Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sallying Fourth with Cracklin' Rosey

It's day four, which means we're one tenth of the way to believin' and achievin' the 40 day crockpot goal.
I have to admit it - I'm excited!

Yesterday I went to bed having unloaded upon the world a barrage of opinions about a music video and my impression of the inner monologues of the band members featured within that video. I woke up today wondering if I had over spiced the stew, as it were, particularly by making mention of my love of Hall & Oates without making clear my close affiliation to the Maneaters of Greater Los Angeles (MOGLA), friend to the Maneaters of Greater Phoenix (MOG-PHO). Even worse, when I re-read day 3's entry today, I realized that it was fairly riddled with formatting and grammar errors, as well as sentences that made no sense but required 4 lines of the page (my specialty!). I wondered if I should try to edit past days' entries, or set a standard that only forward motion be allowed in posting. I was generally worried that mania on the page would become burdensome to the weary reader - and that's pretty much all I've got to give folks.

Then, quite fortuitously, I checked my email and found I had received more feedback from some kindly crocker-stalkers. And they weren't telling me to shut my face or winnow my minnows to bare bones! Amazing!

I realize that a stray blog-skimmer stumbling upon this might think I'm an 83-year-old from Witchita who's just become acquainted with computers thanks to an adult education class at my senior center, and may anticipate that tomorrow's entry will be something like,

"There's this thing called the blogosphere, which I thought was that secret project out in the desert for pod people, later a Pauley Shore comedy flop that re-ran on Showtime too much, but it's a world inside this computer!"

But I guess I am overwhelmed by encouragement, and thankful for those who are spending/wasting their time in this space.

The realization that "hey, it's ok to write imperfect junk sometimes," led to the realization that my dad is probably very right to compare me to Dumbo. And no, not because of my giant ears, weight problem, fondness for hats, addiction to peanuts, tendency to hangout with clowns, bouts of drunkenness and hallucinations (most aforementioned points of comparison also applicable, however), but because I think I need a magic feather to be able to do some things in life. And for me, it turns out magic feathers are comments that amount to "yeah, keep putting rambling bullshit into the world for others to read. It's really fine to do so. You probably should."

THAT realization triggered some part of my brain to travel back to my third grade classroom where we all listened to the record player before being dismissed, and remembering the seriousness with which our teacher asked us to contemplate the song she played that day - "It's Alright to Cry" as sung by Rosey Grier on the record "Free to Be You and Me." (and YES he is related to Pam!)

It's probably because the message of "yeah, it's really fine, let it out" is similar, and probably because that song is awesome, that I found myself rocking in time to the tune and headed back to youtube for more love.

If I had just changed the word "cry" to "write" in that song years ago, I probably could have skipped that grad school debt and just gone ahead and started a blog about how I can't believe anyone actually would read a blog from my head. To think, I might actually be to the "DUMBO'S FLYING!" stage of things by now instead of just perfectly comfortable crying! Ha. Better now than never!

And I did get a lot of great benefits from grad school, including many supportive clowns with whom I enjoy bouts of drunkenness and accompanying hallucinations before they remind me that

It's alright to write, writing takes the sad out of you, it's alright to wriiiiiiite!!!

Using part of the phrase "sally forth" today made me remember another realization I had, but long after third grade, long after I should have probably - the realization that popular comic strips were named after common phrases like "sally forth" and "frank and earnest" and "cathy."
"Ohhhhhh," was my thought at the time. Even the "wizard of id" and "for better or worse" seemed more clever to me that day.

So that is today's charge to anyone in the crock - what catchy, partially clever title would you give to your comic strip?

Fishfood for thought. My answer tomorrow!

Friday, February 27, 2009

And on the Third Day: I Blued Myself Silly

Today, that which had been prophesied came to pass in dramatic fashion. Computers are the future!

The crockpot brought about internet dialogue, which begat personal wonderment, which became dazzling entertainment before my very eyes. Those with computers who read what I'd posted by means of computer used the interwebs to make my day many, many, many times over. Many times. The gift I received led me to use the internet to find even more related, magical knowledge, which only furthered the extent to which the original piece - it made my dreams come true (keep this reference in mind for later). One double click and suddenly I was unraveling the Da Vinci code of 80s music.
Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel, indeed!

Yesterday I mentioned how much I love the song "Electric Blue" by the Australian band Icehouse (turns out that is one word). A friend, unfamiliar with the song, let me know that it creeped her out. Loving the song as I do, and unaware of any lyrical content that would be weird like as if I'd said I love the song "Lola" by the Kinks (which I do), I asked if she had the right version. Then I received this:

this is the creepy one I went to. dont freak me out and tell me that
you love this."

