Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Haul

I got a lot of stuff this year- and when I say a lot, I mean an absurd amount. I got a 32" flat screen TV, a Blu-ray player, clothes, books, CDs, towels, a quilt set, Tupperware, and lots of smelly things (I think my family is trying to tell me something). But the best thing I walked away with were some new memories.

I don't know if you can tell it yet, but music is as vital to my life as food, water, sleep, and sex. And when my nephew called me last week and told me he wanted me to bring my guitar to Christmas because he wanted to jam, I was overjoyed. When he walked into my grandmother's house, he was carrying a brand new acoustic that he'd gotten from his mother. I pointed out my acoustic, waiting patiently in the sunroom, and we headed for the back of the house, as to not disturb the storytelling going on in the living room and kitchen. For two hours, we played, and it was fantastic. It should be noted that my mother and I are the only ones in my family (living) that actually play music- and we've played together a thousand times or more. So, getting to play with my nephew, who's still very, very new, was one of the best presents I got all year, much less at Christmas. We sat back there and played and I showed him how to do things, and I admired how much he'd learned in such a very short time, and we had something new together. He plays more of a country style, and I play more rock and blues, so we decided that we should start picking out songs for both of us to learn, that way we spent more time playing and less time teaching.

Significant Other got me "Revolver" (remastered) for Christmas, and my mother got me "The Beatles" (a.k.a. "The White Album"), and Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Live. I immediately put in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame DVD, and Mama and I marathoned it through all four discs- Significant Other managed to stay awake for two of them. This was a moment, too, because my mother and I have so much musical history together, and we could recall things, talk about the people playing, the history of these songs and the bands....and it was another memory made, worth never forgetting, because there's nothing like sharing a moment when your soul soars with your mother. By the way, thank God for Prince on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", he totally saved one of my favorite songs of all time. (And I still haven't figured out why Eric Clapton wasn't in on this performace, since he laid the original track with George, and he was the deciding factor on the song making it onto the White Album.) This song literally can hit those notes down deep in the bottom of my belly that move me to tears). By the way, that young guy by Tom Petty is Dhani Harrison, George's son.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mrs. Mooney, You Ruined Christmas

I remember your first name, lady, but I'm being nice and NOT publishing it on the internet.

This is all for you:

You're behavior yesterday while you were checking out in my store was COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. I was doing the best I could, and I was only doing my job. As for me stopping talking, THAT is precisely what my job entails WITH EVERY SINGLE customer, including you. I was desperately trying to stop talking, seeing as to how I'd already lost my voice, but I have a dumb bitch for a manager that wouldn't take me off the register despite the fact that I was barely able to muster a whisper. I make the grand sum of $7.25 an hour, and you make it hardly worth it. By the way, you've been the ONLY asshole I've encountered this entire Christmas. I'd like to know where you work, so I can come in to your job and act like a complete buffoon with you, and I hope it makes you cry as much as I did.

I hope I never see you again. EVER. I know when you left, you were apologizing for being such a bitch of epic proportions, but that was only because I was killing you with kindness, but it isn't enough. The only thing good enough for you now is karma, and I'm hoping you get every single bit you deserve. I hope your Christmas tree falls apart, your kids stand you up on Christmas morning, and your fucking dinner burns in the oven, AND you get to be on my end of the conversation when someone decides that they need to unload all of their personal unhappiness on you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Knot

So, I was proposed to this weekend.

I said No.

And I kept the ring and the Significant Other.

Everyone who knows us thinks we're crazy- Significant Other is crazy for asking, and I'm crazy for saying no.

And they all want to know why.

