September 21, 2010

For Sale: Sofa, Almost New, Very Little Wear

You win some; you lose some, she says to herself as she pulls out of the parking garage. There is 2 years worth of office clutter packed into a couple bins in the back of her car. She drives a royal blue Mini Cooper so those couple bins are crammed in tightly. She packed those bins a few hours ago. Today was her last day at work. She was fired only yesterday. It wasn't really a shock. She'd known it was coming for some time now. She'd been on a collision course headed straight for disaster and never bothered to even tap the breaks.

Well, we were having too much fun to even consider stopping, she thinks. Fired for fucking on company time...if there's a way to go out, she guesses that's probably the best.

She wonders what sort of snide remarks are coming out of the sharp-tongued mouths of  the women in the office. They've never really cared for her nor her for them. They made it clear on Day 1 that she would never be welcomed into their little circle and that's just as well. She knew nothing about filing, spreadsheets, tupperware parties, or American Idol nor did she want to.

She thinks again of the boxes in the back. Her red Swingline stapler like the one in Office Space. That's what started all this really. That stapler and trading movie lines. They'd laughed that afternoon until they were near tears. It must have been her 3rd day there. Those old hags had hated her even more. Their misery and jealousy would make them hate every woman who'd taken the time to make something more of themselves and their pettiness could not be rivaled.

There's an odd mix of uneasiness and lust curling around her midsection. She's not sure what the fuck she's really going to do. This kind of thing gets around. Two situations are probably. 1) She won't get hired in another law firm because of the rumors--rumors which will assuredly be worse than the truth 2) If she does get hired, it will be under the expectation that she will fuck the boss to get anywhere. She grimaces in disgust. That was never what this was about.

She pulls into her driveway and realizes she can't remember any of the drive home. She's lucky she didn't wreck on top of everything else. She also realizes she'll probably end up moving. She won't be able to stand in court and seek justice for her clients in a trial if She feels she's wearing a big scarlet "A" on her blazer. Every skirt will be too short. Every blouse too tight or too revealing. The affair was over now anyway, much to her dismay, so she may as well start over somewhere else. It'll work out. She has enough money saved to last her a good bit until she can make all the arrangements and start sending in resumes.

She opens the back and takes out one of the boxes. She wraps both arms around it and walks towards the house. Right on top is the Initech mug she was given her second week in the firm. She'd had it sitting on her desk as a pencil cup ever since. It forged a friendship and the two went out for drinks soon after that. At the time, she'd thought nothing of it. Adults all across the globe went out for drinks after a long day at the office. It's not like they intentionally excluded anyone else; no one else wanted to go. It quickly became a weekly ritual. Thursday nights they'd hit the pub a couple blocks down from work. That place had a killer Cuban sandwich and a pretty decent martini. They both liked them with vodka not gin, extra dry.

She sits the box on her sofa. Memories were created on this thing which still make her blush a little. She thinks it would be best to get rid of it but it probably isn't sanitary. She colors even more at the thought of some unsuspecting child laying around on it watching Saturday morning cartoons and eating the piece of PopTart he just dropped between the cushions. She could never own used furniture.

She retrieves the other box. Calendars, planners, odds and ends from her desk, and the window planter full of fresh herbs--an inside joke about their shared longing for their stoner days. That one hurts a little as she thinks back to the night the conversation took place. They'd gone out for drinks as usual and decided to come back here to her place for whatever reason. A movie? Yes! It was...True Romance. They'd had some dispute over whether or not Christian Slater tries too hard in everything he's ever been in to act like Jack Nicholson. True Romance was supposed to prove he doesn't but this was an awful example as the movie proved.

The kiss came out of nowhere. She hadn't expected it especially while her smirk of triumph over the Slater debate was still stretched in its half-mast position. The kiss caught her off guard and confused the fuck out of her at first. But, she'd opened a bottle of pinot grigio and poured them both a glass. That on top of the martinis meant she didn't really care too much after the initial shock wore off...was it really a year and a half ago? Yeah. She guesses it was. The drug conversation took place in the afterglow of the post-kiss fucking they did. They almost simultaneously wished aloud for some weed which had sent them into a fit of laughter, more kissing, and more sex.

She puts the second box on the sofa not knowing what she'll do with any of it. Most likely it will all go straight to the trash save the stapler. It's gotten her laid more than once now which is funny. It's odd how much having similar tastes in something like films and humor can bridge the gap and bring people into a more intimate spot.

Her cell phone rings. It's not who she wants it to be but what can she expect from fucking someone who's married with 2 kids, a house, a dog, and 3 goldfish? She was kidding herself with all the love business. How could she possibly love someone like that--someone who'd just cut contact with her after this past year and a half?

The phone rings again. It's her best friend, Stephen, who knows her all too well and knows she's ignoring the phone. She continues to let it ring, though. She's not in the mood for all his questions and I-told-you-so's. She'll call him back eventually but now is just not the time.

She looks into the boxes beside her seeing each item her eyes land on in its place in her office. It's tough to imagine that just yesterday she was escorted out of that office after one of the partners walked in to ask her about a case and caught her with her face buried in his wife's snatch. She's never been yanked around by her hair before but just like she said the first night she fucked Marla, the wife, there's a first time for everything.

She sighs and pours herself a glass of wine. Her hair falls in her eyes and for a moment, she almost cries. She pulls herself together in a breath though and reminds herself how much she's missed dick.
September 15, 2010

Cooking With Marge

"Fix me a chicken pot pie, wouldya? And not that frozen shit. Make one of those with the flaky crust like you do for company sometimes," he calls from the back bedroom.

"Sure, Frank," she yells out  as she slowly gets up from the couch. Her knees aren't so good anymore but the extra 50 pounds she kept on after having two kids will do that over time. She turns the television off. They have to be pretty mindful of money these days since he has been out of work on disability for the better part of 2 years now. She grabs her reading glasses and waddles towards the kitchen.

