Monthly Archives: January 2011

January 24, 2011 – Song 81

Discussing with the lovely Fatima tonight the completely unnecessary fight that erupted around us the last time we saw each other I was reminded of something a very wise friend of mine said about all of us being in a sort of tribe.

And although we can be somewhat accurately described as a group of “successful fuck ups” there are many other words that also come to mind. One of them is the word “peaceful”.

The gold road’s sure a long road
Winds on through the hills for fifteen days
The pack on my back is aching
The straps seem to cut me like a knife

I’m no clown I won’t back down
I don’t need you to tell me what’s going down

Every once a while a book will get in my way. It always seems to happen randomly and when I least expect it, but possibly when I need it the most. And usually, I can remember exactly where I was in life when it happened.

But I have no idea where this book came from. I don’t remember the first time I read it, where I was or how old I was. I don’t know who gave it to me or if I just sort of found it myself.

It’s as if it was just always there.

Years ago I had this really vivid dream that I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I fight it for awhile, but eventually I give in and get up. I find myself in front of my bookcase looking at all of my books. I feel like I am looking for a particular book, one I have read many times before, because in that moment I know that all I want to do is read something comforting. A story that I already know and already love. I’m too tired for anything else. I run my hand down my shelf, touching the spines of my books. And then my hand stops. Here it is, the perfect book. I pull it out and take it to the table.

Just holding this book makes me feel good. It’s like the book knows how much I love it and it shines that right back at me. I sit down and flip through it, randomly stopping here and there to muse over the scenes I find. I know them so well I could almost recite them word for word. I decide then and there that I am going to reread it, from the very start, in it’s entirety, for the one gillionth time. No matter how silly that sort of seems.

I pause for a second and then open the cover so I can begin again, at the very beginning.

It’s then that my whole world falls apart. Somehow, someway, I have never once seen the first chapter. In my dream I am so confused…I can’t figure out how this can this be. I flip around the book again, opening and closing it. I even decide, in my dream, that I must be dreaming. But no matter what I do to wake myself up, it’s obvious to me, that I am totally awake, and yet there it is, as real as me, the first unread chapter.

The weirdest part, is that sitting there, I know that it’s always been there. Right there, where it’s always been.

I am the one who just never noticed. Song 81.

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January 23, 2011 – Song 80

A friend was lamenting the other day about writing a cover letter for a job she didn’t even really want. That idea made me laugh because the only jobs I’ve ever gotten from cover letters were jobs I also didn’t really want. I have fell into every job I have ever stuck with, but one in particular has evolved into a real odyssey, over a decade in the making.

This job has brought so many wonderful things to me…friends, music, laughter and opportunities so far beyond the scope of the position itself it sometimes still seems surreal. But there is one little thing that it brought which has altered not just my daily schedule, but my life, forever. Song 80.

I still remember the day, almost ten years ago, when I went into work at the Broadway Reckless a week or so after Thanksgiving. I had been out of town and had missed a recent development in the life of the manager Henry. It seems that Henry’s friend, who I didn’t know*, was walking his dogs in Humboldt Park when a little black pitbull approached them. This little fella was worse for the wear. He was skinny and his coat was matted. He had several marks on him that suggested he had come from a bad scene, the most obvious of which was the missing ring of fur around his neck. It was pretty obvious he had been tied to something, and for a while. He was collarless, there was no one around and it was cold as shit. So Henry’s friend took him home.

The problem was this dude already had three dogs. He kept him for a bit but it was just too much. He called around but all of the shelters warned that they often have to put pitbulls down. He even tried the pit rescue but the waiting list was miles long. There are many things to be proud of in this fair city of ours, but the amount of abandoned dogs who for one reason or another failed to make the fighting cut is proof there are also quite a few things to be ashamed of too. But, don’t you worry, this is the part where Henry comes to the rescue. He agreed to take the pup home until a proper home could be found. Even though he himself had quite a mess of cats.

