Monthly Archives: December 2002

Supermarket Decision

She dragged me in. Physically, I mean. One minute we’re lying sprawled and sated on her bed, and suddenly it’s Hagen Daas Vanilla Bean. “It’s late,” I told her.
“Christ, Tom, it’s only 10:30. Besides, we need more condoms.” She laughed manically and dug her fingers into my ribs. Normally her wicked little nature would have been a turn on — it was certainly one of the reasons we were sleeping together. But not tonight.We skipped our late class to come here, but why hadn’t we just gone to my place? I should have remembered her post-coital dairy cravings — I had a nice private convenience store on the corner. Why couldn’t she be suggesting Friendly’s? The diner? Why Gerard’s grocery, and why on a Tuesday night?
Her point was taken; Gerard’s was just a block away.If I put up too much of a fight, she would know something was up. Sara was smart. She could totally read me. I sat up. “Can you just go — I’ll give you money. I really don’t feel like going outside. It’s cold.”
“Don’t be such a baby. Get off your lazy ass and let’s go get some ice cream.”
I pulled my clothes on slowly. What was I going to do? I began devising weak schemes. Fake a kidney stone? Explain to her that I certainly under no circumstances could go to Gerard’s… for what reason?”I shouldn’t go in with you, Sara. I got busted for shoplifting there recently. They might recognize me.”
“Here — wear this.” She tossed a baseball cap at me and giggled. She didn’t buy it for a second. She smooshed the hat over my spiky hair and planted a big kiss on my mouth. “What’s up with you? You’re being all weird.”
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
As we descended the stairs my brain was working overtime, trying to come up with a plan. I got nothing.The lights were bright and I squinted as we entered under the row of hanging potted plants. I quickly scanned the line of registers before ducking into the cereal isle. Sara trounced ahead of me, swinging her leopard print purse, one hand shoved into the pocket of her leather jacket. There was no one at the registers.
The place closed at 11:00, so they probably had one person left, sweeping up in between customers or something. Cara always worked Tuesday nights. But was she closing? She said she switched the shift. She switched. Why couldn’t I remember? I glanced around nervously and then jogged over to catch up with Sara.
She was standing with her hip thrust out, leaning into the dairy case. Her fingers traced the icy tops of the cartons, trying to read the flavors under the frost. Victorious, she held up her pint of Hagen Daas Vanilla Bean. “Nectar of the goddesses,” she told me with a wink. I smiled weakly. Grabbing my hand, she danced toward the front of the store as I tried to hide in the rolls of toilet paper.
I could be out the door in 30 seconds. I walked purposefully behind her toward the register. I prayed that Cara would be gone for the night, or in the back room long enough for me to get out the door. I said a silent prayer that Norman, the pimply faced high school student, would greet us crooked-toothed from register three when we arrived. And he was.
I felt the air escape my mouth in a wonderful gust of relief. She must have clocked out. We’d be out the door in a second. I focused on how good the cold air would feel on my feverish face. How good that fucking ice cream would taste. Sara set down the pint and dug into her purse for her wallet. She stopped suddenly. “Shit! I forgot something. I’ll be right back.” And she trotted toward the Family Planning isle, leaving me stranded at the register.
