Friday, January 28, 2005

the show last night was sold out and, by the time the arcade fire came out, we were all standing shoulder-to-shoulder, trying to look bigger than we were so as to stake out a bit more floor space. after final fantasy finished playing, i maneuvered closer to the stage, because, just like at every show, i had somehow managed to pick the spot where the invisible everyone please cross here line was drawn.

i've never lived in asheville, but from what i can surmise about the city, it is this interesting mix of hippies and hipsters who peacefully co-exist; each group maintaining their own hangouts and restaurants. who knew that the arcade fire was just the band to bring these two groups together in one space? on my right, a bunch of hipsters were pogo-ing and, on my left, a bunch of patchouli people were doing that dance where their limbs turn to jelly and they move all around and sometimes spin. standing in the middle of these two groups, it was like peace on earth or something.

the floor at this particular venue is made up of these long wooden slats, kind of like a basketball court. when i stopped moving, i could feel the floor rise and fall in waves from the weight of the dancing crowd. i decided to keep moving to avoid thinking about collapse.

the band's performance is difficult to talk about without gushing or slipping into cliche, but, if you plan to see them soon, all of the concert reviews and everything you've read is true. this is a band to be seen live. there were points where i was smiling so big and wide because i could see that they were having fun playing together and the crowd seemed just as happy to be there witnessing it. see? not only gushing, but gushing and hokey.

last seen: in the light of reverence, million dollar baby
last heard: bettie serveert 'my fallen words'
last read: At an interview at his Glass House nine years ago, Johnson told Preservation magazine, "I'll stay here until I'm 120. Then I'll retire to Rome."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

my library has a lot of swell websites. we librarians provide the content and, thankfully, we have a web services department to make it all pretty.

other libraries are not so lucky. they are the ones whose website just has a picture of their building (usually right after a light snow) next to a list of their hours and, maybe, a little animated gif of a clown juggling.

we have so many websites that librarians serve on webteams. the team i'm on is fun and interesting; therefore, it is the best one. today, a few of us led a workshop to teach staff members how to write book reviews for the website. even though i was helping to teach the class, i learned something, too.

i talkwaytoofast when i'm nervous.

last seen: mutiny on the bounty
last heard: bjork 'where is the line'
last read: Iraqi farmers will no longer be permitted to save their seeds. Instead, they will be forced to buy seeds from US recent years, transnational corporations have patented and now own many seed varieties originated or developed by indigenous peoples. In a short time, Iraq will be living under the new American credo: Pay Monsanto, or starve. [via lorika]

Sunday, January 23, 2005

one in our party had only just left and another had yet to arrive. the few who remained, those of us who planned to stay for the duration, sat in uncomfortable chairs discussing movies. we'd already eaten and complained about work. in fact, we were halfway through our second round of drinks before the topic even came up. it felt like a personal best, holding out for that long before returning to the most comfortable topic.

the others at my table were also members of the cult. i am always interested to hear what's lying on coffee tables in other apartments and what waits near the top of other queues. when it was my turn to share, i told them that the five obstructions was waiting in a little red envelope for me.

upon hearing the name lars von trier, they let out a collective groan. apparently, he is not well-liked in every household. they told me about their unpleasant experience with dogville, a movie i quite enjoyed, by the way, because everybody gets it in the end.

last seen: the five obstructions, in cold blood
last heard: the shop assistants 'somewhere in china'
last read: 23. Jerry Bruckheimer...Punishment: Made into shoes for Martin Scorsese. [via cheek]

Friday, January 21, 2005

and then there were five

my friends jan and elizabeth had a baby this week. jan emailed pictures of the little bruiser on wednesday. he sent some pictures of his new son, too.

here's an unusual thing-- elizabeth is just one of six women i know who are in the family way. doesn't six sound like an inordinate number of pregnant women to know personally?

it sounds like an awful lot to me considering that i don't know too many people to begin with. also, i am a single male who does not make a habit of hanging out at lamaze classes.

here, i can count them up for you: elizabeth was one, then there's K. and R., two librarians i work with, C. and M. who work downtown, and, finally, my sister who is due in late summer.

it's like a plague of babies has befallen us. better that than locusts.

last seen: the assassination of richard nixon, fanny and alexander
last heard: depeche mode 'somebody'
last read: I'm a Capricorn and your co-pilot is a Sag.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

sometimes i don't mind a split shift, being at the library to open things and to close them. today, there was a five-hour gap right in the middle of my afternoon which gave me enough time to drive home for lunch, read the first fifty pages of the next book club selection, and watch all of the wizard of oz. i'm not sure how many times i've seen that film over the course of my thirty-one years, but, if i had to venture a guess, i'd say a fucking lot. in our house, it was an annual tradition.

