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Archive for August, 2005

|| August 31, 2005 || 10:45 pm || Comments (4) ||

(at a loss)

It’s incredibly difficult to see the word ‘refugees’ and know that it applies to people some six hours away, within our own borders.

I cannot begin to describe to you how moved I am about this whole situation. I feel overwhelmed with a need to go and do something, anything. I prayed about that the day Katrina hit: “Lord, if you would have me go, provide the opportunity.” Well, tonight I was told of a local team leaving in the next five to ten days. The prayer has mutated a bit: “Okay, check; if you would have me go, provide the resources and the time off of work.”

(I no longer have to work as a social services suck and am beginning a new job on the sixth, which sort of complicates matters. I was gonna post about the job thing; I just haven’t had the time, really…)

The older children, upon hearing of the impending trip, stepped up and said, “Let us go, momma. Let us go and help.” They make me proud. Sure, it could have been three teenagers ready to miss some school, but the looks on their faces marked them inculpable in that regard. They want to do whatever they can.

What is ‘whatever they can’? Lots of times you never know until you show up. It’s not so much important, really, what you do. It’s the showing up part that matters the most. My kids want to show up. There will be things to occupy them for long, hard hours if we are indeed offered the opportunity to do so. It will be an important life-lesson for them, so I am hoping against hope that we will get to go.

Refugees in America, citizens of the United States that are refugees in their own nation. That fact causes a twitching in my brain. Every time I think there are things to be sure of, I am reminded that there is no safe bet. Not even one.

I began tonight to make a list of things that people will need, but others might not think to bring. So far I have bug dope (bug spray to all you civilians out there) and air mattresses. The mosquito ranks will be swell soon…if I recall correctly, their gestation period is around three weeks. And who the hell couldn’t use a mattress? If you people think of anything else, please feel free to pipe up in the comments below. Even if I’m not given the opportunity to posse up and go offer my hands-on assistance, I’m going to start calling local merchants to see if they’ll give things for disbursement by the team that will be going.

This has certainly been a decade of rude awakenings for the United States. Even still, the quiet resolve is astounding…it’s a breathtaking and beautiful thing to behold. We may not be the most graceful young nation, but we are indeed a country of great heart.

|| August 30, 2005 || 11:56 am || Comments (1) ||

They don’t make coathangers like they used to.

Preface: Apparently, the proper pronunciation for hurricane in Hellabamian is ‘hurra-kin’. You have to make the ‘kin’ jab sharp and fast, though. /Preface

A couple of days ago, I sent Piper out to rake the yard and Scout was assigned the task of sweeping the drive and the concrete pad around the mailbox. They didn’t even bitch, which will make me feel terrible while enlisting their help in cleanup efforts.

We got off easy this time; it just looks like a few dozen trees either

ay) exploded or
bee) went on a big bender and barfed all their extrees

all over our yard. Nay, our street. There is a literal carpet of branches and fresh greenery everywhere the eye turns. The extent of the damage to us personally was a night of horrible sleep, as the humidity was stifling and random doohickeys and things not nailed down hit our roof all night. Remind me to kiss the roofers, because on first inspection this morning Maxim and I noticed nothing amiss.

Some of you more southerly folks, drop me a line and check in. I called a couple of people already, but I’m not in phone contact with all you yayhoos and I’m especially concerned for this one, as he was in the middle of all the action.

Thanks for all the calls and e-mails. There have been sirens blaring in the distance for some twelve hours as various emergencies are tended to, an eight-hour power outage and the children went to school a couple hours later, so we’ve hardly been even inconvenienced. We here at the Muffinass Mansion are all very alright. So alright, in fact, that I discussed with Maxim loading up the Magic Stealth Vehicle with bottled water and carting it down to the coast, or over to Nawlins, who face a long season what with the levee breaking and all. The weather carnage was so close, and I will feel like a real asshole if I just sit here and do nothing. I may call a couple retailers here in a bit and if they happen to agree to load up the ole mode of transport, then I’ll for sure do it.

Can I just remind you folks right now how very proud I am to be of the Southerin Persuasion? This morning, over and over in news reports about the horrible state of things (closest complete wipeout was only an hour and a half away in Florence), national correspondents kept saying that “Alabama feels fortunate to have such a low casualty rate, and is hurrying to get on its feet in order to offer assistance to harder-hit Mississippi and Louisiana.” Hot damn, I love the spirit that the South embodies. And, as always, I’m thankful for the many blessings that I’m gifted with daily.

I know the title has nothing to do with the fucking entry; it was just the first thing that popped into my head this morning, quickly followed by the sick-bastard thought that they could NEVER remake ‘Mommy Dearest’ nowadays, because the pitifulness of the modern hanger would fuck it all up. Then I giggled and went in search of orange juice, the end.

(it was posted once for me, and now I post it for you, because it is so impossibly beautiful and fitting and because tonight some questions were answered that made everybody squirm as more questions Phoenixed up from the ashes of the previous ones)

The Advent Of Zero.

