After visiting my new nephew this evening, it occurred to me whilst listening to an album of heavy metal Christmas covers today on the drive home that anyone playing a DRUM would probably scare the bajeezus out of the baby Jesus.
Oh, okay... you're a poor boy and can't afford gold, frankincense, myrrh or any other now-obsolete perfume goods (By the way, that just makes the other two Wise Men cheapskates. Talk about last-minute gifting). So you played your best for him... fine. A+ for effort, kid. I'm sure that Mary and Joseph just loved the flams and paradiddling, although Balthasar said that his left-hand stick height left a little to be desired.
But back to the concept... drumming for a baby? All infantile peacefulness and mildness -- totally and utterly shattered. I think that probably explains why Jesus was hard of hearing (You can find that fact in your Scriptures somewhere, I'm sure... right next to the part where Jesus is accompanied to his crucifixion by a 4-piece band playing "When the Saints Go Marching In").
I guess The Little Kalimba Boy doesn't quite have the same ring, but how much more pleasant would that've been for everyone?
And while I'm on the subject, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" starts out pleasant enough, but then the 'nog-drunk obstinate bastards bust in with the following:
We want some figgy pudding; We want some figgy pudding; We want some figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer
We won't go until we get some; We won't go until we get some; We won't go until we get some, so bring it out here
Oh, you want some figgy pudding? And you, the *guests* at my holiday party, are not leaving until you get some? Well sorry, we're fresh out and I think you've had a few too many cups of high-proof good cheer as it is. Now kindly show yourselves and your yuletide fruitcake to the door before I involve the authorities. And stop wishing things to my "kin;" it sounds so Deliverance-y you know we weren't raised in the Appalachians.
The sauna was packed. Some were toweled, some speedoed, and some cooked their eggs freely on griddle that was the hot, plank bench. A couple of the older men spoke admiringly of triathletes and theorized about the ultimate technique to reduce drag in the water (a good swim won't win you the race, but a bad one will lose it for you... conventional wisdom, of course) while a portly youth in the corner doused himself with a well-crushed bottle of water from repeated forceful squeezings. I rested with my legs up in front of the door, anticipating entrances and exits and politely dropping them before anyone had to consider asking. An older man, a naked older man, with a Freud-like air about him headed to the seat directly across from me and sat on the upper deck.
Damnit... Have to find someplace else to stare...
"...well, at least you were pretty good at everything," offered a man, seemingly in consolation. "Not really. I was pretty mediocre at all three events." I enjoyed the way he pronounced mediocre. "Meddioakuh." Australian.
"Well, I'm about due," said the Australian in red hotpants. "Yeah. It's getting a little bakey," and with that I finally made eye contact with someone for the first time in five long minutes. He was a good-looking, affable gent.
A minute or two later, Bizarro Freud left and the sauna was empty, save me. I moved to a corner spot and enjoyed the solitary, dry heat for a barely a minute when a man in his, oh, probably seventies, walked in, fully clothed. Different, I thought. He looked nondescriptly foreign until he spoke and his Asian subcontinentality burst through. He addressed as he undressed:
"Ummm... on and off." I thought and thought. For some reason, I wanted to be accurate with this man. He deserved better than an estimation. "Roughly?" he shot out, softly punching through my pondering silence. Apparently, an approximation would work for him.
I settled on an answer. "Probably about half a year or so." "An' why do you use the sauna?"
Underpants off. Naked.
"It's a nice place to recharge, I think. I like to sweat it out in peace after I sweat it out in action," I replied and he smiled.
He took his seat on the upper deck to my left and began to explain the holistic healing virtues of the sauna. He went on about how it acts like the kidneys, purging excess salts from the body and told me a story about how he brought in a darker Indian with him once.
"He was dark. I, too, am dark, but he was very, very dark... a black man turning white! Have you heard of this?!" he inquired. "No wayyy!" "It's true, because of the salts."
I love old manecdotes. I offered my own little story about how I could see the salt lines on my old, sweaty workout shirts. I could see that he appreciated that I related somehow. He continued with his insight.
