Friday, April 28, 2006

Standby/Shut Down/Restart/Restart in MS-DOS Mode

Listening to: A Bowie mix I made

Guess I'd better get back on board with this, this continued reporting of my banal life, holy surfin' Christ I don't know why anybody reads this but here I am, still pounding it out without cat pics or glib political commentary or posting cheese shots of college girls. If you're here - sheesh. It's just me.

It's been the best of times and the woist of times (to one up Ben Domenech), things I've been dying to say and so much I can't say, for reasons I'll reveal at a later time. Until then, I'll reveal this:

The girls have watched "The Clash of the Titans" (thanks to the gnerosity of Mamacita) and determined they'll see Perseus and Cassipoea and Andromeda and Pegusus up in the stars.

My plans for the summer is to give them that - and much more (as I told you, you have to wait).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My NPR jar

Listening to: The first disk of Mamacita's Evil Mix

Gawd, I hate the necessary evil of "pledge drive" time.

Yeah, I know this bit is like, "Airline pretzels - what's up with that?" and "Let me tell you about my mother-in-law," jokes with all the charm of the whump-whump-whump of a flat tire but here I am, my local NPR station begging for money while I whine loudly.

In defense of the local NPR station, they provide me with decent balance to the nutso winger rag Colorado Springs calls a newspaper, yes, not as biased as my "Info Fix" links but nonetheless less afraid to report in a way that our Mainstream Media won't; an MSM grown so gun-shy it won't expose villains by any stripe that it's really a joke to believe the Big Three are little more than mouthpieces than corporate interests and Administration talking points. So, I'm glad for news that actually considers Global Warming wrong as opposed to suggestions that free-market Capitalism on the move trumps a planet screwed.

More than that, I enjoy the freedom of real free-form radio as opposed to the phony-ass shit programmed by dimwits at Clear Channel. My local NPR station not only plays music you won't hear from Clear Channel chattel but gives me nightly jazz and weekly Celtic, Reggae, and World music; more than that, it's the only place you'll hear local music placed in regular rotation and there's few - too few - on-air venues for local artists.

Not a rich man (by any stretch of the imagination), I still feel compelled to do what I can to get past the membership drive. Their generosity feeds my mind but for God's sake, shut up and get us back on track with music as usual and knock off the fucking begging. I know it's essential but holy crap, it's an interminable interruption in the flow of my beautiful life, knock it off already. And so, to do what I can; I have my "NPR Jar", a place where I throw quarters and dollar bills, and yeah, when I'm short I steal a few bucks but since the last drive, it's amounted to about 70 dollars, always quarters and loose bills, pretty much what piles up in six months.

Just quarters and loose singles. The girls get the nickels and pennies in a big pickle jar to save for another big day at the Manitou Arcade, while dimes go into another jar (my reason for that will be revealed when that jar is filled) but everything rlse pays for my NPR jones.

I'd donate to PBS if a) I watched TV and b) I had money to burn.

You know Bush and his extreme idiots want to kill NPR and PBS, they've made that much clear, and all it takes is a few spare quarters to kill that moronic philosophy. Create your own 'NPR Jar' - you probably won't kill Bush but you'll kill his tiny-minded agenda. If you listen (or watch PBS), you owe them everything, at this point. Do what I've suggested or Exxon owns your ass.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Back to Hamlet, ya'll

Listening to: Kanye West, Late Registration

I just watched Anderson Cooper's idiotic CNN freak show. During the post-Katrina outrage (I still don't know why our spineless press has not pushed BushCo on that failure), AC360 was a fairly decent show but goddamn, in the past few months it's become yet another televised version of The National Inquirer, missing white women and kittens with two heads, look for George Bush lying in the last hour.

As I've moved away from political writing, I rarely - OK, infrequently - deal with how fucked up this country is becoming and how chickenshit our media is in reporting that downfall. That's not the emphasis of this post but what I do say should be instructive on how half-assed and twerped-out the media has become, especially Anderson Fucking Cooper. Lame Ass.

I always wondered if the antagonist of my last post included Salvia in her little bag of tricks - it has, afterall, been described as a conduit to "there" - and although I have never tried salvia myself, as a drug & alcohol counselor, I'm aware of the effects of the drug (which, other than insight, appear to be minimal) and in fact, have heard that it had been used in several European countries therapeutically against alcoholism (much in the way LSD was used in the early 60s - with success).

