Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kankles Part Deux: Teh Enkanklening

O, Recently Canonized Father Damien! Where are you when I need you? Specifically, when my kankles need you. Because here's what they look like now, after two daze of "healing":

I should be on the corner begging alms of people because I seemingly have leprosy of the kankles, which is the worst kind of leprosy (excluding leprosy of the ... you know).

I think lepers should have groupies. I never thought so before, but now I do.

I totally did not feel like running this morning, but I knew I'd have to suck it up and run, so I did, weeping kankle sores and all. Pre-run, I was already sweating, at 4:30 in the morning, from doing my leg stretches and shoulder exercises (the latter for the dislocation) - neither of which are very taxing. But I tend to sweat like George Costanza after eating spicy Chinese food under the best of circumstances, and today's circumstances, I could tell already, were not going to be the best; because it was already humid and hot.

I finally got outside to run at around 5:15 and it was hot and humid. Plus, I was already tired from not enough sleep, so I wasn't exactly moving my legs in the most coordinated (or swiftest) fashion. And, as a result, I ended up kicking myself in the left kankle like three times during the run.

Fucking right foot! YOU THINK THAT'S FUNNY or something?!1!?

So I deliberately kicked it in its kankle-wound!

That should teach it.

Anyroad, the run was as bad as it sound: 6.8 miles at a 9:30 pace.
So Ian found a perfectly good aluminum bat in the neighbor's garbage yesterday1 and so we played a bit of hardball in the field behind our house. The bat was a bit heavy for Ian, so he couldn't swing it that well, even when he choked up on it, but I wanted him to get a feel for hitting a hardball as opposed to a softball or whiffleball. Nothing beats hitting a real hardball, and I don't think Ian ever had till yesterday.

Also, it was nice just to play with simple toys. All of Ian's toys, it seems, are made with sophistimacated computer chips and such, and I know all you zygotes out there probably think that's normal. But back when I was a kid, know what we played with?

A fucking sofa spring! Well, more or less. It would have to have come from the world's smooshiest sofa, but all it was was a spring, is all.

It was called a "Slinky" and we actually paid money for them. (Our parents might have been slightly fucktarded, I think.)

It even had its own catchy theme song:

It's Slinky!
It's Slinky!
For fun it's the best of the toys!
It's Slinky!
It's Slinky!
The favorite of girls and boys!
(And also hermaphrodites!)

Tragically, the Slinky never really did catch on with hermaphrodites2 and so that last line was excised from the jingle after like the first few airings of that commercial. But if you have a copy of the commercial that includes that line, hang on to it! Some Baby Boomer fucktard will probably pay you good money for it.

Because playing with pointless and boring toys like Slinkies made all of us Baby Boomers slightly fucktarded and caused us to idealize our childhoods, which were essentially excruciatingly boring and pointless.
1 Yes, all you Judgey McJudgeypantses, I not only let my son root through garbage, I encourage it. There's gold in thet thar garbage and how else will he learn the value of garbage if I do all of his trash-picking for him?

2 I'm not really sure how it fared with trannies ... RBR, did you have one as a kid?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another School Year Over

Ian's last day of school is tomorrow (officially, the last day is Thursday, but we're taking him out a day early so we can enjoy a long weekend at Rocking Horse Ranch to start the summer off), and today, among the things he brought home was this:

He's not sad, here — he told me he was just trying to recreate the look of the photo that was used for this art project

Sometimes I can't help but feel that Ian deserves a real father, because things like this just make me want to cry like a girl.

Ian will be moving on to the middle school next year, away from the school he's been in since kindergarten. [Warning: Egregiously lame cliché forthcoming:] And yes, it seems like just yesterday that he was in kindergarten.

I remember at the end of his kindergarten year, they did a program for the parents in the school gymnasium, and one of the things it included was a slide show of all the kids doing the ABCs — as in, the kids folded themselves into the shapes of the letters. Usually it took more than one kid to make a letter; sometimes as many as four, as was the case with the letter "W".

Ian alone was the letter "I". 

We — Teh 'Bride and I — didn't know that he would be the letter "I", but by the time his picture came up on the big screen, Teh 'Bride and I were already holding each other's hands and letting out involuntary "awwww"s because we knew most of these kids and it was just too incredibly adorable but also sad because this was a moment in time that was gone even as we were seeing it for the first time and we knew that Ian and his kindergarten classmates were moving on and it was just so bittersweet. Because you want them to progress but you also secretly, selfishly, don't want them to change.

And then a picture flashed on the screen — Ian as the letter "I", lying on the gym floor, ramrod straight, all alone, a BIG smile on his face — and it was at that moment that I lost it because I could feel the warm tears running down my face and I was glad the gym was darkened for the show but I also didn't care because if any moment was worth risking being mocked for, it was that one. Because that was my son and he was growing up too fast even though I used to make him promise, when he was two, that he wouldn't do that — grow up too fast — and he would cheerfully agree not to: "Dat okay, Daddy. Ian not grow up fast."

(Three years later, he would become the letter "I", but Ian didn't seem to even know the word "I", because he always referred to himself as "Ian" when he was young and was just learning to speak.)

But of course he has grown up. And of course it has been far too fast. And now, at the end of the year, he's bringing home far more intricate and sophisticated art projects, and instead of smiling, he's more likely to have the look you see in the picture above on his face, and yet in that face, still, still, I see the fat little cherubic face that I first saw in real life when he was carried off that plane in Newark airport and his head was round then and his cheeks were fat and he had a little Mohawk on his head because he'd been born with a full head of hair (we'd been sent pictures from his foster family in Korea) but the hair on the sides had pretty much fallen out and he was just the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen and I hadn't even suspected until that moment that there had been something missing from my life but from that moment on I couldn't imagine life without him.

And that's what I see whenever I look at him now.

And I suspect I always will.

Ian with my younger sister. You can kind of still see the Mohawk, though by this time the sides were kind of growing back in a bit.

Beer Update

It's been a while since I tried your collective patience with a beer post. Lately, my Irritant-Topic of Choice has been Teh Who, hasn't it? But I've bludgeoned you over the head with them enough lately, don't you think? So now it's time to post regarding something else most of you care equally little about, viz., beer.

As many of you know, I like beer. Um ... perhaps "like" is not a strong enough term. But I'll keep it at "like" because I prefer to play hard to get with beer.

O, who am I kidding! Beer knows I am a total whoo-wer for it and would do whatever it asked. What's that, beer? Lap you up like a dog while wearing a spiked collar, you say? O, beer! You had me at "lap"1!

Anyroad, for my birthday, Teh 'Bride got me a subscription to this magazine called Beer Traveler. I have been busy of late and have not had a chance to peruse it, and already I've received two issues, so this morning I grabbed Issue One and started reading a random article — which turned out to be "Travel By Style: Making your way around the world with the help of beer2".

The article starts off with the city of Munich (whose name, incidentally and relevantly — wait and you'll see why — is derived from an Old German word for "monk") and talks about Doppelbock beer. It seems this style was created by the Paulaner monks to sustain them during Advent and Lent when they were, by directive of their particular Order, restricted to a liquid diet3. And but so, the beer was very hardy and did its job keeping those pudgy baldy-heads alive, but the monks, being Catholic and therefore all I'm Not Worthy of Such A Good Thing Especially During Lent When I Should Be Wearing a Hair Shirt And Being Kicked Regularly in Teh N*ts@ck, were concerned that the beer was too good and therefore necessarily sinful.

So what's a monk to do?

Well they sent a cask to Teh Pope, who always gets his cut anyway, to get his take on the beer. Would he give his blessing? or was the beer too worldly and self-indulgent?

But it seems the cask took awhile to get Popewards and all the doppelbock-y goodness pretty much leached away on the trip. So the Pope gets the cask, takes a sip, and sez, "You guys were worried about this piss being too good? Pffftt! Tastes like fucking Budweiser! Go ahead — drink all you want. In heaven there is no beer — but in hell, I'll bet there's just tons of this shit!"4

And that is why Teh Pope is infallible only on questions of faith and morals, but not on questions of beer, because, historically, the Popes have been a bit fucktarded on the issue of beer, although this Ratzinger dude looks like he's hoisted a few in his day.

