Confessions of a Starbucks Bitch

I knew every possible way to make good coffee with the materials I had at my disposal and I smiled big and said "have a nice day" with every last shred of enthusiasm and common decency left to me by the 4:00AM blaring of my alarm clock. You came in so often, with your glasses drooping off the tip of your nose into your bushy salt and pepper mustache, that I remembered your name and your drink and sometimes, if time permitted, would have it waiting for you before you walked in the door. You, in return, tried to stalk me. I worked the drive through like a pro; through rain and sleet and glaring sun, I made your coffee, gave you correct change, kept the wait down to 8 minutes or less and treated you with general civility in adverse conditions while providing you with your daily dose of legal drugs. You were brisk, complained a lot, and almost never tipped. I made millions of frapuccinos laden with billions of calories for countless middle and highschool students before and after their weekly social gatherings at the theater behind our store. You left your trash on the floor, stopped up our toilets, harassed our ears with your skateboards and carousing in the drive through, and made our lives generally miserable with your loud laughter and impromptu sing-alongs. When we scolded you for such reprehensible behavior in an effort to regain control of our store, you told your mother and made her call our manager. Throughout the Atkins fad, I made your so-called "Atkins Latte" which had twice the saturated fat and tasted like scorched milk. But you insisted, despite my efforts to educate, despite my pointing out the sadly neglected serving size of 2 tablespoons, despite my bringing newsclippings and internet print offs to work; and I watched with a wicked gleam in my eye as you continued to inflate thanks to your daily "Atkins-approved" upper. I sort of miss that job. I worked with some of the coolest girls I've ever met in my life. My manager, Ron, was cool as hell and had nine fingers. Whenever asked what happened to Little Piggy No. 10, he'd come up with a different story, such as an attack of rabid ninjas when he was a child. He took us out for Vietnamese food after store meetings, and didn't get too pissy if I threw up at some point during my shift due to a bad hang-over. And he always let me come back to work, all three times that I quit. Ok, so Starbucks is a less than desirable job by many standards. But I like the company, even though they are overpriced and provide a product that, according to some, may be lacking. They do a lot socially and environmentally and overall, I'm all for making the most out of what Corporate America has to offer. Maybe I'm just brainwashed. Also, it being the only accessible Status Symbol coffee stop in Desoto County, I achieved near celebrity status and was instantly recognized everywhere I went. Working all those slow closings shifts, I heard a lot of great music that I wouldn't otherwise think to listen to since Starbucks has that whole thing going on with Hear Music who really does gather up a lot of good shit. And it was nice to get free coffee and tea every week, and actually be able to afford those nifty CDs that they sell.

Paperwhite Eyelids

The funny thing about these predominantly harmless little spats of seasonal/situational depression is that it kills your libido overnight. Of course some of us only get more hopelessly depressed upon making the realization that they are no longer sexually frustrated, resulting in all manner of odd attempts at reviving said condition. I miss being a rational individual. The last thing I needed today? A rousing rendition of Guys and Dolls with Marlon Brando in his heartstopping days and good ole NYC in all of its technicolor glory. Dude. Is Kirstie Alley really a good spokesperson for Jenny Craig? Plus, she's doing a reality TV show. Who does she think she is, Anna Nicole Smith? Oh wait, she just might.


Coon Ass Midgets are the new Limey Junkies

Ahh. New Orleans, midgets...brings back fond memories. But those memories are none of your business, and this is: The Cajun accent is the best thing to happen to punk since anarchy. I don't know if that's saying much or not. Day ?? of Goner Fest. Kajun SS and Die Rotzz from NOLA and some others from the same. Good stuff. I laughed a lot, I've never seen such a short man with such a big bass guitar. And I haven't been to a good, crusty punk show since...the last time MOTO was in town. One thing though. Wash your damn hair, people. I don't care if you do think you're hardcore or punk or whatever. Never mind, it probably took you, like, three hours to get it that greasy looking. And, damn, do I love the juxtaposition of the teeny bopper pop-punk types with the honest to god, card-carrying, authentic punks. The Antenna Club Alumni. The paper-skinned women with the beer bellies and cracked leather jackets and the men with jowls so thick they look like prime cuts of meat; they're all standing against walls, downing one Pabst after another, scowling at those kids jumping around like idiots with big smiles on their faces having a good time...How dare anyone have fun at a punk show. I'm too cynical to be writing right now.


