27 September 2005

I Like the Way Serendipity Feels on My Tongue

In yet another in a series of weirdo positive happenings leading up to my eventually leaving the country without any attachments, I just sold my house! A mere twelve hours before the moving truck rolls into the driveway (replacing the dumpster), I sold my house!

wee purple palace

So, anyway...



That is all.

21 September 2005

Update (in bullet-format) from the Land of Too Many Boxes

* I am moving, once and for all, from the house I've lived in for five years (almost exactly) one week from today.

* There is currently parked in my driveway a twenty foot dumpster, half filled with the detritus of a life spent with too much storage space and the accumulated waste of previous owners.

* The dining room is currently filled with 32 boxes of varying size stuffed full with (nearly all) the books that had until this afternoon lined every inch of wall space and most of the usable surfaces of the spare bedroom.

* In the course of this packing/cleaning frenzy, the following have been discovered:

roughly four or five thousand of these monsters living in the basement:
basement cricket

two spiders more or less the size of my head:
kitchen find
back door gaurdian

the essentially full skeletal remains of a rabbit (and for the record, I did not kill this one...I think):
rabbit skeleton

and that my wife's high school boyfriend and former (sorta) normal person has become brainwashed by this wacko, fundy Jesus cult, much to everyone and no one's surprise.

* Bailey, the golden retriever, has a cone on her head a la the mutt in One Crazy Summer or that one Nirvana video. When the dumpster delivery driver came to drop off his wares, he saw her and said, "Hey, your dog's got a lampshade on her head. Life of the party, huh?" Best truck driver banter ever.

* I am creeping ever closer to passable Russian. (The Rosetta Stone language programs advertised on the back of every Skymall are, in fact, brilliant.) Speaking Russian simultaneously makes me feel a little cooler (temperature-wise) and like I want to do battle with a CIA agent.

* I still officially miss Elliott Smith, and listening to the entire catalogue while packing is not helping that fact.

* In the new issue of The Believer's interview with the glorious Sarah Silverman, she uses the word bubbler in lieu of water fountain, and in doing so simultaneously outs herself as a native New Englander (New Hampshire) and puts a good distance between herself and the rest of the field on my list of celebrity crushes. (Oh, you have one too, cool guy. Shut up.)

* There will never be enough boxes. Never.

Back to the pack.

19 September 2005

Through the Windshield at a Tollbooth

My fellow and erstwhile Bloomingfolk: doesn't this look like our boy J. Loyal?


Only, ya know, in like twenty/thirty years...

I've Been Meaning to Write This for a Week

I was one of four Dans in a group of friends while in college. Dan Manchester, Dan Haar, Dan Crowell, and Dan...I can't remember Dan #4's last name. I didn't dislike Dan #4 (though I do remember that he was the cause and the intended target of another non-Dan friend's comment that "some people just major in being an art major" and that I agreed with the comment and its intents wholeheartedly), I just didn't know him as well and my memory is pitted with years-of-drug-abuse-sized holes. That I've lost Dan #4's name is not surprising. That I've only spoken to the other two Dans three or four times (totaled collectively) is also not surprising, given my lack of skill at keeping in touch with anyone outside of my immediate family (they call me) with any frequency, a problem only compounded by my moving to Indiana after graduation instead of Park Slope or Williamsburg. That said, I still think about the Dans and the rest of the crew with some frequency, wondering what they're doing, if so-and-so is still painting, what band so-and-so is in, if Dan X is still dating Person Y, etc.

So it was a pleasant and shocking surprise when I opened the newest issue of Rolling Stone magazine last week to find this year's crop of 10 New Bands to Watch! only to have one of the Dans staring out at me. Dan Crowell, whose drum set lived in our dining room all of junior year, whose stationary-floating dance is one of the true indescribable wonders of the world, who nearly talked a bicycle police officer into arresting the two of us one night after our graduation (Officer 1: "Why are you two sitting here on Broadway drinking when you know it's illegal? Dan Crowell: "Well, it's hot out, sir. And there's a bench."), this Dan Crowell's face (and upper torso, too!) was captured in glossy color among the pages of Rolling Stone. The band's name is Matt Pond PA. I know nothing about them, other than what Jenny Eliscu told me and what I've gleaned from the band's website (they're opening for Liz Phair on her upcoming tour), but I'm still excited.

