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April 4, 1997, Friday

Now I sigh: the child is not happy, she wants her mommy near, frosted complete breakfast, for this she sheds a tear.

Bust a move to the Liz Phair gossip.

I deposited my latest paycheck in my bank account. We'll see how that goes.

Last night I managed to overwrite my Big Fun Glossary index.shtml page with my Nike® Conspiracy index.shtml page. Today I restored it from an older copy on my portable hard drive using a Mac in Olssen Hall (in the Engineering School at UVA). The hard drive apparently had a SCSI ID conflict with the CD ROM drives on the Macs in Cocke Hall, because it didn't work there. I'm really bad about keeping up-to-date backups. Anyone who finds this paragraph interesting should probably eat some transcendental pudding and join the Heaven's Gate cult members up the ass of Comet Hale-Bopp. GEEK OUT! Doo doodle doot doot doodle doot doot doot dee doot doot. GEEK OUT! Doo doodle doot doot doodle doot doot doot dee doot doot.

Today it is almost hot. The wind is blowing around fat humid air while big raunchy clouds cover most of the sky. It's Friday and something is stirring in the loins of all the creatures of the fields and sidewalks. People are in love with the idea of love. It's intoxicating.

Things are going to get crazy today. My mother is coming to visit me. I have a feeling Jessika is coming to town. She hasn't told me directly, but she's dropped some unsubtle hints in the email she's sent. Two separate contingents of goths will try to find me and make me drink alcohol. Meanwhile, the Dynashack scene will no doubt be interesting. Downtown, the first Friday-of-the-month art-opening-madness will take place. Will I survive? See you tommorrow if I do.

Man, some strange things happened this evening. And yes, I will tell you what these things were.

I went to Main Street Guitar and Drum and bought some new strings for my guitar. It's about time. The three remaining on my Stinger (a 1987 Christmas present from Hoagie) all sound like flaccid rubber bands. Further west down Main Street, I bought yet another used CD at Plan 9, Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville, for $8. Just the other day I'd been thinking I should get that particular CD should it ever turn up used. By getting that CD, I am presented with the opportunity to tell you an amusing story.

When I was attending Oberlin College in the late 80s, Liz Phair was also a student there. I didn't know her at the time, she was nobody then. The story is that she was an art major and was big into making grotesque drawings. Nobody knew that she occasionally squirrled herself away with her 4-track and made demo tapes.

Liz lived in Blue House, a well-apportioned off-campus house south of the center of campus on Professor Street. The people living there had a reputation for being wealthy, trendy, and somewhat uptight. They were famous for their parties. I recall staggering home from a few of these myself.

I never knew Liz Phair myself, but my friend Alex Guldbeck did. One night Alex found himself kissing Liz in her room at a Blue House party. Suddenly, she stopped, got up, and left the room. When she returned, she flung a condom on the bed. Alex was so amazed, he didn't know what to do. He fled into the night. After Liz became a famous rock star she referred to this incident in some magazine interview she gave. Alex told me this story some years after it happened. He wished he'd fucked her. It was, after all, his closest brush with the famous. Now Alex has a website.

I've always liked Liz's voice. Her distinctive "reluctant warble" has a non-Western quality that flavours her songs perfectly. Her music is singer/songwriter, true, and normally I hate female singer/songwriters. But the sparseness of the genré is perfect for her honest disappointments and straightforward sexual/political assessments. She's bitter and she's pissed, and men are nothing but big penises, yet still she keeps coming back for more punishment. Occasionally, there is a Rolling Stones influence that I am willing to overlook. But mostly it's unpretentious, stark, moody, and subtly experimental.

She carried an enormous bottle of Jim Beam. The kind with the handle.
I was hanging out on the Dynashack porch drinking vodka straight and chatting with Elizabeth and Penley when my mother drove up. She carried an enormous bottle of Jim Beam. The kind with the handle. At about this time Bn came strolling down Wertland from Main Street Guitar and Drum (where he hangs out; he did their website you know).

