Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How To Predict If A Cumbia Album Will Be Fabulous

According to Joey Burns, who plays lead guitar on 'Cumbia Lupita' in the above clip, if a picture of an ass is on the cover of said cumbia cd and it clearly belongs to a very shapely woman, the album will be fantastic. After watching Tucson's newest mambo kings, Sergio Mendoza y Su Orkestra open for Calexico on Monday, I have to believe that this is the truth. I'm going to use this criteria in all future purchase assessments of cumbia cds -- foolproof!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Notes on the Season

From a recent entry in my commonplace book:

I just finished reading David Sedaris' When You Are Engulfed In Flames. The final chapter of the book details his attempt to stop smoking. He decides to accomplish this feat by taking a three month trip to Japan. While there, he encounters Engrish.

"On an apron picturing a dog asleep in a basket: 'I'm glad I caught you today. Enjoy Mama.'

On decorative paper bags a person might put a gift in: 'When I think about the life in my own way I need gentle conversations.'"

During this often trying time of year, I wish everyone gentle conversations in their own lives. Io, Saturnalia, y'all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Own Radio Station, Circa 1993

I have a time capsule box of cassettes in my garage, waiting patiently atop the deep fryer and the My Little Pony Dream House, hoping that I will soon rediscover them. At the moment, I don't have any way to listen to them, since the cassette player component of my stereo died some years ago. In all of my efforts to create a minimalist, monastic living space, I feel as though it would be prudent to give them away. And yet, I can't bring myself to dispose of them. Instead, I'm inviting you to have a brief look into the tupperware tomb containing the music I used to love, which practically defined a period of my life. It's going to be a great grungy stroll down high school memory lane. I'm as excited about it as you are! Shall we?

Suede - The Drowners:

What does the writing along that guy's spine mean? I feel as though I'm missing a hidden message in this video.

Screaming Trees - Julie Paradise

Sure, everyone remembers 'Nearly Lost You' from Singles, one of the best movies ever, but nobody has ever heard of this one. Except me, of course.

The Lemonheads - Into Your Arms

I can't believe I used to have a crush on Evan Dando. Sheesh.

Blind Melon - Change

I used to listen to this song in the middle of the night and just know that Shannon Hoon really understood me. Too bad he died of a heroin overdose.

Belly - Feed the Tree

I still have no idea what the heck this song is about. But I do know all of this and more.

Mary's Danish - Underwater

When they came to Tucson, I managed to somehow win tickets and con my mother into allowing me to go. Combat boots never looked as great as they did with my granny dress that night. I am actually about as cool now as I thought I was then. Which isn't saying much.

Rocket From The Crypt - French Guy

The best RFTC album ever is Paint as a Fragrance. I defy anyone to name a better one.

Primus - Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

I saw them play this, live, at Lollapalooza. Yeah. Remember that? I still have the t-shirt. It may be grunge style 7,000 sizes too large, but I still have it.

Ok, one more:

Paul Westerberg - Dyslexic Heart

This couldn't be a complete stroll without something from Singles. Which I have on VHS and DVD. Just in case I get a VCR again, you know, one day. They're coming back, I can feel it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rugby: So Much Better Than Football

The All-Blacks vs England Game: November 30, 2008

When someone mentions sports, my eyes tend to immediately glaze over and I start searching out the nearest exit. I have no interest in statistics, players, games, crazy fandom, (ok, I am, admittedly, intrigued by the odd breed of the Super Fan, but I digress) records, fantasy anything, and, worst of all, I hate sports bars. With a passion. All that noise. The chest banging grunting. The cheap beer and the chicken wings. Ugh. I would rather spend an afternoon in the dentist's chair than have to suffer through even fifteen minutes of sitting in a sports bar. This says a lot, since my dentist has gag-inducing smelly rubber gloves, the mere sight of which triggers a whole body production of bile and other nasty secretions. I hate the dentist. I have a cavity that I refuse to have filled, so much do I despise his gloves.

Two weekends ago, I was, in a moment of intoxication induced pliancy, convinced that I should not only agree to willingly go to a sports bar, but then sit there and watch a sporting event. For more than three minutes. And, oh, be excited about that. So much so that I should even wear something special for this event. It never takes much convincing from anyone to get me to dress up, so I agreed.

