My plans to go out tonight were thwarted when I got sucked into watching the Minutemen documentary with Brian.
D. Boon (R.I.P.) leaping across the stage with his impressive body mass, screaming his heart out, mesmerized me and inspired me. (Fugazi’s Instrument has the similar effect on me.) It made me wonder, “What the hell am I doing listening to weak-posturing, style-conscious shit lately?” What happened to music that made me tremble with awe, to music that made me not a little frightened by the possibilities it presented? Because dammit, I miss the urgency, the honesty, the rawness. It seems like most of what I listen to or play these days is too washed out; sure it’s great to dance to and it serves as a nice soundtrack to the business of modern life, but it lacks the abandon of uninhibited expression I so value.
I want music to be dangerous again. Dangerous sounds, dangerous ideas, dangerous movement. I need to be reminded that music, art, any creative endeavor should be volatile. And I don’t mean volatile in the obvious and facile ways. Some of the most thought-provoking things are the ones that are deceptively subversive.
Yet this is difficult to keep sight of now when it seems like everything is prepackaged in hip uniform rebelliousness, when indie is so dependent on image and not content, when anything risky or new is accepted only if presented by eye-candy messengers.
But enough talk. Perhaps this will be some kind of new year’s resolution for me. Now that I’m 30, it’s about time I say farewell to all the bullshit, yeah?
In Korean, “Emo” means “Aunt.” I went to L.A. to visit my nephew Max, the gigantic headed genius child, and his parents this weekend. Having a 23-month-old chant “Emo! Emo! Emo!” at you with glee is a little like getting hired for a position you really, really want.
And I played dirty to get the job. I bought him drums (this seems to be a running theme with the boys in my life), I bought him a globe (he’s not yet two years old but he’s freakishly smart with a memory that makes me green with envy), and I sniffed, kissed, and tickled my way into his little heart. He put up a decent fight, as toddlers tend to be suspicious and temperamental creatures, but who can resist “Emo?”
So let me introduce you to my nephew Max. His favorite shape is the hexagon, his favorite dinosaur is the triceratops, he speaks with a hint of a lisp, his voice becomes charmingly hoarse by the end of the day, and he has killer curls and a diaper butt that could turn the most crotchety of anti-kid minds.
It was kind of weird to see my cousins be such…parents…, no longer enjoying going out to shows but instead really getting into Guitar Hero on their PlayStation 2, making Max shake what his momma gave him to guitar solo hits of the 80’s. Admittedly, I got sucked into the game myself, even after getting booed off stage for my pathetic debut performance of “Iron Man.” Sorry, Black Sabbath.
Ah well, that’s L.A. for you. At least Max loves me.
No, it’s not because I’m old school (well…I am old, I’m in some kind of school setting for most of my waking hours either as a teacher or as a student, and I haven’t bought any new music in like ten years, so wait… maybe I am old school), but I’m in my mix tape mode tonight. It’s less dangerous than my hair cutting mode, which usually spans a few days with a snip here, another snip there, finding myself at 3 in the morning, naked in the bathroom standing in a pile of freshly cut hair. Ew.
But here I am making mix tapes because my trusty little Honda only has a cassette player and I’m tired of listening to the tapes I made in high school over and over again. Ride, remember them? And The Housemartins? Yeah, good stuff, but I need a new mix of old music to keep me sane as I fight traffic everyday.
But on this particular mix tape, side A is Brian’s creation and side B is mine. Ah…cute married life. I could drown in cheese a happy woman. Is this punk rock domesticity or what?
It’s 11:00 on a Saturday night, and I am at home with a mess of articles and books scattered on our livingroom floor, trying desperately to finish my final paper for my Roman Identities class. Not that I’d normally be out painting the town white…or beige…or whatever, but it’d be nice to know that I’d be free to do so if I wanted.
Alas, I am wrestling with institutionalized violence and empire-building in the Roman world, trying to reconcile Foucault’s analysis of Bentham’s Panopticon and DeBord’s Society of the Spectacle with the Roman games. It’s not going so well. Brian has threatened to disable my access to MySpace, Gmail, and WordPress so that I stop procrastinating. Well, he can’t lock up the cats, so I have some mode of welcome distraction. At least they seem to be enjoying burying their heads underneath all of my books and chewing on the corners of my papers. My cats have a deep appreciation for academia, I tell you.
