Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I'm totally stealing this from Sarah:

Go to your music player of choice and put it all on shuffle. Say the
following questions aloud, and after each one press play. Use the song
title as the answer to the question.

What do you think of me, Rhapsody?
Psyche--Nouvelle Vague's cover of Killing Joke. Not a bad pick, if you're sticking with mythology.

Will I have a happy life?
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service. Oddly enough, that sounds nice.

What do my friends think of me?
Shot Shot by Gomez. Yikes. Maybe I shouldn't have asked.

Do people secretly lust after me?
Don't Look Back by Telepopmusic. Why? Are some behind me right now?

How can I make myself happy?
From Black to Blue by Yo La Tengo. All I can think of is Batman and Superman, which works.

What should I do with me life?
You Come In Burned by The Dandy Warhols. Figuratively?

Why must life be so full of pain?
Time Is Just The Same by Isobel Campbell. Cryptic, Isobel, very cryptic.

How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
Guns of Brixton by Nouvelle Vague, cover of the Clash. (Giggle.)

Can you give me some advice?
I Am A Scientist by The Dandy Warhols. So no then. Just as well.

What do you think happiness is?
This Place Is A Prison by The Postal Service. Well. I'm going to take the optimistic approach and assume you're talking about the grounds from the Cascades to Puget Sound. Me too. So let's just leave it at that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


What does it say about me that my snackies of choice are Stoned Wheat Thins and Baked(!) Cheddar Ruffles?

Nothing accurate, I'll wager.

The Binding.

There's a strange house a couple lots down. Amidst the desperate conformity of our neighborhood it must be considered an eyesore, but I like it. It's a mess of colors too close to be complimentary--rust and tangerine, slate and grey. It's a confusion of angles that are neither logical nor artful. It's perpetually under construction and therefore choked in tangles of sheets and scaffolding. An affront, to be sure.

But there's a certain charm to it's style. Combination of styles, really. The colors are definitely pueblo and the iron accents look French, or at least French Quarter. The clapboard sides have a sturdy british feel, but the windows are done in criss-cross Deutsche fashion and may as well be paned with plate sugar. The roof is burnt and vaguely Venetian. The porch is concrete and unapologetically American. There's a tower on it's right face that, while not unusual for this area, is fanciful enough to grab notice. Especially considering that it's topped off with a cap that's part Kremlin, part mosque. I'm not ashamed to say that I've peeked in when passing by in the evening and it's innards are red brick and arches, just begging to be ornamented with iron crockery and a nasty fat cook.

The family is equally elusive. Are they black? italian? latina? indian? eastern hungarian? I'm not sure. Don't really care. I'm more fascinated by the workman that sits outside, more fisherman than painter. Who tugs at his whiskers and casts his stones and grins and clacks and terrifies the stupid soft neighborhood kids. Whose hands are busy on thin air, whose eyes look forward, but whose concentration is obviously on the house behind him.

And it looks like it will all break apart at any moment--some parts claimed by the garden, others swallowed by rocks and earth, others flying off into the sky. I can only assume that it's one hell of a spell that keeps it trembling in uncertain obedience.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Oh, Muse sing through me.

I suppose I should be happy that it's taking movie form at all, but it just ensures that this will never be made.

I enjoyed Sin City in a tepid sort of way. I devoured 300 with the same fanaticism I would give to a crappy bootleg of Radiohead--"Just give me anything!". But to have Pressfield's incisive, cunning treatment take a back seat to Miller's glossy hamfisted style is just painful. And Bruce Willis would have made a much better Dienekes than a Detective Hartigan and now that's not going to happen either.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Look, Ma. No pants.

Another Emperor's New Clothes.

Or, "The Royal Wee".

That was The Boy's idea and he demanded to be given credit for it. Whatever. Yes, he's so witty. Aren't we all jealous. Blat, blat, blat.

The garb doesn't really follow stylistically from the first. She looks more eastern European than the Spanish-or-Persian-or-Tex-Mex or whatever I was going for in the first. But what the hell.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


It's always in the dog days that Rackham mocks me most.

Perhaps because his stuff always seems to have been plucked out of August. Thorny and dry and color breathing faintly on the page.

So, I hold my breath for fall.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

And it's too bright outside.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm cranky.