And I'm not just excited because someone I (used to) know is in Rolling Stone magazine. I'm doubly excited because this marks the second issue of the magazine in a row that contained someone I knew/know. The first, sadly, was an obituary for Al Aronowitz, a rock journalist and the man who, legend has it, first turned the Beatles on to weed and first introduced them to Bob Dylan. I "met" him while I was a sophomore in college. I somehow stumbled across his website. There, tucked among amazing tales of his insider views of early rock excesses and milestone moments, was a note that he'd "start posting other people's poetry and fiction to the site if [he] ever got around to finding a victim willing to sort through it all." I emailed to volunteer. This began a couple years of our talking and planning an on-line journal (independent of The Blacklisted Journalist site) that never got off the ground. While planning a memorial gathering in Central Park for Allen Ginsberg, Al called me to organize a student presence/reading event to happen simultaneously. Somehow, through all of that, I never put his name together with the legendary Al Aronowitz I had read about in Dylan biographies and elsewhere. Even when he included me on his mass emails and I'd find my name next to Country Joe McDonald and other 60's lesser luminaries, I just equated that to...well, to something else. To be honest, I don't think I thought about it too much. I liked his energy regarding our starting a journal and his cranky honesty regarding my bad ideas and just left it at that. I hadn't spoken to him in about five years when I saw his obit last month. But, like Dan Crowell, seeing his face looking out at me from the pages of Rolling Stone immediately brought back college---the smell of the house, the snow, that mysterious white dust covering everything below the knee--in a way I hadn't experienced or expected in quite a while.


Sci-fi meets post-trauma surgical therapy: complete face transplants.

I'm a little freaked out. Not about the procedure, but about the psychological (and physical) damage that would lead one to agree to this procedure after hearing the bevy of potential problems and knowing that they'd be the first. I mean, besides the corpse flesh, 50% chance of failure! I wouldn't get a tattoo on my ass with a 50% chance it would get fucked up, much less have a recently-dead, newly-donated face grafted to my head.

On the up side, by the time my children have become international criminal masterminds in need of a new identity, the face-swap will be a mundane out-patient procedure and I won't have to worry about visiting them in prison or feeling bad about not forgetting their name and can therefore spend my waning years in a more fitting manner: shitting myself and planning my funeral.

13 September 2005

Because I Love, I Share

As you've probably guessed is the case with every site you visit on this here interweb, I can see where visitors to the glorious Shimmy Shimmy come from, where their computer lives, what they do while here, et cetera, et cetera... This includes seeing what web searches lead people here. Over the past couple of months, there have surfaced some obvious trends in this last category. And because knowledge is, you know, neato and shit (and yes, also because I'm unemployed and have recently discovered that I can poach a wireless service off of some unsuspecting neighbor), I shall share them with you:

1) People don't seem to know where their local Bo-Rics and Chuck E. Cheese franchises are located and for various reasons, they are led here in search of that information. Often. Very often.

2) People outside of the US seem to prefer MSN searches over any other.

3) The phrase "come runs like pee" gives this page as its first hit when searched in MSN. The number of people searching this phrase is astounding. Hell, one person hitting this up would astound me, but it happens a couple times a week. And I'm the first hit. Why? I have no fucking clue. But I take comfort in the disappointment of the would-be jackers when they find themselves face-to-face with my ramblings instead of bukkake art. Oh, maybe sentences like that are the reason why I'm the first hit in icky searches. Right. Anyway...

4) The absolute most searched phrase that lands unsuspecting people to this page seems to be some variation of a phrase involving the words mother-in-law and sex. This is both disturbing and just downright weird. How pervasive is this fetish anyway? It confounds me. But I at least take some solace that it's a comment left on the Chuck E. Cheese post from some months ago and not something I actually wrote that leads these pants-around-the-ankles, mother-in-law-fantasizing surfers me-ward.

Let's hear it for the hyphen.

Honesty session over.

Michael Bay, Paging Michael Bay...

Is it possible that another Dukes of Hazzard movie--which was filmed on the LSU campus and in and around Baton Rouge--is really the answer to Louisiana's rebuilding post-Katrina? Well, at least a few of the state's senators believe that to be the case. Seriously, it says so right here.

Let's take bets on how long until the first Katrina-inspired Movie of the Week hits television with an ad campaign that includes the line "filmed entirely on location in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf region." And, because two bets just have to be better than one, let's go further and take bets on how much of the revenue from that film actually reaches "the hurricane-ravaged Gulf region," either through aid organizations or direct contributions.

I'll start the pool: I say first week in October for the MOW and 0.01% contribution.

You're turn.

