Friday, August 31, 2007

Kids say the darndest things

I rock and rollicked to the subway's rhythm and closed my eyes and tried to block out the chatter of the little boys sitting next to me as a gaggle of their moms stood in front of me and carried on some inane conversation that was just as equally grating.

It seems that the 6 year old sitting right next to me had been recently given the talk because he was very insistent that his friends knew that "I came from my mom's vagiiiiiiiinaaaaaaaa."

I almost popped my eyes open. I certainly was not expecting to hear vagina enunciated with such gusto. The thing was he really wanted his friends to know this. He would not let up. His buddies looked a little older than him, and maybe they had already got the talk, but they seemed unimpressed and continued talking about other things. Or maybe because of their young age "vagina" just hadn't entertained their brain as such a looming and important entity yet. It's probably still something gross to them.

It didn't end there, because mom had to be reminded of this fact. "Mom, mom, MOM. I came out of your vagiiinnaaa."

The Vagina Kid almost had a mini melt-down a little later because he "really had to pee and I'm going to pee my shoooorrrtts."

I mean it's nice that he was that concerned about pissing his pants as opposed to just peeing all over the place, but wow, this kid was almost losing it telling his mom he had to pee.

You know, I'm usually indifferent to little kids and really it's not like I loathe them or something, but goddamn, sometimes I'm just so goddamn happy I don't have kids.

I am not looking forward to tomorrow

So...I'm going clothes shopping tomorrow. I have all kinds of issues with this. I won't go into all of them, but the main thing being I just don't enjoy clothes shopping to begin with. However, tomorrow is going to be an all-day marathon. Almost a "What Not to Wear" style of hitting several stores and trying on mounds of things...just without their budget.

I haven't really been buying clothes in the traditional sense. On top of that, it's time for a change. I've done the short bob haircut last summer, and I realized, well, I just need to start dressing a bit more proper. I'm getting a bit long in the tooth. Not that I'm dressing like a 13-year-old right now, but I can stand to look a bit more polished I suppose. I don't mean all Jackie O. in Chanel suits, but I just mean that I need to get over my fear of clothes. I feel like I'm not very comfortable nor do I have much of a sense of style. And I actually am someone who likes dressing up. Every now and then I'll put in the effort and throw together an outfit, but just every day? Not so much.

I'm telling myself now that I will not be cowed or intimidated by mannequins, the bodies of other women or how the clothes look on me. There *is* something that will look good on me and by Jove I will find it. I won't give up after rooting around an hour or two because "I'm getting a headache" or "I can't find anything anyway." Also, I'm not going to get a second mortgage shopping, but for once, I'm going to try and not worry so goddamn much about the price. Some things are investments. I have some items in my close that I've paid more than I thought I should or would, but what are the things that I still wear now and look good and what are languishing in the drawers not seeing the light of day? So me? You can do this. Trust in yourself.

Oddly enough I got the urge to find the opening for Jem

And found this.

Le Tigre and Jem. Two great tastes that taste great together?

Honestly though, we do need to revisit the opening for Jem. How can you not love that song? It used to put shivers down my spine when Jem would sing "Jem is my name, no one else is the same, Jem is my name." Loved it. I think I loved this serious based almost 95% on the opening and theme song. That was actually some top-notch animation. Very smooth, lots of frames, almost looks motion captured in some parts. It totally did not get you ready for the shiteous animation quality of the rest of the cartoon itself.

If you don't believe me. Watch this...

...then look at this song from the show. Horrible transitions, ultra-posed and stiff motion, uninspired representations and awkward pacing that only syncs with the sugar-loaded cereal contaminated brain of an 8 year old.

You know, it used to drive me nuts because the theme song would sometimes feature The Misfits, then sometimes not. I mean just look at this. Oh what are you singing about? Oh how nice, straight from the heart? Hmm, sounds like some super weak tea version of ska-influenced New Wave...Yea, show some kid drawing flowers for his mom, or some lady looking for a seat on the bus. Yea, you go ahead and do that...

...I'm just gonna go over and watch The Misfits rock out the fuck out over here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Places to see, things to do

Did I do this before? I feel like I did. Maybe I did it in another context, venue or medium. Anyhow, with my London trip looming near I was recently thinking about what other travels I wanted to do and made a list. And I don't mean just "places I'd like to see because they'd be nice," but places and things that I'd like to experience in the pit of my stomach. Even though I know it'd be kind of hard to coordinate or do unless I had a lot of time and/or a lot of money. If I even get to do one off of this list I'd consider it a pretty good deal. Two? Very lucky.

1. Work in Antarctica. This has been number one for a good long time. This would require that I be brave enough to drop out of society for 6 months to a year. I don't know. I really want to do it yet at the same time I don't know if I'm ready yet. I think it's because I'm still trying to figure out whether or not I like the career path I'm on. To just hop off of it now seems like a way to jeopardize it, but at the same time, maybe a break is what I need to figure out whether I love this or not. A little while back I bought a black and white postcard of a photo taken of some penguins on an expedition. One of these days I hope to take a similar picture of their own and have them on my wall side-by-side.

2. Volunteer in a Brazilian favela. As you can tell by the link, I've already done research on this. I don't know how I got the idea or when, but it's been rolling around in the noggin a bit. This is very much restricted by time. Currently I only get 10 vacation days out of the year, and I don't know how much I could help out with just two weeks.

