Friday, September 29, 2006

proof the south is alive and well

a confederate soldier in the middle of Richmond, VA

notice the pesky Indian climbing out of the
Richmond Braves stadium.

Proof I was at the Beach

Click on the picture to see all the aircraft carriers.
I think they look awesome.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I guess Brian Eno was wrong, and the future of flying is doomed

Before I flew back to Chicago I said good bye to a family friend who told me to “have a safe flight”.

Because the past 5 months have been intense safety + transportation spewing days my ears perkedy up. “thanks, but there isn’t really anything I can do to MAKE my flight safe” I joked about dying.

“oh yes there is” she said in a really grave tone, like what she was really saying was you are actually the only one who can do anything to save the world so sit up straight kid.

Does she think I have a bomb in my bag I could choose to detonate or not detonate? Or should I pull something like sept 11, where someone tries to blow up their shoe, and I rebel, showing them what Americans are really made of, forcing the plane to go down somewhere in Pennsylvania instead of the Mall of America or Bush's lawn? Dude I havn't even studied martial arts.

The whole thing gave me the shakes like an old man’s cold finger.

It was nice getting through security
I’ve had this big feeling that I’m being heavily monitored by the government and things mentioned in my blog and in conversation with political family are suddenly on the record, the kind of proof that could put me away for a long time, like Tokyo Rose, who just died the 24th of Sept. She was locked in a 6foot cell for 1 year without ever being charged with anything, and was then set loose. Then a couple of years later they brought her in again and charged her with crimes against the country. She spent years in prison and wasn’t pardoned until Johnson’s last day in office; at that point everyone she had loved had died (including her parents and Portuguese husband).

“you’re really orphans now, boys. How will you get home now that all your ships have sunk?”

The woman didn’t even like rice, she was born in california, trapped in japan during the war and not given any food because she was american, japanese government forced her into a job as a radio personality who would taunt the american soldiers (axis war tactic). her obituary was in the Washington Post a fit of geographical irony she died in Chicago.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Lurid Tale of Sex and Deceit

Going to Shul

It is 8am and I'm about to go to shul, temple, synagogue, services, roshashana day #2 services, the names are as infinite as god. For the record I prefer to say, "I'm going to SERVICES". I've only gone 7 times in my 23 years. This morning will make my eighth. Considering the fact that Israel is in such a fucked up place right now I hope part of the service includes a satellite discussion between the synagogue I go to and the prime minister of Israel (and his cabinet). We will talk via large flat screen plasma TVs, and he will listen intently as we remind him that this is the *New Year* and God says that we should Not Learn War; Jews should love peace and mercy.

"We know that life is hard, and maybe your eyes have been clouded... but over here in America it seems pretty clear what you should do: stop the war. make immediate and unconditional peace with Palestine, and never drop a bomb on anyone EVER again. Begin apologizing for all the innocence lost we will join you, apologizing for the rest of our lives."

he nods, turns to his cabinet who all seem to agree. There is a slight delay because of satellite connection and sun spots, but he says "thank you, Levis. You have solved our problem and brought the world closer to heaven."

Instead of making a terrorist video everyone in the congregation video tapes themselves giving blood and writing checks to Palestine, then the Hadassa women's group presents a pre-fabricated school building that they are sending with love to their neighbors' children.
I get worked up and start screaming about Palestine and Beirut and how I have friends who write blogs in those places and this is fucked up, you'd better talk about this and how are we going to end it. I start ranting and drooling and pulling my hair out with pieces of me falling through out the congregation. and then everyone pulls out a white stone which they must have picked up with their prayer books and yarmulkes at the front entrance or they were hidden in the pews all along and I never noticed-- and they stone me. The bible talks a lot about stoning.
After the first hour of reading the torah the synagogue is bombed by either a missile attack or the foresight someone had to plant explosives.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Real Reason

The real reason I skipped town was because I'm needed up north. My best friend/uncle, the one who likes to hang out with me, used to ride around with me listening to Jimi Hedrix pretending his car could fly is in trouble. He met his wife while on a drug binge in South East Asia. They moved back to the family farm out in the country where my family's from and there are more cows than people. They've had smart kids and an unhappy home life.

