Saturday, November 29, 2003

Forgetting: my strong suit 

It's ironic that, even though I absolutely love shoot-from-the-hip photography, I seem to always forget to bring my camera along. Let me rephrase this for dramatic effect: I think cameras avoid me.

Last night our friend J. had a bonfire on his property, and in addition to the fun Frenchman, the Latina, and other guy named Jeff whom I'd never met before, it was probably the densest concentration of my former elementary/junior/high school acquaintances. On a couple of counts I could have done without the refresher...

...but, hell, almost everyone was having a grand time the entire night! Not to mention the fact that as the bonfire slowly diminished everfyone moved to the other epicenter of the evening: the "guest cottage." J. built an entire damned guest house out of cedar in his backyard, and I'm pretty sure it has more square footage than the home where I grew up.

I suppose some people just have engineering genetics.

Coming back off of this tangent, I noticed when I was halfway there that I had left my camera and flash on my kitchen table. The cheap digital that I usually keep in the car wasn't where I thought I had left it (and I now see that I had left it connected to the computer). M. didn't have any film for the stickyfilm camera, and [sigh] out of a dozen souls I spoke with, none of them had brought a camera.

It breaks my heart that I can't record the scene as frequently as I feel the desire to. Unique situations are so intriguing that I am sometimes saddened that I don't have a camera to enregister the exact visual ambiance of an event. I hate that I have to rely on my memory alone to retell, to recollect fun, because memory (mine, anyway) doesn't precisely record laughing mouths, faces wet and red from uncontrollable laughter, nor the wrinkles at the corners of eyes that show up when peoples faces smile.

Remember to take your camera. Remember to take your camera. Remember to take your camera. Remember to take your camera. Remember to take your camera. Remember to take your camera. Remember to take your camera.


Thursday, November 27, 2003

A note from the road 

Powered by audblogaudio post powered by audblog
As I trail off in this brief recording, the microphone in my cellular modulates its sensitivity--you can hear "Music has a Right to Children" pretty clearly in the background. It was a beautiful drive home.

So full... 

...and I haven't yet gone to eat with my parents. I love this holiday--the leftovers I've collected already could feasibly last me through the month of December, and I'm sure there will be more to come. Eat hardily, friends, and let us remind ourselves that, in a materialistic sense, we are indeed very lucky.


Wednesday, November 26, 2003

And now, a sampler 

I was asked a musical question last night that resulted in me recounting some impressive song lyrics. It was a complete riot seeing excerpts of so many songs all out of context and juxtaposed with one another. Aside from demonstrating that a lot of the music I've listened to over the past decade has revolved around masochistic sex and related endeavors, I also thought this decontextualizing exercise gave an interesting profile of the written art of the song. Here are a few of my favorites (in other words, these are the ones I remember):

"In the garage
they're practicing their guitar solos,
but in the bedroom
they're practicing on one another."

-Pansy Division, "Bill and Ted's Homosexual Adventure"

I fell asleep amid the flowers
for a couple of hours.
Such a beautiful day."

-Gunter Kallmann Chorus, "Daydream"

"Pull up a chair and light my (unlit) fag [her cigarette]--
When gravity kicks my ass you'd better pay [cash money money] for my tits to be fixed."

-Whale, "Pay for me"

"Explosive smell when black leather comes to you,
beating that ass with the chain gang of love;
if you're looking for luxurious sexual attack,
red on black--
something's coming:
you know what i mean"

-the Raveonettes, "Veronica Fever"

"Dans la chaleur, le silence
à l'heure où les cyprès se balancent,
les morts reposent au cimitière
sous le sable, face à la mer."

-Les Negresses Vertes, "Face à la mer"

"Just like Ché Guevara, I'm a forest ranger;
Just like Phyllis Diller, I'm a forest ranger."

-Plexi, "Forest Ranger" (these guys have sadly been disbanded for some time. Plexi: reform!)


Monday, November 24, 2003

Tonight: old oak and a bit of birch 

My girlie friend is on her way over to chill in front of the fireplace, which seems to be my main social draw these days. Whatever, that's cool with me--I can't complain if that fireplace draws friends out of late nights in the printmaking studio for an evening of bud, soup, and crackling logs. In this specific case I know she's earned it: she finished an (authoritative) paper at about 5.45 this morning and then had to go out to Kinko's to make her image reporoductions. All this on the first morning of the season to drop below the freezing point. Poor girl... come over to my hearth.

My early morning was spent in a parked car outside of the Benton Work Release Facility of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. I didn't realize they were going to make us wait outside of the building for the parole hearing to begin. In spite of the dickless asshole [I'm proud of that one] of a parole reviewer (who, with judgingly pointed finger, assured my family that my brother was indeed "property of the state of Arkansas until 2011"), my brother was recommended for parole. It was a bittersweet moment: seeing him all choked-up and nervous reminded me that his prison experience has been sobering in the least and trying at the most; watching the family fawn over him reminded me of the surreally chipper denial that I recall from the summer he burned the fuck out of his hands and my house. It's too soon for me to really have reduced my response to this morning's events to any sort of brief profile... I'll probably come back to the topic.

I've also just reread last night's entry. I refuse to edit what I wrote even though some spelling errors and poorly-built sentences are crying out for help... I've still not gotten used to the good humor I experience when I read things I've written in various states of intoxication. Ah, drunk me.