Did Video Kill the Radio Star? Not in Memphis.

I frequently hear friends go on about how much they hate radio--about how they never listen to the radio. I feel quite differently about the issue. In fact, Memphis radio is one of the things I miss most when I'm gone. Particularly local volunteer channel WEVL FM90. Though the station is almost always my soundtrack of choice when I'm driving or at home, a new program debuted Thursday evening that shows every indication of being my new favorite. The Music Lovers, DJ'd by Hayden Jackson, showcases new and unreleased music of a predominantly indie rock persuasion, as well as highlighting some noteworthy tunes you might have missed. See a playlist HERE. Highlights of the show included samples from both of Bright Eyes' new albums, a preview of LCD Soundsystem's upcoming release, and an unholy rendition of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Calexico off of the new Hear Music compilation, Sweetheart: Love Songs. You can catch The Music Lovers Thursday's at 4:00pm on 89.9FM. If you're not already a regular listener, also check out Hayden's other show, The Memphis Beat, Tuesdays at 1:00pm. Other gems:
  • Welcome to the Working Week | Mondays | 6 am
  • Janet's Planet | Wednesdays | 6 am
  • The Modern World | Fridays | 6 am
  • High Fidelity | Wednesdays | 12 am
  • Siren's Muse | Sunday | 10 am
  • World Music Dance Party | Sundays | 5 pm
Hell, just check the full program schedule HERE.

Flashback Fall '04: On being a stoic Libertarian in the Bluest city in the World

I didn't vote. That's right, I didn't vote. Not because I was apathetic or because it was inconvenient or I was uninformed, but because I refused to choose a lesser of two evils on an issue of such importance. I refused to show even such basic support of an administration that I did not feel adequately represented the issues that are important to me, and I didn't feel as if either of the primary candidates did. But really, this is a side issue in this story--mere background. The real issue is this: I never knew how decidedly whiny, bigoted, and even violent liberals tend to be over these things. Ok, perhaps I'm biased. I grew up eating dinner underneath raging political conversations authored by a family of staunch Republicans. But frankly, I'm the black sheep in the family. I have departed from the notorious "Red State" ways on a number of issues which the average Republican would find inexcusable. However, despite this, I have never been shunned by a Republican due to my beliefs. They may rant and rave and try in vain to educate me, but I have never been turned away or treated differently in day to day life. I am still a person to them, instead of just another traitor. Living in NYC during the election, proved to be an eye-opening experience. I found that having a conservative opinion could make you an outcast in any circle, since every circle was on some level a leftist one. It could decide whether or not you had a place to live, because many roommate seekers would not co-habitate with anyone but another Democrat. It may even be a deciding factor in whether or not you went home from a night of drinking with a black eye and a bloodied lip. If New Yorker's found out you were of any conservative persuasion, you might as well be blacklisted. You could forget having a friendly chat with a stranger if there was any chance talk might turn to politics; eyes invariably got wide and voices shrill with shock and anger if you weren't a Kerry supporter. Even I, who wasn't even supporting the opponent, found myself abruptly cut off in conversation if it was mentioned that I refused to vote. New York is a city so bent on trends and mass marketing that it was an easy target for brainwashing. The NYC media was entirely dominated by leftist opinion and derogatory comments about Republicans and the plebian "Red State" America. There was no possibility of getting the news without ingesting a truck load of political agenda. You couldn't sit in a restaurant and not have your head polluted with Democratic hen party chatter. When election night rolled around, it found me curled up in a booth at Tom's Restaurant at the corner W 113 and Broadway with a milkshake and a magazine. It was the only place I could find with any semblance of peace, since I think the majority of the employees didn't understand the results spouting from the TV and the few other patrons seemed intent on nursing their impending hangovers. The aftermath of the election was a torrent of outrage, the city buzzed with anger and hopelessness and I felt compelled to lie low for my own safety. It seemed the majority of the populace was extremely traumatized over the results; the bad-mouthing of more conservative factions increased and for the first time, I felt uncomfortable in every day situations. Waiting in line at the grocery store, standing on the train, sitting at a bar. The topic of conversation with invariably hostile and political. And of course, popular media fueled the anger for the duration of my stay. Good ratings, I guess. It's fine, though. If Republicans had a strong hold like NYC, they would probably behave in much the same way. However, perhaps it is in part the mass mentality that attracts and holds and nurtures a liberal, socialist?, state of mind. Which surely is a good thing, as I would hate to see what a mob of angry Republicans would do to the odd Democrat. :)
A Bit of Musical News.
  • LCD Soundsystem due to release self-titled album on 02.21.05. This could be my new favorite band.
  • The Mars Volta will unleash Frances the Mute on the US on 03.01.05.
  • Out Hud goes out 03.21.05 with their full length Let Us Never Speak of It Again. A precursor EP, One Life to Leave, is slated for 02.07.05.
  • Hot Hot Heat gets out of the Elevator with their 04.05.05 release.
  • And finally, Ladytron will be wanted regardless of the fact that they're far past 17 when their new album hits the US in May, with a single due out some time in April. They're planning to hit festival dates all over this summer, and will be putting in for a US tour when fall rolls around.