Unfortunately, it appears that Anderson Cooper has been intoxicated by the Fear Drug that Michael Moore described so well in Bowling For Columbine as far as, he'll jump on whatever it takes to instill fear in Americans. Tonight, it was "a psychedelic drug as avialable as a pack of gum" (as if twenty dollars equated to twenty cents). But let's go to the tape:
Grieving mother haunted by the tragic death of her son. And it's very possible others are at risk as well. That's because some people are blaming the young man's death on a legal drug that kids can buy as easily as a pack of gum.

Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Baaaaaaaad drug, time for the government to act; drugs killing kids. Was the drug resposible for his death? Did he OD? Ummmm:
At first, the Chidesters had no idea why Brett, the straight "A" student killed himself with carbon monoxide. But they remembered, he had experimented with a drug they had never heard of before, an herb called salvia divinorum, the world's most potent natural hallucinogen. A drug that is not against the law in most of the U.S.

Sounds like Judas Priest killed this kid, not some substance from Mexico, all things considered. Nonetheless:
TUCHMAN: Early this month, Brett's Law came to the Delaware senate floor. What was the vote in the state senate to make it illegal?
PETERSON: It was 21-0.

Right on. If there's anything this country needs, it's more laws against what we do with our minds. And what we do with our people of color: Because:
While blacks make up 13 percent of drug users, they account for 35
percent of those arrested for drug possession, 55 percent of those
convicted, and 74 percent of all drug offenders sentenced to prison.
And the average prison term for black drug offenders is 69% longer
[pdf] than for whites.

Don't get me wrong, I'd hate like hell if my teenager took her/his life in my garage for whatever reason. But I have to ask, what about my teenager signing up for military duty to exact vengeance, only to find out my teenager was lied to is, somehow, more dangerous than the dubious effects of a drug from which we have no reported deaths as opposed to over 2400 deaths (and still counting).

Count on the media to jump on Salvia and forget exactly why we went to war*.

* Do YOU remember?!?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mister 3-year old's midnight whiz

Listening to: Daniel Barenboim/Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravel, Essential Works

In the midst of playing some guitar and attempting to mellow out enough to feel like nodding, Mister woke up with wet jammies and, well, a bad attitude, demanding his soiled clothes get stripped off and a bath be drawn; and so it was done. As I type, he sits in a warm tub, in line-of-site, his eyes wide and blinking, shaking rubber bath toys in fear of Washcloth Shark, "I don't like real sharks," he explains, "Just fake sharks." Yet the Washcloth Shark devours every rubber toy within his disposal.

I can see this is going to be a long night.

When I first moved to Manitou Springs and started hanging out in the local pubs with my scribbler, I met an "Indian" mystic/healer/seer/whatever, a woman who held onto my hand while she puffed remnants of my cigarettes mixed in with her own tobacco blend in a corncob pipe, each puff ostensibly helping her "see" into my future. Having had enough local brew to allow me to drop my inhibitions (though, not my skepticism), I allowed her to continue without as much as a sneer or snicker. Believe it or not, I can be tolerant at times.

This being Manitou Springs, such an encounter was far from unusual; in this town you can't fling the corpse of a road-killed squirrel without knocking the turquoise bracelet off some "Indian shaman" (that is, "sham Indian"). Manitou is like some giant dream-catcher where Indian wannabes are captured, a nuthouse butterfly net. Go to the local open mic on Thursday's and you're sure to endure Leo banging his drum and chanting in some made up language (his, um, "talk story"), a dude as Native as Rabbi Moshe who bums beers, macks college chicks, and is a few Peyote buttons shy of an Edwardian straight jacket.

Back to the bar back then, sans Leo. My charlatan shook her long salt-and-pepper hair over a glass of Miller Light as she chanted softly, considering whatever visions swirled in the smoke. She took several long draws off the tobacco and mumbled more nonsense. Putting down her pipe, she proceeded to tell me what she'd seen, that my children would all turn out well but, she continued in a low, compassionate voice, one would lose his way at some point and that I needed to allow my lost child to discover his own path and not push too hard.

Not a revelation, really. I'd always figured that at least one of my kids would tumble down a path similar to my own. Statistically, we're all screwed and no matter how hard we try, how much we parent, there's always the chnace that something, someone, will go askew, careen off of our best intentions and spin into oblivion. If you're a parent who thinks you have it all figured out, you're in for a long, miserable trip. Anyway, I know I'm raising three individuals, three discrete consciousnesses, so her advice was not anything I had not already told myself. In my plan, I'd allow a few skinned knees and bruised hearts and hope they'd find a better way, hope for the best and cross my fingers that the result will be positive.