Here it is: I've got a real problem with marriage. It's not because I'm divorced, and that is the conclusion most people jump to first. My problem with marriage began when I was a very small child. We moved around a lot- more than anyone else I know, even military kids. We were following Dad on his jobs...but Dad was always still far away, and Mom and I were stuck in some awful place that was in closer proximity to him, but never near him, over and over again. And I thought: 'if Mama wasn't with him, we could live wherever we wanted.' And then when I was seven or so my oldest brother got a divorce, and while I was not directly involved, it still bothered me a great deal. In fact I asked my father why it was that they even bothered getting married since they were just splitting up would've been cheaper just to live together and get some boxes when it was time for someone to move out. My father didn't like this logic AT ALL. Then, when I was about 13, the older brother got a divorce, and after living through that mess (in which I was directly involved because my mother and I were taking care of his children), that was the death rattle of any idea I ever had of marriage being a good idea. And still I tried it for myself. I don't really count that very short period of time as anything more or short of a leap into insanity, and it was, all things considered, over very quickly.
These are the conditional aspects that led to my negative feelings about marriage. The internal ones are much less dramatic. I just feel like marriage could be likened unto suffocation, like I lose my ability to breathe freely. It's like I become trapped, imprisoned in a cell with glass walls and ceiling. I love my freedom, I love my identity- there's nothing sweeter in life to me than knowing I'm free, that I am me, that I have no master. And it physically pains me to think that "I" may dissolve into a "we"...I don't want to lose me. I've had to fight so hard to have this "me", to own my mother always told me that I was the only thing in life that no one could take from me unless I let them, and that no one could ever take my mind. And marriage just sounds like the death knell of's very distinctive in its long range ring.
I love my Significant Other, almost more than life. I'd do anything for Significant Other, and I hold dear to me every single moment we have together. But, I am here because I want to be, because I love him, not because some paper says I have to, not because it's too expensive not to, not because I'm too scared to go it alone. I'm here by choice, not by force. And Significant Other stays with me by choice, because __________ loves me more than anything. So, why go fuck up a good thing?

I told Significant Other that we have to grow up first, that we have to get our shit more straight, before it's ever going to be a feasible thing. That means one day I may have to reprogram myself. That means one day, I'm proposing to Significant Other, and I'm going to hope that I don't get my soul crushed.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Today is supposed to be the day that we do Christmas with my Significant Other's family- which means food and surprises right? Well, ha ha, let me tell you about food and surprises.
I got up at the crack of one today- but to justify, I had to work until 1 AM, then I had to do some last minute shopping, and then I wrapped presents until 6:30 this morning until I fell into bed exhausted. When I got up, my belly was definitely eating itself, I was so hungry, and Significant Other concurred: we should have food. So, I set about making scrambled eggs and Provolone and muffins. As I'm fluffing up the eggs, I notice movement on the backside of my skillet...and it's grey. And furry. And then up pops a field mouse. The cheeky bastard didn't even run...he sauntered away from my stove, behind the microwave, the dishrack, the espresso machine, and finally disappeared into a tiny tiny hole I'd never noticed. And all I could manage to do was turn to Significant Other and say : "Did that really just !@#$ing happen?" To which there was a reply: "Yes. Yes it did."
Now, I'm not dirty- on the contrary, I drive people crazy with my cleanliness. I shampoo carpets at least once a week, I dust all the time, hell, you could eat off my toilet seat. But, I live out in the sticks, surrounded by soybean and cotton fields. And it's gotten, apparently the mice have come. I expected a few, but I expected them nervous and terrified of being seen, especially since my beloved dogs have killed quite a few anyway, indoors and out. You'd think the word would've spread. Apparently not. And so, I have no real choice but to kill these poor creatures before I end up eating with them or sleeping with them. I understand they're just trying to survive, which is why I feel bad about setting traps...but they're trying to survive on my food, in my house, and they don't clean up after themselves. They've got to go. And so, this morning began with food and a surprise, and the setting of mouse guillotines.
So, the final add of creatures that have visited my house:

-a king snake ( an apparently lazy bastard that isn't doing his job. He lives in my attic)
-an armadillo (he likes the porch for some reason)
-a coyote (who still comes around and watches my dogs)
-brown recluses (coming out from under my bed)
-field mice
-ferral cats (who was so nice as to use the crawl space as a nursery for her kittens)
-common tree frogs (16 of them to be exact, made their way through my window and into my peace lillies)
-a barking tree frog (who lived with us for a month or so)
-red fox
- a pack of American bulldogs

NONE, NONE of these things bother me the way the mice do. I've been invaded.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Letter From a Dissatisfied American

Play this before, after, or during reading this.

