all neuroses, all the time
Monday, December 31
happy new year, everybody!
me, i'm staying home. a glass of bubbly, maybe.
probably a spoon of white chocolate and raspberry ice cream.
definitely some peace and quiet.
theoretically some monkey love.
"old man" pj
Saturday, December 29
"COMMENTS" are back. a shout out to yaccs for easy instructions...
now, i want all you email-shy lurkers to come clean, and start talking! i know you are out there, so leave me a message or two. or three. or a hundred. or a thousand.
(regular readers feel free to spread the love too, mmmkay?)
Friday, December 28
so have you heard the "langley schools music project" cd yet? i had heard about this a few months ago, and given that i love outsider recordings and d.i.y. geniuses like i do, i don't know how i didn't manage to snatch this up when it came out. well, i should have.
this has got to be the most charming collection of songs i've heard in a long time- and if you can listen to this and hear the heart these kids put into these selections (without giggling at their tone-deaf enthusiasm), and understand the sort of commited love of music their teacher, hans fenger, instills in his simple percussive arrangements, you will be vastly rewarded for your patience and indulgence. don't be put off by the out-of-tune or rythmically-challenged junior high students, because underneath the amateurish delivery and decidedly lo-tech recording there is an absolute treasure to be found. a.m. radio staples suddenly take on a new strength, and have weight, and gravity. hack works like "sweet caroline" or "saturday night" or "i'm into something good" are transformed into dramatic productions, astounding in their clarity and truthfulness.
i can't rave enough about it, it's right up my alley.
here is a page about the project, with sound clips from the cd, "innocence and despair." it tells the story of this cd, about the truly visionary and creative teacher who masterminded this whole thing in 1976, about the kids who sing on it, about the gymnasium acoustics that magically lent phil spector-ish "wall of sound" production to the 2-track recordings... you've got to hear it. i actually teared up during the rendition of "wildfire." you'll see why.
kudos to bar-none for having the sense to master and release this, and to all unsung performers out there, doing it their way on a shoestring budget just for the love of creating and performing!
Thursday, December 27
oh: and as i used to post here every so often, here's a recipe for dinner:
now, i assume that if you are from texas or new mexico or arizona or southern california you had tamales for christmas eve. if you didn't, well, there's no hope for you. just kidding.
what to do with the leftover tamales? well, if you are me, you make tamale soup; and if you are ill like me, a big bowl of spicy soup will cure what ails you. i also assume you have a bag full of vegetable tops and cuttings in the freezer, which you save just for this occasion: making homemade stock. you don't? well, then you won't have the leftover bones and skin of a baked chicken dinner in there either. well, canned stock will do.
(although, if you are like me, you'll make your own: put carcass in a big pot, throw in the carrot greens and tomato tops and celery hearts and half onions and wilted parsley and herb stems and garlic skins and bring to a boil. then turn down to simmer, cover, and leave alone on low for 2-3 hours. strain in a collander and voila! stock!)
okay. in a big pot sautee a chopped up onion in whatever you like. i just push it around in a little broth, as the soup gets pretty rich with the cheese and stock. anyway. add two cans of rotel tomatoes, a few crushed cloves of garlic, and a couple of tablespoons of both cumin and chili powder. simmer this a bit and then add 6-8 cups of stock, chicken is my fave, but vegetable is fine if you are some sort of vegetarian freak. i'm kidding again.
okay, so simmer this a bit, 30-45 minutes or so, and then add a can of corn and a can of pinto beans. or black beans. or kidney beans. whatever. cook this another 5-10 mintues and you are done. test for salt and pepper, make spicier with fresh chilies if you want, etc. heat up the tamales (in the oven, in the microwave, etc.) and put a couple in a bowl. ladle the soup over to cover the tamale, and garnish with cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro. OH MY GOD. you'll just die!
and when you run out of tamales, you can slice up some corn tortillas and do the same thing as with the tamales. deeee-lish. deeeee-lightful. and low in fat, sort of.
oh, you can throw a can of hominy in if you don't want to do the corn. or dice up some bell pepper and add with the onion at the beginning. maybe some carrot. maybe. it's all good, you know? and if you want to use fresh corn or beans you have cooked, that works too. i'm all about function, and ease.
this concludes the recipe portion of this evening's broadcast. goodnight.
