Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

It's four o'clock in the morning. The sun has not risen and the city is in it's most quiet hour. Your dreams pulse from one image to the next, recycling conversations from days before, when, without warning, your body lurches up and your eyes spring wide.

What was that? What is your imagination, or did someone knock on your door?


Someone knocked.

Your brain tries to clear out the underbrush of sleep as you creep out of bed. You don't know anyone in your building, who would be knocking at this hour? The raps come again, this time with more force.


"Who is it?" you call, with a sudden clarity in order give the impression that you are, in fact, fully awake and lucid.

The muted answer comes back, "Open the door, please."

You stand in your socked feet, staring at the door. A pin spot of yellow light shines through the peep hole.

The knock comes again: knockknockkno-

"OKAY. I'm coming..." You pad over the stacks of "take care of later" papers and unread books on the floor. There is a pile of laundry in the corner that never seems to go away.

You press your hand to the doorknob and hold onto it for just a second. You think to look out the peep hole, but something in you still wants to be surprised. You turn the knob and crack the door.

Standing before you is a young man who looks something like a Bible salesman (or, at least, what you imagine one would look like, never having actually seen one first hand.). He smiles at you and says "Hello. Come with me."

Your head is still struggling to the shoreline of consciousness. "Beg pardon?"

"I said, 'Hello. Come with me.'"

"Yeah-yes. I got that part. How come? Is everything okay? Or, wait...first, who are you? Do I know you?"

The young man nods his head and smiles. "The name's Before New Year's. Tuesday Before New Year's. You can call me Tuesday. Some people want to call me Mr. Before New Year's, but I think that's too many words."

Your eyes glaze for a second.

"So, come on." He beckons you towards the stairs.

You do know this guy. You're going to go with him no matter what. You can sit behind the door, but you know he will keep knocking. You have no choice but to go with him.

"Should I put on some clothes - er, do I need anything?"

"No. Just let's go."

A wave of clean exhilaration over takes you. You don't need anything, but just go.

It occurs to you that perhaps you are still sleeping in your bed - that this is just a product of your brain steeping in the tropical steam heat in your bedroom. Either way, you follow Mr. Before New Year's down the stairwell and leave last year behind.

I love the time between Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Whether or not we want to, we are compelled to look back over the year and make plans for the future. At the same time we are avalanched by Year End Round-ups and Top Ten Lists. (Ends of the Decade are the mother load. Not only are you offered a Year in Review, but you get a glimpse back at the past ten. 10 years ago, I had just closed a show about the End of Days called Apocalypse, and was furiously writing to finish my adaptation of Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor.)

According to my iTunes play counts on a month by month basis, 2009 was a pretty random year. Below is my official Top Twelve List. Here are the songs I added to my library, month by month, and with the highest play counts. In some instances, I offer an explanation. In other...judge me if you will - I bet you have some pretty handsome musical skeletons in your library as well.

(To be fair, some of these with astronomically high play counts would be classified as "Running Music" or "Show Music". In other cases, who am I kidding? I love Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga.)

1. Sober, P!ink (Added 1/24/09, played 42 times) I think I had a wound only Pink could salve.

2. Don't Phunk with My Heart, Black Eyed Peas (Added 2/8/09, Played 18 times)

3. Poker Face, Lady Gaga (Added 3/11/09, Played 65 times)

4. Soft Rocked by Me, Jonathan Coulton (Added 4/21/09, Played 12 times)

5. I hear the Bells, Mike Doughty (Added 5/18/09, Played 25 times)

6. My Life Would Suck Without You, Kelly Clarkson (Added 6/3/09, Played 60 times)

As lip dubbed by my Kerpatty! boys...

7. If My Heart Was a House, Owl City (Added 7/23/09, Played 29 times)

8. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, Dream Academy (Added 8/7/09, Played 10 times)

9. In These Arms, The Swell Season (Added 9/17/09, Played 10 times)

10. Sexyback, Justin Timberlake (Added 10/9/09, Played 23 times)

11. Bad Romance, Lady Gaga (Added 11/9/09, Played 30 times)

12. Sovay, Andrew Bird (Added 12/9/09, Played 9 times)

What were your most listened to songs this year? (Not just the good ones...but the most listened to.)