Let me address first the federal government: get the hell out of people's personal choices. It is not your business who anyone wants to marry or how someone exercises their reproductive freedom, nor is it any of your business if someone wants to smoke or drink or gamble. Shame on you for failing to do what is right by your constituents instead of what fattens your bank account, and for those representatives and senators who are honest, shame on your for not publicly calling out the indescretions of your colleagues that are wooed and swayed to make decisions that aren't an accurate representation of the people of the United States. Let me remind you, ladies and gentlemen, that government was never meant to be a business, it was meant to be a public service, which would make you public servants. If it were left up to me, I'd hand all of you pink slips. Your job is to protect us and provide the people with security and basic human services- that's what we actually pay you to do. And you're failing miserably. You should come home to your districts and face the music- in fact, you should only be allowed to go to Washington DC for a week every month, so that you are more readily available to the people who elected you to your position. Obviously, you can't be trusted to get too far from home without acting a damn fool.
Secondly to extremists: Christian Fundamentalists: I want to remind you that Jesus never ever said that you should force your will or your principals on another: he said to be kind, tolerant, and stick to your own moral fortitudes. PAUL, who was a slayer of Christians to begin with, was the one who, after an epiphany, decided to convert and then decided everyone should convert too. Paul handed down that message to convert the masses, not Jesus Christ. And I think you're smart enough to know that it's Christianity not Paulanity, so stick to your four gospels and quit judging everyone else. It's your religious obligation to be tolerant, kind, and charitable and to be an upstanding people, not to oppress the will of others. I've read your religious text twice now- how many of you can say that you've read it in its entirety ever? Yeah, that's what I thought. Shut up, put down your signs, quit murdering gynocologists, and for the love of God please learn that doctrine that you say you believe. Muslim Extremists: please, please, please, start using some logic. First off, if you blow everyone up, who's going to be left to praise Allah? Secondly, you catch more flies with honey: maybe someone would take your grievances seriously if yall quit acting like five year olds throwing tantrums. And, finally, think of this: you may have the guts to die, but do you have the balls to face and try to understand your fears? Because, after all, hatred comes from fear, which stems from ignorance. It is a universal principle that if a person doesn't understand something, they're going to be very wary of it. Get it together: demand your mullahs also read you Locke's Treatise on Human Rights. And while you're at it, get a copy of The Vagina Monologues, Feminine Mystique, Cunt, and Flow. You don't know shit about women or how to treat or deal with them, and while I've tried to understand women for years and I've read these books, I don't get them entirely, but I've got a good idea. Besides, it's probably in your best interest to make good with over half of the world's population: one day, they could rise against you, and then what? You could be in big trouble and have some 'splainin' to do'. Not that it would help. Oh, and leave Israel the hell alone. You won't win. Those are some badass people with lots of technology, the Moussad, and about five thousand years worth of knowledge in fighting for survival. Let it go and spare yourself having to save face in front of the entire world.
Glenn Beck, I have two words for you: shut up.
Bill O'Reilly: get your facts straight.
Barack Obama: I'm sure you're doing what you can, but you're not sticking to your plan. Get back to the basics, man, and this nation can be better. I haven't lost complete faith that I can see us avoid a terrible dive into the abyss, but you've got to hold the reins a little tighter. You believe in public service, I'm sure: get on these people to do their jobs. Also, please bring all of this nation's military home ASAP. I'm sick of people dying and seeing people come back in pieces and with fragmented minds. Also, you need to do something about the VA because they've got to step it up and take care of the business of caring for these people who've been so kind as to go out on the front lines and fight for their lives and for ideals.
People, look around you, and see what we can accomplish if we would just look for ourselves in the faces of those who look back at you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

I'm one of those people who believe all should live without apologies. But, there's always those little things that a person kinda wants to hide away from the rest of the world. Here's a list of all my guilty pleasures that I can remember.
I'm inspired to do this by the realization that an honest person can't be shamed.