"I really cannot think of any disadvantage of the sauna," he concluded. I was pretty convinced. "Nah... me neither," I said. "Well, I guess you do get a little thirsty." He laughed with a bright smile. "Luckily, the price of water is not high."
...which is true, as long as it's not bottled for you.
"I've done these little interviews before," he disclosed. "One time, there was a man in this sauna and he went to sleep..." "Oh, wow." "...for thirty minutes! This is much more than the prescribed twenty minutes, you see. When I asked him why he wished to sleep, he answered: 'I felt sexy todayyy.'" He wrapped up with his endearing smile. "I tell that one to everyone."
With the purchase of my own pen and ink supplies, I've recently taken to the idea of not just appreciating illustration, but enriching my own space with it by supporting artists I know. With artwork by your friends in your home, it's like they're always around!
Simply put - Aleks is phemonenal. She got me into Bjork in our highschool days (it was "Hunter," to be precise), tickles a mean ivory, and in her illustration, effortlessly taps into the imagination most people have lost before they got their driver's license. I've always been into Aleks' work and you can order this print at Tiny Showcase. Little does Aleks know that one day, when I have a respectable amount of money, I will have to commission her for something sweet. Aleks, if you read that... pretend you didn't.
Jeez! Don't you just want to touch all of those faces? I'm especially fond of the gent in the middle. Anyway, in an alternate universe where I never left Milwaukee, I'd probably be pretty tight with Miss Bollow. Why? Because she can bite off bottlecaps like nobody's business.
I enjoyed myself at a performance tonight, entitled "sidewalk etches and other odd anecdotes." My dear pal/former resident/employee, Marlee, helped put together the dance/music/poetry/art exhibition shebang, which benefited the Prison Creative Arts Project, and despite her real-time bout of food poisoning, seemed to effortlessly move across the floor, which made the whole performance even more phemonemal (everyone else was impressive, too).
I still don't get Dance... this Modern stuff. Isn't it Post-Modern by now? Interpretive? Post-Interpretive Modern? What do I know? I have no dance vocabulary. But, what I do know is that it all means that much more when you're close enough that you can hear the pant of the performers, the sound of bare soles against the parquet, and you're nearly kicked in the face by some move from out of a capoeira circle.
For a lot of people, the current recession-y thing going on, in combination with the big financial SNAFU with Lehman Bros and Merrill Lynch, is a point of reckoning. I don't claim to know anything about money (because it's not something I usually have a lot of at any given time) so I hope that you're not reading and expecting to glean any useful insight on what now to do with your last 10 years of savings or what job to look for now that you're near completion of your investment banking and wealth management degrees (there are always lots of openings in fringe markets, I hear).
But y'know what? I'm not sweating it... the day that I'll start to worry is the day that THE INTERNET WILL BREAK. No e-mail. No web. No remote desktop access. No VoIP.
I predict that the end of this super-connected era, as we know it, will occur on the fourth day of April and shall be known as (ready for it?): "The Great 404" (I also think that "The Fighting 404s" could be a good concept for a Dirty Dozen-type movie with a bunch of computer geeks instead of rapists, thieves and degenerates of other varieties). While the most catastrophic result will be the loss of information and ideas, either disseminated via the web or otherwise archived digitally, there will be some positives:
-cheaper postage and telegrams -a lot of couples will reconnect with some sweetsexualromance -people will go back to the TV since their shows are no longer online -the inevitable comeback of Lincoln Logs -outside of the grocery store, no more SPAM!
...and some negatives:
-rampant LARPing in the streets -wayyy tougher to pick up $7 flights -people will go back to the TV since their shows are no longer online -nomoreinternetphenomena :( -the inevitable comeback of tangible chain letters
The children of today will tell the tale to the children of the tomorrow and even 15 years from now, we'll wistfully sit back in our vintage Poäng chairs as we count our cowry and remember exactly where we were when the Internet crashed.
If I remember, there's an exact frame where Stay-Puft is looking genuinely more surprised than furious and pained, so until I go and screencap it, you'll just have to enjoy what I could find on the Innernette.
