Thursday, October 30, 2008
1. Sew Camille's princess outfit for her class party tomorrow. Also need to get a stick for her Mexican hobby horse, and design a horn for it as Camille insists she must be "a princess riding a unicorn."
2. Buy glittery make up for Camille and me! I love glittery makeup and with my new glittery black fairy wings, I MUST have glittery make-up.
3. Buy a coat for Umberto as he has managed in the last two weeks to lose both his sweatshirt and his fleece.
4. Buy an Indian feast from Trader Joe's.
5. Finish reading an article on Buddhist/Christian integration.
6. Finish reading Edward Said, and get more Spivak articles. She is so difficult to read yet her thoughts are so provoking and interesting.
7. Finish Cortez's Letters from Mexico.
8. Rewrite my thesis introduction. Look over the chapter I wrote so many months ago, and see if I dare send to new improved adviser.
9. Find time to help the kids' extra fab. music teacher run an Obama table on Saturday.
10. No facebook tonight. Just lots of cuddle time with adorable children and sexy wonderful husband.
11. Breathe. Look at the fall leaves, and enjoy the beauty of that endings bring.
12. Go to the ever fab. Amber's house for Halloween feasting and celebration (tomorrow night).
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
During the primary run, I was not excited about anyone. I knew H. Clinton was totally not my pick. She wanted this too badly and as a result was not standing up for anything. Her wish-washy views didn't leave me with much faith. I was sad because I used to love H. Clinton. I still admire her spunk and I used to admire her willingness to stand up for what she believed in but it seems that politics do corrupt. I had friends who were nuts about Obama from the beginning, and spent hours trying to persuade to be nuts about him too. It wasn't enough that I planned to vote for him in the primaries. I had to love him too.
And now a few months later, I am pretty crazy about the guy. There was no blinding light moment on the road to Damascus. Rather it was a gradual process. His speeches were inspiring. The man can talk. And there was something about the message of hope that made me want to believe. His stance on the Iraq War has always been consistent--we need out. And while his tax ideas are no way as liberal as mine (sorry folks, the guy is so not a socialist) they were enough to convince that he has a social conscious.
And then there is Michelle. Cause dear readers my Obama love is not just for Barak. It's for her too. Her story is right out of the "American Dream" history book. Poverty, overt racism, you name it, she faced it, and came out strong. Her intelligence and integrity are apparent in every interview she gives. I told a friend that maybe we should have her running for president. If there's any anger (and I've yet to see what white people are so damn scared of), I would say it is a righteous anger. Personally I have no problem with righteous anger. It is good to have some fire in politics.
Yeah, I know she would "only" be a first lady but when I see the love and respect that exists between Obama and Michelle, I suspect she's going to be a hell of a lot more than a "just."
Lastly, there's my son. Umberto is definitely Obama crazy. He has posters. He wears pins and stickers. He's busily designing a banner for our house to hang on election day. He makes sure, daily, that he's coming with me when I vote for Obama. He watches the debates! He knows Obama's platform. And a few weeks ago, he said "You know Obama has the same color skin as daddy." It is a big deal to Umberto that he is seeing someone who looks like his daddy run for president. It's a big deal to me because I want to be able to honestly say "You can do whatever you want." For too long that doing what you wanted has been limited because of racist, sexist views. And no Obama is not going to wipe that slate clean but he is a start.
So yeah I'm getting excited and scared. I feel like we're on the brink of history and that's a scary exhilarating feeling. We have a chance to elect someone who is different. No matter what your political bent, this is not politics as usual. This is an African-American male about to become the PRESIDENT. It's huge, and we get to watch it. I want to believe. I want to have hope. I want change, and for once, I'm going to push my cynicism aside, and just let myself go.
Added a bit later: I'm chatting with yet another old friend from college, and he was saying how Obama's message is positive, and he said "The details, as long as he stays true to his character, are almost irrelevant." I agree with the emphasis on "almost." What drew me to Obama, initially, was definitely his message. And I think that his going back to that positive, hopeful vibe, is wise. It's a reminder of why so many us have come to have hope again.
