Monday, June 28, 2010

Answer #154 - Sometimes, I look through a keyhole and miss the whole world

It started with the Dean Koontz novel.  Yes, I relented after the Hiassen and went with scary mystery involving labrador retrievers and evil, pointy-nailed platinum blonde sub-demons.  Yes, crap fiction, still, if you can get past the ridiculous attempts at artistry in the descriptive language, he can put a story together.

That said, and excuses aside, it all started with the dogs in the story.

And love.  And this idea that love is the key, and that it should be multiplied and given without expectation.  The way dogs give it.

And the hosts for the evening were both artists.  He, as it turns out, specializes in the wisdom and art of dogs.  Eric Keller.  His link is to the right.  And there was a plant - a strange cactussy-looking thing, and I swore, as I washed my hands in the home of my hosts, that it was reaching out to me.  So I reached back and touched it's fingers.

And why haven't I reached back before?  Did I see the extended arms?

And the Japanese carved statue.  Was it a woman or a man?  There was writing all over it. Hirigana? Katakana? I don't know which, I can't discern... but in the state of anthpomorphism in which I viewed the inanimate, I thought it looked like it needed someone to pat it's head.  So I patted it's head.

And then I played a show and met many nice people.  And Eric's wife, Laurie Brown, a jeweler and actress, showed me the website of her artist son in East Berlin.  Daniel Keller.  His link is to the right.  And his work is love and pushing love and screaming love and branding love on leather couches and dripping love down fountains that light and stream when the good fight is being fought, and then she handed me a necklace that she'd made.

A silver chain, at the end of which is a beautiful little metal envelope covered by a metal hand with a heart set upon it.

And inside, on a metal letter, was the word.
  I'll drive home from Chicago tonight with love on my mind.  And I'll plot the revolution.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Answer #153 - Because rich folks like others to read to them

A large squirrel is bouncing across the lawn here at Hiram College.

Bouncing like a sine wave.

The venue last night had no air conditioning.  In northern Ohio this time of year, it's warm.  The moist air clung to my skin.

Clung like rain drops on glass.

I listened to Carl Hiassen romp through the Everglades while I drove.  I resisted the temptation to rent crap fiction at Cracker Barrel.  It was there, and plentiful - but I opted for Hiassen - he's no Joyce, but then I've got the attention span of a fruitfly. and let's face it, he's always up for a good time.

I nearly rented The World is Flat when I couldn't find Into Thin Air on the Cracker Barrel rack.  I will down the road.  I looked for Into Thin Air at Borders.  It was on the shelf.  It cost $40.00.

So, Why are books on CD priced outside of the reasonable market?  
$40 bucks is hard to pony up when the paperback is $12. 

For now, I'm heading out again - leaving Hiram and driving to Detroit by way of Sandusky.  The college dorm room last night, where the university housed us, was less nostalgic then you might think.

But the table full of hungover boys next to me this morning, talking last night's Crown shots and the high probability that they'll head back to bed.. ah, now that takes me back.

back in time... and I feel like I did, and the world looks like it did, and there I am, like I was

like sitting at the impact point where two trains collide. Ah.. memories.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Answer #152 - Maybe the future smells like Peppermint

On the road today without Adventure Boy.  4 shows.  No Adventure Boy.

I'll probably eat junk food.  Adventure Boy doesn't like junk food.

I'll make many phone calls, listen to NPR some, and AM radio some.  Some crap fiction.  Maybe some non-crap fiction.  I've been reconsidering my commitment to crap fiction on the road, especially since The Nanny Diaries (which, incidentally, still makes my stomach hurt).  I'm hunting for a copy of Into Thin Air by Krakauer.   Still haven't listened to it - but I think this trip is it.

Right now, I'm listening to a 15-year-old from India- in the studio on the other side of the door - singing a well-written song, with a lilting voice, not unlike the singers from the Sundays, the Cranberrys and the girl who sang Kiss Me.. (6 Pence None the Richer?)  a vocal quality I like quite a bit - the ultra-feminine aspect.  I don't embody it, but I like to hear it.

Writing a good song isn't much of an anomaly anymore.  Everybody's shooting for writing a great song, at one point or another - but it's a strange, changing world.  Good writers are everywhere - artists are everywhere - it's an incredibly prolific-seeming period for American creative culture.  I postulate, on occasion, it's not unlike the dying tree that bursts with an enormous crop of glistening fruit as it's last, beautiful exhale.

