Thursday, March 8, 2007

Business Casual with Problems, Part 2

Thursday March 8th 2007

Today I saw a man at the 96th St. Subway stop who really blew away my puking man story (see below).

So I'm waiting there, at my least favorite stop in all of NYC with heavy groceries and several hundred other people during rush hour. The local train is way late, and the express trains just keep dumping off loads more people.

And just for good measure, it's freakin' freezing.

I'm looking around and notice a white male, probably in his sixties, in a brightly colored fancy lookin' Gore-Tex parka.
The first thing I notice is that he's practicing basketball hoop shooting moves in a very uninhibited and focused way. He's got head phones on, and I imagine him listening to some basketball playing instructional tape (if there is such a thing, probably not).
Not unlike puking man, he looks very upstanding. Rolex watch, fancy bag, fancy shoes, well-groomed, expensive sunglasses.

I take a second look a moment later and notice that he's actually sweating - very unusual since it's 20 degrees. So I get to staring (I notice that a few other people are staring too), and I realize that he's so hot and sweaty that there is actually steam coming off of his head! I shit you not!

All the while, he's continuing to intently practice his hoop moves and bounce around a little.
It's at this moment that I realize this man is probably having a severely manic episode.
Then he starts energetically running his fingers all over the pole in the station. Now that I'm looking closely, it's clear that the man can barely contain his energy. I've heard that being manic is one of the best feelings, and I believe it! Although it can become very agitating after awhile too.

Anyways, just to put the icing on the cake, he takes out a harmonica and starts playing Strawberry Fields! He plays a few notes, then sings the verses, "Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields, nothing is real..." etc.

Wow. True story. Sweating so much that he's steaming in the middle of winter. That is something else!

Hmmm. I guess he could've been on amphetamines too. But I like to think it was pure, unadulterated mania. I hope he finds his way back from Strawberry Fields safely.

Business Casual with Problems

Thursday March 8th 2007

On Tuesday I saw an upstanding looking member of society puking his guts out at the Carroll Gardens Subway stop. A middle-aged, balding, white male dressed fairly nicely with a visible gold wedding band and briefcase. The kind of guy who lives in the suburbs. You know, a business casual kinda guy, to quote my friend Ambrose Amberson.

And boy was he sick! He puked so much! It was crazy! I've never seen someone puke that much, and he couldn't even make it to a trashcan! From how close he was standing to the edge of the platform, he must've starting getting sick the moment he stepped off the train. It's not very often you see the backbone of the upper middle class puking their guts out on a weekday at 3pm. But lest you think I am totally insensitive, dear reader, I waited until a police officer approached and offered assistance.

Later I described the scenario to a couple of friends. One of them said, "So, did he get food poisoning, or was he just drunk in the middle of the day?" Which oddly enough were the ailments I thought of too - I guess those are the common ailments of the segment of society he represents.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Oscars as cultural-political barometer

Monday February 26th 2007

This is the year of the lesbian, the full-figured woman, the sensitive man, and the older-people-are-hot phenomenon.
Is this the dawning of a new age of Aquarius?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Obvious Psychology Corner

So Freud has been largely deconstructed in the world of clinical psychology. I'm down with that. But let's not throw out the coke-snorting misogynist baby with the bathwater here.
After all, some of my favorite artists are/were drug-addled womanizers.
(What am I saying, "some...?")
I wouldn't want to date them, but I love listening to some David Bowie and Mark E. Smith.
(And to a lesser extent, Courtney Love.)

But I digress before I even get to the subject at hand.
(And anyways, Freud wasn't a rockstar. He was supposed to be helping people.)

Which is:
Some basic tenets of classic psychology are helpful to know.
Like soothing. Soothing oneself and others is an important and a great joy in life. If you haven't taken the time to sooth yourself or someone else today, you totally should do it. It's something all healthy infants need to get in order to develop normally, but we need it as adults too.

Here's just one example of something that's soothing to me:

My bed. It's totally like a womb.

It's warm and soft. My sheets are red. My blanket is pink. Sometimes I'm wearing my birthday suit in there.
I don't want to get out of it, ever really.
When I get out of my bed is when all the trouble starts, kinda like being born.
It's cold outside of my bed. There's no comforter for me on the subway or in the classroom.
The best is when I have a twin in the womb with me. (As long as they don't hog the covers.)

Yay soothing.

Another important lesson that pop psychology has taught me is this:
People, especially ones under 30, aren't really that mysterious.
We pretty much all need love and care and approval and attention from other human beings. There's nothing wrong with that. It's compatible with feminism, existentialism, and post-modernism. But some defective members of the herd would have you believe that they have no emotions and no needs. It's like they're wearing armor or something.
If you're dating someone who kinda sounds like the above description, here's what I have to say to you:
The ones who seem fucked up probably are.
The ones who seem really non-emotional are probably worse.
If they wear sunglasses all the time, be skeptical.
If they try to take care of you all the time and won't let you ever take care of them, they might have some sort of mommy complex.

I'll take painfully honest over painfully shy any day of the week, thank you.