Black and tan 

My brother-in-law is an interesting combination of human character. As a rebellious teen in the early eighties, he blended equal parts of competitive bodybuilding and reckless drug use. He is incredibly sharp and I often get into tangled conversations with him, especially in the realm of politics. I find it odd that this man, a beer-swilling metallurgical engineer who once held an acid conversation with the upstairs of his apartment, can be so conservative today. Even more disarming is the fact that he will readily admit that it was his acquisition of money that changed his ways. I also suspect that his three year old daughter and agressively pro-choice wife have been contributing factors. He's now a 230-pound shipwreck of a man (another detail he will readily admit) who prides himself on becoming enmeshed in the openness of rural life as an Arkansawyer (in which the central dogma is that, if you can't piss off your front porch at noon without pissing off your neighbors, you live to close to your neighbors).

Anyway, we sneaked from my tightly-packed house tonight to kill the two six-packs of Guiness I stashed away yesterday for this exact purpose (remember folks, the downside to living in the shadow of the Southern Baptist Bible are the Blue Laws: no alcohol sales on Sunday). We knew no one would follow as today marked a drastic change in weather--I woke up in our standard 72 degrees, and the sun set on a rainy-ass 40 degree evening.

We talked a great deal about the parole hearing tomorrow. We agree that everyone present seems oddly, perhaps ignorantly optimistic about the whole shebang. It was good to hear that I'm not the only one thinking pessimistically, and that perhaps my pessimism is more accurately just a harsh realism. I still haven't gotten over the thrill of drinking with my brother-in-law, as I was 14 when he married my sister and I'm 23 now. He's one of the few friends I have who is willing to drink with no additional stimuli aside from our conversation... that's been a nice dettail to discover in him post- my 21st birthday.

As tense as my relationship is with my brother, I can't say that I want him to stay in prison... although I must address the fact that he is making almost twice as much money as I am right now, and I'm the one who spent four years earning the hell out of two degrees. To his credit, he is having to wear a hazmat suit to clean out tankers at a chemical processing plant and before that he worked at a steel distributing center, but I feel a constant urge to follow up these concessions with a 'but I...' Am I being selfish? Probably so, but am I justified in my selfishness? That I don't know. It helps to discuss this issue with reasonable people now and then if only to get a better handle on exactly what is happening to those of us who have been only outside of the prison fence, to flesh out exactly what breeds this resentment and bitterness.

It also helps to have a belly full of the black and tan.


Sunday, November 23, 2003

Hiatus brought to you by Blogger 

I apologize if anyone noticed my two week truancy, but I whole-heaterdly pass all the blame on to Blogger and/or conflicts between my internet security administration and Blogger at large. Hopefully this won't happen again.

Tomorrow morning I have to (bitterly) attend my brother's (first) parole hearing... as a character witness, I suppose. As a result, five members of my family have descended upon my humble home to wait in the wood-burning, bay leaf-smelling warmth I cultivate here. They are damning my good vibes all to hell, and I remember now why I so often opt for the solitude of living alone.

I notice more often than anything else that the main detail that irritates me about my family members, indeed most people, is the general proclivity for talking about nothing at all for hours on end. I understand the socially-adhesive importance of conversation in close-knit groups, and chit-chat is a big, mindless part of that. But goddamn, I listened to my mom talk about the Food Network with (at?) my sister for almost two solid hours today. That kind of talk infuriates me: while you may be bonding over your own mutual involvememnt in a conversation, sometimes tha lack of information in an exchange seems to damn conversation at large: why are you talking if you are sharing nothing? When I become the focus of a "talk" like that, I tend to start biting my nails and blankly staring arbitrarily into space, wide-eyed with the stoned apathy of disinterest. This is usually interpreted as a bad case of ADHD, sometimes even a personal affront to the sensibilities of others... but I've gotten used to the idea that I'm just rude in these kinds of situations. I think most of the family gets the picture as well, seeing as I very rarely get suckered into shit like that anymore.

I told this all to my mom one day, and she responded with the due horror to be excpected from a woman whose life revolves around the romantic ideals of sentimentality and family. I think I had just finished "listening" to my grandfather gaily re-re-retelling the story of blowing up the supports to an American military building full of comingling blacks and asians when I felt the tension snap--I felt such a pang of disgust and revulsion that it manifest itself as a tightening in my chest, an inability to inhale without the stuttering motions of the diaphragm that usually signal the beginning of a good cry. I left him mid-sentence and went off to let my ears feel quieted. "I can't believe you did that to your grandpa," my mom chided whisperingly, "remember, blood is thicker than water..."

Yes, indeed, Blood is Thicker than Water. This, my friends, has become my most hated proverbial quip of the whole lot. The idea that character concessions ought to be made because of one's biological proximity to another seems like an absurd American homage to the tightly monitored lines of heredity from whence we sprang all those years back in Britain. But we aren't royals, and, when this line is used, it usually isn't in reference to the inheritance of land or title. Yes, Blood is Thicker than Water... all this statement seems to reflect today is that, if anything, I should be more ashamed of someone's actions if he or she is a relative of mine, as if my genetic connection to someone is like a cake knife dishing out wedges of responsibility to everyone on the family tree.

Tomorrow when I'm convening with my family in front of the parole board, I hope I'm not called on. I hope I'm not called on because I fear that if I am questioned as to why I feel as though I would support my brother, I know that all I will be able to say is 'because Blood is Thicker than Water,' and everyone will smile and think that it means I love my brother unconditionally.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?