Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Story of My Sordid Affair with Alcohol as Remembered by Someone Whose Memory is Probably Not Entirely Trustworthy

I hate that it's called Hump Day, cause the last thing I ever want to do on Wednesdays is hump. I haven't even gotten a shower in today, and I had to take off my sweater because I was afraid I would make it smell, since I also didn't want to apply more deodorant before I did take a shower. Which I swear I'm going to do before I go to bed. But, other than work, eating noodles, and doing some dishes, the only productive thing I've done all day is invent a new drink.

I call it the PUP, which is some bastard interpretation of an acronym that might stand for Penny's Perfect Pick Me Up, because when I was in middle school, my fantasy name was Penny. I think I got that from The Rescuers. It is basically a rootbeer float, only instead of rootbeer I used Dr. Pepper, instead of vanilla ice cream I used Starbucks Java Chip, and instead of boring I used vodka. There is no picture, because sadly this was a one drink venture, using up the rest of the soda. Did you know I can keep a 2 liter of pop around for like weeks? I so prefer water unless it's being mixed with something that doesn't go with water, which is like everything. Gosh Mom, you really got me on that boat. Ugh. Boat. Water.

So I was thinking today about other drinks that have been near and dear to me, or really really abusive.

I didn't really drink that much in high school, and I never had to buy it for myself (sorry Mom and Dad. In fact, sorry pretty much for this whole post). So when I got to college, and made friends with the girl power pothead group on a dorm floor that was otherwise populated by members of the Kent State Dance Team (who would do fucking group aerobics in the common area, I shit you not), I found myself having to afford my own alcohol. I did spend a year before college living in Tremont with my friend, in a studio apartment, which you would think would teach you how to live frugally. But the thing about Tremont was and will always be, if you are an 18 yr old, you never buy your own drinks. It's a community law. They make you pick dog poop off the sidewalks if you violate it.

So the girls and I had two standbys. If we had some money, it was boxed wine and sprite spritzers. If we had no money, then we walked to the corner store and bought forties. I always bought Colt 45.

The worst college drinking experience I had was when someone gave me a mostly full bottle of Southern Comfort for the night, which I drank fast since I hated the taste. Peaches. SO GROSS. It's like liquefied burnt thin peach pie. It tastes like the inside of a pink glittery cowboy hat covered in kudzu and flies. I was pretty much okay walking from the dorms all the way downtown, but then as soon as I hit the doorway of the club, I fell flat on my face. It was a terrible walk home, but I guess all things considered could have been worse. I didn't puke, because I use to never puke at all ever. My body could just absorb poisons and make new cells out of them. It's why I had such clear skin, I was recycling the toxins and growing plastic membranes.

There are two times puking from alcohol that I remember quite clearly. One was St. Patricks Day weekend, and I was hanging out with some kids I knew in Ohio City. I don't know, was I 18? 19? Anyway, I bought my drink for the day from the corner store, which happened to be two bottles of premixed Long Island Ice Tea. That really didn't go well. It was really hot. The bottles got really warm. I still can't drink Long Islands made with coke, they have to have some silly twist to mask that flavor, pomegranate or cherry or something. Rum and cokes are the same way, I just hate the taste of the rum against the sugary flatness of the soda.

The second time was when I first met what would become a complicated relationship in my life, me and the chocolate martini.

I was with Krista and PJ. Krista wanted to go dancing, so we went downtown to the Funky Buddha, a jackass of a place, full of pillows and jackasses. Anyway, it was when the whole fake martini thing was really starting to take off, and I had my first chocolate martini. And then I had 7 more. Because no one remembered to tell me this wasn't some fucking one shot drink. I did make it to close, and then was fine on the road home, but threw up as soon as I made it to the bathroom. At least I can be counted on to throw up in appropriate places. Also, I'm immune to the effects of alcohol until you tell me the night is over and I have to lie down.

But unlike with Long Islands, I never lost my taste for them. Probably cause they don't mix in the same disgusting way with bile. One time, S. actually made me a carry along pitcher of them for a date. Chocolate martinis I mean, not bile. Marty used to make them for me from his always well stocked kitchen. It was my reliable standard, since almost every bar that has martinis, has a chocolate one. But they are expensive. As I got older, and started hanging out at Trinkas too much because of their jukebox, I downsized to shots of Yeager masked with Rolling Rock. One time the owner of Trinkas, Joe, brought out this gallon jug in which he had been collecting all the dregs of every bottle. It was bright orange. I totally had some of that. Joe was cool. I miss that place.