On another “I’m thinking of everything but what I should be” note, I’m starting to warm to Eltonito’s suggestion that the ladies and I should cover “Sound of Music” by Joy Division. And after Brian made me a mix cd with Unwound’s “Valentine Card” on it, I think that would be another possbility if we were ever serious about doing covers…or practicing on a regular basis. Poo.
There should be midnight yoga.
I told Brian he’s got to stop buying me laptops for Christmas. He bought me my first machine last year, and it served me well. Countless papers were written for grad school and endless hours were spent on the interweb on that modest, but trusty, Acer. Then he bought me this pretty little Macbook that I’m typing on right now for this Christmas. As much I protested that I didn’t need another computer, a pricey one at that, and especially so soon, etc., what can I say? I’m in love. Love.
So thank you, baby. I love my Christmas present. And it goes without saying, I love you.
And now back to this evening’s very disturbing Grey’s Anatomy. Geez George, you’re making me uncomfortable. Stop it.
I have this weird thing about needing everything to be symmetrical. It’s been this way ever since I was a little kid. I’d spin myself silly one way, then I’d have to spin myself the other way to unwind. I’d sniff one foot to check the funk, and I’d have to sniff the other to even things out. And now that I’m an adult, sharing my life with another person, I’m trying to force my balance obsession on him. When he kisses one of my fingertips, I want him to kiss all of them. And since he likes to tease me, he’ll leave out my thumb or double up on only some of them, knowing it’ll drive me crazy.
Yeah…leave it to the one you love to throw you all out of whack.
Leave it to the one you love to know that you need it.
I thought I could keep a stiff upper lip, but the Senate is now controlled by the Dems. I’m on my laptop, clapping in an empty room, and crying with relief. Not that the Dems haven’t let us down before, but damn, I’m hopeful.
I cried during the 2004 elections. After working with MoveOn canvassing and volunteering to keep watch at my local polling station, I lost it as the Colorado Democrats gathered at a downtown hotel to watch the election results come in. (Remember that amazing, however futile, moment when Ohio went back up for grabs? I thought I was going to piss myself.) The night wore on, and it became clear that we had another unbearably long four years ahead of us.
I called in sick to work the next day. What else could I do when I knew all I could say to my students was “Look kids, we’re all fucked. It’s no use. Go home.” Yeah, I could have been mature about it and used the defeat as a “teachable moment” about our so-called democracy. Instead, I stayed home, yelled at a door-to-door church guy when he continued to press me after I pointed to the Kerry sign in our window and warned him that it wasn’t a good time to bother me. He then had the gall to tell me that if I believed in God, it wouldn’t matter who was in charge. Wrong move, buddy, wrong move. Anyway, I went to visit our friends whose son was unlucky enough to enter the world on the day Bush “won” another presidential term. Holding a brand spanking new life in my arms and smelling the top of his little head was just what I needed to put things back into perspective. However, going to his 2nd birthday party last weekend just reminded me that, damn, we still have another two years to go.
But this election year, I didn’t call in sick and I didn’t cry (although Colorado conservativism retained its “hate state” reputation by passing homophobic legislation). Rummy is gone, Pelosi is head girl, and the Senate is turning blue.
Things are looking up.
the husband who makes me coffee just how I like it, wussy-like with lots of milk and sugar with minimal, yet unavoidable, teasing of how I bastardize my drinks
being sniffed behind the ear by the husband
parents who call me randomly to tell me I’m pretty
not being pregnant but knowing one day I want to be
meeting my professor’s two year old son who introduces himself by announcing “I’m a little bashful” and then waits for people to affirm his shyness
friends who dress their two year old daughter as Che Guevara for Halloween, complete with a toy semi-automatic machine gun, drawn on mustache, and no apologies
cat tummies that smell warm and fuzzy…yes, that’s synaesthesia for you literary types
having crushes on super-intelligent and funny people, and fantasizing about witty conversations we’d have together
music, plain and simple
autumn, plain and simple
procrastinating by writing absolute cheese
I’ve noticed that lately my palms and fingertips have been itchy. They say it means a financial windfall is in the near future if you have itchy palms, but I think I may just have a fungus.