My defenses had been horrendously compromised due to my consumption of multiple bottles of beer combined with a painfully extended stomach full of jilebi. I couldn't refuse. All plans for the future sound like genius ideas when it happens around a roaring bonfire and I am blissfully sated through sugar and alcohol. Gah. It felt like a calculated set-up. I am nothing if not a woman of my word, however, which is how I found myself wearing a black shirt and driving to the World Sports Grille on Sunday afternoon.

I walked into this bar and began to wonder what it was, exactly, that I had agreed to do. There were hundreds of large screen televisions everywhere around which were situated groups of jersey wearing, semi-intoxicated lugheads. Men and women, screaming and yelling at these televisions, their faces greasy from fried food and their hands dripping with ranch dressing. A high pitched squealing whine began, right behind my left eyeball. My right eye started to twitch. I had serious doubts that I could survive the afternoon, let alone the next ten minutes. Mike, my kiwi buddy, jumped up and gave me a hug, 'Oh, this is going to be an awesome game! You'll be so glad you came!' I smiled, trying to ignore the drilling that was trying to escape out of my brain and through my eye. His wife winked at me.

We sat down in front of a giant screen television. The station was changed and the game was already underway. Mike was incredibly disappointed, telling us that we had missed the haka. I was also highly disappointed -- this had been one of the main reasons I had decided to attend! Luckily, several haka highlights were shown throughout the game.

The first few minutes of the game were rather uninteresting. I spent a lot of time quizzing the waiter on the beers that he had on tap and examining the menu. After the first points of the game were scored, however, I was hooked. Mils Muliaina grinned as he sailed across the goal line in a successful try, as though he had practiced his score smile in the mirror. I laughed -- seeing that was one hundred times inherently better than a touchdown victory dance! The game continued from there to be a bloodbath, with the All Blacks winning 32-6. WOO!

After paying the bill, Mike asked me what I thought of the game. 'I loved it! When is the next one? Can we watch it here?'

He smiled sadly at me,' That was the last game of the season. They won't play again until June.'

I'll just have to become a haka buff in the meantime, I guess.

New Zealand vs. Tonga:

New Zealand vs. South Africa:

Ireland seems to like to taunt the All Blacks. Most famously, they edge closer and closer to the All Blacks as they do their opening haka:

Just this year, Ireland's Munster team decided to attempt to preempt the All Blacks' haka by performing a truncated version of their own:

They didn't appear to be particularly intimidated. Or really, to even notice.

My favorite haka performance (though, admittedly, I've only been paying attention to rugby for a very short time) comes from the World Cup Game of New Zealand against France in 2007. France had Chabal on their team, a famous barbarian of a rugby player. Even me, with my limited knowledge and interest in sports, had heard of this guy. He is a living ghost of Gaul, playing rubgy instead of slaying Romans -- a modern day Vercingetorix!



It takes very little imagination to think of Chabal out on the battlefield, stealing babies:

In watching this haka, Chabal gives the All Blacks the fiery eyeball, but does seem mildly impressed with their showmanship.

It wasn't enough though -- France still won that game. As impressed as I am with the All Blacks, France will always be my team. Sheesh. I have a team? Can Sundays spent watching NASCAR be far behind?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Serait-ce possible alors?

I have what some may call a, erm, fascination with Carla Bruni. She is, yes, the First Lady of France. How she became as such was a whole other story and scandal unto itself, one which I will not discuss at the moment. The important thing is that she is currently on a tour supporting her third cd. No longer a World Dominating Super Model, she is out doing her own thing, despite whatever clucking way the Old World Biddies in Black may be condoning her behavior. In a recent interview, she discussed the idea that yes, she was out touring, singing songs and continuing to pursue her own interests because she did have a life before she married Sarkozy.

"At the beginning, I got worried that people might take it wrong, because they are not used to it. Usually first ladies have been supporting their husbands," Bruni explained.

"I thought that maybe for a woman nowadays, you know, it's important to have a job and to keep it," she added.

How shocking that the First Lady of a country is standing up for her right to continue to be whom she is, without apology! I would guess that this is likely what attracted Sarkozy to her in the first place, the fact that she has a sense of who she is and is proud of that. I am optimistically choosing to see this as part of a new wave of women who are able to define who they are instead of buckling under the assumed pressures of how a woman should behave while in a very public position with a choke hold expectation of Victorian Era propriety. I hope that Michelle Obama follows suit. As excited as I am that Barack Obama will soon be the president, I am even more thrilled by the idea that Michelle Obama, an obviously intelligent and, ok, I'll say it, fierce! woman, will also be in the White House.

