Sunday, August 31, 2008

A paragon of style and grace.

I would instruct you all to the Raven archive at this point to download my newest show, which is full of fluttery, violiny, songs to slow dance to, but do to some extreme misfortune, I can't say if things will be updated this week the way that they have been for the past few. I don't think it's automated. So you might just have to use your imaginations.
This picture is for La Fab, who often complains that she wants me to post pictures of my daily outfits on my blog for her pleasure. Usually they are nothing to write home about; this one, I think, warrants a little attention. I adore this skirt; it's from Anthropologie. It has a funny kangaroo pouch in the front. The top is Old Navy, and the color was what made me buy it. The shoes are eBay finds. They are painful to walk in, but I wear them anyway, because, look. If I am not the type of woman to sacrifice a little comfort for aqua patent leather, then what kind of woman am I, precisely? I thought so. And please forgive my lopsided hair. After I took this photo I fixed it, applied more lipstick, and put on black hoop earrings.

Have you not been paying attention? Swoony big band stuff. Rosemary Clooney singing Tenderly is terrific in all sorts of ways. Also, I have played the live Bernadette Seacrest CD every night this week. And Elvis Costello's Blood and Chocolate is permitting me the peace of mind necessary to inhibit my murderous tendencies. Oh, and I am obsessed with Circus Contraption, which is an actual circus in Seattle. The music is marvelously creepy and highly addictive. I feel like a preacher, the way I've been singing their praises.

I had a hankering to watch the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it was just as good as I wanted it to be. Netflix also sent me Mad Men, which is coming highly recommended from all quarters, and I rented Fight Club the other night and watched it all by myself, with a giant glass of wine. It frightens me how much I love that movie.

Have You Found Her? a Memoir by Janice Erlbaum This book is kicking my ass. It is so painful and raw I can hardly stand to turn the pages. I've been working on it for more than a week now, because I can't read more than a couple of pages at a time. I will try my best, but I have that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that you get when you know womething bad is going to happen. I hate that.


I haven't had anything outsttanding recently, although L.'s adventures with beets are making me crave them something fierce again. The most discussable event involving comestibles recently was the purchase of a bottle of French Syrah a few nights ago. I went for a long walk, listened to a bunch of music, and then eagerly opened the bottle and poured a glass. It was not the pleasantest bottle of wine I've had. It was bright, raw, and fume-y, and rather too dry. I did not like it. I left it alone for a few days, and last night, as I was contemplating calling it a loss and dumping it down the sink, I gave it one more swallow. Silly me. Some reds need to breathe before you go swilling them back like Kool-Aid. I'll try to remember for next time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Customer Service Mixtape

I am so fucking over this goddamn summer. I am ready to slap the next bitchy person who peruses our menu, decides they don't like it, and asks for a recommendation to another restaurant. I am ready to punch the next marble-mouthed Southern gentleman who calls me 'miss.' I am ready to cut the snide, entitled assholes who don't carry cash, talk on their motherfucking cellphones, and leave their napkins in the bottoms of their half-full cups. I don't want to spend another minute hopped up on coffee and too much sugar, waiting to go home and drink myself down with an iced whiskey or three.

In honor of my utter disaffection with the whole situation, I would like to make a little mixtape. As always, my darlings, I need your help. I have a tiny starter list, but I need all of you coffee-slinging, phone-answering, ice-cream scooping, t-shirt gathering, ranch dressing fetching drink mixers to add your words of wisdom. Add your favorite bitter fuck yous in the comments. If I feel ambitious, I might actually get these posted on Earfarm or Facebook or something. Don't hold me to my word.

Pixie, Ani DiFranco "just buck up and be nice."
Nugget, Cake "shut the fuck up. Right. Now."
Waitress, Tori Amos "I believe in peace, bitch"
I Wanna Be Sedated, the Ramones "hurry hurry hurry before I go insane"
Pouring Water On A Drowning Man, Elvis Costello "how much more can I stand?" ( I can't find a link to this song as sung by E.C., just James Carr and Percy Sledge.)

The louder, the better, my sweets. Let's hear them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Guess what time it is, kiddies?

That's right! I have made my decision on my Halloween costume, and the research has commenced. I was determined to have a gaping wound this year, and since I figured that my original idea, the gutshot cowboy, would prove sticky over the course of an evening, I decided a smaller, more localized trauma was in order. Bust magazine had good instructions a few years ago for slit throats, and the seeds of my costume were planted.

