Thursday, December 20, 2012

what? a food blog?

Yup, I started a vegetarian food blog. I have a lot of friends who are either already excellent cooks or want to learn more about cooing vegetarian, and this blog is dedicated to them. I'm excited to continue to add recipes (many are original) and become better at handling my new camera and photographing food and people in the kitchen. I think it'll be a fun project! Check it out HERE.

Monday, December 17, 2012

the night is a disco

This is a piece I wrote covering Shiny Around the Edges' new album, film, and release show at Macaroni Island last month. It was an awesome show. The original article is posted on Austere Magazine's blog HERE.

Sempiternal Denton Band Shiny Around the Edges Rocks the House Releasing The Night is a Disco
 Shiny Around the Edges, still one of Denton’s favorite experimental bands, continues to evolve and define themselves after over a decade of music making. The band played to an enthusiastic crowd in the packed garage of Macaroni Island last Friday, excited to release their newest and most vibrant album to date, The Night Is a Disco. If there’s one thing Shiny knows how to do best, it’s rock a house show. 

The electronic duo Forever Home kicked off the evening with some experimental grooves. Shiny performed a slightly longer set, showcasing a good deal of their diversely musical new album. Featuring, as always, a delightful mashup of both Jenny and Mike’s dynamic vocals, guitar, sax, and heavy drum beats, over the course of the evening the band also introduced keyboard solos, a clarinet, and even a trombone. Local noise-rock group, Eccotone, finished up the night with a rowdy set. Macraroni Island was a new experience for me, a great venue overall, but the acoustics are probably less ideal for very loud acts.

The album itself kicks off with several melodic pieces featuring Jenny Seman’s hauntingly beautiful vocals accompanied by sparse piano and bass. As the album progresses, new elements are added, instruments and vocals alike. Eerie chanting, explosive guitar riffs, jazzy saxophone solos, auxiliary percussion, room sounds, innovative beats, and bird calls all make this album sensationally unique. True to their experimental and atmospheric background, the dynamics of these songs rise and fall expertly, but no one could argue that intensity of this album ever falters.

Along with the new album, Shiny has also taken on a film project, shot just last month in an abandoned house owned by local Council member, Kevin Roden. What started as a photo-shoot in the old house this summer turned into a concept for a music video that evolved into the short film “Seven Knots.” The film was made possible with the help of many Denton locals, from the production assistance of Amandus Studios to costuming by Lisa Townsend of Time Bandits Vintage Clothing- not to mention the many friends and fans of the band appearing in the film itself. Seven Knots was directed by Chad Withers. Shiny is excited to finish up post-production and start submitting the film to festivals before its wide release digitally or on DVD. Shiny’s own Mike Seman also mentioned the possible release of a “Seven Knots” soundtrack.

After all these years, Shiny Around the Edges is still going strong- they plan to take on new projects while continuing to write music and rock the local scene. They express a desire to incorporate more local music talent, much like they have with their current saxophonist, Mike Forbes, who often plays with the group live and has started collaborating with Mike and Jenny write music “from scratch.” To quote Mike directly when asked where he sees the band going in the future:

“We will most likely continue playing shows in the DFW region with occasional jaunts outside of the state here and there…we’ll support a bigger act on tour again as our schedules are fairly flexible. We’re always writing songs, so more recordings will undoubtedly happen. We really enjoyed the entire process of shooting a film and will most likely do so again in the future.”



Monday, December 3, 2012

cream of jalapeño soup

THIS IS THE BEST cream of jalapeno soup on the internet. ASK GOOGLE. Ask Yahoo. Ask your mom. This is it. No one else was brave enough to try this. But two of my best friends and I took on this challenge tonight and it turned out FANTASTIC. This is an ORIGINAL recipe we're going to share with you. It's WORTH IT. Everything we found online wanted to call "cream of jalapeno soup" some weak nonsense with 2-6 jalapenos. PLEASE. We used THIRTY, and I'm tempted to use more next time. What started as a simple experiment turned out to be an incredible flavor experience. This recipe is huge- it'll easily feed eight hungry people or you can eat some of it and freeze the rest for a quick, delicious, spicy meal. Try it and enjoy**!

Here's what you need:

30 jalapeno peppers
2 green bell peppers
1 yellow onion
1 head of garlic
6 red potatoes
8 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 c. vegetable broth
1 c. fresh spinach
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
      1 tbsp. parsley
1/2 tbsp. sweet paprika
salt & black pepper to taste

for garnish:
2 pieces of toast per person
olive oil, garlic salt, paprika, parsley
pomegranate seeds (very optional)

PREP:
For the peppers, cut the tops off and de-seed (keep some seeds for extra heat, if you so desire!), place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking. Meanwhile, dice your onion, mince the garlic, shred the potatoes, chop the fresh spinach.