Laura Bush, as a role model, took us backward in time, by behaving as though her proper role was the Historian of the White House Linen Closet. I have found it to be so frustrating that she espouses the ideal view of a presidential wife as one who should demure to the assumptions that are assigned to her role. Bah. Do a photo shoot. Express yourself. Otherwise, what kind of role model, really, are we supporting?

But back to Carla. Oooh la la.

Monday, November 10, 2008

All Souls Procession 2008: Officially More Fun Than My Birthday

This year's parade was fantastic. Even though it rained, was cold (a bone chilling 60 degrees!!) , and I became separated from my friends for the finale, this year's procession was the

I began my costume preparations a month ago, though, to be truthful, throughout the year I am on the lookout for the two epic dresses that would comprise my dream costume -- either the Tooth Fairy or a mermaid. Though both would be appropriately dead.

I have tried on more than 100 dresses that could be possible Tooth Fairy contenders. The closest one was a ridiculous wedding dress that, even used, was more than $100. I love the parade and I live for dressing up, but I simply cannot, in good frugal conscience, allow myself to spend $100 on a dress that I will likely only wear once. Although, yes, I will confess that had the dress been absolutely perfect and I did, without a doubt, look exactly like the Tooth Fairy that I have in my imagination, I probably would have bought it. A great costume is worth it. Luckily for my wallet, however, I have not yet found that dress. Yet.

This evening's preparations began about 3:00 pm, which was at least two entire hours before I even needed to leave my house and drive downtown. I felt so ahead of myself that I was certain that I would have extra time -- perhaps even enough to stop for tacos en route to the parade. Little else is more amusing than eating tacos dressed as a dead butterfly. As with most fun times, it is all in the unlikeliness of the context.

The self congratulations started much too soon. I immediately encountered a problem with getting my very tall wig firmly on to my head. Over the course of the last four weeks, my head has grown, apparently. So large, in fact, that short of shaving off all of my hair, a possibility that I considered and finally had to reject, there was just no way that I could fit my loomingly large head into the very small net of the wig. After yelling, shrieking, deep breathing, and a beer, my head did make it, part way, into the wig.

The wig debacle created several unsightly patches in my otherwise flawlessly white skeletal makeup, prompting further shrieking, bargaining with a higher authority, and another beer. Face repaired, it was time to go, with nary a moment for a roadside taco -- two hours passed in an instant.

The drive to the parade is similar to an appetizer. I got all of the adoring attention but in smaller, bite-sized bursts. Drivers passing on the right would whip their necks around in an immediate double take. While stopped at any light, surrounding cars would point and alert their passengers to the oddly dressed creature in the next lane. There were some moments when I considered skipping the procession altogether in favor of driving around Tucson, surprising drivers. Again, I find such joy in context.

After parking the car and joining hundreds of other skeletons on their way to meet up with their brethren, I began to worry anew about the state of my precariously perched wig. The wind did little to ease my concerns, even though I would put my head into the oncoming gusts in much the same way I imagined an annoyed horse or a cow must do. I managed to walk a mere three blocks before the wig came off completely. I carried it for the rest of the parade, it limply resting in my arms like an elderly chinchilla.

If I tell you nothing else of the parade, know this: more people took my photo and complimented me on my costume this year than in any other preceding year. It is a good thing I don't have to put that wig on again; it will never fit on my head now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Moi, Je Suis Une Aventurière

Je sais bien que vous voulez la chanter:

Prostré dans une citadelle de l’occident
Tu rêves d’un nouveau départ
De girafes et d’éléphants

Eliminer les toxines qui t’emprisonnent
Transcender le sodium
Qui régit tes synapses
Tes synapses

Je ferai le tour de la Terre
Le tour de la mer
Je suis un aventurier
Je ferai le tour de la Terre
Le tour de la mer
Je suis un aventurier né

As-tu pensé à couper l’eau et le gaz
As-tu bien fermé à clé
Tu commences un peu à stresser
à stresser

Aaaah la honte, il a les foies
Aaah la honte, la poule mouillée
Même pas cap’ de s’en aller
Aaaah la honte !