I've always had a fantasy of having front steps where I could line up the kids' pumpkins! Yet another reason why this house rules.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
But the other day I was chatting (instant messaging) with a good friend from college. This friend and I went through a lot, and he wasn't always the greatest person to be around. However, when you go through shit with someone you have a special bond. And this person is like my brother. Even though there has been a silence of many years, I found it totally comfortable to ease into conversation both on the computer and on the phone. When we talked on the phone, he laughed, and it just flooded me with all the images from Farmington, and the summer I turned twenty-five. Just the laugh....so familiar even after something like 10 years of silence.
As we chatted, he mentioned another person we both knew. In that space, I remembered one of my first meetings with that person. It was very clear in my mind. I had driven to Bath for the day. It was an unplanned trip because I had a lot of work due but I was in the middle of getting out of my rental situation. Because I was living with my best friend it was not an easy move out. She was angry, I was angry, and we were both hurt. So I decided to take Rick up on his offer to visit, and headed out to the coast to meet him. I liked going to Bath. It was (likely still is) one of those charming sea towns once you got to the shore. The drive through was up this big hill lined with fast food places and strip malls. Not pretty. In the distance as you drove this wreckage of capitalism, you could see the towering masts of battleships brought in for repairs at Bath Iron Works. But I really liked about Bath was Rick and his friends. They were, in my eyes, very cool, people I wanted to be like but could never quite manage the cool the way they did.
So I picked Rick up at his parents' place. He was going to teach me to play pool so we went to a billiards place. I kept telling him I sucked at pool but he wouldn't listen. He was determined that anyone could learn, and that he would be the one who could teach me. We played for something like three hours before he finally admitted defeat in the face of my awfulness.
We ate out, and then meet his friends for drinks at this bar I loved. It had chairs and couches in one area so you could sit and drink like you were at a party. It's a bar I still look back upon with great longing, always wishing everywhere I go, that there was another one like it. After a few drinks there, we headed to another bar, a more sporty type bar that had pool tables. We drank more, and I was pretty tanked when we decided to actually play pool. Rick refused to play on my team, and let everyone know I sucked bad. I was embarrassed, more so because I was drunk and these were people I wanted to be like, and people that I wanted to like me. I was irritated at my friend even though we both played this kind of nasty sarcasm with each other quite often.
And the friend he reminded me of, was the one who let me be on his team. He was a player who held his best until people weren't expecting it. It looked for awhile like we were going to lose. But he brought up our score until we were tied. And the last shot was a real bitch. My friend was dancing around, shouting that they had already won, that there was no way I'd make the shot. But I made the shot. I remember my friend kind of standing there shell shocked, and me laughing at his face. It was a good moment, and I remember that the guy who took me on was always nicer to me after that...as if he knew I felt like an outsider.
That night, I can not remember how we got home. I was way to drunk to drive home to Vienna. My friend and I tried to sleep together on his tiny bed but it was uncomfortable...not just physically. This friend and I had spent several nights in the same bed but it was my bed...a big bed that allowed us to keep some distance. Being that close to my friend's body made me a tad uncomfortable, and I remember lying there almost afraid I'd be attracted to him. I made a bed on the floor. It always felt to me like there was a distance to our relationship after that night.