some halloween, i vow to be a member of the lollipop guild. pretty much, i just need the boots. ask anyone.

in completely unrelated news, the arcade fire are passing through the old north state next week.

it was sad to read that next friday's carrboro show had sold out, since i'd actually know someone in the audience on that date, but tickets were still available for the asheville show; i promptly bought one. in the rare instance that anyone reading this will be attending next thursday, please leave a comment.

also, does anyone else think of 'false advertising' by bright eyes every single time they hear the arcade fire's 'crown of love'? having given up any hope of a coherent theme for this post, i just thought i'd ask.

last seen: the garden of the finzi-continis, indiscreet, the wizard of oz
last heard: george jones 'the race is on'
last read: Can you give some historical background for what you call the Great Backlash?--What I mean by that term is populist conservatism. It's this angry right-wing sensibility that speaks in —or pretends to speak in— the voice of the working class.
reading: monica ali brick lane

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

monday was a holiday for most of the people i know. i had the day off, also. we celebrated the birth of a slain civil rights leader by watching the extended versions of all three lord of the rings movies in a row. this took some planning.

mark and juicy fruit and i drove down to michael and christine's house on sunday night for a sleepover. they have a big house. everyone had their own room, except for michael and christine who shared one, because they are married. around 8:30 the next morning, we started the movies which played continuously for eleven hours.

people wandered in and out of the room, leaving for food or showers or email or playstation breaks. people also wandered in and out of consciousness. everyone knew this because you'd hear gentle rolling snores coming from different corners of the room at various times of the day. i contributed about 45 mintues worth of gentle rolling snores sometime around 2pm.

watching eleven hours worth of movie was not as difficult as you would imagine. the first three hours passed very quickly. by the end of hour seven, i felt like i was in the home stretch. the last four hours zoomed by.

[epilogue: now that the eleven-hour bar has been set, we must find a way to top it. thankfully, the police academy box set is available. we might need some help with that one.]

last seen: fellowship of the ring, two towers, return of the king
last heard: tullycraft 'meet me in las vegas'
last read: ann patchett bel canto
bonus: marty walks around the house with a kitchen timer clipped to her shirt. this means there is either some bread product cooking in the oven or a child on time-out.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

at the moviehouse, today

me: one for a very long engagement, please.

ticket booth woman: that will be $6.50.

me: [hands money through slot in window]

ticket booth woman: sir, were you aware that this is a subtitled feature?

me: yes, thank you.

ticket booth woman: is a really good movie anyway.

me: [takes ticket and change] thank you.

last seen: a very long engagement, andy kaufman: i'm from hollywood
last heard: a story by david rakoff about fasting
last read: In the end, the Norse starved to death.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

the woman who drew my blood was wearing a scooby-doo themed smock. there were scooby-doos all over it. i was sitting in the hallway when she called my name. i was next.

she stood facing away from me, typing all of my information into a computer, telling the lab to test my cholesterol levels and to see whether i was anemic and a bunch of other things.

on her back, scooby-doo was flying a rescue helicopter, but it said rescroo on the side of the chopper, just like scooby-doo would say it. i kind of smiled, but not because i was surprised that the helicopter-building company would build a helicopter just for a dog with a speech-impediment. no, mostly, i was smiling at the thought that they would build it for him and also trick it out and paint rescroo on the side. i guess when you're a talking dog with your own tv show, they'll pretty much get you whatever you want.

the little transistor radio above the nurse's head was playing all night long by the mary jane girls. she was singing lines from the song. i thought about name-checking the mary jane girls, to form some kind of bond with this woman, but then decided to keep my mouth shut because street cred with the blood-drawing lady probably wouldn't get me anywhere.

she told me that she had to take four vials of blood and asked if i minded needles. i told her that i didn't mind needles; i just couldn't watch while she jabbed it into the crook of my arm. then, she kind of smiled and said she understood. i asked her if, while she was working here, anyone ever fell out. she said that young guys fainted the most, followed closely by women of any age.

i'm a pretty good bleeder, so i filled the four tubes quickly and thanked her, then i left.

last seen: keep the river on your right
last heard: tv on the radio 'netti fritti'
last read: ...having to remind others of your American status, fear of being connected to the enemy because of ancestral ties, the threat so prevalent that it makes you put not one but two giant flags outside is not right. It shows how deeply un-American America has become.