In a flurry, I yanked out my wallet and nodded to the cashier. “Hey Norm, just ring that up for me, okay?” He was taking an hour.
“How’s it goin Tom? How’s business?”
“Great, fine. Fine. Just ring that up, okay?” I glanced around nervously. My stomach churned.
“Shit. I’m sorry — I screwed this up. Hold on one second.”
“Hey Tom — listen, here’s five bucks. Keep the change. I gotta run.”
“Okay, it’ll just be one second if you want to hold on. CARA! I need a void!”
I would have bolted out the door, but she appeared between me and it instantly, untying her little red apron from around her waist and flinging her dark hair over one shoulder. “Tom! How sweet — you didn’t have to pick me up!” She came over and gave me a kiss over the cash drawer she cradled in her arms as I stood stiffly. “Are you okay? You look a little pale. Here’s the key, Norm.” She stepped around the register and handed it to him.
And then Sara. Running up behind me, tossing two dozen condoms onto the conveyor belt, thrusting her hands into my back pockets.
Time stopped for one second. The thought actually crossed my mind that Cara wouldn’t even notice. That she’d finish with the void key and walk back into the break room and I’d leave like nothing happened. I took Sara by the wrists and removed her hands from my pockets. Cara looked up at us and dropped the cash drawer. Change everywhere. In a surreal moment, no one reacted.
“What the fuck is this?” she hissed.
“Whoa,” Sara laughed. “Service with a smile.”
“Nothing, Cara, nothing.”
Sara pressed a finger to her red lips. “Oh cute — you two know each other?” She looked from Cara’s red teary face at me and back again. Cara just stared at me. Into me.
“Who the fuck is this, Tom?”
“Uh uh uh…”Think of something. Think of something.
“I’m Sara, Tom’s friend from class.” Sara smiled disarmingly and offered her red nail-polished hand. Cara picked up the condoms and held them up. Exhibit A.
“Paper or plastic?” Norm offered cheerily.
“Paper,” Sara returned with a grin. Then something occurred to her. “Oh Tom, is this your adorable girlfriend you always talk about? I’ve heard so much about you,” she practically squealed. Norm handed over her change, fumbling with the ice cream. “C’mon, sugar — I’m going to be late for my date.” She winked at Cara, taking the condom box from her and shaking it before dropping it into the paper bag. “I’m being a little ambitious tonight. You never know — a girl’s gotta be prepared.”
Quick, recover yourself. Get your shit together, man.“So, uh, I was on my way to Pete’s and I told Sara I’d drop her off downtown. You want me to come back and get you?”
Sara interrupted, “Oh hey — I can take a cab if you want…”
Cara looked bewildered. She shook her head slowly. “No, go ahead.” I rubbed one eye with my fist and made an awkward forward movement. Sara breezed toward the door. I kissed Cara on the cheek.
“I’ll call you later,” I told her shakily, and forced a smile. She bent down to collect the loose change.
Outside, the night air felt good on my feverish face. Sara was standing on the curb, facing me, waiting for me. She swung that purse of hers in one hand. I wondered briefly if she was going to smack me with it.She smiled deviously. “You didn’t tell me you had a girlfriend, you moron.”
“I know, I … it’s just…”She brandished the paper bag like a trophy.
“Let’s go eat some fucking ice cream.”

