Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pad Thai, Krystals, and R. Kelly

There's something so great about a fantastic Thai meal with several of your favorite people on your birthday, followed by a walk around your (tiny) town square, followed by Heineken at your town's best version of a run-down dive bar where you interact with fun, kind people from around your town that makes everything feel ok for a while.
And then there's something about heroically cruising into work the next day and being forced to deal with your new temporary office mate's stinky fast food breakfast and lunch (Krystal's, people), constant raunchy burping, and endless loud R&B slow jams that make you a) really appreciate not eating lunch for that 2 weeks while you saved up every last cent you had for your iPod, and b) realize that you need a long, long vacation that all the leave days in the world couldn't provide you with.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kafka on the Shore

What is it with me and odd, dreamlike, surreal books lately? I'm about to finish Murakami's Kafka on the Shore (after being entranced by his The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle), and I'm sorry it's over. One of the main characters is a man who can make it rain leeches. Enough said.
Say what you will, no one does "surreal" quite like the Japanese. If you've seen Spirited Away or The Ring, you know what I'm talking about. The Ring scared the crap out of me, and movies just don't scare me. Ever. It was one of those movies that I kept thinking about and turning over and over in my mind until I dreamed about it a couple of times. Shudder.
The movie Lost in Translation got a lot of flack for "silent racism," but that isn't what was going on at all. If I were staying in Tokyo, not speaking a word of Japanese, and just walking around looking at things, I'd probably think things seemed a, too - at least for a little while. On the other side of the coin, though, I'd love to see a movie about a Japanese (or any nationality, really) person coming to New York, and just walking around, soaking up the strangeness. Mystery Train was kind of like that, but the Japanese couple - at least the guy - already knew a lot about Memphis culture already; that's why they went in the first place.
Speaking of good books by Japanese authors, I also loved Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto. I read it years ago, and I'm still thinking about it. I gave my copy away a long time ago, and now I'm regretting it - maybe I can find a cheap edition somewhere online. I love that modern Japanese culture sees fit to find an important niche for both the spirit world and the most modern of technology. I mean, think about it: in The Ring, the villain leaves messages on answering machines, and seems to be intimately familiar with the videotaping process. American society sees those 2 entities as completely separate and distinct - almost opposing, really. When you go to church, you often hear about how "we need to get back to the essentials of life" and how "technology equals materialism."
Not to imply that there's anything particularly spiritual about my new CD Player/Alarm Clock/Radio/mp3 Player, but I know for a fact that it makes my life better. It's multi-functional, space-saving, and wasn't too expensive. Did I absolutely need it? No. Could I have lived without it? Absolutely. I guess I just find it interesting that, in other parts of the world, modern life and religion compliment each other.
I could continue this ramble for a long time, but I won't. I have reading to do...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