I also learned from this article that Vienna beers are called Wiener beers. O, beer! Why must you humiliate me by making me admit publicly that I would gladly drink a good, stiff Wiener?
But the Pope is not the only one who fucks up where beer is concerned. Because there's also — WAIT FOR IT!1! — ... me. Yes, me, Glaven Quetzalcoatl Heisenberg.

You see, the place I order my beer supplies from, Midwest Supplies, recently changed their web site. And so a few weeks ago, I realized I was running low on beer, so I went there to order a couple-three kits.

But because of the new site design, I couldn't find the malted-grain kits right off and I ended up accidentally ordering kits that are all-grain ... meaning the grain has not yet been malted. I didn't even realize this until the kits arrived. I open the first one and I'm thinking What the ...? And I see it's all grain, and I'm thinking they, the place, fucked the order up.

But then all three turned out to be entirely unmalted grain, and it dawns on me that there's definitely been a fuck-up, all right, but I'm starting to suspect the person responsible for it lives closer to home. In fact ... he's in the house right now!1! RUN!1! BUT SAVE TEH BEER!1!1!!!!1

Now, some home brewers are hardcore enough to malt their own grains, but I'm not. I wouldn't even know where to begin with that.

So I called the place and asked if I could return the grains. It was worth a shot. Grains are perishable, though, so there was, understandably, a No Returns policy on them. But the guy said he could send me the malt for those same kits, since all the other stuff - the yeast, the hops, etc. - was still good.

Of course, by this time, I'd already re-ordered three malt kits.

So I ended up with SIX kits ... but with brewing equipment sufficient to brew only THREE at a time. I've brewed up two already and hope to get a third done before we leave on vacation in two days.

Then, when those three are bottled, I'll have to set aside a day for an all-day brew-a-thon.

Luckily, I'll have enough beer ready to get me through the ordeal.
1 Teh Lap being also teh site of the n*ts@ck, is why.

2 O, Beer! Now you are my navigator? Is there anything you can't do?

3 Which, whilst harsh, is better than a Diet of Worms.

4 Direct quote. Less shocking when you realize this is, after all, Pope Pottymouth II we're talking about here. Originally, he was going to be named Pope Benedict, but every time they tried to call him that he ended up getting all Beavis-y and saying, "Heh-heh! You said, 'dicked'!"

Monday, June 21, 2010

This Is My Body, Which Will Be Given Up For You

No it won't! Hahahahahaha!

Fuck you! Get your own 50-year-old geezer's body! They probably sell 'em cheap at Mall-Wart.

Okay, okay, we've established I won't give it up (so to speak) for you, but I'll share because I'm more comfortable being that kinda whoo-wer — the sharing kind.

So here you go:
Tell Me What Kankocracy Looks Like!

This is what kankocracy looks like!

I decided to get this week's Kankle Run outta the way as soon as possible. So even though I just did a K. Run like 4 daze ago, I opted to do this week's today.

Teh Bloody Wound on my right kankle hadn't even healed since last week, but I put the weights on anyway and ran 2.33 miles.

They look way worse in real life. As you can see, I rubbed the scab right off the right kankle. But the left kankle was the real problem today: I had to stop like six different times to try to re-adjust the weight because it was rubbing so bad. I never found a comfortable setting till like .4 miles from home, by which point it didn't matter because the damage had already been done and anything would hurt.

There were some theological ghouls awhile ago who decided to take some corpses and nail them to crosses by their hands and feet to see if they would stay on the crosses. The hands and feet did not have sufficient bone matter to hold the bodies' weight. So these "scientists" concluded that Jebus must have been nailed to the cross through his ankle and wrist bones.

Note that MY stigmata are on my ankles. Unlike those people with the fake foot ones.

I'm just saying. If you choose to, say, worship me because of my ankle wounds, who am I to say no1?
Here's my bloody right sock. I'm posting this because ... Do any of you know of a good product for getting out stigmata stains?

Part II: In Which The Body Parts Get Even Glavener and UGLIER (Which May Be Redundant)!1!


Hahahahaha! Sorry to spring that one on you without warning, but the look on your faces made it totally worth it! Show of hands, ladies — how many of you just turned immediately lesbian after seeing that2?


Now, there is nothing particularly remarkable about that face other than that it has apparently been savagely beaten with an ugly stick. It is, indeed, me, first thing in the morning, before coffee or shave. The full-face shot is bad enough, but let's go in a bit closer to see the real atrocity, shall we?

ZOMG!1! It's an in-grown mustache trying to make its way out on to the upper lip by way of Teh Nose!1!

I'm not sure if I have abnormally aggressive nose-hairs or an abnormally short nose, but the fact is, if I don't trim those bad boys weekly, they get like that; and after two weeks ... well, let's just say my nose-hairs were the original inspiration for Scott Smith's The Ruins. (Bastard still hasn't paid me any royalties!) They would take over the entire state of Joisey, given half a chance. They're more like kudzu than nose-hairs.

Note also that many of them are gray. And yes, ladies, the carpet matches those drapes! (Am I turning ... etc.?)

I'll spare you a second facial (so to speak) and just show you the post-trim nose:

Still a thicket, but a controlled one.

Hahahahaha! Good luck keeping your breakfasts down NOW!
1 Ladies: There are waaaaay better parts on my body for YOU all to worship.

Am I turning you ... etc.?

2 Really, I wanna know, because that's just hawt!1!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Hate My Toilets!

O, toilets! I'm sorry! I don't really hate you! How could I? You sweep my bodily wastes away to some unknown, mysterious place made entirely of poop1.

But here's the thing. Both of the toilets in our house run. (And they're even more annoying than the rest of you runners2.) When the toilets' tanks fill back up after flushing, the water doesn't always stop.

And so you'll flush and then you'll go downstairs not realizing the toilet hasn't stopped running until you go into the dining room3 and hear the water still running upstairs. Then you have to trek back upstairs, take the tank's top off and jiggle the thingymabob inside the tank because just jiggling the handle on the outside won't cut it. I've taken to waiting the 45 or so seconds it takes the tank to fill before I leave the bathroom just to be sure the toilet stops. And then for like days on end it'll behave. And you'll forget it was even a problem.

Until one day you go away for the weekend and then get back and go into the dining room and ... you hear the water. Running all weekend because you didn't check before you left because the FUCKING FASCIST TOILET LULLED YOU INTO THINKING IT WAS OKAY!1! And it thinks this is FUCKING FUNNY, evidently! Ha ha. Real hilarious, toilet.

And it was bad enough when it was just the upstairs toilet, but now the downstairs one, which was always more of a follower, has gotten in on the act and has started running, too. The only saving grace there is that you can hear it right away because it's close to the living room where the TV is and hence, is where we spend roughly 95%  percent of our non-pooping time4.

And I can hear you all out there, "Well, why don't you just FIX the fucking toilets, G? You're a man, of sorts. Unless you're lying with all your 'n*ts@ck this' and 'enormous HeisenPenis that' talk, which seems to be all you talk about and GEEZ why don't get a new act already!"

First off, you can kiss my n*ts@ck, Hypothetical Reader, because you're obviously just envious of my Enormous HeisenPenis. And second off, I want to fix them; or, actually, have them fixed or replaced by a professional plumber (it's time to upgrade, anyway), but every time I mention it, Teh 'Bride, inexplicably, objects. She has "plans" for the toilets, but she never quite articulates just what those "plans" are, and so far the "plans" have not gotten past the "planning" stage.

I sometimes think she has some sort of inappropriate relationship with our toilets.

Because after I catch one of them running for hours, I'll be all:

"THAT'S IT! I'm tearing this FUCKING thing OUT of the floor and replacing it myself!"

Teh 'B.: "No you're not! You have no idea how!"

"When has ignorance ever stopped me before?"

"No. I have 'plans' for them!"


"Shhh! They'll hear you!1!"

At that point I just stop. Because you non-Information Professionals probably don't realize this, but when a librarian plays the Shhhh! card, you take it seriously.

But help  may be on the way. Because Teh 'B's "plan" was to "try out" this new handyman a friend of hers recommended; and yesterday, Handyman Steve successfully tore down the remnants of a screened in porch that had been hanging from the back of our house for ... O ... two years? And it seems he passed the test.

Fix my FUCKING TOILETS, handyman Steve!

From Comixed
1 I.e., South Joisey.

2 Hahahahahaha! Just kidding! I love you all, even though, unlike my toilets, most of you don't let me poop on you.

At least not literally.