She walks to the freezer and pulls out a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts as well as 2 pre-made pie crusts. If she'd known ahead of time she would have thawed the breasts in a pan of tepid water but his whims aren't known to wait for such things even if it means the final product turns out all the better for it. As it is, she hobbles to the sink using the counter to support her weight and alleviate some of the pressure on her worn out joints. She steps over to the sink and puts the package of chicken under the tap letting hot water work on the ice crystals while she gathers the rest of the ingredients. As she moves around the kitchen, she wonders what life could have been if she'd taken the old cliche road--the one people named Less Traveled. As quickly as the thought forms, she dismisses as she's always been told there's no use crying over spilled milk.

She pulls 2 cans of mixed vegetables and 1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup from her cabinets. If she were cooking for guests, she would labor over handmade crusts and and slowly steam fresh vegetables instead of using canned ones. The condensed soup would  be exchanged for chicken broth slow cooked with fresh herbs for flavor added to flour for a thicker texture. None of this is necessary tonight, of course. Even if she felt like it, he wouldn't have the patience to wait. Even though he was too sick to be much of a threat anymore, she was trained to do things to his liking and could be broken of it now.

She moves slowly around the kitchen putting the still mostly frozen chicken on to boil and preheating the oven to 375 degrees. She presses one crust into a pie pan then goes ahead and mixes the soup and vegetables in a blue glass mixing bowl. She takes down a few spices and sprinkles them in. Just as she thinks she's making good time, she hears him call from the back, "where the hell is that pie? what's your fatass up there doing? watching the idiot box as usual?"

"I had to thaw the chicken first. It'll be a little bit longer."

"You're a fucking moron, Marge. I ever tell you that?"

"I know I am, dear."

"Hurry your waddlin' ass up."

None of this particularly bothers her. She's heard worse and felt worse blows. She pays it no mind and sits down at the kitchen table to wait for the chicken to finish. Thinking back to years before he became sick, she reckons she would have been slapped around the kitchen a bit for not having the chicken in the refridgerator already. But there had been times she'd been slapped around the kitchen for not using items like that out of the fridge before they ruined. There was never any winning with Frank. She'd wasted most of her life trying and stayed miserable because she couldn't do it. Ever since her youngest moved out and left for college, she just gave up and settled into a routine. She wasn't anything close to what she thought could be happiness but she wasn't miserable anymore either.

In the midst of her thoughts she hears him again from the back, "If you'd lost some of that gut of yers, you wouldn't waste my time waddlin' around like a hog." She doesn't bother answering him and pushes herself out the chair. She walks to the stove to check on the chicken. It isn't done but it's done enough so she turns the burner off and sits the pot on a cloth pot holder on the counter. She pulls down a plate from the cabinet above her head and grabs a couple forks from the drawer in front of her. One by one she stabs the pieces of chicken and places them on the plate. They're still hot but she doesn't want to take the time to let them cool. She uses one fork to hold a breast in place and the other to shred the meat into a pile. After all 4 pieces are shredded, she mixes the pieces of chicken into the bowl with the soup and vegetables then pours it all into the pie pan. She takes the second pie crust and fits it over the top of the pie finishing up by making 4 slits in the top with a knife from the cutting block in front of her.

Having a knife in her hand always reminds her of the times he has threatened to cut her tongue out and those drunken nights when he's actually nicked her here or there in mid-threat. Since he's been sick, she has thought a time or two about stabbing him, about slitting his wrists, cutting out his awful tongue...all of it. But they're just thoughts. She could never do it. And if she hasn't slit her own wrists by now, she may as well wait it out. He'll be gone before she is, it seems.

She puts the pie in the oven and sets the timer for 45 minutes. She'll know it's down by the smell but she sets the timer anyway. She moves towards the fridge and gets herself a Diet Coke before sitting at the table again. He calls from the back, "Are you trying to starve me to death, you fat cow?!? Did you eat it all yourself??"

"It won't be too much longer."

"Better not fucking be."

She has often thought of smothering him with one of the pillows on this bed. He's gotten too weak in the last several months to fight back really. But even though she often feels the urge, she knows she can't. The kids would be devastated by the horror of the headlines and she can't do that to them. They've gone through enough in their lives growing up with Frank as their father. She absolutely won't cause them that kind of sensationalized grief. She sips her coke and gets lost in happy thoughts of her children and grandchildren. She lives for them and the days when they stop by to see how things are going. She knows both her kids worry about their mom  and dad. She's only in her early 50s but has heart and blood pressure problems, diabetes, high cholesterol, and the bad knees. Frank is only a few years older than her but his health failed rapidly. Everyone thought it was cancer and most people still assume it is--just undetermined--but doctors really haven't been able to explain it at all.

The smells circulating the kitchen tell her the pie is done and she starts her slow journey to the stove. She grabs a couple pot holders from the counter and opens the oven door. Grabbing the pie with both hands is a difficult task with her knees as bad as they are but she manages alright. She doesn't fall anyway.

She's actually surprised he asked for food. He hasn't had much appetite beyond broth here and there. Mostly he's nauseated and taking medicine to keep him from vomiting all the time. It's the sort of pill chemo patients have to take to battle their nausea. But, he doesn't take anything. He just stays sick on his stomach around the clock. She really hopes this isn't a sign he's improving though taking care of him like this day in and day out hasn't been a picnic.

She cuts into the pie and dips out one portion--just one heaping portion for Frank. She places his plate on a tray and makes him a glass of ice water to wash it down with. She knows if she takes it to him this hot, he is liable to throw it in her face and demand more, so she cleans up the kitchen some while she waits on the steam rising from the middle to dissipate a bit. She throws the chicken wrapper away along with the cans. Then picks up the salt, pepper, and mixed spices bottles and starts to put them in the cabinet. She notices her concoction of spices is getting a little low and makes a mental note to pick up some more rat poison at the farm supply store on her next trip to town.

"Where's my fucking pie, you fat bitch?"