(now competing with ggwoo guys for "domestic goddess" crown).
well, all that blogger intrigue is over, and things are back to normal; it's getting colder, the cedar trees are releasing their spores and microbes into the air, mold and mildew are working their special dank and dreary magic, and it seems like every plant and tree and moss and weed in nature are working together to make me sinus infected. and they have succeeded!
so here i sit, hacking and coughing and swallowing hard and painfully, feeling as if i am quite literally made of phlegm. ecchh.
i'm all pumped up on nyquil and sinutab and various new age herb remedies right now, so hopefully i'll shake this in a day or so. it's great that i'm unemployed though, because i can just heal and get better without worrying about taking off too much time to recover. oh wait, i'm also broke. well, hell. time to worry again.
what did you all get for christmas? this was one of my best, in that nobody got me things i didn't want or ask for, and the things i didn't ask for were either cute or useful enough that i was happy to get them. i would rather get nothing than some crappy no-thought-put-into-this tchotchke that i have no room for. really, i have enough doodads. nobody needs to buy me something from the (yikes!) lillian vernon catalog. hell, nobody should buy anyone something from lillian vernon. of course, then what would grandmas and meemaws and nanas and omas get their off-at-college grandkids? who would buy the personalized pencil packs? or monogrammed rain bonnets? or red, white, and blue everything? who indeed?
sorry to sound so veruca salt here, but listen: you get a purple velour track suit one christmas and then see if you don't get a little jaded and embittered.
at any rate, i got what i needed the most: money. january won't be so bad after all. i also got a digital camera (expect lots of shots of the dog and cats, with socks or underwear on their heads- ho ho ho that makes me laugh), two of those new pet shop boys re-releases, a bike lock (oh, yes, i'm trying to lose my man titties by exercising. a little. very little.), underwear, a pair of leather gloves, gift certificates to book stores, etc. etc. all in all it was a good haul. really, i've been over christmas since about the age of 19 or so... it stresses me out and makes me unpleasant. of course, that could just be my family. who knows?
hey, i'm going to do a shout out to the boys over at ggwoo, as i name-drop plenty of the usual suspects here at bruce hoax, and yet have not said an official hello here on this page. so HELLO, boys! their page is consistently readable and funny and interesting. and they are both easy on the eyes, too. go check 'em out- the updates on the house redo are usually pretty riotous for me, as i can totally sympathize with all the refurb trauma. it's in our blood though, us homos. it's certainly my genetic imperative to move into a shanty and make it cute and revive dumpy neighborhoods so all the straight yuppies can move in. now if only i owned a house... well, more on this later. willy and i are cooking up a plan.
um, time to go hack up some more snot. mmm, aren't you glad you tuned in this morning?
oh, p.s.: here is a quickie list of cdrs i have burned in the last week:
inxs - extended versions, 1981-1998 (two cds)
devo attack! - miscellaneous devo stuff not on album, like bootleg live stuff, demos, guest appearances, etc. 3 cds.
devo live - bootlegged '81 concert edit, and almost full concert form '82- both soundboard quality, for the most part. 1 cd
mark mothersbaugh - selections from "music for insomniaks," his instrumental cds from late 1980's that hints at later soundtrack work. 1 cd.
book of love - extended mixes and odds and ends. 3 cds.
duran duran - b-sides 1980-1989. 1 cd.
arcadia - remixes and extended versions. 1 cd.
human league - extended versions 1980-2001. 2 cds. probably one more.
eurythmics b-sides - 2 cds.
eurythmics extended versions - 2, maybe 3 cds.
dead or alive extended versions 1983-2001 - probably 5 cds.
etc. etc. etc.
one can then assume a few things about me:
i have too much time on my hands right now.
i am a gay man.
i am "of a certain age."
i appear to be stuck in 1986.
i am a completist of the most obsessive order.
yes to a few of those.
Tuesday, December 25
surprise! surprise! blogger sent me and many other lucky recipients a fabulous x-mas present!