1. I LOOOOOVE girlie music- think Katy Perry's "Hot and Cold". I totally rock out to this song every time I hear it. I also dig Jewel, Carly Simon, Alanis Morrissette, Killing Hannah, and Rhianna. Notice, Ido not put Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera in that list because a) I don't like them and b) there are depths to which even I won't stoop. My metal friends' heads would blow up if they knew- and then they'd laugh.
2. I have indeed gotten a shower and sang my ass off to "You're So Vain" followed by "Crossroads" by Bone Thugs n Harmony.
3. I've cried after every major breakup in my life- and during ASPCA commercials.
4. I'm proud that I've been in fights. I don't know why.
5. I secretly love people but find them so disappointing as a species that I think sterilization is the only way to save the world.
6. I used to have a rule that you should only have sex with as many people as you can count on one hand using each finger and your thumb only once. I have, in years past, had to abandon the notion in order to not feel like I'm easy.
7. I've totally done the 'love 'em and leave 'em'.
8. I've been so drunk I don't remember what happened.
9. I stayed drunk for three days in New Orleans- and drove the 6 hours to home drunk as well.
10. I used to get high in my mom's attic- and in the woods behind the house, and at get the picture.
11. I think I'm smarter than 99% of the people out there- and I look down on the ones that truly are dumber than me. However, to add a little paradox to this, I don't think I know jack shit.
12. I'm terrified of committing to anything. I won't even commit to a lease.
13. I once slipped sleeping pills into a milkshake so my dad would fall asleep and I could invite the opposite sex over because he wouldn't actually allow them. I've never told him, and never, ever will.
14. I get great joy in watching the lives of people I don't like falling apart because I believe it's justice- generally, if I genuinely despise someone, it's because they're a low down piece of shit, though.

I think that pretty much concludes the list of things that are guilty pleasures- I've laughed about all these things, even when I shouldn't have, taken pleasure in doing all the wrong things. And here it is for all the world to see. Judge me, I couldn't care less because there's not a one of us that's lily-white in this world. I've just got the fortitude to own what I've done and the proverbial balls to say that I've enjoyed it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree

I bought the very first Christmas tree that's ever come home to my house today. Normally, when I buy Christmas trees, I don't actually buy one- I'm usually just the one there because I have a truck and can lift heavy objects. But's all mine.
The tree is as tall as me (and, really, the only thing shorter than me is a miniature five-year-old), and I manhandled that baby into place in the stand all by myself and screwed in the posts while holding the tree up and straight. Who's the the most self sufficient person around here? Yeah, that's right- ME!
Normally, I put up a menorah during this time of year- I'm not a Christian, never have been, never can be- and it seems more fitting to honor the season with a menorah than a tree- you know, since Jesus was Jewish. Plus, it irritated my father to no end. I've never really liked Christmas, but I do like trees, and this is one of the few times of year you can justify having a spruce in your house to smell up the place. Okay, it's the only time of year you can justify it. I'm a strange one, though, and I celebrate the Winter Solstice as well. It's not out of any religious conviction or obligation, but more out of giving thanks to the Earth and the Sky. Really, is there anything more divine than the true, raw Earth that we haven't screwed up or the starkness of the Sky? I think not.
But I still have a Christmas tree unfurling its branches in my living room. *smiles

Word Puke

I can't tell you the relief I feel that this semester is nearly over. If you've ever been in school, you know what I mean. I'm soooo ready to move on.

I work in retail, and I tell you, everyone who works retail during Christmas should at least be considered for canonization if they make it through without choking someone out or fewer than ten smartass quips. I don't think I'll be in the running if this ever becomes the rule, but I believe in paying respect to those who deserve it. And let me tell you, the working poor deserve it as a general rule.

