Saturday, November 02, 2002

Hi Blast-Ended Skrewts!

My and my man Tony Pierce are so in sync. Last night at Ken Layne and Laura Crane's Day of the Dead/Halloween party we accidentally made a couple-costume as the White Stripes. Unfortunately I only know of this one shot, which is really not, you know, "flattering," in the "I look good" sense. If anyone has somethin better, send it, please! (

I was actually a White Stripes pirate, with a hook and pirate flag, but it required a lot of explaining.

The costumes were astounding, especially Ken and Laura as Hagrid and Hermione, and Ali as Frida Kahlo. Kim and Ken as Barbie and Ken were also great.

There were a number of half-assed silly-costumes, such as Matt Welch as "That Jackass In the Green Jumpsuit," :) but I found Os's "Dr. Tyler, On-Call Obstetrician" look to be scrubadelic in the extreme.

Anyway, I'm gonna turn in soon. We were up till 5 a.m. It was a guitar thing. When you get your hands on a guitar, time takes a powder. Ten minutes go by, and then you look at the clock and it's 5 a.m., and time is snickering at you from the corner, pointing its bony finger and calling you a "funny mortal."

Last night's session was nifty because Matt was playing, and he was feeling Tsarmenian, playing songs such as "Ordinary Gurl" and "Kathy Fong Is the Bomb." The requests then started to dig deep into the Van Diamond/Whalen catalogue. I had never played any of these songs, though I had sung along to all of them since my first days in Prague on the Charles Bridge.

I love watching Matt in these singalongs, because whenever we hit a really nice four-part harmonic moment, he smiles to himself, as if someone were scratching a sweet spot on his belly. Matt has special harmonic frequencies in his brain, and he is always looking for the secret chord.

A lot of the guitar parts were bizarrely complicated, which belied Whalen's perennial insistence that he "can't play guitar." Whatever. It's funny, but whenever I hear these songs, it's always at some singalong without Jeff, as if he were some sailor at sea and all that's left are these remnants of his past---a shoe, a flower, a key to some old lock. Over the years these songs have become memory capsules of our collective history, too (along with many jewels by Macilvaine, Welch, Kern, Hornberger, Pontius, Antonides, and others). Every song carries with it particular meaning and memories for each person. For example, when Matt plays "Carolanne," or however you spell it (my favorite Whalen song), I am always reminded of a night in Prague when Matt and I were coming back from the Drancy bar and found ourselves locked out of the Prognosis office. Our key just wouldn't work, so we decided to do some incantations. No joy. So finally, Matt sat down and played the song. (I guess he had his guitar with him!) After he finished, we tried the door one last time, and it opened.

Our group is pretty weird and there's a lot of history and incest and, how you say, "baggage," there. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, there's a history of serious growing pains. These people have seen me at my most confused and young and desperate, and occasionally at my most womanly and optimistic. I am pretty delighted to feel this group growing up now, moving into the future, letting go of a lot of bullshit, individuating and breaking away. I had to break away completely a couple different times, and even now I spend most of my time with people outside the group. Hillary, especially, is my major partner in crime, because with me and Hillary, everything is always about the New Thing. The new music, the new joke, the new plan. (And, of course, the new overpriced lip gloss.)

The idylls of the past give way to the neverending fascinations of the present. And that's the way it should be. I no longer spend my time reminiscing about Prague. Prague as it was then is over. And I don't pine for Los Angeles c. 1998. That Los Angeles is gone, and that me is gone, too. I wish her well, but I sure don't miss her!

That girl would have been too self-conscious to ever pick up a guitar at a party, and sing, and screw up the chords, and sing wrong notes, and drink and have fun and never apologize.

But that's what I like best to do now. And so I bid a fond but satisfied farewell to the past. Thanks for the lessons, and thanks for the memories. Rest in peace.

So now I got to go the hell to sleep.

Love n stuff,


PS: If you can name the song reference at the tippy-top of the page, I will write you a haiku.

PPS: Halloween was awesome at Amoeba Records. They had plastic pumpkins everywhere full of candy. Happiness is a lemon Jolly Rancher and a Tootsie Roll in your mouth---at the same time.

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