Monday, December 20, 2010

the shortest day

tomorrow is winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. basically, it's the unofficial beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere. because of the earth's tilt on its axis away from the sun, we're basically getting less sunlight than our brethren in australia, for example. winter will happen for them in june.

here's the thing. a full moon and a full and total lunar eclipse are expected -- very unusual news. a full moon has happened before on winter solstice, in 1999 and 1980, respectively. the last lunar eclipse during the first day of winter, on the other hand, was in 1378 -- 632 years ago. there won't be another one on the night of winter solstice for 84 years.

and as if all of that weren't enough, there's also an ursids meteor shower in the offing. normally, it would be difficult to see but the eclipse should allow most viewers who are able to enjoy quite a show. and mercury is in retrograde!

i hate to sound like a complete hippie but i'm going to ask a rhetorical question, anyway. winter solstice, a full moon, a total eclipse: what does the occurrence of this rare trifecta mean?

when i think of winter solstice, i imagine filthy malnourished peasants looking somewhat glazed over and comatose, living in a darkened, iced over, snow covered europe and scandanavia, sitting around a blazing fire with a huge black cauldron resting upon it, boiling meat or offal of some sort, as some weary looking woman sits in a corner, shivering involuntarily and perhaps breast feeding a screaming infant. while that's not necessarily the whole truth, it's not far from it. winter solstice was dreaded by many because the nights were so long and dark and there wasn't much food. the smart move was to do as little activity as possible, sleep in and stay warm. it would probably have meant more births in the spring and summer months -- and that would mean the babies would be more likely to survive.

depression, i imagine, was everywhere. today we call it seasonal affective disorder or sad, a very real affliction that affects millions. back then, sven's only real option would have been to eat more mutton and get over it. nowadays, he should simply turn all the lights on.

because of the waning sunlight and its inevitable return, the concept of birth and death/rebirth became associated with the winter solstice, so there's a lot of feasting and celebrating in pagan cultures and many religions -- and needless to say, it's also a time of deep inner reflection and hibernation.

when i see an image of the full moon, i hear a coyote howling in the distance -- and of course, that means a werewolf is nearby. or a lunatic. there are lots of lunar myths out there, steeped in european folklore and traditions, and astrology augments some of this. because the media plays on these notions so freely, its a part of our pop lexicon -- so when crazy stuff happens on a full moon, everybody seems to know why. while it's interesting to note that none of that stuff has ever been scientifically proven, folks have been using the gravitational pull of the moon and working within its phases to do everything from grow plants and cut hair to sell stocks.

my great-grandmother, who worked the soil on a daily basis and read her farmer's almanac religiously, taught me about the moon. i understood the difference between waxing and waning, the importance of a full moon and what to do in each case at a very early age. one of my earliest memories of her is when we would clip plants, put the cuttings in water, sit them in on the kitchen windowsill and watch them grow roots literally overnight. the moon pulled them out, she explained. i knew the moon was pulling everything else, too.

she was the one who taught me that the moon was strongest when it was full. if it's true that the moon represents female energy, it's interesting that there will be a total lunar eclipse -- with a partial solar eclipse expected on january 4. (apparently, these things come in pairs.) anyone on the right side of the earth can see it. the lunar eclipse turns the full moon into a new moon, for a little while.

everyone knows what an eclipse is and watching it happen is nothing short of breathtaking but what's revealing is what it symbolizes.

i suppose there's a grand argument that can be made as to whether the planets spinning around us have any real effect on our lives. i don't know if there's any magic in the air or not. but i'm certainly standing on the verge of something. events like this one give me reason to pause and wonder what it is.

Monday, December 06, 2010

all i want for christmas is...

  1. a right cross that's as strong as my left jab
  2. a professional reliable -- and ultracool -- internationally based booking agent
  3. a residency somewhere in the city that will force me to play out every week
  4. a lost weekend with my permanent boyfriend
  5. a great recipe for chai tea
  6. waaaaay more upper body strength, so i can stop struggling to do push-ups
  7. to be a practice body again, for another pilates instructor-in-training
  8. to refine the rough mixes for the black country rock album
  9. to get these brand new batch of songs out of my head and onto garageband
  10. to be able to run a mile in less than 9 minutes -- comfortably

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010


i was going to have a beauty day today but i got my hair done super early and i was so overwhelmed by how amazing it looked that i went back to bed, scribbled out some fresh lyrics and had tea. and that was cool. because sometimes beauty day is mental health day. but usually, i need way more. and lately i'm feeling like i need a massive overhaul, a few days to get myself together. now that my daytime hours are gone, i don't know where i'm going to find it.

my definition of an overhaul doesn't look anything like demi moore's situation. i'm not mad at her, not in the least. if i had millions, i'd spare no expense. but then again, i don't think i'd have to.

i know where i can grocery shop, do laundry, pick up emergency items, even. (what does duane reade NOT have?) i can go to koreatown and shower/steam/soak to my heart's content -- but where can i get a mani/pedi in this town in the middle of the night?

