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I loved you the first time I saw you,

5.30.2012


to quote Randy Newman.

Peach Farm

I'm thinking it's time to go back
to the peach farm or rather
the peach farm seems to be wanting me back
even though the work of picking, sorting,
the sticky perils and sudden swarms are done.
Okay, full disclosure, I've never
been on a peach farm, just glimpsed
from a car squat trees I assumed
were peach and knew a couple in school
who went off one summer, so they said,
to work on a peach farm.  She was pregnant,
he didn't have much intention, canvases
of crushed lightbulbs and screws in paste.
He'd gotten fired from the lunch counter
for putting too much meat
on the sandwiches of his friends
then ended up in Macy's in New York
selling caviar and she went home
I think to Scranton, two more versions
of never hearing from someone again.
I'd like to say the most important fruits
are within but that's the very sort of bullshit
one goes to the peach farm to avoid,
not just flight from quadratic equations,
waiting for the plumber,
finding out your insurance won't pay.
Everyone wants out of the spider's stomach.
Everyone wants to be part of some harvest
and stop coughing to death and cursing
at nothing and waking up nowhere near
an orchard.  Look at these baskets,
bashed about, nearly ruined with good employ.
Often, after you've spent a day on a ladder,
you dream of angels, the one with the trumpet
and free subscriptions to the New Yorker
or the archer, the oink angel, angel
of ten dollar bills found in the dryer
or the one who welcomes you in the work gloves
and says if you're caught eating a single peach,
even windfall, you'll be executed.
Then laughs.  It's okay, kiddo,
long as you're here, you're one of us.




- Dean Young

Poetry, June 2012

that tail

5.29.2012


oh will you just look at me

5.28.2012



"Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" by Joanna Newsom

your skin is something that I stir into my tea

Faith Healing

5.27.2012

Slowly the women file to where he stands
Upright in rimless glasses, silver hair,
Dark suit, white collar. Stewards tirelessly
Persuade them onwards to his voice and hands,
Within whose warm spring rain of loving care
Each dwells some twenty seconds.  Now, dear child,
What's wrong, the deep American voice demands,
And, scarcely pausing, goes into a prayer
Directing God about this eye, that knee.
Their heads are clasped abruptly; then, exiled

Like losing thoughts, they go in silence; some
Sheepishly stray, not back into their lives
Just yet; but some stay stiff, twitching and loud
With deep hoarse tears, as if a kind of dumb
And idiot child within them still survives
To re-awake at kindness, thinking a voice
At last calls them alone, that hands have come
To lift and lighten; and such joy arrives
Their thick tongues blort, their eyes squeeze grief, a crowd
Of huge unheard answers jam and rejoice--

What's wrong! Moustached in flowered frocks they shake:
By now, all's wrong. In everyone there sleeps
A sense of life live according to love.
To some it means the difference they could make
By loving others, but across most it sweeps
As all they might have done had they been loved.
That nothing cures. An immense slackening ache,
As when, thawing, the rigid landscape weeps,
Spreads slowly through them--that, and the voice above
Saying Dear child, and all time has disproved.



- Philip Larkin (x)

whiskers

5.26.2012


camoflauged

5.25.2012


PSA: top 500 hiatus

For the zero percent of you who read this blog just for my Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums series, I'm afraid you're going to have to survive a little while without my sharp, incisive commentary.  Yes, you'll need to be brave as you wean yourself--temporarily--from my myriad of insightful observations, such as: "I enjoyed listening to it" and "I guess it was alright" or "I have a lot of feelings about this album."

The culprit of your so strongly felt loss?  As you might have noticed, it's my new and raging obsession with Desert Island Discs.  It's taken up all the music-listening I can handle at the moment.  I probably won't be ready to listen to another Rolling Stone Top 500 album until I've finished my 100ish podcasts (don't worry, I'm averaging 8 a day), and have ultimately posted my own mock DID interview transcript with Kirsty Young.

My apologies to My Bloody Valentine, whose album Loveless was up next at #217.  It's not you, it's me.  Ok, it's a little bit you. 

Give me a month or so.  Until then, there's always the archives.

and when you're on the floor, come back for more



Song of the day: "Some of Your Planes" by Lenny Smallman, covering Richard Lumsden.

I heard it on Emma Thompson's DID.  She was sent a tape by her sister Sophie when she was working on Junior (and very unhappy from her failing marriage with Ken), and she said the album (Sunshine Takes You) helped her immensely.  Sophie later married Richard.

The lyrics are exactly what I need to hear (all the time):

some of your planes will come down
some of your rain will fall
some of your fires won't burn
some of your lovers won't call

and when you're on the floor
come back for more
you see the light shining through
the holes in your roof

some of your truths will be lies
some of your boats will drown
nothing will last without change
some of your friends let you down

when you're on the floor
you come back for more
you see the light shining through
the holes in your roof

lift your head and breathe the air
live the bravest life you dare
love until there's nothing left

some of your planes come down

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday night art

5.24.2012


Amazingly, it survived the Smoothie-Pocalypse of 2012.

THIS

what?


Song of the day.

5.23.2012



"Forever" by Haim.  Their EP is available for free!  Reminds me of 80s Michael Jackson/Chrissy Hynde.

practicing to be a lion statue in Trafalgar Square


weekend art

5.22.2012


Thanks, Disney.

I know very little about classical music.  I can't tell Baroque from...the other ones.  We had a bit of training in elementary school, and I was in band (percussion) in junior high, but the musical knowledge that really stuck only had to with pop music.

Anyway, as I've been listening to Desert Island Discs (about 8 a day--I'm obsessed), I'm being reacquainted with a lot of classical music.  Like Elgar's Nimrod from the Enigma Variations, which is just incredible and every time someone picks it I think "that's PERFECT for being stranded on a desert island!"  It's just a gorgeous, gorgeous song and I've been haunted by it for days.  But I have no idea where I've heard it before.  Was it featured in a particularly famous movie?

(Speaking of hearing classical music in movies, last night I watch Brief Encounter (1942) for the first time.  And the whole movie I kept thinking, "Why are they playing the opening lines to 'All By Myself' over and over?"  Because it's Piano Concerto No.2 by Rachmanioff, and Eric Carmen incorporated it into his 1975 ballad.)

As I tried to fall asleep last night (it didn't work) I was listening to theatrical producer/director Hal Prince's DID, and he picked Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."  And I thought, that name sounds familiar, I wonder if I'll recognize it?  When they played the audio clip I immediately thought, "FIGHTING DINOSAURS!"  My mind raced--are fighting dinosaurs in Fantasia?  It's been so long since I've seen it... but where else would I have seen dinosaurs set to Stravinsky?  And sure enough...