If whatever she'd put in her pipe was actually telling her something I can't say; what she told me hardly a Delphic declaration. James Dobson or Dr. Spock, no one has the answer and if anyone did, it would outsell the Bible tenfold. No one has the answer and I doubt the answer is to be had, ever.

She asked if anything else was bothering me and I replied I really wanted to quit smoking. Easy, she said confidently, as she rolled a dilly from her pouch of wacky indian weed, according to her, for $200 and my consent to sit naked in an icy creek, she'd take my desire to smoke cigarettes away from me. Aside from my suspicion that my habit wasn't the only thing she wanted to take away from me, the thought of skinny dipping in an icy stream during an early March chill made me think she might she also might have the desire to emasculate me, some castration fantasy bred in the dubious dottle smouldering in her bowl.

Before you take me for some hooded cracker with a front lawn full of derelict appliances and cars up on blocks, I'm not here to ridicule Native Americans or their religion and in fact, a sweat lodge ceremony has long been on my list of things to do when I get around to them after I do the several thousand other things I've been meaning to do. Furthermore, I have a smidgen of Native American blood in me so it's not like I hold any enmity for those people who truly have the only legitimate gripe regarding undocumented aliens. Indeed, it's a bit of burr in my boxers to see blissed out hippies white as bleached rice pretend they're Noble Savages and victims of oppression (other than their own bad life-style choices) walk the streets of Manitou and claim they hold the keys to esoteric knowledge that they'll share for a price.

Seer and I parted ways but not before she gave me her phone number so I could arrange my smoking cure in the creek. Funny, I thought, despite her insight through the smoke, that I was about to crumble up the piece of paper she'd scribbled her number on and deposit it in the urinal during my next inevitable beer drain. As the wad of wasted writing tumbled around the urinal cake (us guys have funny ways of occupying our time while we make room for more beer), I appreciated the fact that Mr. Sufficient would never suffer the indignities of - oh, it's too painful to consider, even now.

Atheist-skeptic-empiricist that I am, it seems too silly that I'd take seriously some goyim bebangled in New Mexico silver and speaking in obvious generalities. Although I am with Hamlet in that, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy," I'm more inclined to apply that sage wisdom to the possibilty of a donut-shaped 10th dimension than some failed soceress puffing uphill saying, "I think I can, I think I can."

Still, her words resonate and although, at the time, I thought that if any child was the candidate for my "lost child" was Marni, I'm thinking that Mister is a better candidate now. Not that I think there's any predestination in any of this and to be fair to my own skepticism, she was 3 when I thought it might be her and he's 3 now, but he's getting life handed to him in a way that, well, no cloud and all silver lining. Everyone who meets him instantly falls in love and accomodates his intrinsic charm, "Oh, how can I refuse this little angel whatever he requests?" He's smart and articulate and early on decided he had an in (for several months tried "I want Mommy!" when he was with me, "I want Daddy" when he was with X); a very smart young man.

I pull him from the tub and dry him off as he hints he'd love to watch a Star Wars movie, maybe, Return of the Jedi but any one of episodes 4 thru 5 will do, got me daddy? No, I tell him, we're slipping on fresh pajamas and we're both going to sleep, daddy's tired and there's so much to do tomorrow. Mister cries, protests, gets shoved under blankets and whimpers, sobs.... falls asleep.

My Manitou seer might have had some access to special knowledge but I have an intuitive sense of what love really is, the capacity to say "No". Which makes me wonder: what if someone had told my pseudo-Indian as some point that she was full of shit? Mister might be my problem child (and might not be that) but at least he'll know I don't feed into his shit. Hopefully, eventually, he'll realize that no ne else buys that crap, either.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Some Spring, hopes eternal

Listening to: Radiohead, Kid A

Spring comes on in fits and starts here in the Rockies, Winter sputtering its way out with convulsive blasts like the lingering cough from a cold long gone. Roads were closed on Friday morning due to blizzard conditions and today it was in the 70s.

The honeylocust trees that lined my route east today were a-glow with a soft green haze, their leaf buds breaking free from winter cocoons. All around my house are hyacinths, daffodils, and pussy willows blooming brazenly, confident that the worst of our weather has past and it's fair weather from here on out. A silly assumption, in the mountains; a crocus bloom bent under the weight of wet April snow is the symbol of Springtime in Colorado that I'll carry to my grave.

It could be worse. Watching the news, I see portions of the midwest ravaged by tornadoes, the southwest smouldering after wind-swept wildfires, and parts of California mired in a deluvian mess. As I write (if you can call it that), the wind rattles the rafters and kicks the kid's toys around in the front yard but tomorrow, aside from the odd branch in the road, all will be as it was before this piddling cold front roared through. It's trite to whine about the caprice of Springtime in the Rockies while most of New Orleans still languishes in ruins.

