Monday, August 31, 2009

Wake Up Call At The Hotel Rastafarian

Music playing from speakers in room:
"Get up, Stand up! Stand up for your rights!
Get up, Stand up! Don't give up the fight"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Adventures of The Good Lil' Consumer

It's time for another installment of The Good Lil' Consumer! Let's tune in and see what I bought this week as I try to do my part to stimulate the economy:

A bottle of wine called "Bohemian Highway". It's a $5.99 cabernet I found at a dinky liquor store located next to a Radio Shack. The label promises that the wine "embodies a casual and free-flowing spirit" and is "dark and concentrated" with layers of black cherry, chocolate and plum." Sounds great, but it had me at bohemian. Slap the name bohemian on anything and I'll take the bait --I'm such a sucker.

A skinny white Schwinn bicycle I picked up at a garage sale for $5.00. It's kind of rusty, but the tires have air and it's what I call retro-riffic.

A spiral notebook in psychedelic colors with peace signs and the words "Peace" "Love" "Groovy." I found it in the clearance bin at a grocery store for $1.00. I've wanted a hippie notebook since I was in high school. But back then, hippies were out and everything had gone disco. Does this mean I can start using the word "groovy" now and people won't roll their eyeballs?

A pair of red sneakers marked down at Target. They only had three left. They are a half size too small, but for $3.74 emo shoes, I am okay with walking funny.

Two jars of Pakak's Butter Chicken sauce I bought at an Indian grocery. So easy to use. Just saute diced chicken breasts until brown on both sides and pour on sauce and simmer. Done!

A new cloth Hartz chew toy for puppy with a face that can't decide whether it's a cow or a pig. Torn to shreds within minutes.

Daisy brand cottage cheese. There was this nice lady giving out samples of cottage cheese in the store, and I was going to buy cottage cheese anyway. And she gave me a dollar off coupon. And I liked the the cheerful packaging. And I hate buying store brand cottage cheese. And this cottage cheese only had three ingredients: skim milk, cream and salt. But the best part are these special instructions that come with it: Prior to placing it back in the refrigerator, smooth remaining cottage cheese flat with a spoon to maintain a creamy consistency. Oh crap, I forgot to do that! Like a slob, I just dug out what I wanted and replaced the lid. This cottage cheese is going to challenge me to become a better person. You gotta love that in a dairy product.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fab Vocab

Have you ever used any of these terms in conversation?

highball minx fracus beanbag rumpus room

teeter totter perpetual motion machine

fisticuffs haberdashy egg cream

gargoyle tongue-lashing welts washstand

isthmus jerry-rig wiseacre addlepated

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tubes And Transistors

Vacuum tubes and transistors. On my mind tonight. They were made by the thousands, back when computers were babies. Where are they all now? I miss them. Why did the crude technologies have such fun shapes? Why does modern technology have to be so dull and sexless? Who wants to take a second look at a chip? I want to take a second look at vacuum tubes and transistors! I want them for a motif. How about placemats? A tablecloth? Covered with little vacuum tubes and transistors. Why not bedsheets? Curtains for the nursery? Better yet --wallpaper! I want this wallpaper. Where can I get it? I would never get tired of looking at vacuum tubes and transistors. What a fine thing it would be if I could wake up in the morning, cast my sleepy gaze upon the wall, and the first thing I would see would be vacuum tubes and transistors.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Random Acts Of Canineness

Galloping horses couldn't have surprised us more. In one wooosh the canine had bounded across the room and ONTO THE KITCHEN TABLE. I screamed at this unprecedented strike against sane living. Lilah's jaw hung open. Even the pooch seemed a bit startled by her boldness, and she jumped back down, knocking over a glass on the way. I grabbed her round her upper chest and hauled her into her crate. It wasn't punishment, but a flailing for control. If not to subdue her, then to calm myself. Cheri's enthusiasm evidently knows no bounds. The trigger was her squeaky chick, a latex fascimile of a chick popping from an egg that cries for mercy as it is chewed. Examining it has led me to wonder who gets to design doggie chew toys. Now there's a job. The chick was $2.00 at Petco. But it squeaks louder than the expensive chew toys, and its squeak even changes pitch. Cheri has gnawed it, slobbered it and chased it around the house, but never before has it unleashed in her such a spirit of wild abandon as on that night. I should have checked for a full moon.