I started questioning Disney's choice.  Why would a song called "Rite of Spring" be set to dinosaurs?  Shouldn't it have to do with spring-ish things like flowers or rain or newborn animals?  But then I realized: because this music doesn't sound like any of those things!  It's terrifying!  I should be questioning Stravinsky, not Disney!  Which then made me wonder, why the hell would you want to hear this music when you're stranded on a desert island!?!  The elements are already out to get you--how on earth would this music do anything but make you more horrifically afraid?  Or maybe I've just associated it too much with fighting dinosaurs. Still.  You can't deny it's scary.

punkin



#218: New Orleans Piano by Professor Longhair

5.21.2012


New Orleans Piano by Professor Longhair (1972)

Favorite Track(s): "In the Night" and "Tipitina" and "Ball the Wall" and "Who's Been Fooling You" and "She Walks Right In"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Honest truth: I've never heard of Professor Longhair.  But he's a blues musician, so that probably explains it.  I'm may not be well-versed in blues, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it.  I really hope I enjoy this.

(Post-Listening) This album was so danceable!  It felt more rock-a-billy than blues.  I really liked it!  It made me want to swing dance.  Hands down the most fun I've probably ever had listening to the blues! (If that's even what you can call it.)  To my untrained ears it seemed much more Jerry Lee Lewis/Little Richard than Muddy Waters/B.B. King.  The whole time I kept thinking of Hugh Laurie!  I associate him with blues music.  I just listened to his DID last night, and there wasn't any Professor Longhair.  But it turns out that Hugh covered "Tipitina", on his 2011 album, Let Them Talk.  So my unconscious wasn't too far off.

Is This Better Than The River?: Not to me, but very good.

cheeks


I Just Can't Get Enough: Desert Island Discs Archive

5.20.2012


Yesterday I had some friends coming over and I knew I needed to clean, but that's not my favorite thing to do.  And I thought, "If only I had some new music to listen to!"  I'm trying not to buy anything on iTunes these days in order to save money, but it's cut back on the steady flow of new music I used to have going.

So I thought, what's free?  Podcasts!  I don't listen to many podcasts.  I get overwhelmed by the variety and sheer volume of them.  Where do I start?  What do I feel like listening to?

I decided I'd search for some of my favorite actors/comedians, and download podcasts featuring them.  Of course I searched for Tim Minchin, and his Desert Island Discs came up.  I'd heard his DID before, on youtube, along with David Tennant's.  I'd never thought to search iTunes for them!  And iTunes has loads: archived from 1986 - present, for free!

If you're unfamiliar, it's a BBC Radio 4 show that's been on since 1942, where a host (currently Kirsty Young) asks famous people from all areas (politics, entertainment, literature, etc.) to hypothetically prepare to be marooned as a 'castaway' on a desert island.   They get 8 songs (and I assume a means to play them), 3 books: the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare, and one of the individual's choosing, along with one luxury.  They are also asked to pick one favorite song of the 8 chosen.

The host asks questions of the castaway about their lives and how they think they'd do on the island in between listening to the songs and why they chose them.   It's like a mini-autobiography/therapy session with MUSIC.  Is that heaven or what?  It feels so private and special to share a favorite song with someone you admire from afar.  To learn the song their mother sang to them at night, or that they sing to their own children.

From the few that I've heard, most people picks songs that have personal significance for them, reminding them of family or lovers, as opposed to merely their 8 favorite songs or what they consider the greatest 8 songs ever written.  Julie Andrews picked a song that her and her husband Blake Edwards listened to when courting: Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major.  Or Elvis Costello chose a recording of his father singing "At Last."  Which is why I find it shocking they've had so many people on for more than one episode.  I mean, I know that you can change your music taste over the years, but would the compositions most personal to you and your early life change?  Perhaps.

Other people I've heard chose songs from their own work: Juliet Stevenson chose a Bach sonata that was used in her fabulous movie Truly, Madly, Deeply (and she chose it as her favorite), and Alan Alda chose Mozart's Clarinet quintet in A major, which was played in the series finale of M*A*S*H.

As for the 'one luxury' afforded each castaway, I was initially surprised how many people chose a piano (that could stay eternally tuned).  But the more I thought about it, I realized what a great choice it is: if you don't know how to play, you'd have all the time in the world to learn.  And once you did (or if you were already proficient), you could write your own music, or play songs that weren't included in your allotted 8 tracks.  Plus, if it's a grand, you could lay beneath it for shelter!  In any case, I loved the idea of bringing something you've always wanted to learn/use, and taking the opportunity on the island to put your boredom to good use.

As for the extra book, I've liked Juliet Stevenson's response best: a book of poems.  She said she worried she'd grow too tired of reading the same novel over and over, and I like the idea of being able to learn that many poems by heart.  She picked the complete works of W.B. Yeats.  (Really, you should just listen to Juliet's episode before any others.  Her voice is so sublime, and her answers/musings are so wise and human.)

As you'll see from my selections below, I tended to go for musicians and actors.  So far there's been much more classical music chosen than I expected. The music clips have been shortened for copyright/licensing reasons, but that's alright--it usually takes about 30 seconds for me to decide if I am interested in a song or not.  I'm slightly ashamed to say that since yesterday afternoon, I've now downloaded over 100 episodes!

I've started going through 1991 - 1995 first, which has included Alan Alda, Elvis Costello, Julie Andrews, Juliet Stevenson, Joan Baez, Douglas Adams, Phil Collins, Hugh Grant, George Martin, Petula Clark, and Hugh Laurie.

Here's who I downloaded for 1986 - 1990: Jonathan Pryce, Pauline Collins, Elaine Paige, Joan Armatrading, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson, Hal Prince, Joanna Lumley, Maya Angelou, Eric Clapton, Lenny Henry, and Elton John.

1996 - 1999: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sian Phillips, Michael Crawford, Patricia Routledge, Jennifer Saunders, Luise Rainer, Harry Enfield, Richard Curtis, Judi Dench, Anthony Minghella, Gene Wilder, and John Cleese.

2000 - 2004: Tim Rice, Graham Norton, Stephen Sondheim, Emmylou Harris, Claude-Michel Schonberg, George Clooney, Sir Ian McKellen, Donald Sutherland, Nick Hornby, Margaret Atwood, Philip Pullman, Brian May, Sue Johnston, Ewan McGregor, Cameron Mackintosh, and JK Rowling.

2005 - 2011: Tim Robbins, Rob Brydon, Emma Thompson, Gok Wan, David Tennant, Sir Michael Caine, Morrissey, David Mitchell, David Walliams, Bill Bailey, Annie Lennox, Penelope Wilton, Ricky Gervais, Yoko Ono, Joanna Lumley, Ruthie Henshall, Jo Brand, Matt Lucas, Simon Cowell, Colin Firth, Imelda Staunton, Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, and Patrick Stewart.

2012 - Present: James Corden, Julian Fellowes, Mark Gatiss, Harriet Walter, and Martin Sheen.

