Friday, May 29, 2009
When I was 21 I was either jacked up on coffee, writing mentally masturbatory papers on metaphors, or drinking brews with my comrades at our ramshackle house on the fringes of campus.
I exhibited no discernible talent other than contriving creative costumes for campus parties that required them, or having the loudest laugh in a crowded room of drunk undergrads.
That is why whenever I'm lucky enough to stumble across a young, hyper-talented musical newbie like Micachu (and 21-years-old to be precise) I trill with gratitude (loudly in private, silently in public). Really good music, the kind that involuntarily lights up your brain, makes the colors of the world that much more saturated, transforms a bad mood into a not so bad one, and makes life better -- no drugs required. Yes sir, I'll have another.
This Brit has been making music since right before Kindergarten. Her music is not as "accessible" as your average glossed out pop tart, but that's what makes her songs and style so innovative. Her tunes are dissonant, but strung along thin reeds of melody that will likely drive you to turn the volume up rather than off. She also incorporates homemade instruments, which is indubitably really fucking cool.
So is Micachu an avante garde tower of musical power? Is she a self-indulgent musical train wreck? Well, she is young, and after several listens, I'd say she's more of the former, still stretching and growing into her musical skin. I look forward to witnessing her musical evolution.
In the meantime, the following tracks will more than make do.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Taste is mostly smell.
At least that is what scientists collectively agree on, but no one knows exactly how the mechanics of smell work. It's about as baffling as Paris Hilton's popularity, and almost as perplexing as her repeated need to wear shitateous headbands.
I'm not particularly interested in how smell works; I'm just happy my sense of it is intact. But, every now and then I have moments where scent and taste acutely and amusingly commingle -- like downing a cup of eggnog, only to feel as though I were drinking Old Spice cologne (the haute couture scent of 80's discount retailers, and a personal favorite of my Dad's during my youth).
Another commingling example, and tell me if you don't agree: ever thought that undoctored Gingko Biloba tea tasted the way it might taste to lick the side of a tree? Like bark?
And here's one all you Catholics might agree on: the communion host, consecrated or not, seems to have the piquancy of high quality card stock. And look, I remember eating dirt out of plant containers as a kid, and have cloudy memories that I do not encourage of chewing on construction paper for kicks, so I should know.
It all gets really interesting, however, when a song actually hints at flavorful notes that have crossed your palate once or numerous times.
This is why I like El Guincho, a Spanish musician, so much. His songs sound like the taste of a Seabreeze (1 1/2 oz vodka; 4 oz cranberry juice; 1 oz grapefruit juice; mix in a cocktail shaker with ice, and serve in a tall glass with a wedge of lime).
I'm not exactly rhapsodic about fruity cocktails, but I have been to some high caliber bars in Puerto Vallarta, where the humidity and sunsets make a quality fruity cocktail an integral part of the vacation experience, and can therefore thrillingly bear witness to the potency of a well-made fruit-infused cocktail.
Just like the refreshing cool of a sweet, but not sticky sweet, Seabreeze, El Guincho's carefully crafted melodies are are fun and tasty, the beats solid and joyful, and after the last drop, leave one enthusiastically calling out for "one more".
Friday, May 15, 2009
Unless you are a practiced soothsayer it's not always easy to predict when a philosophical mood will draw its curtains around you, obscuring looming predicaments and gripes to allow room for a perspective that includes the bigger picture.
Ah, perspective; to sit back and ponder the human condition (which is far more enjoyable to do with a glass of wine, but virtually impossible to do after too much of it). If you are one of the cerebrally gifted who can sustain a chain of logical leaps that lead you closer to a greater understanding of why we mortals exist, our contradictions, our predicaments, then I congratulate you. Compared to you I have the attention span of a gnat.
Despite possessing a sustained focus analogous to that of a gnat, I am still prone to introspection -- when I'm not reading celebrity gossip blogs or writing snarky text messages. I do occasionally fall prey to examining some of the (shallower) profundities of life.
Sometimes to know something is not necessarily to understand it. But, sometimes I genuinely want to understand. However, it's the smaller fish I like to fry. So, in the quest for greater understanding I start with: Why?
- What makes cotton candy so alluring? My enchantment with the stuff hasn't exactly been broken in two by adulthood. Why are people like me always eager to pony up for a chance to savor a cone topped by a pink sphere of spun sugar that tastes like sweet carpet?
- Why is the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyers so addictive? These aren't masterpieces of literature, not by a long shot, and chock-full of an insane degree of melodrama (that leaves me wanting more!). But, let's be honest: Edward Cullen, in all his chiseled vampire pulchritude, is really freaking appealing -- irrespective of your birth date. And I should know, because he appeals to me (I'm working through the shame). It's not lost on me that, at my age, I could be a tween's mother.