Now they're separated and he has moved out. He bought a big barn and no one knows where he lives anymore. My grandma speaks in hushed tones about how no one knows where he eats or where he sleeps anymore. I'm going to go and find out.

I imagine I'll have to wear a big pair of boots and go off some country high way. walk half a mile behind some frozen corn field till I find his barn. Big and falling apart with dry wood and sunlight coming through big cracks. He'll point out that there's a horse riding rink on the second floor, all I see is a fallen balcony. Then he starts to cry or something and I have to slap him and splash him with cold water. Then I help him find a razor and shave; then take him to a diner where we order two cups of strong coffee, eggs and hash browns with link sausage from a kind yet unobtrusive waitress. I have to be fierce and force him to eat (after shaving it is painful to see how sunken-in his cheek bones are) because he has been neglecting his body. I don't know where we go from there, but I know that is what family is for.

I've Tried to Escape

I realize I haven't been home since Thanksgiving. That is a long time, the way I figure it, almost a year. My job is over and I seem to have no life except for an excessive number of gay dance parties and heart break hotels I'm supposed to check into (the two are not related). So I hinted vaguely for days and then after seeing 4th ex one too many times --bought a ticket out of town.

17 hours on the amtrak has to be good for something.

I sat nexted to a man who had been in Chicago because his brother had just died. He told me there were only 4 schools in the entire USA that were named after Malcom X. He told me all about his brother. I think he was muslim and as part of the funeral he had to wash his brothers body and wrap it. He prays he never has to do it again. He also told me about the trees his brother liked and other details that are odd to talk about, but he couldn't help thinking abou this brother. I couldn't help thinking about Malcom X, who used to be a train conductor...I wondered if the future X had just announced the dinning car was open for those with reservations.

The train was over run with Amish. Men and women who disdain any form of attractiveness. Offensively ugly hair cuts and poly-cotton blend dresses, not a plucked eyebrow in the crowd. The worst part is they all travel in male/female pairs and seem extremely happy. They even have body odor and don't care. I of course freaked out before I went home shaved every part of my body I could and plucked what was left and then bought a stick of antiperspirant filled with aluminum. All this so my mother will love me and respect me as a real human. God damn, I'm jealous of the Amish.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mr. City/ Mrs. Show

Friday night I went to Mr. City. I kept telling people I was going to Mr Show, because I a. always mix shit up between my head and my mouth and b. don't pay attention.

Mr. City is in the warehouse area of the west loop, where all the meat packing places are nestled between art galleries and extremely fancy restaurants and odd wholesalers. Evidently 8 *kids* live there and pay $2,000/mo ($250 each). It is just a huge warehouse so what they did is build 8 little shacks as rooms. They're all artists so the place looks good, hip with wood cut outs, metallic wallpaper, plastic figurines, etc. They have shows in the basement. 6 bands played Friday rotating between 2 stages, someone always setting up and someone always playing. Boys came from as far as california and baltimore, as near as Minneapolis, all to play.

The audience was hip and dirty, I suspect a lot of artists. There was a lot of hanging out on the sidewalk and tiresome/difficult dancing to bands so advanced they are beyond rhythm.

I regretted wearing all white and wondered why Rotten Milk is always so excited.

It was a myspace kind of night.

Saturday afternoon found me at the Tastee Freeze. A million bands playing in a parking lot of one of my favorite hot dog/soft serve places in chicago.

There was one band, so good I didn't even get their name of 5 old men playing rock and roll. It is embarrassing how much I love anything that sounds like the misfits. really embarrassing.

Shows like these just make me kick myself for not making my own music. I harbor secret convictions that I'm a musical genius. I'm also kicking myself because I get so fucking mad that every show I go to is a bunch of dudes playing and feeling really pleased about themselves. I should be that dude.