I'm not done with the cast and crew of the evening by any means. Soon Monster Boy, who is freshly back from Williamsburg, came rolling up in his car. It wasn't his Monstermobile, which is a maroon Camaro. He said he's tired of his old Camaro and all its problems (crappy suspension, lousey fuel efficiency). So he traded cars with some female friend and now he has a white Plymouth Reliant. He's already performed the ceremony of making it his; transferring the Skinny Puppy sticker to the Reliant's rear window. The Reliant at one time had sported the following stickers: a Jimi Hendrix, two Grateful Deads (including those godawful dancing bears), and a Janis Joplin. The only sticker remaining from its period of hippie servitude is a crescent moon smoking a hooter. Monster Boy thinks the moon is sufficiently gothic for its new life in his stewardship.

In addition to Monster Boy, the Reliant carried Cecelia the Brazilian Girl, Karen the German Girl, and the boy Jesse. We soon set to the task of lowering the level in the massive bottle of bourbon. Then we set off in cars for the Downtown Mall. The first-Friday-of-the-month Art Opening madness was about to begin.

My mother also had a bottle of vino for the Downtown Artspace. I like Jenfariello okay still, but she wasn't being especially friendly to me. I'm sure we can get along if I stop busting on her in the musings. She's got a good thing going with the Artspace and I really do want to be on her side.

I snuck off alone and went to Gallery Neo. The art there was colourful abstract watercolours methinks. I even talked to the artist, a sharp young man. The alcohol ran out early there.

The Higher Grounds "branch" across from Millers was having an opening of the works of Jerry O'Dell (I think that's his last name). Back in my days at bozART, his works used to consist mainly of colourfully painted furniture and clocks. At the time some of the members derided such works as being "decoration" or "craft" and not art. Perhaps they were right. bozART certainly had enough endless meetings on the subject. Even I agreed with this sentiment to an extent. Now Jerry works mainly on painting wall hangings (tapestries of sorts). They have a wonderful tribal abstract quality. I think he's matured a lot as an artist. His works were the best collection of all the openings I attended. The trait that makes Jerry a powerful artistic force is his manic energy. He is extremely productive.

At the Downtown Artspace I particularly enjoyed a series of works done in the Japanese style. I love the attention paid in such works to the abstract shapes on the surface. After Monster Boy got me and some friends stoned in the back hallway, I was especially tuned in to this aspect of Japanesque.

David Sickman's little daughter, Cassidy, had her own display on one wall of the Artspace. I enjoyed her stuff a great deal. The composition and symbolism was wonderful. It was like reading a transcript of her thoughts: what art is supposed to be.

My mother sat on a couch and had long conversations with a large variety of people, including Jenfariello, her housemate Ami (aka Sage; I've decided that I like her a lot), and a scruffy guy I decided to warn her about. I chatted with a wide variety of people myslf as I drank glass after glass of vino.

The girl Erin who I read poetry with last month was there, and I suggested that we read something. She wasn't into it, but she gave me encouragement. So I went and found a magazine and flipped it randomly to a page and decided to read some particularly dry paragraph about trade with Singapore. Jenfariello was not into the idea, but I somehow managed to convince her to let me read it. So I hushed everyone and started reading, using drunken poetic inflections and dramatic posturing. It was ridiculous. It apparently wasn't much to watch, because I really cleared out the artspace. Jen looked at me in disgust.

Today she had lots of random objects laid out like tarot cards on the bricks in front of her.
I took the magazine with me to the Downtown Mall, where the youth of today clustered in little sociological contingents: a group of goths by the fountains, some punks by the telephones, some hippies in a circle on the ground. I saw one of the punk kids run up and smack one of the goths, sending his glasses skittering across the bricks while the punks laughed. I felt really sorry for the goth to have suffered such a humiliation. I went over to the hippies because I know their "leader," Fatima Durkee, a gazelle of a teenage girl given to practicing bizarre little rituals. Today she had lots of random objects laid out like tarot cards on the bricks in front of her. I have no idea what she was doing, but I was enchanted by her creativity. Of course though I wanted to outdo her. I barged into the circle and proclaimed that I would now read an advertisment from the magazine in my hands. I then gave a dramatic oration of an advertisement for some kind of airplane equipment. The hippies got a surreal kick out of that, commenting as though I had done something great. I rose to my feet and returned to the Downtown Artspace.