Yet, something about spring makes me impetuous, conjuring up a part of me that is still entrenched in my childhood, a boy of 9 riding his bike after little league practice, the air rich with the scent of azaleas and freshly-mown grass and the sounds of children playing tag and hide-and-seek and kickball and avoiding a dinner-call ("Oh, Ma!"), a late afternoon sun still blazing hot when just a month before the streets would have been black and ice-patched and silent. I'd pedal slowly home - except when I could descend a steep hill at full speed to hear the wind scream through my teeth - savoring each moment without knowing it was a temporal blip, unaware I'd never experience being 9 again (because every 9-year old can't wait to be 10) but enthralled by world around me, in that moment, in its perfection. The journey was, in all its sensuous perfection, so much more important than the destination.

Not that the destination was unbearable. As I'd arrive home, parched, caked in a bodycast of sweat-soaked dust, the nectar from the gods awaited me, ready to be uncapped and slammed. In the garage was an ancient Frigidaire icebox, its top rounded at the corners, a relic from a time before I was born, unmodern and friendly, soft and almost artistic, not like the avocado-colored two-door Kenmore monstrosity in our kitchen with its automatic ice-maker (which barely worked, maybe two cubes per hour) and clear plastic vegetable drawers. Aside from milk and ice-cream, the Kenmore held little other than disgust for me.

The matron in the garage lovingly offered a wooden crate from her bottom shelf, stocked with slender, green Coca-Cola bottles. With our garage door still open, light pouring in and a spring breeze whisking out the must beneath the shelves, I'd pull one out and again, savoring the moment, watch the sweat drip down the ribs of the bottle before I'd put it to my lips and gulp. Gulp. Gulp. Breathe and belch and then gulp the rest, ample reward for being a smartass all day in school, working my ass off on the ballfield, and enjoying the life of a 9-year old on my bike ride home.

No wonder I don't think life is fair. In those days when I thought I had it all, I crapped out, rolled the dice and nothing's been the same since. Now I'm a cranky old man, Coca-Cola doesn't make bottled Coke (at least not REAL Coke in bottles), and, instead of wishing to go forwards, I want to go backwards.

Life is not fair, really. You yunguns' who've never experienced REAL Coca-Cola from a chilled bottle... damn shame, really. I'd toast you but... it's all scotch now.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blog implosion described in terms of how big an elephant is

Listening to: Melody's wonderful Desert Island Mix

Lilly and I just finished math homework. God knows I try to be patient, slowly sucking air between my teeth while I silently count to ten before reacting to a wrong answer, applying my own arithmetic to parenting. Not teaching. My own prospects as an elementary school are dismal. Working with Lilly on her assignment, I'm tangential (though, to my credit, not explaining geometry theorems), attempting to explain base-10 theory and algebra to a first-grader.

Some of my frustration comes from my own geekiness - I'm one of those people for whom mathematics is intuitive. It just comes naturally to me, like rolling a joint or composing bad poetry. In my Senior AP Calculus class, 19 of the 22 students wanted me dead (one was better at Calc than me, one wanted to sleep with me). Some mathematicians believe they have some psychic conduit to Plato's realm of Forms but I think that's absurd, it's just a matter of applying the abstract to the real; there's nothing mystical about it.

In fact, if my intuitions are correct, I can transmit some of my math abilites to my daughter without working myself into some kind of spastic fit. She is, afterall, crazy about animals and that's my ace, convincing her that she'll never get through science unless she understands math.

As I said, my mind is mathematical and applying that, I have a rational explanation for why our little bloggy community seems to have dissipated or at least justify why I've gone from 12 comments a post to 2 comments a post (if at all).

Time Magazine was tempted to make "The Blogger" the Person of the Year for 2005 (and damned good thing they didn't because, who was the Person of the Year?), only to realize that, with few exceptions, most bloggers are fairly unexceptional by impeccable MSM standards. It's not as though any of the bloggers I know pretend to be anything other than online diarists but for whatever reason, the media seems to think we bloggers are out to turn the world upside down.

I got into this game relatively early on. I started my first blog back in 2002 and if anyone was reading that tripe, I didn't know about it. In 2003, I started another blog to vent my political ranting since my first blog was on the site belonging to a friend's band and I didn't feel right using their space to bombard their fans with my politics. The presidential election of 2004 took the wind out of my sails and by 2005, I lost my passion for political rants.

