Thursday, November 27, 2008

I wrote lyrics tonight.

I'd like to think I'm getting better at it. I have had time to discover some intensely personal artists like Neil Young, Syd Barrett, Ray Davies...

Most of America saw reprieve in the form of Obama's nomination to the Presidency, but for me - aside from my college visit to Bowling Green State University - things have just sucked.

I've told you about the personal stuff with you-know-who via email. (Don't want to mention his name, lest it get brought to his attention.) Its resolution was anticlimactic to say the least. No one's in trouble. I wrote a song about him. I finished my song about Joel. By the way, I was writing a song about Joel. There's also another one I wrote about how hard it is to quit smoking.

Maybe some other day I'll post those up.

Long story short: my grandfather was diagnosed with a heart aneurysm (in his aorta) right before the wedding. They didn't tell any of us to keep spirits up. Knowing this could kill him at any second, I made a conscious effort to get a hold of him. Maybe it's because he and I were never close I felt obliged to attempt to make peace? I don't know. I called on Gramma's birthday, left a voicemail saying happy birthday and that Papa was in my prayers and thoughts. Gramma called me back and gave me the rundown - the aneurysm is not a high-risk presence. He could go on living his life as normal and pass away from some other natural cause, we're talking years.

Took the GRE on 11/15. I ate shit on it. Thankfully, ETS has my scores from last year, so any school I designated to receive my score this year will also get the scores from 2007. That's a load off.

Visiting Bowling Green was just awesome. The music library is like something out of a dream for me. It only confirmed my suspicion: that BGSU is my #1 choice for grad school. The only downside is it has just made me all the more paranoid that I won't get in. And I don't know what I'll do if I don't. I haven't given that much thought to it. I truly do not have a fall back or a safety or whatever...unlike last year, and that was because of my friendship with Andy.

Here's the song:
What Next? (The Bottom Drops Out)
Mom calls me up, says your granddad is sicker.
Doctor found out he's got a really bad ticker.
He could die any die, so pretend that you care,
It's harder to face since all I did was put on the airs.

And when you think things are bad, the bottom drops out.
Things can only get better from here, then the bottom drops out.

Boss calls and says "Sorry, man, but times are tough;
I got to take all my part-timers and lay all you off."
You're a paycheck away from buying that car,
But I might as well go and blow it all at the bar.
My friends are down and out, they can all use a fix.
Bartender, just give us the booze, don't even mess with the mix.
Scotty's losing his job, Pete's getting a divorce, and LJ is strung out on pills.
Bartender, another round while me and my friends sit and write out our wills.

And when you think things are bad, the bottom drops out.
Things can only get better from here, then the bottom drops out.

Am I gonna make it to sixty? Will I make it to forty?
Stress is fatal.
Do I wanna make it to sixty? Will I even want to see forty?
Life is fatal.

And when you think things are bad, the bottom drops out.
Things can only get better from here, then the bottom drops out.

Sitting at my parents', back from the cemetary
Because today was the day my grandfather got buried.
He died in his sleep of a heart attack,
It's at this inappropriate time I see that I look good in black.
It suits me well, matches my mood, makes me look thin, reflects my attitude.
Scotty found another job, LJ checked herself in, Pete's playing the bachelor game.
But for me it's still bad, life makes me so sad, everything's still the same.
So I'll sit here in black in this dimly lit room, wastin' on a cloudy afternoon.

And when you think things are bad, the bottom drops out.
Things can only get better from here, then the bottom drops out.

My better half's here but I'm all by myself, I sit and seethe, she sits and stares.
My guardian angel has left me in Hell, why can't I talk to this person I know really cares?
I love her so much but I'm too scared to think
So I go to the kitchen to fix me a drink.
The orange juice reminds me of a happy little boy,
The one whose biggest fear was losing his favorite toy.
He'd cry if he saw me, his ambitions all gone.
His life's now one big night without a hint of dawn.

And when you think things are bad, the bottom drops out.
Things can only get better from here, then the bottom drops out.

Am I gonna make it to sixty? Am I gonna see forty?
Stress is fatal.
Do I wanna make it to sixty? Will I even wanna see forty?
Life is fatal.

And when you think things are bad, the bottom drops out.
Things can only get better from here, then the bottom drops out.

Even if I knew where to look, there's no way out.
I'm trapped in a life full of fear and self-doubt.
Don't get too close - the real me is too scared to speak.
The one you know is bold and smart and turns the other cheek.
One disaster begets another, I sit here perplexed.
Both of me agree when we wonder what next
Will ruin our day, week, month, or year,
From a tiny paper cut to hitting a deer.

And when you think things are bad, the bottom drops out.
Things can only get better from here, then the bottom drops out.
And when you think things are bad, the bottom drops out.
Things can only get better from here, then the bottom drops out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008

Fellow Americans -
CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, the BBC, Wikipedia's main page, even Fox News have all announced Barack Obama as the projected winner of the 2008 Presidential election.

So, with that, let me just go ahead and get that little bit of pride out of my system:

BARACK OBAMA, MOTHERFUCKER! Hey McCain, how do you like

THESE nuts?