Well, there you have it. Almost two years of graduate school boiled down to one probably offensive and definitely unscientific blog. I hope I've made my mother proud. ('Cause we're all pretty motivated by that too...)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A Lot of Folk Music Really Sucks

I started this blog after much hemming and hawing about whether I could still consider myself a "serious" writer if I pasted it on the world of the wide web.
(I still have trouble thinking of things that happen on the internet as "real" - like meeting "people.")

Then I finally did it, and promptly lost my train of thought.

Until tonight, when a good old fashioned crappy musical performance came along to motivate me.
Thank goodness for shitty artists, they inspire us to say, "What the hell, I might as well write something. I can't be any worse than her, and people paid five bucks a head to hear this crap!"

Also, it was a good reminder of why I'm so wary of singer-songwriter types:

1. I get freaked out by people who call their band the so-and-so experience or so-and-so and the jug blues band or whatever. It's really self-absorbed to name the band after the lead singer. I mean, lead singers tend to be self-absorbed, which is why it's good to have a band to keep them in check and/or drown them out.

2. It seems like you'd have to be pretty self-obsessed and narcissistic to think that everyone just wants to hear you sing a million songs about yourself and your failed relationships.
(Hmm, I wonder why you have so many failed relationships to write about...)

3. I get kinda sick of hearing tragic love songs that glorify the doomed and unhealthy nature of your attraction. Especially when kids are like, 21. How many complicated, gut wrenching, long-term relationships have you really been in? I always imagine they're singing about a random hook-up that lasted a week. Then I giggle to myself.

4. One of the amazing things about musical performances is watching everyone work together to make a song happen. It's not easy, even if you're just playing shitty three-chord songs. So I have to wonder, Mr. Folk Singer, why don't you play with anyone else? Are you super hard to get along with? Can't handle sharing the stage?

5. If there's just one person in the band, I prefer it when they give themselves a name.
Examples: Cat Power, Lovers, The Mountain Goats, and The Blow.
This gives them a performance persona separate from who they are off-stage.
Also, this gives them cleverness points and says, "When I'm on stage, I'm more than one person even though I'm just one person. I'm greater than the sum of my parts."
I mean, if you can't even come up with a cute name for yourself, how good are you gonna be?

6. Why are you making those weird intense faces into the crowd? Do you think you're cute? You're not cute. Your lyrics are a bunch of cliches that have been said in better ways for 40 years before you came along and listened to Norah Jones.

7. And folk music that's all slick and overproduced is the worst! Aargh! So fucking generic sounding. If you really must make us all listen to your bad teenage poetry set to acoustic guitar, can it at least sound scratchy and lo-fi? You're not Belle & Sebastian; you don't need 24 tracks. You'd sound more authentic on a four-track recording made in a barn.

Please Note:
There are some important exceptions to my general dislike of singer songwriters. A few that come to mind right away are:
Billy Bragg
Bill Fay
Nick Drake
Elliott Smith
Leonard Cohen

And don't even get me started on spoken word performances. I have fantasies of becoming violent in coffee houses on open mic night...

I really hope that this post doesn't piss off the person who took me to this performance.
I really enjoyed the performance by Meghan Hollopeter, which is who we went to see.
(The opening acts are the source of my angst.)
She has a powerful voice of which she has seemingly complete command; played with an adorable and unassuming band (not by herself!); and has cute little stubby fingers.
(Lately I've noticed that I have a thing for short fingernails on girls. And it goes beyond queer identification purposes.)
Not to mention the incredible tap dancing accompaniment of Michelle Deez which I really am not articulate enough to do justice to at the moment.

(Wow. I'm not feeling like proofreading this thing. Maybe I'm too lazy to keep up with the fast-paced world of blogging.)

p.s. I realize that much of the character bashing I've just done can easily be applied to bloggers, which takes me full circle. See top of page...

Friday, February 2, 2007

ask me about my obsession with Miss Jackie...

Friday February 2nd 2007

It was really crowded at Suite last night because OutLaw, the queer law school caucus, was having a mixer. I'm so jealous of their caucus name. Very clever.

I've never really seen it that crowded. It was actually kind of intense, really loud, and hard to get up to the stage through all the young people. Not your typical scene at Suite.

Miss Jackie was looking especially fabulous last night.
She was wearing her 1920's Great Gatsby outfit.
And she was wearing one of those cool 20's head things with beads and fringe. Now would be a good time for a picture...
She was all silvery and shimmery, like an ice queen.

Except not like Cate Blanchett. Hmm. What celebrity does Miss Jackie most resemble? She's too fabulous to be Oprah; although she is very nurturing...

Anyways, I told a joke for Miss Jackie when I got up on stage for the first time. It's one of my favorites:

Q. What do you call a smiling Roman with hair between his teeth?
A. A gladiator!

She laughed at my joke and repeated it nice and loud so that everyone could hear it.
It made my night. I love it when she repeats things after people sing them or say them. It's very validating. And then she says, "Yesss. Yeh-heh-hess." I'm working on an impression of it. For some day.

Also, this girl sang "Love is a Battlefield" and Miss Jackie said on the microphone, "Don't be jealous, Monrovia." I was actually more upset that this guy sang Wonderwall by Oasis.
"Love is a Battlefield" is a little too long for my performance tastes.