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|Tuesday, February 26th, 2008|
Though I don't often drink caffeine because of the ensuing heart palpitations, today was definitely a coffee day. Why? Because at 3:30 a.m., the hordes of damnation burst into my consciousness with a cacophonous concerto featuring sirens. At first I was annoyed at being wakened by the hellish aural onslaught, but as the rain began lashing against the window and the thunder began shaking the glass in its frame, the adrenaline rush that inevitably follows the realization that one's life could possibly be in danger kicked in, and I...sat in bed and looked at weather.com to see if my life actually was in danger. Turns out it was (at least until 4 a.m.), so I threw on some shoes and left my room. Isabel was awake (Grover and David could both sleep through the Rapture, which is appropriate because their asses would be left behind anyway), so we broed down in the kitchen until shit got calm. Then I went back to my room and talked to Elizabeth on AIM about how scary storms are. I'm totally gonna fall asleep at Bill Callahan tonight.
No Parents practice went smashingly last night. We now have four songs that are very together. One of these has no vocals yet; Grover and I are each going to write a vocal melody and see if they fit together...that way we can both sing, doing a dual vocal melody a la Gang of Four or Sleater-Kinney. Should be cool if it works.
Baltimore/DC Thursday! I've now got a fairly specific plan. It goes a little something like this:
Thursday - Arrive and get picked up at the airport by Kevan. Go pick up Ben and hit the town, which will involve visiting the American Visionary Art Museum
and possibly the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
. Crabcakes will be eaten and really good beer
will be drank.
Friday - I'm not sure what is going down during the day...probably nothing exceptional, which is fine. Friday night, Molly is coming into town, and we're going to go to her friend's band's (Future Islands
) record release show at the H & H Building, which according to my friend Kevan is the best place to see shows in Baltimore. Afterwards, Molly and I are probably gonna head back to DC and probably hit the bar if it isn't too late. I'm also gonna try to get Lori to come hang out with us (or vice versa).
Saturday - I really want to see this video art exhibit by Jeremy Blake
that Lori told me about. He's the guy that did the color sequences in Punch-Drunk Love. One of the pieces is a collaboration with David Berman, the singer of the Silver Jews. Should be awesome. I'd also like to see some of the Smithsonian, but I'm not really sure what. One day in DC doesn't seem like nearly enough, but that's all I'm gonna get. Saturday night is Molly's birthday party, so that should be fun.
Sunday - Return to Birmingham and sleeeeeeeeep. Maybe watch a movie or two (if I can stay awake). I got Blade Runner: the Final Cut, In the Mood for Love, Sawdust and Tinsel, and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie from the library, plus all those other movies I've bought but never watched. It's beginning to feel kinda like homework at this point, which is lame. I'm definitely not buying more movies until I watch what I have, and I'm kinda tempted to put Netflix on hold until I got caught up. But first I have to watch Bunny Lake Is Missing, because I promised Natalie I would.
All in all, this week is going to be pretty spectacular.
|Saturday, February 23rd, 2008|
So a woman walked into the library today and told me she was legally blind right before asking me to print her out and application to flight school.
I don't understand anything anymore. However, I both admire and fear this woman. And I think I now have a solid contender for Best Worst Reference Question Ever.
Rodney's birthday party has been moved to our house tonight. Make a note. I know it's a late announcement, but I've been at work all day dealing with crazies. You know how it goes.
The band is called No Parents. Thanks Jon...you done good.
I've decided that I'm going to use the major arcana of the tarot as a lyric writing tool. I've been kicking this idea around for awhile, but I committed to it last night when I typed up a list of the major arcana, the image on each card, and their five most common interpretations (according to The Tarot: History, Mystery and Lore). Let me say very emphatically that this does NOT mean I'll be writing songs ABOUT the major arcana of the tarot. Actually, I wouldn't put it past me, but that sounds like some straight wack D & D bullshit. What I've decided to do is carry around a notebook with me wherever I go, in which I will write down ideas, striking images, lyric fragments, etc. Then, I will use the main interpretations of the one of tarot trumps (possibly in conjunction with the image on the card) as a way to combine seemingly disparate ideas. I used this method for the most recent song I finished ("An Anatomy of Towers," put together using interpretations of the tower trump and images of towers...I'll talk about it more once the demo is finished), and it worked rather nicely. With the song I finished before that one ("Grey Garden"), I didn't have this method in mind, but it fits the high priestess trump pretty perfectly. Again, I'll talk about this more when the song is posted. There's also an old Secret Intentions song that works well with the universe trump, so I'm probably going to sort of cheat and use that one, just because I really like it. So yeah, that's my new methodology. I'm really excited about it, because I need something to focus on when writing or I'll just shit out love songs, and I'm not down with that anymore. It's so boring.
That's it for now. Work ends in 33 minutes, followed by Fish Market and then dancing at my house. Feel free to join us!
|Friday, February 22nd, 2008|
Man, it's so frustrating to be awoken at 2:30 in the morning by some asshole screaming in the street "YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT MY FEELINGS!!!" Goddamn right drunkie, go crawl under a car and sleep that shit off. It was one of those situations where I thought about calling the cops just because it was so annoying, but doing so would've required me to fully exit the half-asleep state I was in, which would've probably led to me being awake for a long time. Instead, I pulled a pillow tight around my head and tried to block it out. Didn't really work, and even after the pathetic bellowing subsided, I was awake for a long time. I watched a couple episodes of Flight of the Conchords and finally dozed off. It also sucks that my roommates sleep like dead men and never wake up during shit like this. I want someone to share my pain, y'know?
Last night was also another fine example of why I should never begin a movie after 6 p.m. I started watching Vanishing Point at 8. Halfway through it, drowsiness began to set in, so I decided to watch the rest of it standing up. I was standing behind the couch, and I still almost fell asleep. It was kinda pathetic, but I guess I just need to accept the fact that if I decide to watch a movie, I'm most likely going to fall asleep.
Listened to The Correct Use of Soap by Magazine this morning...good album, but I like the first two better.