12 September 2005

The Filth & the Fury

I just listened to audio clips of today's confirmation hearing for John Roberts. Actually, I only listened to Roberts' opening statement and then gave up. Roberts, the man our President has bump-up nominated as replacement for the late Chief Justice Rehnquist, while sitting in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, compared the role of a judge to that of a baseball umpire. Both an umpire and a judge, you see, enforce the rules, they don't make them. Roberts let committee chairman Arlen Specter and the rest of the Senators present know that, if confirmed and allowed to sit upon our country's highest judicial seat, he'd remember that "it's my job to call balls or strikes, and not to pitch or bat." Let me remind you that this was Roberts' opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee and not John Roberts Does Judicial Theory day at the local elementary school. Say what you will about Rehnquist (I'm sure I've said it before; I've cursed his name every night since the "end" of the 2000 election, just after cursing Sandra Day O'Connor's swing vote, and will continue even now that he's gone to seed) but at least we could take some comfort in the fact that he was smart enough and experienced enough to see the inherent complexity of our nation's legal system. If my seventh grade government teacher had attempted to make the blindingly simplistic judge/umpire analogy, he'd have been laughed out of the room by twenty-five 13 year olds more interested in New Kids on the Block and Young MC than the finer points of the checks and balances system. We weren't a tough audience, but I'm sure that boner would have caused a riot. Not so Senate Judiciary Committee. They merely thanked Plate Umpire Roberts for his wonderful, well-thought out oratory and carried on with their bickering over what can or can't be asked of him during the hearings while he sat down and daydreamed up a series of analogies connecting my civil liberties to the act of sweeping dirt from home plate.

The other day, so fed up with the world in all of its finer, bat-shit glory, I actually sat down and wrote up a List of People I Don't Hate (highlights include my sister, my best friend since the age of eight, and the entire Red Sox organization; that last one still stands, too, even after they went 1-2 in New York this past weekend). Now, when I say I was/am fed up with the world, I'm not talking solely about the post-Katrina shit storm--being outraged at that mess is like being outraged at the Holocaust: there's only one correct response. (I would include among the hated, however, the random person who gets interviewed on television or radio about his or her response to evacuees in Baton Rouge or Houston or wherever and spouts ridiculously racist, xenophobic bullshit as proof that these displaced New Orleans residents are, well, "they're just bad news." Or, worse, the people who hear these interviews and assume everyone in Town X thinks the same as Cap'n Ignorant and makes blanket statements about the "pervasive attitudes" as a result.) Mostly I mean the more mundane, finer details of my daily life. Like the guy who makes my sandwich incorrectly even though it's written out perfectly for him right at eye level. Or people who can't write coherent sentences even though they're paid to write coherent sentences. Or teachers of English who write with such convoluted syntax that I find myself drooling before finding the end of a clause, much less a sentence. Or the guy who walks his dog by my house every day and stands idly by while his beast drops hulking mounds of shit onto my front walk. Not even the front lawn with this mess--the front walk! And then, after the ubiquitous canine post-shit four-wheel-drive odor cover-up, the two just walk away, leaving behind only me and a pile of stink. He's definitely not on the list.

And neither is Mr. Roberts.

Today did see the ousting of Michael Brown. But we knew that was coming when he got sent home to tend to "other agency business" like an insolent child, so that really doesn't have the umph to pull me out of the I Hate Everyone doldrums.

But at least I've got my list. And a cell phone. And a long-term trip to Central Asia coming up in the ever-nearing future. Catch the love while you can, people, I'm leaving soon.

C'mon, you know you want to.

09 September 2005

Nothing about This Is Triumphant

The Travers and the general Saratoga experience was wonderful, thanks for asking. Actually, it was only wonderful if you define wonderful in terms of sun damage to pale white skin, in which case it was spectacularly wonderful. I got so burnt at the track that I couldn't even wiggle my eyebrows for a few days without wincing, which in turn caused its own brand of pain. And the skin on my arms is still peeling, a full two weeks later. Damn my English and Irish fore-folk and their need to strip me of proper defenses against the sun! Why couldn't I have gotten my mother's Sicilian green-skin thing? (Well, because then I'd be even that much more like my mother and would finally have to kill myself for once and for all.) To say the least, it hurt and drove me to bed moaning much earlier than I would have liked.

Beyond sun poisoning, however, the rest of the trip was pretty good. Time was spent in Portland, ME, visiting friends and relatives and riding a ferry around Casco Bay for a few hours, which was actually far more enjoyable than it might sound (or, at least, than I thought it would be). Finally, after excessive time spent with my family and the greatest four year old on Earth, the trip was capped with a friend's wedding in Massachusetts this past Sunday. I'm short on time right now--something weird is happening with my lower organs so I think I need to get home as soon as possible; plus, the women at the table next to mine just began discussing the benefits of being Catholic, so I need to run!--and I'm attempting to break my own tendencies toward verbosity, so the only thing I'll say now about the wedding is this: My life is a whole lot richer having experienced this, over and over again, all day in all of its arhythmic, elbows a-plenty, I'm old and don't give a shit glory. For that alone, my thanks would have gone out to the newly married friends. The food and drink was gravy.