This blog started mid-2004, not exactly with a running start. If you check my archives, you'll see that for the first few months, three posts a month was a busy month. If I had 5 hits a week, I was ecstatic. This was a much smaller place and the blogosphere, a much smaller world. I trudged on, writing about my kids and my life and didn't much care if anyone was reading me here.

Then - "Bang!" - I went Big Time (or as Big Time as this little blog will ever get. Someone told someone else about this space, and someone else told Jay The Zero Boss (now sadly defunct) and the hits went through the roof. Also, I was nominated for a Best of Blogs award and that was driving new traffic to me. Whereas in 2005 I wasn't on a single blogroll, by early 2006 I was blogrolled in more places than I knew. Suddenly posts were getting 15 - 30 (or more) comments, an unreal situation to me considering that just weeks prior I'd flip out over one comment. More than that, I was introduced to a blogging community that was completely new to me. It was fun, dizzying, and a little overwhelming.

Little did I realize that I was riding the wave generated in the heyday of blogging. It seemed everyone was starting a blog and I seem to recall hearing sometime back then that a million blogs were being started every month. The blogosphere was buzzing back then.

So what happened? Where did my readers go? How did I go from having several thousand hits a month to maybe just over a thousand?

Well, it's not just my blog. Interest waned about everywhere, I think, the dew is off the lily. That's part of it. Plus, I think I can be a little abrasive (JUST a little) and I'm positive I've alienated not a few readers. My online romance (and break up) was also a little off-putting, as well, while the paucity of posts that followed the demise of that relationship certainly didn't help matters. Not updating much doesn't lend itself to holding onto a consistent readership.

I'm blessed with a small but loyal readership, folks who treat me better than I deserve. I whine about not getting comments and then fail to leave comments at their sites. And yet, they continue showing up here and leaving some love. I learned a long time ago that one has to click around the blogosphere and leave a little love if one wants love in return. However, I refuse to play those games; I never leave a comment unless I feel like I have something to add to the conversation. I'm not leaving a comment on someone's blog just for the sake of being seen.

Sure, I'm a prick but apparently, a loveable prick. I didn't start this thing to get noticed, I started it as a place to write about what it's like being a single dad. And that's what I continue to do. Those of you who continue to read and comment add so much joy to this endeavor and I appreciate your feedback more than I know how to say. Thank you. I love you all.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Spring has sprung, sort of

Listening to: E. Power Biggs, Bach: The Four Great Toccatas & Fugues

Light posting last week due to Spring Break, a long week with gorgeous weather which gave the wee ones ample opportunity to run me ragged. It had been months since we'd had days warm enough to hike around here. Likewise, the trails have not been dry enough (i.e. free of snow or mud) but with our extremely mild season this year, last week's hikes were seamless and slick-free.

Not having hit the trails for several months, the kids were stoked. With the exception of sparse blooms of Mountain Crocus (not really Crocus, btw) and Buttercup, the trails were rather barren but that didn't seem to unhinge anyone's enthusiasm, indeed, I had to keep calling the girls back as they paced far ahead of the boy and me. And the boy had grown enough to not demand to be carried early into the hike, a welcome change from our last hike back in September.

With the hikes out of the way, we'd return home for a bit of lunch then head back out to the wonderful parks the Manitou Springs offers its citizenry. Eschewing slides, swings, and monkey bars, the kids spent most of their afternoons playing along the banks of the creek, the rowdy rivulet that bisects the town like a hatchet mark. Throwing stones, handfuls of sand, sticks, and bits of leaves into the rushing snowmelt, the munchkins gave dad time to stick his nose in a book while standing close enough to the water to prevent dad from giving his attention to his book for more than a sentence at a time.

Spring Break is kind of my Spring Training, getting ready for the rigors of summer when I'll have to keep the elves fat with Keeblers. As is it stood last week, I'm sadly out of shape. By the time I got home, I was dead to the world and not inclined to type it all out here. I just wanted to sleep.

Why I'm not writing now is anyone's guess. I have to confess that the paucity of comments has kind of put me off of this whole blogging thing even though I shouldn't give a shit if anyone drops a gab; God knows, I'm not one to go to other sites and give love. I've heard one must give love to get love and I suppose my karma has come back to bite me in the ass. As such, I have no reason to bitch about it.

Given that, I should write about my own impressions* of the so-called blogosphere and what's happened since I threw my hat in the ring, what I think has happened since the "glory days" - or "gory days" - of blogmania. Grace will probably slap me down for what I'll say but I know it will be a loving, Zen-inspired slap....