Do you know what "blog post" stands for? Take a look at this:
"Believing Loving Others Give Props On Stupid Thoughts"
Think about it.
I’ve been a fan Gary Busey since before I knew his name as a little kid, but my renewed interested came up when I’m With Busey aired on Comedy Central a few years ago. Surely, it was loosely scripted (but primarily improvised) and one of my favorite aspects of the show were Gary’s little pearls of wisdom, which often came in acronym form. Some classics:
FAILING: Finding An Important Lesson; Inviting Needed Growth TRY: Tomorrow’s Really Yesterday FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real TEAM: Together, Everyone Achieves More LIGHT: Living In God's Heavenly Thoughts RELATIONSHIP: Really Exciting Love Affair Turns Into Nightmare; Sobriety Hangs In Peril (the 'O' is unaccounted for) ROMANCE: Relying On Magnificent And Necessary Compatible Energy
…and so on.
I honestly thought that these little Buseyisms were just the product of the show, so imagine my surprise when I was surfing Busey on YouTube and caught him on Politically Incorrect in 1997 (the gold is at about 2:00)!
It was a warm afternoon when my dear friend Erika and I decided to head to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. The exact reason has been lost in time, but it was a tasty decision. As we entered, a tall, geeky teen awkwardly greeted us and showed us to our booth. Just as we sat down, the dinner lighting kicked on and the intensity of all the bulbs in the restaurant dropped in wattage. Our host handed us menus and proclaimed with a nervous chuckle, "Wow, it's getting dark in here."
As he strode back to his host booth, Erika and I, being the only two in the restaurant who looked more WB than NBC, just looked at each other and laughed.
Ok, maybe it was a bit naive of me to think that it would never happen again... but it did. Video was the bowl intruder this time, but unlike Audio, who demurely follows me in and hangs out in the bathroom, he bolted into the bathroom without warning and lept INTO the toilet; he didn't just perch on the rim. He thrashed about for a split second and I think that his first reaction was "crap, my paws are wet" and then "crap, I'm being pissed on" and then he leapt out and hit the linoleum with a heavy, sopping wet splat. Another cat bath. I haven't seen too much of him since. He's probably ashamed and understandably so.
In other news, feeling especially inspired by Ann Arbor's annual Art Fair/Consume-a-Thon, I went out and grabbed a pen and ink set with Joanna. What a great little investment! I think I've got india ink in my blood. Having to stop and dip the nib (artistic sexual euphemism anyone?!) every few strokes has made me feel much more deliberate about my work now as opposed to being armed and reckless with a trusty little flow-as-you-go Pilot G2. You know what I'm saying? It's sort of like the way you enjoy food if you actually stop to... you know, chew it.
Well, here's work #1. Click for much bigger goodness (the big blob on his cheek... yeah, hastiness).
Let's start at the beginning: I am a guy. And as such, I'm old-fashioned and I tend to eliminate liquid waste in an standing, upright fashion. Alright... cats, you see, are curious and infamously quiet, especially when they're in kitten form and weigh as much as a shoe. I was minding and taking care of my own business when a grey and white flash popped into the target zone and directly into the line of fire! I peed on my poor kitten's head... which lead to a rather impromptu head-bathing in the sink once I tucked myself back in and stopped laughing. You might say I was simply marking her as my own, I suppose. And the silver lining on that cloud? I know she's not all fussy about water. Don't get me wrong, I think I've been a good catdaddy... this could happen to anyone. Right?
And with that, I introduce you to my new kittays... Leela and Bender (or maybe, possibly, Audio and Video). A few weeks ago, I was graciously hooked up by Joanna via her husband, Fred via workperson-that-Fred-knows. I didn't want one to get to get lonely while I was away, so two was perfect. They're brother and sister and it shows. If they're not rough-housing, they just melt into this adorable little kitten puddle.
What have I been up to lately? I spy, with my little eye, a hint:
In case that's too small for you to make out, it says: FREEFORM with James Rocker.
88.3 has been something I've wanted to get into since my sophomore year or so when I stumbled upon it while looking for a decent station at 0530 in the morning. Expectations were beyond exceeded. Freeform is the savior of radio.
