Monday, January 30, 2012

From His Phone, He's Blogging

The keyboard's tiny, but I only type with two fingers anyway. Usually not my thumbs, though.

So, the boys are back from the gym, Erin's done jazzercising, and I long-abandoned recording my bass track on the Pink Lights songs my brothers and I recorded today (we're kind of a big thing: So I'm listening to some Vince Guaraldi before dinner. I prefer the record player to CDs, which works out nice since I don't even have a CD player anymore (except in the car). I'm not anti-digital music -- in fact, I'm enamored with the accessibility of it (I'm slowly uploading 20,000 songs to Google Music). Don't know when I'm gonna listen to it, but I like that I can. The vinyl's best, though. You're kinda forced to be attentive: it can skip at any moment and you have to flip sides. And all those liner notes! The great confluence of music and words!

Well, time for tofu and then to cast my wind to the mate!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hair! (Sing 7x)

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does this basement. A dandrous coat blankets the couch, rug, coffee table, chachkas (the list, like the hair, covers everything down here). In a day's time, the basement can become dustier and more hirsute than any number of hipsters milling about outside a bike shop.

The vacuum had seemed hesitant lately, picking up dirt with the reluctance of a four-year old ordered to clear his plate of peas (worst thing ever...when I was 4). But, you know, if you move the vacuum over the rug enough, the combing of fibers will give the impression of a cleaner rug. Satisfied, the dirt, if not vanquished, at least dispersed, I turned the kitchen lights low and returned the machine to its closet. Out of sight, out of mind. But out of sight does not mean out of lungs. Nope, it was still filthy down here.

Now, most of the dust and hair down here are of canine/feline origin. In direct sunlight, in slow-motion, I'm certain the human eye would see a blizzard of fur pummeling the metaphorical Mid-West of our lives. On each clump of orange fur, each blanched bristle of hound dog hair, under electron microscope, a serene portrait of a family of mites reveals one of the many disgusting layers of life in harmony with we all must live.

Serendipitously, before our insides looked like the outside of a chalk eraser, the vacuum stopped working, then started working, the stopped again. A curious tinkerer, I scratched my itch to dismantle, and took it apart. What I found I have since referred to as a "ferret of hair" clogging a tube. Fishing it out with a screwdriver, I couldn't help thinking of how, when you're throwing up, you're like, "Where is this all coming from?". The vacuum, thus exorcised, regained its original suction and I set off to bust dust with extreme prejudice.

Hey, look at that! The rug is a deep cocoa brown, not a mottled mess that looked closer to stained press board!

Ahh. I sat down to a cup of tea. Even took my slippers off without fear of them developing a hobbit-like sole.

I closed my eyes for just a moment Two cats ran past me. Two dogs barreled down the stairs. Oh, well, I thought, and closed my mouth as well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jumping (Off) Someone Else's Train

There aren't enough songs about trains.

Sure, I bet there's hundreds or thousands of songs about trains, but still, I don't think there are enough. The metaphor of the train as it pertains to music is at once too compelling, too fitting, too satisfying. Toot.

A train takes us from one place to another, the way a song carries us from one emotion to another, or circumnavigates the brim of a feeling.

Garibaldi, on the Oregon coast, is home, or graveyard, to a great-looking train. With a nice caboose (though it wasn't the only one).

Erin and I love westerns, especially one with trains and folks jumping on or off them. Like this:

Train songs are often sad. Folks leave on the train. Take "Train Song" by Tom Waits:

It was a train that took me away from here
but a train can't bring me home

Yet there's the cheery train song as well. Crosby, Stills & Nash are having a helluva time on the "Marrakesh Express," and Sheena Easton can hardly wait for her's to arrive:

My baby takes the morning train / He works from nine till five and then
He takes another home again / To find me waitin' for him

Apparently, John Peel was a big fan of that one.

My favorite train song might be "Dixie Flyer" by Randy Newman. A most evocative outro.

Erin and I don't only jump on and off trains -- we also delicately alight. Erin, in Tinkerbell fashion...

and I, sort of, like Magneto.

Choo, choo, baby!

For more songs about trains, visit here or here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Here Comes the Flood!

It's raining cats and dogs out there, and worse -- it's raining ON cats and dogs out there. Ugh, wet dog stinks like wet dog. Wet cats, I don't know about. Our cats are indoor cats. They live in an oasis. They might bitch and moan to each other about the gulag in which they're confined, but those two morons would last about five seconds in the wilds of suburbia. I can see Nala stuck in a drainpipe, and Simba involved in a check-cashing scheme. Nah, we'll keep these bozos inside. Where it's dry. Except for the bathroom where... (cue Peter Gabriel):


I think I'll always prefer the bombastic version from his 1977 debut solo album Peter Gabriel (the one with the car) over his collaboration with Roger Fripp on the latter's 1979 collection Exposure, a quieter take (Gabriel's original intention). The music we absorb in our youth overlays at points on our nostalgia like a double exposure.

What was I saying? Oh, the flood, a puddle, really. The vertical river has overwhelmed the gutters, and the water sought its own level, which in our case, is the bathtub. I just threw a towel on it. Problem temporarily solved!

Why didn't Noah think of that?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Deep, deep..." we used to say at our Dominic Savio Club meetings back in '81/'82. Extracurricular (but during school hours) Catholic school stuff. Not quite in the hippie Antioch vein, but none too distant either. This has nothing to do with that. Or maybe it does... Maybe at the end of this essay (this is too fractured for an essay) it'll come back around and we'll all be like, "Deep, deep..."

The deep I'm talking about here is the constant reference to living in the basement (this is a blog about the basement). But it turns out (my lethargy aside) there's not all that much to write about living in a basement. I exhausted all the metaphors and puns many posts ago (that's what this is, a post, not an essay). Here, though, for you, is a punny gem from Erin.

We were driving through Beaverton last Friday (maybe it wasn't quite yet the Beav but still SW PDX) when we passed a coffee kiosk called "Coffee Cartel." I remarked that you don't often see the word "cartel" without another word, "drug", preceding it. I decided Colombia's most, let's say, popular exports are drugs and coffee (I'd look up other fine Colombian products but Wikipedia's blacked out today for the SOPA protest), so the name kind of works.

"They should have a place called 'Underground Coffee.'" As my mind took quantum strides searching for a follow-up joke, Erin returned with their tagline, "It's Chokey."

What have I done to her? On one hand, I may have ruined her with puns (once you start, it's hard to stop). On the other hand, as Team Punsters, the pressure's off me.

At this point, I would begin the journey back to the post's beginning, delving a bit into who Dominic Savio was and why we were in a club inspired by him. But, as I said, Wikipedia's down, so...

That's it, I guess. Puns are shallow humor, I suppose, a step above sarcasm. So obvious when uttered, but often deep, deep upon reflection. Is what I tell myself.