Next came coffee and alcohol. I still love this, obviously. I love coffee so much sometimes it hurts. I mean, coke's illegal (also expensive, and usually involves waiting around with unsavory old guys who bum cigarettes from you), they took away my yellow jackets, and I know what meth does to your teeth. So coffee is it. I can take so much caffeine, it's fucking sick. When I was working at Gamestop and David was working at Starbucks, I would get six shots of espresso over ice, and add milk and sugar at the condiments stand. Do you call it a condiments stand? It's not accessories, but that feels like it would be more accurate.

But I've been trying to drink less coffee, only on special occasions. It's no fun to have a high tolerance for caffeine, it costs more money and is actually no really less fun. Especially since I can't make espresso at home anymore, and light myself up like a toaster oven on however much I want. So now I only drink it every couple of weeks, when I'm really hurting, so it's slightly more effective.

Also coffee drinks make you have to piss like ten times more often. The caffeine shrinks your bladder, and the alcohol punches you in the side a few times. Waiting for the bathroom sucks. Driving home sucks.

That brings us to now. I've ditched the martinis except sometimes. I drink more wine, and have finally graduated to liking reds, which took fucking forever my god. You know, everyone makes that interminable trek from Boones Farm to Riesling to Shiraz to Malbec. But if I sit down at a bar with you, and I'm not there for something specific (like a shot of cafe patron with those awesome little orange slices coated in cinnamon at Momocho) then I'm ordering a pineapple and vodka. Better at hiding the taste than soda. Not as likely to fuck me up as coffee. Simple and reliable. I am not an orange and cranberry girl, or even a cranberry girl. With this gem I avoid the acidity and sourness of those common plebian mixers, while maintaining the one liner order for the bartender. It's perfect. Or at least it was. Until I had that fresh pineapple juice at Geneva. I don't know if I can ever watch them open up that little can again. Oh Vegas on the Lake, you may have spoiled me. I may have to move on to Brandy Alexanders.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Hype

I have your weekly Monday abandonment. However this time it's up at Rootspeak. Go check them out, mostly cause they like me. And how many times can you refresh Gawker in a work day? (note, I know it's at least 24...)

The Alien

Last night I was just sitting upstairs, drinking champagne, eating gelato, and watching Sherlock Holmes with a friend, while a rainstorm flooded the driveways. It was dark, really dark. My hair was soaked from a ill-conceived trip to the store. We sweated in front of the fans like hyenas under saharan scrub brush.

Suddenly, it was gold. Everything was gold. It burst through the windows. We threw on clothes, instead of the t-shirts we'd been lounging in, because goddamn it was hot. I grabbed the black cocktail dress I had worn the night before. He forgot to put shoes on. We ran into the driveway, and outside above our heads was a rainbow. Not just any rainbow. A full bow, stretching across the city, and in it's shadow another rainbow, one that unfortunately eluded my camera. Double bow, like a double dip or a double shot. We stood there staring. Rainbows are not uncommon. My friend happens to be a rainbow magnet. He can find a rainbow anywhere, they follow his scent. One time, years ago, when I was really depressed, he took me to a hill and made one appear. This is his talent. But this one was something beyond his small conjuring skills.

We stood there ogling, until I heard a whisper behind us. Turning around, we saw the source of this golden shining light. A circular globe, a ball of glitter, this creature hovered above the concrete, singing in this slow hiss, obviously animated but unable to communicate. It was big, expanding and breathing, but it seemed so small.

For a few minutes, we both stared at each other, this photon jellyfish, this starlight sailor. You could feel the confusion in its glare, wondering where chasing the rainbow from the clouds had left it. Then as quickly as it had appeared, it raced away down the street. We jumped into the car, determined to follow it. But all we could do was chase the glow it left behind, always two light years behind. As it sped up, it's glow became intolerable, a halo across the horizon. Panic.

Through the wet city streets we chased it. My friend felt certain it was headed to the lake, but I knew, I felt it, it would head for the highest point. So we sped to the highest hill in the valley.