I know that if I look down right now, I'm likely to see a large slug sliming its way across our hardwood floor. They come in through the sliding glass door. I have never figured out how they do it without getting squashed, because staking out a slug portal to learn their ways is not something I'm keen on doing. We tried stuffing foil into the cracks of the sliding glass door, and that seemed to "foil" the slugs ---yuk yuk --- and keep em out. But Cheri just comes along and rips out the foil like she's doing us some big favor. One of the goals I set for myself each summer is to make sure that no matter how many times I run out to the driveway after dark in bare feet, to retrieve something from the car or put a bike away before it rains, I will never ever set foot on a slug. Well now my new goal is to make sure that no matter what, I will never have to watch Cheri eat a slug.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cheeses Of My Life

I have tasted the cheese, er cheeses, of my life –a P’tit Basque and Prince De Claverolle. Both cheeses are French, made from sheep’s milk. Both were a dream with a glass of white wine. My eyes were bugging out, they were so good. Now the filmy wrappers contain just a bit of residue, and they have been discarded. But they are still the cheeses of my life. After tasting French sheep’s milk cheese, how can I e’er go back to cheddar?

I can’t explain it -- I’m giving Frampton Comes Alive! heavy rotation on the cd player. I wanna go to the sun. I don’t know what he means, yet I know exactly what he means. Put me down for one sun trip, dude. The dog knows the cd inside and out. She rides around with me. We steam down the highway while the thunderheads gather and the piano tries to gain dominance over the guitar. Oh the comfort of 70’s rock concerts. Last night it was time for my listening enhancement exercises. For lighting I chose the dark of night. I had no idea that Beck’s Sea Change cd is full of colors and vibrating patterns. I saw them with my own mind’s eyes. It was like a firehose of wonder. I wept. The summer bugs were deafening. It’s like that song, “You’ll never walk alone.” You really won’t, not with that racket all around you. I went inside and licked the last bits of cheese off the plate. I put imaginary flowers in a blue vase. The house was modest, but well-scrubbed. I always liked reading that in books—that something was a bit shabby, but well-scrubbed. Or that the cup was chipped, but was full of gleaming tea. Or the fabric was worn, but had been pressed to look neat. Simple humble things that sound good because someone has tried to get the most out of them. Always milk objects for all their charm if you can. Put them to work for you. It’s easier to do this with old, worn things, as there is no charm in plastic. I really had scrubbed the kitchen floor. Like a crazy woman I scrubbed it. Found out those specks were not part of the original design. So now I could say it. Our place was modest, but well-scrubbed. A good place for thinking. And for indoor picnics with wine and cheese.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hobo In The Sun

It's feast or famine. Going from no Kerouac, to total Kerouac immersion. I am reading both On the Road and Dharma Bums simultaneously. Holding one in each hand and splitting my eyeballs between them. No, not really. I read one chapter of the Road book, then switch over to the Dharmic. It gives me a nice, unsettled feeling. A feeling that is hard to conjure up when you've been living in one place for too long, but that might magically arrive when you slip unexpectedly into a neighborhood that has been tucked away, that you didn't know was there. Jumping from one Kerouac to another seems fitting, something he would understand, like jumping on a train, as he does in Dharma Bums. Or jumping off the flatbed he was riding in On the Road. I wanted him to stay on that flatbed and ride it all the way to California with the other hitchhikers. That would be the more settled thing to do. The two brothers driving the flatbed were going to pick up farm machinery in California, and they didn't care who was riding in the back before they got there. Here was a free ride and a sure thing, with fellers who were amiable enough and were reliable about sharing a bottle, and I felt relief when he was on that flatbed with the highway rolling beneath him, but he had to unsettle me and jump off in Cheyenne. Just to take part in some wild west days festival, and because he was bent on going to Denver. So that's where I left him, and where he left me, and now I don't know where his next ride is coming from.