3. Make a pilgrimage on el Camino de Santiago. Actually I want follow several pilgrimages. I don't particular feel a need to have all my sins forgiven, but I'd also like to try Via Francigena and make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. For the latter, if possible, I'd like to retrace the route described in Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I want to move to that raga beat

I've been kind of unsuccessfully trying to find bharatanatyam classes.

"Say what now classes?" you say. Yea, you heard me.

It's almost a little more than a decade of regret. You have to understand this goes back to when I was a wee one living in Korea. In our apartment complex was a young Indian lady who taught dance. We shared a name. She thought it was cute. Her and her moms totally let me borrow their sari and a bedecked me in jewelry and bhindi for a school event one time. They dressed me up and thought it was adorable.

One day she asked me if I wanted to take her classes. I thought a bit. I really really wanted to. I didn't know what the dances were like exactly, but I knew about the performances for special occasions, like Diwali, that my Indian friends from school participated or performed in.

But, I was a shy kid and I didn't know what I wanted. My mom was interested because she thought it'd help me be more active and whatnot. I don't know exactly what happened but talks fizzled and we ended up saying thanks but no thanks.

That's been eating at me for YEARS.

Anyhow, I've recently been trying my hardest to find bharatanatyam classes in New York, and it's been sort of difficult. Not that many options. I keep thinking, "For crying out loud, it's NEW YORK. There's EVERYTHING here. WHERE ARE THESE CLASSES HIDING??"

Maybe I just suck at searching. I'll persevere. I will. I'll find something.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Damn you, Erik the Red, and your scheming ways!

So one of my secret weaknesses is looking up fancy pants foodstuff. I may never buy it, but I'm intrigued by it. I happened to be reading about fancy pants salts when my eye caught one particular type of sea salt. Danish Viking-Smoked Salt sold by Salt Traders Inc.

How awesome does that sound? Danish Viking-Smoked Salt. You instantly think of large hulking men asking Odin and Thor to bless their meal before battle as they throw rough sea salt onto their fish and meat. But how does the company describe it?

"Danish Viking-Smoked Salt is made in a style devised by the Vikings." The description starts out. Good so far, right? It's supposed to be based on a "millenium-old tradition" that some dude in Denmark tried to revive. Ooh, even better. Now we're treading arcane practices territory. I'm starting to imagine a some village high priest toiling over an open flame and secret rituals to create these salts for the warriors. Almost like Getafix from The Adventures of Asterix with his magical potion of strength. OK, fine, Asterix was about the Gauls and not Vikings, but cut me some slack here. I don't know, maybe they made these salts to throw into Berserkers' eyes to whip them up into a frenzy. That's not particularly important, I'm just trying to run with the imagery here.

What's this? A "'fizzing (evaporating) process' takes place in a vessel over an open, smoky fire containing juniper, cherry, elm, beech and oak." Shit, now this is practically alchemy. Hmm, it's kind of starting to stray and now I'm thinking more of Paracelsus.

(Does this say 'badass' to you like 'Viking' does? In this portrait he looks like the bastard child of Jack Black and Mama Fratelli from 'The Goonies'. Then again the man was totally into himself and just look at the name he took. Cojones the size of grapefruits.)

Don't get me wrong. Alchemy can still be badass if you want it to be if you're into that whole John Dee and Roger Bacon science treading the occult and things like that. Roger Bacon was known as "Doctor Mirabilis," for crying out loud. It's like some awesome Silver Age supervillain name...and I did not even mean to do that, but there's totally a Dr. Destiny connection in there and I didn't even do it on purpose. Awesome. Anyhow, Full Metal Alchemist fannerds need not apply. I'm sorry, but you to alchemy is what Naruto fans are to ninjitsu. There's nothing wrong with havin' a little fun with it, but some of you take it serious to like Napoleon Dynamite "I got skills" level.

Now here's where this all peters out. So what is the flavor and taste of a salt of such grand tradition? I don't know, I'm thinking it'd have something like a smokiness that harkens back to the wild and untamed flavors reminescent of Scandanavian hinterlands with the free and robust flavor of cold briny waters. Maybe with a hint of ancient mystery. You know, yank my chain a little; milk it for what it's worth. I don't mind a little wankery for something like this. Instead in the grand tradition of one of the earliest possible real estate scams* perpetrated** of a name not living up to the actual product, we get this kind of weak description from Saveur magazine: "tastes like a bonfire."

Oh for fuck's sake. "Tastes like a bonfire"? It's one article away from being a Ralph Wiggum quote. Really? Bonfire? I mean I don't know. Maybe if you quantified it with "of a thousand villages being burned to the ground and pillaged." Right now it just sounds like you're saying this Viking salt tastes like s'mores at a Boyscout Jamboree or maybe even Burning Man.

All right, all right, so bonfires can get pretty huge yes, but my disappointment lies elsewhere. Quite honestly when I was referring to "an open flame and secret rituals" back in paragraph three I was thinking more like...oh I don't know, salts smoked over a Viking funeral.

Seriously. Like some salt discovered at an ancient archeological site of a Viking funeral? Perfectly aged and smoked? Straight up Scandanavian death metal type of shit.

Morbid? Yes. But don't you tell me that it would be entirely incorrect for a burning dead Viking to be involved somewhere when you hear the description of "Viking-smoked." Smoked by Vikings or with techniques commonly attributed to Vikings? Sure, why not. Smoked with dead Vikings? ALSO ACCEPTABLE.

