Category Archives: Love Letters

“But why are the kids crying?!”

“How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?”

That’s the attitude I try to have when it comes to the death of someone I loved, yet never met.

In 2013, I lost three of my best friends.  The news was devastating every time.  Did I know them personally?  No.  And yes.  And not really.  And very well.

Why did I consider them my friends?  All of them had just, I dunno — all of them had gotten me through so many confusing, shitty, or just plain boring times.  I hope I don’t sound too crazy when I say that.  I’ve never stalked anyone and I understand the difference between fantasy and reality, but yeah, these people meant a lot to me.  They still mean a lot to me.  I can call them my “friends” if I want.  And I was sad when my friends made their exits.

Still, the question remains: “How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?”

Lou Reed?  He ain’t dead.  He can’t be.  I still love him very much and I still have “Sweet Jane,” so nothing has changed.

James Gandolfini isn’t dead, either, and neither is Tony Soprano.  (My theory, anyway.)

Peter O’Toole.  My dearest, darling Peter O’Toole.  The coolest.  The smartest.  The hottest.  The craziest.  That voice.  That height.  That hair.  I think about him all the time and I miss him all the time, and yet, as long as I can get together with my friends every December and laugh and cry and yell and drink champagne while watching The Lion in Winter, Peter O’Toole can never die.

This morning, as soon as I got to work and turned on my computer, I found out that Rik Mayall died.  Today.  Rik Mayall died today.  Weird.  So very weird.  And sad.  He was still, well, young…

Just last week, I was listening to The Pogues and wondering when Shane MacGowan would die.  I was also wondering why Shane MacGowan hasn’t died already.  Seriously.

I should stop.  I don’t wanna give the universe any ideas.

My point is, I was already thinking about my remaining heroes and wondering who I’d lose next.  Apparently, not Shane MacGowan.

Oddly enough, I was also thinking about The Young Ones last week.  I don’t remember why or how, but, quite suddenly and inexplicably, I felt inspired to find the Dr. Marten’s boots song on YouTube.  After watching it, I spent a good hour and a half searching for cheap Dr. Marten’s online.  No avail.

The next day, a co-worker of mine mentioned The Young Ones.  He’s Scottish.  I said, “I fucking love The Young Ones.”  He said, “That’s too weird.”  I asked him why.  He said, “It’s just weird that you even know that show.”  I asked him why.  He said, “I dunno.  I mean, it’s British and it’s old and it’s weird…I mean, I was watching that when I was in high school.”  I said, “So was I.”

If you knew me in high school, you must recall that I was a pretty cool teenager.  I mean it.  Like, the coolest.  For example, when I was 15 or 16, I begged my mom to buy me orange suede ADIDAS like the ones Ewan McGregor wears in Trainspotting.  I felt so badass whenever I wore them.  Like, so very, very badass.  I also begged her to buy me a pair of plaid pants, because, ya know, Scotland.  Or something.

There’s really, like, very minimal plaid in Trainspotting.  I realize that now.

The coolest thing, though, was that every Saturday afternoon in tenth grade (after improv practice, no less) I would go to my friend Kaley’s house for Britcom.  Yes.  Britcom was our somewhat exclusive club that involved eating ice cream and watching British comedies until our eyes hurt.  We wrote a constitution at one point.  I don’t remember what was in it except for The Golden Rule, which came from an episode of Father Ted: “If anyone is ever talking to you again, think about what you’re saying and then don’t say it, and then just run away somewhere.”

The Young Ones was one of Britcom’s staples.  Every David Bowie reference made me feel so damn validated.  I went out and bought a Madness record and listened to “House of Fun” on repeat.  I began referring to my English teacher as a “fascist bully boy,” despite the fact that she was a She.  I seldom said, “I don’t have any money” — I usually launched into a Neil impression and said, “We haven’t got any breaaaad.”  When I was feeling boy crazy I was a “Bitch funky sex machine.”  I wrote “Boomshanka” on things I shouldn’t have written “Boomshanka” on.   I even once got a Starbucks barista to write it on the sleeve of my Americano.  I think I still have that sleeve somewhere.

Rik Mayall is dead.  The people’s poet is dead.  I’m sad for his wife and his family.  I’m sad for Ade Edmondson.  Like I keep saying, though, “we still have his poems.”

My VHS tapes of The Young Ones were dragged from my parents’ house to my college dorm (there was a VCR in the downstairs common room), and when I moved out of the dorm and into an on-campus apartment, I made sure to buy a TV that had both a VHS player and a DVD player.  Why?  Well, how could I live without Neil, Mike, Vyvyn, and Rick?  They were university students, after all.

I still have those tapes.  I’m not ever going to get rid of those tapes.

Aw, Rick.  Thanks for helping make it nearly impossible for me to legitimately enjoy 99.9% of the current comedies on television.  No giant sandwiches falling from the sky?  No jokes about Leonard Cohen being a vampire?  No pervasive political undertones?  No, thank you.

There was also the music: Dexy’s Midnight runners doing “Jackie Wilson Said” and multiple Madness appearances and that great scene with friggin’ Motorhead…

What the hell is that shot of you guys being pushed on that…what is that?  That’s a luggage carrier thing, right?  Well, it slays me.  Every time.

Ah, Rick.  Thank you.  Your show is so damn cool.  So, so cool.  It had everything the teenage version of Steff wanted in a show, and, since 27 year old Steff is very similar to the person she was 11 years ago, it’s still one of my all time favorites.  It’s part of me, really.  An appreciation for The Young Ones (or the ability to sit through several episodes in-a-row) is my litmus test for whether or not a man is husband material.  (Husband, not boyfriend.  Those are two different things.)  Watching an episode of The Young Ones is my solo go-to activity when I’m having a shitty day.  The music that plays during the end credits is what I hear in my head when I’m exceptionally happy.

Aw, Rick.  RICK.  My favorite pseudo-intellectual-anarchist-hipster-bachelor-boy.  You’ve never failed to make me smile.  You never will, you friggin’ weirdo.

 

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We. Don’t. Need. This. Kind. Of. Shit.

Peggy coulda kicked Pete Campbell right in the balls. All up in his balls. But Pete, being a squirrelly little sack of shit, would have probably taken her to court. So Peggy didn’t kick him. She didn’t kick him square in his weird ballsack. Because she’s smart. She’s smarter than Pete Campbell. She didn’t need to kick his shriveled sack. The damage is already there.

And sure, she fell for Pete fucking Campbell, but she woke up. She did.