We were too late. The sphere raced up into the sky, scared and lost. It's fragile molecules met the electrically charged rainclouds, and burst like a star exploding. We caught only the aftermath of the combustion, as its pieces scattered across the lower atmosphere, and the sky faded again into dark earthly gray.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"On the Lake" can mean so many different things

I've always had this idea in my head that Geneva on the Lake was some sort of cookie cutter Quaintsville place, with little wineries and restaurants and campgrounds. I mean, it sort of is that. But it's way more "Let's get smashed and eat hot dogs." We ended up there instead of the Cleveland Wine Festival, because while driving to Nautica, I saw the river cruise boat pass by, with the hordes of overly tan stringy women in Ann Taylor, and I knew I just couldn't take it. So I'll go there today after work, now that my spirit has been fortified with the true spirit of Ohio Lake People, which is "Let's get smashed and eat hot dogs."

Ohio wines tend to be sweet, too sweet for me, lacking that pampas bite I like. So I was okay with running from the Jimmy Buffet cover band at the ferris wheel winery to the conflicting dulcet tones of Frank Sinatra inside/Afroman outside on the patio at the skank bar across the street. Business in front, party in the back, right? We were there before it got super skanked, when it was mostly just harmless looking older gentlemen in cut off tees, and young girls going on 40 in halter tops. But as we left, several gorillas shoved right past us in the doorway, without even glancing, beelining for the cornhole and the baby's mamas. So we left there right in time. Afroman got replaced by Tik Tok, like over and over again. In fact, it felt like every bar we passed was playing Tik Tok. Tik Tok all the time, to shake your little white shorts to. My friend said every girl there smelled the same, which I told him was a creepy observation.

Liquored up, we hit up one of several arcades, and blew all the quarters on skeeball.

Then the requisite Slovenian sausages, with onions and sweet pepper relish, with summer job kids in paper hats grilling under greasy green lights.

Finally a few drinks at a place called "Vegas on the Lake" where the band introduced themselves as "I'm Mr. Covert and behind me is the King Sausage" but the older Asian lady who owned the place had fresh squeezed pineapple juice in the fridge. The bartender actually warned me about it, said lots of girls didn't like it because it was fresh, instead of from a can and diluted with sugar, made me try it in front of her to make sure I liked it. The skank bar behind us started playing Pitbull as we walked back to the car.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fridays Questions carry pictures of their cats in their wallets

Just kidding, Friday doesn't own a wallet.

if u were gay, would you eat a bagel?

Um, yes. I would even eat a bagel if I wasn't gay. I bet I might even eat a bagel if I was an astronaut!

What the fuck.

PS its been pointed out to me that this question is not referring to yeasty crusty toasted goodness, but in fact something foul. I am a lady and therefore do not recognize or acknowledge this. If you want to ask if I give rimjobs than just ask it. We're not 8. Well, maybe you are. Also, the answer is no.

Would you sacrifice's hot dog inn or steves for a 24hour bagel shop?

Steve's Hot Dogs is indeed a special institution. What with the prostitutes, annoying kids, and unusable bathroom that is actually an entrance to the hell dimension where everyone is a ferret owner. However, as you may have gathered, I like bagels, even the underage queenie wannabe ones. A 24 hour bagel place would definitely get more of my business, especially if they offered bagel sandwiches. If it's 2 am and you're drunk, you need grease and bread. A breakfast bagel with bacon and egg wins over a chili dog at least half the time. It would just be better to get it from a place where you have less than a 30% chance of getting hepatitis from the loo. And really good coffee would be a plus. There's no 24 hour really good coffee place in Cleveland.

whats a good paint remover?

Elks blood mixed with battery acid.

Do you ever wish that there were actual Elders of Zion who controlled the world?

Look, not only is the Protocols a terrible and racist publication, but its authors are plagiarists, and I would sooner read the original anti-Napoleon satire than pick up a copy of that filth. If I read French. Which I will never do.

But if you're asking me if I think the world would be a better place if an ancient religious cult was conspiring to control the world, then I can only respond with "Where exactly have you been?" There are multiple cults, religious, political and mercantile, that are all vying for control over the world. I think they generally all suck, and encourage everyone to support my cult, which would be way better at it than them.

What is the opposite of brown?

When I mixed all the fingerpaints together, I got brown. So 5 yr old me concludes the opposite of brown is the absence of any color.

