Wednesday, February 25, 2009

muddy gestures

Last night, as I left my office and walked out to the parking lot, I noticed in the growing dark that my car seemed...tilty.

Hello, Flat Tire At The End Of A Long Day.

I used to have this awesome (and insanely affordable) AAA-like coverage through my cel provider...but they were losing money on it, so they pulled the plug. Since then, I've been AAA-free. Which meant, I'd be changing that spare thank you, very much.

Lucky for me, a co-worker was also working a bit late. I figured it would be easier to deal with the flat in the burning light of day (versus the cold and dark of night), so I finagled a ride to the Cumberland stop on the Blue Line. A couple stops down is Jefferson Park, where I caught the bus and was home by 7:40pm.

My 70 year old father would not hear of my plans to change the spare. Even though I have changed multiple spares in my day. By myself, thank you. He drove over to my office around 11am this morning and met me in the lot.

I honestly think it took longer to empty out my trunk to get to the spare...than the actual "changing" of the spare. Mi Dios. My pack-rat traits are astonishing to behold. Perhaps later, when I "repack" the trunk, I'll make a list of everything that was in there. Oof. It was like my trunk threw an ambush intervention to expose my addiction to the world. Or at least, my father. Erg.

Well, 70 year old Pop quickly realised that the equation of: his knees + hard asphalt x cranking the jack/loosening lug nuts = not gunna happen.

Which is how I ended up covered in muck while trying to position the jack. (Yes. My bad for not bringing something to change into...against my better judgement, I know, I know, I know.)

Bingo Bango, Spare is on the Car.

I'll have my tire fixed after work (nail/rivet was the culprit.)

When everything was put away and as I prepared to head back into work, my father told me he had brought a few things to give me.

Chalk it up to that parent DNA that you must send your child out into the world with, at the very least, a bag lunch. I received:

3 containers of Frozen Soup (homemade!)
1 head of iceberg lettuce
2 cans of Barq's Diet Root Beer
1/2 a loaf of French Bread

...and a small bunch of white daisies.

"I figured you could use 'em."

I know there are a lot of folks out there right now who have much bigger woes on their plate - unemployeed, stressed, worried about their kids, how to pay for college, how to pay the rent...and so on.

In the big scheme of things, a flat isn't that big a deal.
It's the teeniest of fleas in the ointment.

I guess, I just want to say, that if you're reading this...and you get "muddy" today? I hope somebody turns around and hands you "daisies."

It's usually the smallest of gestures that give us the resolve to keep on keepin' on.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the look

Maybe you know Chuck.

He is the canine muse to Beth H, creater of dooce.
He's kinda "internet famous" for being able to balance things on his head.

This is Chuck's counterpart, Coco.

I'm always envious of the shots Beth can get of these two.
While photogenic, Olive isn't really into posing for the cameras. Most shots I have of her are of furry out-of-focus dog ass.

Instead, I live vicarious thru Beth's awesome pooch photography.
I haven't been over to the site in a couple months...but it's been a longish day, so I thought I'd head over and get a dose to get me through the afternoon.

Normally, this is the sort of sight one might behold.

Which makes me feel better that Olive is Queen Destructor at my abode.

But this is today's post.
The most HAWESOME shot ever.

Go ahead. Click it.
You need to see this in a large format.
And yes, Chuck's male and Coco's female.
Which just adds to the delightfulness...
But, really? It's that look.
That look on Chuck's face.
Enjoy the rest of your day, my friends.
It's all downhill from here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

whatever happened to hi-fi?

Back in the year 2008, J tagged me to blog about artistic influences.

I've started that response at least three times and left each post to fester. But this morning, my ipod shuffle is screaming at me to at least respond in part.

First, the meme: 1. List three of your major artistic influences and three unexpected ones, and 2. If you post something in the comments here, I will guess three of your artistic influences.

Before my reveal, here were J's guesses for me: Dorothy Parker, Buzzcocks, Jean Shepherd, Samuel L. Jackson.

Man. J gives me credit for being way cooler than I really am.

While my humor has always been fairly dark, wise-cracky and based on an ongoing game of one-upmanship since puberty (perhaps even earlier), I really never saw myself as smart enough to keep up with the likes of the Algonquin Round Table.

Even in my heady 20's when I thought my snarky retorts were my best and brightest feature. Still, that's a swank I'll take it!

J was much closer to the mark on the Buzzcocks!