So, for now I have a fairly challenging timeslot (0300-0600) and I haven't slept before it as I'm terrified I'll sleep through it (I'm only on my second show), but the rush of energy I pull from a successful broadcast is enough to carry me through the day.
Got a request? Well, crap, call it in! 734.764.3500 Not near a radio? Got a computer on your lap? Stream it:
It always makes my day when I make a new connection. Whether it's between myself and another by way of smallworld-like circumstances or whether it's realizing that Ol' Dirty Bastard sampled Blood, Sweat, and Tears on "I Want P****" (hint: it's not 'penis'), it's a great feeling.
Connections make me smile, especially when they've been months or years in the making.
However, on a drive today, I made a connection that made me want to lash out. Okay, let's backtrack a bit... I'm not a big Madonna fan. I'm not saying she's bad, untalented or uncompelling, she's just not generally my cup of tea. However, when I heard "Hung Up" a few years ago, I dug the song only because of the synth part (also the bass drum had a nice, deep kick quality about it), and Madonna went up a notch and a half.
But again... today was a faithshaker. I flipped on 88.3 and what did I hear? It wasn't Madonna, it was ABBA. ABBA!
I'm sure this is no news to older people or your everyday ABBA fan, but damnit. Just damnit. I feel so duped.
Oh, well... it's still a really good synth part. So thanks for the exposure, Madge.
So, when I bought my BassPODxt Live, I realized I could open up a world of sound and this is the first thing that came out of me. Well, not this one exactly... the first was a recording that was a month ago and was only a 20-second bit done by putting my computer mic up to my a crapped out practice amp. I think the formula for that is:
l(ow quality) + E(ven lower quality) = total dreck
This one was done last night.
Anyway, I have some instruction for you. Click PLAY, and read the text below. This is what came to mind in the midst of recording. Oh, and reading aloud would be even better, especially if you have a gentle, affirmational quality about your voice. Take your time... you have two minutes, after all. You could probably even start in reading around the one-minute mark. Give 'er a go.
" ...A girl rises before the sun and leaves the comfort of a broken-in bed. There's a crisp, early morning chill creeping in from the window over the dresser, so she pulls her favorite sweater over her head and wiggles it down comfortably on her shoulders. On her way to the door, she stops. She looks over her shoulder and knows that the soft hollow she's left in the mattress will be a reminder for the peaceful sleeper she's leaving behind. She feels lighter as she winds down the stairs, mindful of the old boards that she knows happen to creak. With the final, gentle racket of a closing screen door behind her, she moves towards her old sedan, relishing the feeling of the cool, dewy gravel between her toes. The memory of a familiar past evanesces as she starts the car and sets her eyes on the prospect of her unknown, immediate future. "
There you have it. That's what I heard... some people seem to think of water, which I think is ridiculous*.
I had the extreme fortune of attending what I'm believing to be a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience this past weekend -- I found myself a mere fifteen feet from the elusive Jandek. The *free* show had been on my calendar for months and I walked into the Mendelssohn Theatre feeling as if I was about to have a religious experience. Before I begin, I want to state that I am in no way a Jandek scholar and everything I know about the artist has been culled from the dustiest corners of the internet (the internet has many corners, by the way). I've known about his music for years and never imagined that I'd see him live.
But let's rewind a bit... I showed up to the theatre about 45 minutes before the doors opened. I figured that this would be a show of mixed attendance -- the hipsters, the blue hairs, the freaks, the geeks, the curious, and the cheap ones looking to kill a couple of hours for free. Looking back, it seems like a fair demographic breakdown (there are also combinations -- how many can you come up with?!).
Humans are easily herded, but after grabbing my event poster and WCBN programming guide, I broke from the crowd and opted for the farther door since it was wide open and apparently invisible to everyone else. While I was a little bummed that the center had filled up within the "I-can-read-the-name-on-his-guitar's-headstock" range, I gladly accepted my place in the second row of the right block of seats. Just imagine my surprise when the curtain ascended and at the right-most of the stage was the black-clad enigma himself, dead in front of me. Without an introduction from an emcee or so much as a word or nod to the audience from the man himself, the performance began.