Monday, January 10, 2005

i am happy to report that i managed to cross two resolutions off of my long list. no, i did not lose fifteen pounds in the last ten days, but i did manage to buy a more reliable turntable and weed my photographs.

saturday afternoon, i purchased the record player, unwrapping it very carefully in case it had to be returned.

when it comes to mechanical/electrical/non-whittled types of things, my ineptitude is the stuff of legend. remarkably, i was not confused by the two color-coded cords. i managed to get the thing hooked into my current stereo and, great day in the morning, music came out.

so i played records while completing resolution number two-- the weeding of the photographs. after a couple of hours work, i filled a large garbage bag with photos and fit my collection, neatly, into one smallish box.

most of what i deselected were out-of-focus shots; some of which i inexplicably had multiple copies of, because, you know, if you are in your early twenties and plan to take a really crappy pseudo-artistic shot with your new camera, it is important to have duplicates. even more important is to cart them around the country with you in boxes until you're in your early thirties and have the sense to toss them.

some not out-of-focus shots also made it into the trash if i had multiple copies of them. i tore each one in half twice before placing it in the garbage, in part because my undiagnosed OCD was starting to itch, but also because i didn't want to see a picture of my kid-self in orange rollerskates and yoda underoos peering back at me from the centerfold of found magazine in the next few months.

tomorrow at noon, i will be able to cross a third resolution from my list. i have an appointment for a physical, my first in about four years. come on, no disorders or cancer or palsy of any sort!

last seen: code 46, wild at heart, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, safe
last heard: the mamas and the papas 'frustration'
last read: ...about 70 percent of librarians will reach retirement age within the next 20 years.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

there is this italian restaurant not far from my place. it is one block down from the mexican cowboy store. they sell greek food, too. the italian restaurant does, not the mexican cowboy store. i never order the greek food though; tonight, i had the eggplant parmesan. at the italian restaurant that sells greek food, there is a turkish waitress. me and sam and mark, we like the turkish waitress, her accent and the way she is always smiling. she was not working there tonight. still, we enjoyed our food.

we also enjoyed that no one played creed on the jukebox like last time.

last seen: superstar: the karen carpenter story, requiem for a dream
last heard: on!air!library! 'faultered ego'
last read: what do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it? [via arts and letters]

Monday, January 03, 2005

i love the dead of winter in the southern united states. it is supposed to be 72 degrees here tomorrow. i saw people in shorts and flip-flops traipsing through the movie theatre parking lot yesterday afternoon.

once, i spent a few days in chicago between christmas and new year's. exiting my hotel lobby, there were a row of heaters hanging above the door and, for a moment i thought, oh walking won't be so bad. i turned the corner of the building and took the gusty wind full in the face. it was like my long johns, my hat, my peacoat, my gloves, like all of it was for naught and i was standing on the sidewalk naked.

you can see why i like southern winters. winters like the one we're having now. winters where i can sleep with my windows open. winters with a certain number of spring-like days mixed in with the cold ones and the cold ones never particularly bitter, really just excuses to buy scarves from a catalog or drink cocoa and eat soup without feeling goofy.

last heard: saturday looks good to me 'meet me by the water'
last read: The transports of romantic love have, on Wodehouse characters, the approximate effect of a strongly mixed drink, and the nearest they come to sadness is an infantile petulance, generally expressed by kicking things and dealing shortly with menservants.
question: have any of you read anything from the 33 1/3 series? are they worth a damn?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

i don't think i ever told you this story, but, a few weeks into my current job, my boss took me out for a late lunch. sometime after the miso soup and before the main course, she let her guard down and confided in me. she said that the other sister was one of her favorite movies.

she wasn't saying it to be funny which is why i felt guilty for about three seconds after i snorted out a laugh in the middle of the quiet restaurant where we were enjoying unreasonably-priced, asian-inspired cuisine.

how weird is it that my boss likes that film enough even to place it in her top five? so well-known was her affection for this film, in fact, that co-workers at her last job bought her a DVD copy as a going-away present.

taste, as everyone knows, is subjective; therefore, i didn't obsess about her comment for very long.

the two or three months that i did obsess about it though were deeply and profoundly unsettling.

one week i would think to myself...

that movie isn't even in my top three juliette lewis movies.

...a few weeks later...

that movie isn't even in my top five movies featuring lead characters who are mentally-handicapped.

...a few weeks after that...

that movie isn't even my favorite movie of juliette lewis' featuring a mentally-handicapped character.

on a related the other sister note, i have been known to insert the giovanni ribisi line-- i loooove marching bands!-- into the middle of dull conversation. i find it makes the perfect non sequitur. it also ensures that i will not only be going to hell but, once i get there, i will be forced to drink tepid water and wear a dickey made from an itchy synthetic fiber for all of eternity.

last seen: joan of arc, scorsese on scorsese, splendor in the grass, the aviator
last heard: tv on the radio 'staring at the sun'
last read: Fifty percent of the films produced before 1950 and 80 to 90 percent made before 1920 have disappeared forever.