I was very much in love with anything British in junior high and high school. I wore out my dubbed cassette copy of The English Beat ( I Just Can't Stop) on one side and The Police (Synchronicity) on the other. I have no doubt that I would have followed Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson to the ends of the earth.

The Buzzcocks pop/punk was not only kick ass to listen to, but filled the requirement to at least sound risque to the point that I hid my cassette of Love Bites at home, for fear my father would make me get rid of it.

I lived in a house where "stinker" was the worst allowable word you could use. Even a quiet uttering of "crap" would get you grounded. I didn't want to find out what punishable fate owning a tape with the word "cock" emblazoned on it might deliver.

I have to admit Jean Shepard threw me for a loop. No idea who that was. I'm not sure if J meant Jean Shepard (DJ/writer/narrator) or Jean Shepard (country music singer/songwriter.)
Either way...I had to look them both up. Oof.

As for Samuel Jackson...I do believe that he inspired me to use a certain word way more than I used to in both my personal and artistic life. And, I think you motherfuckers know which motherfucking word I'm motherfucking talking about.

Tomorrow, I'll post three major artistic influences.

While I have no idea where my duped cassette copy of the Buzzcocks may have landed after 20 some years, after J mentioned them, I had an old gift certificate that I traded in for Singles Going Steady.

For now, I just wanted to post the song that finally spurred me to action. I can't access youtube at the moment, but I'll try to add a link later.

I wish you could see you the huge grin that listening to this song is giving me.
1) It's got a rockin' good punk sound.
2) Remembering how this song fueled my ideas of teen cracking me up.
3) The delivery of "oh shit" is so...impotently agnsty? Past the anger, just plain annoyed acceptance of the truth.

Oh Shit
Oh shit I thought you and I were friends
Oh shit I guess this is where our love ends
Oh shit I thought things were goin' well
But it hasn't turned out so swell
Has it?
Oh shit
Oh shit

Pride comes before a fall
Oh shit and once you lose one you've lost them all
Oh shit I guess that this time's the time
And it seem you're no longer mine
Don't it?
Oh shit
Oh shit

Oh shit I wish I'd known before now
Oh shit that you were such a cow
Oh shit I wouldn't've wasted my time
Oh shit chasin' somethin' which wasn't mine
Face it
You're shit
You're shit

Oh shit I wish I'd known before now
Oh shit that you were such a fuckin' cow
Oh shit I wouldn't've wasted my time
Oh shit chasin' somethin' which could never be mine
You're shit
You're shit
You're shit
You're shit
You're shit
You're shit
You're shit
You're shit

For the record, I don't think anyone is "shit."
I'm just rocking out to my teenage soundtrack.

I hope you can embrace the awesomeness the Buzzcocks have bestowed upon us all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

bad example

Why do we even call it "Monday" anymore?
Why not call it "Cliche-day" and be done with it.

Ex: I hate my new haircut.

Dude. I just typo-ed "hairbut" and why did I change it?
It really is a hairbutt. With all the grossness implied.

Ex: I emailed my little sis to get her new (since last summer) address.

She calls me back to enlist my help trying to get my nephew to stop being disrespectful and talking back. (He turned 13 this weekend.) I said I would talk to him, but also encouraged her to 1) Call that Boys Town hotline and see if they had any parenting tips/advice/behavior to nip this mouthy thing in the bud, and 2) encourage her to make amends with our father so we can all provide a united/family front on the issue of being respectful.

Yeah. I'm not sure which pissed her off more, but I am, once again, the idiot sister who has no children, so why did she even call me as I obviously am not coming to the table with solutions.

Ex: Leaving early to have car appraised.

Have to haul over to Elmhurst to have my insurance company tell me that they aren't giving me any money towards fixing my junker of a car...even though the other driver's at fault. Because we are BOTH ON THE SAME INSURANCE. So, they don't want to pay either of us.

I know I drive a 12-year old beater...but he HIT my CAR. I don't expect it to be fixed to a pristine glow...but I'm going to waste the rest of my afternoon with them telling me that I'm going to have to come up with my deductible to have it fixed. My stomach is already churning.

Speaking of which...

Ex: To get back on a healthy eating routine, I started eating cereal in the mornings.

Unfortunately, instead of the regular shredded wheat, I forgot that I picked up the Shredded Wheat n' Bran. I've been eating it for a few days now and, man, today was the day when the "Bran" decided to step up to the plate.

Two words: Colon Blow.
My insides must be as clean and pink as a newborn's.

In other news...I'm not proud to admit to being a reality tv junkie. But, it's true. The Amazing Race, America's Next Top Mode (next month!), Project Runway, Survivor, the occasionally Dancing With the Stars and assorted others.

