26 December 2008

Moving, birthdays and Christmas. Oh my.

I have no mental capacity for anything other than a quick joke:

What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?

(Wait for it)



A nervous wreck.

19 December 2008

End of days

If you watched the news here today, you'd think that we are all going to die. Did I miss something? When did snow become as dangerous as radioactive fallout?

(Entry interrupted to tend to a wailing, soon-to-be one-year old who appears to have had a nightmare, poor guy. But all is well. There is nothing quite like a mom.)

I'm just blown away by the way the media here in Chicago reacts to winter storms. It's Chicago. It's winter. What do you expect? Two days ago a four inch storm hit at the peak of the evening rush hour, and anyone trying to go more than a few miles was stuck in crawling traffic for at least a few hours.

If there is no traffic you can drive from the Loop to O'Hare Airport in about twenty minutes. Tuesday evening at five, it was four and a half hours. On the CBS station here at ten o'clock, they had a feature where a reporter drove from the downtown studio to the airport, which took four hours. How is that news?

Flakes start falling, and it's like an OJ trial around here. Bizarre.

Just three days until Desmond's first birthday. On this day last year we went to the doctor and made the appointment to induce labor on the 21st. I'll never forget the feeling sitting in that office, knowing that it was now a sure thing that in three days our first child was going to be born. It was like plunging your head into ice water-I never felt more aware of my surroundings.

Those three days turned out to be the longest three days since the dawn of time, seventy-two hours of anxiety, anticipation and just plain waiting. I did five hundred crossword puzzles, read fifty-seven magazines and learned twelve languages. Seems like I remember every second.

15 December 2008

Today's statement o' funk

Craig Ferguson is wearing a tie on his show tonight that reminds me of something. It took a minute or two before getting it: it's the same tie that we buried my father in.

Moving on...Desmond's first birthday is this coming Sunday. You have got to be kidding me. There is no way my son is already one year old. Sometimes I think that this past year has passed in the blink of an eye, and sometimes it feels like it has been two years instead of one. It has been quite a time.

Desmond is not walking yet. He's close; he pulls himself up on everything and can walk along a table or anything else he can hold on to (including my wrists). I thought I would find the prospect of my son walking melancholy, like he was crossing a barrier that he couldn't return to, but I find myself ready for this. I am starting to see him as a toddler, and toddlers walk.

They also take their pants off, apparently. Des hasn't kept a pair of pants on longer than thirty minutes for about the last week. Putting a pair of pants on him is slightly more difficult than having a root canal without Novacaine (thank you, James Frey. I will never tire of reminding people that you are full of crap), and it's quite disheartening to see him get them off in twelve microseconds.

We don't wear shoes unless it's an absolute necessity.

I'll have more to say about Desmond as the week progresses. My memories of this year seem the opportunity to knock myself out of my writing funk.

14 December 2008

Nothing like a fine whine.

I forgot how much moving sucks. Packing things that you swore that you got rid of last time you moved, doing it again because you're too far behind to deal with it now, and stuff all over the place. I hate it. Hate hate hate it. Every time I move (which happens about every four or so years, it seems) I vow to never do it again.

The thing is, I can't wait to move. We are finally moving into a home of our own. It's a great house. I just wish I could go to sleep, wake up and have everything be moved in.

My funk continues. I'd swear it is February, which makes me nervous to think about how I will be once February actually gets here. I'm hopeful that new surroundings will snap me out of this malaise.

Since I'm getting bogged down in negativity, I will submit myself to a random eleven. As promised last time, here is where I stole this from.

1. "Point Shirley"-Rhett Miller. The thinly veiled reference to Hamlet throughout this song intrigues me, though I don't recall there being a Shirley in the cast. Maybe Ophelia is Dane for Shirley...