If you're wondering if your favorite actor/author/musician/politican has been on the show, feel free to search their archive, then download it for free!  Or you can search by song, luxury item, or book.  You can also download episodes from the website that aren't yet on iTunes, like I did!  Eric Idle (1976), Julie Walters (1985), Paul McCartney (1982), Sondheim again (1980), Shirley MacLaine (1983), Terry Jones (1983), Petula Clark again (1982), James Mason (1981), Natalie Wood (1980), Michael Palin (1979), Rex Harrison (1979), Lauren Bacall (1979), Mel Brooks (1978), Derek Jacobi (1978), Omar Sharif (1978), Glynis Johns (1976), and P L Travers (1977).

There are, however, glaring omissions.  Where is Dawn French?  Peter O'Toole?  Kenneth Branagh?  Tom Hiddleston?  Catherine Tate?  Robert Webb?  Madeleine L'Engle!  Tom Robbins!  Rufus Wainwright, Kenny Loggins, Paul Simon, Stevie Nicks, Miranda Hart, Simon Pegg, Dylan Moran, Alan Carr, Justin Lee Collins, Tom Baker, Francis Ford Coppola, Wes Anderson...

Will my next project after listening to the Rolling Stone Top 500 be listening to every episode of DID since 1942?  It's very possible.  Maybe only then will I feel qualified to share my own picks!

pookie-face

5.18.2012


I don't think you realize how hard it is for me to come up with post titles for pics of Oz.   Yes, I have many endearments for him, but eventually I'm going to run out. 

Bound for Hell

5.17.2012


Hell, my ardent sisters, be assured,
Is where we're bound; we'll drink the pitch of hell--
We, who have sung the praises of the lord
With every fiber in us, every cell.

We, who did not manage to devote
Our nights to spinning, did not bend and sway
Above a cradle--in a flimsy boat,
Wrapped in a mantle, we're now borne away.

Every morning, every day, we'd rise
And have the finest Chinese silks to wear;
And we'd strike up for the songs of paradise
Around the campfire of a robber's lair,

We, careless seamstresses (our seams all ran,
Whether we sewed or not)--yet we have been
Such dancers, we have played the pipes of Pan:
The world was ours, each one of us a queen.

First, scarcely draped in tatters, and disheveled,
Then plaited with a starry diadem;
We've been in jails, at banquets we have reveled:
But the rewards of heaven, we're lost to them,

Lost in nights of starlight, in the garden
Where apple trees from paradise are found.
No, be assured, my gentle girls, my ardent
And lovely sisters, hell is where we're bound.




- Marina Tsvetaeva, translated from the Russian by Stephen Edgar.

 Poetry, March 2012.

#219: War by U2


War by U2 (1983)

Favorite Tracks: "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Seconds" and "New Year's Day" and "40"

Thoughts: Our first U2 album!  Very pleased.  I think U23D was the first 3D movie I ever saw.  It was awesome having Bono reach his hand out to me.

I consider myself a U2 fan, but just not as devoted as some.  I bought and read Bono by Bono when I was in China.  For all the ridiculous celebrity things about him, I still really like and admire the man.  And this kick-ass band!  I own Rattle and Hum, which you should definitely see if you haven't already.  And get the soundtrack. 

The album opens with "Sunday Bloody Sunday."  I probably know the live version from Under a Blood Red Sky better, which Bono opens by saying, "This is not a rebel song."  TOOOOOONIGHT WE CAN BE AS ONE!  I love this song.  The moments of light before descending back into the harsh, driving beat.  And that riff, which Rolling Stone called the "bone-crushing arena-rock riff of the decade."  Does this song count as 'punk' in its elements?  I wish it did.  There's strings, so probably not.  Anyway, one of the Best Songs Ever.

I adore the opening of "Seconds."  The keyboard in "New Year's Day" feels so out of place for a U2 song somehow.  Like I expect it in the Baywatch theme, but it's always a wake-up call to me when I hear it and have to remember it's U2!  It totally works, it's just unexpected to me.

From there, the rest of the album sort of strings along for me, until the end at the awesome "40."  But still, really great overall.

Is This Better Than The River?: As good to me.

if anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead, don't try to explain the miracle. Kiss me on the lips. Like this. Like this.

5.16.2012



As tumblr is the place I find out about most great things these days, I came across this fantastic reading of Rumi's "Like This" by Tilda Swinton (does Pinterest do audio, video, gifs?  If not, that's why I'll never be able to get into it like I'm into tumblr).  Apparently it's her favorite poem, and a company made a perfume called "Like This" after her and it.

One of my favorite books ever is Love Poems From God, which features Rumi poems, but I might have to get a book just of his one of these days.

Fragrance notes: Yellow mandarin, ginger, pumpkin accord, immortelle, Moroccan neroli, rose de Grasse, vetiver, heliotrope, and musk.

I don't know what half those things are, but of course I had to order a sample.  How could you not after listening to her!  I WANT TO SMELL LIKE HOW THAT SOUNDS.

hide and seek


Let Me Know Another Lonely Night Has Come and Gone: Top 5 Songs About Mornings

I was in my car driving down the freeway this weekend when I thought of this top 5 list, so I haven't taken much time to ruminate on it and therefore will likely hate myself later for the songs I left out.

5) "Good Morning" by Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds



Originally written by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed for the 1939 movie Babes in Arms (for Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney, and their version is nice too), it's best known from Singin' in the Rain.  It's so cheerful and peppy and makes me want to dance.  Plus, you can sing it with friends/lovers!  (In a similar vein, I also love "Good Morning, Baltimore" from Hairspray.)

4) "I'm Only Sleeping"/"Good Morning Good Morning" by The Beatles





Both are sort of delirious, dark but buoyant Lennon songs, but that sounds like most of my mornings.  As a teenager I especially related to "I'm Only Sleeping" and the truth is I still do.  It's part of why I so treasure living alone--I can sleep whenever and for however long I want with no one to judge me.  :)  "Good Morning Good Morning" is just fun and simple.

3) "Oh in the Morning" by Arlo Guthrie



Now this song transitions us into our more quiet, introspective morning songs.  This is just Arlo and his piano, and it's like a hymn.  The song has a verse about the evening too, but it's the morning one that gets repeated.

oh, in the morning
feel like the sun
coming up on daytime
shine on everyone
coming up on darkness 
warm me in your arms
let me know another lonely night
has come and gone

 2) "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens



A hymn written in 1931 by English author Eleanor Farjeon, and set to the Gaelic tune "Bunessan", it's perhaps known best from Cat Steven's 1971 album Teaser and the Firecat, as his version went to #6 on the U.S. pop charts.  This song makes me want to go meet the sunshine and all it touches!  (I also recommend his demo version, though it's not the same without that divine piano.)

1) "Morning Yearning" by Ben Harper



(gorgeous music video directed by Heath Ledger!)

This song is so, so entrancing.  For me it somehow manages to be both happy and sad, feels warm and then turns cold, much like...mornings.  The strings are incredible, and the LYRICS.