COOK:
Saute the onion in the olive oil in a large pot. Once the onion is soft, add the garlic and saute until everything is golden brown and deliciously aromatic. Add the broth and potatoes and cover for about fifteen minutes on a medium heat. Let the peppers cool enough to handle and chop them roughly, setting about 7-8 chopped jalapenos to the side. Add the rest to the pot, along with the spices and fresh spinach, and cook about five to ten minutes more.

BLEND:
Using a blender or food processor, process the all of the soup in batches until smooth and creamy. Put the creamy soup back into the pot and add the remaining chopped jalapenos. Add the whipping cream and all of the cream cheese in 1 oz. chunks and stir until melted smooth. Add salt and pepper as needed.

GARNISH:
We garnished our soup with simple garlic toast. Using a hearty whole-wheat bread, we cut the bread into inch-wide strips, placed it on a baking sheet, drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled it with garlic salt, paprika, and parsley. We discovered on accident that a small garnish of pomegranate seeds added on top of the soup contributed this PERFECT sweet, cooling effect. SO GOOD. Don't hate it until you try it!

**THIS SOUP IS NOT FOR THE DELICATE PALATE. You should know that.


writing buddy

this is my writing buddy. 
sitting in front of the computer is what we did for a whole month. 
good thing it's nice outside right now.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Achievement Unlocked: 50,000 words

HEY! I JUST FINISHED WRITING 50,000 WORDS FOR MY NOVEL. Cool! Not that every word is a keeper, and I'm by no means close to being finished, but holy shit, you guys, this is the most I've ever written for a single project. I'm scrolling through the 174 pages of text I wrote over the last 30 days and I'm pretty amazed at what I've accomplished here. It feels pretty awesome, but I can't get ahead of myself. There's still a LOT to do before this is a finished work, the first thing being, to finish it. I would be willing to bet I can wrap up the story in another 10,000 words or so, which seems fair, and probably won't take me too long... with how busy I am going to be in the next month I'm going to go ahead and say the rough draft should be done by the end of the year. Then, let the editing begin! I edit with a butcher's knife, don't worry.


So this concludes my mad dash to get this out of my brain and on to paper. The bulk of it is over with and I feel confident I can finish this work. Most of the difficult stuff has been fleshed out. Damn. I'm kind of in a daze of disbelief right now... More later, I need to take a victory nap.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30,000 words.

Today I'm going to write-sprint. As much as I can. It's early, and I have plenty of coffee. I'm still surprisingly unaware of what the end-game here is, but, uh, I'm sure it'll come to me in the next week or so? This month has blown by. I'm amazed. If I leave the house today, it'll be because I wrote four or five thousand words and my fingertips are bleeding. Quick thoughts. Just letting you know I'm still at it. Can't stop, won't stop. Not now. More later. Love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

somehow i am doing this: 20,000 words

For those keeping track, you know two weeks have already passed since I kicked off this project. HERE'S AN UPDATE. I know you're at the edge of your flippin' seat right now. Well, I just wrote my twenty-thousand and tenth word. I'm eating lunch hoping for a new wind of inspiration to get me through the next two or three hours. (I work tonight, no writing after 5 or so). There you have it.

Things that have kept me from writing as much as I'd like to this last week include working (mostly on the weekends) and preparing/facilitating Spiderweb Salon's Harvest Showcase. SHOW=WORTH IT. I can't believe it was our sixth show already, it's growing up so fast! There were a lot more performers this time, which meant a little extra effort for us getting everything organized and the show ran a little longer than we planned, but overall, it was a great time and lots of people came out to enjoy the beautiful evening with us! I love hearing people's responses to the show, everyone starts talking about the awesome creative things they want to accomplish and they rally collaboration and support from other. It's a really beautiful thing.

At the Salon, I read a couple excerpts from what I've been working on. They were received positively but I can't help but be completely insecure about it. Every time someone came up to me to talk about it, I found myself changing the subject as quickly as possible. WHY?! I know everyone is well-intentioned but I have convinced myself that it wasn't good. I can't explain how dumb this is, I know, I know. Just some stuff I need to work through, I guess. I really do want to talk about it to people who are legitimately interested but approaching the subject is hard for me. There's so much explaining that goes in to it, I mean, that's why I'm trying to write a damn novel about it! I think I'll feel more confident once I have time to edit and familiarize myself with the work a little more. I need to work on not being so weird about it.

The other thing that has kept my productivity from skyrocketing this week is some work my landlords have decided to take on with this house. There's been tons of hammering and crashing and drilling and scraping and boom box playing... some days it just drives me mad. I've had to seek shelter at friends' houses or run errands until they go away. It's been terribly frustrating. But, on the bright side, part of their project looks to be putting in a porch swing up right by my front door which I have ALWAYS wanted, and I finally mustered up the courage to ask them to fix a broken window and put some damn weatherstripping on my doors while they're at it. Maybe I won't get frostbite on my toes this winter. So that's cool.

All this being said, the support of my good friends and even some incredibly kind acquaintances these last couple weeks means so much to me. I am referring to both the encouragement Conor and I receive when working to put on Spiderweb Salon and for my personal projects and goals alike.