3 Which is where the pantry closet is; and in there is where the pipes from the upstairs bathroom are, and if you go in the dining room, you can hear the water when the toilet is still running, maybe like an hour later, and you've wasted gallons of water.

Yes, that's right. the upstairs bathroom pipes go right through our pantry. When you think about it, pert-near all Heisenberg meals begin and end in that pantry closet.

Appetizing, huh?

4 And about 1% of our pooping time because, hey ... everyone has accidents now and then.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Early Morning Kankle Run

This morning, I decided it was time to get back on Teh Kankle Run1 Tip  and so I strapped on — WAIT FOR IT, Pervs!1! — a dildo2 and my ankle weights and I ran 2.37 miles in 26 minutes, which MapMyRun assures me is a craptacular 11-minute pace.

I have, as I pointed out in an earlier post that no one read, convinced myself that Kankle Runs make me faster. I have little direct evidence to support this contention, but since I came up with this fucktarded idea of occasionally running with weights strapped to my legs, I am emotionally invested in this probably false belief; because why else would I continue to do this idiotic thing, which inevitably rubs my ankles raw — till they bleed in fact — if I go for more than one week without doing a one? And which just generally makes me huff and puff like a Rotund English Barrister of some sort?

So I tell myself it makes me faster.

And so but I used to try to do Kankle runs of at least 4 miles, but since I'm just making things up about K. Runs' usefulness, I told myself this morning that it doesn't really matter how long Teh Kankle Run is ... it'll still make me faster. This was a very comforting and useful fact for me to've invented, because it motivated me to do the K. Run this morning.

But the shorter run still made my ankles bleed ... but did you know that bleeding ankles make you stronger and more virile3 and are a real turn on to women? It's true! And has been since 5:30 this morning when I made that fact up out of thin air4.

Other, truer, facts: I'm still going to PT for my dislocated shoulder. I thought it was way better than it was, because, as a librarian and a webmaster, I have very little occasion to be lifting my arms above my head; also, I have little occasion for doing that whilst being a Lazy Fat-Ass at home. And so I thought my shoulder was nearly all better because I was feeling virtually no pain while engaged in arm-al activities down here on the level of existence where all you little (i.e., shorter than 6'5") people spend most of your time.

But I have a 10-year-old son who every now and then wants someone to pitch the ball to him so he can smack it around5 a bit and, let's face it, Teh 'Bride is no help here because she throws like a girl and also looks like one6 . So even though my right shoulder is fucked up — and I pitch rightie — I still have to be the one to pitch to him.

Which, right now, I can only do underhanded. So the shoulder still needs some therapy, I guess.

The truly tragic part of this is, next weekend (a looong weekend: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday), Teh Heisenbergs are going for their Third Annual Jaunt to Rocking Horse Ranch, one of the highlights of which is the afternoon games of Beer Softball and Beer Volleyball. Now, unless they let me play first base or pitch (it's underhand pitch, which I can handle), I won't be able to play the field; and I won't be able to play volleyball at all.

Luckily, the injury has not significantly affected my ability to drink beer, so I plan to do my part in that area, regardless. Because I'm All Man and so I Soldier On Past Teh Pain.

The beer would want it that way.
1 For those of you not in the know already, "Kankle Run" = a run with a 10-pound weight strapped to each ankle; or the avoirdupois weight equivalent of One HeisenPenis.

Am I turning you on, ladies?

2 See? For once it was worth the wait. But, in fact, no dildos were harmed, or used, in this morning's Kankle Run.

3 Possibly more viral. I get those two confused sometimes.

4 Fact-finding missions are for luuuuzers. Real Men (i.e., me) go on fact-inventing missions, which you can do from the comfort of your own home, beer in hand. Which reminds me: Beer for Breakfast is GOOD for you! (<-- Cigars for everyone! For another "Fact" has just been born!)

5 Ian, by the way, is a straight-away-to-center-field hitter, because he has, on numerous occasions, nearly taken my fucking head off with his line drives up the middle, which I'm powerless to defend myself against because of this bad wing. I just can't get my arm up in time to block them, and ladies, that is the only time you'll see me complaining about not being able to "get it up", because I gotz no problem in that area.

Come on, admit it! That turned you on!

6 Which is kinda a mixed blessing for me.

Musical Entelechy: Deep in the Back of My Mind Is an Unrealized Sound

There are a number of facets to the music and lyrics of The Who and Pete Townshend to which I have either given short shrift in this series of posts or have ignored entirely. In the song below, "Music Must Change", at least two1 of them can be heard, the second of which, while there, is rather more subtly hinted at than outright stated.

To Pete, music has an almost mystical power to transform — to transfigure, even. Through music, performer and audience can commune — and I mean "commune" in precisely the same sense it has in many religions, Christianity perhaps most notably — and attain a wholeness, an integrity, they lack individually. This view posits an audience equal in importance to the performers2 and the former are, accordingly, encouraged to be active participants in the Mystical Celebration.

This Mystical Atonement3 of Band and Audience was to be the major theme and plot point of the "failed" Lifehouse project, a theme that can still be discerned in the songs Pete wrote for Lifehouse that were released in various forms over the years — songs like, e.g., "Join Together"4,"Pure and Easy", "Song Is Over" and "Getting In Tune".

It always seemed to me that, after Lifehouse "failed"5, Pete didn't stop believing in the power of music to transform, to lift the soul, to raise the spirit above the seemingly meaningless theater of random, quotidian life ... he just began to doubt himself, became convinced that he himself could no longer pretend to be the instrument of this transfiguration ... he thought that he had had his shot and blown it.

This — Pete's own "failure" — is the second big theme in the songs of the latter half of The Who's career. You can hear that critical self-assessment hinted at and echoing through the first line of "Music Must Change": "Deep in the back of my mind is an unrealized sound" ... the change6 must happen, it must be through music, but I, Pete Townshend, can't do it, despite my best efforts; I tried and failed: The musical "note that began all" ("Pure and Easy") remains inchoate, unrealized, still a mere possibility, not yet an entelechy.

In 1971, when Lifehouse refused to cohere and Pete abandoned it and The Who released Who's Next instead, Pete was all of 26 years old, and instead of feeling like the young punk of "My Generation" who hoped he would die before he got old, Pete was evidently already feeling as though he were the Cold, Phony Old Man who had failed the younger generation; and, through his songs, Pete began actively telling anyone who would listen that they needed to find some other Avatar.

Pete had taken us as far as he could, but his own view of his accomplishments, as expressed in the song "However Much I Booze", was:
I just can't face my failure
I'm nothing but a well-fucked sailor
You at home can easily decide what's right
By glancing very briefly at the songs I write
But it don't help me that you know
There still ain't no way out
In his own view, he had failed both us and himself. And there was no way out.

You can see that view — Pete Townshend, Failure — expressed, to a far lesser extent, in "Music Must Change"; not merely in the first line, but also in the contemplative bridge:
But is this song so different?
Am I doing it all again?
It may have been done before
But then music's an open door

[Yes, I realize I quoted these exact same lines in FN7, below, but that was to make the case for an entirely different point.]
The song is adamant that the music must change, but accuses itself of possibly being nothing more than a tired rehash8.
"Music Must Change" is a song I have been particularly obsessed with of late not merely because I think it is musically complex9 and lyrically rewarding, but also because I think Roger's singing performance is just an unmatched marvel. He's restrained and jazz-cool where he needs to be, when the tone calls for it, but his voice explodes with charged emotion as he belts out the song's more febrile, grandiloquent (and sometimes mixed) metaphors; Roger's vocal performance more than matches the song's tonal and temporal shifts.

And if Roger's take on the last chorus
The music must change
For we're chewing a bone
We soared like the sparrow hawk flied
Then we dropped like a stone
Like the tide and the waves
Growing slowly in range
Crushing mountains as old as the Earth

The music must change
 fails to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, then I'm afraid I am forced to conclude, Reader, that you do not have a soul.

