“I Like To Do Just Like The Rest”

I’m not quite sure just why this week has proven to be so exhausting, but it sadly has, hence the relative silence here. While I’m recovering and feeling a little scared about the backlog of songs I have to write about, have some Cornershop doing Bob Dylan and making it into a lovely little pop song:

Writing needs space, time to develop and breathe and turn into something that’s worth reading and not just verbal sludge pouring forth from your fingers and keyboard. The problem with that, of course, is that sometimes your life becomes too much everything and not enough space.

Where It’s At.

Ego, it strikes me, is wishing that the internet would realize when you haven’t had any new stories on a website for a couple days. Such a thing may be a good enough reason for taking stock and coming up with a new plan of attack, when I stop to think about it, but I’m still at that tender stage where prodding that particular bruise too much makes me wince and want to change the subject. The irony of this is that all of it happened at a point where I was thinking long term, and career-building and brand-building and all of those kinds of things, only for thinking and plans to be simultaneously derailed by the same event, leaving me sitting on the ground going “wha’ hoppen?” like a cowboy sitting, legs apart, amidst the wreckage of some exploded caravan as the result of some heist or another.

…I suspect that my analogy got away from me a little, there.

Nonetheless, I see things like this and feel a little inspired, a little nervous; David’s a friend, but also a true talent in terms of writing and thinking that I find myself in constant awe/anticipation of, and I find myself jealous of his sureness in saying things like “I’m good at one thing and straight at several others,” because it’s that surety in myself and my talents that I’m lacking right now, frustratingly enough. “The only thing stopping me is me” he also writes, and I recognize the truth in that, and I try to fight that battle by reminding myself that, if I could’ve gotten this far, it’s not impossible to keep going no matter what setbacks lie ahead. We’ll see if I start to believe that anytime soon, though.

Fame, One Step Removed

The weirdest part of catching up on IFC’s Portlandia recently was seeing various parts of my neighborhood show up in this sketch, particularly the much-beloved Waffle Window, complete with genuine Waffle Windower serving Fred and Carrie. I had this great moment of “Oh my God! That’s actually the woman who works at the Waffle Window! I’ve talked to her and now she’s on television!” while watching this.

(For those who listen to Wait, What? – The woman serving at the Waffle Window is the woman who cut Jeff off when he was in the midst of his Waffle frenzy. For all we know, she is the reason he is alive today, and not dead from Waffle Overdose.)

366 Songs 035: Born To Be Blue

Day two of feeling sorry for myself (This is actually not necessarily true; I’m writing ahead, so this is actually coming from the inner darkness that is Friday evening, still), and so another song with “Blue” in the title, this time Ray Charles doing “Born to Be Blue.”

There’s a fascinating romanticism of sadness in pop music, maybe in more than any other artform, I think. Normal service will be resumed soon, of course.

“Harmony is The Word, Donnie!”

Jack Kirby / DC Comics

Kirby does synaesthesia, from Forever People #2. There’s something wonderfully compelling about an old square’s idea of being “turned on” to the flower people, especially when he’s doing it years after the peak of the flower children movement. I’m not being sarcastic, I should add; I think I like Kirby’s take on psychedelia more than I like the “real thing” in many ways – there’s a purity of intent to it that was very quickly vanquished from the genuine article. Kirby’s Forever People must have seemed out of touch when it appeared in 1971, as opposed to the more charming “out of time” quality that it has now, because it was too close to what it was writing about, but not close enough to be concurrent with the movement… But, looking back now, all I can really think is that I wish that Kirby’s version of the Age of Aquarius had come to pass, somehow.

“The Germans Deserved Great Credit For Their Moral Seriousness”

The delicatessen had three or four tables at which people could sit, purchase a cup of coffee, and read out-of-date Continental newspapers. There was always a copy of Le Monde and Corriere della Sera, and sometimes Spiegel, which Isabel found interesting because of its habit of publishing articles about the Second World War and German guilt. It was important to remember, and perhaps some Germans felt that they could never forget, but would there be a point at which those awful images of the past could be put away? Not if we want to avoid a repetition, said some, and the Germans took this very seriously, while others perhaps preferred to forget. The Germans deserved great credit for their moral seriousness, which is why Isabel liked them so much. Anyone – any people – was capable of doing what they did in their historical moment of madness – and their goodness lay in the fact that they later faced up to what they had done. Did the Turks go over their history with a moral fine-tooth comb? She was not aware of it, if they did, and nobody seems to mention the genocide of the Armenians – an atrocity which was virtually within living memory – except the Armenians, of course.

And the Belgians, she suddenly remembered, who had passed a resolution in their Senate only a few years previously noting what had happened in Armenia. Some had said that was all very well, but then what about what Leopold did in the Congo? And were there not islanders, somewhere in the Pacific, whose ancestors stood accused of eating – yes, eating the original inhabitants of the lands they occupied? Most unfortunate. And then there were the British who behaved extremely badly in so many parts of the world. There was the woeful story of the extinction of the Tasmanian aboriginals and so many instances of cruelty and theft under the bright protection of the Union Jack. When would British history books face up to the appalling British contribution to slavery, which involved the Arabs, too, and numerous Africans (who were not just on the receiving end)? We were all as bad as one another, but at some point we had to overlook that fact, or at least not make too much of it. History, it seemed, could so quickly become a matter of mutual accusation and recrimination, an infinite regress of cruelty and oppression, unless forgetfulness or forgiveness intervened.

– Alexander McCall Smith, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate.

Today Is The Greatest Day I’ve Ever Had (Note: Sarcasm As Well As Smashing Pumpkins Reference)

It’s one of those days, the ones where everything just seems to continue happening even though you’re hoping that there’ll be some time soon to catch your breath; from waking up to the sound of an alarm that water was coming in the basement to everything that’s followed (Mostly related to the basement flooding, which has pretty much taken up the entire day and my brain throughout), today feels like a month of stress wrapped up into one 11-hour package (Has it really only been 11 hours since I woke up? Jeez). This can only be a karmic reaction for being so relaxed during a massage yesterday that I fell asleep; this’ll teach me for thinking that my embarrassment over falling asleep during a blooming* massage was karmic payback enough.

(* – self-censorship for both comic effect and whatever sensitive souls may be reading this.)

#Humblebrag

This will never, ever happen again, I’m sure, but here’s the current list of top 10 stories on Techland:

The ones that aren’t blurred out? They’re mine. Somehow, I have four stories in the current top 10, and three of them are the top 3 currently. This is a somewhat boasting post, I know, but hopefully illustrates my point about what a weird week it’s been.

As I said in email to someone earlier this week, this week has been crazy; I’ve had weird (and amusing) passive aggressiveness with PR folk for work things, semi-quasi job offers that I really really wanted to accept but financial and time realities prevented me from doing so, amid personal stuff and a cleanse that has kicked my ass in ways that I would never have imagined having previously done other cleanses that have seemed so much more hardcore (Seriously, on Monday I could’ve killed someone for looking at me the wrong way, I was so pissed off and unhappy). Considering how last week went, it’s possible that January is fascinatingly shaping up to be the month that tries to kill me before I make it through to what is hopefully going to be a much better Rest Of 2012. If what’s happened in the last couple weeks is an omen for how the rest of the year is going to turn out, I might just consider hibernating and starting over in 2013.