Reindeer Games

fantod (FAN-tod) noun
1. A state of nervous anxiety, irritability, the willies, the fidgets.
2. A fit or emotional outburst.
Of unconfirmed origin. Perhaps an alteration of fantique (a state of anxiety) or a blend of fantasy and fatigue.

I can’t wait for this holiday season to be over. I swear. Days never passed so slowly and with so much chaos and disarray. I returned back North with a nose redder than Rudolph’s and a car buried under four feet of snow.
I’ve spent more Christmas holiday seasons in Florida than in New England, so I’m used to the whole decorated boats as opposed to decorated lawns and palm trees wrapped up like candy canes. It’s still a little surreal, having just left my frigid and festive city to arrive in 80 degree Ft. Lauderdale… but nothing new.
I spent most of the week by myself, wandering in the sand, listening to Beach Boys Pet Sounds and the Luna Superfreaky Summer mix I made last year. I went down to the pier on Christmas Eve to find some little punk surfer to make out with behind the boardwalk but after the sunset and some peach ice cream, I went home empty handed.
I’ve been going to Boca Raton since I was born back in the golden days of the year of our Lord, 1976, and not a single thing has changed. Everything even smells the same — salt, oranges, pavement. It’s kind of comforting. Our house is in Deerfield Beach, on the Intercoastal waterway, which is essentially a highway for boats running from Maine to the tip of Florida. I sit and watch the parade of boats go past, all wrapped up like Christmas trees. Everyone’s drinking and playing Christmas carols on their boat too loudly. Every few minutes there’s the honk and ding of the drawbridge.
The drawbridge is one of the coolest things about this place. Big machines that move on their own are one of my morbid fascinations; I’m simultaneously terrified of and mesmerized by them. When I was little I was afraid of the forklift at Home Depot, but then I wasn’t afraid to crouch next to the train tracks in my back yard to watch the engines speed by. Anyway. The boats pull up and honk at the drawbridge. The drawbridge blows its horn in response, two short blasts. The traffic stops on either side of the bridge and it raises, the boats go through, and when it’s safe the bridge honks three long honks and the gates go up for the cars. It happens probably twice and hour, and you can hear the whole ordeal from the breezeway. I don’t mind it. The jangling of the chains reminds me of my childhood. Of being sunburnt and waterlogged. Every single time I hear the horn I feel a tiny panic in my stomach, wondering what it would be like to be a pedestrian, stuck halfway across the top when it opened.
The little lizards are another favorite attraction of mine. They’re everywhere, running along the sidewalk, across the cars. From plant to plant. There’s a shower at the pool where you pull a chain down to rinse off before jumping in, and when you turn on the water, dozens of lizards fly out from under the shower. My dad said he found a few in the bedroom the other day. I wish we could get the parrots to come inside. There’s a bird sanctuary island across the Intercoastal, and you can hear the boil of birdy laughter all the time, but especially in the morning. The birds and the drawbridge start at 5:30 AM.
My family, which is surprisingly functional, crowded into the condo on Sunday and began a stolid dedication to disgusting overindulgence — eating and drinking excessively for the next week. I remained silent for most of this time to be on the safe side. I found that pleading the fifth makes for a smooth holiday season. It was my first ever Christmas in a decade without gin & tranquilizers, or cigarettes for that matter, so I was a little edgy. But this year I didn’t knock down the tree or throw up at inappropriate times.
My parents, sister, and brother-in-law went to church on Christmas Eve. I told them I’d rather not go. Feathers were ruffled, but nobody said anything. We don’t talk about the things that bother us; we slam doors and get drunk.
I’m watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the DVD has the making of the movie. Perhaps without the intention of picking a fight, my sister asks me how it was. I tell her I’m surprised at how young Tim Burton is. I pictured him white hair and wizend, cane, like an Edward Gorey character come to life… but here he is, bursting with youth and smile. I tell her he looked young, and she says he probably had plastic surgery. I say that I doubt someone so obsessed with scars, stitches, and physical deformities would undergo cosmetic work on their face. She says that’s how it is in showbiz — you’ve got to sell yourself, sell your face, how that’s something I have to learn to accept and deal with, that one day I’ll have to sell out too… and now we’re fighting not only about fucking Tim Burton’s theoretical choice of a plastic surgeon but my dedication to growing old gracefully, to the dismay of my future publishing house.
I could go on but you’re probably already bored and wondering why I’m even complaining about my tame family relations. Compared to other people’s fucked up holidays, I’ve got it good. I’m quite aware of this. Did I mention my dad dresses up as Santa Claus every year and goes door to door hugging unsuspecting victims?
And you wonder where I came from.

Sweet, Mild, Satisfying

It’s Friday. I made a rule about Fridays: I allow myself to not have a point. To go pointless. Not that I am consistently pointy, but today I am definitely not.

Last night’s point was Swisher Sweets Cigars. Mon Frere came over and we smoked cigars in my bed and talked about family dynamics and having random sex in suburban pools. He looked at the pack of Swishers and remarked, “Mild, Sweet, and Satisfying… just like my ex-boyfriend.” Oooooh. We were supposed to dream up a celebratory excuse for smoking cigars, but then we forgot to, until The Dane came over with his new car, freshly purchased in America for $750. So we all smoked in celebration of station wagons.

The other night I was getting Thai food at the place next to my apartment and I stared for too long at the fish tank. A sunshiney 70’s song was competing with static on the half-tuned radio, and there was the fish tank — completely empty except for three languid, frighteningly ugly softball-sized goldfish. One of them is a telescope Oranda, with enormous, bulbous eyes that face the surface of the water. I always look at them too long when I go in that place, but this time accompanied with the music, I went on a surreal journey into the land of acid flashback. I find it disturbing that they keep the little glass jar of toothpicks right next to the tank, because I am often filled with the urge to grab one and poke the eyes out of that fish for no good reason.

