Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Full Disclosure: I'm Stanley III

StanleyDad tells me that StanleyGrandpa googled his name recently, without the suffix that distinguishes his name from mine or StanleyDad's. He was livid. (Of course, comparatively, he's also livid when the Bears fumble, when it snows, when it's hot, when the pizza's not well-done enough, and, well, probably right now, too.)

"LittleStan [as I'm called] is famous!!!! There's tons about him!!!" he told StanleyDad [a.k.a. "Junior"]. "There's nothing about me, even though I brought all this about!!!"

It reminded me of this post by teofilo, and I wish I could do justice to my grandfather the way teo spoke so eloquently about his dad. Alas, I simply don't know that much. StanleyGrandpa ["Senior" in the parlance of the family] is a tight-lipped dude. And I don't talk to the grandma all too often either. What I can tell you:

  • Senior was a mailman in Southside Chicago in the 40s and 50s.
  • He delivered mail to the home of my grandmother ["Marie" we shall call her] several times a week.
  • Marie watched out the window for Senior and would often meet him to get the mail, and to enjoy a brief respite from a depressing life of raising her younger siblings while her parents filled their emptiness at the local pub.
  • When Marie was 16, she and Senior eloped, running away to Canada for awhile.
  • Marie and Senior are still married, and they happily eke out a living on Chicago's Southside; she cleans houses once or twice a week; he works at a hardware store, now semi-retired after working his way up to Postmaster.

I wish I could say more. I really should bust out that tape recorder and subject them to interviews, google-able or not.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Stock Personnel, Front Checkout

As Beth has pointed out, some of us have a certain proclivity for being mistaken for employees at retail and other service-sector establishments. This happens to my dad all the time, and I had assumed that I inherited some genetic predisposition or something. But when I walk out of the C&O, smelling of a day of floating in the river and drinking beer, and I'm wearing these shoes (yes, I know; Beth hates them, too), do you really have to banter me up about working the Pavillion with you tonight? I mean, I know staffing must be a problem there (shit, sound quality is), but seriously, dude, I did not see your friend with dreads walking by, nor did we work together tonight.

(Not to be a dick; I'm just saying: I really didn't look the part tonight.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Life's a Beach

Beth posts photos from the results of the beach preparations, detailed by Ryan below. Notable: the hot-coffee-in-my-lap incident (ow!), and the fact that she didn't post the photo of my then-in-need-of-grooming toenails (thanks, B!).

On balance, an unquestionable success. Tubing this Sunday everyone?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


From Beth: I spoke to Ryan's lovely gf
[Editor's note: Ryan's lovely gf is called 'Lady.']
(whose email address I don't have) this afternoon and we discussed the possibility of a weekend day trip to assuage my burning desire for a real live vacation and to make up for the South Carolina trip we had tenitively planned which is not to be.
[Ed. There was a South Caroline trip that was tenitively planned and is not to be.]
Stanley and I seem to think a trip a la Beth/Ryan/Stanley Beach Extravaganza of aught 5 is in order,
[Ed. I don't know what 'aught 5' means. And I'm the Editor.]
although Lady also mentioned the possiblility of heading somewhere closer to her mother who apparently also lives near the beach. So what say you too? I wanna go. I think we should keep it small with just us four.

From Stanley:
I most empathetically second the motion, and further move to contact Ryan via telephone, lest we wait till next week when he finally gets on these internets again.
[Ed. Ryan doesn't use the internet much. Subsequently, he doesn't read his email. Or, for that matter, blogs. This makes him unlike you.]

From Ryan: Ryan is in, but wishes to emphasize the importance that this day trip occurs within the relaxing confines of August, and not September, the slutbitch.

From Stanley: Well, I believe Beth is aiming for this Saturday, which meets your stipulated criteria. Are you free?

From Ryan: I would kinda rather not do it this Saturday, but I don't have a good reason. There's just a lot of shit, ifyouknowwhatimean. Is there another option?

From Lady: I'm game for anything, because I don't work, go to school, or have to move apartments at the moment. Ya'll should try it sometime. If not beach this weekend, perhaps beach the weekend of August 19th. If not beach that weekend, perhaps a fun day of tubing/not-being-within-20-miles-of-Charlottesville? Furthermore, I went to the dentist today, and I've never had someone torture my gums quite like that techy-lady did. And then she told me my gums are receding. I hate the dentist.
[Ed. I recently learned that one should brush in a light, circular pattern, as opposed to a quick, rough side-to-side motion. I also recently learned that when you brush and your gums bleed, this is not good. But then I ALSO remember hearing that when you floss and your gums bleed, it is, in the grander scheme of things, good. This is all very confusing.]

