Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Screen Test

Hi everyone! Baby Grouchie and I started this blog exactly three years ago today without a clue. My introduction to technology was a Brother typewriter where you could type a sentence on a teeny-tiny screen and then hit print, saving you copious amounts of white-out. Before that, I had an IBM Selectric that weighed almost as much as I did and on which I typed some of the most horrible stories written where nobody went anywhere and nothing happened. But I was writing and that was something. I don't think any time spent pursuing your great love is wasted. Okay, maybe a few outfits, particularly the one that made me look like a poor man's Heidi Fleiss was definitely a mistake, but what can you do?

I've never made predictions on how long I'll write or how often -- until my recent fun surgery/near death joyride, I hadn't missed a day. Not because I feel obligated, but because I enjoy it. Here's my chance to say thanks to all my faithful readers, the ones who comment and the ones who don't. The ones that have made my day or made me think. For the great love and support I received during my ruptured appendix debacle which is nowhere near as fun as Cal's champange punch as beautiful Jodi recently reminded me. So here's to whatever comes next -- my poetry manuscript is scheduled for publication so I can't do anything else to it, thank goodness, and I'm in the midst of rewriting the memoir which now has a new title -- Second Day Reported has become Screen Test. If you guys know any cool photography terms, please send them to me! And I'll be back tomorrow, God willing.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I should be depressed/ my life's a mess, but I'm having a good time." Paul Simon

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Feeling Good Nina Simone/ Joe Clausell Remix (Verve Remixed)

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Reflection In The Mirror

It takes a long time to sound like yourself. Miles Davis said that and I concur. Three years ago tomorrow, I started this blog without a clue of what I wanted to say or how often I wanted to say it. Turns out that writing two paragraphs became an almost daily routine, turns out that I included pictures. Didn't give it much thought at the time, but over the years, people have commented a lot about the picture element -- everything from approval, maternal worry, disgust, confusion, take your pick. I've had all sorts of reactions myself, some diplomatic, some, umm, less so. I've written entries to explain myself or chosen not to at times. But as I'm revising my memoir, I realized that it is perhaps God's way of directing my attention to a way of structuring the book. When we get asked something over and over to the point of absolute madness (Someone asked me if I found the comment the other day about dangling myself in front of the "wolves" (and for the record, I do not consider men "wolves" or anything else) interesting to which I replied, No, I find the whole Madonna/whore complex a real bore. But it got me thinking as I sat in my office, struggling to figure out what my book is about. I wrote it; you'd think I would have a clue. Wrong!

We create our identities all the time. We choose clothes and haircuts and foods and movies and music and friends. We define and refine; we asked to be noticed or not. The subjects I write about are not sexy, but sometimes the pictures are. Is this juxtaposition a bad thing? I don't think so. We're never one thing even when people try to box us. And who is more guilty of boxing ourselves at times than our own minds? I'm far from perfect in any sense of the word -- I have an eight inch scar down my stomach that makes women cringe. I'd hate to have that, I've heard more than once. And I have a big ass and thin hair and dark circles under my eyes. Sometimes I look good, other times I don't. Many rape victims are reported as saying that a big part of them died after the attack. Or that they wished they had died. I understand that feeling, but I don't want that to be me. How do people know that they have died in movies? They can no longer see their reflection in the mirror. I can still see myself, good and bad, and that's something.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I knew secrets could be shameful. But I didn't realize they also had power." Heather Sellers

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Wristcutters

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving

Been bogged down in sending out a new poetry manuscript titled The Last Days of Our Pompeii. Need to catch up on a bunch of stuff! But it's spring now and maybe that will give me the energy. I'm going to post a new and maybe improved gin and tonic video this weekend, God willing. Hope you're all hanging in there!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Que sera, que sera, whatever will be will be." theme for the Doris Day show -- seems to fit the mood this afternoon

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Love Liza

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Pearl Of Great Price

Endings have always been my forte, in writing if not in life. But the end is merely the beginning of the tedious and exhausting process of revision. I like revision up until a point. That point being when I want to tear each individual hair out of my head. When I can no longer look at the damn thing anymore and think it's the devil. There's an expression from the great campy classic, The Boys in the Band, called "the turning." Basically, it's my shorthand for when you get to the point in anything where you don't like it and like food, it has turned bad, evil, and foul. Sadly, you have labored way too hard on writing to throw it out like moldy bread. Instead, you have to scrape the mold off (like I did when I was especially poor in the literal sense much to the horror of my rich best friend at the time) and see what can be salvaged. This is as much fun as it sounds.