Friday, December 03, 2010

it's about time

time to recalibrate: organize receipts, make donations, declutter everything and get organized. time to clean it all up and clear it all out. time to buy a lush green wreath for the front door and a charlie brown tree for the living room. time to get lost in a russian banya. time for a serious visit to la casa day spa. time for a cleansing fast.

there's all this other stuff going on -- guitar practice, auditions, rewrites, recording sessions, piano lessons and work, work, work -- so cleaning house happens in spurts. but it happens. and for that, i am truly grateful. i know it sounds like i'm turning into howard hughes, but it feels good from the inside out, waking up in a clean house.

lately, it feels like i'm running uphill in slow motion. that feeling is probably not going to leave me anytime soon. not until this album is done, anyway. today i'm so exhausted, i don't have any energy for boxing class, which saddens me profoundly. there's too much to work on physically -- my right cross isn't as strong as it should be -- and if i miss a day of it, i can feel it.


onward and upward.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

for your viewing pleasure

sure, you've probably heard their big hit pepper, but here's another song from the butthole surfers called the shame of life that you'll probably enjoy way more than you think you will.

i've included the lyrics because i think they're important and also because when they pop like they're supposed to against the music, with the intensity of sound augmenting their true intent, they are the way we ingest poetry. and because so much of this process is subconscious -- people quite often find themselves singing lyrics they don't necessarily agree with -- it's often fascinating to read what so many are walking around and singing to themselves.



i love the girls and the money and the shame of life
my shallow mind is just a sign of your game of life

there were girls in the front and there were girls in the back
and there were girls pettin' squirrels and there were squirrels smokin' crack
with an old navy seal and the DEA
and the loaded automatic just to blow me all away

with a dog drinkin' liquor from a hole in the sky
and the picture of a pitcher throwin' pitches at a guy
he had a problem with your sister and her 3D cups
and a brother with a shovel just to shake it all up

i love the girls and the money and the shame of life

hop down to the people on the street where the fuzz in the navel make the people wanna eat

my shallow mind is just a sign of your game of life

get down to the level of the rest where the people on the street put the metal to the test

locomotive in the bridge will land a knuckle in a fight
and i was hidin' in the bushes but i couldn't stand the light
and he was highly indisputable the leader of the gang
like a bullet in the freezer bang, bang

i love the girls and the money and the shame of life

hop down to the people on the street where the fuzz in the navel make the people wanna eat

my shallow mind is just a sign of your game of life

get down to the level of the rest where the people on the street put the metal to the test

get down, get down

get-- get--dow-- dow-- dow-- down

invisibility is a relative thing

I was all shaken up after i got shaken down
i was shakin' in the air and i was shakin' on the ground
i was taken by the shaker who was preachin' to the crew
he was shakin' lotsa bacon cook an egg in his shoe

and believing all the stereos begin to sing a tune
yo cuz we were just a vision in a dream about a shoe
that was walkin' to the store to find a needle for a soul
that had lost a little reason through a little tiny hole

i love the girls and the money and the shame of life

hop down to the people on the street where the fuzz in the navel make the people wanna eat

my shallow mind is just a sign of your game of life

get down to the level of the rest where the people on the street put the metal to the test

i love the girls and the money and the shame of life

hop down to the people on the street where the fuzz in the navel make the people wanna eat

my shallow mind is just a sign of your game of life

get down to the level of the rest where the people on the street put the metal to the test

[A couple of lines in French?]

Stay, Stay by the [???]

Someday this will all be yours


More than anything or anyone you will ever know.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

what is the what

zeitgeist: the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time

i remember a band called zeitgeist that was fairly popular in austin while i lived there. i didn't dig them, necessarily. i was way more in like with their name. and as is often the case with college bands on a college campus in a college town, that name seemed to be everywhere. somebody was always putting up some poster for some gig they were doing, someplace. or it was an old poster somebody refused to take down, or forgot about, because they thought it looked so cool. like that old poster, they somehow became a part of the everyday inner workings of whatever was happening in the fabric of our collective liberal arts existence. when they eventually changed their name to the reivers, everyone and everything seemed to flow right along with that. and that was that.

i remember sitting in some coffee shop on the drag (probably captain quackenbush's, now that i think about it) and asking some friend of mine (probably a texas-german who spoke german -- more common than you will ever know), what does zeitgeist mean? their expansive yet succinct explanation (college! coffee shops! intellectual discussions! fun!) and the way that germans can say everything with so few words illuminated so much about german culture that i still find interesting.

so when i say that word, i think of that band, the one everyone seemed to like except me. and that sends me careening back to my college years in austin and all the other bands that were the soundtrack to my world. i liked oboyo but i loved reverend horton heat -- and i still do. i saw him at hole in the wall, once. they had ten cent beer happy hour and a bunch of tex-mexicans dragged me in there. i didn't drink at all, i was just there to buy up as much beer as i could for my dollar so everyone else could drink with abandon. oh -- and play pool. bull and i played a lot. i actually got good at it, from hanging out in that bar. oh, yeah -- i liked agony column. i distinctly remember going to the french house to hear them and having way too much fun all night long. i didn't drink beer -- still don't -- but there was an impressive 25 kegs at that punk rock soiree and your $5 at the door meant that you could drink as much as you could hold -- and believe me, they did.

and of course, there was the butthole surfers. i still love them. a lot.

this is the part where i tell you that rock and roll is supposed to be dangerous, that it's supposed to scare you, freak you out, and that fear is a part of the fun of it all. i challenge you to think of the last time you saw any rock and roll that put the fear of God in you, or that even made you raise your eyebrow just so. were you even moved? probably not.

for the record: i've never seen any rock and roll in new york city that was even remotely dangerous. i've heard tell they had quite a bit of it in the 70s but that's another conversation.

the first time i saw the butthole surfers, i was at the ritz on 6th street. at one point, they were playing onstage and this hanna-barbera cartoon of augie doggie and doggie daddy was showing over them (literally) and superimposed over that there was this black and white documentary type film showing this guy getting castrated. tata the shit woman was throwing her filthy, half-naked body around with a fury. it looked like some invisible monster had her by any available limb that it could grab and was flinging her all over the place. somewhere in there, the lead singer gibby haynes -- who looks like he just committed a murder -- pulls out a double barrel shotgun and fires over the packed crowd. everyone was mesmerized.

maybe what i was identifying with was the wierd element they wallowed in, not necessarily the dangerous vibe.

*sigh* how green was my valley...