...for me to poop on

This is one of those days after which I'm going to need all those things in the world that make me feel better about life... you know those things that remind you of your security blanket/teddy bear/Transformer or whatever thing of choice you had as a kid that would be the first thing you rescued in the event of a fire or nuclear disaster or guerilla attack (Nicaragua was in the news a LOT when I was a child)?
It's not even that this day has been so's mostly that I've just had enough of it, you know? I'm ready for it to be over. I give up. It wins. I fully concede that getting out of bed was my first wrong choice in a series of wrong, wrong choices today. Uncle, ok??
So tonight, I'm going to cruise home, and enjoy many (time may keep me from getting to all) of the items on the following list:
- a long. hot. bath. This has become pretty much a nightly routine anyway, but it's going to feel especially good tonight. Tonight's bath will prominently feature scrub, pumice stone, a mask, and a shitload of moisturizer. Stress dries out my skin.
- a thin-crust Domino's pizza. Enough said.
- Mean Girls. It's funny, wicked, sweet, and the meanest, most horrible girl in school gets hit by a bus in the end. What could be better? Plus it features Lindsay Lohan, whom I secretly adore when she isn't dating Fez from That 70's Show or doing lines in public bathroom stalls or dying her hair nasty blonde. Stick with Meryl Streep, Lindsay. That one's a keeper. Ahem - I digress.
- Coke (a Cola, that is). For one day of my life, I'm going to have REAL COKE - not the diet stuff we delude ourselves into thinking tastes "just as good" as the real thing. It doesn't. Ok, fine, I'm having one right now. It just couldn't wait, people.
- Arrested Development. Funniest, smartest show ever to air on TV. Only America would be stupid enough to let a show like that slip through its fat, beer-soaked, frat-boy fingers. If the war in Iraq weren't enough of a reason for the rest of the world to hate us, they REALLY hate us for letting AD get cancelled.
- Portishead's Dummy. My favorite album of all time. It seems like a downer on the surface, but it always makes me feel better when I need to be consoled.
- my favorite quilt that Mimi made. The ends of it are in tatters now (I should probably look into getting it repaired), but I love wrapping up in it when I'm down. It's so old that the fabric is threadbare and really soft, so it feels good.
- The Best of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. This DVD makes me laugh so hard that I projectile spray out whatever liquid I'm drinking at the moment. Funniest shit I've ever seen. "No animals were actually harmed during the making of this DVD. Except a schnauzer, but she liked it rough. Hey - what can I say? She's German..."
Good Christ, this day can't end fast enough. If I fall into my unmade bed 3 seconds after walking through the door, the above list may be considered null and void. Except the pizza. And bath. And Triumph. Well I have to eat and relax and laugh, don't I?
Inevitably, this means my mom will call with some task for me to carry out that can only be done TONIGHT. "Honey, I desperately need you to get me a roll of fresh salami, a 1930's telephone, and an exact scale model of Columbus' ship The Pinta before 9pm!!" Oh, who am I kidding? When has my mom ever called me "Honey?"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pink Panther's Penthouse Party!

I think I've found my official album of summer. It's a compilation released last year called "Pink Panther's Penthouse Party." I believe it was released to commemorate some sort of anniversary of the original film, plus raise interest in the Steve Martin movie that came out a while ago (I didn't see it - it didn't look great). Here's the track listing:

1. Pink Panther Theme - Henry Mancini
2. Panther Theme (Fischerspooner Remix) - Henry Mancini
3. Fever (Gabin Remix) - Peggy Lee
4. Corazon - Titan
5. Smokebomb - Ursula 1000
6. The Girl From Ipanema - Pizzicato Five
7. Weapon Of Choice - Fatboy Slim
8. Sacre Francais - Dmitri From Paris
9. Summer Sun - Koop (featuring Yukimi Nagano)
10. Bachelor Pad - Fantastic Plastic Machine
11. Voulez Vous? - Arling & Cameron
12. The Pink Panther Theme - Colored by St. Germain
13. San Antonio - Kinky
14. Shot In The Dark/Peter Gunn (Under The Gunn Mix) - Chris Mancini & Lennart
15. Bossa Per Due - Nicola Conte
16. Intraspettro - Les Hommes
17. Tres Tres Chic - Mocean Worker
18. The Pink Panther Theme (Malibu Remix) - Henry Mancini
A lot of it is French electronica, and it's all downtempo, so if you don't like this genre, stay away. There are 2 not-so-good remixes of Mancini's Pink Panther Theme; they are definitely the weak links on this record. The Fischerspooner Peggy Lee remix is fantastic. Normally I don't think you should mess with perfection, but occasionally something really inspired can come out of it. I like this version as much as the original. Arling & Cameron's sly, sleazy "Voulez Vous?" is another one of my favorite tracks, as well as Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" (remember the brilliant video featuring a tap-dancing, gymnastic, flying Christopher Walken?) and Pizzicato Five's take on "The Girl from Ipanema." The stand-out track is, in my opinion, Koop's ecstatic "Summer Sun." It makes me nostalgic for times that may not have even happened. The songs I haven't mentioned are far from filler tracks - this is a killer CD, from beginning to end.
In the unlikely event that I befriend someone with a pool before the end of the summer, I know what CD we'll be playing. It's also excellent background music for a very, very cool cocktail party. I've only ever seen one copy at local stores, so it will probably be most easily found online.
I'm also enjoying some mix CD's that Rosalie left me. Heard a Polyphonic Spree song that I haven't listened to in way too long. Good friends who provide you with good music are VERY RARE. Cherish them.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Her name was Lola. She was a showgirl.