Why every girl should bag a bluesman

After seeing B.B. King wear a sweatband on stage or Dan Akyroid dance in Blues Brothers, a woman may doubt the quality of men involved in the genre. But there are rules to this type of thing, and the rules state that Bluesmen are Better than any indie pop or crust punk or post mod hipster boy you'll ever find. Allow me to explain.
  • A Bluesman will love you even if you have skin like an elephant, thighs like Georgia hams, and you waddle when you walk.
  • They will always beg for you to come back to them, even though you sleep around and spend all their money.
  • They will never complain to you about the debt in which you have placed them, or the quality of your cooking.
  • They are "sensitive" without being "emo". IE; they are still real men.
  • And if they should ever leave you because you're causing them to drink too much, all you have to do is tell them you need some lovin' and they'll come home.
Sounds like a winner to me.


Sex and the Corporate News Rating

Sex sells, especially in the news:
And then// You thought your family embarrassed you? How'd you like to be high-profile Congressman Harold Ford Jr. with family ties to "Jerry Springer Award of the Year" nominee and Senator John Ford? Fellow Memphis blogger Joefish writes a good synopsis HERE. And why post-tsunami Indonesia will soon look like Mississippi.

The Cosmos are Conspiring

I finally switched my home page over to MSN as opposed to Yahoo, since I've had a hotmail account for over a year now and I never check the yahoo one. One of the default content boxes on "My MSN" is a quote of the day. Today's quote?
Every man has his own destiny: The only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him. - Henry Miller
In job hunting today, I have considered the following options:
I hate job hunting. Someone needs to pay my bills and instead of expecting me to sleep with them, just recognize the impact on the world that they are contributing to. Damn. I'm hungry.

The Joy that is Craigslist

Whether you need to know where to get a decent espresso or you're looking for a new job or maybe you just need to get some, Memphis Craigslist is a good place to start. And though I haven't found anything that will get me into movies for free or clue me in to interesting cultural activities with other quality individuals like you can on the New York version, I'm convinced that's just because enough people aren't taking advantage of it. So, do.

Opting for a lesser evil

In music, which is the greatest travesty? To be something less than beautiful, or to be boring? Of course, each is subjective, but...There are certain musicians I struggle with because I don't feel they represent any acceptable combination of the two, and instead lean violently towards one or the other. The Locust, for example, are fascinating to me and are far, far from boring, but I can't stand to listen to them in a capacity of pure enjoyment. On the other hand, musicians like Damien Rice and Ryan Adams and Coldplay are aural ecstasy but so mind numbingly boring and, frankly, lacking in creativity that I don't care for them at all.