The Thai iced tea there is phenomenal.

I Like Rock and Roll Music

So I’m going to see Wheat tonight at TT’s. I was introduced to this band through a mix from a friend, and their album Hope and Adams will always be September and newly fallen leaves and crying in the rain. It’s a beautiful album, very much a roller coaster ride. I tried to see them live in September, but went to the Jersey shore instead. The weird thing is, the first song I heard of theirs sounds nothing like anything else on that album, although the album is good. Wheat performed on WERS a few months ago, and I was displeased with the results. The singer can’t actually sing and the performance was a little too dissonant. So tonight’s show should be interesting. I have no idea what to expect. I may actually attempt to photograph this show. I have not shot at TT’s since Catherine Wheel played there in 1994; the stage is too low and the lights are temperamental. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are some upcoming good things in our fair city of Boston:

  • Tarbox Ramblers – 12/21, the Burren
  • Daniel Barrett Group – 1/10, Lizard Lounge
  • Camper van Beethoven – 1/11, the Middle East
  • Neil Finn (of Crowded House) – 2/1, Avalon (Yay!)
  • Iron & Wine – 2/2, the Middle East
  • Les Savy Fav and the Dismemberment Plan – 2/6, the Roxy

I have to say I almost had an orgasm on the subway when I saw that Iron & Wine is playing because The Creek Drank the Cradle landed high on my Top Ten Albums of the Year list.

Since we’re on the subject of music, I have to tell you all that Jenn, our very own Ruby Fuss, was officially given her long-awaited night as Karaoke Mistress of Ceremonies at Charlie’s in Harvard Square every Tuesday night. She will be taking her irrepressible drive to control the music at parties to the extreme and becoming Superhero DJ Jazzy Jenn. The best part? Her foreign-speaking new boss named her karaoke night “Talent Race,” which is perfectly weird. I don’t plan on singing on account of my neurotic stage fright, however, you can bet I’ll be there. I wouldn’t dare miss all the hipsters and mod kids wailing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” over the last call bell.

Soupless in Somerville

I have to update, if only because it furthers my eternal pursuit of procrastination. I do not want to write about wireless networking on this beautiful December day. I’m kicking and screaming.
The best news I received all week is that I no longer have to write for Campbell’s. It was the sand in my shoe for the past year and now I am free to settle my conscience without encouraging 600,000 Americans daily to garnish frozen chicken with condensed soup that has no nutritional value and 900 mg. of sodium per serving. Though I will miss playing with terminology like, “Breasts should be plump but firm, pale in color,” and, “Hocks should be marbled gently with fat.” Tell me about the hocks.
So yesterday I was walking around and my walkman decided to commit suicide on the pavement. The hyper-titanium case did not survive the impact. I watched it fall in slow motion, “Nooooooo!” and then stared at it in disbelief on the sidewalk. The door was stuck ajar and no amount of squishing or praying could set it right. It wouldn’t have been such a tragedy if the thing hadn’t cost me four hundred dollars. I mean, my last car didn’t even cost me four hundred dollars.
I dragged my feet dejectedly into my local chain audio/video retailer, teary eyed. I held up the mangled minidisc player in surrender. The nice man behind the counter winced in a shared moment of compassion. He offered his palm and I placed it there neatly. “You want me to look into fixing it?” he asked me. “It’s pretty expensive to have someone look at it, isn’t it?” And he agreed with me. “Hold on, I’ll be right back.” He disappeared into the back room.
I stood sadly by the cash register, looking at the new Sonys in bright blue and orange. I even watched a few minutes of Shrek, which completely bugged me out. That shit reminds me too much of that naked dancing baby movie that was circulating a while ago. Creepsville.
The nice man came back with a shiny new version of my streetworn walkman, and handed it to me. I followed him to the cash register. “You’re all set,” he said. “What?” I asked in disbelief. He nodded violently toward the door. “You’re ALL SET.” I ran.
So two wonderful things have happened today already and it’s only noon.
Okay, a third wonderful thing — I have successfully put off writing this article for thirteen entire minutes. I must succumb now. Do you know how a wireless network could be cost-effective and beneficial for your small business? Me neither. But I’ve got 800 words on it due at four o’clock.
At least I’ve been released from that whole soup fiasco.