* Not including Biblical favorites like Jezebel orchestrating an elaborate smear tactic that would kill Naboth so that his vineyard would fall into the hands of King Ahab.

**And before I offend any persons of Danish ancestry reading this, let me clarify that Erik the Red was a Norseman of Norway, not Danish. And no offense people of Norway, since I happen to think that swindle took some balls and it goes perfectly with today's theme of "badass", apocryphal or not.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone and being ground to a pulp

I spent a weekend of doing absolutely nothing. I always feel guilty when something like this happens, but I'm just tired. And not physically as in I have aching bones or my feet are killing type of tired but just wanting my brain to shut down and not do anything at all. Just lay around and read a book, or just go for a walk with no general place in mind, or just sleep all day for that matter and not worry about what was coming the next day.

I remember I had this intense period starting somewhere near the end of my sophomore year and beginning of my junior year in high school where I felt like I was being decimated by the amount stuff going on both at school and at home. I feel like I spent the last two years of high school very detached from everything because I'd flown into a sort of autopilot mode. It wasn't that I was doing anything particularly grueling...individually...but all together it was too much.

I realized the same thing was happening when I realized the other day that it was already nearing September of 2007 and for the life of me I really couldn't explain where and how the past couple of months had gone. Sure things had been pretty busy at work, and yes there were some stressful moments and bad things that I wanted to put behind me, but come on, I'm approaching 25 here. I can't afford to just shut out a couple of months anymore. Next thing you know, some bad job situations, maybe a bad friend situation, a handful of student loan payments and I'll be waking up at 50 wondering what the hell happened.

I've never liked confrontation or when things got too complicated. I found it more easier to deal with thing into compartments so that when stuff went bad or became too much I kind of pretend they're not happening. It's thanks to a sine-shaped trajectory in the development of my personality where I started off as a quiet and shy kid. It became so bad at one point that teachers had to pull my mom aside and let her know that this was very much a problem for a developing child. The way I grew up made it take a bit longer for me to learn how to play with other kids and I did get better about making friends, but there was still my parents. I disliked bringing friends over to my house because it was embarrassing when something would happen and my parents would erupt into a fight and as things got worse I started getting involved in them and eventually stopped visits from friends all together.

I basically learned to keep things to myself and to this day I like keeping things all separate and I'm a bit guarded about who gets to know a lot about me. It's almost like top secret clearance levels. It was nothing personal against people I knew, but more how comfortable I was with how much things could get to me. Then if things got hairy I could push it away and wall it up and pretend like it never happened or isn't happening. I developed a class clown persona so people wouldn't ask too much about me. Kept it light with jokes, wisecracks and funny stories so conversation wouldn't get too deep and someone finds out what things were like at home let alone, god forbid, how I really felt about anything. At the same time studied like crazy as soon as I realized there was such a thing as college so I'd have an excuse to get away from my parents' problems far, far away.

To this day I'd rather forget about things. If I tie something to a certain someone or event that I'd rather not bring back up again, into a box it goes and away in a closet it gets stacked away until enough time passes that the thing either resolves itself or becomes a non issue. I generally don't like to argue. Partly because I watched my parents doing it so much growing up and people yelling just make me go numb, but also when confrontation does occur I'd rather not talk and walk away. There was a time a short while ago when I'd get into arguments often, but that was mostly because it was me arguing with my dad all the time, and never being in a good mood. Combine that with the fact that there was also certain persons in my life who pushed all the right (or wrong for that matter since I can't figure out if they were the type who enjoyed doing that to people or it was just their personality) buttons on me.

I need to wake up out of this most recent bout. Hopefully I'll go on vacation and feel better. I just don't feel like doing much right now. I want to get out of this funk very much and stop feeling so tired about everything. I'll go out, do something fun, meet people, but then I'll come back home and be tired. Tired, tired, tired. Better being busy than having nothing to do at all I suppose, but I'm starting to want to just ignore everything and go through the motions and that always sucks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Simply because Thin Lizzy rules

Seriously, Thin Lizzy would make for awesome roadtrip soundtrack. Don't tell me you can't totally imagine "Dancing in the Moonlight," playing during some roadtrip montage in a movie that shows the protagonists getting into goofy roadside hijinks. I really hope to go to SXSW next year, and if I do, I hope a car is involved somehow just so I can blare Thin Lizzy.

Oh man, I love Phil Lynott. (rest in peace)

Why I love/hate the Internet

It makes Ambrose Bierce/Saki/O.Henry type stories, such as this one, possible.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh my shhhhhhaaaaaaaaving cream

Wow. So today I randomly thought of what I could only remember as the "Shaving Cream Song." I couldn't remember the particulars of the verses, I just knew that instead of saying "shit" the chorus would chime in with "Shaaaaaving cream. Be nice and clean, shave everyday and you'll always look keen." I first heard it at the tender age of 12 on the Dr. Demento show and it blew my little kid mind because I couldn't believe people in the 1940s made shit jokes. Throughout the years I'd sometimes find myself randomly singing just the chorus.

Well, I wanted to hear it again. I guess I could've tromped through free MP3 sites that might've had it but I've had better luck just going on Youtube with things this specialized. I figured they have damned near everything on Youtube nowadays, so couldn't hurt to try and look for this as well, right? Well, I fuckin' found it. Benny Bell's "Shaving Cream."