And that was the end of that.

And now Peggy is a rockstar.

And NO ONE likes Pete Campbell.

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The Scuzzy Sons-of-Bitches Who Light Up My Life Part V: Allen Ginsberg

Scuzzy Son-of-a-Bitch #5

Allen Ginsberg:

My First Fairy

(2004)

I was seventeen-years-old.  I was up late doing homework.  I was stressed out to the maximum.  Everything sucked.  I needed A’s, I needed to finish a gargantuan essay, and I needed sleep.  In my angst, I went to my bookshelf and grabbed the copy of Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL I had boosted from my mom a few months earlier.  Actually, I hadn’t even boosted it — my mom had given it to me.

Those opening lines freaked me out in the best way possible.  I needed a good freak out.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
      madness, starving, hysterical, naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
      looking for an angry fix
 

When I was done reading, I knew that my tastes had changed just a bit more.  I was already into Jim Morrison and Lou Reed, so I was no stranger to heavy writing (nor was I unclear about what an “angry fix” was).  However, despite their darkness, neither of them sang explicitly about being, “fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists.”  Not even Lou.

Who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
      publishing obscene odes on the window of the
      skull
 

Deep inside, I wanted to be a trouble-maker.  As a seventeen-year-old kid who had spent the first 3/4 of her high school career doing everything right, the idea of being “expelled from the academies for crazy” sounded like a blast.  In fact, that was why I was so behind on my gargantuan essay — instead of going home after school to work on it, I had driven to Malibu with my friend, Nicole.  No one knew where we were.  We got frozen yogurt.  Oh, how dangerous we felt.

Who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear,
      burning their money in wastebaskets and listening
      to the Terror through the wall
 

I knew that America was falling apart.  We had been building elementary schools in Afghanistan since I was a freshman and we had been preaching Democracy in Iraq for a year.  The freaking President of my own country scared the daylights out of me.  I couldn’t stand the very sight of him when he came on television.  Even the five second clips Jon Stewart used to make fun of him on The Daily Show were almost too much.  An election was coming up in November and dear God, I was furious that I wasn’t old enough to vote.

I also knew that this kind of stuff — meaning “art” — especially stuff that included the word “Terror,” was just plain not allowed.  How can you put “terror” in a poem or a song or a screenplay and not expect government backlash?  You were just begging to have your stuff pulled from the stores.  Your concerts canceled.  Your books burned.

Your phones tapped.

I don’t remember if I got anything done that night.  I remember finishing the poem, and I remember crying.  Everything was different and I was terrified.

The next morning, while sitting in my English class pretending to listen to the substitute teacher drone on about the green light at the end of The Great Gatsby, I looked through the index of our American Poetry Anthology.  Holy Hell, Allen Ginsberg was in there.  I flipped to his section and read “A Supermarket in California.”  When I finished it, I tuned back in to the lecture just long enough to hear the substitute mention Walt Whitman.  How the Hell had she gone from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Walt Whitman?  Did I miss a discussion about “O Captain! My Captain!”?

I took the Whitman tangeant as an opportunity to maintain the illusion that I was not only paying attention, but also brilliant.  I raised my hand.

“Have you heard of the poet Allen Ginsberg?” I asked.
The future English teacher shook her head.
“Oh.  Okay.  Because he has a poem called ‘A Supermarket in California,’ where he fantasizes about walking through a supermarket with Walt Whitman.  It’s actually in our book, on page 325…”

I analyzed the Hell outta that poem.  I talked about alienation and consumerism and The American Dream.  No one followed along with me — the idea of deviating from the curriculum was too scary, I guess.  Plus, this was AP English, where there was zero time for, ya know, thinking.

The substitute didn’t have much to say aside from, “Oh, neat.  Thank you.”

To say that I felt cool would be an understatement.  I went right back to reading poetry, and the substitute went right back to quoting from her teacher’s edition.

      Where are we going, Walt Whitman?  The doors close
in an hour.  Which way does your beard point tonight?
      (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
      Will we walk all night through solitary streets?  The
trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both
be
lonely

(2007)

I was twenty-years-old.  I had been up all night doing homework.  I was stressed out to the maximum…

Everything rocked.  I had one hour to finish my final essay for my 19th Century American Poetry class.  All I needed to write was my closing statement, and then I would be done for the quarter.  I got to choose my own topic, so I chose to compare Walt Whitman to Allen Ginsberg to Bob Dylan.  Instead of sticking to the 8 – 10 pages, I somehow wrote 15.  My title?

The Body Electric, Copulations Ecstatic, and the Heart Attack Machine:
An Appreciation of the Twisted Minds of Whitman, Ginsberg, and Dylan

When I finished the damn thing, I felt like a genius.  I was Joe College to the max.  Of course, when I tried to re-read the thing the other night, I could hardly handle it.  It is definitely not my best work, and I will never understand why my TA gave me an A+.  I am not fishing for compliments here.  I really, truly don’t understand.  However, I do think my closing paragraph shows potential:

      Last summer I had a dream that I was in a tattoo parlor in San Francisco brainstorming what kind of tattoo I wanted to get.  As I walked down the aisles of posters with samples of symbols I could choose from, I suddenly decided that I wanted to have one of Dylan’s lyrics emblazoned on my skin instead.  Of course in the real world it would take a long time to choose which lyric I wanted, but in my dream I instantly decided I wanted the line “Jeez, I can’t find my knees” from “Visions of Johanna” on my upper-thigh.  Soon after, when I woke up and realized it had been a dream, I felt a bit disappointed that I did not actually get the tattoo.  When I told my mother about my dream, she thought I was a genius for thinking of that in my sleep.  While I am still flattered by her motherly support, I must clarify that I am not the one who is a genius.  Instead, my dream was the result of a long line of brilliance that has just as much resonance today as it did over a century ago.  Whitman’s “gray-beard” appeared in Ginsberg’s supermarket, Ginsberg’s Howl echoed in Dylan’s brain, and now Dylan’s lyrics ring out in the tattoo parlor of my mind.  These three men, with their powerful voices and powerful minds, accomplished so much in their time that it would be impossible for America to ever forget them.  They will never be silenced.

I like knowing that seventeen-year-old Stephanie and twenty-year-old Stephanie weren’t two completely different people.  If time-travel is like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, I think that those former versions of myself would get along with each other if they ever wound up in front of the same Circle K.