This is where your friends save you. When you hit the wall with a manuscript, your most generous and thoughtful friends will come to your aid and show you what you need to do. I've recently experienced this phenomenon (thanks Bamms and Mark!) and can only say that people who you trust enough to critique your writing should be treated with the same love you'd expend on the pearl of great price to use a biblical turn of phrase. I trust people with damn near everything from my hair color to Snowflake's infrequent care, but showing your writing to someone requires a great deal of trust between both people. To lay your burdens on someone else and have them hold up a mirror, this is the definition of love.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world."
Helen Keller

Cocktail Hour
Drinking novel suggestion: Such Good Friends Lois Gould

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beer Magic

Loved the comment the other day by Anna Fricke about how people's drink selections define them as much as anything else. Drinks are sometimes who we are, sometimes who we want to be, and sometimes our downfall. I have a deep love of champagne; it doesn't give me a hangover and fits with Lord Byron's instructions regarding what women should consume in public -- the only other thing is lobster. I've often felt bad about hating wine since it is the quintessential grown-up drink. But I can't bring myself to drink it, not red or white. I've learned to like beer; women who like men often find themselves in this position. I'm a fan of the great Texas beer, Shinerbock. There's a bar in Ft. Worth called Beer Magic; I like to joke that beer magic is simple -- if you have it, men appear.

For every long relationship I've had, there's a spirit involved that reminds me of the man -- so far, I've managed to ruin or reminiscence fondly on gin, scotch, and tequila. I suspect there might be men who like more exotic liquors, but I'm probably not destined for them in this life. My first husband made himself sick on Thunderbird, alas illustrating the dangers of marrying young. I enjoy Bloody Marys, Mimosas, all sorts of potions. They all say and promise things that they don't really deliver. But it's when you stop caring what you put in your mouth or what comes out of it that you're in trouble.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Don't bother trying to join the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It turns out they're apparently against all three." Wiley

Cocktail Hour
Drinking gin and tonic video tomorrow!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nothing In The House

Here's an older attempt at a short short, not the Nair kind as in we wear, but the fiction variety. I always wanted to use the name Jim Jones in a story and to start a story where someone is weeping and holding a spork. I don't know why these became important goals, but there you have it.

Nothing In the House

Jim Jones put down his spork and started to cry. He put his hands on his temples, feigning a headache, a performance played to a mostly empty house, given that there were only two other customers in the Taco Bell, two teenagers with matching ear enlargers, the same impulse that causes couples to dress in matching outfits. Jim’s mother died two months ago and his wife, he felt certain, was having an affair. On top of everything else, there was the issue of his name. He’d just gotten his real estate license and how some people were superstitious, not wanting someone with a psychotic cult leader’s name to sell their house or help them buy one, even though that was all such a long time ago and even the movie was a long time ago, still a stigma, damn it all! He liked the movie, The Guyana Tragedy, Powers Booth as Jones with his touch of the jungle fever, his scenes with James Earl Jones, a great Father Divine, and then Jones went nutsola and he yelled at Levar Burton for being a homosexual, for having tendencies. Levar was a long way from the Reading Rainbow, doing serious art, Kunte Kinte and now this, a man at the mercy of whitey because he believed some crazy utopia bullshit. Levar, it seemed, could not get a break.

And Jim didn’t feel like he could either. He looked at the teenagers, Goths, and their tattoos and picked at his Nachos Supreme. He’d never had a tattoo -- was it too late? Was he forever past that kind of self-decoration? The last woman he’d sold a house to had been in her sixties and had several tattoos, some, she informed him, in places you couldn’t even see anymore. She’d make a joke about not drinking the Kool-Aid every time she saw him, (ha! was his bitter forced laugh, ha ha!)

He and his wife Marie had met a few years ago. He had felt a tenderness toward her, had felt happy not to have to go everywhere alone. His mother told him not to marry her -- you have to burn for each other or it’s all shit before long. He told her that she sounded like one of the teenagers Marie taught and she told him that teenagers knew about love because they had more time for it than the rest of us.

