Oh, For a Muse of Fire, Plus 15-20%

Last night M and I went out for Chinese food for her mom’s birthday as we do every year (followed by the also annual ritual of the Drinking of a Bathtub Full of Water to Fend off Salt-Induced Dehydration), and I thought at one point how long it had been since I’d had a waitress crush. I love waitress crushes because they’re exciting, but also harmless. You never actually expect, or even want, something to come of it, and the lines of propriety are clearly drawn, so it’s all just in fun. It’s a platonic crush, so you can be in a relationship and not feel too badly about the crush, because the lust-level is virtually pre-pubescent – it’s like when you’re little and decide that when you grow up you want to marry your mom or dad – there’s nothing perverse there, it’s just a warm affection couple with an imperialistic desire to possess. These crushes are also somewhat inspirational – like a muse. I’m convinced that the bulk of muses through history are waitresses crushes in a literal, or analogous form.

One of my last ones was some years ago. Still don’t know her name. She worked at this hipster after-hours place. Thin, clothes were clearly thrift-store but still looked cool, wild hair barely contained in a band, horn-rimmed glasses. Disdain or disinterest in all temporal things. One night I went out with some friends to a show. It was loud. Really, really loud. One of my friends decided to stage-dive and asked me to hold her coat, and be a back-up cushion in case no one caught her. So, fine, I can do that. Only she kept hesitating, and so I was standing just over a foot away from the amplifiers for several minutes. So, she goes, she jumps, she’s wild, a good time is had by all. After the show, we all go to the after-hours place. I’d had quite a bit to drink, so had to wait for a while to drive home. My waitress-crush was working that early morn. Now, understand, I’m buzzed and deaf. My left ear is ringing, and might right ear is ringing in the higher and lower registers, disturbingly mute in the mid-range.

Hey, I’d forgotten all about this until just now. When we left the show, one guy we knew but didn’t like all that much, left early in a huff over something, and when we left some time later, he was standing in the parking lot sulking. He couldn’t leave because two people were having sex on the hood of his car, and it was too weird to tell them to move.

Anyway, at the restaurant, first I informed my friends of my joy that my crush was working at an unknown volume, but definitely too loud. Then we’re sitting and talking (I had gotten some alligator jambalaya because it was that kind of place, then, in my logical-thinking state, decided I might as well have glass of wine too while I waited to sober up. It took a bit to realize I had extended my wait-time by a bit that way). So she came over and filled our water glasses. When she was maybe, maybe, six feet away, I blurted, quite loudly, “Haha! She filled my water glass first! She likes me!”

Yes, she heard me. Everyone heard me. Obviously, I could never return. I probably should have killed myself on the spot, for the sake of retaining dingity. Although, she did inspire the central character in a play I wrote, which would be the first play of mine to get produced, so that’s something, I guess. Muse mission accomplished, even if she didn’t know it. Or care.

Maybe the idea of muses is bullshit, an arrogant idea created by artists to imbue their lusts with a higher sense of purpose. This is probably true much of the time, but I think not always. Just as 99% of art is bad, so, I suppose, must much of the inspiration be bogus as well. I wonder what ever happened to that girl?

Quick Aside

I was going to write this little glib thing about iPods and snow (Oh, there’s a connection. Don’t think there’s not), but then I was checking my email and there were, like, eighteen comment postings to the site. I very nearly deleted them without reading, figuring, they would be eighteen “I read your blog and thought it was cool. Check out mine at blah blah blah” or “Watch me pee for just 2.95 a month. Find out how at blah blah blah” notes. But I read them, and they were all from someone who’d read the entire site, from birth to current. Wow. Of course, that meant I had to go back and read the whole thing to understand the comments, but that was okay. I got to find a few typos (typos are like ants in a field. You don’t see them until you notice one, suddenly you realize they’re everywhere), pat myself on the back occasionally (Oh, Byron! Bon mot, you incorrigible wag, you!), and laugh at my own jokes (which bears a striking sensory and emotional equivalence to masturbation – the self-love, the fleeting guilt, the fun, the glancing around to make sure no one saw).

In any case, I really was impressed and flattered that someone read the whole thing through, leaving such interesting and thoughtful comments (and no, I’m not saying that because they were largely positive comments, or as a disparaging remark toward other comments, this was just in a big batch, and they seemed quite learned). This person seemed very sincere and intelligent. You seemed to want me to take note that you had spent substantial time reading and reacting to my entries – well I very much did. Thanks. Some of your comments were really intriguing and witty as well.

So, I hope this person keeps reading, only you need a moniker – a name. Also, I'm going through and responding to your comments, so...you know...there you go.


Calling AAA on the Road Less Traveled

My Achilles heel is regret. It can paralyze me. I’ve been working on it the last couple of years because there have been times I’ve thought that I might lose my mind from speculating. There have been many nights I’ve lay awake for hours carefully, thoughtfully, with great attention to detail, plotting how I might do things if I did them over again. What I’d change. What’d stay the same. Of course, it’s a silly thing, because experience and mistakes define us, teach us, so whatever decisions were made, I made to the best of my ability. For better or worse.

