Thursday, December 23, 2010

Top Ten Thursdays: How are we livening up the holidays?

10) Drinking 12 vials of 5-Hour Energy and doing all of our Christmas shopping in 15 intense minutes.

9) Telling mother the truth about the “friend” we brought home from college.

8) Making naked snow angels.

7) Spiking the punch at the office party with peyote, then dressing up like a coyote and ordering our boss to give us a raise.

6) Sending out Christmas cards with photographic evidence showing why husband became ex-husband.

5) Letting Elmo tickle us.

4) Watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer while playing Dark Side of the Moon.

3) Tying an iPad to a fishing line and pulling it through crowded mall.

2) Setting concealed bear traps by the tree to catch Santa.

1) Whipping out the mistletoe cockring.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Random 11

It's one more random than 10!

After more than five months, I am finally home. I am in my own house, in the area where I want to live, with only The Lovely Becky and Libby under the same roof with me (and our furry, butt-licking children, Stinky and Jonesy).

My mood improved almost as soon as we moved in. Despite all the chaos of boxes and detritus and the constant playing of where-the-hell-is-that-thing-I-need-right-goddamned-now, I felt settled for the first time since we moved in July. Actually, for the first time since March, when TLB found out she got her new job and we started making preparations to leave da UP.

I feel like a bit of an ass making a big deal out it. After all, despite living with my in-laws, it’s not like I was living a life of hardship. They have a spacious, beautiful house, and they were extremely generous and accommodating. And yet the change in my mood made me realize that I had been rather depressed living there. I think it was because I felt rootless. No matter how nice the surroundings are, it’s very difficult to feel at home in someone else’s home. Compound that with me working at home, having to set up my office in our bedroom, and living in a place where it was hard to get out during the day because everything was rather far away, and I felt a bit trapped, too.

But now it’s all good. We love our house, we love where we live, and it’s very likely that this is where we’ll stay for a long, long time. There’s even a nice retirement castle up the street, so when I get old and forgetful or old and ornery or old and incontinent, Libby can stick me in there.
Now it’s music time, and with my desktop PC back, I have access to all my music again. Let’s demonstrate the musical capabilities of this fully operational Battle Star!

1) “Block Rockin’ Beats,” The Chemical Brothers. Speaking of my Battle Star, yesterday I got my desktop set up again. I hooked up my pretty heavy-duty Klipsch computer speakers and subwoofer, which I had kept in storage so I wouldn’t annoy my in-laws with Geddy Lee bass lines for the last few months. I planned to christen the new home office (conveniently located in the basement) with a foundation-shaking playing of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” Unfortunately, just after getting iTunes updated and ready to go, my speakers died before I could reach the first Angus Young power chord. Ain’t that a b? It’s especially too bad because this Chemical Brothers classic would sound much more awesome if it wasn’t coming out of my little Dell Yugo speakers.

2) “Nowehere Again,” Secret Machines. I really think the best moment of the past week was the first night I slept in my own bed again. It’s not just the familiarity of my own space, it’s also that TLB is a master sleep-designer. She has always been a bit of an insomniac, so she has tried to fight that by making our bed insanely comfortable. I climbed in, pulled the flannel sheets and flannel comforter cover up, and lay back into what felt like a hug on a cold December night. Heaven.

3) “Flash,” Queen. No other group could have pulled this off. It’s ostensibly a terrible song for an even more terrible movie, but Queen make it work by embracing its pomposity and ridiculousness. That takes talent.

4) “Planet Earth,” Duran Duran. A very meh first single from them. It’s like they had all the parts but someone had forgetting the screws to put it all together.

5) “So It Goes,” Nick Lowe. The sound of pure, unfiltered happiness despite its dark lyrics. Mentally, I wind up skipping every time I hear this song.

6) “Breaking the Chain,” Peter Case. Not to be confused with >the Dokken song of a similar name, which is unfortunately available on YouTube while Mr. Case's excellent song is not. However, the Dokken vid yielded this awesome comment, "I never realized Kajagoogoo were this heavy." Here's Peter Case from the same album, Torn Again.