I don’t think present day Stephanie would shun either of those girls, either.  There is a decent amount of serious dorkiness going on here…

Well, all right.  I guess it’s fair to say I haven’t changed at all.  I’m still up late writing about Allen Ginsberg and geeking out over the copy of Planet News I bought on my last trip to San Francisco.  America still scares me and I still want the war to end.  My favorite poems and songs don’t explicitly contain details about being, “fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists,” but I do have a hard and fast “The Weirder The Better” policy when it comes to all forms of entertainment.

And while yes, my idea of “dangerous” has changed, I still get a kick out of driving to Malibu for frozen yogurt.

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The Scuzzy Sons-of-Bitches Who Light Up My Life Part IV: Jim Morrison

John or Paul?

Jim.

Mick or Keith?

Jim.  With all due respect.

Page or Plant?

::Yawn::  

Jim.

 Hendrix or Clapton?

I want “Bold As Love” to be played at my wedding, and I don’t even want to hear “Sunshine of Your Love” at my funeral.  

Anyway, Jim.

 Cream or The Who? 

Go away.

Beatles or Stones?

Doors.  

Scuzzy Son-Of-A-Bitch #4:

 Jim Morrison

My Black Clad Leather Patronus

(2003)

Part One

“C’mon people, don’t ya look so down 
You know the rain man’s comin’ ta town
Change the weather, change your luck
And then he’ll teach ya how ta…find yourself “
 

My Jim Morrison idolization began on a hot afternoon in August, 2003.  It was the last day of summer vacation, I was sixteen, and I was about to make out with my new boyfriend for the second time.  It had only been 24 hours since our first kiss, and due to our youth and lack of experience (and, perhaps, to his Catholicism), we decided that one make out session equalled monogamy.  Despite our official relationship status, I was a bit nervous about that afternoon’s proposed itinerary, and my nervousness only increased when my boyfriend suggested we put on some music.  I sat down on his couch, and he began browsing through his record collection.  Of course I knew that the music selection ritual was a prelude to hormonal teenage madness, and while that delighted me, it terrified me just the same.  In my opinion, it was awkward enough that we both knew we were about to make out — why prolong that in-between phase of the process?  How was I supposed to act?  Seductive?  Casual?  What if he lost interest during his hunt for the perfect tunes?  What if he forgot what we were there to do?  What if he didn’t like the way I looked sitting on his couch?   Should I strike a pose?  I wondered.

After a few minutes he held up a record that had a dark reddish brown and yellowish gold cover.  “All right, herewego.  The Doors,” he said, pulling the record out of the sleeve.   He looked at me, and I feigned approval.  The truth was I hadn’t listened to The Doors since I was in 8th grade and wanted to listen to some “cool” music while I did my math homework.  For as much as I enjoyed “Break On Through,” I soon had to turn off the music and concentrate on pre-algebra.  Naturally, I didn’t bother telling him this — I didn’t want to say anything that might make him second guess his selection.  Plus, I had only been his girlfriend for 24 hours; it was too early to start losing my allure.

He admired the record for a second, and then, all of a sudden, he looked up at the ceiling and said, “Of course we bow down to you, Jim Morrison, in all your rock and roll glory.” He put the record on the player, set the needle down, and turned up the volume.  It was “L’america” — track one, side two of L.A. Woman.  Four minutes and thirty-eight seconds later, he skipped “Hyacinth House” and went straight to “Crawling Kingsnake.”  Whether this action was sickeningly smooth or just plain sickening is up for debate.  Either way, it worked; too well.  In the midst of all that was happening, I found myself wondering if my parents had any Doors vinyl at home.

When “Riders On The Storm” had long since ended and I arrived back at my house, I went straight for my dad’s record shelf.  Sandwiched between Donovan and The Dream Academy was the dark reddish brown and yellowish gold record.  I pulled it off the shelf and brought it upstairs to my room, where it remained for many, many years.


Something had shifted, and I knew it.  After that day, there was no going back.  I devoured the entire Doors catalogue with the kind of voracity that only a 16-year-old girl is capable of.  Soon, the aviator sunglasses showed up; then the boots.  I’d leave my hair wavy not because I was lazy, but because I realized I actually liked the way it looked unkempt.

For me, Jim Morrison’s music (and I say “Jim Morrison’s music” because it was Jim Morrison who made the music matter) was the perfect soundtrack for adolescence — dark, flawed, and endlessly libidinous.  When I felt fantastic I’d put on “Roadhouse Blues,” and when I felt like killing someone I’d put on “The End.”  This is not to say that Jim was the first musical artist to speak to my tortured teenage soul; for example, my first two years of high school would have been Hell without Lou Reed.  Still, there was something about listening to “Not to Touch The Earth” on a bad day that resonated with me in ways that made the second side of Berlin seem irrelevant.  For as much as I loved Lou’s weirdness, I needed Jim’s ferocity.  After all, I was a straight edged 16-year-old living in suburbia; a savage hero was a necessity.  

Part 2

“When the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
Until the end” 
 

While Jim’s premature death automatically made him a rock and roll legend, that does not appropriately explain his allure.  What it comes down to is the fact that even while he was alive, he was something of a supernatural being.  What other popular musician — and I mean Tiger Beat popular — sang about patricide?  And “dead President’s corpses”?  And horses being blinded with whips?  And dared to ask, “What have we done to the earth?” It takes guts to willingly scare the Hell out of your fans, and to do it without the use of fake blood or creepy masks or lighting effects, well, that’s just genius.  So much of Jim’s music is dark, and when it isn’t dark it’s twisted.

There are, of course, some safer Doors compositions.  Even when they’re safe, though, they’re not that safe.  “Light My Fire,” which was originally brought to the table by Robby Krieger, is one of the most well-known Doors songs.  Just because it is popular, however, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have teeth.  Jim added a verse to the song that rhymes  “wallow in the mire” with “funeral pyre” (From Wikipedia: A pyre (Greek: πυρά, pyrá, from πυρ, pýr, fire), also known as a funeral pyre, is a structure, usually made of wood, for burning a body as part of a funeral rite. As a form of cremation, a body is placed upon the pyre, which is then set on fire), and his delivery is nothing short of primal.  When Jim wails, “TRY TO SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE,” there’s nothing safe about it.  He’s not just asking you to light his fire, he’s demanding it; who knows what he’ll do if he doesn’t get his way?

