Sunday, April 29, 2012

Night Gyms and Furniture Salsa

 When the sun goes goes down, when the night is fully dark, that's when the night gym opens. The lights come on and the security door rolls up to reveal a wide open space with floor mats, climbing ropes and weights waiting to be used. Slowly the night owls, vampires and zombies trickle in to workout. The trainers fresh from a day of sleeping, shout at the top of their voices, cheering their charges on and on. Up the ropes they climb, they grunt with exertion and get a little stronger, bit by bit.

  Across the street, the furniture store that's so bland and tame in the daytime opens its doors a little wider to make room for a boombox. The speakers blast salsa music into the muggy night waiting for shoppers to come in and dance, dance their furniture blues away. They sway back and forth, pulsing around the ottomans and armoires. They do cute spins around the half size china cabinets, cuddling into love seats. Don't be afraid of the dark, there's too much to do. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Postcards from Venus

  It was another sunny day in April.  The same as the last three before it. Robert was on his way home for lunch and to check the mail. He was doing his best to seem casual, trying to hide his growing aticipation for what might be wiating in the mailbox. As he passed each additional young tree-lawn, Robert smiled a bit more. No one was going to spot him on his walk to the mailbox, he wouldn't have to invent some lame excuse as to why he was coming home for lunch when every other day he packed himself a brown bag or went around the corner from his work. Without incident Robert reached his letter-box on the curbside. He opened the rusted metal door and thrust his arm into the box without looking. His fingeres searched until they found a single rectangle of glossy paper. Robert's face lit up: it was here!

   "Robbie? Hey there! I thought I saw you coming from around the corner through my window as I did the dishes, but I wasn't sure. I came out to check and look! here you are: what a pleasant surprise! And doesn't 'pleasant' perfectly describe the weather today? Its so perfectly pleasant!"

   Robert, caught in mid-motion, extricated his hand while leaving the contents. He waved to his neighbor, "Hello, Margaret! How are you? I was just thinking this morning how nice it was out, I thought why not come back home so I get some fresh air during lunch? So here I am, just like you said."

  "I'm doing just wonderfully! How could I not on a day like today?", Margaret smiled, perhaps a bit knowingly, "Were you checking for the mail just now? It hasn't come yet,-" Robert winced "-Joseph, the postman, doesn't come until 2:30, surely you remember that from the weekends?"

  "Ahh, how right you are! That completely slipped my mind, I"m waiting for a package. I must have let the mail schedule run away from me in my excitement.", phew that sure was some swift lying he thought, maybe a snap of the fingers for emphasis, yeah, that'll do it!

   "Well, I hope your package comes very soon and that you enjoy whatever it is. I know how hard waiting can be sometimes, especially since I'm here most of the time." She laughed, "Well, I better get back to those dishes or they might dirty themselves all over again. Goodbye, Robbie!" She waved then glided back into her house, her sundress flowing with her steps.

   Robert waited until he was sure she was inside her house again, then removed the card from the mailbox. Looking both ways down either side of the street he confirmed there was no one else around, then headed into his own house hurriedly.

  Once seated safely at the kitchen he flipped the postcard over and over in his hands making sure it was real; trying his best to reassure himself he wasn't still dreaming under his duvet in his king-sized bed. Robert pinched himself for good measure: nope still here.

  The postcard had a strange fragrance. It didn't smell wholly good nor bad. The scent was like a combination of jasmine and burnt ozone. Over the past few days he hadn't been able to figure it out at all. There was a beautiful photo of a sunset on an exotic beach with green sand on the front. In bold friendly letters the photo proclaimed, "Greetings from _______" The last word was scratched out by what looked like a car key. Robert flipped the card and began to read.

  Dear Robert,

                    I don't know where or when this postcard will find you, but I hope it finds you wel. Its been ridiculously sunny here in _____ (again the name was scratched out, almost as an afterthought). I hope the weather's great whenever you are too. I was walking through the village market looking for some fruits and bread for breakfast when I saw a young girl with her hair in pigtails walking with her father, hand-in-hand. It brought me back to when I was little and you'd take me to the seaside on Sunday afternoons. We would pick the roundest stones and have contests to see who could skip their stone further. You could always get your stone 15 to 20 hops, much more than I could ever do, but you would always cheat and somehow I'd win. I'd run around doing that absurd victory dance, pumping my tiny fists in the air, chanting, "Beat Daddy! I beat Daddy! I did it!" and then I'd finish my victory lap by running into your wide open arms. We'd watch the sunset then go back home to eat dinner with mom. That's what I thought about when I saw that father and daughter; I kind of got stuck in a revere, standing there with my head probably cocked at an angle and a goofy smile on my lips. I seem to have run out of space once again, they never seem to make these quite big enough for everything I want to say. I suppose this is until next time then...