Je ferai le tour de la Terre
Le tour de la mer
Je suis un aventurier
Je ferai le tour de la Terre
Le tour de la mer
A cheval sur un poney
Je ferai le tour de la Terre
Le tour de la mer
En scaphandre hélitreuillé
Je ferai le tour de la Terre
Le tour de la mer
Avec Opodo point com
Car la note la plus longue de la Terre, la voilàààààààà

Les Belugas de Montréal
Les Gekkos de Bamako
Les Cobras de Mexico
Les Dragons du Komodo
Les Nasiks de New Dehli
Les Nasiks de l’Elysée

Les babouins de Tokyo
Les babouins de la place Beauvau

Thursday, October 30, 2008

La Joie du Temps Libre

Je suis fatiguée aujourd’hui mais c’est pour une très bonne raison ! J’ai bien complété un projet d’art ce matin à six heures. J’ai eu l’im - pression que je ne le finirais jamais parce que j’ai passé plus de huit semaines sur cette sculpture. Mais comment je me suis éclatée avec le résultat! Ce n’est pas assez souvent, ces jours, que je fais de l’art seulement pour moi-même.

Je crée des sculptures avec plusieurs matières mais typiquement, j’emploie des fragments de verre, du plâtre et des photos. Je suis connue, à Paris, pour mon style moderne et vivant et j’ai vendu plus de trente sculptures. En général, je vends mes œuvres aux collecteurs.

Ils me connaissent et ils me téléphonent deux ou trois fois chaque année pour me demander s’il y a un nouveau bébé dans mon atelier.

Je fais mes sculptures dans mon appartement. Il est l’endroit où j’habite et où je travaille. Je l’ai choisi parce qu’il est très grand, le 6e étage entier de l’immeuble. C’est parfait pour moi, parce que je ne suis pas obligé de m’habiller si je n’ai pas envie de le faire. Je peux passer toute la nuit avec mes sculptures si je veux et ça ne dérange personne.

Il y a des jours quand je me pince parce que ma vie est vraiment comme un rêve. Mais non, ma vie est exactement comme je l’ai imaginée. C’est possible que si on a des espoirs, on puisse les réaliser.

Ce n’était pas toujours comme ça.

J’ai toujours aimé créer l’art mais je n’ai jamais cru q’un jour, il y aurait les gens qui voudraient les acheter. Depuis que j’ai eu l’age de 18 ans, j’ai travaillé dans un café pendant la journée pour payer les factures et pendant la nuit, j’ai fait de l’art dans mon tout-petit appartement. J’ai détesté cette vie, mais c’était nécessaire pour cinq ans.

Quand j’avais 23 ans, j’ai été invitée à participer dans une exposition de la sculpture dans une petite galerie de voisinage. Le propreitaire de la galerie a souvent mangé dans le café ou je travaillais et, de temps en temps, on a parlé de ma ‘vraie’ vie. J’ai connu beaucoup d’artistes et ensemble, on a organisé des fêtes où nous nous montrions nos pièces.

Un jour, j'ai pris mon courage à deux mains et je l’y ai invité et après ça, c’est un conte de fées! Il a adoré mes sculptures et il m’a offert une place dans sa galerie pour trois de mes pièces. Pendant la première, une dame d’un certain age les a vue.

Elle a achète tous les trois dans un seul coup, et voilà, le lendemain, j’ai quitte mon boulot. Je suis devenue artiste, peintre et sculptrice. Simplement comme ça.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finding My Spot

This is Xena. Not Xena the Warrior Princess, but Zena Snowflake. Sometimes, lovingly, she is also known as The Sausage. Her favorite activities include riding the dryer and making bold and vigorous attempts at scratching the couch. She always appears to be incredibly self satisfied after what seems to be at least 25 solid minutes of this activity. I let her do it; she doesn't have any claws.

She doesn't seem to realize that, though.

Before I write a full personal ad for this cat, who, really, has little interest in boy cats, I'll admit that I envy Xena's existence at times. She lives an extremely cushy life, doing whatever she feels like doing, whenever she feels like doing it. She seems generally content, nary an existential crisis has clouded her day. I believe this is because she has found her spot in life. She never needs to mentally prepare herself to take a nap in the sun. She doesn't ever procrastinate on any of her various cat tasks -- she simply gets them finished in her own good time and enjoys herself in the process.