-The price of my once-a-week-bagel went up fifteen cents.
-Some homeless guy outside of Wilson Farms called me "Sir". As if my asshole reflex around these dudes wasn't already barely in check.
-Add cancer patients to the long list of people I hate that shop at the Co-op. Some woman in an elaborate white and gold turban decided to take fifteen minutes cashing out, whining, raising invisible eyebrows, begging things to be placed just so in those annoying little co-op bags, and generally pissing me off. (Oh? It's not cool to be mad at cancer patients? Well, fuck you, too.)
-My allergies are inflamed, as are my knees. They've been turning rosy colors all morning with absolutely no provocation.
-And I'm in love with Christopher Reeve from the orginal Supe movie. Was that not obvious? And there's nothing I can do about it unless I have some real luck with a pocketwatch. Or maybe a 1978 penny.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

First drink's on me. Let me get my hat.

That's it. I'm watching it tonight.

Some snippets within the last few minutes since discovering this. (Journal hours 22-20)

A: "We're going to have to bring tissues. It's going to get tearful. Whoa. Are you crying right now?"
J: "Shut yer mouth."

A: "It's going to be like Iron Giant all over again."
J: "No. It's going to be like the last words of the Iron Giant said for two hours straight."

J: "I heard that they're using some of the original Williams music. As soon as that shit starts, the wailing will begin. Loud wailing. Loud and embarassing."

A: "We're not watching it with your parents, I don't want them to see me cry."

A: "Christ, woman. Pull yourself together."

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

I played into the whole unemployed artist image today and spent the afternoon at a coffeeshop. I always feel a little out of my element surrounded by the college kids and old Italian men that are the staples of Elmwood, a little daunted by the sneering, liberal posters. But the chairs at Cafe Aroma are comfortable and the mugs are clean and the snobbish air of the place is slightly undercut by the smell of Whoppers.

And I sat and dodged the bees and the Omigod-That-Weird-Guy, and gossipped happily and sillily. But there must be something in the village water because as the tea cooled the conversation got heated and turned to politics, and the rise and fall of our voices started to sound annoyingly appropriate to the environment. I didn't realize this until the guy next to us made a snort of disagreement into his mahi concoction, at which point I fell silent and abashed.

And took the next opportunity to swear as dirtily and creatively as I could.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I am a visitor here. I am not permanent.

The Emperor's New Clothes.
I just couldn't bring myself to draw him as he should be. I have limits and apparently they lay somewhere before complete bare-assedness. Or maybe it was a cool day.

I also can't decide if I like it. The goal was to play around with buildings and shadows and cityscapes. The people were an afterthought and therefore don't seem natural in their places. They don't own them as they should. I could have walked a Puss 'n Boots or a Lir or any one of a million characters under that archway and not have it make any difference. It would have been a city, but it would not have been theirs.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tap. Tap. Spin.

I've been working on a piece for the last couple of days and I'm starting to get nervous. It's always a delicate process, considering that all of my superstitions have been funnelled into this one area. The construction of any picture is dotted with rituals that are part OCD, part honest fear. The longer a piece sits on the dining room table, the more likely I am to make a slip or offend any stray spirit. So, I try to get done as quickly as possible, making everything just so, setting my pencils to one side and my tea and brushwater to the other (Dry=Left, Wet=Right), placing the lamp perfectly in its dustring, saying a few quiet words, and making all the necessary ablutions.

Even now, I wonder if the mere mention of this is enough to set some vengeful thing abroad. (Shrug). It's about time for me to offer up another sacrificial piece anyway.

2:45 A.M.

Elliott Smith's A Distorted Reality Is Now a Necessity to be Free has the best use of the word "fuck".

And, yes, I'm slightly drunk.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Warning: Parents.

I went for the customary end-of-the-visit Run of Shame with my dad. This involves being hoisted from my bed at some unholy hour and making stiff pleasantries before I've been properly fed or computered or caffeinnated. I lace my sneakers and pay respects to my mom, who sits like some ghostly red-headed sibyl and asks her questions, eyeing me through teacup steam as if divining how exactly my knees feel and if I should be running.

And then we jog into the morning at an hour that is fit only for park bench drunks, stray dogs and sprinklers. Some more polite but largely one-sided conversation. A "how're ya feeling?" which translates roughly to "no, we're not turning around yet, it's gonna be a long one". Some snide remarks made about the predawn dog-walkers that litter the path. And one gusty exhale at the halfway point around the lake: "Smells like Korea!". All of which I respond to with "hmphs" that fizzle into whining.