I don’t want to burn, Ma, Jim said. I want to grow up. Settle.

Then don’t tell me when she leaves you for someone she burns for.

And now she was dead and her prediction had come true.

Jim knew about the affair because Marie had lost weight and starting dressing up for work, tight skirts and all that look at me cleavage and smiling to herself like some kind of half-wit. Also, her colleague Donny’s wife had called and said, Did you know Donny is sleeping with Marie? (God, he couldn’t believe it; he would have thought that Marie would have been mortified to sleep with someone named Donny given the Osmonds, but perhaps she called him Don to mitigate the humiliation.) Me, I could give a shit, it’s a relief that he can get his needs met by another woman, but you, you might be suffering.

He wasn’t suffering, per se. He wasn’t in love anymore and not being in loved sucked, although he wasn’t very good at passion either, the oh baby, no one fucks me the way you do, the I’d walk across hell if you left your hat there and bring it back and put it on your precious little head shit. Marie taught sociology and psychology at the local arts magnet high school and while she had started out with a great deal of optimism, all color-coded folders and graphic paper grading books, her methods had devolved into making up grades to record (when she bothered) and lamenting the lack of structure in her student’s lives. She’d become the mother that claims to be her daughter’s best friend and proceeds to tell the poor child all about the blow job she just performed on the neighbor.

Jim had grown weary of all the upheaval and wanted things to return to normal. Instead of asking her what she wanted to make for dinner which elicited many moans and eye rolls and complaints about how there was nothing in the house, he’d put his hands on his temples like Johnny Carson doing the Amazing Karnac and ask if there was food in their future, trying to be funny and failing if her lack of laughter was any indication.

What the hell, he thought, after another late night at work for Marie, her supposedly helping plan the prom. It was the prom all right, if prom meant your wife putting out for some idiot special ed teacher in cheap hotel rooms by the highway with a fifth of Gordon’s gin in a bucket of ice, chilling for their sipping pleasure. Why wasn’t the spirit of his dead mother haunting Marie and Donny, breaking mirrors and shit to let them knew she meant business? Weren’t the dead supposed to be indignant?

The teenagers got up to leave, taking the remnants of their meal to the trashcan that startled him with an automated thank you every time someone dumped trash in it. The night outside had bite, springtime in Detroit. He didn’t feel like going home, but staying at Taco Bell all night didn’t seem practical either. Why was so much of life dying to get somewhere that you’d also have to leave? But what could he do? There was nothing else he wanted.

So now he’s home, nothing in the liquor cabinet, not like he couldn’t stand a night without drinking anyway. Don’t want to turn into some sad Lifetime movie where he becomes an abusive prick because he doesn’t get what he wants and turns to the bottle for his solace. Nabbing one of Marie’s Valiums, Jim gets into an unmade bed that night, wishing it were not so, wishing that he had the strength and foresight to have made it, to anticipate the moment when it would have been nice to have something to pull down and arrange instead of something in which to crawl and swallow the tiny blue pill that would give him some relief. But wishes don’t come true and maybe that’s a good thing. He can be anyone in this bed -- the man of someone’s dreams and maybe some kind woman will love him all of his life. Ha, he thinks, the bitter laugh choking his throat. He misses his mother, even if she did name him a stupid name. It wasn’t her fault! She just liked the name Jim.

For the first time, he understood that she wasn’t coming back and that while Marie would find her way to the bed late tonight, she wouldn’t be coming back either. After taking the pill, he tried to focus on what he’d learned about selling houses, what would be the next part of his life, the life without his mother or Marie. But the ideas kept getting jumbled, and he couldn’t remember if he were supposed to do the hard sell first or the soft one, pretend like nobody was interested or if he had another buyer that was threatening to put down money in the next hour. He did remember the other guy in the class, a loud confident type who should have been named Jim Jones, leaning over to him during the test and saying, What bullshit. All you need to know to sell a house is to pretend that it’s the best fricking deal the people will ever get and it won’t last long. Jim didn’t agree with him at the time, but now he thinks he was onto something.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"There is no beauty without strangeness." Karl Lagerfeld