THEY ARBITRARILY CHANGED ALL OF OUR PASSWORDS TO THE SAME SINGLE-DIGIT NUMBER! WHOOPEE! HOORAY!
thanks, pyra claus. but no thanks. i've since changed it back to what it is supposed to be...easily fixed, but disconcerting nonetheless.
p.s. i got what i wanted for christmas: money!
Monday, December 24
hey, i'm going to dad's for a few days- i'll check in later this week- have a great christmas everybody!
Friday, December 21
well, well, well. hello.
what has our recent graduate been doing, by the way? sitting at home, watching t.v. and thinking about getting a job. i should get one, right? i mean, i don't have any money. and funny enough, the sins of my past have come back to haunt me: 2 different collection agencies have contacted me in the last two weeks to collect on ancient, and i mean ancient, outstanding debts. like from 8 or 9 years ago. i was an entirely different person then: prone to run from all responsibility and hide my head in the sand. or the snow, if you get my meaning. ahem.
so anyway. i'm sitting back up in the computer lab at school, for old time's sake, as i had to return a library book that was due about a century ago. so here i am, typing away, and catching up with all you fellow bloggers. except, nothing has happened with me since last we spoke. i'm gearing up for christmas, buying presents like i'm made of money (which, last i checked, i am not; i'm more made of coca cola and bluebell ice cream than anything else), and counting down the days until i go home. or maybe i'm not going home. i haven't decided yet.
my mother is going off to school, and so is moving out of the house she shares with my step-father. i think she's selling it and he's getting the boot, i don't know how they are working all of that out. past caring, too. so: she is moving and there is a house full of furniture to pick through and sort out. which i of course want to be there for, as i'm always up for a freebee. plus she has great taste. so.
the problem is that i don't actually want to set foot in my old home town. don't want to see anybody, don't want to feel compelled to hook up with old pals, go drinking at the old haunts, etc. etc. and there is some weird karma going on between my mom and grandmother that i want no part of. really, lately my mother has been insufferable. so fucking needy that she is calling everyday. which is ironic, as she doesn't speak to my needy grandmother for the same reason. ho hum, this has always passed as normal.
so my mother is forever wanting me to be there for her, all the time. and i can't. i have my own traumas, and sadly, i've learned that that woman is not the person to go to for comfort. i don't come from a family of huggers, who can make you feel better with a soothing word or a pat on the back. shit, i'd take a half-hearted "ahhh" over what i'm used to: a lecture. not "how can we make this better, together, as a supportive family who loves you," but "here is how you screwed this up and are not being a mature adult who should know better," or my favorite: "you made your bed, now lie in it." i'm not kidding. my mother actually told me one time, after i mustered up all the courage i could to come to her and tell her a real problem i was having, and in front of her cried and cried over, "oh, just butch up and deal with it. be a man." this coming from a woman that has isolated herself from her mother just because she was being a little whiny, as old people can be. i mean, she's a lonely old lady, for christ's sake! you come to a point in your old age when you have nothing much to do but wait for your friends to die and your joints to give out. but my mom takes it as a personal attack or something, and freaks out and calls me just because my grandmother wants to have lunch two days in row. the horror!
ugh, now i'm all wound up. i should go back to therapy. i'm not done with these issues. i will call tomorrow, and set something up. who knew i was still filled with such animosity?
well, as is the way the blog works, i started out with a seemingly innocuous event and worked my way through some old grudges and wounds and scars. so let's get back to the humdrum, okay?
you may remember through the last few months me writing about a guy that i might as well be stalking, as we find ourselves thrown together in the same rooms and restaurants, and going to night classes at the same school, and (at one time) living on the same block. well, at graduation on saturday we were all herded down a long hallway at the back of the "convocation center" (actually the gymnasium) to be marched out in twos to the strains of some christmas carol as played by a brass band. just before the tubas started their inevitable moans and farts i was startled from my claustrophobia-induced stupor by a strong, rich, sexy voice: "are you in group 4?" it was him. he was apparently earning his masters that day. i said no, that i thought they were up a few rows, he smiled and walked on. but it was a polite smile, not a "i've been trying to speak with you for 5 years now, and this is the best i can do, so stunted i am with akward shyness by the mere presence of you, you hunk of beautiful man." nope. it was just asking for directions. but oh, how i swooned. and i finally know is name! which will make internet-stalking him a breeze. whoopee!