And as we typed, I remembered all this so clearly. I could hear Rick laughing after he got over his shock. I remember being squished in that bad, and feeling so miserable and uncomfortable. I didn't dare let myself feel anything because I was so terrified of rejection. And I couldn't bear to be rejected by someone I cared so much for. That had already happened with a friend earlier and I was too fragile to undergo any more hurt. I don't think I would have felt anything...he was too much like my brother but I can remember that fear, can even still taste it on my mouth with the lingering taste of beer.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Skinheads plotting to kill Obama. I'm sickened and disgusted because while the whole plot was amazingly stupid, it just underlines the racist attitudes of too many people in the U.S. And yes I get that most of us are not racist skinheads this whole race has brought out all those latent racist tendencies that too many of us possess. There are people who will see the above mentioned, half-assed plot as a reason to vote for McCain. You see the logic being that if we elect Obama he'll just get assassinated so let's vote for the white guy who may die and leave us with a religious extremist in charge. Yeah.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
First, let's take a look at Palin. Here's a woman with no experience to speak of, a woman who kills things with high power rifles, a woman who may or may not be lying about her youngest son's paternity, a woman who thinks it's great to marry off her teenage daughter to the guy the daughter happened to have sex with...ummm okay. But what I want to point out here is the fact that she is a religious extremist. Now Republican voters have a real bug up their ass about religious extremists which in Republican speak translates to Muslims. But they've been amazingly silent about Palin's religious beliefs. Palin is a member of the Assemblies of God which is a Pentecostal affiliated church. They believe in being born again, speaking in tongues, etc. They also believe that the mission of Christians is to convert the world. In other words, everyone needs to be a born again Christian with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This often takes on a rather militaristic tone as anyone who has seen Jesus Camp can attest. Like many Pentecostals, Palin is a creationist meaning she believes that God created the Earth in seven days just as stated in the number 1 tale of creation found in the Hebrew Bible. These people tend to veiw wars with Muslim countries as "holy wars" (sound familiar?). I know this group rather intimately as my family spent much of my youth in various Assemblies of God churches. I remember marching around the Church with the adults as they sang a song about being in the "army of the Lord."
. The group tends to have an escathological apocalyptic world view .These are the beliefs held for example by Tim Lahey and Jerry Jenkins, authors of the Left Behind series. Beliefs such as these include an end time world viwe in which Jesus will return to bring up the 'saved' to heaven aka. The Rapture. After the rapture, the Antichrist will rule the world for seven years before returning again to battle Satan, in what I guess could be called the ultimate slamdown. This kind of thinking lends, I think, a certain urgency to "saving" the would be sinners of the world.
I will acknowledge that a, AOG has become a bit less charismatic as they become more established. However, if you follow the link I offered, you will read that they publicly advocate the beliefs I've mentioned. Also Palin no longer attends a AOG church but she does return to give speeches as evident in the video floating around of her speaking of Iraq as a war from God. She now attends Wasilla Bible Church which if you read their statement of faith, you'll discover that their beliefs do not really deviate much from the AOG.
My problem is not so much that Palin has a religion but that it's an extreme religion that would find its way into her governing. She would not think about representation of all Americans but rather representation for "God" would be her top priority. For a group of people who profess fear of religious extremism, I find it ironic, and yes weird, that they would pick someone who is a religious extremist but then I guess most of these types don't think Christians can have religious exretmists...hmmm...crusades anyone? Abortion clinics bombing?
Second, the whole campaign worker story. Heard this one? A white female McCain campaigner goes to the police with this story about how she was mugged at an ATM by...wait for it...a black man (surprise, surprise)...a big black man as well. He sees her McCain sticker on her car after she's given him her money, hits her in the back of the head (now I admit to being tempted to do this when I see McCain stickers), beats her, and then CARVES a letter B into her check telling she better vote of Obama. Police said later this week that the story was a lie, and that this woman carved the letter B (which was backwards) into her own cheek. Ummm okay. Not only are the people running fucking nuts so are the people campaigning for them. I know this shouldn't have a bearing on McCain and Palin but it does make me wonder what kind of lunacy is going around is floating around ya know?
Third, from weird to sick...the supporters who shot a bear cub, pasted Obama signs all over it's head, and left in front of a college in NC. Again, one has to wonder why people are doing these things in the name of McCain...maybe it's the crazy air that surrounds McCain and Palin. Who knows?