When I was at Bottletree the other night, I bought tickets to Bill Callahan, which is next week, and The Walkmen/Vampire Weekend, which is in March. I listened to A Hundred Miles Off a couple of days ago for the first time in over a year, and it's a lot better than I remembered. Pretty excited about that show. I haven't heard anything Bill Callahan has done since Smog's Knock Knock, but I'm sure it'll be good. I'll probably pound a Red Bull as soon as I get off work that day to ensure maximum alertness and avoid slipping into movie night Michael mode. I thought about going to Dr. Dog after hearing Grover talk them up, but two shows in a row, one on a work night and one the night before I fly to Baltimore at 7:30 a.m. the following morning, doesn't sound very fun. Plus, no matter how good Dr. Dog is, they have one of the worst band names ever.
I'm really looking forward to the Baltimore/DC trip, which will be during my four day weekend next week. I've never been to DC, so if you have any recommendations as to what I should do, let me know. I've been to Baltimore enough to know vaguely what I want to do, which so far includes hanging out with Ben, Liz, and Kevan, drinking really good beer that you can't get in Alabama, eating crabcakes, and going to the American Visionary Art Museum, which is probably the greatest museum ever. Might drop by this cool junk store and see their giant two-headed mummy again, though I don't know if that's really necessary. I guess I could always pick up a shrunken head while I'm there. In DC, I'd kinda like to go to the Smithsonian, but I'm sorta ambivalent. I should probably read a tour guide and pick out something I definitely want to see. I'm going to Molly's birthday party on Saturday, and Lori is coming from New York for the weekend, so I'll also get to see her and Chewy. It's going to be a pretty goddamned good weekend.
Supposedly there's going to be a Boys movie...read more here:http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=147572
I can be excited about this in theory, but I'm pretty sure that once I see a trailer for it (if it even gets that far) the excitement would end. Wanted was a pretty good comic, and it looks like a big ol' turd of a movie. Watchmen is also going to suck. I was being open-minded about it until I found out that the director is the guy who directed 300. Boooooooooooo.
Y'know, when I started writing this, I thought that, unlike yesterday, I had something interesting to say today. Guess not. Last thing before I stop wasting time and start working: on the band name front, I've gotten a lot of responses, and I think the two most liked names are The Secret Intentions and No Parents. So if you had to choose between these two, which would it be?
|Thursday, February 21st, 2008|
- I decided that I'm going to read the entirety of Sir Richard F. Burton's 1850 translation of the Arabian Nights at work. This sounds like a massive undertaking, but I really have no idea how long it is. I just know that I'm often bored at work. Here's the link: http://www.wollamshram.ca/1001/index.htm
- Went to Bottletree last night to watch American Beer, a documentary about five guys visiting 38 microbreweries in 40 days. There was a lot of interesting information, but the guys themselves didn't seem like they'd be very fun to hang out with. It did make me want to become a brewmaster and drink a lot of beer. I did the latter. The end of work can't arrive soon enough.
- Tonight I will watch two movies about/featuring car chases: Vanishing Point and Duel. I'm excited. I'm seriously going to go home from work, put on pajamas, get into bed and watch movies.
- Reading Paris Spleen by Baudelaire. I like it a lot. It's decadent and full of bile...what's not to like? I probably would have finished it today had I not turned my brain into liquid shit last night.
- Listened to Superjudge by Monster Magnet today. It was loud and stupid and probably the only thing I could've comprehended in my impaired mental state. In other words, good. I also listening to Power, Corruption and Lies by New Order yesterday, which I thought was so-so. I need to listen to it again, but they may just be one of those bands whose singles I like but not much else.
- Inane, I know. But I'm off work now, so it served its purpose.
- Coprophagic might be my favorite word.
|Friday, February 15th, 2008|
Text message sent this morning: "I have a foreboding tickle in the back of my throat that may signify the onset of what my parents colloquially refer to as "the crud."
8 hours later, there's no "may" about it. I'm sick. All I want is to lie down and sleep for four days straight. Underwater. I blame one Jason Grover for giving me this debilitating supervirus. I know it wasn't intentional (probably), but I don't care; retaliation will be brutal and protracted. Not really. I'm just angry at the world because my body feels like it's on fire (in a bad way), and I'm utterly exhausted after a long, hard day of sitting. It's a good thing I have a gigantic stack of movies that I've been putting off watching for weeks/months/years. The stack includes Early Summer, Late Spring, Suicide Circle, Vanishing Point, Duel, Kwaidan, Amarcord, Fargo, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Pitfall, Little Otik, and maybe a few more. If you feel like watching a movie this weekend and aren't a germaphobe, feel free to drop by.
Super Smash Brothers Brawl has been pre-ordered and will be picked up on release date, which is March 9th. It's so on.
I got a book on the history of the tarot at the library today. I really hope it's worth a shit. The last book I tried to read on the tarot was so horribly written that I put it down pretty quickly. This one looks better, so hopefully it will be.
I'm so brain dead. I hope have everyone had a great Valentine's Day, and if not great then tolerable.
Oh! Almost forgot. The new band (me, Grover, Mark, Fargason, Crystal, and probably David) will play our first show at the Plaza on Saturday, April 5th with Model Citizen and the Necronomikids. We still haven't quite decided on a band name...here are a few that we're kicking around, so cast your vote now and play a part in naming this incendiary new rock spectacle!
1. The Secret Intentions
2. Context Clues
3. These Are the Finest Queen Boys
4. Dr. Rockenstein and the Apocalypse Gun
Your opinion, as always, is appreciated!
|Wednesday, February 13th, 2008|
I'm in love. I seriously think I could eat the bread & spread plate from Bottletree every day for the rest of my life and not get tired of it. Hell, I could eat the jalapeno-cilantro spread by the bowl. I don't think I'll ever be able to go there again without ordering it. I just made three statements for effect, none of which are true. I do like it a lot though.