30 yr old me insists it is blue.

What is a book which changed your life?

The Bible.

Hahaha, no.

Lots of books change my life all the time. Certain books change my life again every time I read them. I have a selection of books I use to inspire whatever mood I want to be in, like taking a pill or drinking a lot of coffee. For instance, Watership Down makes me super charged political, and The Phantom Tollbooth makes me all philosophical. . Sherlock Holmes makes me want to do puzzles. Tom Robbins convinces me I'm a better writer than I think I am. Margaret Atwood's Robber Bride makes me more observant of my moods. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, while demoralizing because I will never be as awesome as Roald Dahl, reminds me to be childlike and appreciative.

But the spot at the top of the heap, life story wise, I'll give to the Little House on the Prairie series. They were the first books I read all the way through by myself when I was 5 or 6, and the next ten years or so all my imagination was rooted in them. We played dress up to them. I had a pioneer playmobil set because of them. I made my own paper dolls because of them. I pinched my cheeks to make them rosy because of them. I understood the value of ice because of them. I was appropriately terrified of locusts and hail because of them. I had a running childhood first person inner monologue because of them. And most importantly, I really enjoyed going to historical places, museums and birthplaces and stuff, which started with those books.

Who do you love?

Lots of people. My family. My friends. My ex-boyfriends. The people I used to be friends with. Lots of writers. A couple musicians. Mostly dead painters.

Generally anyone who doesn't expect much from me, and is just content to hang out for a while and talk.

I especially love people who love me.

Ask me anything.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And so it came to pass the Earth fell and I became Master of my dominion

This week has been extraordinary slow, hasn't it? Starting with that boring boring solstice, that pretty much sucked the life out of me and our atmosphere. I mean, it's been boiling hot. You can't be witty when it's boiling hot. You have to tend to your melting eyeballs and stinky crevices, don't you?

There have been some interesting going-ons though. General McScrappy thought he was gonna be cool and hip, and get all loose with the young folks. Rolling Stone fed him some hard candy, and he said some things it's not quite smart to say in front of someone who may then seal your words into zeros and ones, distribute them everywhere, even up to the castle where the Wizard may hear. And then he may turn you into a frog, a frog with a long career ahead of him of security consulting. When the first corporation creates the first not secret private corporate army, my money is on McScrappy to be at the helm. Since he's old, you can tell I think that's coming soon, right?

Also we learned about BP burning endangered turtles, and then that cleanup boat captain shot himself. Seems a little suspicious to me, shooting yourself in the morning, when you first get on the boat, instead of after a night staring at the bloodied sea. It seems awfully daytime working hours-ish. Well, if its true, you good and gentle man, I hope you are completely blissfully unaware of it all now. And BP, if you are suddenly bringing all Michael Crichton's nightmares to life, if you are risking the exposure of your dark underbelly because of your floundering desperation? Well, probably nothing will happen to you. You will likely never get caught. This world sucks. Speaking of corporate armies, I hope yours loses. I hope Kraft kicks your ass.

CNN supposedly put out a call for someone to come up with the good side of the oil spill (no they didn't). I have several:

1) Shrimp were obviously destined to someday become the superior race. We've nipped that in the bud.

2) The Mermen army that was being slowly built up on the ocean floor, in preparation for the rising tides of 2012 and their ascent to conquer the Landmen, has also been neutralized.

3)The oil companies will eventually form an international conglomerate to protect themselves against interference from silly civilian governments. They will go on to destroy half the planet, but they will also discover time travel in an attempt to go back and kill way more dinosaurs in much more convenient areas. Thus all the dinosaurs will become extinct, and people will finally stop putting any credence in that silly asteroid theory.

People have been chattering about these errol morris essays - being too incompetent to recognize your incompetence ect ect. They are very interesting, and generally right. That's a trap too, you know. Very good points about the unknown unknowns, but at some point you have to draw the line and assert your own confidence, otherwise you're helpless, trapped by your humbleness. Yes, I don't know what I don't know. However what I do know is letting people die for no reason is wrong, just like hurting them is wrong. That's a stable enough foundation upon which to build a card castle of morals that are my choice. Everybody has to say "no I'm right"at some point. They are probably wrong when they do it, but they have to do it. We are all probably wrong most of the time. This is one very good reason I am an atheist. There are other reasons, but they mostly have to do with how cruel I think moral destiny is.