Tonight, for example, I had a woman throw a fit with me because I couldn't (and quite honestly, wouldn't) give her the membership prices since she wasn't a member with the company I slave for- she screamed, bitched, and moaned, and all I asked was "would you like some paper so you can write down these titles?" I might've been more willing to go out on a limb if she hadn't started out the entire encounter with: 'I'm a member of your competitor but not with you, but I want you to give it to me at this price because they won't. And no, I don't want to become a member with you.' (By the way, say this to yourself with the most bitchy PMS tone you can muster, and you'll hear her voice.) I was polite, I was nice (you know, the whole 'kill 'em with kindness' thing), and I hoped to God I never had to see that woman again.
I also had a woman tell me that her only complaint was that she got called 'honey' in my store (by the way, this is the goddamn South. NO ONE has a name beyond 'honey' or 'sugar' or darlin''.) She also told me she intended to report it. I simply told her "Lady, if you're biggest problem is that you get called 'honey' then count yourself lucky." She told me that it only started happening when she got white hair, and I replied that I didn't care what color hair she had, it was just a generic term, but if she preferred another generic term, I'd be more than happy to oblige. I'll be honest with you, I have no idea how I've managed to keep this job for almost two years. I have a word puke problem, especially when it comes to people who go out of their way to cause me grief.
I think every single person living in what is considered to be a 'developed' country should be required to work in retail or the food industry (their choice) for a week every year. It would promote a sense of empathy. Maybe then people wouldn't go out of their way to ruin the poor clerk at the counter's day just because they feel like it.
But, hey, I survived the night. That counts for something. I can't wait to get a big-kid job.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Loose Girl

It is seldom that I get or make the time anymore to read- usually, I'm faaaar too busy with everything else to sit down and really get in some leisure time with a book. Despite the looming doom of finals the week after next, I found it impossible to quench my curiousity about this book we sell at the bookstore called Loose Girl by Kerry Cohen. And so, I picked it up. Some things just must be done.
If you're lookin' for a happy-go-lucky joy ride kind of book, this isn't it. It's autobiographical and deals with the incredibly serious topic of girls, their self worth, and sex- more specifically, girls trying to find self-worth through sex. I think that this book probably began as a method of therapy for the author, and then it turned into a nationally noteworthy read.
Don't worry, I won't spoil it for you, and it's definitely something that people should read. I started to say that parents especially should read it, but on a second thought, I recommend everyone should. This is a topic that is often seriously overlooked and brushed under the rug of society. There are millions of people out there that self-medicate using sex and drugs and alcohol, and while I have no real problem with any of those things (to a certain and great degree), I do believe that they should be recreational activities and NOT the main reason you get up in the morning (whatever time your morning may be). It's terrible to say that no one recognized that this woman had a problem, that she wasn't just a 'loose girl'.

It saddened me to read this story, mostly because I know she's not one in a million, but one of millions. There are so many girls out there that go along the get along just to avoid the stigma of being different- whether it's drugs, alcohol, blow jobs, or jumping off the top of a waterfall. I see girls all around me that reciprocate the sexual pressures put on them by society at large- women and girls that are beautiful and have beautiful bodies that still obsessively diet, teenage girls who only wear enough clothing so as to avoid getting a public indecency charge for the attention, women who feel that they must wear make up and act like a complete dumbass in order to 'get a man'. I want to tell those women and girls that they're failing miserably. The women who are obsessively dieting are failing to set a good example for other women, girls, their daughters, and nieces- it is not good to be at constant war with oneself , to be constantly dissatisfied. In this instance, ladies, take a cue from the men- you don't see them dieting constantly and counting calories. They have the attitude that they are what they are, take it or leave it. They value themselves just as they are, and they're not going way out of their way to fit some airbrushed stereotype. The girls and women who are wearing little more than fig leaves, listen up: you're getting what you want, you are definitely getting attention, but it's not the kind you want, nor is it from anyone who's really going to give a damn about you. In fact, you are also attracting the attention of men/women who intend to prey upon you. Put on some damn clothes, the crack of your ass is not sexy. Oh, and please, please, please, women of all ages, creeds, sexual orientations, ethnicities and religions: if you wear a size 12, please, for the love of God, don't try to wear a size 8. This is NOT sexy- it creates the dreaded muffin top effect. Wear some clothes that fit you, and you will look faaaaar more attractive. And finally, ladies who feel that they absolutely can not and will not leave the house without makeup on their faces, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: It's false advertising. You don't look like that when you wake up or when you clean your shower. Any man who falls in love with you and you with them will eventually see you without make up. Just be up front and honest, and be proud: you are what you are.
I've saved the topic of women who think they need to be dumb to get a man for last because I consider it to be the worst of all societal offenses perpetrated. If you play a dumb woman, you're going to get a dumb man. It's as simple as that. Someone has to have brains, someone has to take care of you and your business, and it might as well be you as anyone else. Ignorance is a state of bliss until the real world comes to smack you upside your box-of-rocks head. And if this doesn't convince you, then let's point out the long run of this behavior. You meet a man and you and he end up together for a long time, get married, do the mortgage, dogs, and kids thing. You can't be dumb and deal with those things, and imagine the surprise of the man who finds out his wife, the mother of his children, isn't who he thought she was at all- he liked the dumbness because it helped him feel like more of a man in a fucked up caveman kind of way (i.e. damsel in distress meets hero). He starts to feel inept in the wake of your amazing skills at managing life- which magically showed up the moment you had responsibilities- and this throws a monkey wrench in your marriage. It's not just your fault- you totally did lie about who you were- but it's also his for never dealing with his masculine insecurities. The bottom line is this: if you are totally up front and honest about who and what you are, regardless of your gender, you have more worth and your life is of a much higher quality, than of one that's built on dissatisfaction, desperation, and sheer dumbassery. Do not fall prey to what everyone else thinks, because everyone else will not live your life. You live your life, you do so by your own terms so that it is truly something, at the end of the day, that you can be satisfied with and fills you with pride.