I was at Bottletree to watch the King of Kong documentary, which was pretty shittin' awesome. If you haven't seen it and don't want to read SPOILERS, skip this paragraph. The documentary is spun as a good vs. evil kinda thing, with Billy Mitchell being the bad guy. This makes for pretty entertaining viewing, especially considering Billy Mitchell is easy to dislike. It's not that he's evil or even a bad person...he just comes off as one of those asshole d-bags who talk shit about how awesome they are before, during and after beating your ass mercilessly at whatever game is their specialty. Kinda like how I used to be with Smash Brothers Melee (speaking of which, March 9th it's ON motherfuckers, bring it!). Thank God I'm over that, though I do think shit talking is fun. However, it's only fun when people are on fairly equal footing...that way you can all talk shit and it's more about coming up with creative insults than feeling superior and making others feel tiny and insignificant. Anyway, a small part of me died upon learning that Billy actually still holds the world record...apparently he beat Wiebe's score with a referee present after the documentary was completed. Oh well. He's still lame. I'd much rather crack a cold one and sit around playing games with Steve Wiebe. Technically speaking, he may not be the best, but he embodies the spirit of the game. Rooting for Billy Mitchell is like rooting for the Yankees.
I think someone maliciously signed me up for a pretty awful porn mailing list. It is most unusual if a day passes without me receiving an ad for donkey porn. I mean, check this out. These are the subjects of the first three messages in my inbox right now:
Update gSE wXUALYq EXPbLICxT hurt brought university tested tropical does miss m...
Impress Scarlett Johansson! cggzx
Baby Carrot hia
The first one...I don't even know what that means. The second one...not a very good penis enlargement pitch. Even if someone is desperate enough to actually order penis enlargement gear from a random email, is anyone out there desperate enough to believe that doing so will allow him to meet and subsequently impress Scarlett Johansson? The third one...goddamn. I was actually curious enough to open this one. Here's what it said: "uproot paris tung affine ! parrot olin wean turin.jelly advice cf jig imbrue?" I hate the internet today. If the internet were a person I'd break every bone in its stupid fucking face. And yes, I realize none of those are donkey porn, but trust me, I get them. Why is the spam filter incapable of catching these? Why haven't I changed email addresses yet?
I think for my next comp I'm going to pay tribute to my obsession with alphabetization (I have no idea how to say this word) and do one band per letter of the the alphabet presented in alphabetical order. I might switch that to one song title per letter of the alphabet if need be. Still thinking on it.
I recently read "The Impact of Science on Myth" by Joseph Campbell, which is about how most citizens of the world feed like maggots on the unchanging, decaying corpses of the great, globe-spanning religions and how it impedes progress. Nothing revolutionary, and nothing I haven't heard from him before, but still pretty good. However, in keeping with a recent vow to stop reading anything that isn't absolutely enthralling, I'm going to move on to something else if the next essay isn't mind-blowing. I also finally started reading Matt Wagner's Grendel again, and I immediately remembered why I never finished it before. The first story arc is pretty shitty. The art is very angular and kinda wack, and the writing is pretty amateurish. Most of the narration is done in the form of fragmented journal entries that inevitably end with "More later." I have a real problem with that...who actually writes "More later." in a journal? Maybe it was a vocal recording...I don't remember. It's still trite to do this several times per issue for 12 issues. Also, the story is about this woman who takes on the identity of master assassin Grendel after a Kabuki vampire werecat kidnaps her son and eats his eyes. This sounds a lot more awesome than it actually is. I take that back...this is every bit as retarded as it sounds. Furthermore, the whole goddamn point of assuming the role of Grendel is to take vengeance on the "scary" Kabuki werecat, but during a fight in the seventh issue the werecat clearly escapes. Grendel sees it happen. So what does she do? Decides to attack the previous Grendel's old foe, the wheelchair-bound werewolf Argent! Why? Oh, no reason! Because he's responsible in some vague way for the police harassing her friend. I guess a werecat eating out your son's eyes is something that you just sort of get over after awhile.
It's official...I'm never getting laid again. See above for proof.
Music...been listening to a lot of XTC and Tindersticks. I think the Black Sea is my new favorite XTC album. It used to be White Music, which is also awesome, but the Black Sea is fucking amazing. I don't know how I never recognized its true glory before. English Settlement is also fantastic, even though it drags in the middle and could stand to lose a couple of songs. Drums and Wires is great. The Big Express, which I once said might be my favorite, is actually kinda boring and nowhere near my favorite. Skylarking is pretty at times, but it can also get pretty cheesy. That's as far as I've gotten. Tindersticks (first self-titled) is lovely, as I've known for awhile...I just revisited it yesterday. Curtains, on the other hand, is not so good. It's very long, much like the first two self-titled albums, but it feels like a much weaker version of those albums. I've tried many times over the years to get into that album, and it just ain't gettin' any better. Still, the first two and Simple Pleasure are among my all-time favorites. They're perfect music for days like today when it's cold and miserable outside.
I was asked today to travel to the University of Alabama next Thursday and talk to current SLIS students about my work in libraries. Should I do this? I'm afraid I would scare them. I should go out hard the night before and walk in hungover and unshaven, fire up a cigarette, look them in their terrified eyes and say "You wanna know about libraries?" Pause. Drag. "I'll tell you about libraries." Or not. I just don't really know what I'd tell them. I don't think my career has been very interesting up to this point. The lady who asked me to do it mentioned the Queens job. People (i.e. library employees in Alabama) seem to be impressed by that job, but really, the only interesting thing about it was the fact that I got to live in New York. The job itself blew ass, especially considering they underpay and overwork their employees. So yeah, I'm debating on whether or not to do it because I have no idea what I'd talk about. Thoughts?
P.S. Our hair dryer caught on fire this morning. I'm pretty sure a piece of flaming debris fell into my hair, but I was too sleepy to care. Fun times.
|Monday, February 11th, 2008|
Copied from bhamcompco_op:
So here's today's comp: http://www.mediafire.com/?a9wymk0mwza
The "theme" (if you can even call it that) was to only use songs that I had never put on a comp before. I failed. So then I tried to limit it to songs that I discovered within the past couple of years. Failed again. There are certain songs that I love so much that I couldn't stop myself from including them. Plus, there's the fact that the majority of my CD collection still hasn't been ripped to mp3, so I had to make do with what was readily available. What we have here are mostly songs that I discovered in the past couple of years cut with some classics. The mix...what can I say about the mix? It sounds like two mixes spliced together. I listened to it a lot and could never decide if it was really cohesive, and now I just don't care anymore. I am really happy that "Thank God It's Not Christmas" ended up at the halfway point though, and the last song, "Rhymes of Goodbye," is possibly my favorite song of all time. Anyway, here's the track listing...enjoy!
