Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Don't ask me how I'm doin'...

Sometimes moments come together and are as close to perfect as you could make them without actually getting anything that you wish or that would make you really happy.

Ryan Adams concert tonight. Perfect weather, great sound, fantastic friends, the kind of night that makes you wish you were a musician yourself so that you could participate. One of my friends couldn't make it although we had planned this for quite a while, and I felt bad for him; life so often is fraught with the agony of "I Couldn't" or "It's Beyond My Control," when the truth is we make our decisions on who we are and how we respond to others. As my mom so often told me, you can't control how others behave, all you can do is control how you react to it. And so tonight was...well, not an epiphany, but a confirmation, I suppose. Our lives may not be what we wish them to be, perhaps our jobs aren't as fulfilling as we might hope, our knitting may have caused us to cry and throw the needles across the room on Sunday after dropping a stitch and you're going to have to start that effing thing over again for the fifth time, maybe our lives still don't contain that special person that you wanted to be there, but so long as you are able to find joy where you can, it can still be a pretty good world. Not great, mind, but pretty good--which were the words of anonther friend whom I ran into, as he summed up the concert.

I ate my ham and cheese and sugar-cookie takeout from the Paradise Cafe and simply appreciated the fact that I got to be there. I suppose it could always be a lot worse.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm Your Man (Eater)

Being one of those Netflix type people, I recently received a copy of the long-awaited Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" documentary. I don't know how you could make the music of Leonard Cohen boring, Bono a pompous ass, and yet Rufus Wainwright still sucked (that much we know to be true), but this thing managed to do all of that and so much more. Not one interesting thing was told to me about Leonard's life; I did, however, get to listen to the caterwauling of a bunch of Snow Monkeys (Canadians?) performing what they purported to be Leonard Cohen songs.

Now, the average person is going to argue that Leonard is no kind of a singer, and this I might grant you, personal taste being what it is. But these people...these...suckholes of talent, if you will, took an admittedly simple tune and made it completely execrable. If Morrissey got really, really, really drunk and had a night of wild passion with Herb Alpert and his entire Tijuana Brass, with vocals dubbed by that old lady from church choir whose vibrato is only matched by her wattle, then maybe it could communicate just a part of what kind of feculent ear-raping was going on. Even Nick Cave looked like he didn't want to be there. I didn't blame him. I didn't want to be there, either, and it was just the first performance in.

So I was mad, and I sulked, for I had long awaited the coming of this documentary. I even watched the trailers for other shows--U.S. vs. John Lennon I've seen and it was great, but then they had this one about the Bear Guy, and that set me off all over again.

The Bear Guy is some shmuck who spent his life crawling around with the bears and talking to them like he was potty training them, as near as I can tell. I simply don't understand these people. They swim with sharks, and talk about how "amazing" it is. They insist on rubbing up with dangerous creatures for the sake of the thrill, or the beauty of being "as one" with them, or whatever. Being as one with a shark? Yeah, right. They are animals, they are fish, they are predators. Basically what you're doing is desensitizing these animals' fear of humans and are showing them that they could probably eat you.

And the Bear Guy got eaten. Quelle surprise. I always wonder, do you really think you're fooling the animals? "Oh, the wolves have clearly accepted me as one with their pack." I always picture it going like this:

(Early morning. The bears get up. One bear nudges another.)

"Hey, there's that asshole that thinks he's a bear. Let's eat him."

And there is the one mellow bear who responds with "Aw, c'mon, guys, he's not hurting anything. Just leave him alone."

One morning, though, they get up and the bears look around and nudge each other.

"Hey, there's that asshole that thinks he's a bear. Let's eat him."

And they look around, but that philanthropic bear has stepped out to check the fastenings on his panty girdle, and since there is no objection, they eat the asshole that thinks he's a bear.

End of story.

I'm just sayin'.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Shat sings Common People

Probably one of the most satisfying things in the entire world.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The man who would be exploited

So my friend Jeff has been working on a series of paintings of princesses from fairy tales. One of my favorite things about him is that he doesn't go for the highly sanitized, ever-so-Disneyized versions of the stories (not that there's anything wrong with Disney, mind, it's part of my childhood and that was before we saw the Return of Jafar III straight-to-video fodder. Those were the Good Old Days, my friend, yes indeedy). Not for nothing is he a Bad Man, not one to shy away from a less savory and more accurate retelling of the story. This one is The Little Mermaid.