"I'm coming with it right now, Frank. Be there in a jiff," she says as she walks down the hallway smiling.
September 6, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

I wish I could say I've "tied one on" tonight and that after a long night at the bar, I've gone for an omelet at IHOP. Not just any omelet. A Big Steak omelet. That's the best after you get a little whiskey in you, you know. Instead, I'm making the 40 mile trek because I'm old.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened but somewhere between 25 and my soon to be 29, I lost touch for staying up all night partying with friends and checking out local music and getting laid. Ok. The last part isn't true. I'm not sure if there's ever going to be a time when I'm really too old to stay up all night to get laid. But at some point, I started getting tired at midnight and cleaning my house actually became some sort of priority. I'm not saying its a good thing, but it is what it is. I don't even think I'm friends with anyone I used to stay up all night with anymore. Not only have I lost some sort of magical youth mojo, I've also lost touch with friends. Or at least the people that appreciated my mojo. In just a few years time, without my even noticing, I became someone I used to mock. Whiskey actually never sounded as good as it does right now.

Tonight, though, I am traveling with the windows down on my way to eat eggs and pancakes with an STP unplugged album blaring into the dark.

Maybe it will help scare away the deer.

I sing along to all the songs I know and love and make up words to sing along to the others....

Halfthemaniusedtobedrivingfasterinmycartheseconversationskillprettypennysailmedowntheriver.

This unplugged set mostly took place in 1993. 17 years ago. I dug this band a lot back when I was 17. And its been 12 years since then. It suddenly occurs to me I'll never get kids these days with their whiny posthardcore bullshit.

In my head I imagine I'll ask some kid one day soon if they've ever heard of stp and they'll reply, "oh, that classic rock stuff?" And I'll give them a black eye. That, the black eye, will prove I'm old but damnit I've still got it.

I'm almost 30 but my jeans are still ripped. Apparently I don't feel old exactly. Not mentally. Its just factual. I'm old. Which brings me back to my current trip down to IHOP.

Today was a Saturday. I've been caring for some orphaned puppies for the last few weeks and got up today to clean out their kennel and give them a bath. I painted some of the trim in the living room. I washed some clothes and wiped down the kitchen. I played outside with my full grown great dane and the puppies for a little bit. And by the time that was all done, I was just too tired to cook an omelet myself. It seemed too daunting a task. And I realize halfway through my trip that I did nothing much to warrant being this tired but here I am anyway. I can't even relate to that song Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old). It's more like When Did I Get This Damn Old?

I want to say that I'd like to get stoned in a room covered in glow in the dark stars listening to Led Zeppelin with some close but not too close friends and wax philosophical through discussions with themes such as "What if we're all just figments of someone's sick imagination?" or "what if aliens watch what we do like we're a reality TV show?" But I'd be lying. In truth, all I can think about is how ready I am to go to bed and maybe next weekend I'll stay up all night having some great discussion somewhere.

Apparently, old people like kidding themselves.
September 2, 2010

Dancin' Days: Soundtrack Revisited

Music, as far as I'm concerned, should be just as vital to the people I surround myself with as it is to myself. Which means it is as necessary as oxygen. When I ask someone what sort of music he or she might be into, the last thing I really want to hear is "oh I listen to a little of everything." No the fuck you don't. What kind of answer is this? You're really telling me you haven't taken the time to find something that really moves you. Chuck Klosterman totally validated my belief in his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs saying:
Do you know people who insist they like 'all kinds of music'? That actually means they like no kinds of music.
This is not to say that listening to a variety of music is a punishable-by-death-of-friendship offense. I listen to a varied list of bands and genres myself though most people would disagree with that statement. I'm a true music lover, though. I have taken the time. I know what I like while still keeping an open mind. My answer to the above questions might sound more like:
I grew up on Southern rock which is still a big part of my life and an influence on other styles I prefer--the Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Skynard, and the like. I enjoy a lot of what's termed 'classic' rock such as Janis, Jimi, Zeppelin, and other bands comprised mostly of dead people. For the most part, you'll find me listening to sludge/doom/stoner metal even though I hate those labels. Bands like Baroness, Alabama Thunderpussy, Howl, and Eyehategod. I'm not opposed to a little peppering of punk like Social D and Rancid (the first show I ever paid money to go to was Less Than Jake, you know), older country, and maybe Eminem but that's a guilty pleasure I really don't like admitting. 
Maybe I sound pretentious.

One of the most important questions I ask someone I want to get to know better involves what x songs would you include on the soundtrack to a movie about your life where x, depending on my mood, could be 3, 5, 10, anything. The smaller the number, the harder the list should be to make theoretically. For me, all the songs in this list are placemarkers telling you where I might have been at the time. Sometimes it's the song itself or the band or the lyrics but the songs lay out a map of my life. This isn't just a list of badass jams to make me look cool. In fact, a few of them are pretty fucking embarrassing. It's been a long road full of ch-ch-changes.


1. Cyndi Lauper-Girls Just Want To Have Fun

I have maybe a couple handfuls of clear memories from my life before age 12 or so. As you may guess from such a statement, those weren't exactly easy years. My earliest memory is from age 3 or 4 dancing around the house to this song. Carefree. Innocent. It wouldn't last but those fleeting moments of utter girlish glee have stayed with me. Anytime I hear it even now, I can't help smiling and singing along.


2. Eric Clapton-Cocaine

This song is probably the best way to place those hazy years of being a young Georgia girl. It's fitting, at least, since my dad was arrested for possession of said drug. With intent to distribute. I was 3, maybe. I was also used as a sympathy inducer for the jury by being brought to court every day during his trial. Lawyer tactic. I was blonde and cute so he got off pretty light. Still, it was a common theme for growing up with a father whose nickname amongst those "sorry sumbitches" he called friends was Stormy. That old bastard loved this song, too. I can still remember times when we'd be stoned together later on in life. He'd put this song on and start fist pumpin' like a champ. She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie; cocaine.