John Hartford - First Girl I Loved
Freakwater - My One Desire
Devendra Banhart - Now That I Know
Kraftwerk - Tanzmusik
The Magnetic Fields - Either You Don't Love Me or I Don't Love You
The Three O'Clock - Jet Fighter
Echo & the Bunnymen - Bring on the Dancing Horses
Sparks - Thank God It's Not Christmas
Queen - She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)
Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians - I'm Only You
The Mekons - Last Dance
The Kinks - Celluloid Heroes
Townes Van Zandt - Pancho & Lefty
Peter Laughner - Sylvia Plath
Scott Walker - Rhymes of Goodbye
|Tuesday, February 5th, 2008|
So when I last posted about the potluck, I ended up making neither of those things. Instead, I went with a Grecian kasha with lentils topped with mint yogurt and feta. It sounded great on paper, but it was a little bland. I think this week I'm gonna make pizza casserole cause it's easy as fuck.
***WARNING: The following five paragraphs are comprised solely of bitching and moaning. Read at your own discretion. You have been warned.***
Despite having a great weekend, I'm in a really pissy mood and have been since yesterday. This doesn't happen that often, and normally when I'm in such a state, I stop talking to people until it goes away. I mean, why should other people have to deal with my moodiness? Plus, if I force myself to hang out with people, I come off as being really distracted and not listening to anything anyone says as I grow more and more internally irritated. I'm sure it's coming from being tired and not feeling that great.
But wait! What's this? After examining my finances just now, I realized that I do have reason to be in a bad mood! After paying rent, my checking account will have $44 in it! That's supposed to last until next Friday!!! You know what's even more hilarious?! Two payments have to be made out of that money before next Friday, one for $128 and one for $70!!! Awesome!!!!!!! I mean, I also have to eat and buy gas, but I guess I can eat stray cats and walk to work.
I hate everything. Everything money-related at least.
Speaking of money-related, I work to make money. You know what I hate about my job right now? Book reviews. I'm so fucking sick of reading book reviews, especially when 98% of the books described sound exactly like 100 other books with similarly generic plots. Judging from this neverending barrage of plot synopses, most new fiction is boring as shit. Even the books that sound like they might be interesting are usually proven to be boring and predictable by the end of the review. For example, here's a book about an insane musician set in "turn-of-last-century Europe" (is that even a real phrase?). Sounds like it has potential...too bad it's a fucking romance novel. Most sci-fi is just as bad as romance as far as predictability is concerned. For example, here's a book about an ancient alien race living on an artificial planet. How original! How interesting!!! Here's one I obviously don't want to buy, because one of the notes is "sloppy climax." Ok, done with work.
I also hate my glasses and my hair. My glasses broke about a week ago (maybe a little more). I haven't gotten them fixed because they can't be fixed, and I haven't gotten a new pair because I don't have the money for it. So the glasses have been resting on the bridge of my nose and digging into the tender nose flesh for a good week now. By the time I get glasses, I'll probably have a permanent scar and the lamest scar origin story ever. I also really need a haircut, as it looks fucking stupid. I might just pull a G.I. Jane and cut it all off myself. I don't even know if that happens in the movie...I've never seen it and I don't care. I want to stop thinking about everything now. Brain off.
I think I need a hug, or I need to break things. Maybe I need to break things while receiving a hug. That sounds pretty alright.
Tonight I will watch episodes 5 and 6 of Season 5 of the Wire, putting me 3/5 of the way through the last season of one of the best TV shows ever. I will surely be in a better mood after that.
|Friday, February 1st, 2008|
Potluck tonight at 7 p.m. Just a reminder. I've narrow what I'm making down to two possibilites. The first is tropical pasta, which is pasta with either mango or papaya, cilantro, and a bunch of other shit. Admittedly, the name is pretty stupid, but it sounded really good. The other option is pizza casserole, which is a baked version of olive mushroom pizza. This is a lot easier and serves more. If you have a preference, weigh in before I go to the grocery store and I'll see what I can do.
|Thursday, January 31st, 2008|
| As I write, I'm listening to the rough draft of the comp I've put together for the co-op. I really like all of the songs I've picked, and I thought I really liked the order they're in. However, after talking to Grover earlier, I realized that I grouped similar songs together, which makes it sound like three mini-comps. So now I'm second-guessing myself. I don't have any sort of theme for it...I just want it to flow really well. Also, I think it's really funny that after vowing to not write anymore love songs for the new band (mainly because that was what most songs I've previously written were about, not because I felt really moved to write them but because it was easy), most of these songs are love songs. They just fit together really well. And thus far, all of the songs feel right. I'm trying to add more varied material that fits in with what I have, but if I still like it after I listen to it a few more times, I'll just keep it as is. Also, it's currently less than an hour, which sort of bothers me, but a good mix is a good mix. I don't want to add more songs just to fill up a CD. Who even thinks in terms of tapes or CDs anymore?
Translation of the above paragraph: I think making a good mix is an art, and I am extremely obsessive about it.
The Super Furry Animals show was really good. We only caught three Fiery Furnaces songs. They were ok, but it didn't bother me that we had missed the rest of their set. I could tell within minutes that they were just one of those bands that, for me, come across far better on album. The singer from the Super Furry Animals took the stage wearing a big Red Power Ranger mask. He had to hold the mic up to the right eye of the mask to sing, which looked both funny and surreal. I tried to take a picture of it with my cellphone camera, but somehow I don't think a small red blob in front of a big purple blob would've conveyed the effect. The highlight of the set was the song I voted for them to play online (concert attendees were allowed to vote for their favorite song from an extensive list, and the top 5 were played at the show), "Receptacle for the Respectable." The singer said that it was a basically a 5-part song with each part embodying a different band member. I really like that idea...I want to do it with our band.
