Friday, August 28, 2009

The blog where nobody lives

Hey fine people of Earth,
I've been posting a lot of stuff and re-designing over at my least popular blog. The one about movies. Not the one about horror movies. That's become my most popular blog. Not this one, either. I'm talking about the general movie blog. You know, the one nobody gives a fuck about. Go there for new content and bigger images for your eyeballs, including a post about my mother and brother's surprise appearance in a Criterion Collection movie. See if you can be the seventh person to visit the site this week. You may win a glazed pigeon, in a contest that may not exist.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I want to punch everything in the face and groin twice

Oh my sweet lord. Trying to register for these teacher certification tests online has made me angrier than I think I've ever been in my entire life. My blood feels like it's burning under my skin and I have a tremendous urge to break my own hand by punching concrete repeatedly until I lose all sense of identity and my hand is a worthless, misshapen bloody piece of mush. Nothing on any of the three sites (and three user logins I had to create for them) is remotely user-friendly, or in fact, coherent. None of the information and test dates I was given by my program correspond to anything on the sites, the dates don't match at all, the site is showing dates for the test that aren't even real or valid or true, and one of the tests I have to take is mysteriously absent. When I finally get to something that matches the information I was given, the link I need to click to sign up takes me back to the crazy nonsense page. I was so angry I couldn't even figure out how to write a coherent email explaining my beefs and confusions, so my wife rose to the occasion and helped me out even though I was screaming profanities for about 20 minutes straight and could not possibly have been less pleasant to be around. In conclusion, fuck this shit to hell and back, motherfuckers. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDAAAAAAMMMMMMMMITTTTTTTTTTT! SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTT!

Say what?

Man, both of my certification tests are on Halloween. That is bull to the shit. Halloween is my holy day. It's the official Dr. Mystery Day of Obligation. I mean, I usually just take a walk around the neighborhood and then drink beer while watching a horror movie, but still.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jim Dickinson, 1941-2009

Jim Dickinson died last week at age 67 after bypass surgery. He was a Memphis native. He played on Aretha Franklin's Spirit in the Dark, The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses," The Flamin' Groovies' Teenage Head, and Bob Dylan's Time out of Mind. He produced Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers, Alex Chilton's Like Flies on Sherbert, The Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me, and Mudhoney's Tomorrow Hit Today. He also played with and/or produced Sam & Dave, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Los Lobos, Jerry Jeff Walker, Ry Cooder, Petula Clark, Arlo Guthrie, Primal Scream, Rocket from the Crypt, and the Texas Tornados. He made some solo albums, too, including 1972's Dixie Fried.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Theme Schmeme

I'm still trying to get over being horrified at having to teach theme to my future students, because Texas standardized tests emphasize the ever living fuck out of theme. I don't understand this at all. Theme is the least important thing about the written word imaginable. It's even less important than symbolism, which, thank whatever non-existent god you stupidly and/or wisely pray to, is finally being de-emphasized in high school curriculum. Still, I'd rather teach symbolism than theme, because at least the occasional writer does something with symbolism. Emphasizing theme does a disservice to any student of reading and writing. Whether you're reading a piece of supermarket fiction for fun or reading a bill from a utility provider or translating an ancient text or trying to read a sign on the highway at night on your way to a friend's house in a city you've never visited, specificity and close reading and the words on the page and/or sign are most of what you need. You may also need life experience and an understanding of references to other works, but a cliched, generic mission statement about that text's human or television or Oprah universalities are a complete waste of time and energy and precious, ever-dwindling lifetime hours. Still, you need this "skill" to graduate, so I'm forced to shove it in adolescents' faces until the second after the test, in which case they can forget it forever because they will never need it, and if they want it they are terrible human beings. Worse than Hitler. Theme. Can I please judge salsa-eating contests for a living? I just wasn't made for these times.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I am petty enough to take pleasure in the petty hatred of some creepy moron in Chicago who hates the Jesus Lizard and writes dumb things

I can't believe this person is paid by the Chicago Reader to write articles. I can't believe someone hasn't murdered her. I can believe that indie-rock fans have turned out to be stupider and less relevant than classic rock fans. To clarify, first two sentences = can't, third sentence = can.
Here is a link to her blog.
Here are some nuggets of asininity, directly from her keyboard to your toilet bowl:
"It's such a gratifying thing to be able to report and write a story that is meaningful to you, and be given the space and freedom to unpack it."
Unpack it?

She refers to a band as playing "garage-rage." When can we just start calling things "rock and roll" again?

"I am on Chicago Tonight tomorrow, Tuesday. I GET TO TALK WITH PHIL PONCE. FOR SIX MINUTES. Totally unreal. If you have PBS and a Tv and remember to get a receptor box, see you then. Channel 11.I think it's on at like 7? I just painted my nails reggae for the occasion."
Painted her nails reggae? What the fuck?

She likes kittens. Big fucking surprise there.

"How bad do you wish you could take a happy baby sea lion 'prisoner' for a ride in your car? That is like #3 on my list of animal adventures I wish could come true. #1 is that my cats can talk #2 is to have a midget pony that I solve mysteries with. #3 is seal prisoner road trip."
Legally, she's an adult, probably in her late twenties-late thirties. Remember that. Remember what your grandparents were doing when they were her age.