If I were an inventor, I'd totally be the old-timey kind with a handlebar 'tache

I just realized today that Facebook bills itself as a "social utility." Those two words together seem a bit much to me, and as a fan of exploring semantics, word-feelings and seems-likes-in-my-heads, the imagery that comes to mind is all wrong. The grandiosity of it makes me think of those old inventions where the absence previously of the concept it now represents made for names that try to describe the entirety of the object. Almost like one of those cliched "wink-wink-nudge-nudge" jokes you'd find in a period comedy sketch where Merlin comes waltzing in interrupting a meeting at the Round Table by showing them his crude magical contraption that's obviously a radio, and when asked what it's to be called, Merlin looks at the camera and as the shot closes in his face, he knowingly, yet with a grand show of pride waggles his brows to declare, "I call it...Voice Capturer Box!"

It makes me think of steam punk Victorian flying machines, with extra cogs, and steam whistles and gears that spin connected to nothing at all. Excessive and slightly dubious like one video reel image I've seen of a flying machine that looked like a vanilla wafer, minus the vanilla cream with about 5 sets of "wings" stacked on top of each other, only to have it fold into itself because of its weight. The clunkiness of it manifested right down to the mashing of those two words that make you read it and go, "Wait, did I read that right?"

Especially the "utility" part. It makes me think of John Stuart Mill, which in turn makes me think of Jeremy Bentham, which then makes me think of the Panopticon, once again bringing me back to invented things with grandiose nomenclature.

AFKN (now AFN), did not show any commercials. It was drilled into your head often enough that all the shows they showed on AFKN were subsidized or donated by networks back in the States, meaning no commercials so that the armed forces would not profit from these shows. Instead, we got interstitial "advertising." Usually it was homebrew stuff telling soldiers to hurry up and go get their antrhax vaccines (The Anthrax Ninja, I shit you not) or don't shoplift from the PX (which had me and my friends singing the theme from "Baretta" for a long time..."Don't do the criiime if you can't do the tiiime oh noooo [don't do it!]..."). Then there were more slickly produced odds and ends that must've been produced back in the States with government sponsorship that were more infotainment. Some of it were what'd you'd expect. Things like famous historical military battles, depicting certain military maneuvers, or even parts of the Military Code of Conduct. By the time I was 11 I knew that "I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist," and that if captured by an enemy combatant and questioned, I could only give my name, rank, date of birth and service number. One of these particular ads scared me for a good time as a kid because it was accompanied by photos of POW soldiers in the background and one particular image was a sepia-toned picture of a very skeletal POW soldier running, looking a bit like one those unsettling anatomy drawings from the Renaissance.

But there were other non-military themed things as well, such as random roadside attractions in the states or my favorite and the point of this meandering sidetrack, Back to the Drawing Board. This particular spot was all about terrible inventions. They were usually accompanied by animation that looked like 19th century figure illustrations of these inventions.

For example, there was the automatic hat tipper. A hat with a spring-loaded thing that sat on one's head, so that if he were to pass a lady on the street he'd just have to bow his head a little and the hat would politely tip itself. Or the more polite automobile horn. Instead of rudely honking, you'd talk into a long-trumpet shaped item asking people to politely get out of your way. THESE are what "social utility" says to my brain.

But come on, people, what are you usually doing with Facebook? Be honest. Stalking exes, right? Reading the minifeeds and looking at pictures of people you don't even talk to anymore (or ever did anyway) and quietly judging your (former) friends' choices in life while you're on the computer at 8 in the morning on a Saturday sitting only in your underwear while eating ice cream for breakfast, right? Passive-agressively flipping the bird to people with cleverly worded "status updates" that artfully show off your obviously superior social life, right? Come on. I'm not saying it's bad, but seriously folks...yea I've had my "social utility" moments with Facebook, but for the most part it's social if you ask me, and if it is to you, ssshhh, I'm pontificating and counterpoint is entirely unnecessary in a pontification. That's right, take a long hard look into your "social utility" mirror there, my friend. The damned thing's called "Facebook" for crying out loud.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ow, my stomach

So, I think I may be developing an ulcer. Well, then again, I once read or heard somewhere that ulcers are really caused by something bacterial rather than by stressing so much as people tend to believe. I'm not a doctor, something like that. Well, it might not be an ulcer per se but maybe I'm developing some stress related digestive disorder or some such. Who knows. I've complained a lot previously about stomach troubles during high stress times.

Anyhow, this, and other related news, later.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Another use for natural casing hot dogs

I pulled out two hot dogs still connected to each other by the nubbins. Before breaking them apart to throw them into the buttered frying pan I held them in both hands and cried out gleefully, "Nunchuks!!!"

Thankfully I did not try to swing them around.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

12:36 am

For some reason, right now, at this exact moment, I am going through a bout of existential searching.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I looked in the mirror this morning...

...and I realized that I have somehow managed to steal Adrian Grenier's dark tumbles of curls coif and put it on my own head. I look weird with curly hair.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Free pie recipe book! Numerous crust recipes! Sweet pies! Savory pies! Fruit pies! Buckles! Crisps! Dumplings! So excited!

The weather this coming weekend is supposed to be relatively mild so I'm going to wake up at the ass crack of dawn, see what the farmer's market has to offer and bake me a pie. I'm ridiculously excited about this.

