31 March 2008

Under The Pink

It was always about naps on Peterborough st after lunch, me on my yellow couch, Beth on her blue one. My semester off, 2nd semester, sophomore year, the first half of 1995. Kurt Cobain had been dead less than a year, nobody knew who Monica Lewinsky or George W. Bush was, and the towers stood. I was living at 109 Peterborough with Nathan and Jaysin. Jaysin was the guitarist of a metal band called Poets and Madmen. They were pretty good for a metal band. Bowls were packed, spliffs rolled, beers drunk. Rare occasions would bring magic mushrooms, which I never did after February of that year. Tim Dog Afro lived upstairs, Tim Dog Dreadlocks would come over and visit. White Patrick was a liar and a scoundrel. He wouldn't let Sonia and Beth leave his apartment one day, talking some smack about how they were his hostages. He wasn't really serious, but that wasn't really the point. Nathan threw him down a flight of stairs. Jamaican Patrick and Traveling Ben were the candymen; they showed up with Pringle's cans that contained no Pringles. There was a guy named Derby who lived downstairs, and he told me one night out on the stoop that he had killed dozens of Iraqis during Gulf War 1, which was just called the Gulf War back then. Jim, Heather and Matt lived next door. Jim Birch was in a band called Sally Ride Rocketship, and he was a damn good guitarist. Jim worked with Jaysin at the Pizza Ring down the street delivering pies. You ring, Jim bring. Matt had hair that looked like Sideshow Bob's, and he saved my life one night in February when he knocked on my door and asked me if I wanted to watch cartoons with him. Heather was breathtakingly beautiful, but so chill and down-to-earth. She and her best friend Channin partied hard that year, a lot harder than I did, and I partied hard. Outside my window across the street was a red brick building; many were the days I would stare out the window and watch that brick melt away and drip on the sidewalk.
I had a job at the cafeteria at school, and I only worked lunch. I would meet Beth in the lunchroom or the dorm after work and we took the short walk back to the apartment. We would put on some music and lay down on our couches for a long nap. For a while, Under The Pink was our standard nap music, and we both loved it so much.
Now Under The Pink has taken on new significance. Something has happened.

Toast, toasters, and getting toasty

Hilary Clinton is toast. No butter, no jelly, just dry burnt toast. Why doesn't she just quit already? She seems determined to stick around and poison the air just long enough to spoil any chance the Democrats have of getting into the White House.
The man in the hat is Brother Cavil. He is a Cylon, made to look human. He is a toaster, and there are many copies of him, as there are many copies of all the other models. On New Caprica, this particular copy of Cavil advocated reducing the human population to a more manageable level, like under 1,000. As much as any one model has a role to play, the Cavils are preachers. Robots with religion, the Cylons worship the One True God, while the humans worship 12 gods, who just happen to have the same names as the 12 Greek gods. Cavil seems pretty sure it's all bullshit. Whenever he says "God," he makes those little quotemarks in the air with his fingers. It's funny because he's a preacher.
Getting toasty, you say? I'm not going there, you'll have to use your imagination, unless you were there, then you can just remember. Were you there?

29 March 2008

Tom Waits lyrics, Vol. 4, Come On Up To The House

Well the moon is broken
And the sky is cracked
Come on up to the house
The only things that you can see
Is all that you lack
Come on up to the house

All your cryin don't do no good
Come on up to the house
Come down off the cross
We can use the wood
Come on up to the house
Come on up to the house
Come on up to the house
The world is not my home
I'm just a passin thru
Come on up to the house

There's no light in the tunnel
No irons in the fire
Come on up to the house
And you're singin lead soprano
In a junkman's choir
You gotta come on up to the house

Does life seem nasty, brutish and short
Come on up to the house
The seas are stormy
And you can't find no port
Come on up to the house
There's nothin in the world

There's nothin in the world
That you can do
You gotta come on up to the house
And you been whipped by the forces that are inside you
Come on up to the house
Well you're high on top of your mountain of woe
Come on up to the house
Well you know you should surrender
But you can't let go
You gotta come on up to the house

You say that it's gospel,

But I know it's only church.

Orson Welles on race, 1946

Listen to Orson Welles - 1946 radio commentary on racism

28 March 2008

The most beautiful thing I ever saw was...