I always loved this story; I find tragedies to be my masochistic fascination. Why the hell didn't she write it down and tell the prince what was going on? I always wondered. If it were ME, I certainly wouldn't smile and let myself be martyred. I'd TELL him how I felt. If he was gonna marry that princess anyway, then at least I'd know and wouldn't feel so bad about stabbing him through the heart. At least the issues would be clear and nobody would be left saying "Gosh, if only..."
I don't think I'm genetically coded for martyrdom. Silent Suffering is Not A Strong Suit for the women in my family. This is probably an upbringing issue, since my mother was of the opinion that effective communication was the key to parenting. When she was mad, we knew exactly what kind of dilholes we had been, and why, and what she thought of us. The neighbors knew, too. As a drama teacher, she had excellent projection.

This need to tell people things is also probably the reason why I will not be a heroine in a classic novel anytime soon, either. When Newland Archer stopped by for an evening, I'd probably look at him and say "So...what are you trying to do, here?" Jane Austen's protagonists faint and suffer and cry; at no point does one of them, upon seeing the man of her dreams who has broken her heart at a party, say "What the hell is WRONG with you?!" And it is absolutely guaranteed that nowhere in any of Hesse's canon of works will you find someone yelling "You want to know what I think? YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW?! WELL, I'LL TELL YOU EXACTLY HOW I FEEL..." Subtlety is a lost art on me, I'm afraid. As is tragedy.

So life can suck, accidents can happen, but rest assured if I'm stabbing a prince through the heart to let his blood fall on my feet to turn me back into a mermaid, it's not because I didn't do my best to communicate with him.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Reflections on a midsummer holiday

Another day, another holiday, only this time without adventure. July 4th has never been a personal favorite; I like fireworks, but I hate crowds. My tradition is generally to celebrate the day by staying inside and not watching parades or attending festivals. Then I watch "The Sandlot", because it is cheesy and straightforward and also the closest thing to a baseball game I ever wish to approach, and when the fireworks start I go stand in the street and watch the tops of the trees for the colored glimmering. Sure, it may sound a little isolated...perhaps a titch boring...maybe a trifle sad, and did we hear someone voicing a "pathetic" way back there on aisle six?

Well, as Surly is constantly heard to mutter, "Better alone and pathetic than in a crowd and pathological." There is nothing to strike cranky irritation into the heart of a curmudgeon quite like the thought of the Asshat Brigade forming ranks and having a street fair. Add to that the magic of being out at all in the Evil Daystar with its melanoma-producing rays scorching ala-effing-baster, not slugbelly white, you ahole, skin and, well, let's instead choose to ponder something pleasant, like the time I shut my nose in a car door.

Anyway, it's a midweek holiday and since I am picking my parents up from the airport in the afternoon, not a chance of going anywhere and doing anything. Since I spent last weekend in Idaho Falls, which is kind of like not going anywhere and doing anything only doing it three hours from home, I don't mind so much. Besides, I'm just not emotionally equipped yet for a big trip. Things happen. Prime example from the San Fran trip diary:

2:20 p.m., Wells, Nevada: Opinions given regarding Nevada and its general appearance and appeal to the world at large (nil). I attempt to defend the state by and large, but am voted down despite a heartwarming marketing idea for a line of t-shirts that read "Nevada: it may be a hole, but it's my hole."

8:21 p.m., BART Station by the Orpheum: Am accosted by a transsexual sporting a turban, bared breast, and eleven o'clock shadow who wants four quarters for a dollar and then to read my palm. When I desist s/he fixes me with a stare not seen outside of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and, just as the snot begins to pour from nose to chin, informs me in Highly Colorful and Extremely Graphic phrasing that Satan is going to rape me and I need to get the devil out of my bed.

11:43 p.m., Drake Hotel: The devil in my bed is, apparently, the box of crackers I was eating and just knocked over. No good will come of this.

I'm just sayin'. Sometimes it's just better to shut the door, turn on the movie, and wait for the sulfuric pop of patriotic brouhaha to begin without you.