Tough Enough to Bite Our Lips Til They Bleed, Girl

3. Hangin' Tough-New Kids on the Block

                      Are you tough enough?

     oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

Such complexity...  I was given a walkman knockoff cassette player with two cassette tapes one year for my birthday. One was NKOTB and the other Vanilla Ice. In restrospect, there are a myriad of other, much more influential, non mainstream albums I wish I would have gotten that year. I can't remember exactly how old I was but I figure 8 or 9. We're talking 1989 or '90. Both albums were released about that time. It was pop and poppy, white-guy hip-hopish stuff, but it could be worse. I could be reflecting on the importance of Garth Brooks' No Fences in my earlier years. Alright, stop. Collaborate and Listen. I don't think people who aren't from the deep South know what it's like to grow up with country, Jesus, and football being shoved down your throat all the time. To not partake in the bliss of one or all of those things is equivalent to denouncing the word of Joseph Smith in Utah. All of a sudden you're getting hate mail in your locker with crudely drawn dicks and cutout magazine letters. So, Hangin' Tough was my rebellion. My break from the hillbilly culture. It's disturbing, but yet...it still seems a step in the right direction. Considering the surroundings, I could have been singing "I'm a member of a Country Club....cuz country music is what I love" while Travis Tritt played in that walkman knockoff.


4. Nirvana-Smells Like Teen Spirit

For my generation, this makes me a walking cliche. I'm okay with that; it makes me authentic. This is the first cassette tape I ever bought myself with my own money. Side 1, track 1...Load up on guns, bring your friends. It's fun to lose and to pretend...  The lyrics were ambiguous, and I still don't really know what exactly mulattos, albinos, mosquitoes, and Cobain's libido have in common and there's not enough drugs in the world to make that clear. My parents were divorced or well on their way to being divorced and my mom was already seriously dating someone else (they've been married ever since but that's beyond the point). I was maybe 12 or 13 which puts it around 1994--the year Cobain burned out and made himself a junkie, rock martyr. Apparently, I was a little late on the grunge craze. With everything going on in my life, I was really entering a brand new world and with this purchase the same became true of my musical tastes. Evolution. We're talking about a major point in my life in all sorts of ways and this tape gave the perfect ambiance to my new direction. I think it's always been even more meaningful to me because I'd never really known anything about the band when I bought the damn thing. I picked it up on a whim. I like whims. People blame jesus and fate and destiny for whims but I sometimes think our brains function on a level we can't possibly understand. I grabbed that tape off a Kmart rack because it was exactly what I needed.


5. Wonderful Tonight-Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton on here twice? I'm not even that big a fan. I mean I dig Derek and the Dominoes and Cream but twice on such a short list makes it seem like I might think this guy is some sort of god. I don't believe in gods so X that idea. The song choice following something like Smells Like Teen Spirit really does make me a cliche. Fuck it, you know? I am what I am and I know exactly why this song is on here. It's rare in life to find a friend who can accept you as you are with all your quirks and not be concerned about the possible negative consequences of associating with a social outcast back in the awesome days of high school. My family didn't have money. I wasn't a christian and didn't care in the least about football or country music. I committed social suicide early in life. It may have been genetic. I did have that sort of friend, though. She didn't much care what I listened to or believed in or how popular I wasn't. When she would come out to my dad's house, we would, invariably, listen to this song as some point in the course of the evening. And I would, invariably, make her slow dance with me. True friendship. And I still make people dance with me when it comes on to this very day. Whenever I hear it though, I think about her. We've gotten older and stay too busy to get together too often, but whenever we do, we always pick up right where we left off. She made a world of difference. I needed that kind of unconditional acceptance. Ironically, this song was written about Pattie Boyd who was married to Eric Clapton at the time he released it. However, prior to this, she was married to George Harrison, Clapton's best friend. I don't guess they had the same kind of friendship.


6. Glycerine-Bush

My first ever experience with sex happened by sexual assault. That's sad, I know, but it happened 14 years ago and I'm over it so we'll move on and not make a big deal of it. The first time I ever thought I wanted to have sex is a different story. I was introduced to this guy by a mutual friend (who ended up hating me for sleeping with him. she told my mom i was doing coke because of it. and i wasn't. i was just a pothead. that's ok, though. she never slept with him and now she's fat). He was about 4 years older than me making any sexual contact between us completely illegal. He snuck out of his house and "borrowed" his parents' car. I snuck out of my house and got in said car which we drove a quarter mile down the road and promptly fucked in while Bush's Sixteen Stone played in the background. I sang along to this song in particular. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say and I realized as I got older I really wasn't ready for such a rendezvous. I didn't love him at the time but we remained friends for years and even had more sex sporadically. Sometimes he was incarcerated making sex impossible and I realize I'm not looking any better the further I go along. I still think fondly of him even now, though. We don't really talk; he's married and I can see why his wife wouldn't approve. The whole incident is significant, not because it was great sex--I somehow doubt it could have been, but because I feel it's indicative of my view of sex. Love was never a requirement. Maybe that can, in part, be blamed on the assault. Maybe it was being around my hippy father. Either way, there you go. The first time I ever chose to have sex, I snuck out of my house to fuck in the driver's seat of a Cavalier or something shittier like an Oldsmobile with Bush on the cassette player. I'm a hopeless romantic. I still sing along sometimes to certain songs if music plays in the midst of things sex related. I do have manners though; I don't sing with a mouthful.

Kill the headlights and put it in neutral.

I was really into a lot of 90s grunge music. Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Bush...I listened to a lot of what was termed "alternative" at this same time, but grunge was it for me. That's why I still love all those bands now. And not their new stuff. Korn and Limp Bizkit and the whole nu-metal genre ruined grunge. I think Korn's first album--and the only decent one--signaled the end of it all. From the rise of rap-metal until the past couple of years I spent a lot of time reminiscing about good music. I was stationary. No growth to speak of. I live in rural South Georgia. I had no idea what it meant to actually dig around and find things I loved.

