Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I am a snake head eating the head on the opposite side.

I've been doing a lot of cleaning out of boxes and closets and assorted corners of my apartment in preparation for a move (I finally ran out of money, but that's another story for another blog post) and I came across my collection of mix tapes. I'm holding on to these items so that they will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands; I love them that much.

I thought I would share with you my track listing from a mix tape I made for myself that I titled: Bored! Summer 1995. That would have made me 18 going on 19. This is the track listing:

Cambodia -- Dead Kennedys
Miss World -- Hole
A Violent Fluid -- NIN
I Palindrome I -- They Might Be Giants
Juke Joint Jezebel -- KMFDM
Dopehat -- Marilyn Manson (apparently they liked the word "dope" for song titles)
Sweet Jane -- Cowboy Junkies
Killing Game -- Skinny Puppy
How Beautiful You Are -- The Cure
Redemption Song -- Bob Marley
Lithium -- Nirvana
Serenade for Winds K.36, 3rd movement-- Mozart
Am I Wrong-- Love Spit Love
Kraut -- KMFDM
Girl -- Tori Amos
No Woman No Cry -- Bob Marley
Fake Plastic Trees -- Radiohead
Thank You -- Tori Amos
Suck (Live) -- NIN
The Dock of the Bay -- Otis Redding
Which Describes How You're Feeling All the Time -- They Might Be Giants
Yes, Anastasia -- Tori Amos
Dumb -- Nirvana

Ahem. I really WAS bored that summer. If I can recall correctly, I was home from Freshman year at college and apparently not in any way bothered by KMFDM, what with putting not one but two of their songs on my mix. Be my...sister salvation... I'm cracking up. I was spending my Saturday nights at Voodoo's, swooning over goth boys in fishnets and working in some crappy cafeteria, brooding that "no one understood". I just really want to give the young me a big hug, complement her skirt and let her know, in the most gentle way possible, that she is a loser. But that it's ok.

Also, I appear to have been into grunge, industrial, goth, 60s soul, classical, reggae and what I like to call "quirk" music. Much to my deep, deep chagrin, I let rap of that era pass me right by. I regret it. I truly do.

So there's mix tapes just like this taking up real estate in bent boxes that I carry with me from apartment to apartment and have lasted almost 20 years. I have such distinct memories attached to each of these songs, I'm so glad I have this peephole into my past. And I frankly have a hankering for some Skinny Puppy now.

Bonus points to whomever can match this post's title to one of the songs from the tape. Just read the meaning and it shouldn't be too hard.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Grubstake me!


: to provide with material assistance (as a loan) for launching an enterprise or for a person in difficult circumstances

When I started this entry, it was the word of the day. That was two days ago. I'm going to start viewing Merriam Webster's word of the day as a kind of harbinger of things to come. Turns out, I could use a grubstake. A literal one and a metaphysical one.

I missed two days of posting this month. Those two days have been lost to history. Imagine just exactly how critical the information I carried on those two days could have been. I could have lugged around wisdom unparalleled. Rucksacks swollen with brooding, boxes crammed with worry, duffle bags filled to bursting with my incessant need to put off what I could do today. Modern day classic!!

Friends, my brain is fried, my nerves are sizzled, my heart is charred, my soul sous vide. I'm cooked, through and through.

I've missed the other part of my drafting compass, the one I was promised the moment I read John Donne in high school.

And though it in the centre sit,  
    Yet, when the other far doth roam,                                
It leans, and hearkens after it,  
    And grows erect, as that comes home. 

Such wilt thou be to me, who must, 
    Like th' other foot, obliquely run ; 
Thy firmness makes my circle just,                                    
    And makes me end where I begun.

I definitely need the stalwart stick in the mud because, my peoples, I doth roam all over the damn freaking place.

In my previous online journals, I used to tag my posts with more regularity and it was always amusing to me to see how often I posted about a particular subject. There were clearly defined patterns in my daily life and I was (somewhat) more inclined to limit my complaints or at the very least, sparse them out. One of my tags was called "Money, aka the bane of my existence" and I'm reasonably certain it made the top three most frequently used tags in my journal. I don't tag this journal that often but if I did, I'd change any and all discussion of money, my lack of it, my pathetic IV bag-like dependence on it to carry the following tag: ARRGGGGHHHHH.