And with a high five and a "good job, buddy", it's over. And we all say our goodbyes, and I haul their suitcases out, and pummel their backs and wave stoutly as they drive off. And make my mad dash for the Motrin bottle.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Crazy Grandma quote of the day.

To the unfortunate bus driver that happened to stop for her a couple weeks ago:

"Take pity on an old lady. I got no money. I spent it all on Twinkies." She's a crafty one.

It's a testament to the forgiving nature of Buffalonians that he did give her a free ride.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Enjoy a drink now and then.

It seems that somewhere along the line we skipped a few rungs on the social monkey bars. Rather than follow a leisurely path into our late twenties, we swung from the strobe-and-bass of the college scene directly into the geriatric world of free popcorn and pitchers of Blue. We are people of extremes.
This weekend, however, we decided to backtrack. So we dug deep into our pockets, washed the backs of our necks, ironed our shirts and entered into some more age-appropriate venues.

I was more than a bit scared, but I did learn a few things:

-Everyone is a little taller, a little thinner, a little cooler than you. And the girls will kick your ass, so don't even think about falling back on your "endearing" punkishness.
-People turn their noses up at smoking but drink suicidal volumes of alcohol.
-Complete disregard for personal space. ("Oh, was that your kidney? I'm sorry.")
-You will run into someone you barely knew in college. And you will make forced conversation.
-Blue lights are rampant. And unflattering. (Think Mum-Ra rather than Rankin and Bass.)

Oh, and keep a hold of your date. Because once you turn your back, there will be no distinguishing them from the sea of black-clad, martini sipping, sixty dollar haircuts.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Blinds. They're blinds.

Wah-wah. Too hot to do anything more than stare.

Apparently the heat is effecting the scanner, too. Yeah. That's it.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Got some unexpected visitors the other day. Of the religious variety. I stood very quietly, not answering the door, balanced on some non-squeaky floorboards. But they are a patient breed and waited for what seemed like ever in their flowing skirts and sherbet polos.

And as they contemplated my door, I weighed my options. I could go outside, guns ablaze, some social Darwinism in one holster and my "I am God"-doozie in another. I could start shit and I could win. But it struck me that the current spectacle was much more terrifying. Me, looking with a pale, roving eyeball between the blinds. Them, inches away and unaware. Me, mouthing dark things through the glass and onto their polished shoes. Them, guileless and smiling into the sun.

It's the stuff of horror movies, really, and I was so freaked out by myself that I didn't even notice when they left.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

He's all puffed up, wanna be your king.

(Apparently, Peter Gabriel's is the only song having anything remotely to do with frogs. So I will keep quoting it until I've run out of lines.)

I'm a real fan of the imagery, but the story itself is much less pleasing. I can forgive the fact that the heroine is a spoiled brat who makes empty promises and then must be held to them by guilt. That she's of marriageable age and still plays with balls. That she ignores the laws of hospitality and in fact pitches her suitor against a wall in a murderous rage. Or that the resulting wedding is reward for what is really a nasty temper.

But the whole Iron Heinrich thing at the end is just downright queer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And who's gonna save you, Junior?

I vegged last night and watched The Lost Boys and Point Break. At around midnight, the Boy decided to take advantage of my placid, drooling state and flipped to From Russia With Love. Four hours of SpikeTV must have created a short term tolerance and I gave in with only some halfhearted spastics.

I enjoyed it, but I was startled to discover how closely it's mirrored by The Last Crusade:

-Great speed boat chase
-Scene on a train (no zeppelins, sorry) where Bond asks an enemy for his ticket
-Underground escape scene where our hero and his chica outrun a horde of rats and emerge above ground via a sewer into a bustling city
-Seaside chase--Bond in a car, enemy in the air; Bond gets out of the car and takes the helicopter down from the ground with a shotgun (apparently forgetting his Charlemagne)
-Slavic looking babe who plays for the other side but who just can't resist the Scottish charmer
-makeout scene in Venice

Oh, and just in case you weren't already convinced that Speilberg has a massive hard-on for 007--the badass antagonist is none other than Quint from Jaws.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Like squeezing water from cheese.

Who likes The Valiant Tailor? This one.

I'm not quite up to seven, so four-with-one-blow will have to do. And I'm afraid (relieved?) that's all I've got in me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Endless arguing.