Highlights of the trip: listening to Ralf and Florian by Kraftwerk in the car; hearing a story about a beluga whale at the Atlanta aquarium trying to mate, missing repeatedly, and eventually prematurely ejaculating into the water, which, when accompanied by the details I'm omitting, was both hilarious and repulsive.
Trip lowlights: going to Waffle House after the show, being the only customers there, and being subjected to Nickleback on repeat; both driver and passenger momentarily losing the battle to stay awake during the drive back.
Almost forgot: the doctor called, and the testicle is ok. Sort of. It's a hydrocele, which is essentially just a bubble of fluid. No surgery is required, which is great, but the only thing I can do is wait until it goes away. This could take a few weeks, or it could take months. It doesn't even hurt anymore, so whatever. I'm ok!
|Wednesday, January 30th, 2008|
Last night, I was alone in the house. I have a tendency to be nervous and a little scared when spending the night alone in a big, old house, so imagine my state of mind when it sounded as though a legion of the damned was trying to claw its way into my bedroom. The wind was vicious last night; it blew a giant gutter off of the roof (Grover later told me it was unattached to the house, but still) and a completely full garbage can off of the porch from a fairly secure corner spot. Behold:
To make matters worse, I made the mistake of mentioning Shutter in conversation last night. Evert time I think about this movie, I think about the horrific scene where the hideous, decaying ghost girl (yes, it looks like many other long black hair girl ghosts in many other Asian horror movies, but it's scary shut up) crawls into bed with her former lover. Whenever I have to sleep in the house alone, I will inevitably try not to think about this scene, which will inevitably lead to me thinking about it and the subsequent panic attack. So last night I fell asleep with the lights on. I was reading H. P. Lovecraft because I knew he would knock my ass out, and I'll be damned if I wasn't right.
By the way, if you haven't seen Shutter and you like horror movies, I recommend it. Most of the scares are of the "oh shit, something's gonna happen something's gonna happen" and then the ghost jumps out variety, but it's very well done. In addition to the aforementioned bed scene, there's also a great car scene and a chase through a hotel scene. Also, unlike a lot of Asian horror, the movie has a very linear plot, which I liked. There isn't one of those lame cop out ambiguous endings where a bunch of scary shit happens and nothing is explained. The ghost has a very good reason for being a relentless hellbitch. There's even a twist at the very end that's really creepy and makes perfect sense (as in it's not a really lame twist that comes out of nowhere...it's hinted at throughout the movie). So yeah, good movie.
Haven't heard anything from the doctor...still waiting for a call.
In preparation for tonight, I downloaded all of the Fiery Furnaces albums and started listening to them this morning. Gallowsbird's Bark is really good...there were only a couple of songs I didn't care for. I've only listened to the first song on Blueberry Boat, but I'll probably knock it out before I get off work today...
...and here I am, dickin' around when I have 50 pages of book reviews to read. My goal was to get these read by today, which is pretty much not going to happen (I have to take notes and make index cards and yes, it's a primitive method that wastes a substantial amount of time). But this is important too, not because the minutiae of my life are in any way interesting, but because this is part of an effort on my part to begin writing more and cataloging things I experience (movies, books, comics, etc.) so that my abysmal memory doesn't render said experiences a waste of time a few weeks/months later.
|Monday, January 28th, 2008|
Just got back from the doctor, where I learned nothing new save that I will be having a scrotal ultrasound tomorrow. I’ve had a swollen, painful testicle for about two months now, and neither antibiotics nor steroids have helped. Surgery was mentioned for the first time today. The doctor said, “We might have to go in and take a lot around,” which made me nauseous. Fuck that. I had surgery performed by the same doctor for a completely unrelated problem in early 2002. It was outpatient surgery, and he told me that I’d be “a little sore” for awhile, but it wasn’t a big deal. Seeking to maintain a cordial, friendly doctor/patient relationship, I’ve never confronted him with the fact that this was a fucking lie. I was bedridden for almost a month, and whenever necessity dictated that I move, I did so in excruciating pain. So yeah, I’m worried. I don’t want to have horrible, painful surgery, nor do I want to be out of work for a week or two, especially considering I learned last week that I am not allowed to take sick leave until I’ve been working here a year. This is extremely unethical, and I’m going to stop thinking about it now because it’s very upsetting.
I’ve been listening to a ton of music lately. I would’ve bought an iPod years ago had I known that doing so would compel me to listen to 1-2 albums a day. I’ve heard so much good shit in the past two or three weeks, including five early Kraftwerk albums, the first six Sparks albums, Rattus Norvegicus by the Stranglers, Dazzle Ships by OMD, Eat to the Beat by Blondie, Hey Venus! and Love Kraft by Super Furry Animals, Vs. by Mission of Burma, Cripple Crow by Devendra Banhart, Go Girl Crazy by the Dictators, Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens, Slayed? by Slade, Distortion by the Magnetic Fields, and Do You Like Rock Music? by British Sea Power. There are probably more, but you get the idea. Of these, I’m most partial to Kraftwerk 2, Ralf and Florian, Kimono My House, Vs. and Slayed?
Reminder to self: download Gary Numan albums.
I haven’t been reading a whole lot…still slowly making my way through a collection of Lovecraft stories. He’s not really the greatest writer. I like the weird extra-dimensional monsters/gods, but his word choice, writing style and framing device grow more and more tiresome with every story I read. I’m probably going to take a breather after the next story and read the three Jaime Hernandez-penned Love and Rockets trades I received in the mail last week. After that, who knows? Maybe Gormenghast…maybe not…
Movies. I love movies, but again, I haven’t been watching that many. I’ve watched most of the Jiri Barta shorts at this point. From a technical standpoint, he’s pretty great, but most of his films use the trappings of surrealism to make a really obvious, heavy-handed point. The man’s got mad animation skills, but he’s no Svankmajer. Still, his version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is wicked (even with the altered, less creepy ending). The Face of Another was a movie about a total asshole of a burn victim who receives a very realistic looking plastic mask made from a mold of another man’s face. I mean, I’m sympathetic to the idea of a person whose face is horribly disfigured, but this guy wallows in self-pity. Imagine the Unknown Soldier sitting around the house complaining how shitty his life is and being really mean to his wife. To make the character even more deplorable, once he gets his new face, he decides to use it to seduce his wife. There’s a parallel story about a beautiful girl with a gross scar on her right cheek, which leads to incestuous scar-licking followed by suicide. It’s a weird movie and self-consciously arty, but I liked it a lot. I also watched Sweet Smell of Success, which is about two of the most loathsome human beings ever. I also liked it a lot. I think I just like movies about horrible people/places/things. Next I want to watch Pitfall, Late Spring, Early Summer, and re-watch Woman in the Dunes. If you’re into Japanese film and want to watch any of these, let me know. Woman in the Dunes is one of my favorite movies ever. Hopefully I’ll eventually make it to a theater as well, as I really want to see No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno, and the Orphanage.