Finally, I discovered the Doctor, living right here among us...(also I've been watching too much Dr. Who.) Someone make him open his pocket watch.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The light changes again.

Summer Solstice seems medieval and silly now right, all about pagans and bonfires and weird European gods. But it's important. It is an event of the whole planet. The earth is tilting farthest to the sun. We are as close to the sun as we get. The entire Northern Hemisphere is recognizing the longest day of the year.

It's a halfway point in our year. Sensing the end of the seasons, remembering winters that are coming. It inflicts a sense of urgency in our summer, even though summer is just beginning. Solstice reminds us that we are at our peak, and things will need to be harvested and completed, just like winter solstice tells us the darkness will be lifting. So hurry the fuck up and start that yard project. You want to go to Canada, now's the time. You want to learn how to ride your bike in busy traffic, or go to that old fort by Toledo, or have that backyard party? Do it now.

And why did our ancestors celebrate this, not knowing what it actually meant in numbers? They would have had even more urgency, since winter was a time of death and starvation and illness. They would have prayed to their gods to make everything grow, and for babies before it got cold. To extend the light as long as possible so they didn't have to huddle in the cold and be wet all the time . A futile gesture, but an important discipline, for those who wanted to survive. Modern Day us seems to have forgotten the more literal lesson.

I'm okay with that. Maybe we don't need to know it. Its not like everything medieval is really awesome. It's good to forget fear and just relax in the light, and appreciate it's glare. Get some sun on our pasty forearms and cover up our scars with freckles.

So it should now just be a day of appreciation that it's not gloomy all the time, or rainy, or dark. Thank your gods that it's not shit weather all the time. You get to wear sleeveless things, and feels breezes on your arms. You get to forget the harshness of jeans for a while. You can walk casually, instead of blindly bustle to your car. You don't have to worry about getting into accidents all the time while driving.

And don't spend your time inside working all the time, cause you only have so many summers left. We are eventually going to tilt too far and fall in the sun. No, I have no idea if that's true. It's probably not. But I could have left it, and in the back of your head you would have believed it, which is the other important thing to remember today.

I mean, I like it when I don't leave the house for a day, but it can get a little scary

So some heating and cooling business in Atlanta is going to get a little free promotion, because I just saw this Mitsubishi ad on TV during Gilmore girls while eating breakfast, and theirs is the only youtube video I can find with the embedded corporate ad. This is officially the creepiest video I have seen all week. It reeks of Blade Runner and various short story scifi from the 70s, like the one where the president is decided by having everyone in the country take an intelligence test administered by the giant computer? Listen for the very subtle reference to masculinity. Wrest control of your environment from the wicked hands of nature.

The effect is a little ruined at the end, but imagine it cuts off right before that, leaving it's promise in the air like a steely little daydream.

I can suggest two other ways to freak yourself out, if you really want to take this experience further. Do a youtube search for Mitsubishi Electric. The thousands and thousands of ads for hundreds of different products, ads for every imaginable country and market. Then, after you have faced the monster, ran your hand over the thick skin of the beast, go to the Mitsubishi Cooling & Heating solutions website. Think to yourself, "wait, it's not cooling and heating, its heating and cooling solutions. Everybody knows that." The off of it slides against your skin. They are the 215th largest corporation in the world.

Admit that you kind of want one, and get a glimpse of how a company becomes more powerful than a country. Just a glimpse though. You can feel the vastness of what you don't know unfold in front of you, like a yellow brick road with barbed wire across it stretching into the darkness. Feel your smallness.

PS that is a fucking Dharma commercial.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hey, More Piano! (I'm out. Have a nice weekend!)

Friday's Questions have a sunburn, and the worst itch is the one to get out of town for the weekend.

Is Cleveland really as bad as they say? Also, Cincinnati-style chili - good or bad?

