[I wrote this in December 2001 and now I’m regifting it because I couldn’t think of anything else to get you.]
1. I’m fingering bath balls like Captain Queeg. Mom’d prefer the, the what, the Serenity, maybe? Or the Sandalwood Rejuvenation? Or better yet just go for the pre-wrapped basket with the goat’s milk soap and lavender sachet?
2. Identically pinched expressions on the concourse. Everyone’s going back somewhere that knows their real story.
3. The accent comes back to me without a fight. I pretend the breath vapor is cigarette smoke, something I haven’t done in fifteen years.
4. “Little more nog than egg here.” ¶ “Got that straight. Only way to get through this.” ¶ “Those icicle lights can rot in hell.” ¶ “Chicken wire in the shape of a reindeer, all lit up. That’s the way to do it.”
5. My stepmother is pouring some salad dressing and notices the expiration date is from the 1980s. She makes a joke and my grandmother withers in humiliation and my stepmother gets very quiet and then excuses herself from the table and locks the guestroom door and doesn’t come out until the next morning.
6. “The Christmas Song,” David Benoit; “O Tannenbaum,” The Vince Guaraldi Trio; “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Ella Fitzgerald; “Frosti,” Björk; “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” Frank Sinatra; “Carol of the Bells” b/w “Minstrels,” George Winston; “Fac 21,” Stars of the Lid.
7. There are kids everywhere. Babies with soft heads. Little tiny overalls crisp with dried food. The advent calendar drives them insane. They pull on their silky hair in frustration. They clench pant legs and speak in vowels.
8. The minivans wait in line to see The Most Decorated House in the City. Pop makes a u-turn when we’re asked to pay a dollar.
9. We sing drunken carols to the neighbors and they don’t open the door. I lift up my brother and he tears down their icicle lights and buries them in a trash can already stuffed with spent cardboard tubes, animal bones, styrofoam peanuts.
10. We agree on a wake-up time. The kids suffer a heated, five-minute insomnia. I stay up and watch the folks add filler to the stockings (oranges, novelty boxer shorts), dismayed that I’m now allowed to see this. They collapse and I eat the cookies left by the fireplace and the house is absolutely silent, lit only by the tree. It is the moment on which all of winter rests and this year its weight is reassuring.
Fireland is, what? 15 years old? I’ve been around for 10 of those years. He’s like a crazy scientist, retiring to his office at odd times, requiring absolute silence and secrecy. Headphones on, intently focused on his art. Who knows what he’s doing in there. One time I caught him watching Pirates of the Caribbean.
And my favorite album of the decade is: QOTSA - Songs for the Deaf
WHAT A SURPRISE!
When I started making my list, there was no question that the winner would be a QOTSA album. It was only a matter of which one. In fact, my top three albums of the 00s go like this:
QOTSA - Songs for the Deaf
QOTSA - Rated R
QOTSA - Lullabies to Paralyze
This is followed by two Clutch albums and then a bunch of other stuff.
This is the review what I wrote about Songs for the Deaf on another website I started and never kept up with.
While all the other QOTSA albums can be played at whatever volume you like, in whatever setting you want, Songs for the Deaf was meant to be played at maximum volume, in your car. In fact, the running theme of the record – peppered with radio bits between songs – is a drive through the desert with the radio on. And you can just feel it as you listen to song after song, imagining that there are washed out cow skulls and menacing cactus out your window instead of steel and concrete. It’s hot as hell and even the wind that blows in through the open windows is like the devil’s breath on your neck so you drive faster and faster and play the music louder and louder as the desert zooms by you, at times threatening (Song for the Dead), at times exhilarating (Do it Again) and in between all that is an oasis of pure bliss (Go With the Flow). This album can turn any traffic-clogged, road rage type drive home into a hallucinogenic ride through some wasteland.