I know that someday you will tire of everything

as I have already, heavy as the lidless eyes

of God, the father of insomnia, and yes,

I couldn’t sleep again last night, tossing

like a coin upon which some meager fate flips:

what will I eat tonight? Am I hungry?

And which direction will I find kindest

when at last the noise of my leaving blanches

all else out? No sounds, no music like cotton,

no birds in their boughs singing like angels

in January, because this is Alabama,

so warm here that snow is a kind of mad myth.

And I know the world cares not a whit,

if I may invoke the tongue of a corseted age,

for these few words that run out from me

as though I opened a wound on the blind edge

of something in the dark, impossible

to see, sucked up in the night as though

my heart, yes, my heart, were a black hole.

And maybe it is. Draw nearer, O thousand loves,

to see if you escape me, if from my ribs

a contraption worthy of science fiction

ticks like a bomb, if it is not meshed

with barbed wire and bits of glass from bottles

drained of their amber soda.

With the omniscience of the broken heart,

I claim my future successes and disavow

all that I ever touch that crumples

in the gathering dust of closets and corners and heaps.

To anyone who will take it, I divest

myself of the bike hanging from a hook

that I never rode, given to me

so impossibly long ago that it was not me at all.

Not the me that cannot help

but haunt the mailbox giving back

most days more sadness than I sealed therein,

with a wish, a lock of smoke-thin whimsy,

the wet touch of my tongue I know was made to kiss.

And to you, whom these words reach:

know that my apologies were true,

they rang like the bright peal of incredible bells.

Whole days I spent trying on your name

like new clothes—

no, like old, rumpled, patched, familiar, warm—

I was wrong to think of you as new.

I have known you forever, since the advent of zero,

since the rain first struck the earth

like a terror, and really, let us admit

we are being modest before the face of time.

To plumb those depths is loss, loss, loss,

to wait forever and in vain to hear

at the strained horizon of the day

for the splash or muffled clank of the pebble

you dropped to gain some notion

of the fall. Let us admit this and more

in our silken descent from the stars

back to separate pillows, the confusion of covers,

and though I cannot believe it,

I have come again to the bed, my own,

of course, for I cannot speak

your world into mine.

// Paul Guest, &copy 2003

Ohhhh, Paul Guest, I could kiss you on the mouth for channeling my life through your pen. How do you manage such a thing?

|| August 24, 2005 || 5:44 am || Comments (4) ||

Words on good living from Someone Who Loves Me.

When it is raining you can

set up the fire and sit in

your red chair and have some tea.

You can think on wise thoughts,

imagine faraway and wonderful places;

you can write them down for others.

|| August 19, 2005 || 11:59 pm || Comments (12) ||

Most ludicrous thing I’ve heard today:

Via the television in the Superioriffic Family Room:

“Three punk rockers’ defiant pursuit of superstardom.”

Shut UP.

|| August 18, 2005 || 10:53 am || Comments (16) ||

Some Tips Toward The Proper Mixtape

First of all, you need to know what a mix tape is. I can only assume that my one reader who has been comatose for twentyodd years (and maybe even Ben, as well*) might need to glance over here. Go on, I’ll wait.

Now that that’s behind us, there are the requisite quotes from High Fidelity to deal with.

ROB: What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

Yessirree, we are exploring this topic as a direct result of a mix ceedee that was covertly and slimily slipped to Piper by the young fellow who shall henceforth be known as Bad Boyfriend Waiting To Happentm (or, BBWHalso tm). It lacked meatiness and direction, and you know me…I’m all about that ‘being here to help’ business.

Some of you might say that it was wrong for me to confiscate Piper’s freshtasty musicks. I say, in my defense, that you are absolutely erroneous in your assessment and you should shut the hell up. I am raising a teenager with a vagina, and I say “No holds barred!” in relation to defending its innocence. I also feel compelled to remind you that I am an astute lover of music and wanted to know if this kid could Bring It. He couldn’t, and now we’re all a part of this little tutorial. Isn’t this fun??

ROB: Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

ROB: The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.

First of all, like playing soccer in grade school, the making of the mix tape is not limited by your physical prowess, height, weight, general attractiveness, speed or agility. Anybody can make a mix tape. There is this large myth that girls can’t make them. To this, I cry out “HORSESHIT!” from the mountaintop. You hear that, laydeees? YOU DON’T NEED TESTICLES TO MAKE A MIX TAPE. You need electricity, a fairly ample supply of music, and a playback and recording device. Hopefully you’ll pack your sense of adventure, as well.

Let’s get started.

ONE: No repeats!

This is a highly important piece of information! For the love of all that is mixtapey, do *not* put a band on your working bit of customized art more than once. I don’t care if both songs get up and rub all over the sentiment that you are trying to convey, you must exercise discipline and restraint! Play eeny-meeney-miney-mo with them and don’t look back. This rule only negatable if you are making a SuperAwesomeWickedFanMix dedicated to the stylings of just one band/artist. Like eye before ee except after cee, but with mixtapery. Repeats are okay in that respect (see number four, which I’ll be writing shortly).