Deep in the back of my mind is an unrealized sound
Every feeling I get from the street says it soon could be found
When I hear the cold lies of the pusher, I know it exists
It's confirmed in the eyes of the kids, emphasized with their fists

But the high has to rise from the low
Like volcanoes explode through the snow
The mosquito's sting brings a dream
But the poison's derange

The music must change
For we're chewing a bone
We soared like the sparrow hawk flied
Then we dropped like a stone
Like the tide and the waves
Growing slowly in range
Crushing mountains as old as the Earth
So the music must change

Sometimes at night, I wake up and my body's like ice
The sound of the running wild stallion, the noise of the mice
And I wondered if then I could hear into all of your dreams
I realize now it was really the sound of your screams

But death always leads into life
But the street fighter swallows the knife
Am I so crazy to feel that it's here prearranged?

The music must change
It's gets higher and higher
Smouldering like leaves in the sun
Then it bursts into fire
Its rhythm grows strong
It's so new and so strange
Like bells in the clouds, then again
The music must change

But is this song so different?
Am I doing it all again?
It may have been done before
But then music's an open door

Deep in the back of my is an unrealized sound
Every feeling I get from the street says it soon could be found
When I hear the cold lies of the pusher, I know it exists
It's confirmed in the eyes of the kids, emphasized with their fists

But the high has to rise from the low
Like volcanoes explode through the snow
The mosquito's sting brings a dream
But the poison's derange

The music must change
For we're chewing a bone
We soared like the sparrow hawk flied
Then we dropped like a stone
Like the tide and the waves
Growing slowly in range
Crushing mountains as old as the Earth
So the music must change
1 I think these two themes are really important in — perhaps even central to — Pete's later compositions for The Who. When I began writing the outline I intend to use for the library program I'll be doing on The Who next month, I included songs that embody these themes; but as I edited the outline1a, I saw it would clearly be impossible to include these themes in the one-hour program if I intended to elucidate the central Who theme of identity and personality in an even marginally perspicuous manner. It remains to be seen whether I can accomplish even that much — but my point here is that I had to jettison these other significant themes from the program entirely for the sake of conciseness, which makes me feel as though the picture of The Who I present will of necessity be incomplete, false and, worst of all, won't even begin to do justice to their collective genius.

And so I'm dumping this information here, on my blog, to further alienate all of you. Because it may not need to be out there, but I need it out of me.

No one ever promised this blog would be fair to or — Heaven Forfend!— fun for the Reader.

1a Which is really more a script than an outline, since I suck at extemporizing and would be risibly incoherent if I tried to wing it; but I should say, in my defense, that I'm at least dully aware of this limitation of mine. I've attended lectures by people who are similarly handicapped but seem blissfully unaware of it and ... Hoooooo-boy ... it is never a pretty thing to witness. It's like being at a performance by a real-life version of that Kevin Nealon (? I think?) character who keeps running his mouth until he hits on a sound bite that seems insightful, at which point he claims, "Yeah, THAT's what I was really trying to say all along — all that other stuff I was saying? O man! I was just winging it, grasping at straws ..." only to meander desultorily yet again until he chances upon another, different topic, at which point he again claims, "THIS is what I was really trying to say ...." And so on.

I have a certain amount of sympathy for people with this particular public speaking affliction; but not enough to make me abandon the effort not to become one of them.

2 It's the singer not the song
That makes the music move along
I want you to join together with the band.
"Join Together"

3 "Atonement", above, in this sense:  
ORIGIN early 16th cent. (denoting unity or reconciliation, esp. between God and man): from at one + -MENT , influenced by medieval Latin adunamentum ‘unity,’ and earlier onement from an obsolete verb one [to unite.] {emphasis added}
There are distinct Myth of the Soul Mate overtones in Pete's lyrics (e.g., "I sit looking 'round/ I look at my face in the mirror/ I know I'm worth nothing/ Without you/ And like, one and one don't make two/ One and one make one/ And I'm looking for/ That free ride to me/ I'm looking for you" - "Bargain"), and Lifehouse kinda takes that idea a little further, making the idea communal rather than personal — turning it into a vision of many souls fusing into one, completing each other, rather than two halves of one Ur-Soul seeking each other and thereby regaining a semblance of the lost perfection and unity of their original androgyny (which is approximated on This Our Lesser Plane of Existence by the sexual union of male and female3a).

3a Hubba!1!

Adding: Which is why when True Soul Mates initially find each other, they spend a lot of time fucking each other's brains out.

And I guess here is as good a place as any to point out that, yes, I am aware that the Soul Mate Myth is, implicitly at least, kinda conservative and possibly even reactionary in that it assumes that only a Male and a Female can be True Soul Mates, or, as the adepts on Faux News might put it, it is a condition reserved for Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve; because the Original, Unified Soul was androgynous and two sets of genitalia can't really cancel each other out, as it were, unless you're starting with one set of each. So, sorry Gays, sorry Lesbians — you foax can't be True Soul Mates.

Well, like much of what appears on Faux News, this is utter bullshit, and, worse, not even good theology — which you'll spot right off, assuming you were brought up in and are familiar with the teachings of the Catholic Church (and I have no reason, Reader, to assume you weren't) — because the Catholic Stance on The Soul is that it is a Simple Substance; and by "simple", the church doesn't mean "easy to understand" or "needs to wear a helmet at all times so as not to hurt itself"; it means "simple" as in "cannot be further subdivided or broken down; elemental".

Because if the soul were divisible, if it could be broken down into simpler elements, that would necessarily entail that it is susceptible to decay, decomposition — in short, death. But the soul, sez the Church, is immortal precisely because it can't be broken down; it is a Simple Substance that can't be made any simpler and therefore is impervious to decay.

In The Myth of the Soul Mate as adumbrated above, an Androgynous Soul that has, in the distant past, been split into two halves is posited; this "soul", having just been divided, is definitely not incorruptible and impervious to decay, which, after all, is just the process of a Bigger Thing being broken down into Smaller, Simpler Things. It is therefore not immortal and is, hence, inconsistent with the Catholic teachings on one of the Necessary Conditions of Soulhood: Eternal Life.

So rejoice, Lesbians and Gays! The Catholic Church has no grounds upon which to assert that you and your lovers can't be Soul Mates.

But something tells me the Church will find reasons to condemn you anyway ...

4 A song that is a call to overcome superficial differences to achieve a Universal Harmony:
Do you really think I care
What you read or what you wear?
I want you to join together with the band.

This is the biggest band you'll find,
It's as deep as it is wide,
Come on and join together with the band,
And it's obvious that by "join together", Pete didn't mean merely "sing along with" — he's talking more about a True Union of Souls via Musical Communion, a literal joining together of spirits, an Ineffable and Transcendent Experience.

5 I find it impossible to use the epithet "fail" with reference to Lifehouse without putting it in quotation marks: Lifehouse was a "failure" only in the narrowest possible sense of the word. The Who's attempt to realize the Lifehouse project brought us some of the best songs of their career, in which the themes and concerns of the Lifehouse narrative are still pretty evident and well- and poetically-expressed. It's difficult to call any process that brought these songs to life a "failure".

At roughly the same time that groups like the Rolling Stones were pretty much stipulating to the view that rock 'n' roll is essentially trivial, pleading nolo contendere to that accusation — "I know it's only Rock 'n' Roll/ But I like it" — The Who were aggressively pursuing the opposite view: that Rock 'n' Roll could be one's salvation  and redemption.

"It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" is a great song, no doubt; but The Who's Lifehouse-related "failures" represent a far greater and far more meaningful statement of musical purpose. And they can only be called a "failure" because, at some point while trying to give birth to this Lifehouse project, Pete went from attempting to artistically depict a science fiction story about the mystical transfiguration of band and audience to actually trying to bring it about in the real world.
The plan was for The Who to take over the Young Vic theatre with a regular audience, develop the new material on stage and allow the communal activity to influence the songs and performances. Individuals would emerge from the audience and find a role in the music and the film. When the concerts became strong enough, they would be filmed along with other peripheral activity from the theater. A storyline would evolve alongside the music. Although the finished film was to have many fictitious and scripted elements, the concert footage was to be authentic, and would provide the driving force for the whole production.