Alaska is better than bare feet in public restrooms

I'm looking for another job. Maybe something a little more normal this time around, though the 9-5 terrifies me. Anyway. A lot of people have asked me how I went to Alaska. I tell them I took a plane because driving there is something of a luxury/asinine idea that most people don't have the time, patience, or resilient 4WD for. Then I tell them to go to CoolWorks and find a nice cushy job at a resort or something. Companies like Princess will even pay your air fare and take it out of your first three paychecks. Basically, it's possible to go there without a dime and since you don't have many options for spending (even avid e-bay trawlers will be kept somewhat at bay by the limited shipping options,) you typically end up saving a lot and will certainly come home with some good stories. A few tips:
  • NOW is the time to be putting in applications.
  • pack for limited space for personal belongings.
  • expect to see lots of old people and Japanese tourists.
  • pack for widely varied weather conditions and temps.
  • bring your own cartons of cigarettes because they're way too fucking expensive there.
  • you'll be surrounded by lots of outdoorsy types and Mormons.
  • you'll probably end up making out with a guy with a beard.
  • you'll get intimately familiar with a variety of eastern European cultures and personalities.
  • expect limited communications access, such as phone/internet.
  • you will be mostly cut off from the reality of the rest of the world for up to 5 months.
  • have a liver/kidney donor waiting for you at home.
  • if you want to do some sight seeing, bring some money to buy a cheap car and some basic camping gear. camping/road trips in alaska are fun.
  • the misquitos really are as gruesome as they say.
  • forest fires suck, especially if you're asthmatic or enjoy aesthetic vistas.
  • front of house restraunt/bar staff and bell staff typically make the most money, unless you have specialized management or hospitality related skills.
  • if you're not athletically inclined, you're probably going to gain weight because the food available is not typically geared for the health conscious.
  • if you like photography, bring a laptop and digital camera. the cost of developing film is ridiculous.
  • the pot really is amazing. in fact, it was so good this beauty school drop out goth type chick i knew relocated there for that reason.
  • there will be points, possibly quite a few of them, where you are convinced that you have made the most terrible decision of your entire life. if you stick it out, however, at the end of the summer you'll be nothing but warm and fuzzy about the whole experience.
Damn. That ended up being more than a few. I can't decide if I'm going back or not. It will in large part depend on what happens in the next couple of weeks and whether or not I feel as if I can do something worthwhile with my time here. Links:
By the way, does Lenny Kravitz think he's this decade's version of Prince? I don't know, I just got some overwhelming vibe when watching "Lady" on Insomniac Music Theatre. Which reminds me, now that vh1 only has three hours per day of "I Love the 90's Part Duh" and have added such charmers as "The Surreal Life 4" and "Strange Love", I'm taking it a little more seriously. That's right. Can't get this shit in Alaska.


You can still get fondled by a stripper in Vegas

  • Judge in Las Vegas nullifies city law on lap dance. More HERE.
  • I've decided to involve myself in organized crime as a means of financial support. My only fear is that I'm too ethnically ambiguous. Anyway, call me, I need some connections and shit.
  • Best guest commentators seen recently on major news networks: Bill Nye the Science Guy on the tsunami disaster, Don King in enthusiastic support at the Presidential inauguration.
  • Jucifer Saturday, February 5th at the Deli. Go.
  • It's been a slow realization, and one anyone would be desperate to deny, but Jackson, MS has been more of a national music draw than MEMPHIS lately. Seriously. Check out the Southern tours of anyone worthwhile, and many of them will be making stops in Jackson while passing up Memphis. In fact, EVERYONE'S passing us up for other Southern cities. Why? Basically because you guys suck.
  • Maybe you can make up for it by checking out “Ground Control” at the Liquid Lounge (557 S. Highland) this Friday night. This is an 80's dance party put on by the MIG Project. Doors Open 9PM - 3AM, 21+ is no cover, 18-20 $5.00 cover. No dress code, but hairspray overkill and campy 80's garb encouraged. I don't know, I'm going to check it out. More information HERE.
  • Also, it's something I've been meaning to get involved in since I was in NYC, but it's time. Carpe Diem. Kendo is big business in Hollywood, which is of obvious interest to me, but more importantly I feel that learning to follow the way of the Samurai may prevent me from involving myself in further unscrupulous activities. (Or maybe it will just make me a more viable candidate for the yakuza.) Learn more at the Memphis Kendo Club.
  • Finally, Tommy Lee as a college recruitment tactic? Um. Ok.

