour in L.A., I was stung by a bee in the middle of his set, right about the time when he invited a drunk guy up on stage to sing with him (“That’s the death of emo,” he quipped, and he was right). Anyway, I love the guy’s voice. Nothing more, nothing less.

3. Jimmy Eat World, Clarity, “Blister”
I’ve said a lot about Jimmy Eat World in the past, namely that I think they’re the biggest sellouts since the Beach Boys turned “Good Vibrations” into a soft-drink commercial. However, I finally figured out why their songs are so hit-and-miss: Whenever Jimmy (the guy with the center-parted hair who sings most of J.E.W.’s recent songs) writes music, the songs suck like an anteater. Whenever Tom writes the songs (he’s the guy in the background who usually plays a Gibson SG guitar), they’re awesome. You can tell who wrote which song by who sings it; it’s that simple. Tom has a deep, throaty growl that’s tailor-made for rock. Jimmy always sounds like a part of his body is being slowly pressed onto an electric stove. So, yeah, Tom wrote this song. Enough said.

4. The Sundays, Static and Silence, “Summertime”
This further proves that I’m in touch with my sensitive side. This is a bubbly, perky, reverb-drenched love song about honeymooning in a heart-shaped hotel room right before World War III strikes. Smile!

5. Elliott, False Cathedrals, “Superstitions in Travel”
After recording the pummeling post-hardcore-meets-emo record U.S. Songs, Elliott recorded this album, which sounds like the band was collectively producing—and then explosively burning—serotonin at a breakneck rate. Schizophrenia never sounded so fun. Elliott was one of the best live acts around (R.I.P.!), and I saw them once at DV8 on West Temple. Brilliant stuff, really. At a different show, a friend of mine was standing next to the guitarist—who was a maniac, believe you me—when the guitarist swung his guitar around, hit himself in the face, and completely snapped his own jawbone in half (!). There was a lot of blood, too, but the guitarist just ran up to my friend, slumped against him, and finished the song. I don’t know if he went to the hospital or not.

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