I was inspired by this story, which I think I probably read for the first time in one of those lame urban legend books that fall into your hands, usually via Scholastic book club orders, in the formative years of your youth. I remember that the young man in the story was a noble, maybe even a prince, and that the young woman insisted she was a commoner who carried herself like an aristocrat. Or maybe that is just a few too many Georgia Heyer books in junior high.... Anyway, I have been lusting after a mid/late-Victorian bustled evening gown (1873 is the magic year) for a really long time now. That in mind, I have made the decision to set my costume and thus the story in the Victorian era, and to give her a reason for her head to fall off: it was nearly severed from her body in a cruel and gruesome crime of passion.

I am so excited.

Here is what I think I'll need:
1)a new Victorian corset, maybe with a spoon busk if I can justify the expense
2) a bustle, either stiffened lace (a la the 1870's) or "hoopwire" (otherwise known as polyethylene tubing - I LOVE the hardware store)
3) a petticoat
4) corset cover
5) skirt and bodice
6) several yards - 2 1/2? 3? - of green velvet ribbon. I am leaning toward willow or loden.
7) hair extensions
8) neck wound prosthesis
9) latex, fake blood, miscellaneous wound makeup

I like the idea of using pink to underscore the green of the ribbon and emphasize the rosy glow of my slashed neck. I still have many yards of hot pink shantung that never became a holiday dress, so it may find new life. I have to think hard about matching it with the moss green. One solution may be making the base of the dress ivory or pale gold, and just accenting with the bolder colors.

I obviously am still in the planning stages, but I know that I will need patterns for the bustle and gown, and most probably the petticoat, too. That is where I plan to start. I have spring steel still from the MA corset, but no more tips. I will require a busk and about 300" of lacing for a Victorian corset, too. Oooooh, exciting. I'll try to be better about progress pics this time around!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Les Yeux Ouverts

I spent a little time this weekend doing something that I haven't done in a long, long time. That is, I got to strengthen a budding friendship by showing off the town that I love so much. I walked on a favorite beach that I hadn't been on in more than four years; I found a perfect huckleberry bush; I shared a few of my favorite quirks that would go completely unnoticed by the uninitiated. I did it because it has been a really long time since I met someone who was worthy of the information. I didn't even get to do some of the best stuff with him: stand in the record library at Raven Radio and inhale the scent of vinyl or hunt cloudberries in the muskegs on Gavan Hill or walk the docks and stare wistfully at the sailboats that have already been all the way around the world. Maybe he'll come back, and I'll finish off the list. I hope so.

In my infatuation last week with On The Street Where You Live, I downloaded Harry Connick Jr.'s 25 and now I am humming Stardust to myself and thinking about holding hands. I have long expressed my concern over the dearth of handholding in the world today. I aim to remedy that... Just as soon as our paths cross again. Until then, I am making a playlist that includes the Frank Sinatra version of One For My Baby, Tommy Dorsey's Stardust, and Louis Armstrong blowing his mournful way through Dream a Little Dream of Me. I promise that I won't grow too starry eyed, because I'm not a romantic.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday, 1:53 p.m.

I am filthy. I smell like stale coffee and slightly scalded milk, I have whipped cream smeared suggestively on my thigh and a sticky substance that I hope to Jeebus is chutney on the back of my arm near my elbow. Although the day is a balmy and overcast 57, I have been sweating like I live in Alabama for the better part of the day. I wish I could say I look windblown or tousled or tumbledown, but the truth is, I look sweaty and blowsy and disgruntled, because I am.

The sum of today's nutritive intake is comprised of the following: six shots of espresso, most of them liberally doused with hot whatever-milk-is-at-hand foam but at least one of them straight with no coddling, and half a boysenberry muffin. The result is that my skittering heart is far outpacing both my shaking hands and my stuttering intellect. It feels like there is a beast in my chest, poised to leap forward and consume the drink that I am mixing like an automaton. I can't remember the name of it, or who it belongs to. I plan on handing it to the hopeful patron waiting at the end of the counter, whether or not it belongs to them. It may even make them stop staring at me.

One more day of this and then blessed rest, loosed from captivity.

This, my friends, is why you tip your barista.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Admit it, you always wanted a MONKEY

I freely admit that I have questionable taste at times. It is very, very rarely indefensible, but today I was embarrassed in my own home, by iTunes.

You see, I have a playlist of guilty pleasures. Everybody's got 'em. Some contain, say David Archuleta and Michael Buble, some the Spice Girls, and mine... Well, mine's got a little song by the Barenaked Ladies. They write some subversive stuff, even if they are the worst kind of earworm pop. Anyhow, I purchased If I Had A Million Dollars at 11 p.m. one lonely evening and added it to my g.p. list. And this morning, when I went to buy a song or two to flesh out my radio show, iTunes #1 recommendation for me was HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH. I couldn't believe how quickly I recoiled. It was like I'd been stung by a bee. Then I realized that it was a fairly accurate assumption, since my guilty pleasure playlist also contains this gem:

By the way, Huey Lewis and the News are NOT on my list of guilty pleasures, because I feel NO shame in loving that man or his music.