I could write more, but I’ve been at it for an hour and I need to get some work done today. I do actually work sometimes. I have about 50 pages of book reviews to read, which blows. I want to finish those up before my glorious four day weekend begins. Oh! And to kick it off, I’ll be seeing Super Furry Animals with the Fiery Furnaces (who I’m not sure if I like) in Atlanta Wednesday night! I am determined to have a good week, regardless of what the ultrasound results have to say tomorrow.
|Saturday, January 26th, 2008|
As is not uncommon, last night I made an impulse buy at the grocery store. I went there to get some wild rice to serve as a side item at the potluck and walked away with (among other, more embarrassing impulse buys directly related to hours of Xbox Live and getting fat) a box of Lapsang Souchong tea. The box described it thusly: "This is a strong, golden tea with a very distinctive smoky character." Sounds great, right? When I pulled the shrink wrap off of the box, the very distinctive smoky character of wet ashtray hit me. As I was standing by the garbage can, I actually thought that someone had recently emptied an ashtray into the garbage. Unfortunately, the offensive odor was emanating from the 20 bags of tea I had just purchased. I passed it around the room, where the smell was additionally described as old lady skin and old leather. It was also described as chai, which was completely wrong, because from what I remember chai smells like something that probably won't kill you if you drink it. After we had our fun laughing at the sheer awfulness of it, I put it in the cabinet, where it should have remained, untouched, until the end of days. Instead, I broke the seal this morning. Those of you who know me know that if there is something disgusting yet obviously harmless (vomit-flavored jellybeans, for instance), I can't help myself. I have to try it. It was the same way this morning. I have at least 15 other varieties of tea in the house, but noooooooo. It was Lapsang Souchong or bust. I justified it by telling myself that it could possibly taste good, especially since most tea smells much stronger than it tastes. Let me assure you that with Lapsang Souchong, this is not the case. It tastes every bit as strong as it smells. In fact, as it was steeping, it smelled like burning rubber. It smelled like night in Tuscaloosa. I felt dirty knowing that I was even contemplating putting this foul-smelling fluid into my body, so I went upstairs to shower and think it over.
I came downstairs still on the fence, but when I saw the cup of liquid leather sitting on the counter, I resigned myself to fate. I drank every drop of that distilled essence of cowboy and hated every goddamn second of it. So the point of this story: if you ever want to brew up some Lapsang Souchong and sip it and grimace while talking about manly things, do that shit without me. 19 free bags to the first person who claims them.
Then again, it might be good for a laugh at next potluck...you know, "Hey man, want some sweet tea?" God, that would be horrible. I feel like a bad person for even thinking it.
Speaking of the potluck, last night's playlist went a little something like this (feel free to make corrections):
Chicken n' gravy
Scallops with tomatoes and okra (dunno what this was called)
Ham, spinach and cheese quiche
Mushrooms cooked in white wine and a bunch of other stuff
Wild rice (I'm going to do more next time...I was slammed yesterday. Still, it was nice to have)
Chocolate pancake peanut butter cake
It was fantastic. Not only was everything delicious, but each dish complemented the others amazingly well. Good job everyone.
One more thing: Halo 3 Live tomorrow, my place, 7:30.
|Wednesday, January 16th, 2008|
In case you missed it over on HOVA's journal, we're hosting a potluck this Saturday at 7 p.m. Cook stuff and bring it and we'll eat the shit out of it. Also, Saturday is the birthday of one Mark Sherer, aka Big Baby Jesus, so after the potluck we'll all hang out and then maybe hit a bar. It's really up to the birthday boy...I'm just along for the ride.
Also, like Grover and as previously stated, I've been making a conscious effort to not live like a fucking degenerate. I've been sick of my lifestyle for some time now, so I'm working towards change instead of making excuses to myself and pretending like I actually like the way I live. I'm doing a no drinking/no smoking thing for a month...after that, I will continue to not smoke, but I will tentatively try drinking. I really enjoy alcohol, but I don't enjoy the way I abuse it. So if I can drink responsibly and not black out, then, y'know, you might see me at a bar at some point. If not, then we can do fun non-drinking things! Or maybe I'll come to the bar and get a soda water or some shit. Is that what non-drinkers drink at the bar? I dunno. And just to be clear, this is something I'm doing for me. I know I need to do it because I've been hellbent on self-destruction for awhile and unwilling to do anything about it. I don't want to live like that anymore. But I don't want to give you the impression that I'm avoiding you or don't value your friendship. I've been a bit of a recluse lately, but that's only because I'm sorting through some shit. Give me some time...I'll be around again soon. Also, I don't want to give anyone the impression that I'm on a so-called "high horse" or being judgmental in any way. I don't want to drink, but I don't care what you do. And I will hang out regardless once I feel comfortable doing so.
I'm currently halfway through the album Propaganda by Sparks, which is their fourth album. I downloaded most of their discography and have been listening to it in chronological order. Why more people haven't shoved this band down my throat is beyond me (felt the same way about John Hartford when I first heard him a few months ago). Only one person has ever been really adamant about me listening to them. This band combines the bombast of Queen with the off-time, complex song structures of Captain Beefheart (though far more structured than Lick My Decals or Trout Mask) with the quirky silliness of Ween, but they come off as being clever, incredible musicians rather than glue-sniffing retards (Ween gets on my nerves). Also, they preceded Ween by 20 years...I just couldn't think of another viable comparison. Anyway, I've had Kimono My House for a few years, but I never gave it the attention it deserves. That album is a fucking masterpiece. The others I've listened to are great as well, but not quite perfect. I mean, any album with a cover of Do Re Mi can't be perfect, y'know? Anyway, listen to this band. They rule. Once I get through the discography (or hit a point where they become noticeably terrible), I'll probably make a mix, so leave a comment or email me if you want a copy.