Even since McCain choice Palin, this whole campaign took on a farce like atmosphere. The woman is an idiot with scary extremist views. She strikes me as a racist (which I've heard from a great many people). McCain with his snide sneering and his borderline racist comment during debate number 2 has just come across as someone smelling faintly of desperation. They've both become SNL skits of themselves. The overlty racist mentality that lingers over Repubicans right now leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
I am honestly flabbergasted that Obama does not totally have this campaign in the bag.
Oh and just an end note...the latest NRA ad against Obama...cause you know that the fact you've never killed an animal with a gun makes you totally UNDESIRABLE as president. And yeah hunters really really need semiautomatic to bring down those ferocious deer....
Monday, October 20, 2008
The Grey Eagle, Asheville, North Carolina
October 20, 2008
There is a certain stretch of highway as one drives up the mountains that opens up the sky. You're driving along, darkened forest, and suddenly a blast of red, orange, gold blinds you as what feels like the world opens up on you offering glorious expanse of mountain and that blazing sunset. It's becoming a deja vu sight as this is the third time I've headed to Asheville for a show just in the past year. This time I went up with my friend Amber. D and H both had childcare duties...plans fell through so it was a ladies' night out. I was disappointed that the guys couldn't make it but it was great to get to now Amber better, and I felt we left each other as friends. Always a good feeling.
I hung around outside, it was freezing but I get to smoke during shows...Jim, from All Saints, came out and talked with me. We talked about music and venues. Then Oliver came out, and I went through my silly fan girl thing...should I talk to him? Should I not? I finally did, and he claimed to remember me, and I got a hug. Okay I have to admit...I do have a big crush on the guy. I just can't help myself. He was still sweet, so nice to know that touring with NIN has not turned him into a superstar.
Finally, the moment came. I staked out a spot right in front of where Oliver would play, and held my ground. I didn't mind waiting because from the first screeching wave of feedback, I was gone. I've come to the conclusion that I'm one of those people who likes to be assaulted by music. There's something about that sound slamming against me that lifts me. It's raw and hard and I like that but then APTBS does something else, something not softer but more sensual. Some of it is Oliver's voice which comes to you so indirectly under that pounding assault. Last time, I found myself wanting to hear him louder but this time, there was something so intense about hearing that voice coming through this sheer noise that left me breathless. It was such an unlikely combination but one that worked well. And his voice sounded even better this time around. And then some of it is the melody that comes through the feedback, and the screaming of wires being ripped across guitar strings. I could always make out the songs, could sing them from memory, pull them out of my head as I felt my body literally being vibrated by the sound. There was a familiarity even as Oliver and crew worked their magic creating new sounds, new ways of playing the songs, because underneath there was this core sound that I knew.I found myself thinking about floating in the ocean in Vera Cruz. I have always been a little scared of the ocean. I'm terrified of drowning anyway, and the vastness of the ocean does not make me comfortable. But in Vera Cruz I found myself floating in these warm gentle waves, being lulled by this gentle motion but even as I allowed myself to feel this embrace, I found myself always aware of the power that rocked me. It was a pleasurable moment but not a safe moment.And yes this all came to me while Oliver was going fucking insane during "Ocean". I remember at one point, Oliver had thrown his guitar around, beat on it, tortured it with wire, and just literally messed it up, when he stopped playing. He just stood there staring into the darkness where the audience was, his eyes wide and almost crazed. He wasn't there with us anymore, and it was a disconcerting feeling to be so close to him, and yet feel so far away from wherever place he was. This was the man who was about to suck us all into that place where he was, and for a moment, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to go. I felt that same feeling as floating...this time it was with noise, sound waves, and the danger lie in the person (people really) manipulating those sounds. He played some more but it still felt like something bigger was about to come. Best part of that moment was that you got to hear very clearly the bass. JonoMofo is an amazing bassits but I often feel like the bass sounds is like a foundational sound that is almost missed if you don't listen carefully. The drums and guitar in APTBS are totally at the forefront in most of the songs but when the guitar went silent, you realized how vital the bass is for this group. It's really the sound that carries the melodies through those almost discordiant moments. Then the guitar came back but I'll never lose the bass again...and yes I was lost in the music. Waiting for that something more to come...and they left...