... sunrise on the ocean in Guilford, CT. It was New Year's Morning and I was with Rachel and Josh on the way home from New York City. We had tried to get into the NYE Phish show, but I bought a fake ticket for 60 dollars and 3 fake hits of acid for 10 dollars. Some hippie chick who was a friend of a friend took pity on me and told me to stick out my tongue. After she put the tab on my tongue, her fingernail tapped the back of my front teeth on the way out. I'll always remember that detail. Hours later, after losing my mind at midnight in the middle of Times Square, where the noise from the crowd seems to come crashing down on you from above, we stopped in Guilford. We were on our way home. We tried to call Tori, who lived in Guilford, but she was away for the holidays. After we called her house, we were on the way out of town when we came around a corner and there it was, the first sunrise of the new year, 1996. The rocky shore was covered in ice and glistening, the surface of the ocean was reflecting all the colors in the sky back up into space and into my soul. We beamed for a bit and drove off.
... a Herb Ritts photograph of Frances Bean Cobain, Kurt and Courtney's daughter, circa 1995. Kurt Cobain's death affected me pretty deeply, and I had written a spoken-word thing called "Goodnight, Frances Bean." I had drunk a few beers and gone with friends to the MFA to see the Ritts exhibit, and from the instant I saw that picture, I was caught like a fish on a hook. She was maybe 6 years old, staring out with eyes that showed me the world.
... The final scene of The Devil's Rejects. Our anti-heroes nearly meet their end at the hands of Sheriff Wydell, but they escape, cut up, bruised, and bloodied. They wake up in their car, in the sunlight, and we hear Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird. They look at each other, and they look down the road. Captain Spaulding looks at his daughter and laughs a laugh that says, "It was good, it was real good." We still hear only Freebird. They look down the road again and Otis hands out the guns. Finally we see down the road, a line of police cars, behind which stand a couple dozen cops, all their guns pointed at our anti-heroes. As the song starts to pick up, they get ready to go. They raise their weapons as Otis puts the car into gear. Of course, they die, but Spaulding never loses that smile that says, "It was good, Baby, it was real good."
... a phoenix, rising from the ashes
... My brother and his wife holding their newborn daughter
... Beth dancing
... Gabrielle in space over my head
... a street performer dressed like a tree holding and blessing two stuffed monkeys who may or may not have been infused with the spirit of two very real people.
... Stonehenge
... there are more,there will always be more.

A little about me

Well, I'm not just gonna tell you my life story in 500 words or less. It's so much more interesting if you just watch the posts unfold and glean tiny details along the way. I will tell you that there are a number of fictional universes I escape into. Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, those are three big ones. I'll often refer to stories within them or the people who populate them as a kind of shorthand. The fictional people within these universes each represent something to me. I'm not going to tell you, you just have to read it and figure it out along the way. It's ok if you don't know anything about these universes, but I will tell you some of the names you will be seeing: Starbuck, Daniel Faraday, Ben Linus, John Locke, the Old Man, Saul Tigh, Gaius Baltar, Ben Sisko, Jadzia Dax, the beautiful Kate Austen.

I am also very interested in politics, so you'll be reading about the election a bit. I support Barack Obama, let me say that straightaway. I detest the current administration, like nearly 75% of the population, but I'm proud of the fact that I wrote in 1999 that George W. Bush would bring our country to ruin. I'm not really happy that I was right, but I'm proud of the fact that I've always known what a bad guy he is. I'm not especially patriotic. I love my country in my own way, but too often the flag-wavers are too eager to put America above the rest of the world. We are all on this planet together, straights, gays, jews, muslims, christians, french, african, men, women, children, something we would do well to remember.

I like horror movies, blood and guts splashed all over the screen. I loved Cloverfield, and I think that Rob Zombie may well be the best director to emerge in the last decade. I admire Orson Welles for his brilliance and courage. I've been moved by the words of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and Walt Whitman, among others.

I have a few friends I hang out with, but I don't really go out a lot. I don't go to bars because I'm a recovering alcoholic, 9 years in July. If I go out, it's usually to the cinema, the coffeeshop, or just for a long walk on a sunny day. I had a pretty bad stutter when I was a kid, still do, although it's not so bad now, except when I have to call someone I don't know. This may be one of the reasons why I'm nearly always the shyest person in the room, and why I've always found such satisfaction and comfort in writing. My fingers and hands work just fine, but my job is killing them slowly, making them itch, burn, and dry out. This may be simply a chemical reaction, but it may also be a message. My hands may be trying to tell me I need to quit my job. I know I need to quit my job, but I feel about that as I've felt about every presidential election I can remember: there are no good choices.

Anyway, that's a little introduction. There's more, there's always more, you'll see.

An explanation of the title

50 Years of peace, then the Cylon showed up and put humanity in its place. They had to abandon the colonies and go on the run. This was the First Exodus. After a couple of years on the run, humanity found a new home, and for a while, things were good, then the Cylon showed up again. Humanity lived under the Cylon boot for a number of months until the Old Man showed up, the Pegasus was sacrificed, the Cylon was defeated, and humanity once again was on the run. This was the Second Exodus.