A finger's touch upon my lips
It's a morning yearning, it's a morning yearning
Pull the curtains shut, try to keep it dark
But the sun is burning, the sun is burning

The world awakens on the run

And will soon be earning, soon be earning
With hopes of better days to come
It's a morning yearning, a morning yearning

Another day, another chance to get it right

Must I still be learning, must I still be learning
Baby crying kept us up all night
With her morning yearning, with her morning yearning

morning yearning

Like a summer rose, I'm a victim of the fall

But I'm soon returning, soon returning
Your love' s the warmest place the sun ever shines
In my morning yearning, in my morning yearning

morning yearning


What are your favorite songs about mornings?

#220: The Neil Diamond Collection by Neil Diamond

5.14.2012

The Neil Diamond Collection by Neil Diamond (1999)

Favorite Tracks: "Sweet Caroline" and "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Play Me" and "Shilo" and "Crunchy Granola Suite" and "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" and "Soolaimon" and "Cherry, Cherry" and "I Am...I Said" and "Done Too Soon" and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"

Thoughts: "There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't."  As much as I love Bob Wiley, I am with his ex-wife on this one.  And I don't just like Neil Diamond.  I kind of love him. 

This information probably doesn't surprise you.  The lady who loves Elton John and Billy Joel and John Denver ALSO loves Neil Diamond?  Stop the presses! Listening to his songs makes me think of my parents and childhood and 'Oldies'.

Yes, I have seen The Jazz Singer (1980), and watched Laurence Olivier severely regret not retiring from acting sooner.  Hell, I even LOVE the song Neil sings in blackface. Of course, I've sung "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" both in karaoke, and often in my own personal life.  Will Ferrell is my favorite Neil impersonator.  Finally, I thoroughly enjoy Saving Silverman (even though Amanda Peet is in it):



Anyway.  To the album!

Was "Sweet Caroline" really written about Caroline Kennedy?  Even though she was only 11 years old at the time of its composition?  And it includes lyrics like "Warm touching warm"?  Personally, I like to think it was about someone else.

Can we talk about the fact that it's "Cracklin' ROSIE"?  I always thought it was just Rose.  And I know he says "my rosie child," but I thought he meant like blushing.  As a kid I figured "Shilo" was a song about the dog Shiloh, from the novel of the same name.  But it's about an imaginary friend.

I totally forgot how AWESOME "Soolaimon" is.  I wanted to keep listening to it over and over.  "I Am...I Said" reminds me of too things.  1) My mom and I riding in the car, and her commenting on how weird the lyrics are.  ""I am"... I said, to no one there and no one heard at all, not even the chair"  Not even the chair?  As if that was an option?  And 2) How I want the book He Is...I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamond. 

I think my most-played song by Neil is probably "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine" which isn't on this album.  I love it because of this movie scene (which has another of my favorite songs in it):



 I learned about Truly, Madly, Deeply from this blog post and I am eternally grateful. 

Is This Better Than The River?: It's definitely as good.  I'm just so pleased Neil made it onto the list at all!

Song of the day.



Who doesn't love some Liza and Sondheim?

mother's day weekend

My dad and I made 5 gallons of spaghetti sauce:


And we went 'sailing' (there was no wind, so we motored and then drifted).

 It was a gorgeous evening.




you are my sunshine

5.11.2012


"Stay there. Don't move."



It's often said that a traumatic experience early in life marks a person forever, pulls her out of line, saying, 
"Stay there.  Don't move."

                                                                                                                  - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides




Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my 2nd surgery on my meningocele.  I've been feeling it this week, to quote Neil Young, as if 'there's a shadow running through my days.'

Haven't you always wondered, "What are Maryann's favorite episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000?"

5.10.2012

Wonder no more.  My guest post is up at Ginger Al, and if you read my blog, you have at least a 30% chance of liking what I have to say there.

vision test

5.09.2012



The brain, like the earth, lies in layers.
Floaters dart and punch.  I see the field.
My face stays numb.  Keep your eye on the target.
Click the button when a light appears.
Last night I read "So little evidence is left
of what had vanished."  I can't always follow directions.
The tumor pressed a lobe, charging
the amygdala, emotional core of the self.
In school they taught us that soil covers core
and mantle; mythology explains creation
and change.  Now age drapes childhood;
my hair, the incision.  I see a light but forget
to click.  I didn't remember dreams for a year.
How I've changed may not be apparent.



- Patricia Kirkpatrick, Poetry, April 2012

that's where you found yourself riding into the sun on a raft made for one



Song of the day: "Where Gravity Is Dead" by Laura Veirs. 

The Ballad of Maryann and Oz: A Platonic Love Story

5.08.2012

One of my favorite readers, Linda, requested the story behind Oz and I finding each other, and his name.  I'm more than happy to regale you all, for those who haven't heard it.

Let's journey back to late 2009.  I've just recovered (at least physically) from my first intensive surgery on my over-sized  meningocele.  I spent the many months up to the surgery wallowing in a combination of despair, alcohol, and hysteria.  At this time I was still seeing my first ever therapist, and she wasn't much help.  We would break up a few months later, before my second surgery on my oversized meningocele, but not before she would help me in one very profound way.

We had stopped meeting at her office, and were now meeting in the study at her home (an early warning sign, if there ever was one, for me to get out).  She had recently adopted two kittens, and during our sessions she would let them hang out in the study.  One day I arrived, started chatting with her, and then one of the kittens jumped up on my lap.  I started bawling immediately, and ran my palm along its spine.  The therapist looked at me and said, "Have you considered getting a cat?"

I told her that before I lived alone, my roommate Amber had this kitten named Lenny who I had a love/hate relationship with.  I loved the cuddles and playtime, I hated the destruction of our furniture and other household items.  We could never do jigsaw puzzles!  When I moved into my own place, I thought of a kitten as a nuisance and besides, my new landlady had made it sound like she didn't want me to have any pets when I'd moved in.

After I left therapy that day, though, I thought about it more and more.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a companion, someone to come home to...someone who needed me.  I asked my landlady again, and it might have been the fact that she knew I was in a bad place, but she agreed to let me get a cat.  I started searching on petfinder.com, and doing research on cat-ownership.  I was never really responsible for Lenny, and when we had a cat when I was a kid it was more my sister's responsibility than mine.  I needed to brush-up!

In my mind I wanted an adult long-haired female cat that was friendly and cuddly.  But I didn't really find any of these at the shelters I visited.  A few weeks into my search, I decided to go farther out of town to a bigger shelter.  One of the volunteers, a wiry middle-aged man, asked me what kind of cat I was looking for.  I told him, and he frankly said, "You don't want a female.  Female cats are bitches."  I sort of looked at him blankly, and he said, "And some people, like myself, prefer that" as if I'd offended him by wanting a friendly cat!

So I started looking at the males, and I found a really sweet one-year old named Harvey.  He was a bit younger than I was looking for, but very sweet and energetic.  He was short-haired, but that was alright.  So I put him on hold (he hadn't been neutered yet) and planned to return later that week to take him home.