TWO: Stretch!

No, not before you sit down in front of your sound apperati, silly. By ’stretch’ I mean to Go Big Or Stay Home. I mean to break down barriers and all that other cliched nonsense that applies to a little risk-taking behavior. Find new artists that have breathed lyrical life to your emotions. If you’re scared of experimenting much with new bands or musical interpretations, offer up some of your tried-and-true favorite artist’s lesser-known stuff. Expand someone’s (including your own) musical worldview. Despite the fact that Fred Durst is still making music, there is so much delicious ear candy out there!

THREE: Cater to the audience.

That fucking mixtape isn’t for you (unless, of course, it is…then skip on to numbah fo-wah). Therefore, you have no right to say, “Oh, I like that song” and chuck it into the rotation. Yeah, so? You like that song. Does that song address the situation and/or convey the emotion you want to express? More importantly, will it resonate with the listener? Will they get it? Don’t be selfish, homes.

FOUR: Theme, woo!

I have this friend, right? And he is the hands-down Master of the mix tape. He comes up with brilliant titles and intricately weaves the musicks so that they command both your attentions and emotions for eighty or so minutes. He has made the occasional two-disc set that listening to is the equivalent of scoring a visit to the Chocolate Factory: Too much sweetness to fathom until you’ve been there. He has a spot-on understanding of having a theme, not just chucking music out there like a handful of pebbles. Very few people are born with this savantlike level of proficiency; skill like his is honed to perfection over years of mixtaping action. He likely started out taping off his forty-five record player with a portable tape machine at age seven.

In the past, I’ve made compilations that will make a grown man beg for mercy and for more at the same time. There is this guy that I still have contact with who confessed not even six months ago that hearing “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel is agony for him, but he hits repeat and has for seventeen years…ever since I first introduced him to that particular tune via mix tape. It is inextricably linked to an emotion, a place, a time, a person, and it has massive power. It spoke to our situation at the time, and in a way it still does.

I’ve strung up mix tapes that are sufficiently pain-inducing for bubble baths and pedicure nights; I slide them around to female friends so that PMS is fully explored and the beast is satisfied. I’ve also compiled up stacks of songs that are bouncy and well-meaning and make you want to dump the daisies out of the redbong that masquerades as a pretty lucite vase on the dining room table and use it like your momma authorized it.

Sit down, decide on that theme, and show some loyalty to it. Be creative about it, but show some loyalty.

FIVE: Share

Pull that light out from under a bushel and let it shine! You can use a mix tape to convey emotions that are awkward for you. The sentiment is already there, under your breastbone and all over their measures. Marry the two and send them out into the world. Show parts of yourself that are valuable. The ones that won’t get you arrested, I mean.

SIX: Dress it up, make it multimedia!

Custom inserts are the fire. Use them to preach, to teach, to lose your mind a little.

Say, for instance, you throw in Jeff Buckley’s ‘Forget Her’. You can explain via personalized liner notes that Jeff (musical GOD) drowned in the Mississip (you ferners may not understand atall, but when you are a Southerner, that one right there equals sainthood) under not-quite-right circumstances. Or, if you choose the Stars’ ‘Your Ex-Lover Is Dead’ you might mention the quote at the beginning and source it for the amusement of all. If you include Grant Lee Buffalo’s ‘Eight Mile Road’, why don’t you explain your attachment to the band’s music or the song?

These are only a few handy little tips in the overall scheme of compiling a shiny batch of aural deliciousness. I don’t want to overwhelm you with TMI, so I’ll call a halt right here. You may modify or add to in the commentses as you wish.

In closing,

BARRY: How about the Jesus and Mary Chain?

BARRY’S CUSTOMER: They always seemed…

BARRY: They always seemed what? They always seemed really great is what they always seemed. They picked up where your precious Echo left off, and you’re sitting around complaining about no more Echo albums. I can’t believe you don’t own this fucking record. (tosses the record to the customer and walks away) That’s insane. Jesus.

Amen and amen.

*hahdeehah, Ben…just pokin’ at you.

My name is Mom, which means ‘chastity belt’ in Swahili….and don’t you forget it!

Dear Horny Little Toadboy,

You are NOT getting your paws on my fifteen-year-old’s boobies, so you may as well give up now. I am about half a click shy of wrapping my hands around your acne’d little neck and squeezing until your testicles pop off.

I’m telling you, for the good of all involved, you best crawl on back to that little whoring piece of Easy Street that you were feeling up a couple of months ago. She misses you, and the road you’re attempting to travel now is gonna get someone maimed.

Two guesses as to who.

I mean it, you overgrown and oversexed five-year-old in a Junior High bod,

Jett “If You Think I’M Bad, Just Piss Off Her Daddy One Good Time” Superior