She has become my mentor. I've been following her around, taking notes. Asking questions. It is obvious that she appreciates the fact that I have finally come to my senses and noticed her for the sage that she is. I'm certain that at some point in the very near future, I'll be required to compensate her in some way for her instructional services. Good thing tuna was on sale this week at the grocery store; I stocked up.

What I want to know from her is how to maintain this easy come easy go approach to life. Why is it that I need an entire week off to simply arrive in the brain space where my mental faucet will bring water immediately once turned? An entire week to get to this place where I can sit, do, plot, plan, make, create, write, photo, zibzabberydoo on demand, at will!, and tomorrow, I have to return to work. How do I keep the faucet at this level of preparedness?

Ugh. It is the Return To Work Malaise.

Xena just yawns. Stretches. Rolls over. Looks at me. I guess enlightenment will not be happening today.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bienvenue, Ségolène

De temps en temps, je publie des histoires d'une femme qui habite dans un monde parallèle. Ces contes merveilleux se passent à Paris ou cette dame habite en ce moment. J’ai crée cette série, au début, pour un cours de français que j’ai suivi. Á la fin, je ne suis pas prête à la laisser tomber. Donc, voila, on commence avec le premier chapitre.

Le Premier Jour

J’ai décidé d’écrire un journal intime puis que j’ai récemment déménagé dans un nouvel apparte - ment. Je m’appelle Ségolène Legrand et j’ai 45 ans mais tous mes amis pensent que je suis beaucoup plus jeune que ça. Peut-être que c’est parce que je ne fais pas les choses comme les autres femmes qui ont le même âge.

J’ai une vie assez intéressante comme je suis une artiste qui adore les nuites blanches. Je fais la peinture et aussi la sculpture mais c’est très difficile pour moi de les faire pendant la journée. Bien, voilà, c’est pour cette raison que je ne dors pas comme une femme typique. Je passe presque toute la nuit avec mes idées et mes travaux.

De temps en temps, j’invite mes amis chez moi pour l’inspiration. Ce n’est pas ma faute si les soirées ne commencent pas avant minuit – c’est la vie d’une artiste, n’est pas ?

Je pense que j’ai un style propre et assez joli. Mes cheveux sont longs, très longs, juste à ma taille. Ils sont presque toujours tressés parce que c’est plus simple de l’avoir comme ça. Ils sont noirs, très noirs, la couleur de la nuit sans les étoiles ou d’un grand piano de concert. J’ai des yeux verts, très verts, la couleur de graminée ou la mer sur les îles tropiques. Je suis assez grande, comme mon nom de famille, presque 1.6 mètres.

Je ne porte pas souvent mes chaussures, mais quand je les ai portés, je préfère les escarpins avec les hauts talons.

Presque toujours, je porte une tunique avec des caleçons. J’adore, aussi, les chapeaux. J’ai une collection de presque 500 chapeaux parce que ma meilleure amie est modiste. Elle fait les beaux chapeaux spécialement pour moi et tous que j’en ai sont originaux. Je ne me maquille pas beaucoup, mais j’utilise un crayon du contour pour mes yeux. J’aime, aussi, des rouges à lèvres éclatantes.

J’habite toute seule dans mon nouvel appartement, en fait, pas exactement toute seule. J’adore les oiseaux inséparables; j’ai cinq paires de ces créatures mignonnes. J’espère que mes voisins vont les adorer comme je les adore, mais sinon, c’est dommage. Elles sont comme mes enfants et c’est vrai, je parle avec mes oiseaux parce qu’elles aiment la conversation.

Je n’ai pas un mari ni un fiancé et ça marche bien pour moi. Je peux manger ce que je veux quand je veux et je fais ce que je veux quand je veux. Je me suis presque marié avec quelqu’un il y a dix ans, mais j’ai changé d’avis et je crois que c’était la meilleure décision de ma vie. En ce moment, je sors souvent avec un homme qui j’aime beaucoup. En fait, j’ai trois hommes qui j’aime beaucoup, et j’imagine qu’un jour je vais peut-être obliger d’en choisir.

Mais pas encore.