His seduction power, his theatricality, his animalistic passion — THIS is what gives The Doors staying power.  THIS is what sets Jim apart from other notable front men.  THIS…  ::sigh::

 

 Although it may feel like it was only yesterday, my junior year of high school was a long time ago.  I may not be 16 anymore, but I still wear big black boots, I still hate hair products, and I still love Jim Morrison.   I still look forward to the day I can listen to “The Unknown Solider” without feeling angry, I still recite “The Movie” to myself when I’m sitting in dark theaters, and I still listen to “When The Music’s Over” while I’m driving around at night.   Sometimes, I wonder what my world would be like if Jim were still alive.  Maybe he would have graced the cover of Rolling Stone one more time.  Maybe he would have had a minor role in Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  Maybe he would have written a book.  And Lord knows, his take on George W. Bush’s presidency would have been priceless.  Would The Doors be worth seeing live?  Would Jim be giving Mick a run for his money?

For as phenomenal as it would be to hear Jim mutter, “Fuck George Bush” on national television, I have no illusions about the situation.  Jim was an alcoholic and a drug user, and everything I’ve read about him suggests that he had some kind of chemical imbalance (phrases such as “Manic Depressive Disorder” and “Bipolar Disorder” weren’t spoken as trippingly on the tongue during the 1960’s). Yet, somehow, by some miracle, Jim’s legacy is nothing but rockin’.  The image of him in tight leather pants will always overshadow the image of him in his puffy latter-days, and he will always be a vibrant young superstar and never a washed up burnout.  The fact that I will never see him live is overshadowed by the fact that I will also never have to watch him perform a painful rendition of “Touch Me” on American Idol.  As my younger brother said to me when we watched Bob Dylan mumble his way through his set list at the Santa Monica Civic in 2008, “It’s moments like this when I realize it’s better that Morrison’s dead.”  Yes, he’s dead, but he’s not dead dead.  He was so full of life he never really died.

Epilogue

“It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me…”
 

One Sunday night in November of 2004, I sat down at my desk to fill out my University of California application.  At that point, I wasn’t completely sure where I wanted to go to college.  To be frank, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go at all.  Why move away?  Why leave all the people I loved?  More importantly, why move away and leave all the people I loved just to go to school?  I didn’t understand it.  To me, all college represented was “Goodbye,” and that was torture.

I got through the “Name, Age, Social Security Number” crap in record time, and then, suddenly, I was face-to-face with an essay assignment.  TWO essay assignments.  The first essay was only supposed to be around 200 words, and the prompt was so simple I don’t even remember what I wrote.  After I finished the first assignment, the doorbell rang.  When I opened the door, no one was there.  I looked down at the ground, and sitting on my doormat was a chocolate bar, a white envelope, and a Doors pin.  Inside the envelope was a note that said:

 “This fine European chocolate reminded me of your fine European figure.  
I hope Mr. Morrison keeps you warm on this cold evening.”
 

I smiled.  I knew my boyfriend had left me the present, but not because of the flattering note.  The Doors was still our band.  When I got back inside I read the note again, and, quite suddenly, the idea of going away to college seemed ten times as miserable.

Reluctantly, I went back to my room and sat at my desk.  The second essay prompt was glowing on my computer screen:

Open-ended

Rationale: This question seeks to give students the opportunity to share important aspects of their schooling or their lives — such as their personal circumstances, family experiences and opportunities that were or were not available at their school or college — that may not have been sufficiently addressed elsewhere in the application.

• Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in this application?

I was flabbergasted.  “Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record“?  This pissed me off.  Me OR my academic record?  In my opinion, those were two very different things.  What had I not “had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in this application”?  The application asked for my email address, my nationality, and my GPA — none of those things were a reflection of the real ME.  Just who the Hell did these UC people think they were?

I was so angry I could scream.  I was about to spend a decent amount of my precious time trying to convince people I already hated that they should let me into one of their disgusting establishments.  I took a deep breath, unwrapped that bar of fine European chocolate, and took a bite.   When I was ready, I placed my hands back on the keyboard and let loose:

Before I sink
Into the big sleep
I want to hear
I want to hear
The scream of the butterfly  

The End?

      

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The Scuzzy Sons-of-Bitches Who Light Up My Life Part III: Captain Jack Sparrow

SCUZZY SON-OF-A-BITCH #3:

Captain Jack Sparrow

The Pirate Who Taught Me Not To Not Give A Fuck

(2003)

I have been putting way too much thought into this.

For the last two weeks I have been laboring over this little riff about Captain Jack Sparrow.  I’ve written, deleted, and re-written countless Perfect Introductions.  I’ve spent an obscene amount of hours tinkering with witticisms.  All I did last week at work was mess with this thing.  Was I happy with anything I wrote?  No, not really.

Sometimes, writing is very easy for me.  I’ll come up with 1,000 words in an hour, read them once, pat myself on the back, and call it a night.  Other times, I’ll write for two hours and then feel stuck.  I’ll know where I want to go, but have no idea how to get there.  I’ll then go back, read what I have, and think, “This is just not what I want.”  That moment is just plain crushing.  Why the Hell have I spent so much time on this piece of shit?  How the Hell have I spent so much time on this piece of shit?  Why even bother finishing this piece of shit?

When that happens, there’s only one thing I can do, and that is wait for The Muse to arrive.  Sometimes, she appears to me in the form of a song.  Other times, in the form of a memory.  Once that bitch shows up, shit gets real.  I don’t delete everything I have already done — I gut it like a dead fish.  I tear its insides out of its asshole.  I make that piece of shit my prison wife.  I make it work.

I have yet to get to that point.  All I’ve been doing for days is editing bits here and there — taking out a few things, rearranging a few things — and none of it has added up to much.  Where The Hell is The Muse?  Is she going to show up this time?

Here’s the thing: Captain Jack Sparrow is one of my favorite people of all time.  Yes.  I’m 24 years old, and I still idolize the stupid pirate Johnny Depp has been playing for eight years.  I know that most of the sequels sucked, but I still went to see ’em in the damn theater out of respect and love and loyalty. I’m not a Trekkie, I have never been to Comic-Con, and I didn’t see Captain America because I didn’t want to.  When it comes to Pirates of the Caribbean, I go full Dungeon Master.

That was a little scary for me to admit.  The fact that that was scary was scary for me to admit.  Somebody save me from myself!

I don’t suppose too many 24 year olds feel the same way about the freaking Pirates movies, but why not?  It’s true, Captain Jack Sparrow is not as iconic as Han Solo, Indiana Jones, or any other smooth-talkin’ hero played by Harrison Ford, but ya know what?  He will be.  I firmly believe that years from now, when Johnny Depp looks like Jack Nicholson, women all over America will show the Pirates movies to their kids, and a new generation of Captain Jack Sparrow worshippers will dress up as slightly gay pirates for Halloween.  Like it or not, good ol’ Captain Jack is here to stay.  Who am I to write about his greatness?