Reading...I just finished the His Dark Materials trilogy, which was pretty good. I like that there's an atheist fantasy trilogy out there, if only to counterbalance the existence or Narnia. Too bad those elements didn't make it into the movie. Now I'm reading a collection of H. P. Lovecraft. Prior to this, I'd only read "The Call of Cthulu." I remember not really liking it at the time, but now that we've started playing Arkham Horror (Lovecraft based board game), I'm gonna re-read it, because the other stories I've read ("The Rats in the Walls" and "The Whisperer in Darkness") are pretty sweet. Next, I kinda want to re-read Titus Groan and then read Gormenghast for the first time. I bought a copy of the omnibus in October, but it hasn't felt like the right time to read it. Today it's cold and grey outside, which is pretty much what I've been waiting for.
Well, I think that about wraps it up. Oh! The new band is slowly coming together. We've set ourselves some goals though. We want to have demos up by the end of February and play a show by the end of March. We have two songs that are mostly finished, and we have a ton more in the pipeline. I think it's gonna be really good once it comes together. I'm pretty excited about it. Tonight I'm going to record a couple of demos...maybe I'll post those, but I'll probably wait until the other band members write and record their parts. And we're going to use the Secret Intentions Myspace page I set up, but that's not going to be the band name. Grover suggested Context Clues, which I've been mulling over for awhile and have yet to discover any objections. Thoughts?
|Friday, December 28th, 2007|
After last night, Rats: 58, Humans: 20. Behold the outcome of last night's match, a shameful loss for the Rats:
Regardless, the rats are currently in the lead for several reasons.
1) They've been in the house for awhile. We've heard skittering noises from the attic for well over a month but never really saw anything until recently. I guess they got sick of eating dead roaches and their own feces and decided to find a way to the gourmet shit (e.g., the moldy bread on top of our fridge).
2) I put out two traps hoping that the rat (singular) I had seen would trip at least one of them. I did not expect to find rats (plural) dead on the kitchen floor. This means there may be (and probably are) more.
3) They were strong enough to move a microwave several inches, jump from the counter to the top of the fridge (terrifying mental image), and open the hutch to get to a single loaf of bread wrapped in saran wrap.
4) They ate some of our food and shit right next to it. What a slap in the face. Seriously, what bitches. Don't get me wrong, I was already disturbed by their presence in the house, but discovering this was the moment when shit got real.
As for the Humans, I gave us 10 points per rat as we didn't really have to do anything other than set two traps and throw away two extremely stiff (and sadly cute) corpses. However, this game is played by Mutant League rules, so if there are no more rats, we win without having to score anymore points. If there are, then I say bring 'em on!
|Thursday, December 27th, 2007|
From my mom: "30 years ago on December the 27th at 4:07 PM weighing 7 lbs. and 12 oz. 19 1/4 inches a beautiful baby boy came into our lives and changed it forever. It is unreal how fast time flies. I cannot believe you are 30 years old. We love you and we are proud of the man you have become."
Awww. This coming from a woman who knows all too well what a fuck-up I've been. Oh, the willful blindness of mother love! Anyway, thanks mom. I hope you don't read this ever.
In celebration of this life milestone, tonight I will:
1) Go to Wal-Mart.
2) Buy some briefs (aka tighty whities) to provide support for my swollen, painful, apparently incurable right testicle.
3) Buy some rat killing equipment. There is a rat at 1525, and I intend to kill the shit out of it. I will trade in my previous title of Mouse Slayer for the far cooler and more experienced sounding Rat Assassin. Glue traps + hammer = awesome.
Birthday presents to myself: Late Spring, Early Summer, Three Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara, and testicular health. The latter's not really up to me, but I'm hoping that briefs plus the power of positive thinking will prevail. If not, the next step will definitely be a ritual of some sort. I should probably go ahead and look into that....
Also, I've been feeling like shit since I started taking antibiotics. I've also been popping 4 or 5 Advil per day. I was reading health info on Advil yesterday for some reason (can't remember why), and I found a study that said "This medicine can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems." I've been taking it every day for 17 days, and during that time, my heart's been acting up a lot more than usual, skipping beats and whatnot. Today, I decided not to take any, and lo and behold, my heart is calm and steady. The Advil wasn't really reducing the ball swelling anyway.
Ok, back to work. I have to route some books and do various other boring and completely uninteresting things for the next, oh, 5 hours. Fun way to spend a birthday, for sure.
|Friday, December 21st, 2007|
|Testicle 1, Me 0
The continuous battle with the infected testicle rages on. After 10 days on antibiotics, yesterday was day 1 of 10 more days of antibiotics, this time some hardcore shit that cost $40 with insurance and includes potential side effects hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior, bloody diarrhea, and crystals in your urine. I'm not making that last one up. This medicine scares the shit out of me. I had really vivid dreams last night, but since I was asleep those don't count as hallucinations. And this morning I woke up with a herd of red bumps on my upper chest. I have to assume that this is from the medication, because they definitely weren't there before I started taking it. Shit is fucked. I only hope that it actually kills the infection that's currently breeding and buying a home and settling down in my right testicle. My right testicle is about 3 times the size of the left one at present...it's pretty disconcerting. If I take it in my hand, it feels like it could pop out of the sac if I applied the slightest bit of pressure. I imagine squeezing a grape until the pulpy insides explode out of the skin and feel nauseous.
One thing that's come about as a direct result of the ol' nut problems is that I haven't smoked or drank in two weeks. It's been really good. As I turn 30 next week, I feel like it's (finally!) time to get my shit somewhat together. It's been semi-together, but I'm getting it even more together. This involves a vast reduction in the amount of smoking and drinking in my life. Smoking I think I can cut altogether, and drinking I know I can reduce significantly. I'd much rather spend my time working on music (new band is going well) and watching movies and reading and boring shit like that. I'm pretty happy. With every day that passes, I'm feeling more and more level and together.