- I've been keeping tabs on the grave turn of events in Pakistan between the Taliban and the government, and this leads me to ask: Why is violence and strife such an ingrained component of the human condition? Why do we genuinely say "let there be peace on Earth" but not seriously and actively pursue it? Is power such an intoxicant to both elected and self-appointed leaders that it automatically neutralizes peaceful intentions?
- Is it possible to lose brain cells after too many plastic surgery procedures, or is it that one must have already lost a critical mass of brain cells prior to a marathon of plastic surgery procedures? Is this what happened to Nancy Pelosi?
- What is it about floating in a body of salt water that leeches stress out of one's musculature, and pauses the spastic hum of daily living if only temporarily? And as a P.S., why is peeing in the ocean so much fun?
- Why won't Dick Cheney retire his masterfully misguided speeches and paranoidal theories to focus on enjoying his remaining years on his ranch, (thereby) restricting his wake of destruction to shooting game (and expendable hunting companions)? Paranoia is a massive energy drain; if I were him I would be so tired.
Dick, this one's for you:
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Some days, are just those days.
Anne of the venerable Green Gables said it best:
"Oh, this has been such a Jonah day, Marilla. I'm so ashamed of myself. I lost my temper and whipped Anthony Pye."
Unlike Anne, I haven't whipped anyone (yet). Maybe I feel like I've been whipped, by like, life, but my Jonah days haven't led to to any outward expressions of violence (yet).
Jonah days have taught me one thing: when one Jonah day bleeds into another, a surefire balm is a cocksure tune with some guts and some shrieks that all morph into a singularly plaintive cry that streams from the ear buds, to the ear canal, to the heart, to the formation of a silent prayer to...please...make...it...all...better.
Marilla also knew what could make it better. "Jonah days come to everybody...This day's done and there's a new one coming tomorrow, with no mistakes in it yet, as you used to say yourself. Just come downstairs and have your supper. You'll see if a good cup of tea and those plum puffs I made today won't hearten you up."
If tea and a plum puff, or many, don't do it for you, I have a feeling Ida Maria will.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I don't know what it was about the headiness of receiving my MBA and a trip to Greece a year ago that spurred my adoption of the word "retard", a word I had never readily embraced beforehand.
Prior to placing "retard" and "retarded" into my vocabulary canon, I had recently embraced the deliciously crass "douchebag", and my favorite spin on the original: "douchebaggery".
Maybe living with my parents again triggered a regression that lowered once-staunch literary standards, freeing me to accept particularly infernal slang terms I once held a garlic-covered cross to, much like the douchebags and retards of yore flailed at suspected vampires...who weren't really vampires.
Maybe a string of rejection letters, after the sweat and tears of dutifully writing scores of cover letters, and the subjugation of phone interviews, armed and loaded the irreverent imp living in my head, taking up the space once reserved for manners, grace, and political correctness.
Maybe, like a sociopath, I lost the ability to tell right from wrong. But I can tell you this: even as I allowed lowbrow locutions to leap from my lips, I still felt a quiet little jangle of guilt in my heart. [I blame the jangle on residual Catholickiness that can stick to the consciences of the fallen like feathers to tar.]
[And, please note there is a discernment between "douchebag" and "asshole", and this is important. Allow me to explain vis-à-vis a brief story. After a few hours at a friend's housewarming last fall, and voluminous ounces of beverage had been consumed, the distinction was collectively and verbally codified. "A douchebag is an asshole who doesn't know he's an asshole". A fellow member of this heated and arguably intoxicated circle of newly-minted MBAs went on to say: "I know I'm not a douchebag because I know I'm an asshole". We all laughed, nodded in agreement, and I reached for another glass of wine.]
So it was with fierce interest that I read a recent post by Dan Savage (brilliant writer of the sex column Savage Love) in response to a reader who (rightfully) chastised him for his frequent use of "retard", and its many variations. I applauded his response. I include it, herewith:
"I’m going to turn over a new leaf, TROS, and make a conscious, conscientious effort to break myself of the bad habit of using the word retard. But I don’t think the “retard jar” is for me. Instead, I’m going to use a substitution for the word. From now on, instead of saying “retard” or “That’s so retarded,” I’m going to say “leotard” and “That’s so leotarded.” I won’t be mocking the mentally challenged, just the physically gifted. I will pick on the strong—and the limber—and not the weak".
Dear Dan, about "douchebag"...