I know you got my back, son

I missed out on free Les Savy Fav, but was excited to find out they were playing a gig in Williamsburg and another at the Bowery Ballroom, but then my face fell when I realized this coincided with my London trip. I cheered up a little bit when I realized there was a chance I could make it to the Bowery Ballroom show, but not without a price. I was relaying this fact to my friend and professional Les Savy Fav enthusiast, Kelly.

Me: Man, I mean, my flight is supposed to be back by 3 or 4 ish, which means I'd have to haul ass all the way home from JFK, drop my shit off, get ready, then haul my ass all the way back down to the Lower East Side. Not undoable, but I'm debating whether or not I should buy the tickets now or then. On one hand, I don't want to jump the gun, buy a ticket, then heaven forbid, have my flight back home be held up or something, but on the other hand I don't want the show to sell out between now and then and me not have any chance of going at all...

Kelly:...I bought your ticket already. I got two, one of those is yours.

Somehow it had become a Les Savy Fav-tatorship. My attendance had already been decided upon. That is going to be a crazy Saturday with hopefully lot of Tim Harrington belly. Good thing I'm coming back home on a Saturday so I can pass out all of Sunday.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Random music video time: Muse

I've been listening to Muse all weekend long. I really want to see them live but I didn't get to go to the Madison Square Garden show. Interestingly enough they played "Time is Running Out" at the They Might Be Giants Show. I don't know if it was something the house staff put together or if it was a playlist from TMBG, but if it was the latter, quite interesting. I'm going to assume we've all seen "Knights of Cydonia." That is a fucking awesome video. So without further ado, "Time is Running Out," by Muse.

And I'm including "Supermassive Blackhole" because it's a sexy ass song with a pretty neat video as well.

It can all be so stultifying

With the return of my cable and internet AND the conjunction of "no AC required to sit around the house" weather this weekend, I've spent it entirely on my ass and in my apartment. As we'd say back home, "I went to Bangkok." (Korean of pronounciation of Bangkok sounding more like "bahng-coke" rather than "bang-cock", therefore a homophone to the Korean words "room" [bahng] and a word that denotes being stuffed into a corner or small space [coke]. So basically you're saying you spent your time stuffed in your room. The more you know...).

However, I must say that lately I feel like I've become more and more dumb. Sometimes I feel like my head is coming to a standstill. I'm hardly an intellectual, but I've always liked learning random new things. I wasn't the best student, but I was a fantastic collector of trivia. I was hardly the science nerd, but as a previous post posted, I somehow still remember a tiny amount of cloud classification. From the 5th grade until I graduated high school I spent a lot of my free time in the library reading on everything and anything from mythology to how modern cults operate. It almost makes me wish I was back in school, but at the same time I don't know if you can really go back to school I've had a couple of moments where I felt the gears in my brain go rusty.

I've been trying to read more like I used to, but I feel like I should be reading more diverse books than just novels. I had text books back in school and like I said I had enough time to root around in libraries to pick up random books for reading, but now I'm going to have to be a bit more proactive about my learning here and buy some books that I've had on my list for a while anyway even if I can't go cheap book hunting at the Strand.

I realized that a lot of my books are still at my parents place since they took a bunch of my stuff with them after I graduated. I tried to convince my mom to send them to me and she said emphatically no because now mingled with my books from before college my book collection is now apparently thriving like mogwai on a water and food after midnight lifestyle. This annoys me a bit because I know I own books that I cannot get a hold of that I want to read, especially ones from college. There are plenty of those that I've read maybe only half of for class assignments but wanted to finish up reading and never got to it like my copy of Year of the Heroic Guerilla which I didn't get a chance to read all of though I read parts for a class. A couple of weeks ago I saw Darkness at Noon at a bookstore and thought it'd be nice to reread it but nope, it's not here with me.

And it's like maybe I should stop buying books? But no, that's not the answer to the problem here people. No. That's not constructive criticism.

I'm not gonna lie. My comic books from Korea are mixed up in those books still sitting at home as well, and yes, I'd like them here with me. Please, I'm only human, I don't mind lowbrow things too. In fact, I relish in crap like that. "America's Next Top Model"? Yes, please. Crazy bad VH1 shows like "Flavor of Love" or "Rock of Love"? Come on, they're so bad, they're good. Are you with me folks? No?

I need to invest in a book shelf, but I don't have the money or space for one either. I hope I can afford a two-bedroom apartment one of these days so I can have even a small tiny space for just all my once and future books. Yea. That'd be like my dream house. Like I never dreamed of living in a huge home, but someplace where I could have my own library. Oh, that would be so sweet.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dear Internet

I know I haven't been the best in your life and I've made a lot of stupid mistakes; said a lot of stupid things, but I truly do care for you. I'm sorry when I got mad when things wouldn't download and I called you names like "slow," but, baby, I'm just messed up inside. You don't understand what I've been through, and you're the first good thing in my life. For the first time in my life I wanna do better, be better, and I don't want to mess that up. I didn't mean to hurt you baby, I really didn't, but sometimes I just feel so put upon and life winds me up so much I end up taking it out on the person closest to me because I feel close to you. I can open up to you.

When you left me, I thought my world was falling apart. I couldn't get in touch with people. It was maddening to catch glimpses of you at work, then have to dread coming home to a cold empty apartment you weren't in anymore. To hear all my friends talk about being able to connect to you, download things, watch videos. When a friend would say, "Hey, you should check out this Youtube video," I'd have to answer awkwardly how "I don't have internet right now." Huh, "right now." I didn't even want to think about the possibility of having to say "anymore."