Um, love is an inadequate word to encapsulate what I feel for that video. I described the experience to others by saying "It's as if someone has found my happy place on the internet and sent it to me. I cannot stop watching this."

Suddenly I was back at Pizza Hut asking my parents for jukebox quarters to play this song. (It must not have been Lent that day[Day 1 callback!]). We did NOT have MTV growing up. I had never seen this video.

I quickly made up for lost time by watching the video/listening to the song today no less than 9 times.

Here's some timestamped commentary for those of you who may want to watch this video at home, oh, a baker's dozen times or so:

0:02 - Hey there Roxette, Look Sharp! There's a saxophonist lurking nearby!

0:03 - Fade into keytar!??!?? We're only 3 seconds in!!! Can this get better??? IT CAN.
Then wham!(my bar) to the roof! And to our first glimpse of the world's happiest drummer.

0:20 - Another glimpse of a girl who may be on-site, may be in a warehouse scene for Flashdance 2, we're not sure about her relationship to what's going on upstairs. Or the guy in the lawn chair.

0:22 - Our first shot of the lead singer looking a bit like David Bowie if he had a permed a dark (crystal) mullet, which leads into a confusing series of close-ups where he reminds me of Jaime Lee Curtis (0:29), Bowie (0:31), and the lead singer from Simple Minds (0:38) within less than ten seconds time! (Again, remember this later!)

0:46 - Is that the guy from Soul Man with
0:47 - Corey Haim?
0:50 - Phew, the world's happiest drummer will ease our minds with that golden smile and the locks to match

0:52 - My first catch of what are many instrument action close-ups for things that are technically unimpressive such as strumming a chord on a guitar
(at least that's my understanding from those I know with musical talent and every Guns N' Roses video I've ever seen).

0:56 - The foreshadowing casually perfectly framed "keytar in windowless window frame" shot

0:57 - I just now am thinking maybe this girl is responding to the keytar's delight and not to an invisible joke we can't hear but that's really crackin' up the audience at the abandoned warehouse

0:59 - And it took me until my 7th viewing to think that maybe they were trying to have a storyline here of the intrepid saxophonist, wandering roofs with his (s)ax slung across his back, and nothing to guide him onward toward his destiny as a soloist but the dulcet tones of the same keytar that may or may not be singing its siren song to the siren of this warehouse-however many floors or realms below she may be

1:07ish - Are they on the same roof that U2 used for the "Where the Streets Have No Name" video? Did they get a 2-for-1 deal on one day of production? Or are they fighting for air space, police coverage, fanbase on the same day?

1:13 - instrument close up #2 - yep, that drum keeps the beat!

1:26 - the stealth saxophonist and/or pedophile likes what he hears!

1:29 - it just got hot in here! wait is she in an apartment now? there are some art prints on the wall.

1:33 - Bowie face!

1:58 - Get ready to have your ass smoldered for you! He's got smolder and then some.

2:00 - the keytar of destiny, call upon your liege!!!

2:04 - silhouetted sax!!! the keytar warmed your altar now SING! Sing against a cartoon sunset with such power and endurance that your song shall outlive the sun's rays!

2:11 - back UP! no one can handle that much sax in one go.

2:20 - darkness is fallen!!! that is how long the sax roared. (or U2 needed the best daylight and icehouse had to come back later)

2:24 - that sax is smokin!

2:34- "well guys, my work here is done"

2:41 - "i have a headache, migraine? migra-?? no, just enjoying the soft, full luster of my hair in my new blue plastic shirt, possibly becoming sexually aroused by my own split ends"

2:45 - "the happy drummer is right, this IS fun!"

2:49 - "yep, definitely hot for my dry, damaged ends. V05 Hot oil anyone?"

2:56 - close up on casual "one-note" sax droppin' in to say hello

3:13 - !?!?!?!!??!?!!!! Why not put on your hottest cocktail dress and bounce off the walls of a dank, seemingly abandoned tunnel in what appears to be a state of sexual confusion? Hey, it's Friday! Go crazy girlfriend!

3:19 - "Ahhh...yeah, I'll probably get killed here"

3:26 - the drummer's smile does not STOP! MVP for attitude sir!

3:41 - "we are running out of backup singer cache, let's literally act out the lyrics here."

3:50 - "we just rocked"

3:56 - drumstick spin - WE AIN'T DONE YET! No biggie!

