Monday, July 24, 2006

Tainted Love

A set of 12 DVD's full of 80's music videos found its way into my possession this weekend, and I've been cracking out like I haven't since Nip/Tuck Season 2 was released. I wish I could convey the feeling of delight I had when I saw the video to "Something About You" by Level 42 for the first time in at least 15 years. And "Always Something There to Remind Me" by Naked Eyes. And "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. Mtv of the 80's was my childhood. We didn't have cable at my house until I was around 9, but good God, I watched it all the time at friends' houses and my grandmother's house. I love how, in the very earliest of those Mtv years, they didn't have a lot of videos to play, so you'd see Johnny Cash, then Black Sabbath, then Willie Nelson, then an old Elton John performance. A lot of people don't remember that because most cable companies didn't carry Mtv in its first 2 years. By the time we got Mtv ('87-'88), the Golden Age was over. Remote Control and the Monkees were being played around the clock (not that I didn't like those shows - I loved them - but they weren't music videos).
But I digress. The point is, these videos have completely taken me back. I hadn't thought about sitting with my friend Chuckie singing "Time (Clock of My Heart)" by Culture Club in the 1st grade for...decades?
Speaking of music, I was blown away by a bluegrass band on Saturday night. It struck me that bluegrass has got to be one of the most difficult kinds of music to play, and what artists these men are to play those instruments so perfectly. For a lot of my teenage years, I dismissed that music as "country" and didn't want anything to do with it, so I'm glad to say I'm broadening my bluegrass horizons. It's so beautiful - I don't know how anyone couldn't like at least a song here and there.
It's back to the gym today after an extended absence - I'm going to spinning class if my favorite instructor is teaching. Because it's so hot and humid here, I tend to languish indoors a little too much in the summer, and that's going to change starting today. I think a lot of people tend to put on winter fat, but that's when I tend to be out and about the most. Plus the gym is somewhere you can go in the winter where you know you won't be cold! Especially spinning...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pete Kelly's Blues

Last night was a foggy haze of a birthday, REALLY good wine, a long overdue (and way too short) visit with Amy, a jazz record narrated by Jack Webb, and a vague headache. I had crazy dreams involving the carnival from that old Disney movie Something Wicked This Way Comes. I forgot to switch the CD in my alarm clock, so I woke up to Astrud Gilberto, which put me in the oddest mood today. Not a bad mood at all - just kind of...sideways.
The only residual strangeness from the wine was that I had a slightly short temper at work. I had to physically clamp my mouth shut so that my first words spoken aloud today weren't, "Shut your noise hole, you arrogant, ridiculous douchebag." The aforementioned douchebag said something smart-ass to my boss, who I really like, and he gets on my last nerve on a regular basis. This bizarre joke of a person actually inspires me to invent new obscene epithets meaning, "Tiny little man who is full of himself and whose favorite hobby is belittling and insulting others around him to build up his already overblown ego and to compensate for his safety-pin-sized penis." I suppose it's possible to go through life thinking that most people you encounter are pretty good folks who don't want to cause harm to you or others. But then you join the American workforce, and quickly realize how little you knew about people. People are freaks.
It's Friday, though, so I can't stay testy all day. On Friday, everything almost seems ok because I've got 2 1/2 full days to myself. Then Monday comes, and I realize how much I am desperately, achingly craving a real vacation. I think I can hang on until October. What I'm not sure of is whether or not I can hang on until 5pm this afternoon...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I've got 2 amazing musical experiences lined up for the next month: Tom Waits and M. Ward. Tom barely ever tours, let alone comes to the South, but he said in a recent interview, "I want to buy some fireworks in Tennessee, and a guy in Kentucky owes me money." Problem is, no one else I know got a ticket. I really, really don't want to go to Atlanta alone, but I will. It's Tom fucking Waits, for crying out loud. I'll just have to force myself to be intrepid. After all, has Tom taught me nothing?
M. Ward is an artist I've just gotten into in the last 6 months or so. Great songwriter, brilliant guitar player, and a voice that gives me chills. He sings "Handle With Care" on Jenny Lewis' record with Jenny, Conor Oburst, and Ben Gibbard. When his part comes in (the George Harrison part, I think), I forget the others are even in the song until someone else starts singing. If I were singing a song with the so-called Gods of Indie Rock, I'd want to stand out somehow, and his voice really does. He's playing at the Belcourt in Nashville, and I think I'm going to be really lucky to see him in so intimate a setting before he hits it big.
More on those shows later - most likely after they've happened.
I'm reading some fun, interesting things right now. One of them is Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. Roth (or, rather Roth of the last 10 years) comes pretty close to being my favorite American writer, and this one isn't disappointing. His last few books have been razor-sharp, witty, and approaching bitter. This one has crossed the line into "angry." I don't mind, though. When it comes to Roth, he writes best when his pen is dripping with poison. His sarcastic look at the funeral of Richard Nixon in I Married a Communist (pointing out the hypocrisy of the attendees who came close to cannonizing the man) is probably my favorite scene in all of Roth's work. His newest book takes place in an alternate reality where Lindbergh defeated FDR and refused to involve America in WWII. I'm not very far into it, but I can see where it's heading. America becomes an evil, anti-Semitic nation, and Roth is going to hold up a mirror to our current state under the W administration. The man is brilliant.
The other book I'm reading - my guilty pleasure - is a Barnes and Noble bargain book called The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I know, ok? I know. I, too, find it sad and pathetic that I will happily lap up the table scraps of writers whom I wouldn't normally give the time of day simply because they're writing about Sherlock Holmes. But I've read all the novels and short stories several times, and you can only do that so much before you start craving new material. None of the cannon (works by different authors written after those original Doyle stories) has ever been anywhere near as good as the originals. But I read them anyway.
I picked up Thievery Corporation's new Versions yesterday, and I've been enjoying it at work, in my car, and in my bathtub (that's the beauty of Thievery Corporation). I think it's time I overhaul my iPod and take off a LOT of old stuff that I mostly skip through now, and add lots of new stuff I've been hoarding since Rosalie was here. It will be a whole new ride to work in the mornings.
In other news, my cool neighbor took a picture of a rather oddly-shaped, huge cucumber that a vaguely creepy man at work gave me. She works at a frame shop, so she matted it and framed it beautifully with a scrap frame she found - it's bizarre and gorgeous at the same time. I gave it a place of honor on my kitchen wall. If I went out specifically looking for an odd conversation piece, I couldn't have found a better one than Amber made me yesterday.
That is all.