For Whom the Bell Tunes

I have discovered another fascinating occupation for myself. My list of future careers, including Traveling Window Washer and Subway Driver, has been appended with Church Bell Tuner. How cool is that? Today in the snowy rain a single soul (of course I pictured a hunchbacked male, thank you Disney), played the major scales on the enormous old bell at the Arlington St. Church. Over and over, each time the pitch changing slightly. I found myself squinting, urging him a half note sharper; the last dong was quite sour no matter how many times he… he what? Twisted something? Raised and lowered something? How does one tune bells? I have to say I’m completely fascinated by this. I must learn to tune a church bell.
I imagine being up in that tower — there is a clock, as well — the enormous grinding gears, pigeons. Hell, I bet there’s even ravens and gargoyles. Large flat pale stones, cold and darkness, ancient copper or whatever it is they make bells out of.
When I was growing up in Connecticut, my family and I went to a Nice White Congregational Church, where they had a mighty fine bell. Not nearly as ominous and gothic as the Arlington St. Church bell. More of a Nice New England Family bell. There was this tiny door in the back of the church, it looked like a pantry or cabinet of some sort. I remember opening it one day out of curiosity, and finding the rope. Thick as my arm and reaching all the way up through the open shaft toward the sky. It was attached to the bell.
There was only one man who rang the bell. Each Sunday, at 11:00, after the service, he would slide open the door and slip into the shaft. The best part was, he was a little person. A dwarf. Even at age 8, he was smaller than me. And when he rang the bell, the rope would yank him off his feet and carry him halfway up into the sky through the bell shaft. I thought that was the greatest sight I’d ever laid eyes on.
One Sunday he handed me the rope.
It was my favorite day in church, even more so than when I got to hold the real baby in the Christmas Nativity. Or the candlelight ceremony with acoustic guitars. Or when I made my confirmation and didn’t ever have to go back there again. The walls of the shaft were old brick, crumbling. They scratched my arms as I was launched. On the way down, the gratifying clang was accompanied by the brief stomach drop of a free fall.
Whenever I think of church, I can smell good musty odor of old bibles, the cool darkness, the velvet cushion the bell ringer would sit on while waiting for his time to show off. The way I watched his silhouette shoot upwards between the narrow walls, and how it would make my head vibrate with sound waves.
I wonder if they use a giant tuning fork? Like, the size of a pitchfork? I’ll let you know when I find out. Maybe you could come to my audition.

French Toast for the Damnwells

I was hoping rock and roll could save me last night.

I was not let down.

When my head is exhausting me and my heart is full, I drag my ass to a show and it’s like being baptized. If the music has enough movement, I’m carried away, out of my brain that spins in its manic little circles. I’m drawn out. The volume quiets me.

Last week I planned on going to see Longwave play at TT the Bear’s. While talking to a friend who was planning on going to see a different band that night, we discovered that they were playing the same venue. The band he was going to see was opening up for the band I was going to see. So we went to see them both.

Longwave had an awful lot of pomp and circumstance for four kids playing to a small crowd at a scrappy venue. The lead singer thought he was Peter Murphy with a red afro, but after hitting his head on the ceiling while attempting to leap meolodramatically off the drum kit, he wished he had an ounce of Murphy’s cool. Following 20 minutes of violently generated feedback, the guitar player broke a few strings, unstrapped, and beat the vintage Vox stack with his gorgeous Les Paul for absolutely no good reason. Then he ran away. The rest of the band exited the stage petulantly after their half hour set, stepping past the overturned amps and abandoned instruments.

I wasn’t the least bit disappointed that they sucked unapologetically because the band that played before them, the Damnwells, are now my Absolute Favorite Band.

This week.

The whole damn bunch of them goes on my Must Make Him Breakfast list, which, come to think of it, is growing quite long.