When you said you'd be back on Saturday, I didn't want to get my hopes up. I'd been around the block. I knew something might change your mind. The service guy might have the wrong tools or is missing something and he'll answer sheepishly, "Sorry, I guess I'll have to come back." But I know. I know he's just covering for you. Lying to help us both save face in case you didn't want to come back to me.

Well, I'm just glad you did come back. I'm sorry I ignored the signs. I lost the letter telling me I needed to "change over" because our "wires were too old." I just thought you were playing mind games, using that crazy psychobabble that quack shrink has been filling your head with. I promise it'll get better. I promise I'll be better. I'll even go to the shrink with you. Just don't...don't ever leave me like that. It's been a long hard week, and I've done of lot of thinking. I...I love you, babe.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

At last night's They Might Be Giants show at the Bowery Ballroom

The wiki has better info than my diseased brain recollection does.
(Attended by Kate, Marc, et moi. A bit of clarification, I know two Kates. Even more confusing, I know several Marc/Marks. For example, the fabulous Kate who was in attendance with me at this show is not the same as the fantastic Kate who attended Neko Case with me.)

During the "Phone Calls from the Dead" segment, John Flansburgh did Jerry Orbach. Basically, it was Orbach calling from the dead because he wanted his eyes back from drummer Marty Beller who had had an opthalmological emergency earlier in the week.

Cue offended girl standing behind us:

"That's not right! It's OFF-COLOR!"

I don't know if this joke works only in New York, because there are ads on the subway about how Jerry Orbach donated his eyes or corneas or something when he passed away and how we should all do the same, but it was a very "OOOOH SNNAAAAPPP," type of joke. I was laughing hard, but the offended chick just made me laugh harder. Especially because she was so insistent and so annoyed that it was just "too soon." No disrespect, but Mr. Orbach died in late 2004, I really think "too soon" is the least sensible of arguments to make against this joke.

At one point I overheard her friend/boyfriend trying to quiet her by saying something like, "You're freaking me out." To which the girl answered, "Well, I'm freaked, because that's just not right. It's not funny. It's just too soon, then man was a good man."

The best part was after the "Phone Calls from the Dead" segment, Flansburgh came back on-stage and riffed a bit with Linnell on some sight and seeing related jokes about how Marty now had a new sight on things which segued into a "They Live" reference about how Marty just saw "OBEY" everywhere and how Jerry Orbach will be having awesome fight scenes in a dumpster. All the while with the girl being absolutely flustered at the inappropriateness of it all. Highlight of the evening for me.

The other highlight was having the full band on stage for the first and second encores. I'd never seen TMBG live, listened to them since I was a kid, loved their songs and could singalong to a few, especially in my Dr. Dimento years they were always there, but I was hardly a superfan. I definitely did not know what to expect of a live show. It was great, I always love it when people onstage look like they're having fun performing and Linnell would sometimes get the "Wow, I can't believe this is my job" or "Hey, this song's kinda funny" smile/look on his face and it'd just be awesome.

Marc told me that he hasn't really seen them play before with a full band like that so I was glad I was lucky enough to catch them on what seems to be a not too common line up. Mark Pender on trumpet (had NO idea he played for TMBG...and since I'm not up to snuff on people who play horns info, I just knew him as Pender from the Conan O'Brien Show), Dan Levine on trombone and tuba (CUTE. I know, I know, but I'm just saying, he's got a cute older guy on trombone thing going on...yea such a type maybe doesn't exist, but Dan Levine made it exist last night. I kind of have a thing for dudes on "not commonly seen onstage at shows" type of instruments), and Stan Harrison on saxaphone (Flansburgh at one point said "and on saxamaphone" and I was all, "saxaamaaaphooooneee").

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I've been waiting, like, forever

Newseum's Debut Will Be a Late Edition

Oh my God, just hurry up and open already. Jesus Christ, I've been waiting for years for the Newseum to open, and now what's this? It's not even opening in October of this year anymore?

From the article, Charles L. Overby, the Newseum's chief executive officer says:

"We are aiming for a formal opening in the first quarter of next year," Overby said. "We now have assurances that they will be done by the end of the year. We think they will be done by the end of November. Yet, having been burned once, we are holding up on setting a grand opening."

Damn straight we've been burned before. I mean come on. I was more than ready to plan a day trip to Washington for this. Uuuggggh, simply unbelievable.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

For those of you keeping count

I recently came into some money and of course the first thing I do with it is go to The Strand. So that's three more books. I blazed through The Ladies of Grace Adieu and I'm currently hunkered down with Foucault's Pendulum. I also bought The Other Bible, which is a compilation of omitted texts such as gnostic text or chapters or from the Apocrypha, etc.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Random rant against modern society because I take a random overheard comment seriously

"...and she stabbed me with a spork!!" a girl in the group sitting next to me on the 1 train exclaimed.

"Spork? Wait, what the hell were you doing with a spork?" one of the guys asked.

"She always has one," the girl answered for her friend.

"Yea, I mean, you know, I just keep it around just in case," the spork-shanker answered.

...why...I mean...I guess...but...OK, unless you're like a Boyscout or something, I really don't see why carrying a spork around "just in case" is necessary or a thought to even cross your mind.

