I am not a huge birthday fan.
Yes, birthdays make a good day to sit back and say “wow, was that a year that just happened?,” but they’ve otherwise been turned into the same materialistic nonsense Hallmark holiday as all of those other holidays that I habitually ignore. By this point, my friends and limited members of my family have discerned my general distaste for typical birthday fare, and have compensated accordingly with a recent avalanche of off-kilter gifts, unusual cakes, and the now-annual beer-tasting festival.
Today marks the fourth birthday of my blog. You’d think I’d remember it, or have it marked down on my calendar, or buy myself a gift, but year after year it blindsides me just like the birthdays of my friends and aunts, all of which I typically remember just as they are upon me. I didn’t remember this one at all. Instead, I happened to be at Rabi’s, reading about this year’s Howl festival, and I was thinking about how it’s been exactly a year since I last saw Rabi, and then I looked at my posts from the New York trip and realized that it almost coincided with CrushingKrisis’s birthday, and then I realized that meant that CK’s b-day was once again upon us.
Four years is not the longest time to do something. High school only took four years, thank god. For most people, college only takes four. There are marriages that don’t last as long, and beloved children who are younger. It has been enough time, though, for over 2,500 posts, and for over four hundred thousand words.
CK’s birthday is a good point to look back across that lifetime of posts and words, but it’s also useful for gauging what can actually happen in a year. In a way, this past year’s posts represent even less of my life than they ever did before; they depict fewer moments, impulses, and sudden fixations. At the same time, these few posts reveal more – in my increasing impulse to let thoughts percolate through multiple passes of writing and editing I find a more robust view of my life as I look back over a sparser number of posts. Not as many thousands of words to depict the pictures; less polariods, more portraits.
I sometimes miss “the old” version of this page, but I know that’s it’s unrealistic to expect anything to stay the same. Television shows grow stale. Musicians evolve. Life goes on. For me to decry the state of this page, lamenting that it no longer portrays my minute-to-minute fascination with the minutia of my existence, would be ignoring the growth not of my writing, but of myself. I might still look (mostly) the same and think (mostly) the same, but each post I write has an effect on the outcome of the next one.
I have given myself the gift of four years of identity, thoughts realized and jotted down for me to re-live, re-think, and re-assess. You have given me the privilege of airing that identity, forcing me to repeat, repent, and resolve again and again in an attempt to find something truer, funnier, and realer the next time.
I want to promise you that this year will bring hundreds of interesting links, scores of engaging reads, dozens of awesome new recordings of my song. I can’t. I want to promise that I will be on the cutting edge of blogging, finding new resources and fresh writing to day daily. I won’t.
For all that I cannot promise you, I will promise you this: you will always be privy to a unique view of my life. Sometimes that is represented by a sprawling journal-like entry, sometimes by a new song, sometimes by a brief by-line to a link, and often by lengthy self-assessment, but every time it’s a topic I bring to this page, to you, because it is a key part of this identity. It’s something I’m crushing on, or that’s crushing me.
Thank You, and Happy Birthday to This.
I am a fashionista.
Perhaps this requires some explanation.
Often I know, without even thinking about it, what trends are worth engaging in and what will seem ridiculous in just a year’s time. Furthermore, I can spot a lamentable fashion option at fifty paces. It’s not a queer eye for a straight guy so much as a wary eye for the well-dressed man.
It’s a power that I cannot explain. Well over a year ago, i was touched by a nearly-physical urge to own brown and orange clothing. I spent months culling brown dress shirts from thrift stores and orange t-shirts from speciality shops; I beefed up my earth-toned repetoire. And then, suddenly, this fall brought as many pieces of clothing in those colors as it did leaves. I haven’t bought a single piece of this new, Post-Fall raft of clothing; my collection was established even before the colors were launched.
My innate fashionista radar sometimes picks up trends passively, leaving me unaware that my tacit endorsement could be akin to a butterfly in Africa — creating a fashion hurricane in the greater Philadelphia area months later. Last summer in a hip village thrift store i became obsessed with their retro ties, and after much deliberation Rabi and i decided that they could be used as belts. I purchased two (one was brown), and trotted them out on several occasions with jeans, to the bewilderment of my classmates and co-workers. Imagine my shock and horror to walk into the dreaded Gap this past weekend to find a near-fascimile of my brown tie being sold as a… get this… BELT. Yes, a fucking belt.
No, I’m not bitter. Just a little bitter.
The whole motivation behind this tirade is a current trend that my Spidey-like Fashionista-Sense has let me down on: pink.
As far as I was ever concerned, Pink was for distinguished men, men who golfed and wear polo shirts on Friday. I thought of it as a good’ol’boy-badge. Suddenly, it is everywhere. Pink shirts. Pink ties. Yahoo dating aids proclaiming “He looks good in pink,” as if to infer the superior quality of their pink-wearing catches.
You want some pink, the world is telling me. Have some pink.