Just a Reminder of the Irony

The Sunday preceding Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the very city in which he was assassinated, a strange phenomenon was going on. A white boy from Kentucky was winning the Sony Urban Music Showcase sponsored by MemphisRap.com.
"If Andy Kaufman, Wesley Willis, and Elton John ever had an orgy that spawned a product that could rap, that strange creation would be Ky. Prophet." - Joey Goebel, author of "Torture The Artist" and "The Anomalies"
Kentucky Prophet, AKA Mike Farmer, will be spending plenty of time in Memphis taking advantage of his prize winnings, including the opportunity to make a video with 901 Entertainment and a recording deal with Memphis Records/Young Avenue Sound. I'm sure he'll be on the stage while he's in town, too. By the way, "Mutant Hoochie Mamas" is priceless. Be sure to check it out here.

A brief history

Some days, the rapid way your life changes will leave your head spun and your brain a little scrambled. I've had about three weeks worth of days like that. New Years day marked the conversion from pathetic, unemployed heap of a human junk food disposal to having a number of free-lance jobs, organizing a fairly major benefit show, and having to face all the little realities of dealing with people again. In other words, I got a whole lot busier than I'd been since September. But let's look at the past year and take into consideration, as well. This time last year I was very nearly ready to off myself. Driving around Memphis at all hours under the influence of a variety of convenient prescribed goodies combined with some alcoholic beverage or another. Most typically crying. I had every reason to believe that I had ruined my life, and so did everyone that knew me. It just so happened, though, that I got an e-mail from Princess Cruises saying they had accepted my application to work for them in Denali Park, Alaska. I accepted, even though suddenly the idea didn't seem as grand as it had when I filled the application out a month and a half prior. It was an escape. As nearly far removed from everything and everyone I knew as possible. To go into interior Alaska alone to work...people asked me why I went. I never did have a good answer. But I'm glad I went. I'm glad. It wasn't a sudden fix. I fell into an even deeper depression when I got there and fell into drinking more heavily. By the middle of the summer my kidneys were fucked up and I got fired. This sent me, doubled over in pain, to live for several weeks in a decaying trailer on the edge of Healy Alaska with an odd posse of Louisiana boys and pit bulls and guns and drugs and big trucks. The fires had smoke boxed the region; we were living in a fog of thick yellow and we were driving out into the tundra with bottles of Southern Comfort and acid and we were starting the daylit nights at the lone bar in Healy on the night all the girls came in from the gulch and the DJ played shitty hip hop and Modest Mouse. Those weeks were paintball guns and jumping through windows to splatter moose ass with paint, it was target practice with the AK-47 at the coal wash and swimming in Healy Creek. Watching the sun dip below the horizon from the top of a mountain and stagger back upwards again. The inaction was killing me, though. I got another job at a resort across the valley from Princess. The rooms were small, but I didn't have a room mate and I cleaned up my act. I quit going out, quit drinking for the most part, finally got some antibiotics to try and mend my broken kidneys. I watched TV in the Rec, worked overtime, and read a lot. I grew to hate Lithuanian women and developed a healthy respect for the Bulgarian party ethic. I saved up and at the last minute opted to go to NYC where I spent 2.5 months riding the subway and falling in love with eastern European med students. And that brings us up to date. For the most part.
Nicole Richie on Style Star. You've got to be kidding me.


Who Gives a Fuck

So the Strokes are working on a new album. What's the big fucking deal. They have collectively horrible hair. Why would anyone, particularly a hipster as seems to be their primary audience, want to listen to a band with bad hair? In other news, Memphis' own exploitation filmmaker, JMM of Guerilla Monster Films is currently rubbing elbows with lots of Hollywood Types at the Sundance Film Festival. Perhaps he's there to promote Broad Daylight which Playboy.com called "one of the top ten bachelor party movies of all time", or maybe he's lining up more jobs such as the videos he shot for The Hives on a recent trip to Memphis. The videos for "Abra Cadaver" and "A Little More for Little You", by the way, are allegedly due out soon. Also, check out Hipster Cards for all of your internet greeting card needs? (Who the fuck sends an e-card for Valentine's Day?)