From Stanley: You will all be shocked to learn that I have to work on the 19th. And I need to go to the dentist. And my life is falling apart.

From Ryan: OK FINE WHATEVER. I see that nobody is seriously considering placating me. WTF? Let's go ahead and do it Saturday. I can't promise I'll be nice, but I will take up a seat in the car, and I can probably locate a Frisbee and some beer coozies.

[Is it really uncouth to use all caps on the internet? Is that just Instant Messenger? When you see all caps, do you think someone is screaming?]

From Ryan: If someone brought that paddle game with the ball that would be sweet.

From Stanley: That game blows. But maybe Beth or Lady have it.

From Beth: I like the drinkbeer game better personally. My main goal for Saturday is actually to move as little as possible, unless it is between the water and my towel, but then again, mucho beer means clouded judgment and quite possibly thinking something like the paddle/ball game is fun.
[The paddle/ball game is fun.]
but i dont own it. and likely will not purchase it. unless it is friday night and Stanley and i are out stocking up on supplies and he convinces me it's a good idea. but it sounds like he would not.
speaking of supplies. we will be stocking up. suggestions from the peanut gallery? thus far i think were bringing sammich supplies and beer.
[When I spellchecked 'sammich' I got 'Jamaica'.]
i, of course, will throw something sugary and delicious in there as well. what else?

From Lady: i have a football and some tennis balls, and i know where to get a rockin' $0.69 kite that takes 15 minutes to assemble and lasts for about 3 minutes after that. also, i can get a large cooler. i'm game for beer, for Ryan's recently bottled pinot tage (sp???),
[Lady spelling 'pinot tage' is massively incorrect.]
for some gatorade. i can bring whatever, just let me know. music? a small radio?
also, once the departure time has been set, let me know...i have to water my parents' 1,000 potted plants before we leave sat morn, so i need fair warning. ps i will also bring 5 lbs. of trashy, celebrity magazines. yeah!

From Stanley: I've got music covered (cd player with a small speaker, which is
iPod-compatible, too, for those who wish to bring one of them gadgets).

I leave all the balls to Lady, since Ryan has, apparently, none. *Swish*
I move for leaving seriously early (e.g., 6am). We can do it. I can drive
that early, and it'll be so worth it.

We have a big cooler, too. Perhaps we can do food in one and drinks in
another? This should all get assembled Friday (tomorrow) night.

Pre-beach meeting at our house? Or yours?

From Lady: 6 AM is hardcore, and i like it... i'm going to want/need/be scratching at the car ceiling for some coffee...
[As the Editor, I should mention that by no liberal stretching of the rules of the English language does that sentence work.]
can we stop somewhere? consequently, i will also have to pee 30 minutes later (45 minutes later if i'm too timid to ask Stanley to pull over)...hope that is okay. okay, i'll stop talking about my bladder.

From Beth: ok so 6am (ISH!) we meet tomorrow morning
what car?
we will stop soon thereafter for your coffee fix. likely at someplace that sells greasy breakfast sanwiches so i can have my long car ride fast food fix

From Stanley: Hardcore is how it's done, son. Plus, realistically, this builds in times for almost-certain delays. Coffee and urination will be inputted and outputted as meets the needs of the group. No need to be timid about either one. Anyone down for the great cooler stockfest this evening? We could go shopping together and get everything ready this evening to save time in the morning.


Saturday, August 19, 2006


I can't sleep.

I haven't been able to sleep for about two weeks or so.

I sleep sometimes, of course, and even for long stretches (last night = 12+ hours!). But in general, I've had trouble going to sleep at night.

That's why I'm up at 3am watching Yentl on one of our last-remaining cable movie channels.

I'd tell you all about musicals, feminism, Barbara Streisand, Judaism, subversiveness, etc., but I'm tired. You see: I just can't sleep.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bad Fences

Look, Neighbor Lady: I know you hate us. I assume it's 'cause we're young, and 'cause sometimes there are people on our porch being loud until 5am, and 'cause our grass is Teh Long. And I know that I'm sitting on the front porch, drinking a beer at 6pm on a Sunday, while Beth is toiling away with the lawnmower. But you don't have to give me a dirty look.

After all, I've just toiled away for three hours in the hot, hot sun, painstakingly installing speakers in Beth's car. (I know, I said I'd do this a year ago.) And sure, I only got to the driver-side door. But these are component speakers! They require extra work! And dremelling! And I had to find some place to hide the crossover under the door panel, which is harder than it sounds! (And I'll do the other one tomorrow, Beth—promise!)