Cocktail Hour
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Refresh, Refresh Benjamin Piercy

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday! Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on the taser protection jacket post. For some reason, it definitely grabbed my interest -- as Lana pointed out, it says a lot about the world. As for the rape/lust issue brought up by Whitenoise, I think I see sexual violence as about power, anger, and violence and not desire.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

No Contact

I just saw an ad for a no-contact jacket, one that women can wear to help protect themselves from assault. With the push of a button, the jacket acts as a taser gun to repel potential attackers. I don't know why this ad gives me the creeps. I had the same reaction to the ad for the car sensor that could pick up the beating of a human heart, should someone be hiding in your vehicle in some lonely, deserted parking lot. For $950, the no-contact jacket also comes with a philosophy, one describing how women's fashions are meant to restrict and make women vulnerable, ie, high heels are not great for running (although I have done so, mostly to grab the last dessert or get away from wicked children).

I'm the kind of person who won't wear a name tag, much less a jacket with electricity inside. Fear causes a kind of paralysis in me, not flight or fight. But over time, I've learned how to both run and throw myself on the hand grenade. Understanding now that the occasional explosion is not the end of the world or anything else. And while I approve of the no-contact jacket in theory, I can't see having my fashion choices dictated by fear. In the end, the only person I'd shock would be myself.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The great epochs of life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." Friedrich Nietzche

Cocktail Hour
Drinking video suggestion: I'm redoing the gin and tonic video now that it's spring and the first video seems trapped forever. The next potion after that will be of the margarita variety.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday! Thanks for checking on me, gorgeous Jodi! I've been a under the weather, but am back to full speed now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Virgin Spring

Not long ago, I was forced to watch The Virgin Spring, an Ingmar Bergman movie inspired by a thirteenth century folk ballad about a girl who is raped and killed. Her attackers unwittingly take refuge in her parents' house where they are subsequently killed when the parents discover what has happened to their daughter. The person who made me see this jewel said, You write about rape. You will love it. Umm, okay. This same ballad serves as the inspiration for more recent gems, most of them titled The Last House On The Left. I have no intention of seeing the one out right now. But I do like Max Von Sydow and found myself enjoying The Virgin Spring in that odd way that something real and profound can jostle you out of your complacence. The line that stays with me is when Von Sydow says, The most beautiful day can end in the most horrible of tragedies.

Which is what strikes me about the Natasha Richardson accident. A bunny slope, a ski lesson, a fall. Nothing terribly unusual about that. Probably not a thought in the world about danger, secret bleeding, head trauma. My heart breaks to think about that last hour of consciousness, about her joking with her sons. A lot of the articles point to the importance of wearing helmets, about precautionary measures. I hate whenever something terrible befalls someone how everyone seems to jump as fast as possible to saying that it could never happen to them because they would have been smarter. Not true. Terrible unpreventable tragedies happen all the time. Since my luck recently has been all but perfect, I think I'm going to avoid all slopes, bunny or otherwise. But knowing the words from the movie to be all too true no matter what you avoid.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"What's in the movie compared to what we shot is the tip of the iceberg." Natasha Richardson

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Sunshine Cleaners

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Faults Of Other People

My friend Hank once wrote an essay titled "The Faults Of Other People" about being forced to endure an academic diversity workshop where all parties were supposed to reveal their hidden stereotypes about race, sex, disability, and so on. Despite reassurances that none of what they said would be held against them or ever revealed, much like an AA meeting, nobody would say much of anything out of fear. Nobody ever admitted to telling a racist joke or not stopping someone from telling one, nobody admitted to their own upbringings or sins that had been committed against them. And let's face it, lack of honesty is always a phenomenal bore. But I've never been a fan of people who classify themselves as "honest" because in my limited experience, it sometimes serves as code for an asshole who uses the truth to bludgeon other people when it suits them.