The next day my co-worker and I were still looking at petfinder.com (it's addictive), when this photo popped up:


An orange, long-haired 3.5 year old cat named Jerome who was marked as a 'leader of the pack', meaning friendly, outgoing, and confident.  I vainly thought, "HE'S GORGEOUS.  Surely he's mean or has something wrong with him if he's been posted on the website and not snatched up yet."  But just in case, I hopped in my car and sped to the shelter just as they were opening for the day.  A few other people were milling around outside.  I looked in through the window and saw him sleeping on a cat tree and became so anxious.  What if these other people got to him first!

As they opened the doors I made a bee-line right for him, but was stopped by the staff.  "Have you been here before and filled out the paperwork?"  I had!  So they let me right through to the cats, and thank God, the other people had to get registered!  It was just the two of us.  As I walked toward him, he saw me, and got up immediately, reaching his head out.  To smell me? I wondered.  No.  To do exactly this:



And it was love, pure and simple.  I may have spent about 20 more seconds with him before walking back into the office area and loudly proclaiming, "I want to adopt Jerome."  They seemed slightly suspicious of me deciding such a thing perhaps less than a minute after walking in the door and meeting him, but I assured them that I had been searching for weeks and I just knew.  He was the one.  We'd found each other.

I filled out the paperwork, paid the fees, etc. and said goodbye to him before driving back to work.  Once there, I called the out-of-town shelter to tell them I was no longer adopting Harvey.  Then I had to think of what to name him, because Jerome was not going to stick.  At all.  Part of me secretly wished he was a female so I could name him Ginger (since he's orange), and then we would be Maryann and Ginger.

At the time I'd been really into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and couldn't get over Seth Green's character...Oz.  He was so loyal, funny, and kind.  And he had red hair!  Plus, I liked the musical relation, to both The Wizard of Oz and The Boy From Oz.  Oz it was.  Short, sweet, and nicknamable.  (My friend Kj calls him Ozzie all the time.)

When work was finally over, I went to pick up Oz and take him home.  I had set up his food and litter box, and bought him lots of toys.  I tried to follow the recommendation of keeping a new cat in one room for a while so they can adjust to their new surroundings, but Oz didn't act scared or uncomfortable at all.  He wanted to look at and smell everything.  I remember the first time we walked into the kitchen, and how he stood up erect on his hind legs to get a better look.  I was awful about letting him go everywhere--even kitchen counters--and still am to this day.

After a while I settled down in my easy chair, and soon Oz jumped up on my ottoman, and fell asleep.  He even slept on my bed the first night, and I'm not ashamed to tell you I totally cried with joy and relief.

The hardest days of my life were the recovery from the second surgery, spending weeks on my back in the hospital, unable to sit up, walk, shower, or keep food down.  But part of the misery was missing Oz, zip codes away from me.  (He had my landlady--whose family wanted him for themselves!--and my family looking in on him regularly.)  We've formed an extremely close bond, and as far as pets and their owners go, been through a lot together.  I'm so thankful that he knows to be near me when I'm crying, follows me wherever I go (unless he's sleeping), and has brought much needed comfort, distraction, and humor into my life.  Not to mention letting me take LOADS of pictures of him, sometimes in costume.  :)

#221: Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen (AKA Everything is "Atlantic City" And Nothing--wait--EVERYTHING Hurts)


Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen (1982) 

Favorite Tracks: "Nebraska" and "Atlantic City" and "Mansion on the Hill" and "Johnny 99" and "Highway Patrolman" and "State Trooper" and "Used Cars" and "My Father's House" and "Reason to Believe"

Thoughts: Bruce!  Bruce!  Bruce!  Bruce!  Bruce!  Bruce! BruceBruceBruceBruceBruce!  Back so soon and it feels so right.  The River was just at #247!  We're being spoiled.  And at this point, in chronological order!

Truthfully, my familiarity with Nebraska isn't the same as some of his other albums.  (But that doesn't mean this post won't be suuuuuper long, so get ready.)  I think when I became a Bruce fan I was highly skeptical of any album that didn't feature the E Street Band.  It had to be too austere, too stark and depressing.  Give me that HUGE sound of an organ, sax, accordion, bass, piano, thundering drums--I want it all!  So I mostly stayed away from Nebraska, Ghost of Tom Joad (and later, Devils & Dust)... and that's OK.  I was in high school, and I probably wouldn't have appreciated the non-E Street stuff as much as I do now (that is, ME in high school--maybe your sophomore self would have appreciated it). In fact, there's only one song from this album that I know well and love (can you guess which one?) on the same level as songs from Born to Run, The River, and Tunnel of Love, and that's because it sneakily showed up on my Greatest Hits album and I became OBSESSED with it.  When I learned it was from Nebraska, I was shocked--so was my dad!  And that song is "Atlantic City."

Nebraska was originally a group of recorded cassette demos that Bruce meant to record with the E Street Band, but decided not to and just released the demos instead.  According to wikipedia, "he and the producers and engineers working with him felt that a raw, haunted folk essence present on the home tapes was lacking in the band treatments."  This September, the album will be 30 years old.  Since the demos were done by Bruce, he plays all the instruments: guitar, harmonica, mandolin, glockenspiel, tambourine, and organ.  Well, shall we get to the music?  Let's.

"Nebraska" is a beautiful, quiet soft song about a serial killer.

They declared me unfit to live 
said into that great void my soul'd be hurled
They wanted to know why I did what I did
sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world


Disturbing and gorgeous. 

And then comes "Atlantic City"!  I love this song so much.  The other night I was out to happy hour with some friends, and I heard the opening line of the song, and I think I groaned, covered my face, and whispered, "Atlantic City."  Ok, maybe I shouted it.  I can't remember!  It was happy hour.  I know I've mentioned before that I played guitar for a about a year in high school, and this song and "The River" were my two go-to Bruce songs.  How on earth I related to them as a conservative Christian teenage girl living in the suburban Northwest, I do not know.  But I think that's the thing with Bruce's music--you can hear the truth whether it's yours at that moment or not.

The echoing backing vocals, the desperate lyrics, the HARMONICA.

everything dies, baby, that's a fact
but maybe everything that dies someday comes back
put your make-up on, fix your hair up pretty
and meet me tonight in Atlantic City

well, I got a job and tried to put my money away
but I got debts that no honest man can pay
so I drew what I had from the Central Trust
and I bought us two tickets on that Coast City bus


now baby, everything dies, baby, that's a fact
but maybe everything that dies someday comes back
put your make-up on, fix your hair up pretty 
and meet me tonight in Atlantic City

now our luck may have died and our love may be cold 
but with you forever I'll stay
we're goin' out where the sands turnin' to gold
now put on your stockings, baby, cause the nights gettin' cold 
and maybe everything dies, baby, that's a fact 
but maybe everything that dies someday comes back

now I been lookin' for a job but it's hard to find
down here it's just winners and losers 
and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line
well, I'm tired of comin' out on this losin' end
so honey, last night I met this guy and I'm gonna do a little favor for him
well, I guess everything dies, baby, that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back

As with all my Bruce posts, I have to do comparisons between the album and live versions, specifically the 2000 New York City concert(s).  This is the only other version I listen to with any regularity.  It's incredible. 