Pete went wild, working out a complex scenario whereby a personal profile of each concert-goer would be worked out, from the individual’s astrological chart to his hobbies, even physical appearance. All the characteristics would then be fed into a computer at the same moment, leading to one musical note culminating in mass nirvana that Townshend dubbed ‘a kind of celestial cacophony.’ This philosophy was based on the writings of Inayat Khan, a Sufi master musician who espoused the theory that matter produces heat, light, and sound in the form of unique vibrations. Taking the idea one step further, making music, which was composed of vibrations, was the pervading force of all life. Elevating its purpose to the highest level, music represented the path to restoration, the search for the one perfect universal note[5a], which[,] once sounded[,] would bring harmony to the entire world. [...] Pete: "The fatal flaw…was getting obsessed with trying to make a fantasy a reality rather than letting the film speak for itself." Eventually Pete had to let go of Lifehouse for his own sake. [Source]
This is the type of project that seems doomed to failure due to its scope and ambition. And, while the overall project failed, it didn't do so miserably, but rather, paradoxically, triumphantly because of the series of undeniable successes that emerged from these sessions: dozens of songs, themes, motifs and ideas were brought to life, and the rest of Pete's career as a composer was changed by this experience as he alternately went back to Lifehouse, trying to breath life back into it, or composed and performed truly heart-felt and -rending songs about his failure to do so, which, for him, seemed to amount to an overall failure as an artist.

Pete was often his own harshest critic.

But the aftermath of Lifehouse really only served to confirm Pete's — and the Who's — greatness and centrality to the visionaries of Rock 'n' Roll who were trying to make it be about more than just three chords and an inchoate attitude of vague "rebellion".

Although there is nothing wrong with three chords and a "Fuck You" attitude, in my opinion. You can certainly find that in the music of The Who.

5a There once was a Note
Pure and easy
Playing so free like a breath
Rippling by

The note is eternal ...
—"Pure and Easy"

6 The word "change" in the song's title should properly be seen as pointing in two direction simultaneously: The music itself must change, is one way to read the title; but the title is also saying that the music must be the agent of change, working its transformative magic upon those who listen to it — the music, in other words, must effect change in its audience.

7 In that same song, he also calls himself "a faker, a paper clown", a habitual liar, among other uncomplimentary things. It's easy to see why some refer to The Who By Numbers — the album on which "However Much I Booze" appears — as "Pete Townshend's suicide note".

Also on display in "However Much I Booze" is a certain post-modern self-referentiality that began to creep into Pete's lyrics and music: Quite a few of his songs started to be, in whole or in part, about composing songs. The album "Music Must Change" is on — Who Are You — consists of nine songs, six of which were written by Pete; of those six, four — "New Song", "Sister Disco", "Music Must Change", and "Guitar and Pen"  — are largely about song-composition, and in most cases, frustrated attempts to compose something truly new, in particular. E.g.,

"New Song":

[See lyrics in FN8, below]

"Guitar and Pen":

You're alone above the street somewhere
Wondering how you'll ever count out there
When you take up a pencil and sharpen it up
When you're kicking the fence and still nothing will budge
When the words are immobile until you sit down
Never feel they're worth keeping, they're not easily found
Then you know in some strange, unexplainable way
You must really have something
Jumping, thumping, fighting, hiding away
Important to say

"Music Must Change":

But is this song so different?
Am I doing it all again?
It may have been done before
But then music's an open door

8 "New Song", which, like "Music Must Change", is from the Who Are You album, includes the following lyrics:
I write the same old song with a few new lines
And everybody wants to cheer it
I write the same old song you heard a good few times
Admit you really want to hear it

We sing the same old song, just like a vintage car
You can look but you won't ever drive it
We drink the same old wine from a brand new jar
We get hung over, but we always survive it
We hum the same old lines to a different crowd
And everybody wants to cheer it
We run on endless time to reach a higher cloud
But we never ever seem to get near it
Here again is the asseveration that something new is needed "to reach a higher cloud" ... but you won't be getting it here.

At times, listening to these songs can be a nearly vertigo-inducing experience as they virtually disappear up their own assholes in their rush to proclaim their own inadequacy, unworthiness and, ultimately, failure as songs.


Nobody was tougher on Pete than Pete. But he could be a bit tough on us, the listeners, too; because we're part of the problem: It's "the same old song" but, Pete chides us, "Admit you really want to hear it." This song may be rote, shit, but it's what you want, Clamoring Masses.

The bridge of this song is also possibly revelatory, for it consists of the following lyrics:

Turn on the radio
Love is proclaimed
Again and again and again
Join in and sing
Now, don't be ashamed
Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
Let it rain
Let it rain


These lyrics are a distinct and deliberate echo of those of "Love Reign O'er Me" from Quadrophenia — the song that is Pete's theme on that album; musically, the synthesizer part is virtually identical, too.

So Pete's example, in "New Song", of the type of tired old song that you hear all the time on the radio is .. his own theme. And whereas in "LROM", the word Roger screams is the more positive "Loooooooooooooove!" ... here, in "NS", it's the rather more problematic and gloomy: "Raaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnn!"

9 I link, above, only to the guitar tablature as an example of the musical complexity of the song (which includes some weird chords and a very original chord progression); but the song also has an odd 6/8 time signature — and by this time in The Who's career, Keith's drumming abilities had deteriorated so badly (due to his substance abuse problems) that he could play only cymbals on this song — he simply couldn't find the right groove with his drums.

I am far from a big fan of jazz, but even I can hear the obvious jazz overtones on this song, the style of Mose Allison, who was always one of The Who's favorite artists, being particularly prominent.

Warning: DO NOT Read My Next Post!

I am NOT fucking kidding about this! Because the next post, which should be going up in a matter of minutes, is the Nearly-Lost Who Post I warned about yesterday and it is really long, and really boring and just all over the place in terms of subject matter and frankly, Reader, even though I have the same amount of contempt for you that you have for me — i.e., a LOT — you really don't deserved to be treated that badly, i.e., with such utter contumely.

I am dead serious about this. My next post will kill your brainpan dead if you even start to read it.

Don't worry, the one after it, which I'll be posting as soon as I write it, will be safe1 for you to read. It'll be about this morning's craptacular Kankle Run.

Spoiler! Yes, my ankle are bleeding!

And because I didn't include it in my last post, here's a picture of Morgan The Dog, He of Teh Toxic Pee:

Uh, actually, fucking Blogger is not letting me upload pix at the moment.

I'll try to add Morgan to this post later.

Sorry, B*tch!
Woo-Hoo! Blogger finally let me post Morgie's Xmas Pic!

1 "Safe" being defined as "as safe for human consumption as any of the other typical garbage you'd find here".

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Dog Has Fleas Pees

Specifically, toxic pees.

Teh Lengends — they're all true. There really is a toxic pee trail and it's by the side of our house.

Ocular Proof:

Why I Hate Fucking Blogger ... And You Should Love it

To be clear: Despite what is syntactically implied in the first half of this post's title, above, I have not fucked blogger1. Maybe what I should have written is:

"Why I fucking hate blogger" ...

... but I like the way I phrased it because it implies that blogger is a DIRTY GOAT-DIDDLING WHOO-WER, which it is!1!

Because here's what happened that'll make you love it and makes me hate it:

I had a 3000+-word post on a song by The Who — which I had been working on, off and on, for a week or so — that was ALL READY TO POST this morning; and I went in to tweak it one last time ... and I hit cntrl-Z one too many times and Blogger disappeared the whole post ... then auto-saved it!

See? Told you you would end up loving blogger! Because you're vicious whoo-wers, ALL OF YOU, just like blogger!1!!1!

But I'm smarter than blogger and I remembered that I had previewed this post just yesterday on my work PC so I went into the cache to see if that page was still there ... and it was! So I have an earlier draft of this post (still 3000+ words2) to work from, but some additions and emendations have been lost. So I have to try to recreate them ... from my stupid fucking brainpan!1!

So thee be fairly forewarned: This Amazing Grace Post ("I Once Was Lost But Now Am Found") won't be up till tomorrow at the earliest, so you can start avoiding it like the plague a full 24 hours early! Avoid the Bloomsday Rush!

In the meantime, Whoo-wers, enjoy this:

And don't forget you're hiding ... behind an Eminence Front!
Addendum High Noon: Proof that I wasn't lying on SteveQ's blog:

See? "bednesse".
1 But I stand by the syntactic implications of the second part of the title, which implies that you have fucked blogger, and you loved it.


2 It let me retrieve my lost work! Bet you hate blogger now! Hahahahaha! Welcome to my world, WHOO-WERS!1!

Happy Bloomsday!

There are few dates more important to Irish Catholics than 16 June, the date, in 1904, on which the events in James Joyce's Ulysses take place1.