Some of you get texts from me every day about how I've just written another thousand words or that I'm stuck or sad and don't know what to do... I thank you. Some of you have come to my house to workshop with me, have brought coffee and news of the outside world... I thank you, too! I've had a lot of people come up to me and ask me how my novel is going. If you do this and I seem taken aback, IT'S OKAY. It's just that I am still getting used to the fact that I AM writing a novel, and the fact that it has peeked your curiosity is so incredibly flattering to me I don't know what to do. Keep in mind I am infamously bad at taking compliments, and for someone like you to be interested in something that means so much to me is the greatest compliment I have probably ever received. Thank you, everyone, for your love and encouragement. After tomorrow there's only two more weeks to go, hopefully by then I will be wrapping this up and we shall be on to bigger and better things.

And, as my friend, for everything you do, you know, for keeping up with this blog and being a supportive and awesome pal even when I am a grouchy pill... I present to you this baby walrus. (My friend Colin sent me this picture. Thanks, buddy.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

10,000 words. WHAT.

I'M DOING IT. I don't know what it is, but I'm doing it. Look here. This project is taking on a life of its own. The plot, which doesn't actually exist, keeps making minor shifts on me when I'm not paying attention. The tense is a thrilling nightmare to try and keep up with. I don't even know what it's called... present progressive, I guess? Is that a terrible idea? My main character wishes to exist in two different patches of time. I guess I'm letting her. I've gone off on long-winded rants about artistic philosophy, modern-day parenting, and psychology. Lots of dialogue, which is good practice, I suppose, because I'm not very good at writing dialogue at all. I'm still working on forming some overarching themes...I feel like I should have more of a grasp on the plot at this point, but I don't. Half the characters I planned on having are unnamed or don't even exist yet.

Here I am with 10,000 words of unedited junk. I'm more positive about it the last couple days, but that could also be because I'm shying away from some of the heavier stuff for now. I realized it may be harder to start with already-rough material AND no clear direction. I'm trying to let this be as organic as possible. To not over-think it too much, and let the words come out as they may. 

Tomorrow, I will have been working on this an entire week! I am proving to myself that I can force myself to write, I can even force myself to enjoy doing it. I mean, I always enjoy writing, but I'm pretty sure that's because I am so used to doing it when I want to, or when I have good ideas ready to go. This is a different experience entirely.



And to reward you for keeping up with my progress, or at least clicking on the link to my blog and glimpsing over it ever-so-slightly, I give you this picture of an adorable baby owl.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

READ THIS: susan sontag on love


This is beautiful and perfect. I wish I could describe my vision of love with such simple and eloquent precision. Susan Sontag is an inspiring and incredible woman well worth admiration.
"Can I love someone and still think/fly?"

Monday, November 5, 2012

5,000 words

Day five and 5,000 words. I am technically behind. According to the official NaNoWriMo site, I should have almost 8,500 written by the end of today. I'm going to keep trucking but I needed a little break. I should probably take a shower. 

I'll be honest, the writing is not coming terribly easy. The focus of the novel keeps changing and my original outline has been thrown out the window. The working title isn't working. The content is more draining on me than I could have imagined, and I've only just begun. For instance, yesterday I was working on a scene that I really wanted to loosely base off of personal experience but I had to keep stopping because of how upset I was getting. I went to work my night shift in a sour mood and a co-worker pointed out that perhaps the writing is part of what is bothering me. I hadn't considered it. I didn't think it would put me in so dark a place so quickly.

I allow myself breaks every five hundred words or so. I stretch. Check the mail (compulsively, for some dumb reason.) Make more coffee or tea. I seek encouragement/motivation via friends who I know are interested in the project, but also through vague updates on facebook and twitter. It's hard not to feel very alone. After all, I am sitting by myself all day, spending my time digging up difficult emotions and attempting to arrange them in a coherent and not-so-melodramatic style. I want the story to be true-to-life but also accessible. I want to allow others access to the experiences but not turn them off with negativity. It means everything to me at this moment to just get this right. It's shaping up to be quite a challenge.

Again: positivity, happy thoughts, coffee, snacks, hugs, moral support, and general encouragement are going a long way right now. Thanks, everyone.

I'll post again in a few days. My next goal is to hit 10,000 words and select some piece from it to read at the next Spiderweb Salon! If you are a twitter nerd, you can follow my rather mundane progress posts @fiveglue.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

AUTHOR BIO

Bookseller. Artist. Barista. Writer. A twenty-something female easing into spinsterhood. Cat lady extraordinaire. Irreligious. An advocate of free-thinking free-loving free-writing freedom. Not a huge fan of mainstream media. Spends a little too much time drinking. Reads contemporary literature and large doses of French and Russian classics. Dabbles in philosophy, painting, photography, & poetry. Musically inclined. Spent childhood as a reluctant military B.R.A.T. Prone to wander. Harbors a desire to change the world, etc. Etc.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

plans, preparations, confessions

I am busily preparing for the month ahead of not-so-blissful literary abandon. It's been a long time since I have wholeheartedly committed to throwing myself into an all-consuming writing project, but damn it, I'M GOING IN. Yesterday I caught up on some obligations I've been procrastinating against. Bought an external hard drive so my computer can function when I need it most. Bought a pack of nice new pens, because I'm a nerd. Voted, so I won't have to worry about that later this month. Stocked up on some necessities. Bluebear (who will be spending the month writing an album!) and I made a big calendar to hang up on the wall so we can keep track of our schedules and how we're doing accomplishing our goals. My goals (so far) for the next month:

  • write a 50,000 word novel
  • keep up by writing 1,700 words a day for the novel
  • have an excerpt ready to read at Spiderweb Salon by the 10th
  • walk, bike, or run at least 30 min. every day
  • blog twice a week
  • journal daily

My to-do list today includes cleaning my house (I cannot work when my house is a mess), finishing this blog, informing loved-ones of my status for the next month (I won't be going out much, if at all. goodbye, social life!), make a list of last-minute rations to pick up at the store (cannot forget cat food), collect some more interviews from SCL survivors, and write an outline (I am in no way ready for this). I also need to finish up some Spiderweb stuff so we can archive our videos and I have some free space on my computer! Also, pay bills and I feel like I have letters to write? Day off, but a busy one.

I will be surviving on coffee, tea, frozen meals (some I prepared ahead of time so I'd have something decent to eat every now and then) and the kindness of friends (if you want to see me at all next month, bring an offering of food and I will find time to sacrifice to chat). Of course, I still have to work during the month (four days a week or so) so pals can also visit me at my place of employment if they feel so inclined.

My aim is to wake up early and stay up as late as I need to to accomplish my daily goals. I hope I can get a little ahead even, because I had an itch to take a little road trip closer to the end of the month (of course, I would still be working, but maybe not quite as intensively if I can get away with it). I took a few days off work to do so, but if I am behind, those days will give me a much-needed boost and I can save the trip for later.

Confession: I'm nervous. I haven't attempted a project like this in a long time, and when I did, I did not complete the book. And all that is merely considering quantity of work and proportions of time required. The other thing that concerns me: the subject matter is not easy. In fact, the story I hope to tell, though fictionalized, is also incredibly personal, and I expect it to bring up emotions that I have avoided for years. There is no way to prepare for this. My hope is that coming out of it I will be a healthier individual, emotionally. I will have expelled a certain poison that I have been harboring for a long time, derived from experiences I didn't understand when I was younger. I expect to grow from this endeavor, but I do not expect it to be easy. It is hard to ask for, but any amount of emotional support or general encouragement will go a long way this month. I am excited, but I have no idea where I will be once I get to the end of the tunnel. I guess we'll find out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

recipe: belgian endive & roasted garlic soup

I usually use this blog for music adventures and reading & writing endeavors, but I am almost as passionate about food and cooking as I am about literature and art, so I want to include a recipe of mine that I am proud of. I believe that what we eat affects who we are, and how we eat is an incredibly important part of our lifestyle. As a vegetarian cook, I am always looking for new and exciting ways to make food and eat. A good friend and I won a crockpot in a chili cook-off we participated in last week, and he let me keep it, so I had to try it out right away! The following recipe is one that I have made before on the stove, but I was curious to see how well it could convert to a slow cooker. The results were fantastic, so I must share! I have found that this recipe is an excellent vegetarian replacement for homemade chicken-soup, it's naturally flavorful spice clears the sinuses and warms the belly- a perfect comfort food, especially when sick.

You need:
a large-slow cooker
one large onion, or two shallots
a head of garlic
3-4 belgian endives
6-8 cups vegetable broth
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Do this: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the top off of the garlic and drizzle olive oil over it. Roast the garlic whole in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, combine your broth and spices in the slow cooker, diced the onion and endives and throw them in. When your garlic is roasted, let it cool (so you don't burn your fingers!) and pull it apart, adding the roasted garlic to the pot. Let the soup cook for 6-8 hours. It is best to eat with fresh bread to soak up the delicious broth! Top with a little grated parmesan or asiago cheese if you desire. Boom. Dinner.

Alternatively, if you wish to make this soup on the stove, be sure to brown your onions in the pot before adding the broth, and let the soup simmer for 1-2 hours.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