                             your daughter,

Robert placed the card back on the table and wiped his eyes which seemed to be a bit moist all of the sudden. A few days ago when the first postcard had come he thought it had been simply and odd prank or a wrong address or a coincidence. But now...well now Robert was still befuddled. He was starting to believe that perhaps Venus actually could be his daughter. The problem was he didn't have a daughter or at least not yet. Robert was 28, single and had been living alone for at least the past four years, perhaps a bit more, it was hard to recall when his last roommate had moved out. There hadn't been a recent girlfriend, nor a past one that would have amounted to a daughter. But even through all the evidence to the contrary, Robert still was start to believe in Venus somehow, someway. His only quibble: would he seriously name his future daughter Venus? Really?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Peeking through the Storm

Close to the horizon the blue sky
was peeking through the storm,
but that didn't stop the
rain, from falling down, down,
down onto the ground.
Just tell me when you're
trembling, scared, and shaking,
I'll bring you hot chocolate
to throw the shivers from your back
to relight the fire in your heart

Monday, April 16, 2012

Shaky Hands

  I used to know two bands. They were both named Shaky Hands. Each band came from a different hemisphere. When it came to pass that both bands gained a following and relative success, there became a controversy over which band would hold the name. One of the bands was able to prove that it had the name first, forcing the other one to change their name. They wanted to retain the motif of "hands" so after much debate they settled on the slightly more morbid name of "Cut Off Your Hands". I no longer know which band is which, although they differentiated themselves. Yes, they have distinct sounds, but its been a long time since I have listened to either band. What's the point of this story at all? Only that at times I have hands that shake, and when they do I think about these two bands I used to listen to and their nomenclature.

Shaky Hands
Already Gone

Cut Off Your Hands
You and I

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spicy like a Tornado

You smelled spicy like a tornado
of curry powder lightly brushing
upon the ground,
I asked for your name,
You said, "Francesca" with a little wink
OH, how my heart melted with
every little syllable that spilled
from your tender mouth,
Francesca, you spicy feline,
you stole my courage
straight from my spine
when you asked me if I
wanted foam on my Mocha-Frappacino,
Hell, I don't even know
what exactly a Mocha-Frappacino is
So with my last lovelorn breath
I said, "Sure, why not?"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Into the Tall Grass

  Around here, when you're young, and when I say young I mean real young, they  say, "Don't go into the tall grass. It's too dangerous. Stay in town." For a long time you heed the advice. Every day you go to school, learn basic math, history, science, and literature, then come home again.  Some days you walk to the local library or visit the professor in town, but you never leave the town.  Leaving town would mean entering the tall grass and why would you do something so inherently dangerous?  But time passes and curiosity tugs at the back of your mind.  Can the tall grass really be so bad?  You've seen adults leave to visit other towns, they always come back in one piece.  In fact they tend to return with an extra twinkle in their eyes, as if they saw something crazy or wonderful. The tug of curiosity grows stronger.  Its a conflict: to see what lies within and beyond the tall grass would be exciting, at the same time it would be in violation of everything they've always told you.

   One day the tug of curiosity simply becomes irresistible.  You wake up ready to see what lies beyond. You pack your knapsack with things you might need: a sandwich, bug spray, a flashlight, and a book.  You slip on your running shoes and throw on a wind-breaker.  Out the door you go to seek adventure. You approach the edge of town, the sun peeking into the sky.  For a moment you close your eyes, count to five and push all fear away, and you step into the tall grass.

   "Ha!", You think triumphantly, "This isn't dangerous at all! Its just a bunch of grass!" Right then is when the monster attacks. You cry out, frozen in place. What to do? You can't move, can't do anything and with each second the monster draws nearer. As luck would have it the monster is attacked by another monster of near equal size. So now the world is full of monsters? Well at least you're not in peril anymore. You hear a familiar voice saying, "Its about time you ventured out here, we were all beginning to wonder if you were going to.  Are you alright then? Can you run? If so meet me back at my lab. Go!"

   Without thinking, almost without breathing, you turn around and sprint. Your legs pump with strength you didn't know your little body had. Through the glass double doors of the lab you burst, collapsing into the red worn easy chair that the professor often reclines in while smoking his pipe. You pant and pant, partially animated and partially terrified of the new revelations in your life. Monsters! They weren't lying, the tall grass is dangerous, but what about the things the professor said? Almost on cue the professor walks into the lab, whistling, the second monster that resembles a large over-sized dog with fiery orange fur is in tow.