"Night off in NY, I had the mammothest sushi at the macro place with the so-boss Mary Manning, We were in a hurry to get to the Agnes Varda autobiography movie, Beaches of Agnes or Agnes on the Beach or something. I TAKE BACK EVERYTHING BAD I SAID ABOUT HER EVER OR HER MOVIES. I GET IT NOW AND I WANT TO BE HER WHEN I GROW UP. But, anyhow, in my hurry, I just ate the middles of the sushi, leaving the gluteny tires of rice and s'weed making a sad DOOD face... Everyone needs to see the Agnes movie. The close up of a dying Jacques Demy's grey hair and arms I just sobbed sobbed sobbed. Partners, muses, aging, the grip of death--it was heavy as hell. It's nice to be home, and be presented with the futures new meanings."
So moving that she can't even bother to get the name of the movie right. And why was she in a hurry to see a movie by a person she'd said bad things about? That's alright. She gets it now, and wants to be her when she grows up. Wait. She is grown up, biologically speaking. All you fucking fucks are grown up. What do you do for anybody? What is your value? What do you do with those "new meanings" that the "futures" presented to you?

"Oh man. Not sure how today and yesterday or tonight can be topped. EPICS IN MINUTES, except the minutes were days. New York was major. I cried after I read, while at the podium in a room full of people whose work I admire, cohorts, relatives, my mom and sister, a step cousin, a dude whose grunge cover band I admired in high school, the people who work on my book at Workman, high school friends, transplanted bffs, people i did publicity for, people I work with on the radio show, the man who sold me his car, Girls Rock Camp staffers, the coolest girl a lame ex ever introduced me to, sister-authors, two young girls who called into the radio show today including the girl who wanted to know how do you know if you are talented, moms, chaperones, my oldest friend, feminist pen pals, zine people from the olden days, people I had not seen since 1995. It is just staggering to look up from reading behind this too tall podium and see a room full of people from every nook and cranny of your life. It felt so kind. I don't think I will ever get over it. My other favorite part ever, in a flash flood of favorites--a very young girl in the audience asked a technical question about a problem she was having in GarageBand and Jane answered it--but like 3 other lady hands all went up to offer solutions. What if that 10 year old girl right now is the Bjork of Brooklyn's future? What if by seeing hands of adult women fly up to help her, she grows up knowing full well that women are totally technically savvy audio engineers/etc. and it never occurs to her that that's not the case because she saw it happen. Do you know? Seeding a paradigm shift, right in the little moment--I saw it happen."
When my wife told a young girl where the bathroom was, I saw her seed a paradigm shift. What if that girl was the Shakira of Austin's Christmas past of the future today?

"Not to give the plot away, but in the Reader's Pitchfork guide, I said Fucked Up is the best live band at the festival. My editor thought I meant best band that day of the festival because it's such a commonly held idea/blf that The Jesus Lizard--undead, reunited, etc.--is the best live band at the fest, surely I am not saying Fucked Up are better than the Jesus Lizard. I am. I saw the Jesus Lizard at least five times between the ages of 15-20, and my opinion (previously chronicled in Hit it or Quit it issues #3 and #4) still stands: a killer rhythm section and Yow furiously tugging on his own penis do not make for the best show I have ever seen. Not even top 50. I remember enjoying Rollins Band shows more than JL. The last time I saw JL, Tanner opened and were better. So, no, their reunion is not the highlight of my summer. I think Pitchfork, for a truly don't-look-back moment should of had them play Shot in it's entirety, so the entire audience would be forced to face the reality that Jesus Lizard made some perfectly terrible albums before they hung it up. I am starting to think that 90's indie rock nostalgia is way more boring/offensive than the epicly chronicled, documentary-ized, coffee-table booked OLD HARDCORE DUDES 'WE STARTED IT ALL' memory lane that is actually a dead end culural cul-de-sac."
I know every opinion I've had between the ages of 15-20 still stands. Pulp Fiction is the greatest movie ever made. Shakespeare sucks and is boring. That one girl might go out with me. Eating Arby's, Hardee's, and Taco Bell for every meal will have no effect on my health. These opinions and more are chronicled in issues 3 and 4 of my zine, Hit it or Quit it. Also in issue 4, see my article, "That Band with the Awesome Rhythm Section Sucked So Bad that I Saw Them Play 5 Times Between the Ages of 15 and 20."

I know this silly woman's opinions are irrelevant and I am giving her more power by making fun of her, and she has published a book aimed at empowering young girls to play music (a sentiment I wholeheartedly endorse, even if those girls deserve a better writer), but I am showcasing a smattering of her nuggets of wisdom as case file #1 of 76,000 in my efforts to convince the United States to invade every other country and reinstate the draft. President Obama will be sent a copy of this woman's prose, alongside the work of 75,999 other dumb white hipsters. The President and Congress will have no choice but to send all 76,000 and as many of their Facebook friends as can be located into battle. We will either save American culture or destroy it, but at least everyone with hair like the guy on the right and clothes like the guy on the left will be dead. In the unlikely event that these pasty hipsters somehow win the war, they will be driven into the Nevada desert and blown up.