The past few days have been a blur of being idle, spending frivolously, and eating food that my digestive system isn't entirely ok with. Rosalie came in from Phoenix, and I hadn't seen her in almost a year, so we got to catch up. It's so good to catch up with your oldest friends - these are the people who knew you when you were at your ugliest (13 for me), and most obnoxious (a long Monty Python phase that lasted from 9th thru 11th grade for me), and still weren't embarrassed to be seen publicly with you. You have to hold them dear for that alone.
Also, just in time for summer, Rosalie hooked me up with a shitload of new downtempo music - Gotan Project, a cpl of volumes of Mushroom Jazz, Astrud Gilberto... downtempo is always my favorite summer music. I think everyone should listen to freewheeling, carefree, booty-shaking music every once in a while. It cleanses the soul. Someone very wise (George Clinton) once said, "Let your mind go, and your ass will follow."
Included in the frivolous spending was a trip to the Bath and Body Works sale - I haven't been in that store in MONTHS, and since long, hot baths are apparently becoming part of my daily routine (see previous entry in which I gush about my huge clawfoot bathtub), I dropped a little cash there on bubble bath. I don't think I can specifically put my finger on a lot of things that make my life better, but baths definitely do. My favorite flavor is Copa Cabana - er, sorry: Coco Cabana. I've never been much of a coconut person in the past, but in the bath, this stuff smells divine. Plus it's partially named after a Barry Manilow song...
Rosalie left yesterday (sniff sniff), so I spent most of last night playing catch-up and getting my life back into pre-vacation order. I cleaned my apartment, did laundry, straightened... it's sad that vacation is over, but nice that I can find things again. I'm also pleasantly surprised to discover that I like my life enough to not hate getting back into it post-vacation. My job is, for the most part, pleasant and bearable (which is more than a lot of people can say), my friends are amazing, and I have enough initiative and creativity to keep myself busy doing the things that I love. I LOVE BEING ALONE. And did I mention my bathtub?
I'm taking a trip to Phoenix later in the year when it isn't so hot. Phoenix contains Rosalie, Angela, Pita Jungle, the world's biggest bead store (at least I'm pretty sure it's the biggest), fantastic nightlife, and the best shopping anywhere. I should probably start saving... now.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Ten Commandments Lunatic Will Most Likely Go To Hell

Yard Dogs Road Show was spectacular...again. It was a circus, it was a freak show, it was a Tom Waits-meets-Bob Fosse extravaganza, it was was anything you want it to be. I love the fact that, in 2006, there are still people who travel around together singing, dancing, and drinking hard. The trombone and accordion players blew me away - those are really hard instruments to play. I believe it's a group based out of San Francisco. Good God, I'd love to sit in on those auditions.
I'm about to head over to do my civic duty and vote. It's hard when you're choosing between shit and shinola, but it's worth the effort just to vote Roy Moore off the ticket. The Ten Commandments Lunatic (my own affectionate name for him) doesn't need to go anywhere near a ballot, so I'm going to try to make sure he doesn't. While I was happily dozing between my 400 threadcount Egyptian Cotton sheets on Sunday morning, thousands of Alabamians were being told by fundamentalist preachers all over to vote in Roy Moore, and vote out gay marriage.
If I were against gay marriage, I just wouldn't marry a gay person.
But whatever. I'm tempted to shirk my civic duty, because it seems as though giving a crap always backfires on me. It has in the last 2 presidential elections.
Ben has recently directed my attention to Loretta Nall, a candidate for Alabama Governor who supports giving gays guns rather than pass hate crime legislation. In her words exactly, "Armed gays are not bashed gays."
I never thought I'd be a proponent of gay rights, being female, straight, and Southern, but I hate seeing tax-paying Americans being stripped of their rights. Also, being a card-carrying fag hag since the age of 8 (I thought it was perfectly normal to sit around your bedroom with your guy friends singing along to the original broadway recording of Annie and experimenting with blush), these are, in a way, my "people."