And just like an IV bag, I've been hungrily draining what little money I had squirreled away to do vital life functions, things like, oh I don't know, pay rent and energy bills, fill up my car with gas to get me to my part time jobs. I knew in the back of my mind it was not sustainable; this would have to do until a full time job came along. Well, five months later, no full time job is yet forthcoming and I think at approximately 10am this Monday morning, it hit me in the face. I have to look at my apartment, home for lo, these four and half years and say aloud, with feeling: I gotsta GO!

It's the where, how and why God why of it all, though. The ass kicker. I even found time this weekend to lament all the fucking shit I'm going to be missing out on this fall: friend's visits, huge life events of people I love. All because of money aka the bane of my existence, pervasive and pernicious as ever.

I might be broke now but I still harbor dreams, my darlings. Dreams are free. GIFs of dreams are also free (unless protected by copyright, in which case, let me know.) Here's my next dream, GIF style.

I'm the cat in this dream btw.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Prog rock prince

As of this typing, it is 11:24 am. Some observations about the day so far:

I have no idea how to dress for this weather. At the moment I'm wearing what I call a Seasonal Compilaton. I have capri length pants on with a blouse and a short sleeved sweater and a scarf. None of it is appropriate for the weather nor does it look right. If my outfit were a person, it would be an adolescent, still trying to figure out who she is.

I'm almost totally positive that the woman I saw at the bagel shop this morning, munching greedly on savory looking breakfast is going to get undressed tonight and just spill over with poppy seeds. They are going to rain from her body and scatter to the floor in a million pieces after hitching a ride like so many plankton. It will happen to her consternation and also, I hope, her amusement.

A library patron just asked me if we owned CDs by what is probably every single known prog rock band that ever existed. He was super annoyed that we had maybe two. Sorry, dude. The library buys according to the need of the community and unfortunately, the need for ELO, Bachman Turner Overdrive and Yes is not as in demand as you were led to believe. Apparently he comes in this library a lot and will heretofore be known as the Prog Rock Prince. In my head.

I just had to help a Spanish speaking patron with some information because out of a hefty staff in this large library, like two of us speak Spanish. Geez. When will Americans start speaking Spanish already?? Anyway, she wanted information about who was running for local office. That would normally be simple enough but there was the language barrier, her computer illiteracy and the fact that it isn't all that easy to get translated, detailed information about hyperlocal political candidates. I felt exactly like everything I was telling her was just turning into "a doy a doy a doy" by the time it reached her ears. She finally told me to give her the website and that her grandkids would help her navigate it. Someone should invent a universal translatable app for political candidates during election years. Get on that.

So far, that's all I got. With a morning like this, I can't wait to chronicle my sure to be thrilling and chilling observations of the afternoon.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


It is strange to be working a long day at two jobs on the anniversary of 9/11. For the past two years, I've made it a point to be out of the country, with my sister. Today she is out of town and I am home and I've been so busy that I spent the majority of the day with my mind in "you are forgetting something" mode. It is much easier to ignore that mode, or at least to put it on mute, when you are drinking foreign wine and pointing at exotic buildings and monuments.

I was so busy doing non-computer related things that I was spared most of the news/op-eds/armchair historian's takes on what this day means now that it didn't 13 years ago and what are all the things we should be doing instead of remembering. And even though I was working and learning and being trained all day long, I still wasn't forgetting. In the back row of my brain, all the way in the cheap seats, I saw all of it, the 13th encore.

But, just like every year, the engine had to chug along. To be completely honest, I'm more like the exhaust than engine at the moment and I've suddenly found myself at 10:30 again with nothing in my head but how little was in my head.