i now have 10 cdrs of songs written by prince as performed by others. that's almost a half-day's worth of music. and it doesn't stop there, i have a few odds and ends that i couldn't fit that now must go on disc 11, which i will complete with whatever else i dig up over the next few weeks. and i've started a new set of remix collections, too: this one has those awful extended versions of bland top 40 hits from the early to mid 80's like "easy lover" by phil collins, or "self control" by laura branigan, or "love is a battlefield" or "she bop" or, god help me, "sleeping bag" or "velcro fly" by zz top. i mean, i love the damn things: usually 6 minutes or so in length, and consist of various instruments being taken in and out of the mix and over reverbed or delayed. the glory days of the 12 inch single. not like today, where you are lucky if the remixer has incorporated even a snatch of lyrics here or there. this disturbing trend has never annoyed me more than the remix of the pet shop boys single "liberation" from '94. it went like this: "liberate, l-liberate, liberate, l-l-liberation" ad nauseum. over and over, to an unambitious 4/4 kick drum thump. over and over and over. ugh, it hurts me to think of it. so, this is my tribute to the radio friendly hit remixes, only made more charming by the fact that someone took the time to actually remix somebody like zz top. or gino vanelli. but hell, they made the move over to synthesizers, so it was par for the course, right?
hmm. i'm supposed to be working on that paper i've put off. i've got most every other graduation problem fixed (i mentioned these a week or so ago), but not the paper. i've decided to just do the bare minimum and get it over with. i'm through with A's, after this semester. a B is fine, and a C will do if there is no other alternative. there goes my blood pressure. i can't talk about this right now.
well, i'll update youse guys later with more as i think about it. i'd love to tell you what i got willy for his (two days before christmas) birthday and christmas, but i'm sure he checks this space every once in while and don't want to blow the surprise. which he almost very narrowly did by leaving my christmas shopping list in the car door side pocket, right where i looked when i needed a pen and a piece of scratch paper two days ago in the line at the bank drive-thru. fortunately i know him so well that just before i flipped to a clean sheet in the pad i thought about how he would never leave a pad of the paper in the car unless it had something important on it, and it is christmas, and one makes lists, and he had just been "running some errands" as he so vaguely put it, and he's simple that way sometimes and forgets how to surprise people, etc. etc. all of this flashed through my head in like .0005 nanoseconds, and i put the pad of paper back where i found it, very pleased with my powers of deduction and perception, and how well i know the various tics and quirks of my mate.
but first i peeked to make sure.
i was right.
Monday, December 17
and so it's over.
oh sure, i still have some loose ends to tie up: a paper to complete, some test scores to submit. but i walked across that stage on saturday in a stupor, took my picture, etc. etc. the place erupted in hoots and hollers when they called my name, the first loud whoop of the day- people obviously like me, i wish i could get that into my head.
now, of course, i've got nothing to do. i think i shall burn some cd's.
i do feel different though; like a grown-up.
which i like.
and i hate.
Friday, December 14
it's almost over- final exams are officially over as of 30 minutes ago - i walk across that little stage in the gymnasium and receive my pretend diploma tomorrow. oh me, oh my, my god it's amazing. and terrifying!
AND BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND DESERVED AND JUST!
I COULD KISS EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!