But those are in dark minutes.  Maybe it's a brighter thing - maybe the technology that has allowed so many voices to enter the market will spark the collective imagination of this great human beast- to save itself - and exhale an unspeakably beautiful future?

 I watched the documentary of Dr. Bronner, crazy soap guy, last night. I wanted a peek into the brain of the man with the diatribe-covered soap bottles. I was hoping for something other than egomanical nutjobness.  Didn't get it - but others may argue.

Still - he had imagination, commitment, drive, and exhaled a thing into existence.

Maybe the beautiful future smells like peppermint.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Answer #151 - Because my soul tastes yummy with lobster bisque

I drove to Durham, North Carolina yesterday.  One of the first trips where Adventure Boy was not along, not driving, and me not backseat driving.

Disconcerting.  But yet, I had crap fiction to listen to, and so I did.

The Nanny Diaries.

I want my 4 hours and 40 minutes back.


Yes, I know, tell us how you really feel.

I'm okay with Crap Fiction if it's not pretending to be other.  I had nothing else, so I popped it in - it was recently made into a movie (which I didn't see and which I'll now NEVER EVER EVER see) - and I'm a fan of Laura Linney's acting, as well as Paul Giamatti and Scarlett Johanssen - so I figured it might be worth while.  They all generally pick pretty good scrips (not always, but who does?).  Julia Roberts signed on to read it... so, I assumed a certain level of production quality anyway..

WRONG.  Not this time. And maybe some razzle dazzle screen writer turned it into something other than a dirge for the bloody stump of miserable, filthy humanity, which is apparently all that remains of one, once one moves to an address on Park Avenue - but I don't care.

I want my 4 hours and 40 minutes back.  And I want money for pain and suffering from the publisher.  And I want the writers to go back to nanny-ing.  And I want the whole miserable thing erased from my memory banks.  It actually bit off a small piece of my soul and ate it on a water cracker.  Now a small piece of my soul is gone.  Eaten.  I want it back.

On a lighter note, it's a beautiful day in NC - and I find that, since I don't live on Park Avenue, I actually have a renewed sense of hope and possibility!

Happy Solstice!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Answer #150 - United Airlines Demon Spawn

If you're going to play Kerrville, you have to play some of the 'campfires.'

There aren't actually campfires because of the dry season, but there are song circles.  Everywhere.  Sometimes people are dressed as pirates singing pirate songs.

There are 'invitation only' song circles, there are song circles comprised solely of famous writers and other song circles comprised solely of infamous writers.  I sat at two song circles with some lovely people - all of them talented.. and I played the accordion. It was challenging, because I don't play accordion on much of what I write, and yet, there I was, playing the accordion because carrying a piano through the woods is just impractical.

All in all, the festival was great, the people were great, the weather was hot, my hair was huge, the bugs didn't come in droves, the food was plentiful and I made it home, despite United Airlines' attempts to send me to Denver and the single nastiest  'customer service' representative (United Airlines, for the record) I've ever had the displeasure of having to associate with. Luckily, I learned that if you hang up on a nasty agent, you can call back and talk to someone else - and if you cry, they might actually let you get on a plane headed in the general vicinity of the airport your ticket says you're heading to.  Still, I probably won't be flying United Airlines again any time soon, even though the guy I cried at was much nicer than the demon spawn I originally attempted to speak with, though I didn't speak demon spawn and that may have been the problem.

What happened to the airline industry that customer service became the least of their worries?

Ah well... best to just quietly accept the new paradigm, eh?  No use crying over $7 mixed drinks and flight attendants who'd rather be working on that screenplay than hocking snack boxes.  Credit cards only.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Answer #149 - Kerrverted

We arrived at the YO Hotel in San Antonio at about 11:30 in the morning.  It was a great room - big bed.. a stuffed grizzly bear in the lobby, also a giraffe and countless animal heads on the wall.

We got to the ranch - a sprawling beautiful place, rolling hills, trees, and 'camps' everywhere.  The first thing the intake staff said was, 'Welcome Home!'

There was a meal served to all of the volunteers (some 400) that work at the ranch during the festival.  Tuna & pasta, vegan pasta, ole slaw, broccoli, cornbread, watermelon, cookies.

The volunteer staff consisted of a wide range of folks - from those that had been there since the beginning, to college students on break... lots of dreadlocks, lots of former hippies... lots of folkies... lots of music.. people strumming guitars, singing under the trees...