Just like that he left. It was too soon, and it felt like something was going to break but it didn't. Instead we were all standing there...waiting, knowing there was something more. I almost walked away, almost but luckily I was too shell shocked too move, too disorientated to even walk. I couldn't hear anything, and couldn't really see through the smoke and the strobes. I wasn't expecting an encore as they had not done one the first time we saw them...but they came back. And I'm pretty sure they played "My Weakness" which in recent weeks has become my favorite song. It was not a familiar version of the song but I thought I could detect the melody under the most intense noise they had produced all evening. At one point, Oliver was rubbing the microphone against the speakers creating the loudest, shrillest feedback I've ever encountered.
What fascinated me along with the music was the crowd. People had been dancing up until that point. They stopped. There were several with kind of horrified looks on their face. No one walked away but they stopped connecting. For me, it was the ultimate connection. It was the body meeting noise not mean to be music, and turning that sound into music, into expression, maybe not of a rational kind but it was expression. It was raw, hard, and real. It was like that moment when you feel physical pain, and everything comes into this kind of intense focus. It was those moments of clarity so brilliant it hurt to contemplate it too much. And it was painful. Physically. My ears still are not okay. If possible, they were better than when we saw them in April. I think the show was a lot more crazed, intense, and loud. I can only imagine the next show I get to see...now if I can only persuade them to play Charlotte.
I got to say goodbye to Oliver (and even get one more hug...which you all know I am not going to bitch about) and I got to get all fan girl on JonoMofo (or "I'm Jonathan"). He's nice as well as being an incredible bassist. And he totally sounds like he's from Brooklyn (a wee bit of sarcasm here).He remember me as the reviewer who thought he was "Mugging it up for the cameras." But he graciously allowed me a picture, and even invited Amber and I to the party at the bar later (can I even began to describe my disappointment in not being able to go?Why oh why can't I take a decent picture? I look so dreadful. Smug, and bloated or something. Dreadful. I so wanted this picture....sigh, at least he looks good.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
But here it is two weeks later, and I am nearly paralyzed with fear. I have tried to read the damn thing and I can't even get past the opening quote. I've tried to analyze the fear. I've dismissed the fear, decided it was boredom, beat myself up for being uncommitted. I misplaced the fear. Past issues with old adviser were surfacing. I was terrified of facing the old comments, what I had felt pressured into writing.
Maybe it's just the fall...you know depression time. I hate the fall sometimes. It feels so hard to get moving. There days when I feel like I can barely function. Right now it's hard to just get the kids to school. When I get home from walking, I often go to bed. Sometimes I motivate myself to clean the house. I do the work for my class but pushing myself for the thesis...nope.
And yeah I am depressed. But that's not what's really keeping me from revising. It's the writing. I am terrified. And this is why I can't write here. I try but I end up either not publishing or deleting what I wrote. How is that something I love so much terrifies me? And why? Is the fear that it will just suck?
No. I think it's a bit deeper than that....I think it's the fear that writing always stirs in me. Even academic writing. There is the fear that I will just not be good enough. An intense fear that nothing that I write is making any sense. It's more than just being good; it's about conveying. Deep inside there is a fear that nothing I write will be interpreted in any kind of sensible way...as if the words that form in my mind are not finding their way onto the computer screen. I imagine there is this disconnect between my thoughts and my hands. I am two separate entities, and they do not seem to be communicating lately.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Well, it's happening again. In what will no doubt be a serious case of deja vu, I am going to the Grey Eagle on Sunday to see APTBS. Way excited as those of you know my obsession can imagine. This time I might go all fan girl on JM if I can find him that is....
Postscript: Why is that when I title a post "A Place to Bury Strangers" I get a larger number of hits than normal? This could lead to some fun fun experimentation...