"We're not going anywhere with you wearing a Transformers shirt and me wearing a Cobra shirt."

After a huffy change of clothing:

"Oh, so it's better if I'm wearing a Transformers shirt and you're wearing a Sandman shirt?"

Sunday, August 07, 2005

"The music's coming through me."

Several months ago, I submitted some samples of my work to the owner of an online nursery store. The woman's response was sweet, describing the pieces as "lovely, but too dark for the age group." Now, rejection letters don't get any better than that, but I was at a loss as to how any take on "Rub-a-dub-dub" could be construed as "dark". Or, maybe they just sucked, who knows?

Today I was working on my latest, listening to the Rhap. I take a perverse glee in rocking out the nu-metal while drawing nursery rhymes--there's something so deliciously wrong in it. But it occured to me that maybe I wasn't doing myself any favors. That as I sat, singing over my work in a shamanic pose, I may have been investing every line, every color with what can only be called Hard Core Godlessness. Was Serj Tankian unwittingly polluting my stuff? Did this poor matronly store-owner see my picture of the Ant and the Grasshopper and think "nicotine, valium, vicodin, marjuana, ecstasy, and alcohol"? Are my pieces simply that potent?

And finally, can my delusions range any farther?

Friday, August 05, 2005

August 26, 2005.

So, The Brothers Grimm is coming to theaters. I have my fears.

Those being that while I will no doubt sit and watch and sniff my disapproval, I will be secretly loving it, and that I'll walk out crushing on Heath Ledger rather than Matt Damon.

Lord, preserve me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"With more of a gleam in your eye! You're fighting a Gorgon, for chrissakes!"

We finally relented and got a digital camera. There've been too many weddings-new cars-new dogs-new homes of late for us to keep refusing to document our lives. So I finally allowed an investment of fifty dollars to be made in the lowest grade possible.

Now, heaven forbid that he indulge in a purchase without it first being approved for my own purposes--but it really does seem to be working out for both of us this time. He's using it to quietly undermine annoying urban pretenses. I'm using it to see how my ass looks in any given pair of pants ("Now for the capris. No, NO. You have to back up--I want my sandals in the shot."). To each his own.

More importantly, it's handy for drawing. No more contorting in front of the mirror, straining to see just what a person looks like when dancing a jig with a bearded snake. No more bolting back to the pens and paper in a race against my shoddy memory. Oh, no. Now I have a model, however unwilling, and the efficient means to capture and render. So, if my stalwart princes start sporting suspicious beer bellies, and if my greek heroes start resembling mild mannered HR directors--well, we'll all know who to blame.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I will call you the link-y post.

Yesterday I stumbled onto this article which threw me into a brief fit--complete with alarmist imaginings of tuna riots in the Pacific Northwest and marauding packs of wolves along the lines of The Day After Tomorrow.

Hours later, I came across this. Draw your own conclusions, is all I'm saying.

On a lighter side, this made me think of Alex's brothers.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

We'd better have a good explanation for all the fun we had.

Take a little artist's block and a restless pen. Add some Mr. Clean Citrus fumes. Ninety degree temps. A dash of Ani. And you've got yourself one strange mix of housewifery and girl power.

The boy-o's at Rhapsody have finally decided to include DiFranco's lovelies. Give 'er a whirl.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Yesterday was one of those days when sunshine and events conspire to give Buffalo the appearance of a city that's alive and kicking.

Our street took part in the Garden Walk, an event which I liken to Halloween for the over-fifty. Suburbanites arm themselves with small dogs and large bags filled with antacids and battery-operated fans. The weather is always lovely in a gracious, holiday manner. Nature decorates with obliging butterflies and a couple of drab hummingbirds. The horde of smirking homeowners that terrorizes our sidewalks sits on its porches while non-participants shut their shades and wait for curfew.

And we all stand watch behind our sunglasses to size up the traffic and guess at the costumes. Retired teachers are as abundant as fairy princesses. Divorcees are the hookers of the bunch. Spinsters the ghosts--white-legged and shy. The old Polish ladies are the bullies, travelling in packs, dominating the middle of the streets, eyeing you up for candy. Shaved-head rednecks and young gay men are the masked monsters--outnumbering everyone else and completely indistinguishable from each other. And they all manage to get along until it comes time to find a parking spot.
And then the switchblades come out and it gets good.