From the music that I heard that night (and in the past) from Jandek, his harpischordist, his trumpeter and his interpretive dancer, I feel like I can comfortably say that he is not everyone's cup of tea. In fact, I'd go as far as to say it's nobody's cup of tea because it's not even tea at all -- his atonal blues are like the aggregate of all the soils from which all herbs that make tea spring. It's basic, it's gritty, it's complex and pure at the same time. I think that a lot of this purity comes from minimal influence from the outside (from his MySpace "I think my sound is very personal and internal. I don't think i really sound like anyone in particular." Understatement alert!)... it seems that Jandek crafts music like he's never heard it before and it's beautiful, like watching a baby discover their hand. Furthermore, his well-documented low-key status seems to help and it reminds me of N. Senada's "Theory of Obscurity" in action, although he's not prone to hiding his face, just himself.
Instrumentally, improvisation seemed like the word of the night all across the board, though I'm sure his word's are one constant in his performances as he flipped a page after each song. I think that after 53 albums from one man (collective?) in thirty years, it's fair to carry some lyrics (e.g. I've got 3 neckties and a glass of gin/I change my necktie every hour/I'm watching the declining level of liquid in my glass [paraphrased from memory]).
One particular phenomenon that I'd like to recall is the mass exodus after every song. Mixed in with the applause were hushed Excuse Mes and lurching theater seats, springing back up towards the ceiling. I do not understand these people. Who and what did they come for? What did they expect? Had they heard Jandek's work before or were they merely looking for a taste of the man elusive as Bigfoot and simply found out the hard way that they couldn't hang? I tend to think it was the latter, but what I know is that to appreciate him is to truly invest yourself in his work. It's a trial in patience and tolerance -- overall, I think Westerners are conditioned to want a hook or a groove, but you're left wanting with his music, and I like that.
By the end of the two hour set and roughly 8 fifteen-minute songs, the show ended as he stood from his stool, unstrapped his five-string, hollow-bodied bass and walked off the stage with a Standing Oh before him. The crowd dispersed and I headed outside to the rear of the theater to catch a glimpse of the man/myth a bit closer. After mulling around for about 15 minutes and catching him through the Green Room window, he emerged with his guitar and black attache case (his notes, I think) in hand. There he was.
Here he comes.
I had my poster in hand ready to ask him to sign it, but something about that seemed to cheapen the experience. Instead, I just extended my hand as he approached with his face hidden by the brim of the black hat he'd worn onstage. He stopped, crouched just enough to set his guitar down, and we lightly shook. He did this all with his head down and disappeared into the parking structure.
I keep watching this video. Over and over and over and over again.
I've had this fascination with Bill O'Reilly since high school. During my first year of college, I'd sit online with my friend Glenn and we'd recap the most outrageous O'Reilly moments. I'm embarassed to say, I even bought one of his books that was loaded with gems. He's an ass and he's wildly disagreeable, yes, but he gives it to you straight as his warped little right-wing mind can, often garnished with a nice zest of contempt. He's got this righteous bravado that continues to entertain me to this day, and when I saw the following clip of Bill from his Inside Edition days, I knew I had to share because he absolutely flips:
Mildly NSFW due to tantrum in second half. Turn down your speakers.
And perhaps the only thing to best that is the DANCE REMIX:
I remember, when I was younger and had more time to spend with the Nintendo, that I thought the next great frontier in gaming would be free-roaming, trail-blazing, CYOA-style epics. I remember wanting so badly to get off that single, fixed path, jump over that dumb hedgerow that you could obviously just hop over in real life, collect the flaming slingshot and smoke the Boss on Level 3.
Having been a kid of the suburbs, where exploration is discouraged by ticky tacky homeowners, commercial plots stretch for miles and where any land worth discovering is already built up by developers, I realized that my start at college meant I was heading into a realm of diminished boundaries. Ann Arbor is by no means a big city in terms of size, but its population brings a global flare and the amount of interstitial space is incredible, especially on campus. Acres of lawn, cross-cut by intersecting sidewalks, meant options, and the assembly of Frisbeers, tanners, and falun gongers affirmed that the "Keep Off the Grass" placards had no place. The sidewalks were suggestions and I took the green route.