In the beginning, just Bruce with his guitar and Max on drums, and then right after the first verses, the rest of the band erupts into the driving melody (?) and it gives me such chills every time.  Little Stevie on mandolin...tears well up in my eyes.  The difference that sticks out to me SO much and that I even prefer is the way Bruce chooses to sing the last verses.  Because he doesn't really sing it at all.  He basically just speaks it..with menace, deliberation, and a bitter weariness.  And then the band and crowd just end the song repeating, "Meet me tonight in Atlantic City" until Max builds it back to its angsty melody.  Bah!  Obsessed.  The live in Dublin version is pretty awesome too, but it could never replace the other two for me--too peppy!

"Mansion on the Hill" is sweet and darling and sad.  The National does a very special cover of it.

I've heard "Johnny 99" quite a few times, I'm not sure where or why.  Maybe it's just popped up on my iPod.  It's dark and folksy and like most if not all of the songs on this album, it's about a hopeless criminal.  And it has killer harmonica solos, of course.

In "Highway Patrolman" the narrator is a patrolman and his no-good brother is the criminal.  It's also a quiet ballad, just Bruce and his acoustic guitar.  The grief in the song is apparent both in the lyrics and his voice. 

Well Franky went in the army back in 1965 

I got a farm deferment settled down took Maria for my wife
But them wheat prices kept on droppin' till it was like we were gettin' robbed
Franky came home in '68 and me I took this job

Yeah, we're laughin' and drinkin' 

nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin', teach him how to walk that line
Man turns his back on his family, he ain't no friend of mine

The night was like any other, I got a call 'bout quarter to nine

There was trouble in a roadhouse out on the Michigan line
There was a kid lyin' on the floor lookin' bad, bleedin' hard from his head 

there was a girl cryin' at a table, and it was Frank they said
Well, I went out and I jumped in my car and I hit the lights
Well, I must of done 110 through Michigan county that night

It was out at the crossroads down round Willow bank

Seen a Buick with Ohio plates behind the wheel was Frank
Well, I chased him through them county roads 

till a sign said Canadian border 5 miles from here
I pulled over the side of the highway and watched his taillights disappear


The images and themes of this song are so strong, it's no wonder the lyrics inspired Sean Penn's film, Indian Runner. Has anyone seen it?  I need to.

If I still haven't proved the majesty of this album to you, we've arrived at a crucial point in it--the last track on side one.  It's a song I never paid much attention to until a few years ago when I made a 'best-of' post for Bruce songs, and my friend Kelly told me that "State Trooper" needed to be on my list.  I'd never listened to it!  So I put it on and oh, man.  It's a beast



It feels like a living thing, it's so raw and looming and ominous. The clean, simple, repetitive guitar immediately brings to mind the speeding steady flash of yellow lines along a highway.  The words and how Bruce sings them are creepy and seem pent-up, so much so that he breaks into quick, howling yelps near the end of the song. 

New Jersey Turnpike ridin' on a wet night 
'neath the refinery's glow, out where the great black rivers flow
License, registration, I ain't got none, 


but I got a clear conscience 'bout the things that I done
Mister state trooper, please don't stop me,

please don't stop me, please don't stop me

Maybe you got a kid, maybe you got a pretty wife
the only thing that I got's been botherin' me my whole life
Mister state trooper, please don't stop me 

please don't stop me, please don't stop me

In the wee wee hours your mind gets hazy 

radio relay towers lead me to my baby
Radio's jammed up with talk show stations
It's just talk, talk, talk till you lose your patience
Mister state trooper, please don't stop me

Hey somebody out there, listen to my last prayer

Hi ho silver-o, deliver me from nowhere 


I think that last line really sums up this album: deliver me from nowhere. 

The second side of the album opens with no fanfare, but rather with a sweet childhood ballad, "Used Cars."

Now mister the day the lottery I win 
I ain't ever gonna ride in no used car again

Now the neighbors come from near and far

As we pull up in our brand new used car
I wish he'd just hit the gas and let out a cry 

and tell 'em all they can kiss our asses goodbye

My dad he sweats the same job from mornin' to morn

Me I walk home on the same dirty streets where I was born
Up the block I can hear my little sister in the front seat blowin' that horn
The sounds echoin' all down Michigan Avenue 


"Open All Night" is another car song, and it actually features super similar lyrics to "State Trooper" about driving alone and fast, but this time on the way to his girlfriend.  The last line is even: "Hey Mr. DJ won't you hear my last prayer,  hey ho rock 'n roll deliver me from nowhere." It's decidedly more upbeat, though.  :)

Next up is "My Father's House" and let's have a show of hands from my Christian or post-Christian readers: who immediately thought of Rich Mullins?  Come on.  In my father's house, there are many, many rooms!  I will forever love Rich Mullins.  Anyway.  Let's get serious again.  Because just when you thought this album couldn't get any more serious...well, here we are.  This song is basically a poem:

Last night I dreamed that I was a child out where the pines grow wild and tall
I was trying to make it home through the forest before the darkness falls

I heard the wind rustling through the trees and ghostly voices rose from the fields
I ran with my heart pounding down that broken path
With the devil snappin' at my heels

I broke through the trees and there in the night
My father's house stood shining hard and bright 
the branches and brambles tore my clothes and scratched my arms
But I ran till I fell shaking in his arms

I awoke and I imagined the hard things that pulled us apart
Will never again, sir, tear us from each others hearts
I got dressed and to that house I did ride 
from out on the road I could see its windows shining in light

I walked up the steps and stood on the porch 

a woman I didn't recognize came and spoke to me through a chained door
I told her my story and who I'd come for
She said "I'm sorry, son, but no one by that name lives here anymore"

My father's house shines hard and bright 
it stands like a beacon calling me in the night
Calling and calling so cold and alone
Shining cross this dark highway where our sins lie unatoned


I mean, COME. ON.  The top youtube comment for this song: "I'd like to say something... but I can't... no words.."

Finally, we end this album of harrowing heartbreak and merciless misery with "Reason to Believe."  No, not Rod Stewart's "Reason to Believe."  That would be weird (even though I love Rod Stewart and that song).  You could argue it ends the album on a light, hopeful note.  You could also argue that it absolutely doesn't.

At the end of every hard-earned day, people find some reason to believe.

Is This Better Than The River?:



The wiser, hardened, heavy-hearted adult in me says 'yes,' the young, crazy, teenager-who-loves-to-dance in me says 'no.'  Bottom line: both are EXCEPTIONAL.