They played early at TT’s and it was the night with the snow. I mean, we do get a decent amount of snow here, but it was like three feet and still coming down. Either because of the snow or the fact that everyone else knew Longwave sucked, there was only a few dozen people in the club when we got there. But the Damnwells came on, and rocked every single one of us from the first song. By halfway through their set the place was filling up, and the energy was palpable.

The Damnwells play well-crafted, catchy rock and roll with big guitars. Loud crunchy stuff, and the vocals are delicious. Alex Dezen plays around with some subtlely strange intonation that makes me smile. They use unusual tunings, and there are lots of capos involved. Strings all over the place. I was highly impressed and brought home a CD for a little happiness-to-go. Commence obsessive listening, in my traditional style.

So I have a new shower song. This one is stuck, let me tell you. It’s called “Sleepsinging“. Like any good shower song, it begins playing in my head upon waking and continues until I find myself singing it distractedly while doing mundane tasks at work. I’ve listened to the CD three thousand times since Thursday, and I can’t get enough of it. I want to eat it. They even have a great band logo. It’s a yield sign with a heart on it. Like, “Careful — love!”

The Damnwells played again last night at the Lizard Lounge, and of course, I had to go. They’re from Brooklyn, so who knows when I’ll get to see them again.

I was not in a good mood last night. In fact, it was one of the nights when I’m begging to be saved inside the music, through the drawing out and cleansing that only a live show offers me. It’s the one time during my day that I don’t have to swim in the bullshit in my brain that drives me insane. I can let go and float. This is why I go see so many freakin bands.

Sometimes, like last night, I wish I could make noise that big, and really throttle it out on a guitar with three other people, bang bang bang and explode at the mic, and not just come home to stroke these petty words and fumble about with adjectives. It’s the difference between attacking emotions with a jackhammer or prying them apart with tweezers. Catharsis comes slowly with sentences. It’s overwhelming and all at once with music. Song is visceral. Writing is cognitive. Although it’s always the first place I turn, some nights words offer me no release.

The opener was Dawn Landes, who also played at TT’s, although I didn’t have a chance to listen then. Last night I was captivated by her. My mind state plays such an important part in how I experience a band, a show… I went last night to be saved, like I said. I wandered into that club feeling broken and torn open, begging for some sign of hope. And this girl — tiny, pixielike — takes the mic with the voice of a silver studded dove, delicate and resilient, innocent but bruised. I immediately knew she wasn’t going to be one of the whiney girlie singersongerwriters that have glutted the Cambridge market. She was different.

Her sound was haunting, ethereal, discordant. The guitar was so sparse; if you didn’t listen carefully, you’d miss the jangling rhythms. I realized instantly that the music was bigger in her head; we weren’t getting to hear the whole song. There was a symphony going on in that mind of hers, and we were privy only to a few finger-plucked bass notes. I was enchanted. These were love songs, but not of the painfully overdone somebody done me wrong variety. They felt like poking a dead thing with a stick, wanting to examine its horror but not touch it with your own hands. She was secure in her pain. Her music said, look, I’m fragile, I’m about to break, and you can watch if you want, but I’m okay. I’ve done this before. I may explode, but I can clean up my own mess. And there was so much strength and beauty in that.

Either I identified with her, or I’m projecting. Maybe a little of both.

The Damnwells came out and I was already prepped and practically sobbing. I had instant smiles of gratitude for them. Smiles in the thanks for kicking my ass I need it tonight way. I was grateful to be feeling someone else’s pain for a change. They are passionate, without pretension or irony. I want to climb inside their music and run around. At the end of the first song, the lead singer snapped something and apologized afterward. “We’re a rock and roll band, so shit breaks all the fucking time.” I think that’s when I realized I wanted to make him breakfast.

A good show will always give me perspective. By taking me out of my head, I can look down at what’s going on. Everything becomes right-sized. I’m reminded of this song an ex of mine put on a mix tape — a techno song, and the sample in the beginning said, “There’s the story about the bug that lived in the Oriental carpet. He had no idea how beautiful the carpet was. He just roamed around inside, never looking any higher, unaware of the beautiful colors and designs, unaware that there was a perfect pattern to everything. The reason we’re here tonight is to get you up and above, above your bug’s eye view. ” A good show does that for me.