Happy Bloomsday, everyone! Today, we are all Renegade Irish Catholics, just like Himself, Jimmy Augustine Aloysius Joyce!
1 Dates of, arguably, equal importance: The Date Guinness was invented (Irish Catholic males only); The Date of Their Own Dear Sainted Irish Mither's Birth, God's Own Blessings Be Upon Herself! (Irish Catholic males only); The Date On Which You Gave Birth To Your Twelfth Irish Catholic Baby And Have Officially Run Out Of Ova And Won't Have To Give Birth (Or Have Sex) Again, Generally Occurring Sometime During The 32nd Year Of Your Life (Irish Catholic females only).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Needed: More Kankle Runs

As I was running my 6.43 miles this morning (in 1:00:20 for a craptastic 9:24 pace), I realized, as I slowly galumphed along in my pachyderm-esque way, that I hadn't done a Kankle Run in quite some time. This morning's pace proves1 that I need to start up again, because I have a 10k coming up in a couple of weeks; and it's a 10k I have run once before — in fact, it's the only 10k I've ever run.

But after I ran it (I PR'd, BITCHEZ!1!1!), I foolishly wrote on this other blog I used to have (which few people read, also) that, though I was not unhappy with my time in the race, I thought I could run a faster 10k than I had that day. Well, now, that's a pretty fucking stupid thing to put in writing, and even though I deleted the shit outta that particular blog long ago, the good people at Google, whose Eponymous Reader most of you use, have a slightly different definition of "delete" from , well ... let's just say "the marginally literate world", and so nothingNOTHING — ever gets deleted from Google Reader unless you unsubscribe from it.

Believe me on this, because, after reading the cringe-inducing archives of that old blog, I tried everything to get GR to let go. But GR is all, "O, Baby, I know you don't mean it, I know you don't really wanna break up with me, so I'm just gonna ignore all your threats & imprecations — you're soooo cute when you tell me to 'Go Fuck Myself' or to engage in other improbable sodomite activities! — and I'll just keep you forever and ever because I <3 U. Lookee here! While you were sleeping, I trimmed your n*ts@ck hair and made these here potholders ..."

Now, I have no reason to believe that anyone would still be subscribed to that blog after all these months — it's hard to imagine how anyone could possibly be that fucktardedly stubborn and even harder to imagine why — but it is a possibility, albeit a remote one, and so therefore ...

I feel I have an obligation to try to beat last year's time in this upcoming 10k because the old time is out there along with my stupid-ass rumination that I could better it.

Hence my need to do more Kankle Runs, because a 9:24 pace just isn't going to cut it.

This fucking sucks. Why can't I just keep my Big Stupid Keyboardhole shut?

I have nothing but anecdotal evidence (and precious little of that) to suggest that Kankle Runs in fact contribute anything toward making a person (i.e., me) faster; but I figure anecdotal evidence is better than no evidence; and sacerdotal evidence is better than anecdotal evidence; and, of course, n*ts@ckerdotal evidence is the best evidence of all.

But, on the burning issue of Kankle Runs, my n*ts@ck, alas, has nothing of use to impart to me. So all's I gotz is this anecdotal evidence.

So next week, I figure, I gotta start doing one Kankle Run per week. I might even start this week.
As I said in an UPDATE to yesterday's post, they got the times up for the 5-mile trail run yesterday. That's pretty quick. They got the race photos up even quicker.

Until the times went up, I had no idea who won or how fast they went or who won the AG awards, etc., because I had to leave before all of that because My Boy, Ian, won an Art Award for his Twittering Machine and we had to attend the reception they held for him! (And a few other young award-winning artists.)

Here is Ian standing in front of his Twittering Machine (above him). It's hanging right now in a museum in our mid-Northish Joisey county!

Since you can't see the work that well in the pic above (the camera blurred it), here it is alone. Ian's Twittering Machine is turning garbage into books.

Teh 'Bride and I are VERY proud of him! Our own little Paul Klee!
1 "Prove" here being employed in neither the scientific nor logical sense, but more in the "this doesn't prove a fucking thing" sense; aka, Teh Faux News sense.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Coming To Terms With Hideousness

Long ago — probably way before any of you zygotes were born — I came to the sad conclusion that, when Teh Good Lord was portioning out handsomeness to all the other dudes — "Here, Tom Cruise: you're only 4-foot-2, so you can have two extra helpings — NO NO! Not from that pink bag! That's where I keep Teh GAY!1! ... O! Too late! Now only Scientology can save you!1!" — I was still off in the corner admiring the extra-large, perfectly proportioned, woman-pleasing penis He'd given me1. Because I'm pretty hideous to look at2, and I've been aware of that fact roughly all my life. It's as though all those other, lesser-endowed dudes were given like 10 minutes to beat my face mercilessly with ugly sticks as compensation for their ... let's just say "shortcomings".

But my main points here are: a) I have an enormous, woman-pleasing penis; and b) the race pix from the trail run are up and there are three or four pix of me and even though I know I'm hideous ... really, what the fuck, photographer? Am I that hideous and gargoyle-like?
 Actual, un-retouched post-race photo of Glaven Q. Heisenberg from Saturday's trail run. Yes, I know: I'd've posted a much better time in the race if I hadn't worn the bow tie. But it distracts people from my face.

I mean, geez! I know I'm a horse-faced gargoyle3 and all; but these pix ovah hee-yah are just a little too honest, if ya ask me. I mean I'm chokin' on my outrage ovah hee-yah!

Another un-retouched photo, taken during the race. I managed to smile for the camera, somehow. Note the custom-made codpiece-enhanced running shorts, the only kind I can run in, for obvious reasons, and they TOTALLY were NOT photoshopped in!
6.39 miles in 58:25 for a 9:05 pace this morning.
UPDATE: Well, the race results are up and it turns out I was 39th out of 80 (including 11 DNFs); third in my age group; and 27th out of 44 men (including 4 DNFs).
1 And my n*ts@ck? Don't even get me started! Thanks, Lord!1!

2 ... from the waist up.

Am I turning you on, ladies?

3 Typical faux pick-up line I hear from female racers: "What's a gar-goyle like you doin' in a race like dis hee-yah, knowwhutahmsayin'? Allduerespect, but yer pretty fuckin' ugly, is what I'm gettin' at."


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Resolved: Trail Runs Suck Big Hairy Goat Balls: My 5-Mile Race Report

I have never actually blown a goat or had sex of any kind with one1, but I still think, based on my experience in this 5-mile trail race, that the basic trail-running experience must be comparable in unpleasantness to sucking Big Hairy Goat Balls. That's the nature of trail runs, which, of course, necessarily means that trail runners — people who intentionally run trail races repeatedly — must just love sucking Big Hairy Goat Balls.


But on to the race report.

Okay, originally, Teh 'Bride, Ian and I were supposed to go to the Poconos this weekend to visit with Teh 'Bro and Teh S-i-L, but that fell through; and the YS librarian at one of the branches (she's also a runner and tri-athlete) told me about this 5-mile race that she was running and asked if I intended to run it. I was like, No, can't, gotta go up teh 'nos (as it were). But when the plans to go up teh 'nos fell through2, I signed up.

The race was being held on the premises of this recently preserved farm — SCORE! More green acres for us here in mid-Joisey! — and it consisted of a "trail" most of which didn't exist until it was mowed expressly for the purpose of having this 5-mile race. Parking for the run was way back in town, at the local elementary school, which is in fact right next to the farm, but the start/finish line was a good 1-mile hike away because it's a BIG FUCKING FARM.

They did have a shuttle to drive you there, if you chose, but I figured Pfffttt! Pussies! I prefer to see what the course will be like — since the walk was along part of the race course3.

And what I saw was that it was potential-sprained-ankle-city4 out there because the terrain was all uneven and rutted and nothing had gone over it, other than the occasional tractor, in like decades. And the fucking tractors had left some nasty, crusty, hard-edged ruts, just perfect for rolling an ankle. Well, fuck me like a goat, I thought to myself, which is good, because if I'd said it out loud, I'm pretty sure there would have been plenty of Experienced Trail Runners willing to oblige me.

But I kept that in mind for the race — I mean the ankle-rolling thing, not the goat-fucking I could have been on the receiving end of — and decided I would just take it easy in this race because, it being my first ever 5-miler, I was guaranteed a PR as long as I finished. And the only way I wouldn't was if I was stupid and got myself hurt or if I ran into really, really, really horny goat5.