For the 500th time, here goes nothin’.

♥♥♥

What the Hell was popular in 2003?  I honestly can’t remember off the top of my head; I’d have to ask the internet.  Seriously.  I have no idea what songs came out that year, what the hit television shows were, or whether Brad was screwing Jenn or Angie.  Did Britney still have a whole head of hair?  Was Paris an amateur porn star yet?  Had NSYNC officially disbanded?  I don’t know.  I mean, I remember the U.S. invaded Iraq that year, but I don’t remember why.  Do you?

In 2003 I was in 10th grade.  I was 16.  I dug Bob Dylan and Harold And Maude.  “Idiot Wind” was my I’m-A-Teenager-And-Perpetually-Heartbroken anthem, and “Life On Mars?” was my bad day ballad.  I had Velvet Goldmine memorized.  My favorite TV shows were on BBC America.

You see, I don’t remember what was popular that year because I didn’t care.  Was I going to hear “Heroin” on KROQ?  Nopers.  Was I going to see Iggy Pop on MTV?  No freaking way.  Was I going to see Ardal O’Hanlon or Reece Shearsmith in People?  Not likely.  (Who the Hell are they?)  I didn’t care about anything that was happening in real time; I was only concerned with glam rock, hippy culture, and men from The UK.

Then I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl for the first time, and Johnny Depp made it to the top of my list of “concerns.”  The “first time”?  Yes.  Over the course of the summer, I saw it six times in the damn movie theater.  I didn’t go alone — my friends were more than happy to join me.

Me?  Little Miss I-Hate-Everything-That-Isn’t-Subtextually-About-Heroin-Addiction?

Yes, Pirates was a bigass, dumbass summer blockbuster, but let’s be frank here — there have been way bigger, way dumber summer blockbusters.  What made Pirates less dumb?  Captain Jack Sparrow.  He was an excellent character, and Johnny Depp played him brilliantly.  He was hilarious, sexy, and didn’t give a fuck.  At 16, I wished I didn’t give a fuck either.  I may not have cared about being trendy, but, despite my best efforts, I still cared about my grades, my appearance, my relationship status (thank GOODNESS facebook didn’t exist back then), and all the other bullshit that haunts teenage females.

When Captain Jack Sparrow first appeared on the screen, head held high as his shitty boat gradually sank to the bottom of the harbor, I felt what can only be described as Enlightened.  “Someday soon,” I thought, “I will not give a fuck.”

No, I didn’t start smudging my eyeliner and wearing a funny hat.  Je refuse.  I did, however, feel a little less crappy about having to wake up at 6am for my summer geometry class.  Nothing I can’t handle.  I also didn’t worry too much when I heard the ten-minute-warning bell during nutrition break.  So what if I’m thirty seconds late for the second half of class?  What’s my teacher really going to do about it?  When it was time to start studying for my final, I didn’t feel the overpowering anxiety that had plagued me since Ms. Bell’s 7th grade math class.  I’m not gonna fail this one.  Maybe I’ll get a B.  So what?  I don’t give a fuck.  

(2006)

Three years later, Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man’s Chest was released.  I was one of the freaks who bought tickets days in advance.  Some people hated the movie, but I loved it.  I saw it four times in total.  This time around, though, my friends weren’t psyched to go over and over again —  I was the only person in the group who still considered Captain Jack Sparrow my fantasy boyfriend.  I had to get resourceful, IE: beg my parents to come with me.  Dorky?  I didn’t give a fuck.

One night, about a month later, I got into a pretty heated argument with the guy I was dating at the time.  We were having our nightly, “I miss you.  Summer’s been so lonely without you.  I can’t wait to see you in Santa Cruz.  Blah Blah Blah Bullshit” conversation when, quite suddenly, things turned evil.  He said some rather messed up things to me; things that stuck with me for a while.  At around 3am I called it quits and went to bed.  I just couldn’t defend myself anymore; it was exhausting.  This pattern continued for several nights, and every one of them was more miserable than the one before.  Why am I putting up with this? I wondered.

One of those nights, I had a dream that I was a pirate.   I had been kidnapped by Davey Jones’s crew, and we were in a small tavern by the ocean watching Davey Jones make some kind of “rah rah rah” speech up on a stage.  Next to me was the chest with Davey Jones’s heart, and I knew that I had to get the chest back to my crew so we could stab the heart and reclaim the sea.  (In case you missed it, that is pretty much the plot of Pirates II.)  Mustering all my courage, I grabbed the chest, threw it in my pirate satchel, and ran out of the tavern.  I knew that I’d be killed if the pirates caught me, but I had to take the risk.  I ran for a while, and then, gradually, the satchel became heavier and heavier.  I mean really heavy.  I tried to keep running, but that damn satchel was making it impossible for me to continue.

I woke up before the evil pirates made me into shark bait.  I rolled out of bed, picked up the phone, and made the call.  As I listened to the ringing, ringing, ringing, I thought about Captain Jack Sparrow at the end of the sequel, when the Kraken comes to eat him alive.  He knows he’s going to die, but rather than wait for that moment to arrive, he pulls out his sword and jumps right into the fucker’s mouth.

To this day, when I’m faced with a fucked up situation that is definitely going to hurt, I think of this scene.  Call it nerdy, but conjuring this image provides me with tremendous badassary.  It has never failed me.

♥♥♥

I suppose I had a difficult time putting all of this into words because in order to explain why Captain Jack Sparrow belongs on this list, I had to reveal some pretty weird stuff about myself.  Captain Jack Sparrow helped you pass geometry?  Captain Jack Sparrow helped you end a toxic relationship?  Yes. Yes, he did.  Does this mean you don’t love me anymore?

It is a Saturday evening in August, 2011.  As I write this, I am listening to Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love.” I first heard this song when I was in ninth grade.  I had already fallen in love with “Perfect Day” thanks to Mark Renton, so I typed “Lou Reed” into KaZaa.  I have now been a Lou Reed fan for ten years, and “Satellite of Love” has never sounded bad to me.  I have never gotten tired of it, and I will never get over it.  You see what I’m getting at?  If it’s acceptable for Lou Reed, or any other musician, to be an important person in my life, then I don’t see what’s wrong with loving Captain Jack Sparrow the way that I do.