But the only one I ever really write or communicate with others about is American Idol.

For the past few years, I've been part of an email list...this year, we kicked it up to a blog (where I'm pretty sure I'll be the main contributing writer.)

If you follow AI, enjoy some snark and would like to unburden yourself amongst your peers, check us out at idol words.

Oof. Time to take the car in....wish me luck.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

penny for you thoughts

Just thinking about Abe today.

Growing up in the "Land of Lincoln," our 16th president is omnipresent. As a kid, you're told the about log cabins and wrestling as you examine your copper pennies.

Later you learn the about the stateman, the speaker and Great Emancipator. You learn to recite the Gettysberg address and maybe part of his debates with Douglas.

Later still, you learn that maybe all your history books have built him into this myth of a man and that, like all of us, Lincoln was more complex, more foibled, more human than you considered.

But, man. That guy could write.

So here's to all your imperfections, Mr. Lincoln.
You kept this union from breaking, you put us on a course to embrace a new future.

We definitely owe you a beer.
Happy Birthday, yo.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

a stop along the way

Fly away little bird
Any place in this open mouthed world
Begs to be fed like a bed that beckons you, but you won't rest

Sunday night Pete treated me to some, I love sushi!

We went to Tampopo and I really recommend it (for sushi.) Mmmm, Tuna! The fish was very fresh and generously sliced. The maki was tasty, too. They make one roll that has sweet potato tempura in the middle, and the outer layer of the maki is wrapped in avocado. I never would have put those flavors or textures together, but hell if it doesn't work!

We caught up a bit while we ate and after downloading the economy, the stimulus package, folks we know that have been laid off (or have made it thru them) and Obama's first 15 days, the subject ended up on much lighter fare - American Idol.

Specifically, if I'd be starting up with my Idol "rants."

Every one's got a need to go
Most of us stick with our row to hoe
But not you, you're the black crow
With a straight line, and no time

For the past couple of years, I've been emailing a recap of my perceptions and opinions of the Idol performances to a small group of folks who follow Seabreeze & Co.

"His voice just doesn't fit this song and if he was tring to exude some kind of sexy beast attitude? It came off as more a half-assed drunken hobbit singing karoake at Bilbo's going away party."

"He made some serious stoner contorted faces during that song. I suppose one man's "intensity" is another man's "bong hit.""

"WTF was that whole crossing the stage thing about. If you know you move like a broke-ass Teddy Ruxpin, DON'T HIGHLIGHT IT BY WALKING ACROSS STAGE MID-SONG."

It's all been just a bit of snarky fun with folks that - many of them being friends of friends - I barely know or only have conversed with online during "Idol season."

Most folks just read my Idol missives, but one, Sandy, (a former co-worker of Pete's) would respond back weekly and with gusto. She'd email me back, letting me know if she agreed or disagreed with my comments - and would always encourage me to keep writing.

For the birds of prey who wreck your nest
Twice your size steal your best
They set you on this course of your collision

Lively and funny, Sandy is one of those people who live on your periphery that you figure you'd meet sooner or later at some backyard bbq or bar outing.

Pete told me Sandy passed away last week.

It took me a while to register that info.
My brain kept trying to hear it as, "She got laid off."
She got laid off. She got laid off. She got laid off.

I am a stop along your way
I am the words you'll never say
I crossed the great beyond of fear
I opened my eyes and saw us there, what a view
You went there too

It's strange. I never met this woman, our only connection was snarky retorts about a tv show. I barely knew any facts about her life except where she worked and her favorite Abba song.

Fly away little bird
Find the song in you that no one's heard
Strengthen your wings as you sing your solo flight
Through this short life

It feels silly to say about someone I've never seen, but, I know I'll miss her. I felt a small, but solid affinity to her and had been looking forward to our annual Idol repartee, which was quickly approaching.

Such a small, silly thing to share.
Such an odd connection to feel.

Every one's got a deep regret
We try to ground ourselves to forget
But your race to the end is neck and neck
You love them, you love them not

The birds of prey who wreck your nest,
Twice your size steal your best
They set you on this course of your collision

But, she's stuck in my brain this week. This friend/stranger.

I threw some CDs sitting around on the Ipod over the weekend...and this Indigo Girls song just came on.

I am a stop along your way
I am the words you'll never say
I crossed the great beyond of fear
Opened my eyes and saw us there, what a view
And you went there too

Every time I hear it, I get a lump in my throat - it's a song that is extremely motivational and beautiful. Something that you might hear in an off-loop musical. Simultaneously, it sounds like something I'd want played at my own funeral/kegger blow out.