*I can't claim any originality in this thought - the wonderful Mamacita (who is like, my Zen Master) - was actually the person who suggested this phenomena.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Mixmania! - on Her Satanic Majesty's Request

Listening to: Chicago Blues Masters, Vol. I: Muddy Waters and Memphis Slim

This time around, the theme is an Evil Mix, meaning songs that describe the pimpled, hairy side of your soul. It's not another elaboration of your Guilty Pleasures (NO! Not again!) but songs that express your darker side, songs screaming from the shadows. Not exactly the sunniest theme for late spring but, I think, devilish fun.

Obvious choices would be "Sympathy For the Devil", "Shout at the Devil", "Dans Macabre", etc., but I think being subtle works best in this mix. Being Bettie Page or Richard M. Nixon as you mix this will probably be your best bet. Get your Ya-Ya's out before summer arrives, a sort of spring cleaning of the soul as summer approaches. Exorcise your demons on disk before you slip on the speedo or bikini and bare it all, anyway.

If you're unfamiliar with how this goes, here's how we play: you mix, you mail, you get a disk, everyone surfs around to figure out who sent them the disk. That's over-simplified but that's the gist. The official rules are:
  1. You have until Cinco de Mayo to sign up: express your intentions in the comments AND email me your information, your URL and postal address (that includes you folks who have played before). You have to do BOTH - just commenting or just emailing me won't do it. I need you in the comments to let everyone know you're in and mixing, I need you to email me so I don't have to hunt down your info. My email is over on the left; if you can't find it, you're not smart enough to play - sorry.

  2. On May 10th, I'll email you the postal address of the person you're to send your mix to; you'll use a postal address I provide to mask your identity.

  3. On May 15th, mail your disk WITHOUT THE SONG LIST: leave your recipient guessing what the songs are on your mix.

  4. On June 5th, I'll post the URLs of everyone participating.

  5. Post your song list on your blog on the sixth of June*.

  6. If you're going to comment on the mix you received, don't be a prick - focus on the fact that someone went to the trouble to send you a mix, be polite with your thanks and don't try to impress us with how much of an insufferable music snob you think you are. Play nice - no one likes an inconsiderate asshole, asshole, and no one cares how your delicate tastes were violated. Be gracious, for God's sake, and give us the impression that you weren't raised by feral dogs.

Easy as that sounds, it's amazing that a few numbskulls can't be adults and will slink out with free music with no reciprocity. Sad. However, I assure everyone who plays that they will get a disk.

Today was Opening Day, one of my favorite days of the year, an appropriate day to unveil this latest version of this game. Get your mix on, you sinners.

Every mixmania! round involves me chastising sluggards and dullards for not sending their mix or posting their list and this time is no exception. A couple of people haven't received their mixes and several people have not posted their lists (my match posted her's here - TYVM, dollin'!), a situation which really SUCKS for those who participated in good faith; like some cheap-ass ebay scam - witless. And I know griping about this ends up pissing off the people who didn't pony up, which explains why I have all of 5 regular readers. Hell fire, I was writing this blog long before this funny little game brought me traffic, putting stuff out there for no other reason than to talk about being a dad, not really caring who read me. Thus, if my being pissy about you agreeing to participate and then spacing out on your obligation to the game rankles your ritalin addled ass, get over it, be a goddamn grown up and fulfill your end of the bargain.

In spite of the hassle and the headache (and expense: I invariably end up mailing my own disks to the participants who got screwed), here we go again.

UPDATE: Per the comments - you may participate if you don't have a blog but you need a blogger to agree to post your song list.
*The first person who puts two and two together - in the comments - gets a free copy of my mix!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Listening to: My mixes, of course

A gaudy, unwieldy, grotesquely large post to fulfill my obligations to the mixmaniacs. So, without further ado:

Go to these other places to figure out who sent your mix (if you don't see yours here):

Now, for my silly mixes:

For the Guilty Pleasures disk - I don't feel like I owe an explanation because these are, after all, crappy songs that I shouldn't like but nonetheless get jammed up in my head and won't quit annoying me. Sending a disk of these songs to someone feels like igniting a bag of dog crap on someone's doorstep and knocking hard; elaborating the list feels like allowing that person to walk across your living room to use your phone.