And anyway, I don’t give a fuck.

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The Scuzzy Sons-of-Bitches Who Light Up My Life Part II: Charles Bukowski

Scuzzy Son-of-a-Bitch #2:

Charles Bukowski

The Messed Up Voice In My Head

(2003)

Literature majors, UC Santa Cruz students, recent college graduates — lend me your ears!  Does this look at all familiar?

Drunk

By James The Poseur Extraordinaire

 

I was drunk.

And the drunk tears streamed down my cheeks

As she walked out the door.

The room was quiet

Except for the sound of the cockroaches scurrying across the walls.

The typewriter sat in the corner surrounded by torn pages

Broken glasses

And empty bottles of rye.

And her suitcase was gone

And she was gone

And the wine was gone.

I went to the liquor store.

I bought a jug a wine and a lotto ticket

And on my way home I thought about her.

My cock got hard.

The End.

 

Young poets, go forth and write your Charles Bukwoski poems.  Scribble them in the margins of your lecture notes, or on the back of the “About The Author” page of your copy of The Bell Jar.  Agonize over whether to end the line with “behind the bar,” or if that should be a separate line altogether.  Carry a designated Poetry Journal with you at all times, and bust it out for a scribbling session every time you find yourself at a coffee drinking establishment.  Write all about The Whore Who Ruined Your Life, or about The Time You Ruined That Whore’s Life.  It’ll be GREAT.  And then, you must STOP.   

It may be be easy to imitate our favorite scuzzy bard, but the time must come where you realize you are not Charles Bukowski, and, though he was no genius, he really had this whole thing nailed.

I was 16 years old.  It was a Thursday evening in May.  I had just finished performing a small part in a school play, and I needed a moment outside.  You see, earlier that afternoon, I had had my heart broken for the second time.  There was no sex involved, nor infidelity, nor broken promises, nor anything else that usually complicates adult break-ups.  The heartbreak I felt was the kind of heartbreak that can only be felt when you’re still relatively innocent.

I saw a crew member reading on a bench.  She asked if I wanted anything to read, and because I wasn’t in the following act, I told her yes, I did.

“Do you like poetry?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“I have a huge book of poetry.”
“By who?”
“Charles Bukowski.”
(pause)
“Okay.”

She handed me a copy of The Night Torn Mad With Foosteps.  I flipped through it and stopped on a poem called “Love Dead Like A Crushed Fly.”  What can I say?  I had found someone with whom I could commiserate.  Of course, I had never been drunk like Charles Bukowksi.  I also hadn’t had as many illicit affairs, or lost as much money on the horses.  Still, somehow, we understood each other.  That weekend I went to Barnes & Noble in hopes that they’d have at least one of his books.  I didn’t find anything that had “Love Dead Like A Crushed Fly,” so, instead, I bought Love Is A Dog From Hell.  It wasn’t until a few months later I finally found a copy of The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps, which I eventually ended up leaving in a college boyfriend’s apartment.  He never brought it back to me, which is strange, because I would bet my life he didn’t keep it because he liked it.  

I’m now 24 years old, and heartbreak isn’t any easier for me than it was eight years ago.  I guess the only advantage that I have now is the ability to look back on what I felt when I was 16 and think to myself, “Well, you thought that would kill you, too, and you were wrong…”.  Experience aside, there’s just as much shit to trudge through, and just as much Charles Bukowski to read.  I find that comforting.

The Shower

By Charles Bukowski

we like to shower afterwards
(I like the water hotter than she)
and her face is always soft and peaceful
and she’ll wash me first
spread the soap over my balls
lift the balls
squeeze them,
then wash the cock:
“hey, this thing is still hard!”
then get all the hair down there,-
the belly, the back, the neck, the legs,
I grin grin grin,
and then I wash her. . .
first the cunt, I
stand behind her, my cock in the cheeks of her ass
I gently soap up the cunt hairs,
wash there with a soothing motion,
I linger perhaps longer than necessary,
then I get the backs of the legs, the ass,
the back, the neck, I turn her, kiss her,
soap up the breasts, get them and the belly, the neck,
the fronts of the legs, the ankles, the feet,
and then the cunt, once more, for luck. . .
another kiss, and she gets out first,
toweling, sometimes singing while I stay in
turn the water on hotter
feeling the good times of love’s miracle
I then get out. . .
it is usually mid-afternoon and quiet,
and getting dressed we talk about what else
there might be to do,
but being together solves most of it
for as long as those things stay solved
in the history of women and
man, it’s different for each-
for me, it’s splendid enough to remember
past the memories of pain and defeat and unhappiness:
when you take it away
do it slowly and easily
make it as if I were dying in my sleep instead of in
my life, amen.
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The Scuzzy Sons-of-Bitches Who Light Up My Life Part I: Mark Renton

Yesterday, I got to have a good, long Skype session with my friend Zach, a former KZSC comrade.  Our conversation, I am happy to report, was quite brilliant.  We discussed the rise and fall of Microsoft and Nintendo, the inferior design of Facebook, and Yahoo’s inability to even try to compete with The Google Overlords.  During a brief moment of non-internet related banter, Zach mentioned that he was planning on teaching himself how to play the accordion.  I said that I could imagine him playing at The Poet And The Patriot; a bar in downtown Santa Cruz that only serves the finest beers and the cheapest wines.  We then got to talking about how fantastic it is to sit at the bar at The Poet and watch the frat boys and sorority girls order shorts of Jaeger and Patron, only to be turned down by the hard-assed, Irish bartenders.  “It helps keep out the riff-raff,” said Zach.  “If they want that shit, they can go to The Red.”

The Red is as trendy as it gets when it comes to downtown Santa Cruz drinking establishments.  There are drinks with funny names, or “signature cocktails,” if you prefer.  The girls are wearin’ mini-skirts, and everyone looks like they’ve showered.  The place smells of cologne and sugar cane, and it’s impossible for bums to sneak inside.  Despite all this, I could still walk in wearing jeans and a t-shirt and no one would glare at me.

There is a lower-level of The Red that is quite unlike its upstairs counterpart.  The lower-level allows smoking.  The lower-level isn’t as well-lit.  The lower-level isn’t the place to go for a neon pink “signature cocktail.”  The lower-level attracts girls in mini-skirts with tattoos on their arms.  The lower-level…just…feels more like home.  I used to hang out at the lower Red with my good friend, Ellanee, when we were in college.  We’d stay until closing time, having a blast being total assholes to all the poor fuckers who offered to buy us drinks.