3:58 - "yeah. even in this increasingly smoky/foggy night air, my mullet holds its curl. A little thing called V05 hot oil. Ever heard of it, Bono?

4:04 - "better call the freight elevator so i can maybe get up/down from this warehouse. i have to get back to that dark alley. after Fame 2 got canceled i did the V05 commercial and was going to stick to hair parts, but then i got a bit part as a mutilated corpse in a law & order. Oh yeah. It's SVU. Did you even see my reaction to that keytar (or possibly something else that was not explained to the viewer)? So sexual."

I L.O.V.E. LOVE this video. And this song.
I cannot imagine anyone is still reading but here's the payoff (in addition to that amazing 4+ minutes of music!) - Wikipedia factoids came home to roost in one big interconnected web of musical genius and personal connection!!!
No wonder this guy looks like Bowie and Simple Minds, he's far less than 6 degrees from both! (Jaime Lee Curtis still confuses):
  • The band built up a strong following as a live act around the pub circuit, providing distinctive cover versions of songs by Roxy Music, David Bowie, Lou Reed, T-Rex, Ultravox and Brian Eno.
  • In January 1982 Davies (lead singer) recorded Primitive Man essentially as a solo project, it was co-produced with Keith Forsey who had worked with Giorgio Moroder and later worked with Simple Minds.
  • [Icehouse] supported David Bowie on the European section of his Serious Moonlight tour.
  • Their [Icehouse] 1986 release Measure for Measure featured Brian Eno as an additional performer.
Eno connection? Wait for it:
  • While recording the song as a band, however, they ran into difficulty. The song's frequent chord and time changes caused problems in playing the song correctly; the difficulty was so great that producer Brian Eno attempted to erase the track
Guess which track that was and which band was playing it? - BANG
"Where the Streets Have no Name." U2.
Both "Electric Blue" and "Where the Streets Have no Name" came out in 1987, with Eno producing the March release of U2, and Icehouse releasing their stuff in November. Do I think it's possible Eno was pulling sabotage for the sake of the better rooftop video filming for his old band pals (how likable is that drummer???)? It's one conspiracy theory I'm going to posit as fact.

And the biggest crockpot surprise of all? Maybe why there's so much crazy sax and
every time I get near this song I'm breakin' in two - ELECTRIC BLUE:

  • Their best-selling album is 1987's Man of Colours, contained the Australian hit single "Electric Blue", co-written by Davies and John Oates of U.S. band Hall and Oates -peaked at #1 in October

This officially isolates the formula for creating something I enjoy!!!
2 parts Bowie, 5 parts 80s pop, 3/4 cup oates - and plenty o' keytar and smiles.

Turn on the crockpot for 12 hours and enjoy all week long!!!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 2 Fish: Blue Fish

Still haven't gotten to the bells and whistles part of designing this thing to not look the contents of an actual fish crockpot, but I'm back!

Happiness is a Sad Song was a title among the offerings of the bookshelf in my childhood home. Written by Peanuts main man Charles Schulz, I remember being very confused by the title and the picture of a fairly downtrodden Linus on the cover because the book is all about things that really make a person happy. Stuff like snow days or socks still warm from the dryer when your feet are cold. Actually, I'm not sure if those were examples, but they both make me happy. Anyway, at the time, granting something sad a causal relationship to the experience of happiness did not compute. Years later (teen angst?) I discovered the book again and thought the title was genius.

Finding a song on the radio that
devastates you while you are driving is up there as one of the best feelings in the world. It's even better if you're already horrifically depressed! Like finding a lone friend speaking your language when you're lost in a world of the functioning and capable. Before you know it you're in a fully committed, lengthy conversation with the song and you've got a combination of tears and snot tributaries intermingling on your upper lip, making headway toward plopping on the steering wheel in big, weighty drops.

It's nice to let go.

It's less nice when the guy in the car next to you at the red light is not also considering the many ways in which he's failed to achieve preconceived concepts of success he assumed he would have mastered at this age while Cheap Trick's "The Flame" pushes him on toward rapture. You were the first you'll BE the last!

In high school I went to a friend's family cabin. The twin bed to which I was assigned had Happiness is a Sad Song sheets. I wanted to create a tri-fold color brochure that would act as a companion piece to the book titled Happiness is Happiness is a Sad Song Sheets. The inside would say Happiness is the book Happiness is a Sad Song. And, Happiness is playing in a lake until you've forgotten the sun will set.
Happiness is the taste of rebellion in the first swig of beer on the dock. Happiness is people who take their card games seriously. Happiness is sleeping on Happiness is a Sad Song Sheets when your hair smells like campfiire.