Palin - see you in the funny papers!

Bush - your days are numbered, bitch!
Cheney - "Your pacemaker's a fake 'cause you haven't got a heart" - Eric Idle / Hey Dick, why don't you come over? I'll cook you a microwave dinner.
Ted Stevens - see you in jail, gramps!
Romney - see your slimy ass in 2012...

Bill Clinton - don't even pretend for a minute you helped this man get elected. This primary season you reduced yourself to a joke and a half.

Hillary Clinton - you all but called for someone to pop him once Geraldine Ferraro had her little racist gaffe in March, which you quickly buried by unleashing Jeremiah Wright on the United States public. Go back to the Senate where you will languish for another eight years, at which point you will be too old to pursue the highest office in the land. You LOSE! Good DAY, Madam Senator!

I haven't said this...I don't think ever...but God Bless America.

And God Bless us, Everyone!

Thank you, Tiny Tim!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I posted Jimmy Carl Black roughly twelve hours ago singing "Lonesome Cowboy Burt" in 200 Motels.

It pains me to report that Jimmy passed away Halloween night of cancer. He had been suffering from leukemia since 2001. It eventually spread to his lungs.

Jimmy Carl Black with Frank Zappa's band in 1980, doing "Harder Than Your Husband" in his Lonesome Cowboy Burt voice.
Use this link if the embedded video doesn't work.

For me, it's somewhat of a personal loss, not just because I met him or that he was also a drummer, but because the first Zappa album I heard, We're Only In It For The Money, opened with a disorienting amount of noise and creepy whispering. Then once it ended, I hear "Hi boys 'n girls, I'm Jimmy Carl Black 'n I'm the Indian of the group!"

That was around 8 years ago that I first heard it. From that point on I was hooked to the music of Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention.

YouTube link.


100 Entries...Damn, I'm Really Wasting Other People's Time

I remember the last few times I've logged in and I'll see that I've made 94 posts, 95, 97...and thinking just how in the Hell I'll be able to make my 100th entry count.

How about with a wedding?

Friday was a bustling, busy day. I got my hair trimmed - NOT CUT - but trimmed. And it looked just fine. I swung by my apartment to get an outfit to wear for the rehearsal while Shelley took her time getting ready.

The entire ride to Seymour I was prepping Shelley about how my grandparents are and how they might or might not be open to her, etc. When we got home, Eric Lindstrom (I know, talk about confusing - THREE Erics) was helping Maddie get her stuff out of the house. He and Dad seemed to get along well. As soon as we got them ready and they were on their way, Shelley and I ate a light lunch with Mom, Dad, and Nick.

I asked if they had heard from Gramma and Papa, and if they knew how soon they would be here. Mom said they didn't know, and Dad jokingly said, "Thanks to you, they're probably pulling in to the driveway right now!"

And they were. Weird.

One thing I had forgotten was the fact that Shelley's grandparents live five minutes away from her parents in Dallas. She has told me many stories about how they're an old bickering couple and more often than not she sits between them in the back seat on the way to dinner. I also forgot that with Shelley's bad hearing she has had 21 years of nodding and smiling when she can't understand somebody, and that she also possesses the innate ability to "turn off" her hearing. She might hear you, but she isn't listening.

As a result, Shelley knocked it out of the park with Gramma and Papa. Shelley and Gramma share a mutual love of dark chocolate and sweets, while Papa's long-winded stories were perfect for Shelley's nodding and smiling. Since she is used to having elderly relatives who talk circles around her, it just clicked. They told me that they really liked her. Papa pinched her cheeks.

I have told her for at least two and a half years now that meeting my grandparents is kind of like the ultimate endurance test for whoever any of us are courting. It's really a milestone in a relationship. For Eric and Maddie it was during Thanksgiving 2005, less than a month after they officially started dating. Other girlfriends, mine, Eric's, Nick's were all told "You haven't really seen it all until you've met Gramma and Papa."

She hasn't dumped me yet...maybe she's waiting for the right time to say it.

Not only did everything go swimmingly with Shelley and the grandparents, they were on their best behavior. As soon as all the Kodak moments for the wedding were over and the dancing started, they were ready to call it a night. Since they had plans to visit Dad's brother Phil (who Dad has not spoken to for 9 years) on Sunday, them leaving the reception meant that was it for them for the weekend. It was just the right amount of face time that no one got on anyone else's nerves, no one said anything uncouth, and no one got pissed off.

The rehearsal was fun. Maddie and Kelley's family are the kind of people that make you feel like you're part of the family almost right away.

Perhaps I should give you a little bit of autobiographical poop:
Maddie's sister Kelley and I have been friends since middle school. We always talked on MSN Messenger (do any of you still use that? I'm exclusively an AIM person, though it's been months since I've used it...) and even went on a date. It came and went, we decided not to be a couple, and remained friends after that. On top of hanging out with Kelley at lunch, every year the high school band had to sell crap (cheese, sausage, microwavable meals) for no real reason at all I would always swing by the Lindstrom residence. The first two years it was sort of enforced (since I wasn't driving) that I did the door-to-door thing. My last two years of high school I stopped giving a shit about most things, but if I ever made one sale (besides Mom taking my sales forms to work and getting orders from Aunt Nancy and Gramma) it was Maddie and Kelley's mother Holly.