I guess what it comes down to for me is this incredible fear of reaching the end of my life and realizing that I did it wrong. I messed up. I wasted it. Nothing unusual there, I suppose. A lot of wondering comes down to a choice of path. There have been times, more than one, when I have been poised to go the path in pursuit of fame, of showiness. The agent in LA. As a touring comedian. So forth. I’ve turned away from that because I wanted to be a good person at my core, and I suspected that I would fall prey to superficiality, lose sight of myself that way. I wanted to do things that were morally right, that made a difference. I wanted to be an artist, not a celebrity. An artist, not a purveyor of panem et circenses. Was some of this fear of failure? Bullshit rationalization? I don’t know. I hope not. But the thing is that, literally, not a week goes by in which someone doesn’t ask why I’m living the life I do. When I explain that I don’t want to be on TV, the response I get, and have always gotten is, “But you could! You could be on TV!” Isn’t that interesting? Even people who claim to hate TV are almost angry at the prospect of a person who could have achieved that American dream and turned away from it.. That it’s idiocy. Lunacy. And I get scared. I get scared that they’re right. I get really scared that the path I’ve chosen isn’t one of service to others and artistic integrity, but one of mediocrity. Of under-achievement. It gets pretty hard to tell the difference between the righteous path and fucking up. I wish I had help, or a sign. Could call for roadside assistance on this winding road.


The Sexy American Patriot.

So, I was perusing around at other blogs and wondering what made some of them have a lot of faithful readers, what made certain sites seem like the Vanguards of The New Media and other seem just, well, sad. Newspapers seem to regard a criterion for legitimacy – and thus quote-worthiness – as a grandiose name, befitting the nature of print media I suppose. The Herald. The Sun. The Nation. Teen People. So the sites that usually get looked at are AmericaBlog. PatriotWatch. VanguardoftheNewMedia. And so on. Maybe I should change the name of mine. Obscure poetic/historical references don’t seem to have the right sizzle to sell this steak (if you don’t know what refering to with the name of the site, see the first entry). I’m going to reprint this site, verbatim, with a bold, bloatedly patriotic name and a flashy font and see what happens. I’m thinking Guardian of the New American Patriots. How’s that? Any suggestions? No hyperbole is to gag-inducing! Or should I go with something more crazy, party-guyish? The Cyber-Atomic Orgasm. DJ Sexy Beats.


New Year's Eve

So, New Year’s eve took a radical turn for the mature this year. Or rather, I should say a radical recoil from the immature. A friend of mine, R, who I’ve known since we were eight, told me he was going to be playing drums with a terrible band in a terrible bar, so M and I figured what better way to ring in the New Year. Dig out a muscle-shirt, drink formaldehyde-infused beer and soak in some second-hand smoke and shitty Thin Lizzy covers while screaming, “play Motley Crue, you fags! Blaaaaaaaaarrrrgh! (vomits on friends).”

They were calling their band Tres Largos (‘three fat guys’) – he’s a bit of a big ‘un. Not “guy with the blurred face on a TV news ‘America and Obesity’ special report”-fat, just a bit big. They changed the name, though, to Pete Jesus (Logo: “What would Pete Jesus do? Rock.”). Then they got cancelled. God’s wrath apparently. M and I called the bar a few times posing as exciting Pete Jesus groupies (“pejoopies”) so as to fabricate public interest and maybe get the gig reinstated, but no luck. I had to bite my tongue when the bar manager told me that the band had cancelled on them, not to say, “that’s a damn lie! A damn, damn lie!”

So rather than just give up and ride out the eve blankly we tried to concoct a plan B. This meant driving to R’s – which is over the mountains from us – for a lot less of an event, but I’m a stubborn, stubborn person. The mountains also got a freak storm so we were driving in road-conditions somewhere between “chains required” and “repent for your sins”.

But plan B was in effect, which swiftly and suddenly became a lot more dignified (translation: potentially dull) than plan A. A snifter of port, classical music and Trivial Pursuit: Diversified Financial Planning edition. Okay, not really that dignified, but close. R’s girlfriend has a kid who wound up staying with her and having a couple friends over, so that rooted the evening’s activities there, and scared off dos of the tres largos. There was good food, incredibly good wine, even, yes, a game. So, it lacked the “fuck it all” abandon of plan A, was perilously mature and grounded, but it wound up being a really good time. If it had been plan A, I would have thought it a fine plan. Lots of laughing, sarcasm and political ranting. Lots of trying to find drink recipes on the internet. And a non-stop, relentless onslaught of Green Day music, courtesy of the girls’ current Green Day obsession (and God knows that there is no rock band obsession like a middle-school rock band obsession). Also, R collects rock show bills and he just happened to pull one out from one of the best shows I’d ever been to – it was a concert when I was doing a hard-core show on college radio, and one of the opening bands was Nirvana, and it was the first time I met Kurt Cobain. Another one of the openers was Tad, who if you've ever seen you know why I mention it. So I got to blah blah about past glories, which is always a plus. An excellent time over all, even without the muscle shirt. I’ll save that for Easter, I guess.