The thing is, I’m not getting a read on the pinkage. I’ve seen a couple men look very sharp with pink-dotted ties or dusty-rose colored shirts. However, I’ve also seen some hideous pink-on-pink ensembles that leave me wondering if we’re headed in the regrettable direction of pink denim in the near future.
Given the subjectivity of this this particular trend, I think I will pass, but I’m not sure if I’m making that choice as a Fashionist or a trend-hater. In my mind, just as both turquoise and lime green seemed like a super idea at certain points in the 1980s but dated about as well as reruns of The Facts of Life, I think the people who could wear pink to begin with are the only ones who are going to escape this unscathed. Yes, a pink and grey tie is a lively accent to wear on Monday’s, when everyone needs some accenting, or on Fridays, when you’re headed out for cocktails afterwards. Otherwise, I think all of the early adopters will be limping back to their closets to find a conservative blue shirt within the span of a few months.
Unfortunately, that opinion is not fueled by my wary-eye sense, as far as I can tell, so I can’t really speak to its ultimate veracity. However, I do know that the “Look at me, I’m metrosexual” rating of this trend is through the roof, and that all us real metros are not going to let it get out of hand by offering our endorsement.
In closing, just remember: say no to your bourough as a mispelled designer name, say probably not to pink, and don’t wear your first initial as a monogram unless you are Madonna or have a name starting with E.
Also, keep your eye out for dark purple. Maybe. We’ll see.
Over at SongFight they have two particular side skirmishes that have been piquing my interest.
One is the Album a Day movement, where you do your best to write and record a 20-Minute EP in a single 24 hour period. Lots of SongFighters have joined the fray; the results i’ve heard have been mixed, with a lot of silly songs, but a a few keepers. I am sorely tempted to try it.
The second, starting on Friday, is Marathon Songs – where all the participants will write one song per day for sixteen days. The thought of recording and posting a song for sixteen straight days makes my head quiver and long to explode – this is, afterall, my year off from Blogathon. Still, i am intriqued by the thought of forcing out a product consistently for two weeks, especially as lately i am alternately convinced my songwriter gland has atrophied and afraid that i will never be able to record all of the dozen dozen songs i’ve got floating around.
That’s the crux of it, really. I have so many songs floating, and i am torn between forging onward into the unknown and holding back to work what i have into perfection. Hopefully the decision will be made easier by the shiny new guitar winging its way to me from Kansas City as we speak, but in the meantime i am warming up for either or both of the SF challenges, with my final decision on whether i participate or not coming on Friday.
So, yeah, basically what i’m trying to say is: here’s some shitty poetry.
I am thinking where am i Georgia O'Keefe flowers keeping watch Over my drip drop on the museum floor I am soaking wet in Washington Sixth and Pennsylvania With four dollars in my pocket Lost here in the city I recognize each building That i have seen on teevee Could i be as real as these streets? I was walking in New York City Skirting the hole Where buildings used to be I was circling Central Park Where teevee stars walk But i don't know where i am really And lost then in the city Rabi seated across from me Could i be as real as those streets? As real as the buildings i once looked down from upon Now gone? I am wondering who am i Walking to your house Wondering if i know where i begin So many ends i've got figured out, but The means to acheive is what i'm always missing Dry now in Washington i know i'm as real as the streets And that white house where all the dignitaries meet As real as Georgia O'Keefe's Lewdest flowers, hung for all the world to see
Laying on Elise’s sister’s floor last night i dreamt that i was in Paris.
It’s funny how my brain works when i dream these things, because in my dreams every time i left the apartment to walk around on the street, or to head to the Eiffel tower, i spoke french. And, i spoke quite good french, though i couldn’t seem conjugate any verbs in the past tense. But every hour or so i would wake up and realize that we were in Jenny’s studio apartment, in Washington DC, which is nothing like Paris at all. Well, maybe a little.
So now i’m in Washington DC. Jenny and Elise and Rob decided they wanted to see a Harry Potter movie, but it seemed like such a waste to me. Washington DC, on July Fourth, and in the rain, which i think is a little bit romantic.
So, while they planned their trip to the movie theatre, i planned my trip wandering around the city.
I’ve only wandered in two cities now, both times with Rabi, so i feel a little displaced doing it by myself – not knowing that you have to swipe your card to exit the subway (i think i was almost arrested). But, here i am, three hours of my own, on my own, in this strange city that operates in ways that i’m not used to – swiping your card to get out of the subway, numbers counting down to tell you how long you have to cross the street.
It’s peculiar, and i’m wet, but i don’t mind. I don’t have anything with me but my cell phone, my wallet, and my day pass, and i’ve got three hours to learn my away around city number four for Peter. (originally an audio post)
A fun post at Wockerjabby invites commenters to list their daydream jobs — the things they imagine themselves doing when they’re not doing the job the’re supposed to be doing. Or something like that. Try jotting a few down; they might surprise you. And, hell, it’s a lot easier than doing one of those career placement tests.