This band I used to hang out with did a few covers. One of Weezer's Say It Ain't So. It was mediocre. The other was Rockin' in the Free World by Neil Young. Maybe I was always stoned but I think they actually did a good job on this one. I dunno. But I'll always think about them when I hear it. I wouldn't mind having it on my soundtrack while I'm at some Dazed and Confused style party at the moontower. My life was often like those scenes from that movie back in those days except I didn't have Parker Posey yelling at me to airraid because I was talking to some ugly, nerdy guy she'd never dare to date. 

 For a little bit, some of my stoner friends made "Loser" by Beck my theme song. I'm a loser, baby...so why don't you kill me? I was living in a rich neighborhood I hated; that was the reasoning behind the theme. I became a sellout because I lived near people we hated. I sometimes include this song on my soundtrack because I really loved the girl who used to sing it to me. She was funny and beautiful and she jerked me around. I'd also just moved back into my mom's from my dad's and I was having a tough time making the transition. I still own STP and Nirvana and Alice in Chains and Cyndi Lauper. I don't own Beck. I don't consider it. Apparently, it ain't that important. 

I listened to Marilyn Manson (the first 2 albums) because of MTV2. And because I was weird and he was weird and I dug weird. I liked RHCP and POTUSA and REM and other bands easily described by capital letters. None of that ever really gripped me though. I can't even listen to the same Marilyn Manson songs now with any enjoyment. Counting Stars by Hum will always make me smile but there's no significance. I never lost touch with music but I didn't grow musically for a period of about 10 years. I was most often stuck on the same things and often felt like I was missing something. Until I heard Baroness. But, back to the list. 


7. RHCP-Under the Bridge. 

Yeah, yeah I know what I just said. However, this song has very little to do with me personally. When I was about 20, someone I was pretty close to when I was in school was murdered. People might use the word "senseless" in talking about it but aren't most murders really senseless? Yes. Still, I took it pretty hard. This was the first person I'd ever had phone sex with and someone I, stupidly albeit, thought I was in love with for a few years. His dying young and awfully likely affected the memories I have of him i.e. I remember him with more fondness than I would have if he were still living. Somehow I still think he'd make the cut on this list if he had lived but he didn't. He was shot and left for dead after walking in on a home invasion burglary in his apartment. His death had an impact I've never really understood the depths of. It shaped my views on the criminal justice system and has influenced some of my career goals. I still go out to the cemetery at least once a year even going on 9 years later and I'm often drawn to people who remind me of him in small ways. I think this is why I dig jerks so much. Fuck me. I'm doomed to a lifetime of caustic assholes simply because the state of Florida has a completely fucked up criminal system that allowed two recidivists to continually get worse without any help until they finally killed someone. Anyway, he loved this song and all I need is to hear the opening bars to be flooded with thoughts of him. I miss that kid. 

There are 3 significant events/people in my life I don't really have songs attached to. It doesn't make them any less significant but I don't want to just attach songs to them in retrospect because it's sensible. I've done that before making this kind of list but in a way, that taints it. 

The first is the first guy I ever really truly loved. I will always think of him with affection and he's the only person I ever consider to have broken my heart. It was one of those couldn't eat, couldn't sleep situations. I've never been that way about another relationship or another guy period since then. I could choose Heartbreaker by Zeppelin simply because he sings a line "Some people cry and some people die by the wicked ways of love. But I'll just keep on rollin' along with the grace of the Lord above" and in some ways I totally feel that sentiment. It's the way I've always been except the whole Lord part. I roll along with the grace of my own strength. Ultimately though, fuck this song choice. If ever there were a movie about my life, the person lucky enough to play me would convey my heartache by those two days when I cried until snot flowed. Then I fucked this guy I knew and had previously wanted to fuck and the world was right again. Sex fixes so much. No songs about being broken and moving on are really necessary no matter how much this whole episode changed me. 

The second would be my marriage and separation. There's no song I attach to that guy or that time either. After he'd already left, he came over to pick up a few things and wanted to make a few cds. He ended up playing an AFI song called This Time Imperfect. I was standing in the kitchen holding our 2 year old and he came over and hugged us both sort of dancing. The three of us standing there in the kitchen slow dancing together in the face of this massive change and the sadness he and I felt about this failure is the sort of image that makes this all sound like a Lifetime movie moment and I suppose it sort of was. The lyics to that song say "I cannot stay here; I cannot leave. Forever haunted, more than afraid" and that really conveys how torn I was over choosing happiness for myself or choosing more financial stability for my son. But, I fucking hate that band overall. Have you seen that guy? Creepy. I still care a lot about my ex-husband despite the fact that he isn't necessarily doing the right thing financially right now. I don't harbor ill will about the failure of our marriage at all. I never should have gotten married in the first place. Marriage is a farce. I hate what happened and that we grew so far apart because that just makes life tougher for our son. As far as I'm concerned there's just not one song to denote every emotion I felt when all this happened. No song I knew of at that time. 

The third is my son. He loves music. Okay, let me rephrase. He loves "rockin' out" and as long as it's heavy enough for him, he gets into it. And I mean he really gets into it. There's not just one song I could pick out to symbolize how music bonds us either. Sometimes we play air guitars and air drums while I sing songs in the kitchen sliding around in our socks. Sometimes we sing at the top of our lungs in the car. Sometimes we sing songs while we buy groceries. There's not really one that just stands out because we share so much. He's too awesome to pinpoint with just one song or one sound or one band. He's so much impossibly more than that and I love him even when I am aggravated beyond reason with his precociousness. 