There are so many A--->B options in this world that it almost seems shameful to stay on the concrete when there's so much earth to use. Granted, there are limitations -- time, footwear, unscalable faces, etc. I won't even pretend that a sidewalk isn't sometimes the most efficient of comfortable way to go. The unbeaten path isn't for some, but I like it.
Think about it: when you're on the sidewalk, you're walking for The Man.
I'm always wary that I'm chatting with a bot whenever I do customer service business over chat, so sometimes I put a little more out there to see what comes back.
Lotta.24942: I will need to search your address first in our system. While I am doing that, how are you today? James: very well, thanks. tired though... I actually just moved into my first apartment on my own today James: how about you? Lotta.24942: Oh! You should take some rest after this, James. Lotta.24942: I am doing fine. Lotta.24942: Thank you for asking.
I've been fortunate enough to play with a couple outstanding gentlemusicians and toegther we are Looking For Mammoths. With the pile of shows we've had heft upon us as of late, we figured it was time that we had a really classy design for the EPs we sell at the shows. I went to ArtSpoken and bought my first-ever pack of watercolor pencils (which I now LOVE) and went to work. The final cd cover product ended up being a composite of a couple pieces, wrapped up nicely in a Photoshopped bow.
The blue guy in the middle still seems Thom Yorke-ant to me
Here was a review on a show we never had the chance to play because it was cancelled. Flattering, nevertheless... Guided By Voices, wow!
http://blog.mlive.com/citpat "I'd like this Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor band even if it's music was awful for the simple fact that the main profile pic on its Myspace page is the old Far Side cartoon about early microscopes. Luckily, I think the music is pretty engaging, too, in a tuneful, low-fi, "Bee Thousand" kind of way."
I've always (and I mean since the first possible day that I was concurrently aware of each party) thought that George Clinton looked like an Ewok… albeit a much more colorful, African-American version... that doesn't wield clubs or have big, jewel-like eyes or live in trees.
Well, George might live in trees, I don't know. With all of his success, he certainly has the means to build a pretty spacious tree fortress.
You are a music evangelist: the person in your network of friends who always has the coolest new song, the one whose iPod gets picked to DJ every party. You understand the art of the segue, how the key to the best mix-tape isn't just the songs you pick, but how they interlock with each other. You also know who the up-and-coming acts are and are quick to recognise where their influences lie and whether they will make it big. You work hard at the pursuit of this knowledge, scouring music blogs, magazines and record stores. Most importantly, you are generous with your passion – and your friends should be very, very grateful. Still, it’s always good to get new inspiration for your latest mix.
I have been moving into my apartment since Friday. I struggled to get my internet going for about an hour and for some reason, I'm not getting basic cable channels, let alone the HD ones I asked for. :grumblegrumble:
Anyway, enjoy Sia. I do. It's always taken a lot to weird me out, but apparently my threshold's right around a catchy pop song fronted by visuals that make me feel like I'm watching a snuff film... and the cellophane head-wrapping. Jesus. Deliciously weird.
In honor of Tiger Woods' most recent owning of another band of no-name clubbists (no, nevermind... I'm taking back that dedication; I don't care about golf), I'm going to share a little story about my time on the links*.
It was creeping up around Noon when we wheeled up to the Bandon Dunes, a golf resort snuggled up along Oregon's southern coast. Famed for its design with environmental conservation in mind, it was about as close to playing in nature as you could get, short of marching out into your local biome with an auger and drilling your own holes.
"BTuck, Skully... whaddayasay?" Roo asked from the bitch seat while looking to Brian, behind the wheel, and then me. "Hit the back nines today?"