“Ya know what I always loved?” I said to Zach, “The lower-Red.  It’s scuzzier.”  Zach laughed and said, “You would like the lower-Red, you classy, classy lady.”  I knew he was being ironic, which I found rather funny.  I also found it a bit perplexing.  In what ways, I wondered, am I not perfectly classy?  I burp in front of people, and I don’t give a shit if I’m caught grocery shopping in my pajama bottoms, but I don’t consider myself especially unclassy.  I had to settle this.  I said to Zach, “You know what?  It’s because I’m too much of a chicken to actually be scuzzy, so I’m attracted to people who really are.  I live vicariously.  It’s like I’m Lawrence Ferlinghetti and I’m just chillin’ watching all the Neil Cassadys run around.  They’ll all die, and I’ll be an old person riding my bike to my prestigious bookstore.”  Zach just laughed and said, “Imagining you as an old lady on a bike is funny.”

***

Scuzzy people.  Scuzzy fuckin’ low-life people.  I love them; especially, you guessed it, the males.  Yes, I am a Good Girl who loves Bad Fuckin’ Boys.  Not just any bad boy, mind you.  I’m talkin’ vagabonds.  Drifters.  Rockstars.  DIRTY HIPPIES!  The poets, the painters, the shitty novelists, the song-writers, the filmmakers…All that bullshit.  I love ’em stoned, I love ’em drunk, I love ’em strung out in the street quoting T.S. Eliot.  I love ’em in torn clothing with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and knowing smirks on their lips.  I love five o’clock shadows and dirty coats that smell like bourbon and old shoes.  I love long hair and bare feet and sage-scented panchos.  I love paint-covered hands.  I love foul mouths.  I love bar fights and run-ins with the police.

Oh, how we danced away all of the lights, We’ve always been out of our minds…

I know, of course, deep-down, that I could never ever have a meaningful romantic relationship with a scuzzy son-of-a-bitch.  I know that.  I really, really do.  However, until I find my sensitive, loyal, well-mannered family man who makes six (or more) figures per year, I plan on continuing to fall in love with all the wrong men — at least the ones I see on the silver screen and hear on my shitty speakers.

I am not sure what my love for scuzzy men means.  Is it purely voyeuristic?  And why?  Am I rebelling against my suburban upbringing by idolizing vagrants?  Do I think that I have the power to take a starving artist and transform him into a well-to-do member of society?  Do I just wish Nick Cave’s “Hard On For Love” were about me?  Is this my specific take on penis envy?  Again, I am not sure.  All I know is that pictures of young Marlon Brando are great, but stories about young Marlon Brando living in his dirty New York apartment with a pet raccoon excite me even more.  I can’t explain it; I can only explore it.

Let the exploration begin!

SCUZZY SON-OF-A-BITCH #1:

Mark Renton

The Derelict That Started It All

(2002)

Those skin-tight jeans.  Those red Adidas.  That thick Scottish brogue.  That foul mouth.  Yes, Mark Renton is definitely my kind of sexy motherfucker.   Add to the mix a debilitating heroin addiction, and I’m in Good Girl Heaven.

My friend, Melanie, and I fell in love with Ewan McGregor via Moulin Rouge!  It wasn’t long before we had the damn movie memorized (including the u2/KISS/David Bowie mash-ups) and were desperate to see more of Ewan McGregor’s work; I have no idea why we chose to watch Trainspotting after months of  singing along to the “Elephant Love Medley.”

It was a Sunday afternoon.  I was 14-years-old.  When I saw Mark Renton overdose on heroin and sink into The Mother Superior’s living room floor while Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” oozed through the room, everything suddenly made sense.  “This is it,” I realized.  “I’ve always loved this stuff, and I’ve never known it.”

 NOTHING was the same for me after that.  Eve6 and Blink 182 and Dave Matthews Band were replaced by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and David Bowie.  If a book involved heroin, I had to read it.  My poor mother had to listen to Nevermind The Bollocks everyday as she drove me home from school.  I found a dusty old copy of Naked Lunch on my parents’ bookshelf.  Everything that came out of the UK was kickass, and everyone who made music in the 1970’s was a God.

Conversely, everything that was popular sucked.  It sucked hard, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

Thanks to that period of my life, I own way too many obscure Ewan McGregor movies on VHS (if anyone would like to join me to watch Lipstick On Your Collar or Scarlet & Black, please let me know), way too many books about punk rock (still haven’t read Lipstick Traces), and way too many copies of The Velvet Underground & Nico (CD, vinyl, two-disc remastered, burned copy of the two-disc remastered…).  Clutter aside, when I think about what may have happened to me if I had never fallen in lust with a fictional drug addict, I get very Existential.  For example, if I hadn’t fallen in love with Mark Renton, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with old music, and if I hadn’t fallen in love with old music I wouldn’t have fallen in love with old records, and if I hadn’t fallen in love with old records I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Jim Morrison (MORE ON HIM LATER), and if I hadn’t fallen in love with Jim Morrison…Would I have gone to UC Santa Cruz?  Would I have had my own radio show?  Would I have met half the people I consider my friends?  Would I have seen Patti Smith live?

Would I be into GAGA?

Life is just extraordinary, isn’t it?  If it hadn’t been for a little crush on an actor that turned into a tremendous fascination with various human subcultures…I mean, there’s nothing else I can possibly say, really.  I can’t possibly add more profundity by writing a few more measly words, can I?

How about this: thanks, Mark Renton, for being so Goddamn tragic.  And HOT.

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For Melanie, For Everything

My good friend Melanie turned another year older on June 8.  After her birthday dinner, I presented a belated birthday present to my friend Nicole, who had her birthday on May 11.

I’m a bit behind.  Just a bit.  Let it be known that I am not behind because I don’t care.  On the contrary, I’m behind because I care very, very much.

I first met Melanie in Miss Warren’s third grade class.  We were seven-years-old.  She was very skinny and had big, round glasses — I had totally excellent bangs and wore awkward Jockey sports bras.  Once, during a time when Melanie and I sat next to each other in class, I was reading my vocabulary sentences aloud to our table when, quite suddenly, an ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLE came out of my nose.  I did my best to sniff it back in immediately, but it was too late — everyone at the table had seen the ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLE come out of my nose.  Everyone laughed, myself included.  Embarrassed that I may still have snot in my nose, I held my vocabulary sentences in front of my face.  Melanie, without missing a beat (as usual), leaned right over to me and said, “Be careful, now, don’t get any snot on your homework!”