Are you going around to the camps tonight?

was the common question.  All through the surrounding hills were song circles - camps that had been in place for nearly 30 years - every summer.   So at the end of the performances, we headed into the woods...

Tomorrow: Kerrcampers

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Answer #148 - Your dark secrets are in your sock drawer

Notes from the Road to Kerrville:

No sleep Thursday night.  6:00am flight to Texas.  It happens. Life, that is. 4 hours shut-eye in total, but intermittent waking. This meant that the show would be especially colorful, and potentially hallucinatory. Sadly, alcohol does not help, but rather, may make the audience undulate, and generally, I’m not the undulation-inducing type.

It took merely two planes and a Wendy’s ‘Classic Breakfast Sandwich.’ This thing was spectacular – tailored to Homer Simpson’s culinary specifications – White floury soft and squishy Bun, Sausage, Bacon, Egg, CheeseFood product, Mayo. If I’d chased it with a fistful of cigarettes and a doughnut or two and I could have stopped by the E.R. for a little CLEAR and JOLT when I landed in the Lonestar State.

I stepped off the plane and my hair immediately tripled in volume. The ‘moisture guard’ styling cream that guaranteed that this would NOT happen was a lie. A big fat lie, and today, as I approach the Indianapolis airport, I have big, fat hair. It’s huge and is more than likely being mistaken by the other passengers as a Pomeranian attacking my head.

Despite what must have been an unsettling apparition, the Kerrville driver let me get in the van and drove us to Starbucks. And yes, I hate all that Starbucks stands for. Well, not all of it, but definitely most of it. And yet, no one can touch their Soy Latte, and that is my own shame. The sacrifice of my own integrity for the satisfaction of my base desires.

But Who Among Us Keeps No Dark Secret, Lives No Ethical Contradiction?

No one I know immediately comes to mind, though who am I to speculate...

Regardless, with the security of the latte in hand, I was ready for the show.

Tomorrow: KerrVirgins and KerrVerts.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Answer #147 - Shove off, Nancy Boy. That's what he'd say.

This is an old riddle, so pardon the old.

It's a logic question.  And it goes:

“If I were to ask the other guard which door leads to freedom, what would he say?”

If you ask the guard who always tells the truth, he would tell you the other guard would point you to the door of death.  If you ask the guard who always lies, he would tell you the opposite door of the truth-telling guard and point you to the door of death.  In all cases, both guards will point to the door of death so don't be an idiot.  Choose the other one for Pete's sake.

Unless, of course, you're a Viking on his way to quaffing with virgins in horned helmets.  Then by all means, choose the door the guards are pointing to.

I've been awake all night... all night long... all night... um um... all night long... oh yeah.... all night long ... all night... all night..                           all night... love me some Lionel with my latte... especially when there's not enough caffeine in all the land...all night long... all night.. oh... all night long..

Monday, June 7, 2010

Answer #146 - I'll tell you tomorrow

Okay, so, there are two doors.  Behind one is freedom, behind the other is certain death.  At one door stands a man who only tells lies, at the other door stands a man who only tells the truth.  You can ask one question.  Same question for each man.   

What would the Question be?
I like riddles.  Maybe not the way The Riddler likes riddles, or serial killers like riddles, but I generally like them.  If they don't require higher mathematics and an intricate knowledge of the workings of a carburetor.

As the infamous Karl Kraus says, "A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer."

Or, as the less infamous Sarah Jessica Parker says, "It's like the riddle of the Sphinx... why are there so many great unmarried women, and no great unmarried men?"

Though I'm not in the market for unmarried men, I get the illusion of some control if I can solve a riddle.  Also, I get the illusion that much of my brain is not, in fact, atrophying as I wallow in repetition, day in and day out, praying for some break in the routine, some meteorite or some such out of the ordinary event that only involves some element of shock, excitement and a little fear, but no bloodshed or long-term skin damage that will require dermabrasion or laser resurfacing.
At night I often dream of flying.  That's out of the ordinary. Usually wearing a flowy white dress.  Look at me, I'm Mary Shelley, dreaming of flying whilst crafting my enigmatic Frankenstein(s) and playing footsy with Lord Byron (when Percy's not looking).  I always wake up in a great mood when a little wind has blown up my skirt and I'm looking over the skyline like it's Disneyworld...

Ah, too much information.

But I like a good riddle.  And a good game of footsy with a dead poet.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Answer #145 - The Grail - it's what's for breakfast

Why they fly is a mystery to me.
They've all got Google on their goggles 
so it's not the view they see.
They're high, so high on China's latest toy
But from down here on my bicycle, I'm just an ugly Earthling boy. - Michael White

I've begun noticing when people 'disappear' from Facebook.