Three years ago at Oktoberfest, really on a whim more than anything else, we made an attempt to get Maddie together with Eric. They had apparently talked over MySpace or something, both thought the other was cute, so we decided to see what would happen. Call it basic anthropology. Weeks later, they were dating. Within a month, they were talking nightly on the phone. When Holly, Eric, and Kelley moved from Seymour to Chicago in the fall of 2006, Maddie moved in with us since she had both a job and classes.

As a result, we've all gotten to know Maddie really well. I really like her a lot, she's very intelligent, friendly, and has a great sense of humor.

Anyway, the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner was like a reunion of sorts for me and Gill (who was the third groomsman along with me and Nick, and dated Kelley for about two and a half years) to see the Lindstrom family.

And the wedding itself on Saturday was beautiful. I don't know what else to say. As Eric's best man I had to give a speech. It had floated around in my mind for about a month. The night before the wedding, I was up late checking email, and as is my custom when in Seymour, I checked the listings to see what (if anything) good was on TCM. I see The World's Greatest Sinner (1962), followed by 200 Motels.

Holy shit! The first film features a score by Frank Zappa, while the second one is a movie written and directed by Zappa featuring The Mothers of Invention:

(It still barely registers that I met Jimmy Carl Black, the man you see singing "Lonesome Cowboy Burt".)
Click this link if the embedded video doesn't work.

I called on of my Zappa buddies, and we both noted the motif later heard in "Holiday In Berlin, Full-Blown" in the score to The World's Greatest Sinner. The film itself sucked, but seeing 200 Motels in all its R-rated glory during the FCC watershed hours made up for it.

Anyway, I was about to doze off, when my best man speech just came to me. It was better than any of the version I had in my head, and I realized if I didn't write it down now it would be gone forever. I went to bed at sunrise and woke up at 1 in the afternoon. All of Saturday I went with no coffee, yet I was able to stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning. My speech was very well-received.

After the reception, Kelley, Shelley (the two ladies bonded quite well, by the way), Gill, Johnson, Nick, Kelley and Maddie's brother in law Tom, and I decorated Eric's car with the standard "JUST MARRIED!" fare, complete with hearts...and "$10,000 O.B.O." Don't know who did that...*devilish grin*. Their honeymoon was Myrtle Beach, which as I learned in the following days was just as chilly as it was here. Oh, well, I'm sure they had fun just the same.

Sunday morning, Dad, Mom, Nick, Shelley, and I grabbed brunch at Cracker Barrel with mom's sister in law Susan and her 40-something daughter Ami. Ami had some past experience as a wedding planner, thus she and Susan were around the whole weekend.

It's really hard for me to say what the "best" part of the weekend was, because each moment was perfect in its own way for different reasons: me and Eric alone in the Sunday school room where we'd changed clothes immediately before the wedding, slow dancing with Shelley, complimenting the DJ on a job well done (a conversation which eventually turned into "So you said you could start in January?" and "Let's talk pay..."), Papa telling the story of his brother Angelo dying in World War II (a fact I'd always known, but never the full story), the high school reunion aspect of me being with Gill, Johnson, and Kelley all at the same time (something that hadn't happened since before Gill and Kelley broke up), etc.

But if I had to pick an actual favorite moment for the weekend, it was when the topic of mine and Shelley's future got brought up. We'd had a few relatives of mine asking when we would be getting married, and we both agreed on the blanket answer of "Well, it's been talked about..."

I'll just tell you guys what I told Mom and Dad. Some of you may already know this in some capacity or another:
Shelley has said she would go wherever I went for graduate school. Since Shelley's parents don't know I'm still in their daughter's life (at least beyond friendship) let alone the fact that the proverbial shit will hit the proverbial fan once they know we're together, it's pretty much crucial we follow some basic rules to keep my parents pleased. One is that we wouldn't live together without being married.

This isn't to diminish marriage. Quite to the contrary, in fact. When we got back together, we decided that if things didn't seem to be working out to call it quits immediately. We also knew that when we got back together it would be for good.

Mom and Dad's thoughts on this: they couldn't be happier. We'll bring you more on this story as it develops.

My graduate school search is narrowed down to five, possibly six schools:
+ Bowling Green State University
+ University of Washington (Seattle)
+ University of Massachusetts (Boston)
+ City University of New York
+ The College Of William & Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia)
+ University of Texas, Austin

My ethnomusicology professor taught at BGSU for a year, and knows members of the faculty in BGSU's popular culture department. He gave me a few names to get in touch with. It's rapidly becoming my number one choice. A visit is in the works.

I apologize for the delay in publishing this post. Everything except the graduate school update (which happened Thursday) was ready by Tuesday of this past week. There's something else going on that I don't feel completely comfortable discussing in a public forum. It's a bit of a buzzkill, and one I didn't see coming. If you're interested in hearing about it, let me know (m@...).