A3 - Got Myself a Gun

Yeah, we've all waited too long for a very - a very - dismal season of the Sopranos; which should explain the rest of this horse hockey. It's not a bad song, really, it's more the association with something other than music. I used to love Blondie's "One Way or Another" until it was put into a Swiffer commercial...;

Sweet - Action
I dunno, when I was into the Sex Pistols, I was also into this pop crap. Anyone who watches football knows Sweet's bigger and better song but for whatever reason, this thing resonates like the sound of someone hurling violently in the next stall;

Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies
At the risk of aging of me, the second concert I saw was Alice Cooper - on this tour - (I'd saved up all my money from delivering papers; my first concert was Deep Purple, uh hmmmm) and I've never shaken this song from mind, dammit, especially from Alice tossing armless dolls into audience to watch the crowd tear each other's arms off in order to grab cheap rubber toys;

Judas Priest - Breaking the Law
From my surfing-a-lot-and-drinking-heavily period, so you can just draw your own conclusions. A Beavis & Butthead standard;

Spacehog - In the Meantime
Oh, WHAT TOTAL CRAP - and yet, I'll still do the the "woooo ooooh" thing whenever I hear this earwig on the local college station;

Pilot - Magic
No one seemed to like this song in the 70's but me, which makes me wonder how it ever got recorded, except it somehow has some convoluted connection to 10cc (and 10cc has places on this disk I didn't include);

Five Man Electric Band - Signs
The worst kind of 60's self-righteousness expressed in 1973 yet, when I thought about it when I was 12, it seemed profound. It strangely pulls at me now, reminding me of an innocence that was far too brief yet naively expressed in this ditty;

Camper Van Beethoven - When I Win the Lottery
This is all "I'm too cool too stand next to you" alt-rock kind of snobbery but if you know the kind of snobs I know, you'd know why this is a guilty pleasure;

Doobie Brothers - Black Water
This should require no explanation why this made this on the disk, unless you have a mullet and resemble the protagonist of the previous song;

Erasure - Who Needs Love Like That
The bigger question should be, "Who makes crap like that?" The answer seems apparent and you know what? I danced like a monkey on meth to crap like that back in the 80's (sans mullet);

Brittany Spears - Oops, I Did It Again
Oh my, PERFECT POP - if you haven't heard Richard Thompson's versions of this, you need to see if you can download it. From the the same Swedish production team that produced the last song on this disk, a decades long tradition of such travesty;

Everything But the Girl - Missing (Todd Terry Mix)
I know - now you know how suck-y my tastes can get;

Digital Undergound - Humpty Dance

Yeah, I'm a freak (as if that's news) and this is, as far as I can tell, the only song to let freaks like me to get out on the floor and get spazzed out;

69 Boyz - Tootsie Roll
To the left... to the right... slide, slide, dip baby...what else can a freak do?

Eminem - My Name Is
First of all, I've never understood the critic's being enamored by this white-trash hero... then again, I can't ignore a cast-off line like "God sent me to piss the world off";

Ginuwine - Pony
OMG, such wannabe R&B, phony, but it hits it, my pony...

Gwen McCrae - Rockin' Chair
This is, by some estimates, the FIRST disco song, hardly a classic except for its historical significance. Still, I remember hearing this on AM radio in the early 70's and thinking, "This is AWESOME!" and not being able to walk very far without wanting to hear it again;

Hall & Oates - Sarah Smile
Say what you will about supposed blue-eyed soul but sometimes ya' gotta' get yer' R&B wherever it arises. The sound of having gotten to second base and driving home with a burning urge driving the accelerator;

The Carpenters - Close to You
I always wondered why all the girls in town would want to follow some guy all around and want to be close to him. I still wonder, though I'm a little wiser: they were following him around because they were pissed at him killing all those birds. I'm surprised all the guys in town weren't following him around to beat the crap out of him for all the stardust in his hair.

Herb Albert - Theme from Casino Royale
Yeah, it's silly - fuck you, "God sent me to piss the world off";

ABBA - Waterloo
If there's any cut on this CD that's really a "guilty pleasure", this is it, I can't explain it but I've always loved it.

I hope you've enjoyed my explanation of the aural equivalent to Catatonic Psychosis. Honestly, I could have made 10 disks of that dreck. However, it was easy (because, frankly, who cares?) and a reflection of bad taste is much easier to illustrate than what is supposed to be our defining music. All the emails I got from bloggers wanting to participate this round stated that the Guilty Pleasures would be a skate, that the Island Disk would bust balls. Indeed it did, Id vs Superego. So, I submit the Superego:

John Coltrane - My Favorite Things
Heh, for anyone who took my last list seriously - gosh, isn't this a nifty first cut? For everybody else, yeah, there's a thousand other cuts by Coltrane that I could have chosen from but this was my "Island Mix" (AND mixmania), right? Kind of narrows thing down, doesn't it? Shaddup, then;

Talking Heads - Swamp
Whoa, if you're going to send a psycho off to an island (like me, I swear, I'm not dangerous but fergodsake DON'T DO IT) with one disk, you'd better give that whacked-out motherfucker this album (the most danceable ever made) and this song:
Click click- see ya later
Beta beta- no time to rest
Pika pika- risky business
All that blood, will never cover that mess.