So I slipped over to the Dharma Bums, and read about a man who chose the hobo lifestyle. Partly influenced by the time he was a little boy, when a hobo stopped by the house and his mom gave the hobo a piece of pie. And the little boy asked his mom, "What is he?" and the mom said, "Why, he's a hobo." And the boy said, "I want to be a hobo someday."

That reminds me of a line in a Partridge family song that always cracks me and the kids up. The song is about someone who was a wanderer, until they found love, of course:

There were times when I was happy
being free was fun
Like a hobo in the sun
echo of background voices: like a hobo in the sun

The background singers make it sound so nice. What a peaceful thing to be. So a hobo in the sun is the image I'll put on a sign out front of my new coffeeshop, the Kerouac Cafe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Strip Tease

Declutter. The removal of unwanted objects. The expulsion of the riff-raff from one's home. Getting rid of those hangers-on that try to pretend they belong in your life but really you've just been too busy to give them the heave-ho. What a way to share living space---with a bunch of dusty, junky, torn, broken, half-working, outdated, outmoded, corroded, rusted, busted, useless, or in-fine-shape-but-just-plain-dumb STUFF. Can I really purge all this extraneous and tiresome material from my life? Why do I believe the voices that tell me I can't? "It's never been done," they say. "Not by you." Oh yeah, well, I'll show those know-it-all voices. I'll trim my surroundings good. Out with the flotsam and jetsam floating around me, as if I were a stranded shipwrecked soul treading water. No, I am a goddess of light and space, and light and space and empty, echoing rooms I shall have. With only a candle to burn. And a small book of matches. Believe it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My kids are thousands of feet above the earth. It gives me the willies. I don't like to picture it. I want them safe on the ground, tethered in place. Maybe the ground isn't all that safe either, but ---here the force of gravity can only do so much.

I fantasize that train travel will make a comeback. That trains powered with alternative fuels will criss-cross the nation, so that you can hop on and off easily, see the country flashing by your window, as you delve into a Kerouac novel. The rock and sway of a train on the track is surely more soothing than the tossed-around-like-loose-change-in-the-dryer sensation of flying.


My kids made it back down from the sky, but their flight was very turbulent. Lots of thunderstorms in the NYC area. So now their 2nd flight is cancelled, and they'll be spending the night in N Y C.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Beatnik Cave

No, it wasn't. O'Malley's in Weston is good as pubs go, but it's not a beatnik cave . It's housed underground, in what was once a brewery, so it has stone walls and a stone ceiling, and its breath is dank and ancient. As we descended the concrete steps that smelled like urine (actually ammonia to keep back the mold) I pictured an underground dive full of existentialists wearing black, reading poetry and performing interpretive dance to bongos. Just like in the Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face. But no, the crowd was young, sun-tanned, and rowdy. They didn't want to probe the edges of artistic expression, only the edges of each other, and they wanted to get their buzz on.

"Exploding from alleyways and ivory towers! Living by their code of rebellion and mutiny!" That was the blurb on an old movie poster I saw, for a movie titled "The Beatniks". I especially like the part about exploding from ivory towers.

Maybe beatniks culture will make a comeback. We have William Shatner doing interpretive readings of Sarah Palin's tweets, accompanied by bongos, on the Tonight Show. This is not the first time Shatner has shown up unexpectedly for Conan O'Brien. One of the best moments on TV in the last decade has to be the time that John Tesh, Abe Vigoda and William Shatner suddenly rode across the stage on a bicycle built for three on Conan O'Brien's 10th anniversary special. The choice of Abe Vigoda to round out the trio was pure genius, is all I can say.