All the cool kids are doing it

It's shameless self-promotion time, kids! Did you know that if you go to the Raven Radio website, you can listen to this week's shows? It's for true! And, coincidently, I just did my show, so if you really love early jazz and pop, or if you're missing the sound of my voice (aww...), you can go to the program schedule page, and click on Anything Goes, and there I'll be. Well, as soon as Steve turns over the archive. But tomorrow, probably. I think.

And for the radio geeks 'round these parts (yeah, I'm lookin' at you) here's the playlist:

On The Street Where You Live - the Swingin' Fireballs
Ain't Cha Glad - Benny Goodman feat. Jack Teagarden
I'm Telling the Birds, I'm Telling the Bees - Jack Smith (with piano)
Give a Little Whistle - The Victor Silvester Orchestra
Delta Bound - James Dapogny Chicago Jazz Ban
Piccolo Pete -Ted Winges Band
Goody Goody - Billy Randolph and the Highhatters
Don't Bring Lulu - Jan Garber and His Orchestra
Radio Rhythm - Fletcher Henderson Orchestra
The Cream In My Coffee - Nat King Cole Trio
Ja-Da - the Famous Castle Jazz Band
I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire - Bon Bon and his Buddies
Kansas City Kitty - The Rhythmic Eight
Glad Rag Doll - Ted Lewis
Sugar Babe, I'm Leavin' You - Blue Steele and his Orchestra
What'll I Do? - the Zzymzzy Quartet
Up A Lazy River - the All-American Jazz Band
Whoop & Holler Blues - New Orleans' Own Dukes of Dixieland
The Bell Gal's Careless Blues - Emma Barrett
City of A Million Dreams - Fidgety Feet Jazz Band
Swing It, Mr. B! - the Swingin' Fireballs
One O'Clock Jump - the Count Basie Orchestra

Here's some cool stuff to listen for: a marimba, 40's style electric guitar with a 30's style muted trumpet, weird DJ talk about mics in the studio in the 1920's, a Disney tune, me squeaking my mic by accident while talking. Well, that's not cool, but it's in there. Also, if anyone finds out anything about Thelma Terry or Mary Longfellow, please let me know. I'm kinda interested in them.This right here is Thelma Terry.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Does enchantment pour out of every door?

I am in a bit of a romantic mood tonight. The weather is delightfully mild this evening, and the moon is full and low over the mountains. My street is rife with blooming honeysuckle and roses. In short, there is not really a reason in the world that I shouldn't be walking arm in arm with some handsome chap, my skirt swaying as we stroll. Perhaps if we walked long enough my shoes would begin to pinch my toes and I would take them off so I could step on the cool grass. An older couple holding hands on a bench by the water's edge would smile at us as we pass, remembering when they were newly in love.

Well, there's no reason for this scenario not to come to pass except that there's, you know, no beau and no dress and no sweet couple on a bench. It's just me, slightly beery from a drink with a friend, in the stained shirt that I wore to work, humming On The Street Where You Live.

I opened a window to let the scent of honeysuckle in, though. My mom told me that when she was growing up, no one planted honeysuckle near the windows of houses where there were growing girls, because the scent of it is supposed to induce naughty dreams. I don't know about the naughty part, but I can see why they thought it might bring on dreaming. I'm kind of in a fog of them myself, and I'm not even sleeping.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Louis, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

There is not, as you may know, a Denny's in Juneau. I find this a travesty of epic proportions, because I really needed one the other night. It probably seems strange to you, dear reader, that I might require a purveyor of sub-class breakfast platters and burned, bitter, weak urn coffee, but there is always a specific set of circumstances that necessitates such a thing. In this case, a quirk of scheduling had us leaving Juneau a scant twelve and a half hours after we arrived, lipstick and upright bass in tow. We were promised to play for a going away/birthday party for the Condom Lady, and it was exciting. What it meant in reality was that we could look forward to two hours of sleep at most. There were whispers of an afterparty (hey, if you're gonna live like a rock star, then fucking do it) but it never materialized. I would have preferred to not try to sleep at all, but that wasn't in the cards, because there was not really a place to stay awake. You know, like a Denny's.