Thursday, December 13
it's funny how sometimes you (actually, me) can be so swept up in something (specifically, blogging) that you start to look forward to it all the time and find yourself thinking about other bloggers all the time and wondering what they are doing, reading, eating, listening to, who they are fucking, etc. etc. etc.
my question is: why?
could it be that other people's lives were far more interesting and exciting than mine? yes. do i marvel at stories about home renovations and repairs because i wish i had a nice big "fixer upper" of my own? yes. do i wish i knew some actual internet and entertainment celebrities well enough to call them? yes. do i enjoy reading about somebody's porno obsessions, or their cruddy jobs, or their goofy boyfriends, or their most-wanted cd lists, or their weight-room routines, or their failed dates? yes. yes. yes. hell, i'll even read somebody's relentlessly whiny and self-loathing weblog just because i'm wondering just how low into self-pity he can sink. and how low could i sink?
it also became so important for me to post. everyday. sometimes twice a day. and usually something long and somewhat entertaining. in the matter of a few short months i was addicted, to the point that i blew off other responsibilites and deadlines so that i could surf the internet for hours at a time. which is not like me. the internet was always like a giant reference book for me, mostly about music history and trivia. but suddenly i was looking for funny links, or silly websites, or freaky netizens. well, it had to stop.
i took some time off and focused on my schoolwork, which would make sense, as i graduate soon and don't have all my work completed yet. duh. it's funny, because this sort of noodling around got me in trouble the first go-round in college. it was always more important to watch t.v. or go to the movies or pick someone up in the business building bathroom or go looking at cd's or take drugs or get drunk or whatever... and so i flunked out miserably. i just didn't have my priorities straight, and it showed in my schoolwork, and most tellingly, my mental health. it started a cycle of self loathing: don't do the work, be deemed irresponsible, find some time-wasting activity, pretend everything is fine, be assigned the work, be so behind in the work that it's depressing, don't do the new work, be deemed irresponsible, etc. etc. etc. self-sabotage became a habit, and a standard of living, so i didn't know anything else but it. and i floated in limbo for years, trying to figure out what to do, who i wanted to be. hibernating. hiding. etc.
well, i'm back at it this semester, and i'm not sure why. not graduating from college was always who i was, you know? i was the drop-out, the flunky, the dumb-ass that couldn't focus his attention on anything long enough to complete it. my failure defined me, or at least i let it. there is a strong self-punishing streak that runs through me and my family, and it manifests itself in various ways: failed marriages, addiction problems, obesity, anti-social behavior, isolatedness, etc. etc.
so, here i am on the cusp of greatness and this is what i've done:
1. left a paper not done from last year, and have earned an incomplete grade. meaning: must retake class if teacher does not give me at least a "d." 6 months overdue.
2. did not get some vital paperwork submitted on time, so 2 classes are in dispute from my previous college.
3. $126.00 in overdue library fines.
4. have not turned in my thesis paper, which was due last month. i have until january 2.
among other things.
now, all of these things could have been quickly and easily fixed, right? just do the work. just meet the deadline. but as is my way these past few months, i dropped the ball. part of it was being submerged back into the theater, being called on to commit 7 or 8 hours a day to a play in addition to my work and school- i don't know how i managed to walk so blindly into this, i knew the warning signs. and when i skipped class to watch "judge judy" i should have known where i was heading. and so here it is, 2 days before i walk across the stage in front of my family and friends and i've got all these issues up in the air. and i did this. i should, and i do, know better.
so, blogging became a crutch. and i was busy putting out fires. and so i took the week off from brucehoax. oh sure, i still stopped in and looked around and said hello to a few of you, but it was liberating not to be posting. and besides, my life is so stressful right now it would just be a long scary rant, and solve nothing. although sometimes a long scary rant is cathartic, and freeing, and just what you need to focus yourself. honey, you took the words right out of my mouth. do i want safe and secure bill-paying normalcy, or do i want chaotic bohemia? ugh, who knows?
well. at any rate, i am back. i missed you guys, i really did. but i prioritized and had to go do the right thing: ass-kissing, begging, pleading, flattering, humbling.
it's funny though, while i was away from blogging i felt like i was cheating on a spouse.
Friday, December 7
Wednesday, December 5
a fine idea from david's site, originally from troubled diva:
a chronological list of musical obsessions!
i'll start at age 8 and work my way up to now:
the supremes, the beatles, sly and the family stone, blondie, donna summer, queen, devo, david bowie, prince, soft cell, human league, duran duran, the cure, kate bush, pet shop boys, prince again, the pixies, the breeders, k.d. lang, e.l.o. (no comment), pet shop boys again, prince yet again, marc almond, joni mitchell, marianne faithfull, basement jaxx(?)
now, there are tons of people who did not make this list that i bought all their stuff; the people i listed above either:
a) influenced my own music writing and synth playing in enormous ways
b) were odd or interesting at a time when the radio sucked
c) gave me little clues and hints about being gay
d) fed into my adolescent need to be "other"
so there you have it. can you tell which was which and who did what?