8. Baroness-Red Sky

A little over a year ago, this jerk I know told me I didn't have a clue what music is. He teased me relentlessly about what I chose to listen to and even when I bugged him relentlessly about what he defined as music, he wouldn't give in saying I'd fail to get it. It really pissed me off. He finally gave in though and told me to check on his music review blog for a band called Baroness and specifically the song Coeur which is off First, an ep released in 2004. I liked it and decided to check out some more from the band who had another ep, Second, released in 2005, and a full length album Red Album from '07 at that time. I downloaded all 3 albums, put them on a play list and hit shuffle. I was sitting with a glass of wine in an otherwise quiet house. Red Sky was the first song that played. I bobbed my head along from the start. By 38 seconds in, I suspected something great would come of this. By 1:31 of the 5:44 song, I was in a bit of lust. When the song broke into melody about 3 and a half minutes in, I closed my eyes, leaned back in the chair and enjoyed the ride. Everything seemed to fade into the background except that chair, my glass, and the sounds emanating from the computer speakers. It's been a good relationship. I dig their music and they keep making it. I saw them live for their Blue Record release party at the end of 09 in Savannah, Georgia where they originated. They played in the bar where they first started and whose basement they practiced in. Most people I know have no idea why I like this band and why they led me on a new kind of evolution and I'm okay with that. I've never been the kind of girl who followed the rest of the herd. Everyone who loves music should find something that speaks to them on a level nothing else can and for me it's Baroness. I don't think it's a matter of l o v e. Love describes something so much less pure than what I feel as I type this listening to A Horse Called Golgotha. If love ever felt as easy and wonderful as a good song, I might not mind relationships so much. 


9. Rolling Stones-Can't Always Get What You Want

In a discussion on music, often you'll get a question about your preference of the Stones or the Beatles. By my inclusion of a Stones song on this list, my answer is pretty clear. Stones all the way. This song has a lot of possible interpretations with lyrics like "I saw her today at the reception, a glass of wine in her hand. I knew she would meet her connection. At her feet was her footloose man." It's funny the sorts of meanings people guess that might have including relationship bullshit going on with band members' girlfriends at the time. Or, one girlfriend at the time, Anita Pallenberg, who left Brian Jones for Keith Richards. (Whatever happened to bros before hos?) I don't care about any of that. The song is badass but for me, it's more about how life is just  a little tough but that's all part of it. You keep on going and working for it. You really can't always get what you want even when you have all the financial means to do so. But, you can, when you're willing to work for it, get what you need. Whether we realize it or not, that's often more important. 


here's a playlist...i had to make a substitution with the baroness track but you'll get it. you know, if i just made a soundtrack of things i liked that might represent some little part of my personality, we'd be here all night. maybe one day. i wouldn't mind an all nighter. it just might be a need. 





Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

ps i have now been informed as an american i cannot use the term 'grey'. it is gray. period. no question. thanks for reading and listening. 
August 8, 2010

Ellipses

Piercing noise invades...dream about wandering amid tall buildings and a soup kitchen and bad smells...reality, blurry as always, creeps in through lidded eyes, partially stuck together...I see perfectly in my dreams, 20/20 vision...I have a small sense of being denied something when I awake from a dream.

Shoulder throbs...slept on it wrong again...ignoring it as I push myself up to a sitting position...eyes closed again because they know they aren't needed...knee cracking as it finds the floor…willing myself toward the piercing noise to choke silence from it.

Click...the noise stops and the lids again arise slightly to verify what feels like an impossibility...being this weary and having slept that long...perhaps time moves faster when we dream...the only thing we know of time is how to mark it's passing consciously...if it flows, like water, like a river, then it cannot be constant and it can form branches…a second me does these same things and thinks these same thoughts alongside me, but not quite.

Reminding myself not to watch certain movies late at night...fingers fumbling on top of the laptop to locate my real eyes...my shoulder still aches...moving it around in the socket...making a muted clicking noise like tumblers on a combination lock...I find my vision and ignore the light switch...it's still summer, though it's a softer glow that curls around the edges of the window.

Sudden urge to piss hits me...wondering where that was moments ago as my cock is clearly demonstrating that there is a drainage issue...following its lead to the bathroom...the floor around the toilet grateful that I brought my spectacles this time...splashing water as flaccidity returns with none of the usual enjoyment involved beforehand.

Stripping and turning on the shower...standing under it and attempting to quiet my mind...pay attention only to the water...rivulets running down my body...dripping off appendages…swirling down the drain always making me think of Psycho.

My mind snapping back into the present as the routine begins again. The machine starts running and moving to the beat the row master in my heart sets it to. I feel human and a little less than human again, and every action doesn't feel like there is a bloated pause between them.

August 5, 2010

It's Adam & Eve not Adam & Steve, but Amanda & Eve are ok if they're both hot...

Oh, those precocious faggots are at it again!

I won't get into the legal mumbo jumbo, though I could. It would just make you sleepy. To sum up; some judicious dude in California overturned the gay marriage ban that was invoked by proposition 8.

You can read his entire ruling here: http://jaysays.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/decision.pdf

You probably should since it is some of the most wonderfully written common sense I've encountered recently. The part I love the best though is that he comes right out and says, “Hey, you uptight religious people...this is NOT about you. It never was, it doesn't affect you, so shut the fuck up.”

The shut the fuck up part was just me improvising.

Marriage in the Unites States is a civil matter, not a religious one. They can perform the ceremony to "make it official" but they still need a marriage license. And a religious institution's acceptance or non-acceptance of a marriage means nothing under state law. I can declare myself Pope all I want, make up certificates, and even wear a pointy hat...it all means nothing if the Vatican doesn't recognize me as Pope.

Nobody is telling these institutions, or ANYONE for that matter, that they aren't allowed to say that they think gay marriage is wrong. Go right ahead. You're allowed. Nobody is trying to take your small mindedness away from you. And, this is the kicker for me; nobody is forcing any religious institution to perform gay marriage ceremonies. Listen long enough and you'd think homosexuals are some form of spiritual termite, eating away at people's faith. That's some strong faith you got there if the Village People are a threat to it.

I just don’t get it.

Maybe it's because I'm more open minded.

Maybe it's because I know quite a few homosexuals, and know that they are good people trying to live their lives happily.

Maybe it's because I've seen some gay couples grow old together and seen one of them die and their partner left destitute because they didn't have the same protections as a heterosexual spouse.

Maybe it's because I've seen so many heterosexual people treat marriage like it's a joke, and then rally against homosexual marriage as if getting married by an Elvis impersonator is somehow sacred.