I didn’t know about any of this that day however. I just walked into work. And there was this little black pup just hanging out. When I stepped behind the counter he came over to sniff me and so I petted him. Then, very gingerly, he sort of stood up and very gently put his paws on me. I had never seen a dog do that before. I still remember laughing as I said “Who’s dog is this?” and Henry looked at me smiling and said “Heeeee could be yours.”

But in my mind he already was.

*Many, many years later I was walking Levee down Division Street when I saw one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed making it’s way down the sidewalk towards me. It was this punk rocky looking dude on a skateboard being walking/being pulled by several dogs. And there was literally a group of kids skipping behind him like he was some kind of Pied Piper. As this crazy parade passed it was impossible not to laugh, it was so weird, like a scene out of a modern day fairy tale.

But suddenly, the whole party posse comes to a halt and this dude picks up his skateboard and comes over to me, dogs and children still orbiting around him. He looks shocked. “Where did you get that dog?” he said. And so I tell him. And smiling ear to ear he says “I always wondered where his home was!” We chatted for a moment or two and then he hopped on his skateboard and the whole crew continued on their merry way.

There’s no such thing as magic my eye.

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January 22, 2010 – Song 79

Since the very first time I heard this song on 120 Minutes it has never failed to lift the corner up for me.

All I need sometimes is a little peak to underneath. Song 79.

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January 21, 2011 – Song 78

Man. Yesterday, as one friend put it, “Was just one of those days.”

Couldn’t raise that river no matter how hard I tried.

Song ’78. Born in the Year of the Horse, of course.

Queen of Cryptic Facebook Posts Since 2010™

A while ago my friend Mary told me I was the queen of cryptic Facebook updates. I laughed when she said it, but when I got home I had to look up the word cryptic. I was pleasantly surprised. At first I thought she meant depressing. Like tales from the cryptic or something.

But it just means mysterious or obscure. Or both. Six and one half dozen or the other as they say.

Anyway, yesterday just had this vibe to it. And I couldn’t shake it. No matter how hard I tried or how many Girl Scout cookies I helped to sell. And I didn’t seem alone to be alone in that feeling. I ran into a lot of people yesterday who were just like “Meh.” Well they said other words but that is a fine enough translation. I was at work and I pulled a move I have never once pulled before. I put this New Order record on and after this song finished I went over to the record player and pretended to sneeze really loudly and started it again. The crazy guy waiting at the counter said “GOD BLESS YOU WOMAN!” and I said “YOU’RE WELCOME!” and no one else in the store batted an eyelash. Although I’m sure today some jerko will probably write on our Yelp review that it’s as if the employees are trying to be annoying. Like that’s so Uber Meta or something. How about this one butt munch, some of us just like Beyonce. And CCR. And En Vogue. And Steely Dan. And you might not have heard the new Band of Hercules and Vampires one thousand times already but we have. So cool your jets. You’re buying it anyway. Go home and listen to it. Sweet Jesus.

So, like I said it was in the air. And all day I knew I wanted to play this song but all I could think to say about it was “You gotta raise that river.” Which means nothing to anyone but me. So I am gonna try to explain it so that when I say it around you now you can just nod and find me adorably offbeat instead of just creepy. Although you will probably still think I’m a complete nerd. Six and one half.

There is this scene from Lord of the Rings where Arwen is riding a dying Frodo away from the Ringwraiths. Am I super into LOTR? Not really. But I have never been able to shake this scene. The Ringwraiths are like hooded doom on your heels and here is this lady trying so valiantly to save something so fragile. She finally gets to this river which I believe is like the Mason Dixon of the Elves and turns around and raises her sword. The Wraiths say “Give up the Halfling She Elf!” and Arwen is all “If you want him come and claim him.” So badass right?