So herein lies the dilemma when discussing our own faults and of course, a favorite and infinitely more pleasurable subject, the faults of other people. Today would have been Hank's 39th birthday had he lived. What would he have said about being on the verge of forty? To me, he will always be young in that deeply precocious way, the way some people are when they have borne up under a heavy burden. Of course, in the workshop, he was forced to write about his blindness and what people thought about it. All the stereotypes swirled -- the good ones about it giving you supernatural insight or musical talent (according to Hank, one trip to a blind camp talent show will disabuse you of this notion) and the way the word blind is used in our language as a negative, when someone is doing something misguided or stupid. But as Hank would say, no matter what our actual sight, we see what we want to see until the truth, whatever version that we cannot deny, strikes us.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don't worry...I'm here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you." -Charlie Brown to Snoopy

Cocktail Hour
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Delicate Edible Birds Lauren Groff

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday! Happy birthday to my dear Stacey!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Woodstock is enjoying his cookie, Baby Grouchie has already hit the bars. Since his appearance on Pink, he's been a really bad boy. Hope you're enjoying the day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Somewhere In The North

Sorry for the retreat -- I'm back from the evil flu and appreciate all well wishes!

When I was in the third grade, I had a demanding teacher whose last name changed almost every year (she got married a lot, got mad, went back to her maiden name, and got married again to another unwitting victim) -- she was Mrs. Goodwin that year. Her daughter was my age, a beautiful large girl who never ever seemed to make a mistake. Mrs. Goodwin seemed mystified by my ability to remember things without taking notes -- you're not writing, she'd say, until she figured out that I didn't need to and because I was always out of Big Chief paper and didn't want to go through the humiliating process of borrowing from someone else, listening to them sigh as they ripped off a page for me and listen to my lame promises to repay them the very next day.

Eventually, she had me grading quizzes for her instead of listening to the lesson although I'd overhear her say things like, If you're not a neat person, you should never be allowed loose-leaf paper. I'd let my daughter use it, but never my son. Her son attended college somewhere in the north and at the end of the year hanged himself with his belt from the rafters of his dorm room. Because I was small and silent, I could listen to adult conversations about the topic without being noticed and learned the sad meager details of his end, the note that he had apparently started and ripped up without finishing. I could imagine him in his last hours, not able to explain anything and giving up and saw him as my spiritual brother, the boy who couldn't stay neat enough to deserve loose-leaf paper. Despite my mother's attempts at making me look beautiful, I tended toward an unkempt haggard appearance, still in recovery from my second stomach ulcer. At the end of the year, Mrs. Goodwin paid me a compliment, a rarity from someone like her, even in the best of times. She said, You're the smartest girl in the room and I looked up from the stack of papers I was stapling for her, giving her a half-smile, the kind that employees reserve for a demanding boss who, even after the job was done, would linger because she had no other place to go.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Dancing Queen Lisa Crystal Carver

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Whiten the Green Plains Under

Hi everyone! Still with the tiny evil cold. Stayed in writing on Friday the 13th. Will return with regular post soon. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Talent is luck. The important thing in life is courage." Woody Allen

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Minnie and Moskowitz

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Broken Glass

Hi everyone! Have been suffering with a tiny case of an evil cold. Will be back at you on Friday the 13th. Hope you're having a great week! The Last Episode of Sober House was on tonight and I was deeply sad. Both Celebrity Rehab and Sober House played a huge part of my recovery from my surgery. Also, I decided on a new drinking game -- take a shot every time Andy Dick cries on camera. It works better than I Never and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf combined!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Add It Up

Once when I was visiting sunnier climes than Detroit, I gave money to a legless man in a wheelchair adorned by flags. He sat in the same place by the post office across from the trailerpark where he lived. I'd sometimes see him wheel over to his post and hang out. I felt bad whenever I saw him -- some internal voice kept saying, You have legs. Go over and say hi, loser. I don't know if this is how God talks to everyone, but there you have it. So I did -- I went over and started a conversation, overpaid for a flag that I did not take as I couldn't see myself walking around with a big old honking flag all day, and told him I was from Detroit. "God," he said. "That place seems really depressing."

I had to laugh -- here was a legless dude in a flag-adorned wheelchair telling me that Detroit and my life there sounded depressing?! I couldn't believe it. I feel anxious a lot. Defeated, occasionally. Out of place, often. But depressed, well, seldom. On my desk, there's a postcard of Marilyn Monroe drawing a heart in the sand. It will wash away, sure, there's that. But she looks so happy drawing it, the whole ocean behind her that you can't see, full of secrets, beauty, danger. One can only imagine what the tide will bring.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently." Saint Augustine

Cocktail Hour
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Don't Cry Mary Gaitskill

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Barbie!