Here are some suggested Happiness is a Sad Song songs for your approval:
  • Still the Same - Bob Seger
  • Hey Jude - Beatles
  • Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkle
  • I Am I Said - Neil Diamond
  • I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues - Elton John
  • Anyone Who Had a Heart - Dionne Warwick
  • I Want Love - Elton John
  • Bleed to Love Her - Fleetwood Mac
  • Electric Blue - Ice House (one of my favorite songs period)
This list should be such a downer that it's an upper. Works for me every time like Old Yeller headed out the back door.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ingredient One: Lent-tells

Yes, I know that is misspelled. Despite the kindly urgings of many friends, family, and mental health professionals to “just suck it up and write something” and the ridiculous ease with which any old moron (or mormon) can start a blog of their very own (read: this) [no seriously, read this], my crippling fear of writing anything for public consumption has kept me confined to the vast expanses of rambling nonsensical emails which have been littering the inboxes of the aforementioned friends and family for years. So today, I am turning the table (the altar?) on Catholic guilt! I’m using the 40 days of Lent to force myself to write, and to put the results in a place where someone might read them, for 40 days in a row! Now I know Lent was used as the premise of the shitty, “romantic” “comedy” 40 Days and 40 Nights, but this blog is at least predicated on the notion that it will be utterly crappy. And your reading this in no way supports Josh Hartnett or the premise that he’s infinitely bangable. (To me he looks like the lovechild of Ashton Kutcher and Brendan Fraser [What Happens to Encino Man in Vegas?] All fine people I’m sure, but not exactly the boner brigade for me). As a friend pointed out to me, using Lent’s mandatory discipline for something you should be doing anyway is not that bad an idea (i.e. Journey to the Center of That 70’s Show?). So here we are!

Years of Catholicism can probably be credited with the elevated mercury levels in my bloodstream, given the Fridays of fish and fish byproducts we were forced to endure through the dark, cold winter nights of the Pittsburgh Lent. Alternately, it could be my 22nd through 25th years of life on earth during which time tuna, much of it straight from the can, provided my main source of dietary protein. And I do not mean albacore. In any event, every year when fast food chains start advertising the delicacy that is their version of a fish sandwich (filet-o-fish being un-toppably catchy of course), I find myself cringing from muscle memory, experiencing anew the anticipation of weeks and weeks of fishy stuff. Just when the weekend arrived and it seemed like the perfect time for a treat of some kind, something that was 70% cheese maybe, dinner time would deliver the crushing blow of tuna noodle. I have since heard from other friends who enjoyed the austerity of Lenten Fridays that tuna noodle can be good if doctored with appropriate amounts of cheese, fried onion crisps, and other processed foods that have no nutritional value but taste delicious. My mom’s tuna noodle was as unexciting as they came (sorry Mom!). Even the crock in which it baked was the dullest brown that the corningware folks could craft. And then the oppression of cream of mushroom soup baked into an unnatural union with canned tuna. Dread! Somehow I think my family took the denial part of Lent a bit more seriously than most. It was not just abstaining from meat that happened, but often times abstaining from delicious food on the whole. Some friends had pizza or spaghetti or other vegetarian delights, but ours seemed to revolve around the dregs of the sea in their many many forms. The stuff that whales have baleen to prevent ingesting. Those fish.

Fishsticks were a treat! They at least had enough fat injected at the factory (or on the boat by Captain Gorton himself) to taste good. Once, thanks to a new recipe featured in the Sunday paper, we had a tuna pie. My mom makes the absolute hell out of a homemade pie crust. Delicious. Truly delicious. And so this recipe called for throwing the equivalent of a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, the same Lenten can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (I swear there must be an Archbishop Campbell somewhere to explain such excessive loyalty), and can of tuna into a pie crust and baking it all together in one awesome homage to asceticism. I had thirds! What a fantastic way to disguise the taste of tuna! Raves. The recipe won raves for Mom. What a master of making the meager meaty! And maybe that was the problem. Perhaps our joy was too apparent. We must have been too happy to eat that stuff, happy like we were Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Because I swear we never saw that tuna pie again. Mom was looking out for the nourishment of our souls, I’m sure. And cream of mushroom soup was probably 10 for $1.49 if I had to guess. In any event, it is fitting that now Lent brings me right back to something fishy, and probably not that satisfying upon finishing. Oh well. Using my tuna noodle feels fine.