I mean, I keep eating utensils in my desk, but I always thought this was particular to my work place where food miraculously materializes for everyone to eat.

Now I'm just going off of a random anecdotal incident here, and it's not like I've done some extensive study or something, so I don't know if it's particular to women because they have purses or something or if this is some greater sociological thing that needs to be studied, who knows, maybe this person's just weird and anal about being prepared for EVERYTHING, but...well, let me put on my Lewis Black/Carrie Bradshaw hat on (meaning, vitriolic disbelief couched in a cutesy rhetorical question format):


Jesus Christ almighty! I don't know, that's just unebelievable to me. It has never crossed my mind to think, "OK. Lip balm, my compact, maybe a book in case I'm stuck on the train for a while...oh yea, a spoon just in case someone starts handing out souffles." WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE?

Friday, August 03, 2007

These are the times that try my well-being

"Ah, shit. Here we go again." I thought, one foot in the land of the living and another in the land of the dead as I distinctly heard the far away racket rudely demanding that I wake my ass up.

For some inexplicable reason, the person that lived in my apartment before me had a length of mirror perched atop the doorjam of my bedroom, precariously held in place with thumbtacks. A neighbor who helped me install my shades the second week after I had moved in there noticed this and said, "You know, that's kind of dangerous."

I shrugged knowingly as if to say, "Well, what can you do."

I don't know what kept me from going up there and getting rid of it. The impractical and unsafe placing of it always gave it a slightly ominous vibe; the haphazard nature of its location actually gave it a weird air of purpose. Like, "OK, come on. No one would just put a mirror up there for no reason." A million silly thoughts ran into my head about the reason of its being there. Maybe the previous tenant was kind of a freak and liked to watch himself get it on. But you honestly couldn't see the bed from that angle so that couldn't have been it. Maybe he thought he had wanted a mirror, but after getting one, wasn't quite sure what to do with it and didn't want it underfoot? Considering the small space of the place and lack of storage areas, maybe figured "Why not?" and just chucked it up there in a fit of weird ingenuity. Sometimes I'd wonder if there was a camera behind that mirror. And in my more Ito Junji or Edogawa Rampo-esque moments think that maybe the mirror was actually a two-way mirror that was covering a small nook into which a man had contorted himself. (And one day I'd, I don't know, run into former tenant to give him some mail or something and ask, "Hey dude, what's the deal with that mirror up there in the bedroom?" And he'll look at me in that fantastically contorted look of surprise and dawning horror you always see in the last panel of a horror comic or in a horror movie and say, "Mirror? What mirror? I never even bought a mirror while I lived there.")

Either way, whatever previous tenant had been thinking to place the mirror there had put a series of conditions and events into motion that lead to the mirror dropping from its high barely there ledge and crashing down onto the ground.

The sound was weirdly musical. Like a chaos of strings. Like if a harp's heart were to break, that's what it'd sound like, or in a lowbrow and more accurate sense, like the cacophony of chords used in the sound effect when Quick Draw McGraw's alter-ego El Kabong would hit an enemy over the head with his guitar. I intially thought that it was my bass guitar that had fallen over on itself, but it was way too loud and had way more chords going on than my bass could've been able to produce.

Luckily, clean up wasn't too hard. I remember as a little kid hearing that the glass used for car windshields actually had a coating on them that kept them from shattering like glass normally would, keeping the pieces more in place rather than breaking up easily. The reflective backing that made a piece of glass actually a mirror seemed to act the same way in this case. It reminded me of my oil colors palette in college. Our color theory professor suggested that we instead purchase a piece of glass from the hardware store and tape it for comfort and use that as our palette instead. It made for ease of cleaning and the colors seemed to appear more vibrantly. I remember taping the edge of my glass palette, and taping a diagonals underneath and to be thorough, taped it once more vertically and horizontally. When I had to get rid of it after I graduated, I decided to break it before tossing it in the trash so that it wouldn't break or hurt someone while being transported. The result was what seemed like a clear, crunchy, sharp piece of paper.

Yes, there were pieces of mirror, but they were harmless and actually seemed reluctant and a bit embarassed to have been a party to the breaking and managed to all stay in one place.

"I didn't break it, so not my seven years of bad luck," I muttered as I cleaned up. It wasn't to assure myself or anything, but more or less as a warning to the universe in case it wanted to extend my clumsy streak to years.

For as long as I could remember, I'd always been clumsy, but worst of all I'd hit clumsy jags where I'd have one or three days of total butterfingerness and two left feet that would culminate into a minor injury. I don't know if it's because my body doesn't run at 100% clumsiness capacity in order to preserve my life and needs to freak out at certain intervals to regain equilibrium or something.

Last night I contemplated that maybe another one was coming on as I lay on the ground sandwiched uncomfortably, and nakedly, between my bathtub and my bathroom wall with my legs still on the inside of the tub, draped over the side and water splashing down on the floor where I'd created an open gap between the tub and shower curtains. I'd managed to slip while taking a shower and had fallen on my ass outside the tub. The only thing that had saved my life was the fact that my bathroom was awkwardly-designed and too small to allow me to fall flailing and unhindered to the inevitable crack of my skull. Instead, I more or less just pinballed into a sitting position.