And so I just ran the race at what I thought was a nice-and-easy pace. I thought, Ya know, I'd be happy with 10-minute miles under these goat-fornicating circumstances; and that was really all I was shooting for. Because, weirdly enough, the organizers decided, for reasons I still can't fathom, to start this race at 11, which is bad enough; but they actually didn't start it till like 10 past, and so it had already gotten hot and humid and the day continued to gain in heat and humidity throughout the race. Weather-wise, it would have been a very comfortable race if it had started an hour or, preferably, an hour-and-a half, earlier — it should have been ending at 11, not beginning.

But this was the first year they had this race, so they're still learning. That'd be the only thing I would have them change for next year.

So the course itself consisted of a couple of loops that brought you past the start area at the 1 mile and then roughly the 3-and-a-quarter-mile mark; these miles were through the uneven-terrained farm fields. Then, the course took you into a woods, with a real honest-to-Jebus one lane trail where you couldn't pass anyone even if you had the energy to at this point, which was unlikely, because, even though it was way cooler in the woods, the trail just seemed to go up and up and up; plus there were downed trees (up to my mid-thigh, and I'm 6'5" tall, and, lucky for you readers, also a proper gentleman, and so I chose to say "mid-thigh" instead of "to the place on my leg that my dangler typically dangles down to" and am I turning you on ladies?) to climb over and creek beds to run through (mostly dry, but inevitably involving a steep and treacherous decline followed immediately by an equally steep and treacherous incline) ... and like that.

But I did manage to pass someone in the woods — a young lady whose heels I was chopping on for about a mile or so; and, after a particularly steep climb, followed by a downed tree to clamber over, she decided to take a walk break and graciously moved to the side so that I could pass her. Less than 2-tenths of a mile later, I took my first and only walk break — for roughly a minute — because I was out of breath because the woods trail just seemed to go eternally UP and I just gave up the ghost, less than a mile from the finish6.

This was my one technical regret of the race7 — I should have bulled my way through because as it turned out, it wasn't that much further till the inevitable trail decline that eventually brought us all out of the woods and into the home stretch. Of course, in this part of the woods trail, I managed to wander off-trail twice, but never far enough off that I lost sight of the intended trail. I quickly righted myself, but not before being passed by a dude, to whom I said, over my shoulder, while he was still behind me, "Hey man, don't follow me! I have no goat-fucking idea where I'm going." He said, "You're taking the scenic route", which I appreciated, because if I were in his shoes, I'd've said, "You're a fucktard, aren't you?"

Anyroad, I finished with a time of 48:38, which by my calculation is a 9:41 pace and a 6.2 mph average.

And now here's my proof that I ran a trail race:

I learned later form Gabrielle, the YS librarian, that the course is actually longer than 5 miles, but I have no idea how much longer. I managed to get a video of Gabrielle as she crossed the finish line and I told her I wouldn't show it to anyone but since she doesn't know about this blog, she'll never know, so EAT IT, Gabrielle! Also, most of this video is of my fingers as they fucktardedly tried to stop the video from filming:

After this race, I felt like I had been 's@ck-tapped, so I'm including this:

1 I'm not including my college years because, hey, be honest, we all "experimented" in college, and anyway my major was animal husbandry (until they caught me at it), but my real point is that that goat was dressed provocatively and was basically asking for it and was just mad because I didn't call the next day. And then it's all, "Oooo! My hairy goat balls have been violated!"

We've all been there, right?

2 Let that be a lesson to you, kids: Stay off drugs! And mountains.

3 Plus, I thought I might also spot a few experienced trail runners blowing goats in the fields on the way to the starting line because, as we've already established above, they enjoy doing that. I had my non-boob-sweated-on iPod nano with me, so I was all set to take videos, but if any goat-blowing was going on, I managed to miss it.

At this point I might as well mention that you probably think it's difficult to get a goat to agree to let you blow it because all they ever seem to say is "Naaaahhhhh!", which pretty much sounds like a "No" to me, Mister Date-Rapist-to-Be. The trick is to ask, "Would you prefer that I not blow you, Mister Goat?" and when he sez "Naaaahhhhh!" you're good to go.

Or so Experienced Trail Runners tell me.

4 Actually, country.

5 Because, afterwards, I like to cuddle a little and then just go to sleep.

6 O, sure, I still have my good looks. But what self-respecting goat would let me blow him now?

7 Well, that ... and not blowing a goat.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Please Help Out Perky Lil Sis Carrie

Lil Sis Carrie quite justifiably and quite correctly believes that awareness regarding the issues that concern the elderly needs to be raised; she also believes that the elderly are living, breathing repositories of unique knowledge and learning - "libraries", she calls them, and I, as a librarian, wholeheartedly approve of this word choice - and that we all must do what we can to preserve their knowledge and wisdom.

When I use this blog to relate stories about Teh 'Dad, who will be 88 this month, many of you leave comments saying how much you love his stories and get a kick out of him. I am proud of my Dad and I love talking about him and I feel gratified knowing that many of you like hearing stories about him.

Well, Lil Sis uses her blog to preserve the wisdom of, and the equally entertaining stories about, the many elderly citizens who live at the Rock Ridge facility where she works. She feels that the necessity of preserving the wisdom of our elders needs to reach a larger audience.

An audience such as, say, the millions who watch Oprah.

Go view Carrie's audition video; vote for it.


From Carrie's blog:

It has long been my passion to preserve the wisdom of our elderly, so I took a leap and would like for you to help. My co-workers, a few residents, and I have made a video in an attempt to create an awareness about aging (Oprah has never had a show about elderhood!) Please help us spread the word and gather votes. There is no limit to the number of times you can vote!

Thank you for helping us spread the joys of elderhood!

We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Who Posts

It's been awhile since I bored you to the point of annoyed yawning with a post on The Who and I figured if I didn't post another one soon y'all'd be in danger of actually enjoying and - dare I say it? - liking this blog.

Hahahahahahaha! Yeah, riiiight!1! Like that'd ever happen! I'm totally fucking with you!

On a personal Who note ... Ian went on a class trip to Ellis Island yesterday. As part of the lesson on immigration, he was given an identity: an immigrant German farmer named Emerick.

So when Ian learned this, he came home singing:

Now I'm a farrrrrmerrrr
And I'm diggin' diggin' diggin' diggin' diggIN'!

This happens to be about the only Who song Ian and Teh 'Bride know. Neither of them quite gets the melody right when they sing it.

But it's a start.

I’m skipping right past one of the greatest of The Who’s albums, Who’s Next, which I hate to do, but discussing it would pretty much require getting into the whole failed Lifehouse project and that just gets too deep too quickly and you can't just wade into it casually. Get the album Who’s Next and listen for yourself. It’s worth it. Because Who's Next is comprised almost entirely of the songs Pete wrote for Lifehouse; once the project fell apart,  the group just put the songs out as an album without even trying to impose the original narrative structure on them. There are tantalizing hints as to the plot and characterization in the songs themselves, though1.

You've got to wonder if the stark album cover photo, a picture of the group immediately post-micturition, is intended as some kind of comment on their inability to make Lifehouse work – as an acknowledgment of, a visual pun on, the seemingly wasted effort?

I remember as a kid thinking Who’s Next was a Who’s Greatest Hits compilation album, because all of the songs were that good.

But we're not talking about Who's Next now ... on to Quadrophenia! (My favorite Who album.)

The story of Quadrophenia goes roughly thus: Jimmy is a young Mod (I discussed Mods earlier, in this post about “My Generation”) who had recently been involved in the beach fight between Mods and Rockers. That was the time Jimmy felt he most fit in – as part of the Mod subculture, his sense of  individual identity tied intimately to this group identity. Now, post-fight, he feels alienated from everyone and everything and feels as though he doesn’t fit in anywhere. So he travels back to Brighton to try to regain that feeling of belonging, but discovers that things there are just as foreign to him as everywhere else. In fact, the Mod leader during the fight, the Ace Face (played, in the movie version of Quadrophenia, by a young Sting), is now a bell boy at the very same hotel they had trashed in triumph during the weekend of rioting.