Obligatory Recap

If you live in or around Memphis and you weren't at the Deli last night, you're lame. But it's ok, we didn't need you anyway. It really turned out better than I expected. The Deli was packed and the show couldn't really have been any better. Harlan opened the night up with a solo act that surely rivaled any show he's done with his band, even though he was recovering from the flu. Brad P. (which stands for Postlethwaite) followed with a solo acoustic act and then launched himself into a set with Snowglobe as the house continued to fill up. The Glass, of course, blew everyone away as always. I haven't seen Lost Sounds play in probably two years, but honestly they were better than I remembered which I would have thought was impossible because I remembered them being pretty fucking amazing. The Pirates closed the night out with a great set that kept the party going until the crew had to kick everyone out sometime after 3:00am so we could go to the Two-Way for the after party. The show ended up having a lot of hype surrounding it, even though we only were actively publicizing it for less than a week before the show. Luckily, I don't think anyone would deny that it did live up to, if not far surpassed, expectations. We raised over $4,600.00 for Direct Relief International and putting on a damn good show to showcase some of the best talent in Memphis. That's something I can be happy about. Alright, to make up for my nervous little speech last night, I'm going to supplement my thank-yous with a succinct list, sans drunken rambling. Thanks to The Memphis Flyer for getting us a great write-up and sponsoring an ad for us. Thanks to Basil Bayne Whatley for designing the poster, helping me put them up, and being my partner in crime. Thanks to Starbucks for the grant. Thanks to Mercury Printing for printing the posters for dirt cheap. Thanks to the Young Avenue Deli for use of the location. Thanks to all the guys (and Alicja) that played last night, you were awesome and very understanding of my not knowing what the fuck I was doing. Thanks to Chris from LiveFromMemphis.com for coming out and recording and photographing the show. Thanks to Rachel Hurley for helping us publicize the show. And, of course, thanks to all you guys for being there. Now I just have to sort out the outrageous bar tab that I didn't run up but paid for anyway with money that wasn't mine.


Tonight, Tonight

New Years Eve I stayed in. Half a bottle of cheap champagne and a good bubble bath later I decided to organize a benefit concert for the Tsunami victims. So here's what we've got. Young Avenue Deli at the intersection of Cooper and Young, $10.00 minimum donation, doors open at 8:00, if you're not there by nine, you're going to miss Harlan who is opening the show. (Yeah, it's an early show by midtown standards, but it'll be worth it.) The lineup: You should be there. It's a local scenester's wet dream.

It's like Cheers except it's music

Well. It's about fucking time that Portishead finally gets around to doing something again. They're apparantly beginning work on a new album, and are also doing a Tsunami benefit show in Bristol with Massive Attack and others at some point in February. You know, the comment on that article brings up an excellent point. Would more people be willing to like this kind of music if it wasn't made such a lame duck by an unfortunate genre name? "Trip hop". Fuck trip-hop. It's good shit and you know it. In semi related news, Thievery Corporation also has an upcoming LP slated for release on February 22 under the name The Cosmic Game. They've already released a single, "Revolution Solution" featuring Perry Ferrell, on ITunes which will be available through February 14. And, um, I'm trying to figure out how to start a karaoke night with music I actually know. Came across this as encouragement.