It's probably like being a junkie in a way, and noticing, in a blur of sound, color, and drool, that the junkie across the street isn't sitting by the doorway anymore.

Because face it - it's addictive.  Especially when the list of things you have to do today is a mile long.  At least.  But you're really interested, really really interested, in other people's lists... and, if you're me, what their late night snacks were.  Keeps you from getting to your own lists.

I'm peeling off the layers of something lately - the world's shifting lately - my dog's communicating more clearly, and Adventure Boy's gone alot lately.

Could this be the problem - too much time alone lately?  Well, I mean I have my dog.  Who's not a bad conversationalist, especially lately, and who loves me unconditionally, and no doubt.

But layers need peeling, and if I'm going to find the Holy Grail, I actually need to get started.  So.. Ha-zah!
I'll keep you posted.  Or maybe you'll just know by the enlightened glow and Ghandi diaper/wrap thing. Which I intend to wear once I find the thing Bono was looking for. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Answer #144 -

Man it's been a week.  Haven't slept much.

I can't look at any news without seeing something politically nonsensical - chaos being fostered by money interests and bombasts - uninformed people rushing around and screaming about Nazis and Socialists, and screaming, by God, to keep the government out of their health care.  They've got none. Except Medicare, by God, by God..
by God..

I keep thinking of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood... and the evil people who rise to power in times of great trouble.  In the name of God.  As the oil pumps into the Gulf and the social fabric unweaves, one string at a time.  If you're not nauseous, baby, you're not paying attention...

Doesn't History teach us anything?  Holy Roman Empire?  Hello??!!  The arrogance, the excess, and thinking that rules apply to everyone but us?!

Crud. I'm upsetting the dog.

Speaking of 1984, been playing through a song I wrote in 2004.  It's mostly not helping, though.  But still - it's catchy:

I woke up at the start of a century, 
bombs dropping all around me
I woke up and I put my gas mask on - in America, in America
I woke up at the dawn of a new world - 
mug shots and rainblows for little girls
I woke up and I think I need a drink - in America - 
that's what I think

Now all the big frogs are talking 'family values' 
and telling me the problem is that I'm not in the kitchen
Funny, I thought it was mostly free market conditions - 
the inevitable conclusion seems to be Cannibalism
But, o-kay! Go ahead and blame me - you always do - just look at history
And all the big frogs are talking family values - 
but what the hell do billionaires know about "family"?
I work two jobs, I drive a used car, don't need your 
charity but you don't give a DAMN about me
so please stop trying to tell me you'll protect me, 

when YOU sold the weapons to the people that HATE me.

A million people hate me and they don't even know me

I woke up at the start of a century, 
bombs dropping all around me
I woke up and I put my gas mask on - in America, in America
I woke up at the dawn of a new world -
mug shots and rainblows for little girls

I woke up and I think I need a drink - in America - 
that's what I think

It's about 14 verses long...  but that's enough indignation for a Wednesday.  And I know, it won't help.

So, in light of it, I send you to the website my dog suggested -

It's sweet and sometimes a little silly, but the least I can do.  What can I say? Some days it's harder than others.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Answer #143 - you say daily, I say weakly

Tomato, tomahto.
Potato, potahto

Let's call the whole thing Blog.

No, seriously, I have something to say every damn day, but is it noteworthy?

Are you being affected?  Effected?

How's about weekly, and then it packs just that more punch?  Like Saturday Night Live or that forensic show about the pseudo-geeky girl who's a paleo-scientist in dangly earrings and pseudo-geeky dialogue.  Oh yeah, Bones.

Anyway - I could blog daily, and have faithfully done so, more or less. In the beginning, there was worth, there was point, there was a points system, there was a reason to sign on. Daily.  But now, no points system, and just me, blogging daily.  Perhaps the daily blog keeps me from mending my dog's underwear.

No. No it doesn't.  My dog doesn't wear underwear.  His tastes are Bohemian and he thinks of himself, in quiet moments, as Andy Wardog.  Underwear optional.  Silly glasses. Ultra-cool bitchin friends and lots and lots of doggy party invitations.  Amused malaise.

The point is: Weekly, well, Weekly, this could be a thing.  A weekly thing.  A weekly blog.

Let's take a poll.  Daily?  Weekly?

Let your voice be heard.