How embarassing a death would that have been? Nevermind always having clean underwear on in case you get in a car accident, since I also remember hearing that people shit their pants when they die from loss of bowel control anyway; as a self-conscious girl I think I'll always make sure to shave my legs and armpits pretty early on to make sure I don't die with my brains spilling out onto the tiled floor with bristly legs and pits. Though the last time I had a shower fall of this nature, it was during a legs shaving session and I stood back up only to find my pink lady razor hanging from the palm of my left hand from a foothold it managed to carve in.

It's weird though, because whenever you have this kind of fall, which is the kind where it is pretty equally divided between the choices of you will: a) be perfectly OK, b) walk away with some bruising, c) be seriously injured, or d) die, it's like you time travel. Trust me, because I speak from years of experience in the art of falling. Time has no goddamn meaning because in exactly the same moment all of these things happen: one minute you're falling, the next minute you're in the minute directly previous to the first thinking, "Gee, I bet I'm going to fall," and the minute after that you've basically fast forwarded to 3 minutes after all this has happened sitting in the aftermath of your fall wondering, "What the hell? Did I just fall?"

I've decided to call this type of fall "The Kiss of the Norns," which is just a real poetic way of saying "It's like the fucking past, present and future come down at once to kick you in the ass, give you a brief glimpse of your mortality, and laugh at what a dumbass you are."

Either way, considering the past two mishaps have been pretty serious, I'm nervous about what the finale will be. I sure as hell know I'm staying away from the stove. It's too hot for any kind of cooking anyway, but the last time one of these jags hit me, I burned a sizeable part of my stomach with hot pasta water, so fuck that noise.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Revelations over breakfast

1. I really like bacon in the morning. Really, really. Bacon's always delicious, but something about having it in a toasted kaiser roll with some eggs and American cheese? Brilliant.

2. I like Coke in the morning. In a cup filled to the brim with ice. Coke with ice is always delicious, but something about that sweet effervescence with a promise of sugar and caffeine powered jolt paired with the saltiness of the bacon? Brilliant.

3. I felt my heart skip a beat whilst I stuffed my face with both of the above. I have a family with a history of high blood pressure. Hmm...

4. I don't care because this is delicious.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lunchtime reading

They did something to the comics section at Borders and now I can't find it and I tried asking about it, but the person I asked didn't have a clue. So for now I'm taking refuge at the Barnes and Noble for my lunch breaks. I was elated but then mildly disappointed after I found and read 30 Days of Night. The other day I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across Completely Doomed since it had stories written by Bloch and Matheson in it. Also some of the artwork is neat, with the Miss Doom narrator a lot of it reminded me of Tales from the Crypt and its other EC Comics brethern.

Speaking of comics, I'm finally reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I feel like the last person on the planet to read it...and I must admit I'm enjoying it a terrifying amount. I'm glad this book didn't come out when I was 12 or 13 though, because it's just the type of story and writing that would've had put me into a depressed funk because I would've been jealous about creating an awesome new comic and changing that scene. And no, I don't mean in the present, but back during the coming of the comic Golden Age. Yep, I was one of those kids who always wanted to live in the past.

I used to be on a big kick of "America: Pre 1960s" when I was younger. I devoured "The Jungle" in two days and took a keen interest in workers unions and politics of that time, creating a huge presentation around the theme "Guilded Decay" about urban living conditions for history class; in English class I wrote a short story about a girl from an Irish immigrant family living in Chicago during the heyday of the Union Stock Yards; I wanted to be just like Jennifer Jason Leigh's character in "The Hudsucker Proxy." It also went with my whole gotta be a journalist kick. More 19th century, but I remember as kid first hearing about Nellie Bly and how she faked insanity to report on conditions in insane asylums, and more importantly, traveling around the world in around 72 days without modern transportation means and all on her own. Just traveling and writing about traveling like that back then. I don't know, like Hemingway or something. I wished I could've been born earlier so I could volunteer to fight in the Spanish Civil War.

It a time where there was just so much change. You could say that about nowadays with the Internet and everything, but to a little just turned teenage me, that age when, ha, "everything seemed possible," is how the cliched turn of phrase goes I believe. The changes happening in the here and now just didn't seem to have..."the same explosive qualities," you'd say while snapping your fingers in time. "That electrifying spark." The changes happening now seemed to me like small, tiny, logical steps or minor improvements.

I don't know how else to explain how I felt except to compare it to Richard Deming's scifi short story "The Shape of Things To Come." In it, George Blade travels to the future using a time-nightshirt invented by his uncle, but in it he merely travels from 1900 to 1950, but all the changes that occur in that half-century period is just so immense. When written out like that, it really is amazing to think how much changed.

Oh, and the WORDS. My weird thing with words and the way they flow and fit together? The patter of slang and smart talk was fantastic to me. It could be a smart double-entendre purred out by Mae West or hard-boiled narration an dialogue in a pulp novel (Brick anyone? LOVE it. Obviously, also loved Jennifer Jason Leigh's fast- and hard-talking girl voice). The pitter-patter of it all was just gorgeous. Combine my wishing to be able to speak in a smart confident and witty manner when in fact I'd usually get tongue-tied around strangers and was an extremely shy kid who didn't really open up with the smart alecky talk unless I really knew a person, it was very much wishful thinking on my part.

I still wish that one of these days I'll sit down and finish a comic. I'm not the best artist in the world, but sequencing is what gets me. I'm horrifyingly bad with that. One of these of these days...for now I'm just going to continue my "research" and read more comics I suppose.