WWASP survivor interview and project

If you don't have any background on WWASP (World Wide Association for Specialty Schools and Programs) it's difficult to know where to start to explain it to you. It's an issue that has been close to me for a very long time: next summer will be ten years exactly since I came face-to-face with these schools. As a teen, I was sent to a facility in rural western Montana, called Spring Creek Lodge Academy, a school that touted a sharp-looking website claiming to "cure" troubled children through therapeutic programs and activities, in exchange for a hefty tuition and written contracts where parents agreed to keep their child in the lock-down facility until they completed the program. For me, the school was far from therapeutic, and to this day I view the eighteen months I spent in the facility as probably the most traumatic of my life. Don't get me wrong, I made friends there, life-long friends even, and over time I became accustomed to the very unorthodox structure of the school and it became a livable nightmare. But my time spent there was incredibly unhappy and readjusting to life outside of the school after I was released was almost as difficult, but it is an experience that, in retrospect, I don't think I would take back. It made me who I am today. I am a stronger and braver and far more independent individual than I would have been had this experience not been a key factor in my development and coming-of-age. That being said, I think it's time to get this episode of my life out of my head and on paper, so I can move on. Ever since I was actually there I have always wanted to record my experiences in an artistic way, but so many factors held me back. First, there was the fear that it won't do the experience of myself and so many others justice. I was afraid it would come up too melodramatic, too full of disdain or hate to do any good. I feel I have finally put enough distance between myself and the past to explore it more carefully and write about it genuinely. This is the project I have dwelled on for years and could never find the courage or energy to start, but next month, I am going to embark on writing this book. I want it to be fictionalized- there's no way I could dig deep enough into my memories to provide seamlessly accurate details and give a justified retelling of my story. Instead, I plan on drawing from my experience and those of my peers, people who were also affected by WWASP, to write a novel about a woman who had been to a school such as this what kind of psychological effects it had on her as both a child enduring the event, and an adult later in life trying to sort through it all. This novel will HOPEFULLY be written for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) next month. It'll be a lot of work, but I need to do this so I can move on to other projects; I feel like I have let this hold me back too long. I sent out a brief interview in hopes of being able to accurately portray the wide range of feelings the survivors of WWASP schools have experienced and continue to work through. If you or anyone you know has been exposed to WWASP schools, please direct them to me, as I could use their help. This is the interview.

How long were you enrolled in the school?

Describe your intake. (How did you get to the school, what happened upon arrival, what was the process, how were you treated/how did you feel?)

What were your impressions of the school in the first few weeks? Why?

What were your impressions of the school in your last few weeks? Why? Were you pulled out, did you graduate, or take your exit plan? How do you feel this affected your attitude towards the school?

What was your attitude towards other children in the school? How did you interact with your peers? How did this change throughout the course of your stay?

Did you attend seminars? Which ones?

How did you feel about going to the seminars? Do you feel you thrived in the setting or were they difficult? What made them that way?

What are some of your strongest memories from the seminars? Did they affect you positively or negatively? Why?

Describe one or two “processes” that affected you. What was the “process”? (You can include as many/as much as you want here, I’d like as much perspective as possible about the different exercises and emotional challenges one faces in a seminar setting.)

What was your academic life like? Did you feel you were receiving an adequate education? Was this a concern of yours at the time? Has it been since leaving the school?

Describe your lifestyle as a teen before enrolling in the school.

Describe your lifestyle after leaving the school.

Describe your lifestyle now. 

How do you feel about the school in retrospect? How is this different from when you first left the school? How many years have gone by since you left the school?

What are the most negative memories you have from the school?

What are the most positive memories you have from the school?

Describe your relationship with your family/friends before the school.

Describe your relationship with your family/friends immediately after leaving the school.

Describe your relationship with your family/friends now.

Do you think about the program? How often? What do you think?

Do you talk about the program now, to your peers, loved ones, or family?

Do you stay in touch with friends from the school? How do you interact? What kind of activities do you participate in? What do you talk about?

Is there any other unique perspective you can offer about being in a school such as this and how you relate to it now, as an adult?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

it went like this:

This past week has been incredibly busy, kind of stressful, but super fun. Friends, music, art, drinks, and shows, shows, SHOWS!

Firstly, Godspeed You! Black Emperor absolutely brought the noise Thursday night at Granada. I don't know who opened for them, but they were awful. The audience recovered quickly, though, as soon as Godspeed began there was a respectful and awe-filled hush in the room (except for the dickhead in front of me reading his facebook feed off his phone. When I asked him to put it away, he replied, conscience-stricken,  "you're right..."). I believe I counted nine or ten performers on stage, none of which seemed to need to communicate with any of the others throughout the course of the show, which was interesting. No one player appeared to be in charge of the direction of the music. They must be incredibly well practiced, or maybe just as awesome as we all think they are. The performance was incredibly powerful and rather emotional for me. I never thought I'd be watching this band live. I remember getting really into post-rock my senior year in highschool. Godspeed and A Silver Mt. Zion (who I saw in February of this year at Sons of Herman Hall- AMAZING) changed my life. I remember listening to Lift Your Skinny Fists after completing the S.A.T. and using Silver Mt. Zion tunes to soundtrack projects in my video classes. I would listen to them in the background while I wrote terrible poetry. I fucking love these musicians. I believe it was the 09-15-00 outro during their set that made me weep. Sad Mafioso from the song East Hastings (F♯ A♯ ∞) was quite possibly my favorite, and appropriately their closing performance. It had the potential to be both the loudest and softest piece they played and they pulled it off masterfully. A giant projection above the band flashed anarchist propadanda, mugshots, and burning buildings throughout the entire show. It was great. I had a freaking wonderful time.