Quadrophenia, like Tommy and “A Quick One While He’s Away” before it, is short on plot but long on feeling and deep on theme – perhaps even deeper and more personal than Tommy.

Play “The Real Me”, “5:152”, “Drowned”, “Bellboy”

Water imagery, water motifs, indeed, water sounds, abound in Quadrophenia3. That’s especially true in “Drowned” – which is just drenched (pun intended) in water imagery that, like water itself, changes constantly, is in perpetual flux, much like Jimmy's mental state and his sense of identity; but water as a symbol gains layers of meaning and significance as the album progresses. “Drowned” is Jimmy’s plea for freedom – “let the tide in and set me free” – but also kind of a death wish – “I wanna drown ... in cold water!” ... suggesting that only death can bring about true freedom4? Possibly. Certainly this is how Jimmy sometimes feels as every worldly object and event is stripped of meaning for him.

The whole “inside/outside” dichotomy I’ve alluded to in previous posts comes from the lyrics of “5:15”:
Inside, outside – leave me alone
Inside, outside – nowhere is home.

Jimmy has a kind of nervous breakdown on the 5:15 train to Brighton – “Where have I been? … Out of my brain on a train” – which seems not to bode too well for him on his voyage of self-rediscovery. “5:15” is an expression of a series of contradictory or oxymoronic conditions: “he-man drag”, “tightly undone”, “greyly outrageous”, “sadly ecstatic”, “magically bored”, “quiet storm water”, “uppers and downers” – things and their opposites, reflecting Jimmy's internal struggle, his confusion in his fight to find meaning. Does it matter which “wins”? “Either way, blood flows.”

None of this is resolved in Jimmy’s mind and thus the song begins and ends with the same nagging question: “Why should I care?” – which is pretty central to Quadrophenia and, not to be too ponderous, life itself, really ... yes, things bad and good happen out there but ... why should I care? The purpose of life can be expressed in many ways, one of which, certainly, is as the struggle to find a reason to care.

“The Real Me” is the first Quadrophenia song with lyrics to it5.

In “The Real Me”, at the very opening of the album, we discover that Jimmy has no idea who he really is, nor does anyone else. He’s been let down by medical science, in the person of his psychiatrist; his family (“I went back to my mother/ I said, ‘I’m crazy, Ma, help me’/ She said ‘I know how it feels, son,/ ’cause it runs in the family’” – sooooo ... not much comfort there); as well as religion ("I ended up with a preacher/ Full of lies and hate ..."). We also learn in the middle eight of this song that Jimmy’s been abandoned by “the girl I used to love.” His alienation is real and total. None of them – doctor, mother, preacher, girlfriend – can “see the real me”.

But, as we discover from the rest of the album, neither can Jimmy.

In “Bell Boy”, Jimmy disillusionment is intensified: He discovers that the Mod leader he used to follow – the Ace Face, the one person he thought would be his own man, “the guy who used to set the paces/ Riding up in front of a hundred faces” – is a lowly bellboy who “spend[s his] days licking boots for [his] perks”. This song is Keith’s theme (each member of The Who has a theme in Quadrophenia) and so Keith sings the part of the bell boy here. Keith's sections vacillate between the comic and the moving: The cockney accented “I’ve got a good job” section juxtaposed with the “Some nights I still sleep on the beach” part – and it turns out that even the “sell out” bell boy who sucks up for tips has dreams and doesn’t want to be who he seems to be ... that is not his Real Me.
1 "Behind Blue Eyes", for example, is often seen as a prime example of Pete Townshend in confessional mode, talking about himself in song – which may very well be true on one level – but the song was composed specifically for the character Brick (or Jumbo; PT had not really settled on the name when Lifehouse was abandoned), who is the antagonist, the "bad man", of the Lifehouse story.

2 There are a couple of slightly different mixes of "5:15", but none of them clocks in at a time of 5:15, which always seemed like a missed opportunity to me. Its official running time is 4:58 ... a mere 17 seconds additional fade and ... sooooo close.

3 E.g., “Drowned”:

Let me flow into the ocean
Let me get back to the sea
Let me be stormy, let me be calm
Let the tide in and set me free

4 In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud posits that we are all basically set on self-destruct: Pleasure is not an end in and of itself, but a state of being in which "mental excitations" are at a minimum, which is ultimately, Freud argues, the state that our minds instinctively seek.

And when are mental excitations at their barest minimum? Why, when they're extinguished entirely, of course, a state of "existence" usually known as "being dead". And that - death - is the state of being we are hardwired to try to bring about for ourselves. So even pleasure-seeking behavior can be seen as the enacting of a kind of death wish at like one remove.

This is, admittedly, a vast over-simplification of Freud's argument but it is not my intention either to endorse or take issue with Freud's death-wish theory (the first step toward doing which would be to give a fuller and more accurate summation of it, which I have neither the time nor the inclination to do); I merely mention it in passing as perhaps helpful in understanding Jimmy's psychology.

You can read the full text of Beyond the Pleasure Principle here. (It's well worth reading.)

Or you could get off your fat ass and go to the library and take it out. We could really use the additional patronage right about now ...

5 The actual first song, “I Am the Sea”, is a kind of instrumental overture that introduces a lot of the album’s musical motifs. Technically, there are some lyrics in “IAtS”, but they’re really just anticipatory echoes of the songs to come.

You Say You Want A Revolution ... -ary Run

I just this very a.m. signed up for the July 4th Revolutionary Run in Washington Crossing1, PA. I ran this race last year — it was my first and so far only 10k, and, at the time, it was the longest race I'd run — and I was relatively happy with my performance, but my relative happiness was pretty much a foregone conclusion since my pre-race goals were:

1. To actually finish (<--Note split infinitive!)

2. To actually set (<--SPLIT!1!) a PR (to achieve which all I had to do was accomplish goal one.)

Yeah, I like to set the bar high.

I accomplished both goals, running the 10k in 55:14, which is an 8:53 pace.

So this morning I went for a training run and I managed to run 6.8 miles in exactly one hour; which is an 8:48 pace.

I would be happy if I could replicate that pace at the Rev. Run.

But this year, I have only one goal:

1. To finish

Because I'm NOT shooting for a PR because STOP PRESSURING ME!1!

1 When I was a little Pennzer growing up in NE Philadelphia, we used to go for picnics in the park at WC, and we called it "Washington's Crossing" because it was the site from which Washington launched his troops across Teh Delaware. His (possessive) crossing.

And when he got to the other side, he was all "GAHHH1a!1! I'm in fucking JOISEY!1! Get me back to PA before I end up like those douchebags on Teh Joisey Shore!1!"

And he turned around and went back to PA, the pussy, which is why we're still under the oppressive yoke of British colonial rule to this day, and it's also why our teeth are so bad and we eat things like Spotted Dick1b, because the Crown's taxes are so high we can't even afford to buy Undiseased Free-Range Dick.

But my point is, the place's true name, inexplicably, is Washington Crossing — non-possessive. Makes no fucking sense to me.

1a Few people know that Geo. Dubya'ton is originally from San Diego. But the "GAHHHH!" is a dead giveaway.

1b With a side order of sautéd n*ts@ck and a cold SploogËnBraü to wash it all down ... and take my word for it: You're gonna need something to wash that shit down.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Enthuse Your Curbiasm

You may remember my curb complain from a couple weeks ago. I (foot)noted:
Yeah, it's a "curb" in kinda the same way that the bullshit coming out of Sean Hannity's mouth is a "logical argument": the latter's made up of words, and has all the parts, seemingly, of a rational utterance — save the actual rationality, possibly due to the speaker's constitutional inability to engage in actual thought, and therefore cannot be said to be rational, valid or in any way persuasive to anyone other than fellow-traveler douchebags; while the former, while made of cement and residing at the juncture of lawn and street, lacks the formal property of being uncrumbling and therefore cannot actually be said to be an actual curb.

And Fuck ME if I'm paying a grand to have some guy come and pour a new one — because the cheap fucking town isn't going to do it.

But you know what really gets on my tit? NOBODY else on our street has a collapsed curb! [I]t's the same fucking curb but when it gets to the front of our house, it fucking collapses! Then, it becomes structurally sound again starting at the property of the neighbor after us! DUBYA TEE FUCK?!1?!1
You thought I exaggerating, but here you go (the nano has already paid for itself in my mind with this video because IN YER FACE for thinking I lied!1!):