2. "Fool in the Rain"-Led Zeppelin. When I was a sophomore in college, I had a rough year. I hated my roommate (who was actually not a bad guy, though he was incredibly boring, I was just deranged) but took some odd pleasure in using his boombox whenever he wasn't around. Since he knew I didn't like him (because I pretty much stopped talking to him by Labor Day-again, I had major issues) he would be gone all day. Of all the cassettes that I listened to back then-this was the late 80s before CDs-In Through the Out Door was the one I listened to most. Ergo, whenever I hear a song from this CD I can't help but think about my roommate. Fortunately, it doesn't happen with the rest of the LZ catalog. In a slapdash of irony, when I started grad school in 2005 I discovered that his sister was chair of the English department (I had never met her before). I eventually worked up the gumption to introduce myself and asked her if she might give me his e-mail. She did, I wrote him a note apologizing for my behavior, but I never heard from him.

3. "Slow Emotion Replay"-The The. I have this odd habit of remembering specific, obscure things about uneventful moments in my life (see above), and this song always takes me back to four in the morning when I got up extremely early to go in to work at an ungodly hour for some dog and pony show. I hated my job, I hated the fact that I was up at four, I pretty much hated everything, except this song, which came on the radio when I turned it on as soon as I woke up.

4. "Perfect"-Smashing Pumpkins. I used to think this song was about unrequited love (and identified with it passionately-God, could I be more of a depressing mole tonight?) but now think it's about a stalker telling his "beloved" that he isn't giving up anytime soon.

5. "New Test Leper"-REM. The obligatory appearance of the boys from Athens on the Random 11, from the vastly under-rated New Adventures in Hi-Fi, which I listened to extensively while traipsing through central Oregon in summer 2003. When I typed the previous sentence, I noticed that I omitted the first "p" in "appearance" and proceeded to do something that drives me insane: instead of just moving my cursor to where the missing letter was, I deleted all the way back to that point and wound up re-typing most of the word. Usually I don't catch mistake like that until a few words later, and I wind up deleting whatever part of the sentence came afterwards. It's bizarre. I tell myself not to do it, but I do every time.

6. "Home By the Sea"-Genesis. Listen to this song, then watch the scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when the home by the sea is fading from memory, and tell me that Charlie Kaufmann wasn't thinking about that all through the movie. In this room they sigh and they moan.

7. "Goodbye Girl"-Squeeze. Not to be confused with the ballad from Bread to the movie of the same name. I should mention that when I was 12 my mother would not let me watch The Goodbye Girl on TV, and to this day I still do not understand why. Perhaps she thought I was allergic to Richard Dreyfuss. Come to think of it, I did sneeze throughout Mr. Holland's Opus. And whatever happened to Quinn Cummings? That's one heck of a resume, culminating with an appearance on "Blossom".

8. "I've Seen All Good People"-Yes. This is one of those songs that you (by which I mean me) listen to three thousand times before getting what it is about. They're playing chess!

9. "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby"-Counting Crows. Wasn't this the title of a "very special" episode of MASH? I find the crows mostly pretentious (and in need of a bath), but I love this song. Doesn't take much to reel me in, just a mixture of melody, lyrics and inquisition. Well done.

10. "Viva la Vida"-Coldplay. This is a group that I was looking forward to slapping down a few rungs on the ladder, if for nothing else than writing a song as awful as "Fix You," but this album is outstanding. Their last CD was extraordinarily pretentious and muck, but all is forgiven. I'd prefer that every song not be about death, but there you go. This song was in the news last week because it apparently sounds just like a melody Joe Satriani wrote about five years ago. And it does. I suppose it could be a happy accident, but either way, I have a feeling someone is going to get a co-writing credit on any further pressings of the CD just to keep everyone in Whoville happy.

11. "Please Read the Letter"-Robert Plant and Allison Krause. Normally I would have finished my rave to Coldplay above with a decisive "this album deserves to win a billion Grammys" rant, but I don't for two reasons: first, who really gives a rat's ass about the Grammys? They've been awful ever since they gave three hundred awards one year to Lionel Ritchie; second, no album this year has been better than Raising Sand; this is the best song from that CD. I saw Plant and Krause in September in Kansas City, the first concert I had been to in ten years, and it was spectacular. If you ad told me twenty-five years ago that I would one day see Robert Plant live singing a folk song version of "Black Dog" I would have bet that I was committed somewhere. The two are amazing together, and I hope that the rumors I hear about them doing another album are true.