Here are the two biggest problems with Cleveland. There are no jobs and our school system is super shitty. Oh, and our Lakefront kinda sucks, as opposed to how it should be, which is like Chicago's, only also covered in wind turbines. So three problems. Otherwise it's pretty much like any other mid sized city. It's not like Pittsburgh, which is really good at guiding out of town people to certain districts. But if you live here, and are familiar with it, it's a pretty decent place. I mean, if you talk to people who live in various neighborhoods around the city, most of them will defend the area they live in, so that's a good sign. Or it's a sign of our overwhelming insecurity. This question isn't helping. The biggest problem in Cleveland is that no one has any money to do all these great cultural things people are constantly trying to create. So it's always the same people doing them. I suspect this is also true in Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.

For those who don't know, Cincinnati chili is basically a thinner, sweeter chili that they eat over fucking spaghetti. Because the River People down south are crazy. I sort of hate spaghetti, and especially when it's smothered in sauce. So I am not a fan, and I think you are gross when you eat it, true story.

But I liked Cincinnati, because it has a river, and bridges. The best thing about Cleveland is standing in Wendy Park, feeling like you are in a Richard Scarry books, because there are trains, boats, planes, trucks all constantly moving across each other in the landscape. Cincy has a little of that vibe. Also that awesome aquarium.

Why aren't there more ghosts? I mean, more people are dead now right? And because of terrible situations? I would think that ghosts would be more commonplace.

There are not more ghosts, because there are no ghosts at all. And there are less people creating ghost legends now, because they have TVs. And, one would hope, better treatment for schizophrenia.

I've always thought the idea of ghosts was a very specifically cruel thing to believe in. I mean, not only do you believe in hell and heaven, which are really inhumane on their own, but then also people who die traumatically also get punished by having to stick around certain locations being really lonely, miserable, and ineffectual? Why are we so mean to the dead?

My favorite use of the word ghosts is when they describe immigrants or refugees in a new society. I think it is the most accurate.

How did I become old enough to get annoyed at co-eds talking about their sex lives in the office?

So you are implying there was a time when you weren't annoyed at people discussing their sex lives in the office? I always find that annoying. First, it makes you imagine that person having sex, which is uncomfortable. And second, I really don't like having personal conversations at the office, because most of my life I would never tell any of them about. They would think its weird, or immoral, or pathetic. At best, they wouldn't have much to follow it up with. Perhaps that's just an example of me being a snob, but I think it's just recognizing that most people at most offices lead fairly normal lives, and I don't feel like I do.

I'm definitely some sort of snob.

I don't know. Maybe you dislike it because it reminds you that you are too old to sleep with the co-eds yourself?

why are older people stupid in one way and younger people stupid in another way, but in a funny way, it's like the same way.

Maybe the people in the middle are too busy to show off their stupidity in the same way?

Stupid people don't magically grow up to be smarter people when they are older. Usually, stupid people devote too much time playing into the stereotype of what their age group is supposed to be doing. Like, younger people are supposed to be drinking, flirting, and worrying about themselves. And older people are supposed to be obsessed with their families, and visibly older, more decorous. The stereotype of middle aged people involves doing lots of things with other families, or focusing on working, and staying inside their houses cleaning or gardening or being frugal. Then when the children go away, they have more time to show off their stupidity publicly.

Anyway, it's not nice to group everyone together. Not all young people are stupid. Not all old people are stupid. Not all people are stupid. But stupid people are stupid no matter what stage of life they're in.

When I drink coffee, little bits of the fine, fine liquid gather in the corners of my mouthlips and dry there. So then I have little brown mouth boogers and find that to be disgusting. What to do?

Wipe your mouth after drinking coffee. Or don't slurp your coffee.

It's okay, when I drink red wine, I still often look like a kid who drank way too much grape koolaid. And my tongue looks like a well bred chow dog.

Whatever you do, don't become obsessed with straws.

What color are you?

I am usually so pale, the veins and purple scares and red cat scratches criss cross my skin like graffiti.

At this moment, I am kinda sunburnt, which is a lovely feeling, cause it's not too burnt. Just like a quick broil. It feels like you are a lobster saved from the pot.

Inside, I am an oil slick.

Why are so many smart people such emotional masochists?

Because we are bored. People whose minds are really occupied with interesting and active ideas are rarely the ones calling the exes or falling in love with alcoholics. If you feel you are an emotional masochist, you should interpret that as a sign that you have vast reserves of mental energy, see it as a positive, and pick something cool to focus that on.

Stable healthy relationships usually only come about when you are living the life you really want to.