I have never had breakfast at Denny's at breakfast time, unless you count 4:30 a.m. from the wrong side of day. I have spent plenty of time with my ass planted in a booth, drinking $0.99 coffee and making inside jokes with the closest friends I've ever known, but it has always been in those dark hours that most folks over the age of 26 or so completely eschew. There is a certain camaraderie that can only develop in the haze resulting from sleep deprivation and too much cheap caffeine on top of too much cheap booze. Things develop a humor that isn't present in the cold light of day. Why were we so insistent that we refer to C. and O.'s cats as the loincloths? How many rounds of sugar packet hockey did we play in Spokane? That guy in the scarf, did I really give him K.'s number in the vain and misplaced hope he'd call her, even though her area code was two time zones away?

It wasn't to be. After the wrapping of cables and the hauling of the Beast and her accoutrements, I regretfully smooched a few lovely cheeks and said goodbye to a new friend that I really had hoped to get to know better - you have to respect a man who schools his friends in the fine art of Murray's heavyweight - and let them disappear into the fog wrapping this town like a noir film. Stella disappeared as well, folded back into a square of satin and a handful of bobby pins, and left just me mournfully in her place. I would have given a lot for low diner lights and a pile of unidentifiable fried bits with extra salt, slightly hysterical laughter and companionably close shoulders rubbing once and again as I forged another memory without context. I would have given a lot for the chance to let a new comrade or three into my heart.

I guess this is the price of being in the limelight. People fade into and out of the shadows, and the only evidence is a blurry photograph of you smiling at one another like soulmates, if only for that impossibly small heartbeat.

Friday, August 08, 2008

I wish I Twittered, cuz this isn't really a whole post.

It is sort of a live blog, though.

I love the opening ceremonies. My favorite thing so far is when they were cutting from the Marshall Islands (nice crown of spiky bits, dude!) to the Cayman Islands. The announcers says, "We got a message asking us not to cut to commercial during the Cayman Islands' march so the folks back home can see them on T.V. Even though they're not anywhere close to each other in marching order, here you go Cayman Islands. Your Olympians." Then they showed like six grinning, humble looking athletes unabashedly gawking at the crowd and waving at the cameras. They are my Olympic Pets for the 29th Olympiad.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

I remember my eleventh birthday with distinction. We had returned to the States after living overseas for more than two years, and we had moved to Kentucky. I was in utter culture shock. The kids at my middle school - an unknown entity to a child schooled by DODDS (Department of Defense Dependent Schools) - considered me so alien as to eschew talking to me at all. I was reading vampire novels and listening to punk rock and New Wave music (thanks, big sisters) while they were hoarding their meager cash for Now or Laters and the new Madonna tape. (It was True Blue, if anyone is wondering. It contains the masterwork Papa Don't Preach.) There were no kids my age at my party, because I didn't really have any friends yet, having only been living in the U.S. again for three short months. Instead, my mom's boyfriend's sister, who we called Tia Carmen, brought her two much younger kids along, Bhuj and Carmencita. Please don't ask me how Bhuj got his nickname. His real name was Diego, after Carmen's maiden name. His dad called him Boner. I am so glad I was as innocent a child as I was.

Anyhow, Tia Carmen baked me a birthday cake with a sparkly pastel unicorn on it. To a child enamored of Anne Rice novels and my eldest sister's Dire Straits albums, this was unspeakably lame. I can't remember any of my gifts, except that my mom bought me a grown-up ring, my very first piece of real jewelry. It was 10 karat gold and had the world's tiniest diamond chip striving valiantly to shimmer. It remains to this day one of the best pieces of jewelry I have ever received, much better than the opal ring I had to put on layaway in a store so my ex would know exactly which to buy, much better than the thermos he purchased the Christmas I thought I might get a gorgeous handmade silver necklace. I don't have it anymore, the ring. So much of my childhood was lost in the constant shifting that occurred in my life. I can still see it, though. The memory remains. It was a concrete token telling me very plainly that the time for letting other people rule my thoughts and emotions was done. I was a whole and separate person. It didn't sink in for a while.

Cap'n Jack won't soon forget this birthday. Flying hundreds of miles away and not being asked to eat vegetables for a whole weekend go a long way towards creating an epic in the long tunnels of reminiscence. I didn't pass on such a substantial baton for him; I am not quite ready to take the step my mother made. Perhaps next year, when he is twelve. Until then, I cling to the tiny warm ball curled in my exhausted arms eleven years and five days ago. The first night we spent holding each other was one of the sweetest I've ever known.

Oh yeah, and we saw Billy Joe and the Dusty 45's. Billy Joe told my budding pyro the secret of the flaming trumpet. Then Jerry showed him the weird sounds your hands can make after you play guitar for (mumblemumble) decades. Rock and roll has claimed my son's soul. Thank God.