Quick throwback to yesterday's post. This explains why the moon was so bright last night. So, not an absurdist play after all...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In Between

I spent the entire day in the car. I drove many miles for a good reason and I just rolled home and am catching up on the days email.  The last thing I feel like doing is updating but it is Blog Everyday September. So here I am, if only to share this: On my way home, driving in an undulating sea of rearviews and red lights, the moon was so bright and yellow and low in the sky that I got the strange sensation I was visiting another planet, during some other era. The ancient moon and the modern lights with me somewhere in between. Sometimes doing something so utterly normal, like driving home, feels like it happens on the set of an absurdist play.

Maybe I'm just sleepy with nothing to say. In that case, goodnight!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Spain. Again.

Sigh. Last year I was in Spain at this time. My stomach hurts at the moment and I'm cranky. I don't feel like writing at the moment so instead I'm reading.

Here's a link to my entry about my first day in Barcelona:

It took a week to write, apparently.

And that time we visited the Casa Battlo:

And I popped my pimentos de padron cherry.

Climbing Monserrat:

And the vomiting mountain kitty

And the final reposted highlight:

The first day I fell in love with Madrid

I have a long, big day tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have something write about. Maybe.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A compact life

I just spent this afternoon and early evening moving my CDs from the stands I've kept them in for about 10 years, to a compact little square that can be carried around like a suitcase. I took the opportunity to weed through the ones I never listen to, never have listened to or simply feel flabbergasted that I ever owned. I'm certain I don't have to explain my attachment to these discs; I've carried them with me over decades of my life, from one living situation to another. They have, for the past four years assumed their place inside two column like racks on the side of my fridge and it has become high time to make space and lighten the load of my life. So I made the executive decision at 2am the other morning to buy a case on ebay in which to house (and likely bury) my CD collection, such as it is. The entire endeavor only took a few hours but it took me back years.
Some observations:

  • I have a small army of marvelous people in my life who, over the last 20 or so years have made me mix CDs full of music that has pretty much comprised the DNA of my life's memories to date. I have kept every single one and will continue to do so. I even had people I NEVER MET in real life make me CDs because we were virtual friends. Thank you thank you thank you, you know who you are.
  • I have a sneaking suspicion that someone at some point just dropped off a handful of their CDs surreptitiously and left them in my collection. How else can I explain the presence of five Devandra Banhart CDs??
  • CD production and design used to be so nice. I have a special edition copy of Neon Bible that came equipped with little flipbooks of an actual neon bible and one of synchronized swimmers. The Queen anthology I got for Christmas one year has pretty remarkable photographs in the liner notes. The double album by the Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is basically a small work of art. And then there were stupidly designed ones. An old Dave Matthews Band CD has one of those magic eye pictures on the front, managing to be both dated and ugly. Though I love the album intensely, I was never a fan of the photos on Pearl Jam's Vs. cover. It actually skeeves me to this day.
  • I distinctly remember the very first CD I ever bought. It is kind of embarrassing, so please find it in your heart to forgive me: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Swing Kids. Yes, the film was utter dreck and not every recording is a gem but I must say I still thoroughly enjoy the version of Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen on that soundtrack. It reminds me of being 15.
  • I was in possession of 20 sample CDs and not one of them was good. Not one. All those poor musicians.... Also, how the hell did I get all these samples?
  • I came across the CD single by the Strokes, New York City Cops that I bought at a music store situated right next to a multiplex in Kips Bay about 10 years ago. Not 20 minutes after I bought that CD I actually saw Julian Casablancas at the movies and asked him to sign my CD. I remember being so excited by kismet. Looking at the CD now, I can barely read his scrawl. But I swear it happened. My sister will attest!
  • It is so strange to think that all my music (minus the thousands of songs I have on my iPod of course) fit into this:

Therein lies almost my entire adolescence and adult life, compact with a convenient carrying handle. 

Naturally the more organized and/or space worshiping of you will question my desire to hang on to these little silver discs at all. I tend to agree with that notion but I simply can't let them go. Not yet. Getting rid of the cases was one thing. And, true, I have most of these uploaded. But I'm an old ass lady who enjoys the tangible feel of a CD, of lying on my stomach on my bedroom floor, reading liner notes and lyrics and singing along. Really, I feel like you should just let me be.

Quick question though: what in the sam hell do I do with these jewel cases??