"M'yeah," said Brian brightly with bilabial tongue click and smile. As Roo and I pounded fists, Brian flattened the gas pedal. We were jerked backwards and crashed through the rustic three-beam fence that separated the clubhouse parking lot from the course. This sounds far-fetched, sure, but when some young people come into money, some invest, some save, and some splurge on a monstrous golf cart with crash bar, two-foot lift kit and a six-cylinder engine. We didn't even think Brian liked golf... or Hummers, for that matter. The beast alone was bad enough, but the resort doesn't even allow golf carts. And we don't even like when Brian drives!
Sitting a tight, three-abreast in the golf cart, I felt the most vulnerable as the outside passenger as I white-knuckled the poorly-placed grab bar at my hip and windshield. Those grab bars are nice for the leisurely drive from hole-to-hole when you meet the occasional tree root fighting up through the asphalt, but when you're driving like the enraged banshee ghost of Babe Didrikson Zaharias is after you, it doesn't quite seem sufficient. The declining slope from the clubhouse to the links and out past the bluff and into the ocean seemed like a lethal complement to our excessive speed. As we headed downward and straight for the coast, the cart jostled back and forth as Roo's dreadlocks whipped behind him (and me, in the face... repeatedly) as he hooted and hollered with his arms ripping through the misty air.
As we tore over the seventh hole, a 410 yard sweetheart, we came to a roll in the fairway that sent us flying as we cleared it. Literally airborne. We were aloft for about five seconds, but it wasn't an uncontrolled launch or fall... it was almost as though we were suspended by a wire rig that kept us perfectly pitched and aligned. As we touched back down on the tee of the eighth hole, heinously distracting the foursome who was about to tee off. There was much club-waving and anger, but we didn't seem to care as we were once again aloft, easily a hundred feet up. Brian didn't mention anything about a shock upgrade.
We hopped and floated from hole to hole, admiring the course's integration to the coast and laughing at the ridiculous outfits that came straight out of Caddyshack. Brian took a golf ball to the face, which sent his glasses tumbling down into the dense gorse below. It wasn't funny at the time, but we have a good laugh about it now. I always tell him that it was a karmic thing; he really stiffed our waitress at the Tufted Puffin, especially considering he sent her out for bird's nest soup, whose primary ingredient happens to be saliva nests built by red cave swifts. Do you know how hard that stuff is to come by?
"Off we gooooo, into the wiiild blue yonderrr," Roo belted and Brian harmonized as I drummed in a militarily-cadenced fashion on the dashboard. It was at that moment that it was as if the front two strings of the invisible wire rig that was held us up were cut from above and we began a nosedive onto the green of the 53rd hole. Everyone braced for impact and I secured my seatbelt, figuring that upon our discovery, alive or dead, at least I'd look like the responsible one (but where was that seatbelt this whole time?).
As we plummeted and came to an elevation at which we could see the awestruck-whites of two putting golfers' eyes, we stopped, just feet from the turf. Just like that, and the cart's front, then rear, wheels touched down gently on the well-manicured grass. The two proper and classy-looking and golfers who had been watching the whole incident walked up to us with three scotches in hand.
"Where ye lads from?" they asked in very thick, Scottish brogues. They looked to be in their early 30s but sounded like men thrice as old.
The three of us just looked at one another in disbelief. Speechless.
A dejected "Ohhh," came from them, who now all the sudden sounded British and appropriately aged.
"Yaaaale," they said in unison like they'd heard it all before. In a choreographed fashion, they frowned and cast their eyes down towards the ground left of their shoes.
I caught Persepolis yesterday and it found a nice place in my heart. But this will not be about the beauty of the shadow theater-y animation or about how the organizers crumbled under the pressure by the Iranian government by pulling the film from the Bangkok International Film Festival. No, sir. No, ma'am.
Instead, I'm making the simple declaration that in the right time, under the right circumstances, I think I would have really like to have dated the young Marjane Satrapi. I think that, to a certain degree, any woman with Iron Maiden in her heart could easily have mine.
While patiently awaiting my new physician in the reception area of my new doctor's office, I filled out my medical history (a very, very short history), wrote "ADOPTED" slantways across the family history section and popped the chained pen back into its little clipboard cozy. People are always so protective of their pens. Myself included.