And please, if you know someone who's self-medicating, try to get them to help themselves, and support them along the way. It was probably easy to fall into such a pit, but it's terribly hard to drag out of it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A New Horizon????

I dreamed last night that I went to Vienna. It was winter, and there was beautiful snow capping all the roofs. I was with my Significant Other and my parents, and we went all over Vienna, and then into Germany to see things like Bach's organ at St. Thomas and Beethoven's piano, so on and so forth. I spoke in German perfectly in this dream, which is impossible because I don't know a single word in German beyond 'lieb', and we ate fabulous food. We saw the Vienna orchestra play also, and it was overpowering, breathtaking- and I can't remember for the life of me what they were playing.
I woke up this morning thinking of this dream, wondering what it meant, if anything at all. I've always wanted to go to Europe, just to see a new world; honestly, I've always wanted to go anywhere that isn't America. I see possibilities for something greater and new outside of this place, but aren't all dreams rose colored?
But this dream made me think maybe I should really be putting forth a concentrated effort to go. I know that finishing college is a good goal, a vital one even, and should have my greatest attentions. But what after that? I don't have a goal beyond that lovely piece of paper and living well. Maybe I should be striving to go to Europe and have an adventure. Furthermore, maybe I should give myself a timeline.
I feel that I'm jumping ahead of myself because I honestly don't know where all I'd want to go or how much money it'd take to get me there. I know I want to go to Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Paris (just to see the Louvre, but I really would like to be there in the spring because I'm told the avenues are beautiful then), and into Ireland (where I want to go everywhere!) and England, so forth and so on. So, what am I to do?
Make a goal, once I figure out what I've got to make this happen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beethoven Day

Today, it was off to music class. My teacher, like all musicians, is a little eccentric. His mind, I believe, goes in loops, far-reaching loops. When I imagine what the thought process for my prof would look like, I see the imaginary line of orbit for Pluto. Today was certainly no exception, though I wish it had been.
This was Beethoven Day. We were to discuss Beethoven and listen to the Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, there was no way to listen to all the movements of either. I was hoping, nay, praying, that he picked Moonlight Sonata as one of the sample songs. When I got into class and looked at the board, I saw it wasn't going to happen. But, I was still excited because it was Beethoven.
And then the prof started talking. And my spirits fell further. Somehow, magically, this man had a secret talent to making Beethoven boring. Also, in all of my professor's 'lectures' he manages to find a way to compare himself to the famous composer we happen to be studying at this time. He managed to somehow link Beethoven's deafness with his own GI tract maladies.
Now, if you know nothing about Beethoven, let me spare you the details of the far out ramblings of my teacher and impart a little knowledge of my own on the subject. Ludwig von Beethoven was the wild man of classical music. He had a number of romances with the aristocratic women of Vienna, scammed publishers, and never, ever belonged to a single court or church, which was completely unlike any other composer of note of that time and before.He demanded that artists were just as important and deserved as much- if not more- respect than the aristocracy. He added instruments into orchestras that had never been there before, added to the number of players of the 'regular' musicians so as to create a bigger, more complex sound. The music he wrote was more dynamic as a general rule than anyone else's, he bridged movements, which at the time was unheard of as well. When he had lost the majority of his hearing (which is now believed to be caused by long-term lead poisoning), he sawed the legs off his piano so that he could feel the vibrations through the floor, and his Ninth Symphony was composed when he was completely deaf. He refused to play for people who would not listen, and saw music not just as entertainment, but as a way of life, and a method of moral transendence. He was as rock n roll as Jim Morrison or Eric Clapton and as soulful as Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, or B.B. King. In short, the coolest classical composer ever.
Needless to say, none of this was mentioned in class. NONE. As I watched people fall asleep around me, I thought "you're being robbed of a lot of information". And they only woke up when the music began playing because you can't ignore Beethoven.