Tuesday, December 4
HA HA HA!
my husband, who has been working out now for about 2 months, just tonight discovered he has veins popping out on his forearms (which are not hairy, thank you very much). so i am admiring them/revolted by them and suddenly we both start screaming because he lifts his sleeve and we discover that the veins are sticking up over his bicep too. which is freaky on him, and makes me a little woozy. because inside there, so close to the surface now, is all that pumping blood. ugh, i'm queasy just thinking about it.
of course, it's neat-o that he is turning all lou ferrigno and everything, but we hadn't thought about the vein aspect. which freaks me out for some reason.
Monday, December 3
maybe because i am so sad about the direction prince has taken with his new jehovah's witness album, i've been furtively burning my own prince music to listen to: only i'm not compiling songs with prince actually singing on them, but songs he wrote for other artists. oh, sure, i could put sinead's "nothing compares 2 u" on a cdr, but why, when i have the original version as done by "the family" in 1985? you know wendy, of wendy and lisa, right? well, wendy has a twin sister named susannah, who for a long time was prince's girlfriend (and about whom he wrote some of his greatest songs) back in his '84-'87 revolution hey-day. oh, and for all you madonna queens out there (hi keith!), susannah co-wrote "candy perfume girl" on "ray of light."
i have been burning cd's like a crazy man, like an insane crazy man, and they are princerific! lots of protege work: rare extended versions from sheila e.'s second and third albums (haven't heard of them? pity. because the former has "love bizzare" on it, and the latter had an r&b #1 with "hold me"). oh, of course there are the usual rare b-sides, too. remember, i've been hunting mp3's via napster (in ye olde days), limewire, and audiogalaxy for what feels like a million years. so i've got some real hard to find things, stuff that's geared a little more towards the prince completist. which would explain the gasp of joy i uttered over finding the time's "the bird" extended. or the vinyl-only b-sides of his jazzy spin-off group, madhouse; or the remixes and 7" edits of his one-time gal pal jill jones, vanity 6, apollonia, etc. etc. etc.
you get the picture.
i've got most everything by other artists on mp3 now. hundreds of files. and as most of this stuff will never be released on cd, it is my duty and prerogative to remaster and clean them up and burn them for my own enjoyment. so andre cymone's "dance electric" has added highs and punchier bass. or patti labelle's "yo mister," or kid creole's "the sex of it," or the three o'clock's "neon telephone" have all been e.q.'d and mixed and exported as .wav files. what will i do with all of this? who knows. i'm a little over half-way through with the protege and "songs written for others" (i.e. "sugar walls" for sheena easton, which are her vocals over his instrumentation); and i've burned 5 cdr's so far. so i have some more to go.
of course, part of the fun of doing this is discovering some of the more dubious artists that have done songs by prince, like "you're my love" as done by kenny rogers (!) and "with this tear" as done by celine dion. or how about "tip o' my tongue," courtesy of el debarge (!!!) or earth, wind, and fire's take on "superhero," or country artist debbie allen's try at a crossover with "telepathy" in 1987? such gems, such treasures! all of them!
although you haven't lived until you have heard japanese pop star kahoru kohiruimaki sputter her way through 1989's "bliss," and yes, she sings it as "bris." which, if you are jewish, or are up on your jewish custom, will either make you giggle like a 7th grader, or make you clutch your penis protectively.
ah, go ahead and clutch your penis regardless. i am. right now. really.
(all of this, by the way, is meant to keep my mind off of graduating, and not having a job, or money, or prospects.)
forget the penis, now i'm clutching my stomach. i don't feel so well.
now i'm worried.
DON'T I HAVE THAT MICA PARIS "IF I LOVE U 2 NITE" AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE?