Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

1. Eat healthier.

2. Sign up for salsa dancing classes.

3. Don't call ex-husband.

4. Spend more time with the cat.

5. If you do call ex-husband, don't beg. Don't beg.

6. Spend more time outdoors.

7. Volunteer.

8. Accept that ex-husband has moved on. Don't embezzle from the cash box to buy him a $800 Tissot watch with your face emblazoned on it.

9. Smile more.

10. Take more photos.

11. If you do embezzle from the cash box, make sure you adjust the books in some way, to prevent it being obvious that somebody embezzled. Don't borrow the company card.

12. Treat the cat to wet food twice a month.

13. If you do borrow the company card, don't buy the BMW convertible your ex-husband briefly admired the time you walked past the dealership. Don't park it in his driveway. Don't emblazon your face on it.

14. Be more confident. Have better self-esteem. Therapy?

15. Write a list of things you want that are not your ex-husband. Try to acquire some of those things.

16. Try to learn a new fact every day.

17. If you do buy the BMW, adjust the books in some way afterward. Don't just leave the books.

18. Don't just leave the books.

19. Travel to a place you've never been before.

20. Re-connect with an old friend.

21. Don't get fired. Don't get charged with grand larceny.

22. Take a cooking course.

23. If you have no money after paying off your company to get them to drop charges, make sure you secure a loan so your house is not in danger of being repossessed.

24. Find joy in the little things.

25. Try Indian food.

26. If your house is repossessed, don't break into your ex-husband's new house. Don't rationalize that you have nowhere left to go. Countless friends and relatives have offered their homes to you. Breaking into your ex-husband's house is and always will be unnecessary.

27. Join a book club.

28. If you do break into your ex-husband's house, don't emblazon your face on your ex-husband's rec room wall. Don't emblazon it again on his bedroom ceiling. Don't emblazon it on his new girlfriend, even if it's just with a Sharpie.

29. Don't emblazon your face on things.

30. Don't get charged with breaking and entering or assault. Don't get charged with resisting police officers. Don't get multiple restraining orders filed against you.

32. Learn Spanish.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Revelatory Sunday Morning Trip to Family Dollar

1. Obviously, Family Dollar is packed with toys this month. They are toys of the true dollar store variety, and thus far more bizarre. Why is it that a more generic toy almost always ends up being a weirder toy? I'm not freaked out by dolls that resemble celebrities - which theoretically should be much more unnerving - but I am freaked out by a doll that just looks like a normal kid and says, when I squeeze its hand, "Let's go to the park" because that's a normal-kid-doll thing to say. But it makes me feel weird. I don't know why this kid wants me to go to the park with her. What's her angle?

Likewise, I'm not freaked out by the fake instruments that go with Garage Band - again, theoretically this should be entire elaborate fake band, marketed heavily to adults? - but I am freaked out by those little toy guitars with big, plastic buttons instead of frets and that's it, that's their thing; that's their stand-alone promise of fun. Press these buttons, notes will come out, and it'll be fun. You'll be having fun when you do it. Also, this toy guitar is shiny, and the kind of silvery blue that could make it an acceptable toy for a girl or a boy. And it's just like, what's this guitar's angle?

I guess in general it's the lack of angles that unsettles me. You can't make a shape without angles. OMFG, THAT IS SO DEEP.

2. Also, the "Try Me" labels on the toy boxes seemed a little more aggressive today. I've always read them in the way I believe they are intended to be read, as an invitation: "Try Me!", as in "Give this a shot!" as in "Discover what I have to offer you!". Acceptance, inclusion, security.

Today I read them as a challenge, as a call to battle, as in, "Oh yeah? Try me", as in "I can take you", as in "Motherfuckin' TRY me". Conflict, disruption, violence.

3. Men modeling underwear never seem to be having as much fun as women modeling underwear. The potential for a pillow fight is just much lower, and you have to admit, it seems like men have a harder time really selling that they're genuinely jazzed about hanging around in only boxer/briefs. I'm not saying REAL men aren't as jazzed to hang out in their underwear as REAL women: there is abundant evidence to support that both genders are equally inclined to sincerely enjoy it. But men have a tougher time pulling it off in pictures, of truly expressing the rare pleasure of being only in your underwear. Sometimes, though, you do come across a male model who genuinely looks like, "oh hey, you just caught me hanging around in my underwear, having all kinds of fun, all of which derives from this underwear I have on". I didn't see any today, but I've seen it. For some reason, I feel like it's something that's likely to happen at the Gap.

4. Cops came into the store while I was in line. They were wearing Cop Face, that expression of pure non-expression that must be pretty essential to master for their job. It's an expression of "nothing can faze me; I have never been fazed; the mere idea of being fazed right now is totally ludicrous". And yet it makes them look so extraordinarily vulnerable because it's an obviously fabricated expression. Nobody naturally wears Cop Face; I've never seen anybody slip into an expression that's based on being aggressively unsurprised by the world, and so you know they're acting. And whenever somebody's obviously acting, it's just an explosion of implied vulnerabilities because there's no reason for you to act if you are comfortable. The point is: Cop Face. It fazes me.

5. I was in the line for a long time. This was because the girls ahead of me were paying with rolls of pennies, and the clerk was counting every penny, and the girls owed Family Dollar $4.37 which means counting 437 pennies and also, there ended up being some kind of dispute because the girls apparently owed $2.50 after they added some wrapping paper in the middle of the transaction, but they argued that they had given the requisite 250 pennies to cover all of this.

THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THIS, THOUGH, is that I definitely read the word "pennies" as "penises". Even though it was a roll of small, flat, round pieces of copper, with Lincoln's profile on one side and his memorial on the other, my brain said "THAT WORD IS PENISES". PENISES, enclosed. And I admit that this is somewhat telling, and that I do spend a lot of time thinking about penises, that they are fascinating for a wide variety of reasons from the most obviously sexual to how truly crazy-looking yet simultaneously functional-looking they are, to the complicated feelings myself and many women have regarding this whole issue of not, well, having one. Basically, there's bound to be real world consequences for all of the momentous psychic energy I have invested in penis-thinking. And while seeing "penises" instead of "pennies" barely registers as weird - I acknowledge that it could be much, much worse; that Freud based an entire system of thought around the fact that is often much, much worse - it's always a little weird to see your penis-thoughts externalized in Family Dollar.

I just really hope I don't start reading the words "nickels", "dimes", or "quarters" as "penises".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reflections on a Dragon Slain

As a result of my ongoing love affair with the Life Magazine digital photo archive, I bring you: Reflections on a Dragon Slain: French Child Edition.

These reflections are inspired by my favourite photo in the archive (so far). Behold:

This photo was taken in 1963 at the Parc de Montsouris in Paris, at the moment when a puppet-dragon was slain by a puppet-warrior in (cognitive leap!) a puppet show. It was obviously an awe-inspiring and emotionally weighty time in these childrens' lives. This is their story.

Part 1: Kid in Beret on Far Left

"No. No, no, no. No, I can't believe it. No, I mean I CAN'T believe it! I can NOT; I reject this information; this is IMPOSSIBLE information. THIS. DID. NOT. JUST. HAPPEN.

Oh, no, no, no, I do not even want to hear anything any more. I REFUSE TO HEAR ANY MORE THINGS! I have a message for all audible things in the world: just try to get through my hands to my ears. You will fail! I HAVE STOPPED HEARING ANY MORE THINGS BECAUSE I HEARD A THING JUST NOW THAT WAS COMPLETELY INCONCEIVABLE!

Listen now. That was a DRAGON. A DRAGON. A giant monster made of scales and wings and teeth and hot, hot, hot fire-breath. WHAT WE CALL A DRAGON. And it created MAYHEM. And CHAOS. And total HAVOC and MANIA. And that was a human. Brave, but human. With SOFT FLESH and BREAKABLE BONES and nothing but a SHARP METAL STICK and a HEAVY METAL SHIELD to protect him from an UNSTOPPABLE FORCE OF EVIL!


Stay tuned for more Reflections on a Dragon Slain: French Child Edition...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bowler Hat Madness!

I have been trolling through the new digital library of Life Magazine photographs a lot. A lot, a lot. A lot, all over the place. There are so many Life Magazine photographs! And so many of them have an awesome quotient that is almost obscenely high. This is one of my favourites so far:

That's not what you usually see a man in a bowler hat doing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

1 Week Anniversary

This is the 1 week anniversary not only of Barack Obama's win-to-tha-max, but also of John McCain's redemption, achieved through the classiest concession ever. He couldn't exactly totally redeem himself for spending two long years systematically going back on everything he believed in, but he came close to making up for it. Because I am most capable of expressing my feelings through the movies of my childhood, as is much of my social ilk, I was resoundingly reminded when watching McCain speak of a scene in Hook. Hook was panned critically - this is a fact of the universe that I still have not come to terms with, because it remains one of the most touching and inspirational movies in the history of movies. It has weird colourful food, baseball, Dustin Hoffman being typically awesome and Robin Williams being typically endearingly manic. It was a massive collective underestimate on the part of all critics everywhere to not revere and adore it.

And now it has provided me a comparison for McCain's redemption. When Peter Pan (or at that point, Panning) returns to Neverland, he's an asshole, a bumfuck overweight lawyer who hates fun. None of the lost boys believe it's Peter Pan, except the littlest one, who traces the lines on Peter's face with his finger. NOT saccharine, genuinely moving. At some point, the kid's face lights up in the subtlest way, and he says, "Oh, there you are Peter!"

It will always be cuter and better and more moving in Hook than it was in real life, when I realized I was saying to myself, "Oh, there you are John McCain!". But still, it was pretty great to see this human, who I genuinely think is much less cynical than most people of our generation*, shed his facial ticks and weird gestures and relax into the comfort of being his old self again. I mean, his old self, but still. I think it's incredible that this man has been in politics for four decades and he still really can't lie without showing it all over his face, and I'm not excusing him for lying or anything, but isn't that kind of incredible? He looks like a maniac when he lies; he is calm and self-deprecating when he doesn't. It's such a noticeable difference, and it's a whole lot of "Oh, there you are!"

*Don't believe me? Believe David Foster Wallace and what he writes in "Up, Simba", an article he wrote for Rolling Stone about the McCain 2000 campaign, which can be somewhat accurately represented (sort of) by DFW's sentence in the middle of the essay: "Maybe they really can coexist - humanity and politics, shrewdness and decency. But it gets complicated".

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Make It Rain

In a frustrating turn of events, I lost the post I spent the last hour and a half writing. It was a treatise to all rain gods everywhere declaring that Fat Joe and Lil Wayne should replace them, and that henceforth all storms and showers should feature the pair standing atop a cloud performing "Make it Rain" as they, in fact, make it rain. Many things were addressed in the treatise, including my admission that the song is actually referring to making it rain money, not for-real precipitation. It also featured my vast knowledge of various rain gods, which was honed during the larger mythology obsession that consumed the better parts of grade 5 and 6, and which could be viewed as impressive or embarrassing, depending on your stance regarding the value of knowing minute details about hundreds of different kinds of deities. Okay, so, embarrassing, actually. Let's just settle on embarrassing. But alas, a brief wireless internet outage combined with my failure to press "save draft" have done their dirty, nasty, disgusting work.

The good news is that the basic point of the treatise can be easily summarized. It goes like this: Fat Joe and Lil Wayne should be the producers and distributors of all showers and storms; we should be able to gaze above us in wonder and delight as they ride around on their bejeweled clouds, all lightning bolts and cash money. If this was the new world order, there would definitely be times when it would literally be raining money, and this would somehow never cause inflation. Only joy, and somehow never inflation.

In celebration of ordaining Fat Joe and Lil Wayne as the new executors of precipitation, I am posting the link to the "Make It Rain" video as a way of assuring all outgoing deities of rain, who have henceforth been stripped of their consecrated duties, that appointing these two paragons of spectacle will not only preserve the respect that the position deserves, but will increase it many millions of times over. This video has clocked over 6 million views to date and I would be embarrassed to admit how many of those views are my responsibility if I wasn't certain that there is virtually nothing more worthy of my time than beholding the magic within it. Gods, prepare to be crippled by the realization of how you could have been rendered so utterly useless to humanity:

PS. I am posting the link because I do not know how to post the actual video and am currently uninterested in figuring out how, like a regular lazy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

JFC Review #1: Raptor's Last Stand

Episode Title: Raptor's Last Stand (You know, like General Custer's Last Stand, but with a raptor)


Stakes: Life & death; survival in the prehistoric world.

Quotes regarding GASTONIA:

"Its tail worked like a chainsaw."
"A giant porcupine-like monster previously unknown to science."
"Built like a Sherman tank."
"This was a walking armoured pincushion."
PERSONAL FAVOURITE: "I tend to liken the tail of Gastonia to a chainsaw." (tail = chainsaw, pt 2).
"This animal was built like a Sherman tank." (build = Sherman tank, pt 2).
"Now, remember, Gastonia's tail is like a chainsaw." (tail = chainsaw, pt. 3).

Quotes regarding UTAHRAPTOR:

"What kind of monster would be able to be smart enough and fast enough to attack the Gastonia where it counted?" (Utahraptor; implied)
"This was a giant super-sized raptor."
"They named this beast 'Utahraptor', meaning 'thief of Utah'".
"Utahraptor was the velicoraptor on steroids. This is the punked-up raptor."
PERSONAL FAVOURITE: "If I was going to build the perfect raptor, I would build a Utahraptor."
"That's why it was given the nickname 'Superslasher'".
"We also call it 'Killer Claw'".
"Don't mess with a raptor, you're going to lose."

Key Pre-Fight Moments:

The paleontologists, clearly being egged on by the producers of the show, conceded that Gastonia may have had pterosaurs settle on its back, the way birds settle on modern day rhinos. It was totally made up, but every image of the Gastonia afterwards depicted it with these weird birds riding on top of it, and it was heavily implied that this was as much for companionship as it was for help sensing predators (they were frequently referred to as the Gastonia's "entourage"). Also, the pterosaurs looked like birds. Like, real birds. They had feathers and stuff. Just hanging around in the Triassic, having feathers and like beaks and shit. There is clearly some sort of secret ornithological agenda to the show, with birds trying to make it seem as if their origins can be traced much farther back than the Mesozoic. Beware!

2. You know that speech Dr. Grant makes to that kid in Jurassic Park, about how the raptor could slash his belly open and blah, blah, blah, he hates kids but learns to love them by the end? They went absolutely out of their way to have their raptor descriptions resemble that speech, but they never directly said, "Like in Jurassic Park, you know?". It was pretty disingenuous: you gotta admit that Jurassic Park practically invented the raptor, probably even more than the raptor invented the raptor, and definitely more than Jurassic Fight Club invented the raptor.

3. Weird head-on graphic image of the raptor's skull, in which it looked exactly like Jack Skellington. It was like they had just cut and pasted The Nightmare Before Christmas DVD cover up on there, minus the weird spiral-y Tim Burton hillock.

4. The comparison of a wolf fighting a porcupine. Just seems like a pretty different situation, and also something that would never actually occur, which actually makes it a very similar situation.

5. The use of the phrase, "using as much evidence and scientific fact as possible", which translates to "we did not use evidence or scientific fact".

6. The phrase, used in every episode in one way or another: "Unlike modern day crime scenes, the difference here is that the dinosaur remains have been stripped of their organic material". The first rule of Jurassic Fight Club is that we will refer to fossil beds as "crime scenes" ALWAYS.


The Utahraptor is starving to death. Under normal circumstances, he (all dinosaurs are generally male in the show) would not attack this Sherman tank with its chainsaw tale. But things have become desperate...

Meanwhile the Gastonia is using his weird sixth senses to try to find water. His "entourage" is at full alert. They sense the Utahraptor's approach and warn the Gastonia.

The Utahraptor and the Gastonia confront each other. There is a great deal of gnashing and tail-swishing, which is quite suspenseful.

The Utahraptor uses his superior "intellect" (it is referred to as an intellect; the raptor is an intellectual) to strategize an attack.

The Gastonia is inexplicably being referred to as "the little Gastonia" by the paleontologist describing the fight. Perplexing, but kind of makes you root for the Gastonia just a bit.

The Utahraptor decides the best strategy would be to jump over the little Gastonia. Just jump right over it. I guess he thinks this will confuse the little Gastonia? A clear answer is never quite given re: the strategy. But I will admit one thing: it did look really awesome when he did it. The music was all "dun-dun, dun-dun" and you (if you were me) were all "whoa, don't even think of jumping over that giant spiny Sherman tank with its chainsaw tail!" and then it was all sort of slow-motion and you (if you were me) were like, "I can't believe you're jumping over that giant spiny Sherman tank with its chainsaw tail!".

The little Gastonia, duly confused, is caught unawares as the Utahraptor bites into his front leg. He swishes his chainsaw tail but to no avail.

Ok, time out: quickly, let's address the chainsaw tail. It is in no way like a chainsaw. It is not motorized nor does it have several small sharp teeth. It's just a spiny tail. Ok, time in.

The little Gastonia is now in dire straights. According to the narrator, his front leg is currently in unbearable pain. But the fight isn't over.

Ok, time out: generally, you can tell what dinosaur will win by who wins the first battle. If they win the first battle, it's all over for that dinosaur. So at this point, we can assume that the Utahraptor is fucked. Ok, time in.

The Utahraptor has a bold new plan of attack. He wants to go for a back leg, but, as the narrator informs us, that is exactly where the little Gastonia wants him.

The chainsaw tail is now referred to as both "the most anti-raptor weapon ever made" and as "anti-raptor scissors". As if these spines the Gastonia has were specifically developed for rogue hungry raptors, and would not harm other predators. Anyway, the raptor, whose last strategic attack was to jump over the spiny thing, has now decided to go near these obviously anti-raptor weapons. Well, he pays a price, let me tell you. The little Gastonia is all "fuck you!" and catches the raptor's leg in the spines. The "shearing action" of the spines "is like a hedge-clipper", we are told, which seems like quite a step down from a chainsaw. Is this tail a cute, socially awkward Edward Scissorhands, or are we talking about mothafuckin' Evil Dead-style Ash? Some unholy hybrid, I guess, and the raptor is helpless in this specifically anti-raptor device. His leg is seriously cut up. As predicted, it's over for that raptor. That raptor lost the battle. That raptor's got a bloody leg and he's still starving. The little Gastonia and his entourage of anachronistic birds wander into the desert.

Weirdly though, the narrator goes on to tell us that both dinosaurs eventually die from starvation due to drought, which means that the summary of JFC: Raptor's Last Stand is:


PS. If at parts I sound as if I am condescending to this show, I publicly state that I am not. I believe fully that I am the target demographic for Jurassic Fight Club, and that every choice on the show is justified and perfect.

Except I really wish the Utahraptor had won, because they are way more awesome.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Girls, This Just Might Make Your Clit Explode!‏

I love sex product-related junk email so much, I might one day marry it, or elope with it, or live in a fulfilling common law arrangement in which we secretly judge the need of other couples to commit by honouring an outdated and patriarchal tradition with it. From the hook of the subject line, to the name of the imaginary person who wrote it, to the odd phrasing that it necessary must entail, the occasional sexified email is always welcome in my spam folder. Today, Mariah Johnson (you might know her as thought fit to forward along this little nugget of a message.

Subject Line: Girls, This Just Might Make Your Clit Explode‏

Explode in unbelievable pleasures that is!

Girls, you just won't believe what this will do for you.

But seeing is believing. Become a believer now.