Ask me anything.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Ohio Harpsichord Society's Piano Retirement Community

Since the theme this week has been pianos (trust me, it has), I thought I would take a look back at some of the pianos we've met here.

First, the opera night at that French place in New York last year. When Cat was all like, "well, I don't know, we could go to this place where my brother who's an opera singer does like free requests with a bunch of other opera singers. If you want."

The church in Gary, my first exploration, when I dragged my unsuspecting sister from nice comfy Chicago for a day trip into (in retrospect) not the safest situation ever. I have to go back now that I know a little more about taking pictures. The piano is being dwarfed by the giants of air and sound.

The first piano in the Masonic Temple.

The second piano in the Masonic Temple. (the shy one)

The third piano in the Masonic Temple. (the polish one)

There was a fourth one in the basement, but I didn't get a good shot. Why do Masons hate pianos?

Wilson school piano, where a giant stuffed dog plays for a giant stuffed rabbit. Forever.

The Lafayette piano. Sadly, nobody likes it, everybody hates it, now its full of worms.

The Miles piano. Still staring out the bars hoping someone will take it home.

Pianos are our whales in the Wasteland.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What the Village Left When It was Over

In the beginning, there was light and dark. In the light, we saw things, and remembered them, to give us comfort in the dark.

We dipped into the blood, and drew our memories on walls, so that when we died, others would remember them without having to see them.

Warnings against danger. Knowledge of when to plant. How to get back home. What to eat. When to run.

When the pictures couldn't convey our thoughts, we tried to say them. We hummed and grunted, we strung sounds into meanings. There were names given, and taken away. We remembered lines of noise to give our children at night, and our children remembered them to their children. Things we tried to say became songs, or threats, or stories.

Those sounds became solidified into letters, someone wrote them down once, combining the picture magic and the sound magic. The most powerful magic of all, the word magic. The magic that sticks around, that is recorded and referenced and stolen. The magic that gives you judgment, and influence. The power to create, to condemn and bless. Every one of us learned the magic, some better than others. We trained the fingers of babes, to become a nation of language.

We learned from the beginners and created more magic. Identifying ourselves. Identifying things and places and actions. It became a world of names, categorized into proper grammar and legislation and history. We learned to possess the world. It was beautiful in the first stages. We were graceful and powerful. There were storytellers.

But the word magic became aggressive. We labeled it all, the lands and the actions, they became countries and territories, specialized fields of power only select could enter, skills that defined our lives . We worked harder to be remembered. Be in control. Choose your definition. Have a label, or you are nothing. Create it, or you are nothing. Say it properly, or it doesn't exist.

We fought each other for the history, for the things we had identified, for the ideas we had made concrete with noun. My noun is better than your noun.

All this identity crowded around, pushing and grabbing the globe. Belong to the group with the same words as you, repeat those words again and again until they become action, and action becomes war, and war becomes empires, wins, sacrifices. We won and we lost, and the beginning people died with their inferior magic. Soo there were no more things to be said, it had all been uttered. The words then used us for interpretation, to add to themselves. They made us fight over the specifics, and in the fighting, one by one, we were pushed to the side by the greater power. The machine that swept across our world coagulating names items things into a vast tome of meaning, growing bigger and hungrier. Numerical bits in the hurling unfurling of the Collection, a magic that no longer needed our effort to grow, but instead fed itself without reason.

Almost as quickly as we invented it, we lost control of it. Suddenly, it was no longer our thoughts that mattered, but only the words themselves. We lost our names. Everything became a well worded mess, an eternal argument. Semantic invasion. Domination by definition.

Some people abandoned the words, to try and feel something besides their label, to be something beyond a definition. We knew we were dying, so we tried to find immortality in the old magics again. Only we had no blood, so we used manufactured dyes. It was only half of what we had known before, but we tried. It didn't stop the chaos. Being weaker than the Collection, it only served to feed what little power we conjured into more words, more analysis and review and tearing part of the spell at the seams. People were too busy struggling to stay on top of the words to look or listen. They wouldn't shut up.

Now we look again to the light and the dark, to try and understand the old fear of things we did not understand, the things that made us shiver. We try to use the words against the words themselves. It suddenly seems worse to know everything. It doesn't seem to fix anything. Taking away the Fear only made it necessary to create new ones.

The one word we failed to learn was .

More pictures here.