I'm not going to lie, I haven't really slept for days. I should have rested Friday night but I went out with friends (to a pretty bad local comedy act, sorry, Denton) and came dangerously close to closing the bar. I worked early Friday and Saturday mornings, taking the edge off my sleepiness with coffee. I worked my ass of Saturday setting up for the Spiderweb Salon show. I was terrified we were going to have to reschedule the show due to weather, but everything worked out in the end and I was so damn happy. I already blogged about this show on the {we, bees} blog, here! Check it out.


AND LAST NIGHT! DIE ANTWOORD! (I discovered that "die antwoord" means "the answer" in Afrikaans.) THIS SHOW WAS SO MUCH FUN. It was everything I wanted. They played my favorite song of theirs (Rich Bitch). Of course they blasted I Fink You're Freaky and played an exciting Enter the Ninja as their encore. On the way up my friend Conor and I were speculating what the crowd was going to be like. It turned out to be  strange mix of all our hypothesis, a surprisingly older crowd (by which I mean, not many youngsters, mid-20 to 30s kind of group), a mix of geeky hipsters and average joes, with the occasional gaggle of scantily-dressed girls with fake tans who must have been expecting a dub-step rave experience... Of course Yo-Landi and Ninja were completely ridiculous and over the top the entire time, but there is something about them as a duo that I can only describe as cute. Sure, they're both grungy nasty weirdos but of course they are- those are their characters. They really have their shit together, the energy the produce is fucking awesome, and I really like their shtick. I may have been bashful to say that when I first started listening to them, but seeing them live brought it together for me and made a lot of sense. These are some creative people that a just having a fucking blast with what they are doing. It felt like they really appreciate their fans. I danced like a madwoman through the entire show. It was wild. I loved it! To make the night even better I spent some time with good Dallas friends that I don't get to see too often at a bar called Barcadia, one I've always wanted to visit. It didn't disappoint. Great falafel, too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

READ THIS: Rimbaud




"L'enfer ne peut attaquer les païens."

It is difficult to find Wallace Fowlie's translation of this piece online and, to me, it's far superior than the ones I came across. Anyway, Rimbaud is a treasure. I, for one, need to read more/reread as every time I pick up his work I am struck with a new understanding and appreciation of his writing (most of which was written, you may well know, as an adolescent). This particular prose-ish piece, the first short chapter from Rimbaud's "Season in Hell," I find especially appropriate given the spooky season befalling us. Find a copy of Rimbaud's works and consume it all! In the meantime, I am taking the time to type this out so you may take the time to read it. Enjoy.


A SEASON IN HELL

Long ago, if my memory serves me, my life was a banquet where everyone's heart was generous, and where all wines flowed.

One evening I pulled Beauty down on my knees. I found her embittered and I cursed her.

I took arms against justice.

I ran away. O witches, poverty, hate- I have confided my treasure to you!

I was able to expel from my mind all human hope. On every form of joy, in order to strangle it, I pounced stealthily like a wild animal.

I called to my executioners to let me bite the ends of their guns, as I died. I called to all the plagues to stifle me with sand and blood. Disaster was my god. I stretched out in mud. I dried myself in criminal air. I played clever tricks on insanity.

Spring brought to me an idiots terrifying laughter.

But recently, on the verge of giving my last croak, I thought of looking for the key to the ancient banquet where I might possibly recover my appetite.

Charity is the key. This lofty thought proves I dreamt it!

"You will remain a hyena..." etc., yells the demon who crowned me with such delightful poppies. "Reach your death with all your lusts, with your selfishness and all the capital sins."

Ah! I've taken too much on. Dear Satan, I beg you, show a less glaring eye! While waiting for the few small acts of cowardice still to come, for you who like in a writer an absence of descriptive or discursive faculties, I as one of the damned tear out those few miserable pages from my notebook.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

READ THIS: the path to the spiders' nests


“Not to be frightened anymore, that’s the final aim of man.”

(This may contain spoilers, but nothing that will endanger your ability to enjoy this incredible book in all its tangy literary glory.) 