Maybe it’s because sometimes I get in the present moment too deeply, get too absorbed in whatever problem du jour I’m picking at and dissecting, and I become unable to see movement. And in a song, there can be so much movement. Especially a break up song. Because before breaking up, there was a whole love affair, and it was intense enough to write a song about it ending. And apparently he’s still breathing. It reminds me that people move on. We survive.

I was distraught enough last night to forget my camera, which is a bad sign. I wish I had pictures. I wish you could see them filling that stage with bare intensity. I wish you could see that half the band could stand on each other’s shoulders and still not see eye-to-eye with me at six feet tall. I wish you could see what got me above that rug last night.

Because I Said So


Okay, let’s get this out of the way:
One week, 13 hours, 43 minutes. 151 cigarettes not smoked.

This week’s recommended listening based on a lunchtime spree at Newbury Comics:

  • Longwave – Daysleeper
  • Reindeer Section – Son of Evil Reindeer
  • Voyager One – Monster Zero
  • Flunk – For Sleepyheads Only

This week’s recommended shows based on my Filo-fax:

  • Daniel Barrett Group @ Toad, Cambridge, Wednesay 12/4 Daniel won’t tell me what time they’re playing but it’s somewhere in the vicinity of 10:00. I’ll save you a seat.
  • Longwave @ TT the Bears, Cambridge, Thursday 12/5 (see recommended listening above)
  • Rama Winslow @ Kendall Cafe, Cambridge, Friday 12/6. She is an amazing Boston area singer/songwriter who I have been dying to see play for a long time. So I am. So should you.

On the Importance of Plastic & Sugar

Okay, Muse. Hit me with the Monday morning.
In case you haven’t been up to speed, I didn’t have any plans for the holiday.
Inspired by a devious friend, I chose to spend Thanksgiving Day movie hopping by myself. Three for one special. None of the films left a particular impression on me, though two of them involved teeth being violently ripped out. Somerville was a ghost town. It was strange, and it reminded me of the feeling of going to the convenience store on New Years Day 2000 and the streets being completely empty. I wandered around listening to Guided by Voices. The Café was open, the video store was open, actually on Thursday it was business as usual, but there were no people around.
The Dot Com granted us leave on Friday as well, which made for an interesting four-day experiment in solitary confinement.
I was listening to myself recently and realized that I sound like such a humbug, bitching about meaningless holidays, and I’m trying to decide what that’s all about. I don’t want to be the one who’s always raining on everyone’s parade. All sarcasm and self-deprecating humor aside, I’m a positive person in general, but there’s something about being nice to people because ’tis the season that gets under my skin. You don’t have to be pleasant to your family any other time of the year. You need a reason to show someone you love them, plastic and sugar make up for a year of neglect, the economy needs stimulation, and the homeless only starve in December. It’s the hypocrisy that drives me mad I think, right up there with assholes flying six foot American flags from their cars trying to hit me in the crosswalk: “I love America, I just can’t stand Americans!”
So I’ve still got Christmas to gripe about, but I’ll see if I can find something else to toss around for the next few weeks instead. Cause I’m sure I won’t be the only one with something to say on the topic that’s already been said a million different ways.
I can give Christmas some credit. I remember the first time I hung Christmas lights on the walls of my room when I was 16. My parents were having a party and I snuck up to my room and lay on the floor to talk to my boyfriend all night on the phone, enchanted by the changing colors. We didn’t talk about anything relevant but I remember how it felt to be warm and inspired under the glow of festivities. I’ve had Christmas lights hung in my bedroom ever since, though now they’re purple, blue and amber.
And then there was the year my cat got into her presents a little early, and having found the five pound bag of catnip, tore through the annual Christmas party onto the tree, knocking the whole thing down on top of drunk Aunt Betty, who in turn landed in a large potted plant.
CVS has already begun to deck the halls, so it must be time to shop.
Last week during a marathon run of Sex and the City, I learned that not having sex for a year renews your membership in the Virgin Society, erasing all of your sexual past and leaving you with a clean slate.
I’ll leave you with that.