   "Well, that was thrilling, now wasn't it?", He says amiably, "I do hope you're not reeling too bad ( You are in fact a bit frozen in awe of the fiery dog curled up at your feet, but you say nothing) a little shock is good now and then. As you've probably surmised by now, our world is inhabited not just by us and animals, but also by a great range of speacies of monsters. These monsters may have strange appearances but we live in harmony with them: which is good because many of them have unimaginable powers. You might be wondering 'why keep this secret from you? Why do we forbid entry into the tall grass?' It is dually for your protection and also a challenge. The world is a formidable and dangerous place before you're ready, before you've chosen your companion for your travel's."

  You gasp, unsure if your intuition is correct. If so, this day is only getting more thrilling by by the minute.

The professor laughes, "From the look on your face, you've guessed what comes next. Its really the best part. I have a few young monsters that I've been raising as I waited for you to venture out. Each one wields a different array of powers as well as quite the different personality.  Your choice, whether you mean it to or not, will reflect your true spirit. Treat your companion well and they will do the same for you. I'll leave you to make your decision."

   He leaves and then its just you and three small be distinctly different creatures, and the fiery beast who is now snoring. Each of the three look cute and strong in their own way. You see potential in them, you think perhaps they're looking back at you thinking similar thoughts. Again, you're scared, but at the same time so alive with anticipations. You think, then ponder, then chose. And that's when your adventure truly begins.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Moment Bends

  When I first heard Architecture in Helsinki's album Moment Bends, I thought, "Ehhh, could be better, especially after the long wait." I gave it a second chance; I listened to the whole thing while relaxing on my bed in tranquil Ecuador: it seemed to be just perfect. With the relaxed, drawn out beats calling for an island getaway in Desert Island and the punchy synthesized bass in Escapee with the lyrics changing easily from lazy to urgent cadence. Cameron Bird sings, "This escapee was never going to stay.../I won't delete it/Oh, I'm escaping!/You're taking me for a ride". The album Moment Bends has true strength in its ability to evoke a sunny day in a lazy getaway, or the feeling of being trapped inside when its just so nice out. Architecture in Helsinki completely succeed in bending a moment into an infinity; a lazy infinity that you can lay basking in the sun for awhile as the clouds swim by.

Architecture in Helsinki
Desert Island

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A New Mix

    Over the past week or so I've been crafting a mix. I feel a bit out of practice, but at the same time I feel like its a pretty good one. Its got some bones to it, some weight. There are messages that this mix is trying to convey, but I for one am not entirely sure what those messages are. You the listener are more than free to interpret and decide for yourself what those messages might be. The idea to make a mix came from both the fact that my brother made me an awesome one before I left, and also that I'm currently reading "Love is a Mixed Tape" by Rob Sheffield. Mr. Sheffield is a writer/music critic for Rolling Stone magazine as well as other publications. Before anyone gets up in arms about Rolling Stone not being as high quality as it used to be, a) I don't care b) the book is a well written story that explores love, life and experience through music. Each chapter starts with the playlist from one of Rob Sheffield's tapes and he is able to relate that particular mix to a time period. You get sucked in, wanting to listen to those bands, to those songs.

Anyway here's mine:

                    The Good and the Bad

1) The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice - Scorpio Rising
2) The Decemberists - This Is Why We Fight
3) Lisa Mitchell - Neapolitan Dreams
4) The Black Keyes - Everlasting Light
5) The Hold Steady - How a Resurrection Really Feels
6) The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Horseshoe and the Rabbit's Foot
7) Peter Bjorn and John - Up Against the Wall
8) Avett Brothers - Laundry Room
9) Tokyo Police Club - Wait Up (Boots of Danger)
10) Feist - The Bad in Each Other
11) Walk the Moon - Quesadilla
12) Van Morrison - Kingdom Hall
13) Barenaked Ladies - Some Fantastic
14) Nada Surf - Your Legs Grow
15) Cults - Oh My God
16) The Hold Steady - Our Whole Lives

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I saw this really pretty entertaining music video about a month or so ago and meant to write about it and share it, but then never did. No time like the present, right? I don't normally listen to David Guetta, nor Nicki Minaj, but this video is enthralling and the song is pretty damn catchy. The story is that the man in the video had been growing a beard for quite some time, he decided it was time to shave it off, but instead of just spending 20 minutes in the bathroom, he decided to make a production of it. After who knows how many takes later and some thorough editing and a brilliant scheme we have a solid fan-made video.

Mattstache (Matthew Ferguson-video credit
David Guetta
Turn Me On Feat. Nicki Minaj

Sunday, April 1, 2012

With Such Care

   He picked every string with such care, hand sliding effortlessly to each chord on the tiny guitar's neck.  He picked, he strummed, he hummed an effervescent tune.  Each note and melody drifted through the air.  The tune soaked into our skin. It crept surreptitiously into our ears, as if it had been there all along.  As the bus rolled over each hill, he continued his tune.  It felt like being in a miniature ship in a bottle half filled with water.  Gently the ship would sway to the sea shanty.  It felt like a dream in the best way.