“The Path to the Spiders’ Nest” was written by Italo Calvino when he was just twenty-three years old. The novel became an instant hit, something Calvino did not expect as such a young and unknown writer in a relatively saturated market. He has since composed essays making distictions between this book from his main body of work. He may not be the biggest fan of it himself, but as a disciple of Calvino, I think it is a fantastic read and I can’t see any reason that he would be ashamed to write it, somewhat simple prose and general inexperience as a writer aside. 
This novel has so many elements that I adore in the books I love. It takes place in northern Italy at the close of second world war. For some, this may not be a huge selling point but I am very interesting in WWII and post-war literature. It describes love and war told from the eyes of a misguided youth while a chorus of imperfect characters hoarsely sing the sad truths of life touched by love, hate, and other humans. It makes it oddly simple to parallel the lives of the characters, fighting for their lives and their country in the resistance against the Germans, to the reader’s own life because of the resounding truths echoing throughout the pages. It highlights the importance of individual lives in the broad and terrifying scope of war and history. It supports a humanitarian perspective of life and blurs the glaring distinctions so often attributed to making a clean separation between childhood and adulthood.
One of the first things I’d like to note is that each character in the book (and indeed, each human being on this earth) has his own way of evading the harsh truths of war and death. Some become overly-invested in the political aspects of the war, and they convince themselves that they are willing to fight and die for such values. Some use humor to dull the sharp pangs of reality. Others still invest their thoughts in hobbies or pursuits of sex or power. Because Pin, the main character, is thrown into this adult world of war, politics, pain, and sex as a lonely and oblivious youngster, we go along with him taking everything he sees and hears at face value. Pin wants to trust adults, he is desperately searching for someone to care for him, but he is constantly let down by the grown-ups’ inconsistencies, skewed by their passions and desires that he cannot even begin to comprehend.

Pin’s fears concerning the terrible truths of war and human nature are covered up by an adult humor he hardly understands, but that he has perfected by constantly gaging the reactions of his elders. He is viewed as a crude and nasty boy, but he continues to vie for any attention he can acquire and delights in it, however short-term the notice he receives often is. His only real comfort is in the knowledge of his secret place, the place where the spiders lay their eggs. He refers to the nests as “magic places” and vows to show them to the person (who he is seeking throughout the story) who he can trust and will consider a true friend. His search is difficult and often very sad.

We walk with history everyday. Young Calvino’s characters in this novel stop to recognize this fact from time to time. They are painfully aware of their own mortality. One wraps himself in a blanket as he prepares for battle and wonders where the blanket will be at the end of the day: if he does not die, he will continue to use it for warmth, but he imagines it warming the enemy when he is killed. And when they die? And so on. One of my favorite characters in the book is the self-appointed-psychologist commissioner, Kim, because of the the amount of time and insight Calvino allows to describe his personal thoughts. Kim thinks about love and history as intertwined, because perhaps the only thing that matters in the grand scheme of everything is these two things. He imagines the life of an enemy soldier waking up from sleep, alone. He imagines the enemy soldier thinking, “I love you, Kate.” Kim muses, 

‘In six or seven hours he’ll be dead, we’ll have killed him; even if he hadn’t thought, “I love you, Kate,” it would have been the same; everything that he does or thinks is lost, cancelled from history.’

And he tries to imagine his own fate differently, he sees himself making history, he imagines his love not lost, but perhaps sacrificed for history. He talks about great consequences. He says, “all the thoughts I’m having now will influence my history tomorrow, and the history of the human race.” We can see he uses his great love to continue fighting, putting one foot in front of the other, rationalizing his participation in a war that is difficult to make sense of. “Who is Kim?” he must keep asking himself. At one point he calls himself a Bolshevik, “a man who dominates situations.” He tells himself “a, b, c,” he must remind himself what his purpose is, and in what order he must perform his duties. But is Kim’s main duty to be a war commissioner or a lover? Is he a thinker or a fighter? We all have these moments, and it isn’t until we taste death or become close to our own end that these questions can be filtered down to their essence. The last paragraph of Kim’s crowning existential chapter is summed up:

“Tomorrow there will be a big battle. Kim is serene. ‘A, b, c,’ he’ll say. Again and again he thinks: ‘I love you, Adriana.’ That, and that alone, is history.”

The book’s final moments wrap up the tale with a strange happiness that I couldn’t have possibly expected. There is something incredibly touching about the changes that overcome Pin, who one can’t help but be both completely repulsed and intrigued by throughout the novel. One also can’t help but feel strongly for the people he encounters and the friends and enemies he makes on his journey. We are left to ponder the minute differences between childhood and adulthood, and it is sweet relief at the end of the book to be able to admit that age can make very little difference on our humility and capacity to live and love after all. “‘Our heads are still full of magic and miracles,’ thinks Kim.”

Saturday, September 29, 2012

dinosaur poems. sneak peek.


DINOSAUR POEM #1

here is what i know about
dinosaurs.
it isn’t much at all.
they are big.
probably reptiles.
possible feathers.



DINOSAUR POEM #2

i just remembered
i know something else about dinosaurs.
or at least 
i think i do.
i’m not a scientist
or from oklahoma
but i think their dead bodies
fuel my car.