Much has been said about Barbie -- feminist icon, evil twat (Remember the whole "Math is hard!" debacle), eating disorder training school . . . You get the picture. None of it has been said by me because I never really cared that much; I knew I'd never look like Barbie and for me, math is incredibly hard. Worst of all worlds, right? But I had to laugh when one of my friends told me about growing up poor and getting off-brand Barbie and Kens from the Dollar Store. "You'd be making Barbie and Ken have sex and Ken's leg would come off." Good preparation for real life, I thought, or at least a lot more helpful than those horrible Cosmo "Delight Him Tonight" articles, the kind buried in the magazine that contain such stellar tips as draping a red scarf over your lamp. Okay, that's one way to burn the house down.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"To see a doll of yourself is very weird and very neat at the same time." Thuy Trang

Cocktail Hour
Gin and tonic video still trapped by evil spell. No gin and tonics were consumed until AFTER the video, Charles! Even so, the mistakes were tasty!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Hi everyone! Horrid technical difficulties with gin and tonic video. The video is obviously cursed because I am giving out THE secret to the perfect gin and tonic. I'm going to give it one more try and then I'll be back at you later today with another post. Happy Monday!

Friday, March 06, 2009

First Marriage In A Storefront Window

Here's the Friday poem! Hope you're having a great weekend. I'll be around this weekend with the perfect gin and tonic for all interested.

First Marriage In A Storefront Window

My life, a car with the engine light
on and yet I drive dark streets hoping
not to sputter and die. Casting back
to those early married days and suddenly
it's Christmas and candles burn in shop
windows as we wait for friends to join us
for dinner. Near our end, but I don't
know that yet. We step into the chain
restaurant and Marvin Gaye asks
through tinny speakers if he can get a witness.
A fried onion shaped like a flower is
brought as a starter. I know I shouldn't
eat so much of it, but I love what makes me
sick. Perhaps it will not always be like this.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Sometimes films ignore other points of view because it's simpler to tell the story that way, but the more genuine and sympathetic you are to different points of view and situations, the more real the story is." Ang Lee

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Straight Time
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Road Goes On Forever

Since my feeble mind is in the spirit of protest today (I'm still working on that "new" project), I'm going to do a soundtrack for All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers (fantastic Larry McMurtry novel). Yes, I'm stealing this idea from someone. You know who you are.

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry -- Hank Williams
The Road Goes On Forever -- Robert Earl Keen
Ballad Of Charlie Whitman -- Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys
Luckenbach, Texas -- Waylon Jennings
Copperhead Road -- Steve Earle
My Drinkin' Problem -- Hank Williams III
Heartaches by the Numbers -- Dwight Yoakum

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"What greater grief than the loss of one's native land." Medea

Cocktail Hour
This week -- the perfect gin and tonic video. If you want the secret, you must watch. If you wish, you can impress friends, enemies, and old and current loves with this potion. Or you can drink it yourself and dream of summer.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Looking For Mr. Goodbar

As I was writing today (trying to get into a new project -- that's the problem with finishing a book -- you have to start a new one), I started thinking about phrases I use as shorthand for certain situations. I'm going to list a few and ask you guys if you have any that you use.

Play Misty For Me -- great Clint Eastwood movie about a woman who becomes obsessed with a late night dj/ I use this to mean any woman with a creepy gleam in her eye who follows/stalks the man of her dreams. Sometimes this method works -- dear reader, the last person I used this description for married her object of desire.

A Star Is Born -- Kris Kristopherson, Barbra Streisand -- woman becomes famous, man well, stays as he is. Problems ensue.

Midnight Cowboy -- one of my favorite movies, but I use the phrase to mean a man who is dressed in a tragic way. Can also apply to any man who works as a "dancer" No, I do not mean Mikhail Barishinkov, I mean the kind that is hired for every bachelorette party that should never ever be.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar -- a friend of mine often says careless, reckless when someone is doing something stupid. I use this term for two totally separate things --behavior of any kind that falls into category of either a) winning a Darwin award or b)punishment on television/movies for any woman who is remotely sexual in a non-traditional way.