Speaking of dudes: 3 of my 4 exboyfriends were at the parking lot show. They are all standing around, in the same amount of space a car might occupy. All amicable, all happily dating and having sex with other women.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Music Video

Woa--I can't believe how much I like this video.

Logan Square VS Humbolt Park

I've changed neighborhoods. Everyone I know who used to live in Logan Square moved to Humbolt Park, trying to pull an opposite day on me. They all loath Humbolt the same way I hate Logan. They complain about all the kids outside their windows yelling *fuck you, mother fucker, give me my candy back* and the boys who go by in their cars with the bass so loud it sets off all the car alarms, and the Fruiteria y Liquoria with its white bread, canned food, gallons of canola oil, unrippened fruit, and cranky Puerto Rican check out ladies. I miss it ALL.

In logan there are just older white people walking their dogs, and really well dressed hipsters who I imagine all have jobs as graphic designers. Graham and I sat on the porch last night talking serious smack about the music that was wafeting out the neighbor's window and how tired we were of minimalist composers, how old John Cage really is, and unbearable to listen to.

Yesterday a friend came over sighing about how much he missed quite of Logan. I joked that the only noise I heard here was people blasting Steve Riche or John Cage.

"Really? Because my friend lives right next door and he plays violin loops. He's Andrew Bird."
"Oh, I thought it sounded live, only half like a recording. So was he playing Steve Riche?"
"No, he was playing Andrew Bird..."
He said it in a way that was like ANDREW BIRD...I figured it was the same if I played the clarinet and said I was playing SARAH MILLER. I had a weird feeling that he was trying to hint at something more impressive, so I looked up Bird on-line. Judging by the Wikipedia article and myspace account the dude is famous.

Shit like this keeps happening to me in Chicago and it is so embarrassing. My last neighbor and I were hanging out and I asked him what he'd been up to and he asked if I'd *ever heard of JOAN OF ARC?* I shrugged like it was no big deal, I imagined it was like someone from Wiskino telling me they were a film maker. Turns out ARC is way famous, and I should feel stupid for not knowing about it or at least stupid for not knowing how lucky I am to be around such fame.

In order to make the most out of present circumstances I think I will start playing my clarinet on the a snake charmer..see if I can get in the band, or at least influence his new album.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Secretaries and the National Pastime Theatre

For everyone who doesn't know, which at this point is everyone, Rebecca and I are going to put on a play called The Secretaries. It was written by a collaborative women's group called the 5 Lesbian Brothers. It features secretarial life in the late 80's, a cult, lumber jacks and of course lots of sex, blood, and slim fast.

Rebecca and I want to do everything for this play. There are only 5 characters and we figure we're 2 of them, we'll audition for 3 more and we'll get a space, the rights, and charge something like $5 at the door. We're shooting for opening night to be November 4, 2006. Fast and dirty is the way she and I get most things done.

We spent last weekend looking at theatre spaces. The coolest one was the National Pastime Theatre. It was listed on craigslist as an authentic speakeasy. Because of troubles with the horrible rapid transit system I arrived by bike 15 minutes before Rebecca and got to hear the whole history of the place from a true Theatre Man, Lawrence Bryan...but not before he told me he too had been to Madison, and loved the town. He had gone several times for the pot smoking fete. While there he got the impression that Madisonians are really relaxed.

Back to the history of the theatre: it used to be a huge ball room (the columns and beautiful wood work survive). In 1923 they decided to build a big wall in the middle of the ballroom and create a secret room. The only way to access the walled area was through a broom closet in a second floor apartment and a secret door in the back of a near by restaurant. The secret room became a speak easy. A real jazzed bar I imagine. In 1943 the owners decide they've had enough and wall of the area with cinderblocks completely. I guess they were worried about taxes or something. The area was just left until 1992 when Lawrence Bryan and his friend were looking for more space and cut through the wall finding air, etc. that hadn't been touched since 1943.