So the Wraiths try to cross the river but old Arwen starts casting a spell of whatnot in Elfish and the river raises and turns into white capped horses which crush them. It’s like the cure for depression or something. With your mind you gotta raise your river and wash away the dark riders even if you are just one lady. You’ve got some fragile cargo here people. That hobbit is your spirit.*

So anyway, back at the old record store, way after my turn had passed a woman came to the counter because she had seen a copy of this record listed online but couldn’t find it on the floor. That’s because I had it. I brought it over to her and I she looked SO relived. She said thanks and I said “No worries. I know what it’s like when you just gotta hear Age of Consent like one thousand times.”

She looked me right in the eye like I was a gypsy who stole her thoughts.

I’m starting to think it might be worth being misunderstood a lot if I get to blow someone’s whole mindhole here and there.

*I showed this clip to some friends recently and at the very end after Arwen has just been so brave and so tough, she puts down her sword and lays a failing Frodo on the ground. She then bows and says something like “Let all of my goodness pass to him.” So gentle. I was delighted when my friend turned to me and said, “What a Ladydude.” Fucking exactly.

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January 20, 2011 – Song 77

Yesterday I didn’t know this song existed.

Today, I do. Song 77.

So there’s that.

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January 19, 2011 – Song 76

Today at work a an event occurred that is so rare it had to be treated with due respect. The entire Wicker Park store, for one whole American hour, was staffed entirely by ladies. And there were only two words that made any sense. Two words, that could do it justice. And those words were, of course, “Immaculate Collection”.

Spirit of Song 76.

Excerpts from an actual conversation today: 

“Isn’t this song from a movie?”

“Yeah…with Sean Penn. I think it’s something about jogging.”

Not only did we sing this like we wrote it ourselves, but we helped people the entire time and took every opportunity to throw away trash dramatically in an ode to a stellar goodbye Nathex*.

Multitasking. God’s true gift to womankind.

*Nathexes are interstore emails if emails were more like playing Oregon Trail. I believe DOS is the word? In any case, here is a passage from what Libby wrote to everyone today.

HI GUYS

It’s been a great three or so years with you.
I’ve learned a lot about life and a lot about
music. I’ve learned a lot about a lot of you,
and I will always remember this.

BE STRONG
REMEMBER HOW FUN WORK CAN BE
PLAY BEYONCE
PLAY ALICE COOPER GROUP
and don’t forget to DUNK stuff into the trash can
whenever you can.

So well played Ladydude. ♥

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January 18, 2011 – Song 75

So obviously, I am way behind. I haven’t even got into the whole “posted comments” mess. And it is one of the best parts, I know, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Good things, yada yada, those who wait.

One Little Promise

But be it good or bad, or just wildly behind the times, it’s a blog now. Man this is all so Meta, right? Huzzah! Sweet Freedom. Song 75.

One day, I decided I wanted to post a song every single day on Facebook for one whole year. It turns out I also like to write some stuff sometimes. And sometimes, well, not so much.

All of this started when I was assisting my friend Gwen while she DJed a wedding. She played the song “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and everyone went fucking bonkers.

The thing is, I am a huge Tom Petty fan, but in all of my years DJing weddings I had never actually played a Tom Petty song, not even once. I never even thought of it. But sitting there watching everyone sing along I realized I do the same thing every single day. I have at least one moment, one quiet moment, inside a song. And that means something. Somehow.

When you’re down it’s hard to remember that one day you’ll be back up again.

Lindsay Buckingham taught me that. Way before I was doing this, even before this idea was totally formed in my mind, I posted this video on Facebook on a shitty day. Looking back now, I realize I was DJing that day of my life. I was taking back the night, as they say.

That’s the part of the story that unfolded, a month later, while I was sitting there inside of “American Girl”. I decided I wanted to know what the road to November 5th 2011 looked like. It was gonna happen one way or the other. And it became clear that I could spend the time until then feeling crappy OR I could just do something totally awesome instead.

So I made myself one little promise. And here it is.

BTW…If you read this the “All About It” tab is gonna be kind of a let down. ∞

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