Unrelated note from last night: While we love the new area, it of course has its drawbacks. Number one is that many parts of it are quite affluent, and with that affluence comes rubbing elbows with some folks who feel privileged, nay entitled, to act like rich assholes. Case in point: We took Libby out to eat last night, and afterward, while Becky was getting Libby in her car seat, a guy in an SUV backed in to the spot next to us, on the side where the door was open and Becky was securing our child. He literally was inches from the open door and TLB, and then had to wait about 30 seconds to open his door until TLB was done. He did this when the next row was practically devoid of cars.

“Can you believe that guy?” TLB said when she got into the car.

“Well,” I said. “Keep in mind that we do live in the Illinois habitat of the North American Puff-Chested Douche. And when the North American Puff-Chested Douche sees a parking spot, it has to take it as soon as possible.”

7) “Never Enough Neck, Pt. 2,” The Fucking Champs. METAL! During my brief, failed attempt to start running again this past summer, I had made a playlist of Fucking Champs songs—80’s style instrumental metal that has all the good riffage without annoying things like Sebastian Bach singing. I had worked out this kind of action/Indiana-Jones movie set to the music, which gave me something to focus on instead of how I thought my heart was going to burst out of chest like a tiny alien hatchling in Alien. That’s literally the only way I can stand running, to distract myself away from the fact that I’m actually running.

8) “Positive Bleeding,” Urge Overkill. I have late-80s/early-90s stuff like this labeled “alternative rock” in iTunes, which makes it sound as dated as Crystal Pepsi. Random tangent: TLB and I were watching Total Recall, the Paul Verhoeven sleazy classic that successfully predicted the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger. At one point der Governor goes to the red light district of Mars, which you know is the red light district because it has adult movie theaters. Except that the very concept of adult movie theaters is so 20th century. They can make a mask that doubles as a bomb, but the Mars of the future still required you to go out for porn? That dated the movie more for me than the monocrome computer monitors they showed or Sharon Stone’s perm.

9) “Thieves Like Us,” New Order. This, however, shows how you can be of a time but still timeless. It’s funny for me to listen to this now, too, because this was the soundtrack for TLB and I when we lived in the north Chicago suburbs and were a couple of crazy high school kids never realizing we’d grow old and pick out flannel sheets together. We certainly didn’t expect that we’d be living here together.

That’s the biggest change in this move for me. Nearly all of my life, I’ve moved places with the anticipation of moving again. Even the six years we spent in Iowa City—the longest I ever lived someplace without moving over a state border—we figured wouldn’t be permanent (and we also moved in town from an apartment to a condo). The UP sure as hell wasn’t permanent, and even if TLB hadn’t gotten a job, I think we would have packed up and moved in the next couple of years.

Now, as we set up the house, we realize that we are likely going to be in this house for a long time, maybe even permanently. TLB and I were talking about what kind of light fixture to put in the dining room, with my lovely wife unable to make a decision. “Put whatever you want in there,” I told her. “Hell, put fish wallpaper on the walls if you want. It’s our house and we ain’t leaving.” I always wondered if I would ever be able to shake that moving anticipation, that Navy-brat wanderlust that lasted long after I was no longer a military dependent. I suspect that it won’t be a problem now.

10) “Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires,” Agalloch. As the name might imply, this is some FUCKING METAL!, even more so than The Fucking Champs. This track, though, is incredibly beautiful for the first three minutes, before the band kicks it up a notch and the Cookie Monster grabs the mic. I still dig it after that point, but your mileage may vary.

11) “Antenna,” The Church. Another TLB-Brando dating classic, and quite the underrated 80s album. Much like Nick Lowe makes me mentally skip, just about any song off Starfish makes me feel like the sun is shining on me. A good way to end today’s list, especially on a sunny but cold day.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Moving day tomorrow

I've been swamped with work and travel and now tomorrow the movers are bringing our stuff down from Big Beaver Storage. We still won't be in the house for good until this weekend, but knowing my TVs will be in the same county as I am will be very satisfying. I'll be sure to post pictures of my new man-sized safe.