If you can figure out what Byrne is saying, please tell me. I don't think it means anything but whatever it is, it ain't good;

Funkadelic - One Nation Over a Groove
If that island is going to be my little dictatorship, this will be the first item in its Constitution, its Bill of Rights, its "You Gotta Do This Or We're Sending You Elsewhere" rule. "Here's a chance to dance our way out of our constrictions," should be the rule of law for every nation;

Toots & the Maytalls - Time Tough
I've lived on an island (Oahu) and felt isolated and this man - this album - has taken me out of that, time and time again. The first song from a reggae masterwork that puts the needle into the grooves for the rest;

Desmond Dekker & the Aces - Israelites

"When I was a little boy, I could feel, feel, feel it (see the last song)" - this song haunts me from my childhood, I can't remember when I first hear it but it's shanked hard in my bones, I gotta' have it. Unfortunately, the Leslie Kong collection I had on vinyl is long out of print and unavailable;

White Stipes - Blue Orchid
If I'm going to take some White Stripes with me to that island (and I bygod will), it's going to be the most danceable - this is the best;

Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK
Well, hell, as long as we're dancing, thrashing, this is the best of the second best punk band ever... and a reminder of how shitty my little island could become if I decide to become a dictator;

Television - I See No Evil
Despite my Dead creds, I haven't included any Grateful Dead here (and I have them and I won't). If there's a guitarist comparable to Jerry Garcia, Tom Verlaine is it and this cut is all the Jerry Groove I need;

The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
Do I need to justify this song? I do? Jeez, I'm sorry... Before I got into punk in the late 70's, The Who was, for me, The Greatest Rock n' Roll Band in the World (sorry, Stones).

Mission of Burma - That's When I Reach For My Revolver
I recall the exact moment I heard this song and the moment of transcendance it created. I have no doubt it will continue to give me that, no matter where I reside;

Radiohead - Electioneering
"Transcendant" will be pretty much overused in this post but I can't think of another adjective to describe this song or the album it's from, transcendental in it's gloom;

The Doors - Back Door Man
I have a love/hate thing with The Doors and obviously, this is where they sneak in and win me over. Ersatz blues, sure, but rock in its finest form;

Muddy Waters - Mannish Boy
I must have been 7 or 8 when I became enthralled with the Chess version of this song, the hardest thing I'd ever heard up to that point in my young life. This is a later version (recorded with and produced by Johnny Winter) and it rocks harder than any version cut, even The Yardbird's version. If I wake up and crank this song, watch out - it's going to be a wicked day for me if my soundtrack begins with me playing this at a volume that shakes the pictures off the walls;

The Clash - The Right Profile
If I had a choice of 10 CDs, London Calling would one of the ones I'd bring with me, without a second thought but this is the song I include on this mix. Not that I'm a huge fan of Montgomery Clift - I just love how this songs sounds;

XTC - Knuckle Down
Knuckle down,
Love his skin,
It doesn'’t matter what colour skin he'’s locked in,
Knuckle down,
Knuckle down and love that skin.
Knuckle down,
Love his race,
It doesn'’t matter if you win or lose a little face,
Knuckle down and love that race.

One bright morning the world might end with a big bang,
And you'’ll never get yourself another chance.
Put aside the hoodoo and some of the voodoo,
A’bout people being different,
TheyƂ're not so different.

Take them by the arm and run to the street,
Take a little drum to supply the beat,
Soon the whole world will be up on it's feet and dancing.

This song makes me cry because, really, it is really THIS FUCKING SIMPLE. Shiites and Sunnis, Israelis and Palestinians, Us and Them, STOP IT PLEASE, let's just dance, love, there's pretty much not enough to go around any more anyway so we need to learn how to share. I know George Bush and his diminishing followers don't believe any of this but they're about to be post-dated and pushed aside; they got theirs and they'll realize how little it is in the long run, so let's allow their karma to take hold and we can move along. Really. It's that easy, it really is that easy. For God's sake, put your knuckes down, PLEASE.

Van Morrison - Jackie Wilson Said
Given the the lack of what was quoted above, I'll take YOU smiling - the journey of ten thousand steps...

A blessed "Gracias" to my angel Mamacita for helping me out with this round of mixmania! - the grandest angel of them all, my dearest is.

Tomorrow I'll give details of the next mixmania! so please tune in. Mahalo.