Hearing this song, as much as we foist our our feelings and baggage onto lyrics, it just seemed so apropos regarding this lady that I barely know.

I can't tell you how many times we chatted about what song would be good to audition with, or a better choice for country week or disco night or what we'd sing at the finale if we got the chance...and if we could hold a tune.

But all along your chosen path are
Window panes and sheets of glass
That you won't see
You fly too fast
One day it will be over

I don't really do dedications...but I think, since our entire connection has been in the ether of the internets, I'd like to dedicate this song, in this moment, to Sandy.

This is the song I'd sing....if I could do it justice.

Fly away little bird
The saddest song I ever heard
Was the one that I wrote you in my heart
That never made it to the world

Seems that the Indigo Girls have yet to release an official video for this track. This Star Wars fanvid had the best sound quality (over some live concert cuts)...I'd like to think it would give Sandy a good laugh as well. Enjoy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

rock out


Ravin' Dave Lykins
Sylvie's Lounge
1902 W. Irving Park Rd

I'll be getting there around 9:30 or 10pm.

Yes, it's a school night.
Yes, Dave goes up 4th. Oof.
Yes, hanging out with friends, listening to Dave sing is worth the loss of sleep.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

hiro worship

Lately, I've noticed that Time has been swirling around me...but it came to a slamming halt when his car hit my car this AM.

I was turning left into a parking lot, he was careening around the SUV that was giving me the high sign to cross. I hit the brakes. He hit his brakes.

Time actually held for a beat, when I knew that he would hit me.

It actually felt like everything around me froze - Hiro style - while I sighed aloud and rolled my eyes at the pending impact. The moment passed and boom.

We did all the responsible driver bidness. I pointed at him to pull into the parking lot, which was about the crabbiest thing I did. We traded insurance info. He followed me in his Civic for three blocks to file a report at the police station . While we agreed on all the details of the incident, and were very calm and civil to each other the entire time, I had a hard time looking directly at the guy.

It was an accident. A very minor fender bender. My car seems find - just another lump on my very beat-up beater. His car didn't even look scratched. I'm still having everything checked out, in case my axle breaks in a week's time.

The good news is, nobody was injured and both cars are in (fingers crossed) running order.

The bad news is, MAN. Nothing screws your brain around like a stupid fender bender.

The funny part is that after leaving the police station, I went right back to the place the impact happened. I still needed to pull into that lot and hit the ATM. Of course, 30 minutes or so later, much less traffic. Easy peasy.

The thing that keeps rolling around my brain is that moment when time froze:

When I knew the hit was coming.
When I knew we'd all survive it.
When I knew that I'd be late for work.
When I was glad I didn't have coffee.
When I thought about what the SUV driver must be thinking.
When I knew that my car insurance was paid.
When I added up all the car expenses I've had in the last 6 months.
When I thought, I should have entered the lot from Lawrence.
When I sighed.

Trippy how many things can run through your head in an instant.

As much as I think I would dig a Hiro style would be wasted on me. I would just use it to take naps. Or attempt naps.

I look at the calendar and see that it's already February 4th.
Time traveling like a run-away locomotive.

What do I do whenever I get overwhelmed with Time?
I make a list.

I'm going to publish my list and see if it keeps me honest.

February 2009
- File Taxes (mine and Pop's)
- Collect items for Box o' Crap Giveaway* (at least 12 items)
- Organize Kitchen (this is the big one.)
- Keep/Trash ONE box of stuff in the spare room.
- See Touch...New Leaf Theater.
- See They Put Handcuffs on Flowers...Right Brain Project.
- Rally the troops for a Quizzo Night (one year and still rockin'.)
- Climb back onto the WW wagon. Lose 5 pounds
- Bathe Olive (she's never gone this long without a bath. Oof.)
- Start a writing/research schedule and stick to it. (Must have something NEW finished to submit for WC in March.)

Okay. 10 to-dos is a decent enough start.
Feel free at anytime to publicly ask/shame me about my list.
But, give me a 24-48 hour running start, please.

*Box o' Crap Giveaway will be a monthly giveaway of sundry items offered to the populace for 7 days. (Books, cds, weird garage sale-esque crap I hold dear.) If no home found, items will be donated to the thrift store/library/salvation army on the 8th day.

Please note that at no time, will the Bo'CG ever include the Monkey Pirate Nutcracker.