I told him he should put that story in the magazine Infiltration which is all about exploring underground and secret areas. He told me there really was a whole underground network in that area of chicago. All of it was built during Prohibition. There were tunnels to the lake from the secret bars. Underground routes used to transport alcohol into the city. Holy shit I'd love to find those.

Then he told me more about the theatre and how it is haunted and how 100 nudists came in last weekend on a haunted tour, dropped "trou' " and walked around with diving rods looking for something. Then he told us it would be thousands of dollars for us to even think about using the theatre. Thousands of dollars we totally don't have. So now we're looking to rent a store front for 2 months to put on the play. Maybe there'll be a tunnel in the back, more than likely there'll just a creepy old dude who smokes pot and thinks we're cute and weak florescent light.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My mom loves Praying Mantises. She has plastic figures of them around the house and she is always calling me into the garden to look at baby mantis on the box wood.

Excerpt from NY Times Article, This Can't Be LOVE::

"Sexual cannibalism became a hot topic of debate among biologists in 1984. Scientists from Cornell and the University of Texas at Austin proposed that it evolved because the males of some species could get an evolutionary advantage from being eaten. Their bodies could nourish the mothers of their offspring, raising the odds that those offspring would successfully hatch and grow up to produce their own offspring, thus carrying on the father’s genes.

The late Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould attacked this argument, calling it a prime example of how biologists had become “overzealous about the power and range of selection by trying to attribute every significant form and behavior to its direct action.”

Dr. Gould argued that sexual cannibalism was too rare to be significant. It is possible, he said, that females eat their mates simply because they mistake them for prey.

Subsequent research refuted parts of Dr. Gould’s argument. Some sexual cannibals, including female Chinese mantises, actually eat a lot of males. “One study estimated that 63 percent of the diet of females are male mantids,” Dr. Brown said. “So they’re the main food source.”

Other scientists have demonstrated that males can increase their chances of passing on their genes if they cooperate in their own death.

Male Australian redback spiders court females for up to eight hours by plucking the strands of their web. Once a male starts to mate, he promptly somersaults onto her fangs. He continues to mate as she feeds on him. In some cases, the male crawls a short distance away, courts the female again, and then mates a second time. He flips onto her fangs, and by the end of the second mating he is dead.

Male redback spiders benefit from cannibalism, but not because they can become food for their mates. Instead, Dr. Maydianne Andrade of the University of Toronto has found that males that are cannibalized mate more than twice as long as noncannibalized males. They also father twice as many offspring with a female that mates with other males.

'We’ve replicated the results three times — ' "

I like the style this article was written in.

Monday, September 04, 2006

the old horse

yesterday I officially got all my things into the new apartment. Only 3 days behind schedule. I made six trips by bike which was really cool and moved almost everything I own. There is nothing like lugging bike bags full of clothes and shoes to make you hate everything you own.

For the larger things roomate and I hired movers....the Starving Artists. Too bad I knew 2/3 of them and had a crush on 3/3 of them and was as strong as 2.3/3 of them. What does this mean? I carried a ton of stuff trying to be helpful and make them like me which really wore me out.

I was mortally embarrassed to find stains all over my mattress. There was one particularly huge urine stain. When something is embarrassing you can either 1. hope no one says anything and everyone pretends it doesn't exist (ex: my mom's reaction to fart, her own and others) 2. Point it out yourself and act proud about it before anyone can make fun of you... or the most popular 3. blame someone else (preferably someone who isn't present).

I vaguely did the second two. The movers tried to re-assure me. One said "oh about one in (he looked up to try and figure the correct and less embarrassing number) one in three mattresses we move has a pee stain. " Could that be true? Why is everyone peeing on their bed?

Another mover gave a better answer. "I don't care," he said it as he leaned the bed against his head and shoulders and went down a flight of really steep stairs. Does he really not care? After all the moving was done and we had paid the 3 boys I asked him if he wanted to come to the house warming party and see how comfortable a urine stained bed can be. I realize I'm loosing it so I decided I must listen to reggae for a couple days to force myself to calm down. I hope it works.