KITTEN



I am actually quite worried about him because this morning we're having our fire alarms tested in the building.  I kept telling him this morning, "It's going to be loud, and probably scary.  Go ahead and hide if you need to.  Please don't pee on everything in fear.  I love you.  I love you."

little mister

5.07.2012


#222: Doolittle by The Pixies


Doolittle by The Pixies (1989)

Favorite Tracks: "Debaser" and "Wave of Mutilation" and "I Bleed" and "Here Comes Your Man" and "Mr. Grieves" and "No. 13 Baby" and "There Goes My Gun" and "Hey" and "Silver"

Thoughts: This is our second Pixies album, the last one, Surfer Rosa, was back at #311.  I liked it, but did not deem it better than Help! at the time.  Here's hoping Doolittle kicks The River's butt for me.  The album title is a great start, as I am a fan of both Ms. Eliza Doolittle and Dr. Dolittle.

"Here Comes Your Man" is just so wonderful.  Yes, I heard it for the first time in 500 Days of Summer, I'm not ashamed to say.  That movie has a fantastic soundtrack!  Anyway, this album was really great.  I feel like one listen was definitely not enough.  Songs like "Hey" were just so unique and kept me hooked.  I think I may have expected more songs to be like "Here Comes Your Man", but the diversity, while dark, was still very enjoyable.

Is This Better Than The River?: It definitely has depths to discover, and is at least as good.

#223: Paid in Full by Eric B. & Rakim


Paid in Full by Eric B. & Rakim (1987)

Favorite Tracks: "I Ain't No Joke" and "Move the Crowd" and "Paid in Full" and "Eric B. is President"

Thoughts:  (Pre-Listening) I'm not going to lie to you, internet.  I've never heard of Eric B. & Rakim.  But then my knowledge of classic hip-hop is not what I'd like it to be, so I'm not upset that a group I've never heard of had made it this close to number 1.  My expectations, however, are still high.

(Post-Listening) I thought that maybe some of the singles off this album would sound familiar to me, but I think I'm just too young and mostly out of the loop in golden age hip-hop.  Still, it was fun to listen to, and I liked it.  Probably won't be re-visiting it again, but I'd listen to this rap any day over Eminem.

Is This Better Than The River?:  Not to me.

For Linda, because I will take any opportunity to post this incredible dance number.

5.05.2012



Linda commented on my best break-up songs mix (tell me your favs!) that she loved "The Moment I Said It" by Imogen Heap.  And maybe she's a SYTYCD fan and has already seen this, but maybe YOU haven't!  Watch and be amazed.  I've seen this at least 100 times.  My favorite routine the show has ever done.  Choreographed by--who else?--Mia Michaels.

If one photo was to really sum up life around our house


This would be it.

































Totally candid, by the way.  No posing at all.

Hand in Unlovable Hand: My Top 5 Songs About Divorce/Separation/Breaking-Up/The Disintegration of a Relationship

5.04.2012

I was going to just call these my top 5 divorce songs, but I've listened to them with people in mind who I am not, nor ever have been, married to.  And who knows what kind of relationship they were written with in mind? 

I confess I discovered most of these in comments left on blogs of people who were going through separations with their spouses.  I scanned through hundreds of comments where people shared songs that had helped them, and tried to listen to as many as I could.  There was a week or three where all I was listening to was break-up songs.  Since I rarely feel like I can put them on mixes for people--so morbid!--I thought I'd share them here.  I tried to put them on a spectrum of sweet to angry, but really only one of them is angry--#1.

5) "Everywhere" by Polaris



you left your glasses behind
somebody said you were doing fine
I play a game that you're not there
but it's no good because you're everywhere
...
I hear a song that you sang
it hits my head like a circus train
I cried out and you were there
you were there because you're everywhere

I think I've referenced this song multiple times on my blog--even applying it once to my medical issues.  I love the little details, like leaving the glasses and hearing a song that the person would sing and making it impossible to escape their memory and ghost.  And the harmonica!

4) "It's a Motherfucker" by The Eels



it's a motherfucker
being here without you
thinking 'bout the good times
thinking 'bout the bad
and I won't ever be the same
it's a motherfucker

getting through a Sunday
talking to the walls
just me again
but I won't ever be the same
I won't ever be the same

There's just this piano and strings and this poor man singing these very, very sad lyrics.  To the point.

3) "Stay or Leave" by Dave Matthews Band



Wake up naked drinking coffee
Making plans to change the world
While the world is changing us
It was good good love
You used to laugh under the covers
Maybe not so often now
But the way I used to laugh with you
Was loud and hard

Stay or leave

I want you not to go
But you should
It was good as good goes
Stay or leave
I want you not to go
But you did

So what to do

With the rest of the day's afternoon--hey
Isn't it strange how we change
Everything we did
Did I do all that I should

That I could of done


Remember we used to dance

And everyone wanted to be
You and me
I want to be too
What day is this
Besides the day you left me
What day is this
Besides the day you went


MAKING PLANS TO CHANGE THE WORLD, WHILE THE WORLD IS CHANGING US!  Bah, this song. The lyrics are just amazing, and then the mood of the song is so eerie with this mad sort of whispering vocalizations in the background.  It holds this great contradiction of pleading for the good times and also accepting they won't be coming back.  Remember when we used to dance and everyone wanted to be you and me, I want to be too.  Incredible!

2) "Woke Up" New by The Mountain Goats




on the morning when I woke up without you for the first time
I felt free and I felt lonely and I felt scared
and I began to talk to myself almost immediately
not being used to being the only person there

the first time I made coffee for just myself, I made too much of it
but I drank it all just cause you hate it when I let things go to waste
and I wandered through the house like a little boy lost at the mall
and an astronaut could have seen the hunger in my eyes from space

and I sang, "oh, what do I do?  what do I do?  what do I do?
What do I do without you?"

The rest of the lyrics are fantastic too.  The last verse ends with "And stood there like a business man waiting for the train, and I got ready for the future to arrive."  John Darnielle writes the most personal lyrics--I love it.  And the way he sings, "What do I do without you?" is heart-breaking.

1) "No Children" by The Mountain Goats



The entire lyrics (the rest have been just sections):

I hope that our few remaining friends
give up on trying to save us
I hope we come out with a fail-safe plot
to piss off the dumb few that forgave us

I hope the fences we mended
fall down beneath their own weight
and I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it's already too late

and I hope the junkyard a few block from here
someday burns down
and I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away
and I never come back to this town again 
in my life

I hope I lie
and tell everyone you were a good wife
and I hope you die
I hope we both die

I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow
I hope it bleeds all day long
Our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises
we're pretty sure they're all wrong

I hope it stays dark forever
I hope the worst isn't over
I hope you blink before I do
and I hope I never get sober

and I hope when you think of me years down the line 
you can't find one good thing to say
and I'd hope that if I found the strength to walk out
you'd stay the hell out of my way

I am drowning
there is no sign of land
you are coming down with me
hand in unlovable hand

and I hope you die
I hope we both die

The energy and anger in this song is almost terrifying.  I can't imagine how insane the crowd must get when John sings this in concert (well, insane for folk fans).  John Darnielle wins all the awards for this one.   The driving guitar, the bitterly spewed lyrics, the desperation and resignation in "I hope we both die."  I listen to this song all the time, and it's always appropriate for something.  I would get a tattoo of "our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises, we're pretty sure they're all wrong / I hope it stays dark forever, I hope the worst isn't over" if it wouldn't be the most depressing tattoo EVER.