I love that inspired subject line/first, wordplay? Not really wordplay, but some sort of play on imagined expectations of the reader. Like, it seems as if there is an assumption on the part of Mariah Johnson (again, you may know her more through the famed "") that one would read that subject line, and take it really literally. "OH MY GOD, THIS MIGHT MAKE MY CLIT EXPLODE?!?! DO THE CLITS JUST VAPOURIZE?! DO THEY LEAVE A MUSHROOM CLOUD?! WHAT IS THIS TERRIFYING ENTITY OR DEVICE, THIS EXPLODER OF CLITS?!" All natural questions. But then, one opens the email, and there's a little joke in there. How droll!

While I'm on the subject, I'd like to reminisce about my work email address at the New School, which used to get the most awesome sex spams. I think a lot of my appreciation of this particular batch derived from the effort that was put into coming up with convincing names, which ended up being more jarring than just going with something like "Hugecock Bigdick". I also liked the various tactics used, presumably to entice customers of every temperament. Here are a few of the tops:

Toni Cartwright wrote "Huge love weapon is never too much!" For the idealist.

Eugenia Grimm wrote "Feel your male superiority" For the traditionalist.

Jane Felix wrote "A formula turning you into a happy guy!" For the chronically depressed.

Ollie Galindo wrote "Make your tool large and really hard". For the straight-talking working man. (Note: Jamel Findley followed up later on this; same subject.)

Alexandra Connolly wrote "Boost a growth of your intimate part!" For the eager, but polite.

Rocco McClain wrote "Turn your dwarf into a giant" For the fantasy lover.

Susan Head wrote "Bomb her womb with your huge cannon!" For the military man.

Cesar Dawson wrote "Create a furore in her bedroom!" Now, this one, I'm not sure. I remember it was my favourite, mostly because the misspelling of "furore" made my brain register it first as "Fuhrer". This in turn caused me to interpret the entire sentence as meaning "Conceive a Hitler-baby in her bedroom". So, for...the fascist?

It doesn't matter because if Cesar Dawson endorses it, just sign me the fuck up!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jurassic Fight Club

I'm seriously obsessed with this show, and am going to try to post a review of every episode this season. The best part is when the dinosaurs fight (the titular conceit), but there are a lot of other great parts too. For example, I love how every paleontologist just seems so relieved that people are still interested in dinosaurs, and how many white lies they will tell in each episode to foster that interest.

It's like, relax, guys. You study enormous lizards. There's weird controversies and huge claws and sharp teeth and small brains and Ian Malcolm talking about Chaos Theory. The only people who aren't interested by that are grade A dink-holes.

That's right. They got the grade A in dink hole class. It's harsh, but y'all know it's true.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Paid $40 for One Ratatat Song

So, last night, I was having a lovely ol’ time at Gennie and Sue’s lovely ol’ ‘partment (who needs letters when you got ‘postrophes, is my feeling with this sentence) when I thought, hey, I better get going to see Ratatat out at Terminal 5. The show started at 9pm, with two opening bands. I left around 11pm, it was a Saturday night - you’d think that with that equation I’d arrive just as Ratatat are taking the stage, right? You would be as wrong all over the place, as I was. We could have had big "WRONG"s stamped to our foreheads in permanent ink, because I literally arrived to hear their last song of the night.

And I was so sad. This line of frowny faces demonstrates perfectly how sad I truly was:

:( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(:( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

This disappointing turn of events, however, fits into the overall impression I have that New York City gives in order to make people feel the hurt more acutely when it takes. Conversely, New York City takes in order to make people feel the love more keenly when it gives. Other people may have different relationships to it, but to me, it’s a manipulative, controlling, emotionally abusive but ultimately irresistible life-partner of sorts. Or it's like some sort of trickster god: only on your side when that is the most amusing side to be on. It will slap you square in the face with its dick if it's not!