Maybe it's because I don't believe in a book written by chauvinistic, fearful and ignorant men that thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if God thought we were the most awesome and cool group of people on the planet, and he would smite anyone that was mean to us! Shit, if we could convince people that this was true we could make all kinds of rules to our advantage. And I bet no one would ever mess with us again!!" Ouch, that last part kind of backfired on you, didn’t it? Didn’t leave enough Bibles in hotel rooms in Germany, eh?

What, too soon? Maybe it’s only funny when people of faith treat a group of people like they’re less than human. My bad.

Maybe it's because of all of these things that I don't consider this to even be an issue. They deserve the right to a civil marriage and the government protections that come with it. To say otherwise is to say they are less than human. And remember, I said human for all you assholes that like to say, “Well if we allow this then people will want to marry their dog!” NO! No no no no no you ignorant fucks!! You do realize you just said that a homosexual is the equivalent of a dog, right? You're an idiot.

I'm also very happy that I do think this way. I like to think it means evolution hasn't passed me by as I hear my Dad listening to the news and saying that he hopes this gets to the Supreme Court before Obama puts another fag loving liberal on the bench. My relief at not being like my Dad isn't because he's a bad person. He isn't a bad person. He’s just misguided like so many others...misguided by a faith that doesn't allow for free thinking and ignores the most important lesson it teaches, to love one another.

More and more the saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" makes sense to me. I don't know if the person that said it meant it to be taken the way I take it. I see it as those who are well meaning and truly love their fellow man are on a path away from the heaven that religion offers.

I'm sorry if this offends anyone reading this, but your sense of superiority offends me. I'll take your forgiveness as a given.

August 4, 2010

I Make A Difference!

Today, at least in the utterly vanquished acropolis in which I live, is Make A Difference Day.

This means that the local newspaper lines the city streets with brightly shirted, and likely unemployed, "volunteers" to sell their rag for an extra 50 cents. That extra 50 cents goes toward making a difference in the lives of local children. I can only assume that means taking them from their birth parents and exporting them to a third world country....or Cleveland...so they have a better chance at a prosperous existence.

Now I'm sure some of you are saying, "Oh, it can't be that bad!” You people can just zip it. I would like you to watch the series Life After Man. It's on one of those educational stations that you regularly avoid watching. Look very closely at how the cities appear about 10 years after man has ceased to exist and no longer takes care of his creations. That is where I live.

Back on topic.

Now I'm usually very deft at avoiding the guerilla tactics employed by these paper hawking Sandinistas. It's not that I don't want to make a difference in the lives of children...it's the fact that I wouldn't pick up a copy of this newspaper if it were free. Homeless people walk to trash bins in other cities because it isn't even fit for a park bench blanket. Children refuse to wear hats made out of it for fear of being mocked for not only wearing a newspaper hat, but an awful one at that. Silly Putty refuses to transfer the print because it's simply too embarrassing. It's just bad is what I'm trying to say.

So I'm able to avoid them at the end of my street by pretending the stop sign is actually a yield sign and squealing my tires around the corner. I hit the next two green lights like clockwork and resist the urge to cackle maniacally with my window rolled down. Then I turn on to Pine Avenue and it's time to take things seriously. I have to run the single lane, slow traffic, high pedestrian gauntlet on the only street left in the city with more businesses than boarded up windows.

I'm far too clever for them though. The real trick is to never make eye contact and never ever pull all the way up to a red light. Hang back until it changes and then gun it...laughter and rude gestures as you go by entirely optional. Mission accomplished as I pull into Tim Horton's for my coffee, as at this point I'm home free and have a clear shot to work.

You, dear reader, would have had quite a laugh as the smug look fell off my face when I was assaulted by the sight of brightly colored shirts waiting at the entrance to the drive thru.

*shakes fist at the heavens*

Oh you clever bastards. Not only did they find the highest traffic area in the entire city, a Tim Horton's drive thru, they staffed it with the two cutest (and probably only financially compensated) girls they could find. One blonde and one brunette in shirts quite obviously a few sizes too small. These tabloid tarts had already sold about three stacks of newspapers. No clearer case of entrapment have I ever witnessed. I was simply done for.

So there is blight upon my desk at work today in the form of an awful newspaper. And there are two cute girls with free cups of coffee somewhere in the city, probably receiving an award for breaking a sales record.

Kudos ladies...kudos.

August 3, 2010

She's Truly Outrageous

A long time ago, in a land far, far away called the 80s....


I had a Jem doll.

Poster girl for dissociative personality disorder

Jem was one of those shows created around a line of toys (Hasbro) like GI Joe, The Transformers, and My Little Pony. The basic plot of the show involved Jerrica Benton, the main character, having a "secret" identity as a rockstar. By day, she owned a music company and a foster home for 13 orphaned girls. By different time of day, she was Jem of Jem and the Holograms, a rocker girl whose badassness could hardly be rivaled. The shows the band played were used to fund her good girl activities and she always foiled the attempts of bad girl rival bands like the Misfits out of stealing her thunder. Bad girls, seemingly, never win even in the world of animated bubblegum pop rock...

I wonder what would happen if these Misfits were pitted against the real Misfits in a Battle of the Bands....I also wonder who would spend more time doing their makeup. Both are equally scary, but would it be more involved to tease that pea soup hair and electrify those cheeks or gel that one strand into the perfect face blocking place?

Jerrica transformed from herself to Jem by aid of a hologram machine and a pair of nifty earrings which would envelope her in Jem's image. And, of course, no girl show is complete without some romance. In this case, the love interest was actually unwittingly digging on both personalities. What do you do when you find out your boyfriend is cheating on you with yourself?

I also used to have this Barbie style family of dolls called the Heart family.


This was cute and gaggingly wholesome fun with a Mommy, Daddy, baby girl, and baby boy. Aw! Or not really aw. Not at my house anyway. In my imagination and in my 3 story dollhouse, Mr. Heart used to have affairs on Mrs. Heart with Jem.