Do it like you're choreographed to symphony

Xiu Xiu. New Orleans last spring before I left. When future coked out New School brats were still bearable company and driving was a precious escape. I drove six hours on a Friday afternoon to get there, Mississippi never looked so beautiful. The little houses you didn't think existed, little tin boxes at the edge of a field spattered with creaking oak trees and cows dropping calves like piles of bellowing shit in the dew drenched grass. Hills roll in different directions, here. Like nowhere else I've ever seen, they spread out and fold in and twitch like living things, like rare birds all trying to crowd together before they fall off into the delta. English teachers lecture about authors like Faulkner and Welty and Morris and those other Mississippi boys and they say the sense of place they offer up in their writing is something special. It's nothing special. It's just a disease infused in paper through the pen. It's a state of mind wrought by a state that should have left the union. All the way from Memphis to the dirty beaches of Biloxi, it's a beautiful dead place in perpetual wake. God help us if we ever get around to burying it. The sun was shining and the pine trees still quivered with taught breezes that reminded me I'd need my jacket that night. Revisiting Bay St. Louis was like revisiting something that never quite happened to me, but should have. I even drove by her house, that insane Italian "play-write" with the 12 cats in a house the size of my bedroom. I wondered about her little boy, I've forgotten his name. He was so beautiful, the very blueprint of a Hitler youth. That much more perfect juxtaposed to his mamma's leathery brown body partially draped in some tie-dyed tatter of a mini dress. The trees seemed greener there, and heavy like they had just drank down a good Gulf rain shower and the asphalt was blacker, too. I drove by the tiny cemetery and remembered the night I had walked with the boy through the empty streets and old buildings and we wandered into the little overgrown lawn as the fireflies were rousting themselves and he tugged on my sleeve. I told him to pee on a headstone with a name I didn't like much and turned around while he did. But this time, the reasons for my visit were different. It was supposed to be a goodbye, and it was. We drove into the city in the afternoon and went to Mona's for schwarma and Turkish coffee. We sat on the patio to enjoy the sun and shivered when it ducked behind a the house across the street. A lady with an old bathtowel on her head and worn slippers on her feet stood on the sidewalk on the opposite corner and shouted at the open window on the second story until someone unlocked the door in front of her. Driving there made me nervous because there were so many children riding bicycles erratically where children didn't really seem to belong. When we went to the warehouse, it was still quite early. The people that lived there were the sort you would expect to live in a warehouse in New Orleans and put on shows in tiny rooms with no ventilation. Ear plugs and drunk tattoos and shaved heads and pink hair and surly frowns at strangers and excited libertine rambling. The couches smelled like moldy upholstery and cat piss and we sat on them gratefully because standing seemed so passe. The night wore on and we took a walk to bypass the less than impressive opening act, Xiu Xiu was still MIA. The oak trees lining the boulevard were shedding the little pollen balls as they tend to do and I sneezed and tried to kick the thick yellow dust off of my shoes. The warehouse, too, lived across the street from a cemetery and I remember thinking there seemed to be more dead people along this part of the coast than anywhere else I'd ever been. We stood and perused the night with a cigarette and a stranger, talking in detached voices of LA and Radiohead and things you could do for free that you really were supposed to do at all. When Xiu Xiu finally appeared, we launched ourselves into a frenzy of enthusiasm as we helped them unload their gear and I remember the misery we put ourselves through in order to stand in that short room and watch Jamie Stewart. It was worth it though. It was all worth it when the sounds dried the sweat on my forehead and followed me back to Mississippi, along Hwy 90 with the windows down, tracing the curve of the gulf and the dull glare of contentment shining in my eyes.

Keeping Lady Bugs in Plastic Boxes

If you know me, you know I'm obsessive; I'm single minded, and when I get something in my head it takes a while for it to dissipate if I don't act on it somehow. Fortunately, this can be used to my advantage. Unfortunately, it often is not. Today, it's a typical topic. People I have thought about having sex with in the last 3 hours: Melora Graeble, Johnny Depp (yes, cliche, I know), my Romanian med student, Henry Rollins (an old stand-by), the short little man I met the other night with a Gotham City five o'clock shadow, Zac Posen, the high school kid I saw at the library, Ted Turner (I would seduce him and play him for his power,) Maggie Gyllenhaal, a random matador I saw on National Geographic, Henry Miller, that Canadian keyboardist from the Constantines who spells his name weird, and probably you, too. Listening to music, every song is suddenly compared to the most basic standard--would I fuck to this and would it be better than fucking to something else? It becomes difficult to focus on doing laundry when the washer complains in jilted verse of a lopsided load, and when clearing my dinner dishes from the table all I can think of is whether or not the table is strong enough to support two people's body weight. These are long days, and longer nights. I will die of carpal tunnel syndrome before I reach 30. Death by desire, I tell you.