So, Neighbor Lady: keep your hate and your dirty looks on your side of the fence. And then we can be friends. Deal?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Not Remotely Famous But Still

Dude, Q.Black and the Whoppaz got mentioned on pitchfork today yesterday, technically. See, it's right there, with the asterisk. How's about that?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's all chewing gum, see?

Last night I rehearsed with t(h)om and Gammy for The Big Jazz Gig coming up. As we discussed a certain song, t(h)om informed us that we could really "cut the chain," meaning, apparently, that we could let ourselves go a bit—you know, get a little crazy with the solos.

Now, it's no secret to me that t(h)om can come up with some crazy shit. But, "cut the chain"?! Do jazz people really say this? t(h)om insisted they do (or did, at some point).

A cursory search suggests t(h)om was actually coining a new phrase, rather than digging up an old one, which is perfectly fine and I applaud his sense of linguistic innovation. The search also turned up some gems that were also new to me. Some highlights:

bushwa: a euphemism for "bullshit"

Butt me.: I'll take a cigarette.

clams: mistakes while playing music

giggle water: booze

hide hitter: drummer

iron one's shoelaces: to go to the restroom

rusty gate: someone who can't play

supermurgitroid: really cool

tubs: set of drums

There are plenty more if you follow the links...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fightin' Words

Jonny Blaze stumbled a bit. His left foot was searching for the proper positioning on the bike pedal. He was drunk and insisting on riding home.

(See, Miguel and I urged him not to, but he was drunk and thus no longer encumbered by the burdens of "logic" and "reason" and "self-preservation." I mean, dude is callled Jonny Blaze after all.)

Up ahead, Jonny nears the first intersection, executing a new and interesting stopping technique called "Swerving Suddenly to the Right and Hitting the Curb." This little manoeuvre undoes all of Jonny's hard work (the part about getting on the bike in the first place), and now he's struggling to re-mount the brown beast.

Four passers-by witnessed Jonny's little spot of acrobatics, and one of them decides to share with us just how amusing he finds the situation (very amusing). He also shares his opinion that I have no personality, since I'm not making fun of Jonny. (I told him I would be making fun of him the next day, when he would be sober and liklier to remember me mocking him.)

As dude finally walked away, I was relieved the situation hadn't escalated...until Jonny decided to join the conversation: "Shut the fuck up!"

"What?! What'd you say?!"

The dude came hulking back as Jonny postured, having now almost successfully re-mounted the bike. "I said shut the fuck up," he explained, just in time for the dude to push Jonny—hard.

A dull thud as Jonny's head hits the curb. The bike crashes down on top of him. He's conscious but clearly disoriented. Fuck, I think, as dude cocks his head at me. "What the fuck are you looking at, Clown?" Miguel loops back around on his bike, stopping between me and dude: "Why don't you get the fuck out of here?" (He's brandishing a U-lock, and it looks like he's willing to use it. Holy fuck.)

Jonny starts to get up, and dude decides to offer a departing kick to the bike tire, knocking Jonny back to the curb. "Hey, man, leave him alone," I say, but he doesn't even hear me. Miguel has already swung the U-lock, clocking the guy right in the temple. He's on the ground before I even finish my sentence. And he's bleeding.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I look at Miguel. I look at Jonny. "We gotta go right now," I say.

Now we're a block away, and Jonny's demonstrating a newfound prowess on a bicycle, as we speed through downtown towards my house.

"Dude, we killed that guy."

"No we didn't."

"I mean, maybe."

"Whatever, he had it coming."

"Yeah, I don't take shit from anyone."

The next morning, I checked the news for reports of a dead hooligan. Nothing so far, but I keep checking. Dude looked fucked.

{Full disclosure: Some of the above may be true.}

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Something about plans and mice and men

I've been having trouble sleeping. Sometimes at night. Sometimes in the morning. Sometimes both. But my will to lie in bed is strong, so there I remain regardless.

Last night, after Johnny Blaze and Colem and Luisa left, I took to my lying. And I lay. And lay. And lay. And then---epiphany!

Now, on the front porch, I lay on my stomach, scrawling down a list of names. Yes! I would make a list! Of writers, whose works I wished I had read, but alack, I hadn't. The plan was taking shape.

The plan is to e-mail a few select professors---still in town, conveniently---with this list, along with a request that they help me sort through thorny questions and ideas and other works I should check out, etc. (It's a syllabus of sorts, for the post-undergrad me.) I'll read and write (to the profs, to friends, to myself), and then, I'll apply to grad schools with a more-solid footing.

See? Genius! I'm smart still. Says so right up there.

Bonus points: when you stay up late drinking Puh-BeeR and scratching at pieces of paper, you wake up too late to go to the gym, and avoid this sort of wankery. If only the roomie would take a few lessons from me . . .