For example, here's what happened in my first serious encounter with it. I had visited New York before, in 2000, and that's where I had decided that yes, in fact I would like to spend many years of my life here. It wasn't until 2006 that that became an actual reality, and in May, I took a week to sort of scope out things before I made the actual plunge of moving in August. On the very first day, my camera was stolen from underneath the table where I was eating a very regular sandwich, but fetishing it as an "NY sandwich". This was in Union Square – it is so unusual for that kind of shit to happen and I've never had anything stolen since. But I didn’t know it was unusual then, and for all my allegiance to logic and reason (and I have a lot of allegiance to Enlightenment ideals, just ridiculous amounts, tons), I took it as some weird cosmic sign that New York didn’t want me, and I was sad and wary. But not three days later, the hotel room that my man-friend at the time had booked was upgraded from cheapest-room available to the "Junior Executive Suite" which is as fancy as it sounds. It was just because the clerk was feeling nice that day or something. We had a huge patio, and the patio had gargoyles! And it was all, oh, New York, you do like me after all!

It didn’t like me last night, though. I mean, first of all, how dare it confine Ratatat to playing only until midnight, and even if it did dare do that, how dare it not make that evident on my ticket by having it begin earlier than 9pm? There are too many how dares to count. “Crips” was the last song of the set – the only one I heard - and honestly, there is a part of me that feels seeing it live (my probably…seventh favourite Ratatat song…maybe ninth or tenth?) was still worth $40. I just love Ratatat that much. However, this has been the second time in the last week that I have really wanted to see a show, only to walk in for the last five minutes. The first time it was definitely my fault, so maybe New York is trying to teach me some lesson about punctuality by tricking me into missing one of my favourite bands? I don’t know. That seems out-of-character for New York. Punctuality seems like more of a Munich thing, or maybe Tokyo. It don’t seem like a Gotham-esque priority.

Still, I must search for some solace to be found in the extreme disappointment of missing the entire show for no good goddamn reason (it was a Saturday fucking night and there was a midnight curfew?!?). It is my nature to search for solace; I am a solace-seeker. For example, I now know what it feels like to be that kid in James Joyce’s short story “Araby” (minus the sexual dread). I know what it feels like to just miss the fuck out, to look forward to something with all you got and then see it slip right past you and to have nothing to say for yourself but "fuck!". But I guess…is that good? I sort of already knew what it was like to be the narrator of “Araby” just by reading “Araby”. James Joyce had saved me the trouble of having to experience it, so maybe that's not exactly good, it's just...a something.

Though there was one definitely-for-real-genuinely-awesome-pants positive thing that came out of it, even if it could never outweigh the bad. As I was walking down 8th Ave, feeling all dejected and sad, I overheard some guy at a bar telling his friend a story. He completely sincerely stated, “And you know, I’m not even exaggerating, there were fifteen or twenty girls dancing with me at this point…”

It's just a small dumb thing, but I kind of feel like it was New York throwing me a bone for being a good sport.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The National - August 4th

You know what's a force to be fucking reckoned with? The National. I don't care if you disagree. If you disagree, then I genuinely believe you are wrong. I don't just mean wrong in my opinion, I mean that you have violated an until-now only fabled absolute truth. You are wrong in the eyes of nature and the universe. The National just played the best goddamn show I have ever heard. Like that Coke bottle that fell from the sky in The Gods Must Be Crazy, I saw it coming and yet I still let it hit me square in the face, then allowed its undeniable substance to disrupt my way of viewing the world forever. Hyperbole? No. That's the scary part. NOT hyperbole.

Again, to clarify, best show I have heard, rather than seen, because I think seeing-wise, I've been to better shows. Even this summer, I would say The Cool Kids top the National for being good at being seen. But those songs played up there tonight on the Summerstage - those bitches had LAYERS. It was even more evident how complex each song is when it's played live than it is on the albums, and the slight edits and elaborations they'd made on some of their older songs made me think of an evolutionary lineage, like the songs were losing and gaining notes and chords the same way species lose and gain genes and features. They started off with "Brainy", and ran the gamut of their self-titled, Alligator and Boxer, ending on "Fake Empire" before returning to play "Start A War". If it had been socially acceptable for me to pee my pants as a demonstration of my enthusiasm, well then, consider my pants almost peed. After that they played "Karen" and a song I didn't recognize but that I began to very woozily love by the end. Along the way was the best song of their songs, in my humble and infallible opinion, "Slow Show", which I became so overwhelmingly involved with that I'm sure I must have looked at least a little autistic. Who knows? Maybe I am a little autistic, but only with regards to The National.

But that's kind of the thing: their music and lyrics are so unsettling but there's no way to avoid being transfixed - TRANSFIXED - by them. I remember first listening to Boxer, and not fully understanding what was going on but being intrigued enough to keep listening to it. That NEVER happens with me. I barely have enough patience to wait in line for ice cream. If it weren't for how ardently I love ice cream, I never would. Accordingly, I tend to like music without subtleties; I like artists that within the first thirty seconds have said "so, this is my deal", which is why I will never tire of songs like "3 Peat" by Lil Wayne or "Why Can't I Be You?" by the Cure or "Blood on the Dance Floor" by Michael Jackson. Songs that come up and shake your hand and tell you exactly what shit's about. But I could not stop listening to Boxer, even though it took weeks for the songs to begin separating from each other and unfurling and revealing undertones and levels and meanings (but never ever anything that could be pinned down - that's Matt Berninger's dirty, awesome magic trick with lyrics). It was the most effort I've ever put into an album, and the most, well, something I've ever gotten out. I don't know what, but there was a something I have gotten out of it.

Whatever the something is that exists in those songs, it's certainly not joy, or it's not just joy. It is chilly and warm and tepid all at once, and if one thing is constant, it's how mercurial each new bar will be, how it might make you feel overwhelmed or totally empty. No, for real! Shut up! I'm allowed to be cheesy when describing profound experiences that threaten my still very-much-intact innocence! Even Matt Berninger is allowed: his last song dedication was an improvised "to today", which was actually not as cheesy as you'd think. Still, he walked away from the microphone and came back and said "That is the cheesiest dedication I've ever given" but no apology was granted or necessary and I still think it was a class A dedication, judgments be damned.

I don't even want to describe the level at which I became involved in the show; it will only turn into recounting things that seem awkward in retrospect, but that weren't at the time. All I will say is that it was less that they rocked my socks off and more that they gently but firmly peeled them off, thus showing me the naked emptiness of a human life and the confusing mix of love, attachment, isolation and disappointment therein. Yeah, from fucking taking my socks off. And it was obvious I was not the only one: this was a sold-out show at the Central Park Summerstage and nobody made a sound while they were playing. People actually shushed audience members that were talking. How weird is that? Just the strongest stars poking through the New York glare, a little breeze and a band playing to a silent audience.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Disappointment over Lack of Big Momma House Sequels

I think any movie that has a sequel should be a trilogy, especially if it's Big Momma's House. I just assumed that this was the plan, that I would see a third movie in pre-production if I did an imdb search, but I was sorely disappointed (though I was very happy to discover that the German release was titled Big Mamas Haus). As an homage to the series, I wish to list some ideas for Twentieth Century Fox to kick around should they notice the gold mine upon which they sit.

- Big Momma's House 3: Big Momma Still in da House

- Big Momma's House 4-Real: A Big Momma Christmas: You Going to Eat That? PS. Big Momma Loves to Eat

- Big Momma's House 4: The Return of Big Momma: This Momma Just Got Bigger! Big Momma Returns

- Big Momma's House 5: Did it Just Get Sassy in Here? Big Momma Got Something to Say

- Big Momma's House 5: Big Momma v. Shark: "Ain't no Jaws Bigger than Mine": The Revenge of Big Momma

- Big Momma's House 5: Big Momma Drinks A Ginger Ale on the Porch: Sunday Afternoon Big Momma: Big Momma Hangs Out

- Big Momma's House 6: Big Momma Fights Them on the Beaches: Time-Traveling Big Momma

- Big Momma's House 6: Big Momma Demands More Fries With That: Big Momma Loves to Eat 2: Famous Binges of Big Momma

- Big Momma's House 6: Big Momma in Space: Ain't No Rocket Strong Enough: The Adventures of Big Momma: Big Momma's Cosmic Space-House

I realize that Big Momma is not an actual person in the movie, but a mere disguise for an FBI agent of sorts. That is the only edit I would make for future titles. Let's just make her exist, okay? Let's just make these movies about her.

And I'll reiterate: gold mine.