The pounding drums and melodic rhythms will work you into a frenzy and just as you’re about to convert that frenzy into road rage, remembering that you’re not actually driving through a desert there’s a break between songs, an ironic little sound burst about how much the radio sucks and you catch your breath, laugh knowingly and wait for the next song to invade your senses.
Grohl’s relentless drumming, the constant change up of styles, the absolute heaviness coupled with amazing melodies; from the hoarse screams of You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, to the sweet orchestration of the dark, disturbing Mosquito Song, Songs for the Deaf is a pure joy ride of perfection.
And now you can all sleep better at night knowing what my favorite album of the decade is.
So, as advised, I put this album on for the commute this morning, and the commute was a real nice punch in the junk so I had enough time to listen to the whole thing, and I realized I hadn’t listened to it stem-to-stern in years and had forgotten how it is, in the words of David Cross, an earthquake wrapped in a hurricane, nestled in a box of tsunamis.
Seriously I almost burst into tears because of the drums in the last thirty seconds of “Song for the Dead.” I mean OK yeah I had some other stuff going on, I was definitely bringing my own things to the table, the commute to work is not my most emotionally stable time of day, OK, granted, but still, the drums made me feel feelings.
It’s over there by the Popeyes. You’ve seen it. C’mon, what? You can’t miss it. Quit lying. Towering over that vacant lot? You know. Where we used to go smoke and have sex with people? Back in the day? OK yeah no I never smoked or had sex there because hello, uh, snakes, but I’m pretty sure you were there basically every weekend unless my eyes were making up lies. What. Am I wrong? You’re saying you never went over there to smoke a cigarette and then, subsequently, pole? I’m just making this up out of thin air, am I. Just a wonderful imaginative inventor of stories like whoever does Prince Valiant.
Yeah anyway it says CAR CRASH MURDER RAPE PROBATE ETC CALL JOSHUA “THE VIOLENT PITBULL” ALLEN 24/7/366 YES EVEN LEAP DAY I’M ALL EARS AND ALL HEART SE HABLA ESPAÑOL NO JUDGMENT NO FATTIES PERSONAL CHECKS OK. Yeah I know it’s amazing that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you for ten million hours.
It is very easy for excellent writing on the internet to disappear after it becomes “old”, especially when we’re dealing with content from very obscure sites like Kevin Fanning’s defunct The Cold Inclusive, but this post from two years ago is a total masterpiece and worthy of renewed attention. I’m not going to spoil it for you. If the title grabs you — AND IT FUCKING SHOULD! — go read it, and then ravenously devour everything else in Fanning’s brilliant Sex With Celebrities series.
“We are social animals, you and I, and indeed we like nothing better than to spend time with good old friends and enchanting new ones. We stand and smile and sip our drink and, rocking from heel to toe, hear stories designed to amuse and inform, for we are social animals. But we do not wish to socialize with those who demand constant attention, or attempt to entertain with tomfoolery, or are plainly boorish. We did not invite these folk, and we bid them go away.”—Dean Allen on Flash, 24 September 2000
Another NaNoWriMo has come and gone. ‘Round midnight last night I wrote the closing words of my novel, set down my pen, and enjoyed a celebratory flute of champagne on my balcony, the city lights sparkling like magical golden jewels or amulets.
I am very pleased to share my latest work, entitled Sweet Tumescence, with you, my friends.
Savannah True was the best locksmith in town. This one time she managed to get the Mayor’s secret closet open after he flushed the key down the toilet because he thought the FBI was at the door when actually it was just Fat Frankie doing one of his classic pranks lol. Yes, Savannah True could unlock anything … except her heart.
Someone murdered Savannah True. No one knew who did it or how or what kind of weapon they used. The cops were stumped.
A writer lived in this town. He had always loved Savannah True’s smile and laugh and mouth, and the way her succulent breasts looked like quivering balloons of gentle flesh. He wrote a poem about her that was very powerful.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.
FUCK THIS AND FUCK YOU DHFJKGHJKFNG
mention something about savannah true having a jealous boyfriend who killed her with something