On a lighter, far more superficial note, I just sold a bunch of comics on Ebay for a cool $500, so I'm buying myself Christmas presents. I have already ordered the Complete Motown Singles '66 and '67 box sets, and soon I'm gonna get a few Ozu DVDs and the three Locas trades by Jaime Hernandez. Pretty good Christmas, and all I had to do was give up a bunch of comics I hate. Speaking of comics I hate, I'm giving away a ton of books. Make no mistake, they're shit, but if you think you can find a use for them, they're yours. Otherwise they'll just go to my parents' basement and from there to a yard sale. Let me know.
I know I said it already, but I turn 30 next week. Shit just got real.
I'm kidding. The 30th doesn't bother me. Death kinda bothers me...still haven't come to terms with that...but that can happen anytime. The older you get, the more likely it is to happen, sure, but that's not the point. The point is I'm ok with 30. Gives me an excuse (or a reason?) to start behaving like a semi-responsible adult (as opposed to a completely irresponsible college freshman, which aptly describes my behavior until present). Don't worry though...I'll still be fun to hang out with. If you like old, boring people that is.
|Monday, December 17th, 2007|
So hanging out with Mallory was pretty fun. I didn't really expect it to be emotionally wrenching, but there's always that possibility. I was pretty nervous before they arrived. I was pacing around the house, sort of doing stuff but completely unable to focus on anything. My parents were cooking a rather extravagant feast, and I just wandered from room to room trying to figure out what to do with myself. They finally arrived, and I went out (very hesitantly) to meet them. Mallory was really excited to see my mom...they're BFFs. She wasn't as excited about my dad, but I guess he was tolerable. When she saw me standing over there, she stopped and backed up against her mom. She said "That's Michael...he's Ms. Dianne's son." Mallory's response: "I don't like Michael." It was funny...she's obviously really shy about meeting new people. It still almost made me cry. I chugged a glass of water and pulled it together in the kitchen. My mom had borrowed a camcorder, and she wanted me to film the pre-lunch festivities. I was more than happy to do this, as it gave me something to do while we were all hanging out. Furthermore, the camera was sort of a shield...it let me put a little distance between myself and what was happening, which was helpful. I actually felt a little invasive, like I had stumbled into a situation that really had nothing to do with me. Nothing in particular happened to make me feel this way, but I think it's understandable. Anyway, it was nice to be able to just observe this adorable child interacting with my mom, who obviously loves her a whole lot. And Mallory got used to me being around, which was cool. I played with her a little with this giant bear, which she really liked. And at one point after lunch but before present opening time, I went to my room to play guitar for a few minutes. Almost immediately she came and opened the door. She was fascinated by the guitar. She strummed it some, turned the tuning pegs, and danced around while I played. I was playing the acoustic guitar at first...I then showed her the pink guitar and she loved it. She wanted me to plug it in and play, but I didn't have an amp, so I just pretended to plug it into pillows and told her it must be broken. She got tons of presents...my grandmother and two of my aunts came over, and they all gave her presents. It was pretty excessive. I'm worried she'll become totally spoiled, but there's a possibility that she's going to have a brother or sister in the new future, so that'll be good. Seems like spoiling diminishes when it has to be shared. But anyway. It was fun. A little nerve-wracking at first, but really nice on the whole. And that was pretty much my weekend.
|Saturday, December 15th, 2007|
Today I'm hanging out with Mallory Claire Coker, age 3.5, whom I last saw in person at age 0.01. I'm a little nervous but mostly excited. I think it'll be fun. I am wearing my best librarian sweater in honor of this momentous occasion.
For those who don't know, I skipped out on Santacon and came to Jasper to A) let my infected testicle heal and B) regain a little sanity. I'm making progress on both (I think). A note to the gents: don't lift anything really heavy if you have a full bladder. Doing so can push urine into the epididymis and infect the hell out of it. It's weird...since being back in Alabama I've been to the urologist twice. Something about this state does not agree with my balls (or vice versa). And while my present ailment is annoying, it was not nearly as terrifying as a recent, mercifully brief bout with hematospermia. Again, gents: if this happens to you, do not freak out. In fact, just ignore it unless you experience pain.
Dr. Rockenstein (in disguise as mild-mannered librarian Michael Sherer) signing out.
|Tuesday, November 27th, 2007|
I haven't posted in awhile, but I think this is worth sharing. On Thanksgiving Day, my brother, Adam and I woke up still drunk from the night before. We hopped in the truck and headed down Corridor X to Jasper (which, by the way, is amazing...it was 30 minutes from door to door), straight rockin' it the entire way. When we arrived at my cousin's house, we were immediately offered wine. This was new. Several members of my family drink, but they usually don't during family gatherings, probably to appease my southern Baptist parents. However, as it was offered, so did we all accept. We ate a shit ton of amazing food and then sat around and got pretty tipsy until my friend Jonathon called and told me to meet him at Wal-Mart. "It's blast o-clock...bring money for ammo." Yes, we were going to shoot guns. Grover had told me to pick up beer for Thanksgiving supper at his place later, so I decided to combine the two missions. I walked up to Wal-Mart's ammo counter and bought a box of rifle ammo and 18 beers. The guys behind the counter: "I wouldn't recommend mixing these two. Then again, the empty bottles would make good targets." Damn straight. We didn't mix the two though...we aren't total fuck-ups. We proceeded to the middle of nowhere and shot a pistol and an AK-47 at a few inanimate objects for a good 30 minutes. Then we went and had supper with Grover's family. It was probably the best Thanksgiving ever. And the best part? A conversation with my second cousin Lauren, approximately age 10 - 12. Adam, Mark and I were on their back porch smoking and sipping cold white zinfandel when she came outside. They had just gotten a new puppy, and wanting to include her in the conversation, I asked "So what's the puppy's name?"
"Brother calls him Butters."
"Momma's boyfriend calls him Damnit."
"Momma calls him something else."
She turns and walks inside. A few seconds later she peeks out of the blinds. Then she opens the door, leans out, and whispers:
"Momma calls him Asshole."