Friday, December 25, 2009


Wednesday, December 23, 2009




Monday, December 21, 2009

Making a list and checking it a coupla times...

If you are like me, thinking of a meaningful Christmas gift for everyone on your list can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety. I, for one, believe that no one should feel compelled to give a gift if they aren't moved to do so. Just carving out the time for family and friends is enough. If you've seen something that might tickle the heart of your mother or best friend - by all means! But we shouldn't torture ourselves year in and year out, with scrambled attempts to renew relationships through material goods - like an emotional barter.

This, of course, is all well and good in theory. But SOME people want a Droid this Christmas and if they don't get it, here comes a year's worth of passive aggressive mind games and No-I'm-FINEs. Somehow, it's worth the money for some peace, and with four days left before the birth of Christ, you'd better get crackin'.

This year, though, I've made my life much easier by keeping a list of things my friends and family like. For instance, whenever someone I know says, "Ooh. I like those yellow earrings", I can take note of this item and perhaps get it for them during the holiday crunch.

Here is a sneak peak into what some of my friends and family might be getting:

A Snuggie
The Beatles® Rock Band
The color Cerulean
Barack Obama
Polka Dots
Growing Up Skipper doll
Kiss Army Bumper Sticker
The Irish
Time Travel (with no "Butterfly Effect" consequences)
A Job
Tylenol PM
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
Anthony Bourdain
A dream of flying

With any luck, this will be the best Christmas ever. Bon Chance!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Aliens are Back

Many moons ago, I posted a segment about the extraterrestrial world of the Disaronno Advertisement. These spots showed us a reality that had been downloaded into the invading species, pieced together from James Spader movies and Parker Brothers board game commercials. This is what the aliens think we look like when we party.

Several months after this post, I discovered a whole new series of commercials:

I don't think we are the intended audience for these commercials. What we have here is a training video for Alien Bartending School. They know that eventually the humans are going to want something more complicated than just Disaronno. Orion forbid they blow their cover by not having a backup! So they concoct some quick and easy recipes using the bedrock of their cocktail knowledge: Disaronno on the Rocks.

However, I'm sure there were a lot of hands going up once the concept of "Milk" was introduced.

Then, there's the Cranberry lesson.

"Excuse me? What is the green circle that slices into the glass receptacle at the end? He didn't say anything about a GREEN CIRCLE."

And lastly:

There was much mumbling in the classroom. Where's the pitcher for the lemon? Why did they squeeze that ball of yellow? Couldn't they have done the same for the red of the cranberry and the white of the cattle juice?

(One small alien weeps in the back, still disturbed by the "Origins of Milk".)

I like to think that we have received these transmissions by mistake and a baffled school room of Alien bartenders is watching this:

Our planet is saved.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Should I go buy some cereal? (As answered by the Tarot)

One of the things I left college with, was the ability to read Tarot cards. Sometimes, when I'm faced with a difficult decision, I will turn to the tarot to tell me what to do.

Should I go and buy some cereal?
First, you choose a card that represents you. These often come from the Major Arcana (The cards like "The Magician" or "The Chariot") Or they come from the Face Cards of the Minor Arcana (The suits of Cups, Wands, Pentacles, or Swords.) I choose the Queen of Wands. We sort of look alike. She has a sunflower in her hand.

So let's begin with a basic Celtic Cross spread.

This card represents the atmosphere surrounding the central issue. Six of Wands (Victory), when reversed: Arrogance and dangerous overconfidence as the result of a past success. Impudence and false pride in meaningless achievements. Fear of failure coupled with false hopes. Frustration over indefinite delays and motion without progress.

Meaning: Should I get cereal? I deserve cereal and have gotten cereal with ease in the the past...they should give it to me for FREE. But what if they don't? What if I'm just a pathetic nobody? But what if I meet Barack Obama at Walgreens? Dammit! My pants aren't dry yet!

Click for Details
The card visible at the center of the cross represents the obstacle that stands in your way - it may even be something that sounds good but is not actually to your benefit. Nine of Cups (Happiness), when reversed: Vanity, conceit, and smugness in romance, friendship, or other relationships. Achieving what you always thought you wanted. Overindulging in food, drink, or the pleasures of the flesh. A state of joy and abundance that is shallow and fleeting.