That's very Karen Carpenter -- behavior that is billed as wholesome but in fact is very dark and vital and interesting underneath scary, shiny veneer.

Anything to add?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You can rot here without feeling it." John Rechy

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: The Wrestler Bruce Springsteen

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

We Were Winning When I Left

Here's the start of an old story -- I'll be back at you tomorrow with something new. Thanks for reading!

We Were Winning When I Left

There are few things more humiliating than having a dog shit on you while you sleep. The dog who did this to me is long dead, Pepper, my grandmother’s black poodle, the low-energy dog that nobody liked, that ate and slept and had no trace of personality. Pepper was frequently contrasted to Peppy, my mother's dog that died from the exhausting pursuit of the neighbors' German Shepherd while the Shepherd was in heat. At least he lived up until the end, my mother would say, defending Peppy. At any rate, it was Pepper who climbed up on my skinny little back and defecated without waking me up. My father started screaming when he saw me the next morning, yelling, don't roll over while my mother laughed until she couldn't breathe. I always thought that t-shirt looked like shit, she said. After Mother snapped from stress a few years later, she formed a theory that a demon had forced Pepper to hover above my back and perform his surprise.

These were my thoughts as I laid in bed, not wanting to get out and knowing that I couldn’t stay forever. It was a Saturday, and I didn’t have anything to do so I fell back asleep. Living alone means never having to pretend you’re some sort of go-getter. Now that I had been caught in a situation that I’d never dreamed I’d be caught in, I had been happy to live the way I wanted to live, no parents, no boyfriends, no clutter. I kept the apartment immaculate, if only as a rebellion against my rather haphazard nature and my parents’ house full of dead snakes and spiders in paperweights, stuff that you didn’t notice until it was right next to you, terrifying you with its simple horrible presence. The phone woke me from a dream where I walk into a mirrored room only to find out someone has razored tiny cuts in my face. I picked up the phone, trying to shake off the dream.

Without so much as a hello, my friend April reported that she thought her boa constrictor had died. I made sympathetic noises, but was relieved in that way you feel when someone you love breaks up with a real asshole.

“He’s cold except where he was on his hot rock. Plus, he threw up his rat,” she said.

“He threw up his rat?” I asked.

“She started to cry. “He’s supposed to live for twenty more years.”

An hour later, April arrived with an extra-large Playmate cooler carrying the seven-foot body of her boa. I remembered pulling a Coke out of that Playmate. Never again.

“His eyes are still clear,” she said. “Maybe he’s not dead.”

I pretended to look before I motioned for her to close the cooler.

“Things cloud up when they die,” she said.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning." Billie Jean King

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Be Kind Rewind (I finally watched this and realized that it is just like my life in some bizarre emotional way. If you rent it, give it a little while. You'll love it!)

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday! To my girl Jodi, fresh twinkies can mean any number of things, but I think Mr. Twinkie Kid is meant for actual twinkies.

Monday, March 02, 2009

In Lieu Of Flowers

Hey guys -- hope you had a great weekend! Seem to be on a poetry kick for the past few days so here's another one, kind of a companion piece to "Remember Me On This Computer." Thanks for all the sweet comments about Hank -- he loved technology (he was the first person I knew who had a website) and I think he would approve of the sort of Internet memorial that people who knew and loved him keep.

In Lieu of Flowers

You will have to hear a lot of stupid shit,
including, but not limited to, questions
of suffering, the duration, as in at least
he or she is not anymore as if we all don't
suffer and still wish to live. Furthermore,
the weather will be an insult. You will be
expected to continue in a normal fashion.
Don't make the mistake of telling people
you aren't doing so well. You are a well,
an open wound, a grave decorated by trinkets
that will rust or blow away in time.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” Malcolm X

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Tweaked Patrick Moore

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

It's Martini Time

Hi everyone! Hope your Sunday is going well. I'm both happy and sad to report that Baby Grouchie once again made it onto Pink Is The New Blog holding a Harvey Milk postcard on the night of the Academy Awards. Once again, he's acting out -- drinking, clubbing, and even smoking sometimes. And he thinks he's a celebrity now so rehab will have to be some bullshit expensive place like Promises which his mommy cannot afford. Alas, the trials . . . Happy Sunday!