Notice, the man above is playing a Steinway, which is about the grandest of all pianos. And Karajan is a world famous conductor, and in fact one of my favorites to watch.
Either way, here's the opportunity to fall in love.

Saturday, November 28, 2009



The word itself brings to mind whatever it is that you'd love to put in your mouth right now- ice cream, a medium rare steak, a lovely tossed salad, etc. In this day and age, we are so very concerned about the chemical composition of food- I can't tell you how many women say something along the lines of "oh, don't eat that, it's full of carbs"- that it seems we've forgotten that food should be not only a tool of bodily survival but also an enjoyable experience to savor. Why perform a necessary action, such as eating food, without enjoyment of it when there is every possibility that one can get a satisfaction beyond a full belly?
Truly, food can create such a passionate experience of so many kinds. I fondly remember the sense of camraderie that food created in college. We were all broke, of course, and none could possibly afford to have a well balanced meal on most days. So, we did potlucks. We picked someone's house or apartment, and everyone of us brought a plate of some kind of food, and together we had plenty. Two of the friends that participated were Jordanian, and they always delighted us with some dish of their native county, a few were vegan, and so we all got to try that, and so on. But there was more beyond the tasting of something different- there was something magical about sitting on the floor with a plate of food you've never tried with people that you loved to be around. There was a general feeling that we could accomplish anything together. And, it was all because we all needed food.
There is also something thrilling about dumpster diving for food. I know it sounds disgusting, but there were a few restaurants that knew there were very hungry people that showed up for the dig after all the cooks had gone home, and they accomodated us by putting all the edible things in bags on the top of the regular garbage. Nevertheless, it was technically a crime to dive this food, and so there was the thrill of having a lookout for cops. One night in particular, the local coffee shop put over a hundred bagels in a bag and left them for us. We felt like we'd struck gold. We took them home and put them in a freezer. We had bagels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for about a week.
Last night, I had a completely new food experience. I was sitting down to eat with my significant other, who doesn't particularly care for vegetables and thus drinks V8. I asked 'why not just eat the damn vegetables? They taste so much better.'
To which Other replied "I'd rather have the V8. It tastes a lot like celery."
I'm sure I scrunched my nose when I replied: "Not really. It's like drinking ketchup to me."
Other: "You don't like tomatoes, either, do you? I don't ever see you eat them."
"No, I like tomatoes, but I'm picky about them." I thought for a moment so that I could better explain why and how I'm picky about them. "I'm as picky about tomatoes as I am about people. I like tomatoes like I like women: I like them smaller, and with a tender skin. When I bite into a tomato, I want it to spit all those lovely tomatoey juices at me, just like I like feisty women." I said this thoughtfully, remembering some of the greatest women in my life, like my mother, who doesn't take shit from anybody despite the fact that she may be the most compact person on Earth that isn't considered to be a 'little person'. Then I added: "I also like them green and fried."
Significant Other just stared at me for a moment before saying: "You know, it really kinda scares me when you compare people to food. You like tomatoes like you like women....really?" And The Eyebrow went up.
I'm sure one day, after spring has come around and I've planted another garden, and the tomatoes bloom and then start producing little bitty fruit, I will remember this conversation. And I will imagine my mother, my best girlfriend, and a host of others when I go out, pick the nicest, juiciest, most beautiful one, and savor it, even as it runs down my chin. Because these women, like food, give and sustain my life. And as of this afternoon, I can't think of a higher compliment than being compared to a tomato.