Meaning: You guys are soooo gonna wish you could have some of my cereal. But screw all you. I'm eating it all by myself. Just watch me. YEAAAHHH. Why am I so alone?

Click for Details
The card at the top of the cross represents your goal, or the best you can achieve without a dramatic change of priorities. Nine of Wands (Strength), when reversed: Delayed preparations for an impending trial. Efforts compromised by traitors or saboteurs. The scattering of forces before the conclusive battle is fought. Ill health and faltering of the will.

Meaning: Why aren't my pants Dry yet?! I bet it's that dude from down the hall. I've seen him removing other people's clothes before they are fully dried. I'll show him...I'm put all my clothes in four different driers...HA! He won't know what to think. (Cough) Maybe later when I feel better.

The card at the bottom of the cross represents the foundation on which the situation is based. Two of Cups (Love), when reversed: Instability in romance, friendship, or business. A deep infatuation that excludes existing friends. A false promise or premature commitment. The entanglement of male and female interpreted in the broadest sense. The profaning of the sacred through the introduction of base desire. Folly, depletion, and waste. May suggest conflict, divorce, or a severing of ties.

Meaning: What's going on on Facebook?

The card at the left of the cross represents a passing influence or something to be released. The Devil: Being seduced by the material world and physical pleasures. Lust for and obsession with money and power. Living in fear, domination and bondage. Being caged by an overabundance of luxury. Discretion should be used in personal and business matters.

Meaning: It's cold outside and feels warm in here. If I go buy cereal, that means physical labor. I can just stay here, drink beers and watch movies all day. I can then go to an online casino and gamble for a while after I send some money to that nice Nigerian Dictator.

The card at the right of the cross represents an approaching influence or something to be embraced. Eight of Wands (Swiftness): A sudden release of raw power, cutting through confusion and indecision, and setting things in motion. Rapid progress towards a desired goal, brought about by immediate and decisive action. Boldness and daring in love, business, travel, or spiritual growth.

Meaning: That's it! I don't care if my pants are soaking wet...I can wear them to the Walgreens. No one will care! I am my own person, full of joy and love and high ideals. I don't need approval from anyone but my own self.

The card at the base of the staff represents your role or attitude. Knight of Cups: The essence of water behaving as fire, such as a rushing river: A passionate romantic, full of charm and beauty, but prone to extremes. Forceful idealism blended with gentle kindness. An eager and intense person, forward with their emotions and tender in their support of others.

Meaning: Hey. The dude from down the hall is by the driers. He's smiling at me. What a nice guy.

The card second from the bottom of the staff represents your environment and the people you are interacting with. King of Cups, when reversed: The dark essence of water behaving as air, such as rain clouds in a gray sky: A pillar of maturity and patience, hiding a deep insecurity and an indecisive nature. One who secretly lusts for power, but lacks the courage, intellect, or work ethic necessary to take it. A charming seducer who appears innocent and understanding, but is in fact selfish and unfaithful.

Meaning: That Jerk. He took all my clothes out and set them in the one of the slop sinks.

The card second from the top of the staff represents your hopes, fears, or an unexpected element that will come into play. Justice, when reversed: Lack of balance, harmony and integrity. The suspension of action until a decision is made. Lawsuits and prosecutions. Unjust decisions and the consequences of those decisions. A turn for the worse in legal matters.

Meaning: This is effing b-shit, man.

The card at the top of the staff represents the ultimate outcome should you continue on this course. Ace of Swords, when reversed: The seed of defeat - perhaps as yet unseen. A challenge met with the invocation of force, leading to disastrous results. Reason and intelligence misdirected or cast aside, resulting in injustice and falsehood. An excessive power abused. May suggest new ideas or information with dangerous implications.

Meaning: I will take all his clothes out of the drier and put them in the dumpster. He he will take my clothes and toss them into the alley. I will call the landlord and get him, his wife, new baby and puppy thrown out of the building. He will get fired from his job because he doesn't have any appropriate clothes to wear to work and then his wife will have to sell drugs to sixth graders.

Final Outcome: I'm not going to buy any cereal. It would turn me into a monster.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


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