DINOSAUR POEM #3

my ex-boyfriend was obsessed 
with dinosaurs.
he could pronounce
“Tuojiangosaiurus”.
he knew that there was a dino
with the name “Drinker”.
he had fluid ideas about
whether or not they had feathers
and how they evolved.
i could have learned so much
about our prehistoric friends
if i had wanted to...
but it’s hard for me to 
focus on dinosaurs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

READ THIS: "dance with snakes" by horacio castellanos moya


“Baile con serpientes”, or “Dance with Snakes” is both terrifying and magical. You must read this book. The only other novel i have read by Castellanos Moya is Senselessness- also incredibly enchanting- but i am on the prowl for more. I am charmed by his outwardly simple style, and i am yet to find someone who can write paranoia like quite like him. It would be impossible to explain the reasons you should read this book without revealing the whole erie plot, but if you are into surprisingly innocent violence, creepily awesome personification, and disturbingly unorthodox sexual experiences...read this book.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

inspired by spiders

I have succeeded in having a more positive attitude lately, the result of a typical self-help-style life cleanse, you know, out with the old and in with the new, more me-time, plus a few changes here and there in day-to-day organization. I have also given myself a purpose, albeit a short-term project if you’re looking at it from a long-term perspective, but it is fulfilling, which is what I need. The Salon gives me something to work for, and it means something to me because it is affecting the lives of others in a positive way. I think this is what art should be. It should shake us awake, out of our everyday routines, and make us consider new ideas and experiences. I want to be stimulated and inspired, and i want to be able to give others those feelings as well. I have made new friends and strengthened my friendships with old ones. I have an outlet to support not only my creativity, but my drive to help others as well.


Do i still want to leave town? Not immediately. This is new. I have a reason, for now, to stay and see what happens. To move away was supposed to be me leaving one hollow void to enter another.


What i need to decide is what i want to get out of my art, my writing specifically.


Lately, the idea of platonic love, love for friends, those who are my family, has really inspired me. I wrote a song ("Ode to friendship") that I played at the salon that was written for everyone there, and everyone sang the chorus with me. It made me so incredibly happy. But do I want to play music or do I want to write? I feel like the past year or so a lot of my solo creative time has been poured into collaborative work (all music) or other people's projects. That isn't necessarily a problem, i think i just need to learn how to make my own art my priority sometimes. It's something to work on.

Monday, July 30, 2012

what now

I just recently returned from a two-week road trip in the Rockies with my best friend. For the most part, it was fucking awesome, but I'm back now, and already once more slowly and quietly going mad from the lack of structure in my life. One more month and I'll have a semi-stable job again, but what I really need is to get out of this city. This state. It's too hot here, I know too many people, I am tired of the bars and the lifestyle of being here. I want to be somewhere no one recognizes me. I am tired of second-guessing the quality of my relationships. I am always wanting to do so much more than I am... is it fair to blame this on location? I am too restless to complete projects. Too tired to write. Too wired to sleep.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

book excerpt

We wander the landscape like tired wolves eager for a fresh kill. This city isn’t new anymore, and it’s too small. It is full and empty. It is crowded and lonely. I am a deformed brick, broken at the corners. Making sacrifices to fit. Waiting to crack.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

something like ambition

I am a fit of mania followed by a pit of despair. I envy truly crazy people. I want to lose all inhibitions. I am always wanting to live more furiously than I am. I feel I have not yet discovered what it is to live, but I am striving, reaching into darkness hoping for handfuls of something that will shine light on my illusions. I want to experience brilliance and violence and excitement. I want to be high on something, anything, all the time. Instead I am often restless, fretful, unfulfilled. A caged animal dying.


My body is not up to the task. For instance, I cannot fly. I cannot stay awake for weeks on end. I must occasionally pause to eat or bathe myself. I cannot scream for even an hour without losing my voice. I want to walk everywhere I go. I want to hear music, every second. I don’t want to shut my eyes, for even a moment. I want to create endlessly. I want to think about and consider everything, large and small. Live and let live.


But I have bills to pay, letters to write, hypochondria to keep in check. Jobs. Pets. All that matters to me is experience, adventure which I fail at procuring to the extent that I crave it. All that matters to me is art, but with a lack of confidence I fail to create it the way my heart requires. All that matters to me is love, but I get lost in the logistics of emotion and desire: where do you procure it, to what extent do you carry it, and how does one keep from being destroyed by passion? Why are we addicted to pleasure? Why doesn’t anyone say what they mean, why don’t we ask questions?


I want what everyone wants. To be happy. Harmless. To live in peace, having everything and nothing. To jump without fear. To step a little closer everyday to the person I imagine I can be. To do good for people, to build relationships that will last lifetimes. To love passionately, openly, honestly, and freely; to be admired, loved, and cared for in return.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"I do myself violence to preserve, despite my temper, my voice of ink."
-René Char

Friday, June 1, 2012

week one of mostly-unemployed inadvertent liberation

overwhelming feelings of isolation.

the best ideas are constructed in the shower. i forget most of them later.

powerful desire to sleep countered by inability to sleep.

loss of appetite.

loss of sexual appetite.

feelings of despair and confusion concerning the future.

blisters on left hand fingertips from incessant guitar playing.

poorly constructing beats on computer.

running out of weed.

three balls of yarn rolled for no particular reason.

living room reorganized.

bathroom floors cleaned.

alcoholism.

acute awareness of alcoholism.

general anger.

loss of sense of humor.

feelings of alienation.

desire to create.

lack of motivation.

lack of inspiration.

diagnosis: depression.