I forgot my book at my office -- the book I'd brought from home with the intent of reading in the waiting room -- so I was left subject to the high-mounted television in the corner that was switched to CNN. Some sort of disco or electronica thumped from the flip-phone of older woman, young-grandmother age maybe. She played the same song three or four times, and it wasn't just a ringtone. She was probably watching a music video with eight times the budget of an independent film... her eyes were fixed on the screen and they danced back and forth. She had a simple smile of delight but I looked at her fingers and feet, neither of which were tapping. Who was this woman?
A guy slid into one of the seats nearby, along the right wall. He had the air of a affluent wildman, like Grizzly Adams with a lot of money. "Wildman" might be wrong, but he was really just in touch with nature. I could tell because of his long hair, heavy dependence on denim clothing (top two shirt buttons undone, exposing a mottled tan chest and whiting chest hair... his ponytail was doing the blonde-to-white thing, too), and pewter belt buckle with a turquoise eagle inlay. I never heard him speak, but I imagined him to have the gentle, lilting drawl of a gentleman from Northern Alabama who would not hesitate to drag someone behind his truck if they made an uncouth comment about God, his country, or his mother. Oh, and that affluent part? I don't know... he just had his cellphone clipped to his belt. He must have been important. Or a swinger. I could see him mystifying the ladies.
Across the room, just beneath the TV was a man who had assumed the Sleeping Wino stance across a couple of chairs. He looked uncomfortable as hell but apparently he was tired enough to sleep through the prodding pain of the hard plastic chair arms and CNN's incessant reports about efforts by the U.S. to destroy a glitchy spy satellite that had gone rogue and threatened to kill us all with poisonous fuel.
But the patient who really had my attention was just across from the man of repose. The man, of his early 40s, I'd guess, was watching a movie on portable dvd player that looked like it was meant for an sixth-grader. His eyes were two black pearloid buttons sewn too close together on his face and his brows met in a wrinkly collision between his low-set eyebrows. The way his gappy teeth pinned down his bottom lip seemed to indicate that whatever he was watching sure seemed to have him thinking.
A father and his teenage son sat near the focused man. As the father pointed out which parts of the intake sheet were important and reminded his son not to forget about his extended bout of irritable bowel syndrome last month, much to his embarrassment due to his father's uninhibited volume of speech, the focused man took an interest in them both. This man had opinions to share.
I missed exactly how he grabbed their attention. It was probably just an aside, a comment to himself that he said just loud enough so that someone in his vicinity would feel obligated to respond. Even if their response was heartless smile of acknowledgment, he knew that was his In. I heard the unmistakable sound of a vacuum, the sucking of people into a social situation from which they couldn't comfortably remove themselves without feeling like jerks, especially if they were nice guys.
I remember hearing him decry NASA and the satellite operations and the West's softness on terror. He was in disbelief that country would even consider electing a Black, Muslim president (although he didn't mind the Blackness too much). He was full of "facts," he was. Well-read, I'll give him that, but his comprehension skills could stand some refinement. The father and son were bobbleheads, nodding or pensively humming in agreement, whether they did or not. They were taking the path of least resistance. In the interest of passing time, I would have debated, but apparently they were in no hurry so I took it upon myself to bear their misery with a big, fat grin.
A nurse called me over and I handed her my clipboard. Fifteen minutes after my time with her and my new physician, who desperately wanted something to be wrong me so that he had something to do (I just needed an extension of a prescription, you see), I laid down my co-pay to the cashier and began down the hallway for the parking structure. Much to my surprise, the focused and fairly nutty man still had his captive audience.
"America's not a bully," he said defensively. "We just have a big back yard."
I smiled as I looked over my shoulder and caught eyes with the son. He was squirming anxiously, but that might have just been the IBS.
It always makes my day when I make a new connection. Whether it's between myself and another by way of smallworld-like circumstances or whether it's realizing that Ol' Dirty Bastard sampled Blood, Sweat, and Tears on "I Want P****" (hint: it's not 'penis').
Connections make me smile, especially when they've been months or years in the making.