Hours later, Melanie acted as if nothing had happened.  We practiced writing paragraphs and multiplying by 4’s — the day went on like any other.  In fact, The ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLE Incident was never brought up again.  She could have asked Miss Warren to give her a new seat — after all, there was no real explanation for my ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLE, and there was no guarantee that this wouldn’t be a regular occurrence — but she didn’t.  She got over it.

It really wasn’t until 5th grade that Melanie and I became Partners In Lunacy.  With 5th grade came our love for writing silly songs (favorites such as “BFG,” “When The Sun Turns Grey (El Niño Returns From His Lair),” “Bakery Goodies (Have Faith in Your Mother)”…), the invention of The Butter Girls comic strip, our obsession with Billy Madison; the kinds of things that lasting friendships are made of.  The shenanigans were endless: we used to pass each other notes using her Merry-Go-Round pencil sharpener as a means of transporting and camouflaging our precious messages; during a week long rainstorm (which, actually, must have been El Niño), we spent every precious minute of recess time writing ridiculous stories on our classroom’s brand new iMacs; we were separated during an assembly because I made her laugh by whispering “Mouth-watering marshmallows” in her ear; during Outdoor Ed we stole a pair of our friend’s underwear and hung it from a rafter above our bunk beds.

Looking at the paragraph I just wrote, I realize that very little has changed.

Melanie and I have now been friends for 14 years.  A few things are different (she wears contacts and has traded in her skinny physique for a downright slammin’ bod), but we are still very much the same people we were when we first became friends — we make up songs, think up kickass ideas for comic strips, and obsess over silly movies.  Neither of us are too proud to own things such as pencil sharpeners shaped as Merry-Go-Rounds — in fact, I think I should go find some as soon as possible — and as far as stealing underwear for the sole purpose of having a good giggle fit, well, yeah, that sounds like us.  Most importantly, though, is that Melanie is still the kind of person who will be your friend even after she’s seen ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLES come out of your nose.

So, Mel, happy belated birthday.  Part II of your birthday card begins NOW.

I couldn’t just buy you one.   Birthday cards don’t come with pictures like THESE:

RAWR.

On Tuesday, I decided that I finally had the time to assemble your gift.  I went to the mall in search of a cute journal.  Yes, a cute journal.  I had originally planned on decorating a journal for you.  That is not what I ended up doing.

I hate the mall parking lot.  It’s full of SUVs with old Bush/Cheney stickers on them.  Parked next to me on Tuesday, however, was a BLUE CORVETTE!!!  It gave me a thrill.

I wonder what the geniuses behind Eiffel 65 are up to these days…

The first thing I did when I got to the mall was look inside Bath & Body Works to see how much they charge for bottles of Piña Colada Butt Lotion and jars of Nipple Butter.  Don’t ask.

NEXT, I went to a cute little crafty-ish store that just opened up.  They had a PERFECT journal that was just BEGGING to be ripped apart and glued back together again by moi.  Of course, it was for display only and there were no others like it.

I went to the outside shopping area to take the stairs back up to my car, and I saw THIS:

“Shop Irresponsibly SALE.”  Our country amazes me. Corporate Fat Cats have come up with a way of using The Recession to their advantage.  This ad says, “Yeah, we know you have no money…but we bet you just sit up all night dreaming of all the STUFF you could BUY if you had some, right?  Don’t you just wanna say, ‘Fuck it, I want sunglasses’?  Well just DO IT!  YES!  DO IT!  It’ll feel SO GOOD to be BAD!”  It reminds me of the kind of thing we would discuss while watching Easy Rider and drinking Lemon Drops.

As I was walking back to The Former Site of Sisley — because even though Sisley is gone I still only ever park there — I passed friggin’ Papyrus.  I thought, “Screw it.  Maybe they’ll have what I’m looking for.”  Dude, they didn’t.  I wasn’t going to buy a $30 leather-bound journal and then rip it apart and glue it back together.  I was about to leave when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of a BEAUTIFUL shade of blue.  I looked, and, oh yes, it was a journal!  Upon closer examination, I saw that it was a…

…TAYLOR SWIFT JOURNAL.  What?  She’s such a renowned writer she has her own line of journals?  Like Rachel Ray’s “EVOO?”  Or Emeril’s bottled “Essence?”  Ridiculous.

For a moment I considered buying it so I could rip it apart and glue it back together IRONICALLY.  Ultimately I decided I wouldn’t buy the journal because I never want Taylor Swift to see a single red cent of my hard earned money.  Shop responsibly, Steff.

Needless to say, I came home empty handed.  Well, not true — I did end up buying some underwear, because every damn pair I own has multiple holes.  It’s not as sexy as it sounds.

YESTERDAY, though, when I returned to the mall to purchase Piña Colada Butt Lotion and Nipple Butter (don’t ask — and yes, I’m very much making fun of Bath & Body Works), I decided that on the way home from the mall I would stop at Michael’s.  Ya know.  For craft stuff.

I wandered in-and-out of the brilliant stacks of picture frames giggling at plastic bananas, admiring the balsa wood, and never passing the cashier.  (Shameless Allen Ginsberg reference.)  I didn’t see a single journal.

And then I saw it.  I saw IT.  And I BOUGHT IT.  And I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do with IT.

I sped home, and when I got there I was pleasantly surprised to find that my most recent online purchase had arrived!  I now have THIS on VINYL!

As I listened with glee, I scoured the internet for pictures.  The RIGHT pictures for IT.  Quickly, I loaded them all on to a flash drive, jumped in the car, and sped to Kinko’s…or, ya know, FedEx, or whatever the Hell I’m supposed to call it.  As far as I’m concerned it’s a freaking Kinko’s.  Yes, I had to go there because no, I do not own a printer.  The printer is in Isla Vista.

THIS SIGN KILLED ME.

I giggled like a 13-year-old.  Seriously, they must have done this on purpose.  There’s no way I’m the only person who thinks this is funny.

I came home, put on Cry-Baby, and got to work.  First, I burned you a bunch of CDs.  Five CDs.  THEN, I got to work on IT.  Here is a sneak peak…

There you have it.  Your sneak peak of your belated birthday present.  Hope you’re getting excited.  Are you getting excited?  ‘Cause I am excited.

Happy belated birthday, Melanie.  You are one of the most charming, funny, interesting, loving, loyal people I have ever known.   I love you to bits.  Here’s to 14 more kickass years.

That guy is so cute.  Whoever he is.

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