Honorable Mention: the amazing "Rootless Tree" by Damien Rice!  My friend Linda introduced it to me and I LOVE it.  So cathartic.

I know it's completely reprehensible, but I'm such a sucker for a graphic, specific, detailed, wallowing break-up song.  The way people express breaking up can be just as fascinating as how they talk about being in love.


#224: Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith

5.03.2012


Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith (1975)

Favorite Tracks: "Adam's Apple" and "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion" and "No More No More" and "Round and Round"

Thoughts: Our first Aerosmith album!  Did anyone else grow up with an Aerostar mini-van?  I love ours.  Aerosmith made me think of Aerostar.

I was super into Aerosmith after they played the Super Bowl halftime show with NSYNC*.  And by 'super into' I mean I downloaded "Fly Away From Here" when I saw the video on VH1.  Wait, I couldn't have downloaded it!  The album it came on, Just Push Play, came out in 2001, and there's no way I was on iTunes then.  Right?  Who did I inevitably have hold my hand through my first iTunes purchase AND can remember the year it happened? 

Anyway... "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion" are both on this album, and they're perfect rock songs. 

For those of who know the nickname Billie Piper had for David Tennant, all I'm going to say is that there is a song on this album that made me think of him. 

*I think getting to strut around a Super Bowl halftime stage singing "Walk This Way" with Steven Tyler and Steve Perry had to be a pretty big highlight in the lives of at least four of the members of NSYNC--even Chris got a solo!  However, even I can admit it would have been better with Run DMC. 

Is This Better Than The River?: I loved it, but not as much.  No disputing it belongs this close to #1, though.

isn't it romantic?



- Confession: hearing "Isn't it Romantic" being played in Sabrina makes me sooooooo sad.  It's like I become Sabrina sitting alone in a tree watching couples slow dance in white gowns on a tennis court. 

- Courtney over at Nobody Too wrote a great post about living alone and liking it, so much so that you worry you couldn't ever handle living with someone else.  I loved this:

I once read that Tunde Adebimpe (of the band TV on the Radio) told his now wife that he wanted to marry her after she told him "I want to guard your solitude."

- Lately I've really wanted to a post of my top 5 divorce songs.  But I haven't done it because everywhere I look I have the most wonderful people in my life getting married or thinking about getting married and if I were to post my favorite divorce songs, it would be weird and morbid.  Especially since I have never been divorced.  But now that's its May, and I don't have any weddings on the horizon I might just do it.  Even though, I know, it's totally morbid.


I think I have Oz's view of our relationship pinned down. He poses. I admire.

The Mother’s Loathing of Balloons



I hate you,
How the children plead
At first sight—

I want, I need,
I hate how nearly
Always I

At first say no,
And then comply.
(Soon, soon

They will grow bored
Clutching your
Umbilical cord)—

Over the moon,
Lighter-than-air,
Should you come home,

They’d cease to care—
Who tugs you through
The front door

On a leash, won’t want you
Anymore
And will forget you

On the ceiling—
Admittedly,
A giddy feeling—

Later to find you,
Puckered, small,
Crouching low

Against the wall.
O thin-of-skin
And fit to burst,
You break for her
Who wants you worst.
Your forebear was

The sack of the winds,
The boon that gives
And then rescinds,

Containing nothing
But the force
That blows everyone

Off course.
Once possessed,
Your one chore done,

You float like happiness
To the sun,
Untethered afternoon,

Unkind,
Marooning all
You’ve left behind:

Their tinfoil tears,
Their plastic cries,
Their wheedling

And moot goodbyes,
You shrug them off—
You do not heed—

O loose bloom
             With no root
                              No seed.




- A.E. Stallings


straight from the therapist's mouth: boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses

5.02.2012


Remember how I broke up with my therapist?  I do.  I make bitter comments about it all the time to my friends!  And they are supportive and understanding.

So I mentioned there was a particular session when our relationship totally fell apart.  And it had to do with being single.  And why I don't meet/date/converse with single, straight men-folk.  I thought it might have to do with experiences I had as an adolescent or in college.  I thought it might have to do with lack of experience.  I thought it might have do with coming out of a conservative Christian subculture.  Or it could even have to do with how I insecure I feel about my [list numerous things here that you don't need to have listed for you].

Well, according to my therapist, it was much more simple!  And one of the things was my glasses.  Literally.  We were talking about me being single, and she said, VERBATIM: "Do you ever wear contacts?"

I think I took a second or two to process the question, because--hey!  That's sort of a strange question for your therapist to ask!  But I answered, "No, not really.  Why?"

"Well, I just think you have such beautiful eyes, and it might be harder for people to see them with your glasses."  Why, thank you Cosmo Therapist, I didn't realize my glasses were keeping me from all the sex!  How easily you've cleared that up!  You're so right, I think not wearing glasses is the key to me attracting a mate as well.  Problem? SOLVED.

Even in that moment I knew to say, "You know, I've always felt someone could find me attractive with my glasses."  She hastily agreed and then moved on to telling me the other incorrect style choices I was making (fodder for a different post!).

Some of you might be saying, "What's the big deal?  It was just a suggestion!  She said you have beautiful eyes!"  The big deal is, IT WAS EFFING THERAPY.  Call me old-fashioned (or up to date on current schools of sane thought) but your therapist is NOT the person who tells you that you should change things about your appearance--especially before even finding out if it's something you happen to LIKE--in order to attract or please someone else!

If I posted a picture of myself on some online forum and said, "Hey!  What should I change about myself to be more attractive?" I would expect people to say, "Wear contacts!" because they are strangers.  On the internet.  Who don't care about me or my integrity or personal expression!  My therapist, however, should have at least a mild interest in how I view myself and what I think makes me attractive.  Ok, I'm getting off my bitter, hurting, insecure soapbox with a mighty middle finger to my ex-therapist, and stepping up on the face catwalk.

In defiance of this blow to my eye-wear choices, I bought two new pairs of glasses.  That sounds expensive, doesn't it?  It wasn't.  One pair was from Zenni Optical and cost me about $10, and the other pair were free from coastal.com (an offer available for all 1st time customers).

First, here are my usual glasses that I really love (and the ones I was wearing in the therapy session):


And here's the new ones I got from Zenni Optical. I think they make me look like an owl because the lenses are SO big. But that's what so's great about them--I can't see so much more!:


And here are my new cat-eye glasses from coastal:


They are a softer color than my other glasses (the website listed them as orange pekoe), so they might match more outfits, hair colors, etc.

So there you have it:



So the story is, I like glasses. I like these glasses. And I'm going to keep wearing them until I don't like them anymore.  Huzzah!  With a few cheap purchases I easily triumphed over therapy I paid for that sucked what little positive spirit I had about how I look right out of me.

I'll get it back.