30 November 2009

Year-in-Review, Part 1 of ?

That time of year again. The time when critics look back and pontificate about the previous eleven months. I've decided to do my best and worst of lists in stages throughout the month. I'm going to start with music because it's the easiest for me.

I listen to music pretty much constantly. Ironically I am far more interested in music than I am in film most of the time. I know I should be watching all of the new movies and taking advantage of all of the weird, wonderful films that you can only see in Los Angeles, but I find myself far more interested in searching the web to find the next album that I can play ad infinitum than searching out which art house theater is playing the newest Claire Denis film.

My top three albums of 2009 probably won't seem that special, but they're special to me, damnit!

And here they are, in no particular order. In no particular order, because, as Seth is wont to point out, I am milquetoast when it comes to committing.

Middle Cyclone, Neko Case

What a wonderful album. I was obsessed from the first listen. In one of her songs she sings from the point of view of a tornado for heaven's sake. This was one of those albums that just kept coming back to me. I would forget about it and then good ol' iTunes would remind me I owned it via those genius Genius mixes. Suddenly a phrase would jump out at me that I had heard a thousand time before but never processed. "I remember because of the fires that left from the caves of the things that have not happened yet. When I think of them now they smell quite sinister." When I finally heard that, I smelled old tires and oil, dirty dogs and burning garbage. And for some reason, that was suddenly familiar and scary and sad.

I was brought back to the first verse of Case's that made me feel completely at home in her music. It's not from Middle Cyclone, but from her previous album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood: "Hey pretty baby get high with me. We can go to my sister's if we say we'll watch the baby. The look on your face yanks my neck on the chain, and I would do anything to see you again." Her music doesn't describe my childhood in the sense that there is some uncanny narrative similarity, however her music does oddly, and quite often, seem like it could serve as the soundtrack to my childhood in the same way that the strange but affectionate uncle can unknowingly become the father figure or object of sexual desire you were never looking for.

My Maudlin Career, Camera Obscura

Another album that was on repeat constantly, this one hooked me with the opening track. I probably played "French Navy" 10 times before I ever made it to the next track!

"I was waiting to be struck by lighting, waiting for somebody exciting like you. Oh the things that you do. You make me go 'wooo' with the things that you do, you do, you do, you do..." I wanted to get the band back together and reprise the drag cabaret that I did with Seth and my friend Leslie in NYC in 2004. The three of us dressed up like 3 small-town gals from Kansas or Nebraska or somewhere who were going to take the world by storm with our Shangri-Las lip-sycning nightclub act. Camera Obscura reminded me of how much I want to be just another girl with bangs, smoky eyes, and a heartbreak for every fella that bummed me a smoke.

3 Rounds and a Sound, Blind Pilot

Okay, this album was released in mid-2008, but I didn't really discover how much I loved it until 2009, so it makes this year's list. It was probably my most played album of the year. Best live band I saw in 2009 too.

I want to graft my own stories (and my own made up stories) onto all of their songs. I love them because their descriptive lyrics invite you to daydream and imagine and your own bittersweet narratives to play out against them. I conjured up star-crossed inter-generational lovers, tranny-loving drifters, and other sundry characters to populate the music videos I pictured in my mind while listening to their music. I'm sure my imagination reached a bit (considering that most of the songs seem to be autobiographical tunes from the point of view of singer-songwriter Israel Nebeker), but the beauty of really good music is that it invites your imagination to do just that.

Well, that's it for now. The rest of the year-in-review is forthcoming.

29 November 2009

So, how did you two...?

Another entry from 10/26/09:

We first met in Denver. We first met in Orlando. We first met at a bar. We first met in San Luis Obispo. We first met two months ago. We first met at a bad time. We first met in New Orleans. We first met through a mutual friend. We first met in school. We first met under strange circumstances. We first met at night. We first met in Atlanta. We first met when you were getting a divorce. We first met on a blind date. We first met online. We first met and we were both drunk. We first met and I was drunk. We first met on vacation. We first met outside of a local spot where people go to meet. We first met and you forgot about it until we met again. We first met and hated each other. We first met and fucked each other. We first met and you fucked me. We first met in a night class. We first met in Boston. We first met at the beach. We first met on Memorial Day. We first met each other’s dogs. We first met in rehab. We first met and it was a cliché. We first met resistance. We first met as a practice run. We first met and it was a disaster. We first met briefly. We first met someone who knew both of us. We first met in Las Vegas. We first met in St. Tropez. We first met and I mispronounced your name. We first met and you wouldn’t tell me your name. We first met in line for movie tickets. We first met and there was no chemistry. We first met at work. We first met on a train to Philadelphia. We first met at the hospital where your mother was dying. We first met in Seattle. We first met at a convention for people like us. We first met over coffee. We first met after a concert. We first met each other with a lot of baggage. We first met on Poplar Rd. We first met on Menlo Avenue. We first met at an intersection. We first met in a bathroom. We first met without words. We first met with our eyes closed. We first met when meeting was all there was. We first met and I can’t remember anything about it.

24 November 2009

More Blog Laziness

Another journal gem:


The transmission in Taylor’s Malibu died a couple of days ago and this morning he called AAA to take it away. Or take it to a mechanic. As I was pushing it out of our driveway this piece of plastic/metal piping/detail whatever the hell came loose and got caught on my jeans. It tore clean through them and almost came out the other side.

And then there was last night when I was in a panic at Ralph’s contemplating whether or not I should buy a roasted chicken. No sooner did I pick one up than the chicken juices spilled out of the side of the plastic container onto the linoleum floor. I paced around the supermarket with my chicken for a few minutes before abandoning it in one of the aisles (maybe with the chili/taco seasoning mixes?). I tried to get out of there and of course I slipped and nearly fell on those same spilled chicken juices while trying to leave the store. This older woman let out a soft yelp and was blathering on to whoever would listen about how dangerous that was. I just kept walking. When I got to the car I saw that I had left the lights on.

Things tend to clump together. These desperate oversights all come from the same place. I’m not going to elaborate because I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Ok, that’s a lie. I tend to cater to the lowest common denominator while snickering about it behind everyone’s back. But I'm still not going into detail.

A Little Something

Better to post pilfered journal entries than not post at all:


Yes, I am here. I have entered, arrived. No one even held the door for me. This one guy almost did, you could see it in his back and shoulders, his neck. He wanted to-he probably saw me in the glass of the door. He even flinched a little, but in the end he just scuttled on through. Can you believe that? He ran away from me. I’m not that scary, am I?

Courtesy can be terrifying, though. I get that. I was trying to get out of a train once. Packed, this train-

Whatever. It’s a longer story than I thought it would be. Nevermind.

Uh Oh...

A recent journal entry I stumbled upon...

Things that have made me spontaneously happy recently:


Rather than fully process the implications of this discovery, I'll simply assume that at some point in the recent past a hyphen brought some iota of joy into my life.

02 November 2009

Things Everyone Should Know

A smile is a potent and often dangerous thing.
Not enough people own jumper cables.
Family restrooms are not any more wholesome than regular restrooms.
You will miss pennies once they are gone.
Emotional pain and smelling a bad fart have the same effect on a face.
Sometimes it's as easy as turning around.
Water slides never get old.
Chuck Norris does not use the Total Gym.
Suzanne Somers still uses the Thigh Master.
Not showing your teeth in public is a sign of true class.
Having teeth is also a sign of true class.
Don't ever take up too much space on the sidewalk.
There's a reason why some people watch tv in the dark and some don't.
Always go second-give another the chance to be humiliated before you.
Keep track of who slept on the couch after your last fight-take turns.
Three of anything is plenty.
Don't worry, you're almost home.