That is correct. Before the age of ten, I made Jem into a cheap homewrecker. That bitch.

But, don't let this fool you into thinking something negative about my perceptions of relationships and that perhaps I'm wired all wrong or my parents' relationship had my views skewed. My parents did get divorced by the time I was 12 but it had nothing to do with infidelity. I'm fairly certain neither of them were cheaters. And, the affairs Mr. Heart had with Jem had nothing to do with the drama of a secret relationship. They snuck around, sure. They hung out on the plastic furniture and she brought over plastic fruit in full rocker costume. She never once saw him in her Jerrica attire. And here's why: in my mind, Mr. Heart simply thought Jem was the coolest girl he'd ever seen.

Jem was something completely different from his American dream family. She loved music and dancing. They listened to Cyndi Lauper and moved around the house singing along. She made up songs for him and dressed differently. She did her own thing and wasn't afraid to be an upwardly mobile woman of the 80s. Okay, so my mind at the time couldn't conceive the term "upwardly mobile woman of the 80s" but I knew she supported herself and didn't need a damn dime of his while his prude of a wife couldn't have gotten a job if her life depended on it (and she'd end up living on alimony checks for the rest of her life). Who wouldn't want the cool girl who could sing her ass off and had flashy earrings? Mr. Heart just couldn't resist.

And, that's why the affair began. I thought Jem was badass. The influence of such a character seems pretty small when your child is watching cartoons on Saturday mornings while you're doing the laundry or sleeping in, but here I am today with that influence still quite apparent with my love of music, self sufficiency, education, tattoos, unique style, and outside the box thinking. Fuck am I ever glad my mom never got the depth of a show like Jem...I imagine I'd be sucking down Xanax in massive quantities right now if my life were anything like that of the nauseatingly domestic Mrs. Heart.





July 25, 2010

That One Song

I promised this one a long time ago it seems...

We all have bands that we feel connected to on another level. The ones that we have what would be considered a torrid love affair with. Some we lose touch with and we only have memories. Some retire from making and playing music and slip into being "classic". Some stay with us no matter what and we wait for every new album and buy tickets the first day when we know they're coming to town. We feel like they are our band. We feel closer to someone that shares a love for that band. It cuts us if someone claims they don't like them, because it's pretty much an attack on ourselves.

We like all kinds of music, but that kind of relationship with a band is rare. And like any relationship you can trace it back to the moment when it really clicked. With a band, it's usually one song. These are those bands for me at this point in my life, and that one song that made me love them...

Queensryche is the first band that was really mine. Yeah, I liked some bands before them. I was a fan of The Police first, and actually appreciate them more now than I did then. I liked Duran Duran because my sister was obsessed with John Taylor and played them constantly. I moved on to hard rock and heavy metal, finally getting into my own niche when I would visit my cousin and listen to his Maiden, Ozzy, Zeppelin and AC/DC albums. The guitar riff was my new religion. My walls were covered in Maiden and Ozzy posters.

Then one time he put on this tape...Queensryche's Rage for Order. It was alright. The singer was unreal and the guitars were tight, but it was a little too synthy and the sci-fi lyrics were kind of out there. A few years later I'm listening to the radio and I hear they have a new album coming out. A concept album. That was new for me and then the radio played one of the songs. The singer was still unreal but the guitars were tighter and heavier and the drums were pounding. And it was about a serious political and religious shit and this was right about the time I was starting to watch the news and learn not to blindly trust those in power, and to question my faith. To think for myself. The song was "Speak" and I they've been my band ever since....


Queensryche - Speak
Uploaded by EMI_Music. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Pearl Jam was the second band that hooked me. I was maybe a junior in high school when grunge hit. I fully embraced the scene and was into all the music. I think the kind of music we're into in high school will always be the genre we relate to the most. That we listen to most often, know the most about, and remember the most fondly.

Pearl Jam was just another band in a blossoming scene when I first heard them. They were obviously something a little different sound wise, but this I was an MTv kid and sometimes visuals can trick us and a band will get lost in the crowd. Pearl Jam wasn't any more special than Nirvana or Soundgarden to me even after hearing Alive, Evenflow and Jeremy. Then I was watching them on Unplugged. And they played that one song...and it was a synergy of music, lyrics and performance that caught me. There was more to them than just grunge and flannel. They were just playing fucking rock music and the music means everything to them. The song was "Porch"...

I don't need to spend much time talking about Tool. They are artists. Geniuses. They bend my mind along with my ears. Visually and aurally. There is nothing quite like them. Everyone should see them live at least once.

I'm sitting on a couch at home watching MTv and this video comes on and...Riveted doesn't quite cut it. Really, love at first sight/sound does exist. Sober....

Finally there's Bad Religion. I wish this was the first band I was talking about. I find them until I was in college, which was over a decade into their existence. I was talking about punk music with a few friends and someone brought up Bad Religion. My response was, "Oh yeah, those 21st Century Digital Boy guys...I didn't think they were punk". The look I received is probably the same you've given someone that said something you considered to be the epitome of ignorance. And I deserved that look.

The same friend made me a copy of their album Suffer and told me to listen to it. I put it on in the background while I was working on some project about representing the elements in abstraction that was utterly boring me to death. I was nodding my head to the music, enjoying it but only letting it wash over me...not really catching any lyrics. I knew I was going to like them and seek out more because the music was really getting me. Then that one song came on...I played it back over and over, rewinding the tape, getting into the lyrics. This was punk with brains...with a message. And I was totally fucking digging it. "You're a sidewalk cipher speaking prionic jive". "What the fuck" was all I had after deciphering that.

I've probably become a bigger fan than the guy who gave me the tape. Give You Nothing....

about me. not really.

dear you,

i don't talk about my child or being a mom. i don't talk about my garden. i won't mention my craftiness (often) or how much i save each week with coupons. if you're looking for that sort of thing, you're in the wrong place.

instead, let's abandon the tethers of domestication for a moment and remember what it's like to laugh at vulgarity and the world at large.

xo,

j

talk amongst ourselves


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