It was a non-physical symbolic meeting of essence that could stand comfortably in the place of everything else that people want from romance.
A couple of girls and a boy from James Madison University were milling around in front. They were sort of punk rock from the looks of things. One of these girls, "Christine," sort of wordlessly decided she liked me for whatever reason. I really don't know how to explain this, because that's just how it was. There was nothing notably human about her behaviour, though by saying this I am not saying she lacked grace or subtlety. The forces involved are very old and practiced. And very straight forward. Spring seems to be bringing this out in birches, birds and bees alike. She was attractive, the winds were warm, and it just seemed how things should be. At some point she tugged me down the stairs into the Artspace past my mother, informing her she was in love with me "at first sight." I was a sucker for such flattery and she was a source of fascination the rest of the evening, though she was only occasionally in my company. What I'm trying and perhaps failing to describe here probably took place entirely in an instant. It was a non-physical symbolic meeting of essence that could stand comfortably in the place of everything else that people want from romance. She gave me all her information, including a phone number and an email address, saying I could come visit her any time.

Dave Sickman (Jessika's musician friend from Bellmont and the former husband of Jamie Dyer's fiancé) is the singer/guitarist for a band called Ninth now. The Ninth took forever to set up their instruments in the Artspace, but once they got to playing, they were wonderful. They play a sort of jangly white boy "alternative" rock and roll. In this genré absolutely no blues influence is detectable whatsoever. I'm a sucker for that sort of music, and I even danced a little to it. My mother thought it was great too. She was really enjoying herself.

My mother and I walked all the way back to the Dynashack. That's about a mile. I was extremely drunk by this point. She's my mom, you know, and I didn't really want to hang with her any more. So I suggested that she go take a bath or something (she loves baths but can never take one at her home, due to a perpetual water shortage). I poured myself a glass of Jim Beam and headed on foot west down Wertland. She found such casual manifestations of decadence both alarming and entertaining.

Legend has it that my mother said she rather liked the smell, but when she was offered some, she turned it down.
I found Theresa and Persad at Goth Central and brought them back to the Dynashack so they could help me with the Jim Beam. At about this time I went into blackout, and then passed out. While I slept on the couch, the others socialized around me. Who showed up? Let's see; Bn was there, so was Karen the German Girl and Theresa's sister Angela. My mother, Hoagie, was done with her bath by this point and she was hanging out too. Of course Monster Boy was there. Maybe Cecelia the Brazilian Girl was there too. But not Leticia; she is visiting friends or relatives in New York. They were all passing the bowl around and smoking lots of pot. The air soon filled with its gentle illegal fragrance. Legend has it that my mother said she rather liked the smell, but when she was offered some, she turned it down. She tempered this by saying she might try it once before she dies.

Angela is good friends with Ana, Raphæl's girlfriend. Because of this loyalty, she has a strong dislike for Karen the German Girl. This is the result of the torrid affair between Karen and Raphæl near the end of Ana's pregnancy last year. The fact that the blame for that old scandal should perhaps rest more squarely on the shoulders of Raphæl gave Karen little cover. As drunk as Angela was by this point, she was in glorious Melrose Place form. She loudly denounced Karen and told her that she hated her. Karen started crying and went out onto the porch. My mother was stunned into empathy. No one is ever so honest and cruel on the planet she calls home.

As I stumbled through the Dynashack living room, the vision of my sixty year old mother, magnificent with her long white hair and hanging out comfortably with my friends, was like a scene from a dream.
Some of the others departed. Bn went off to do his graveyard shift at Comet and took Karen and perhaps Cecelia with him. Angela kept trying to wake me up where I lay on the couch. When I finally opened both my eyes she took me off to my room to tuck my drunken corpse into bed. As I stumbled through the Dynashack living room, the vision of my sixty year old mother, magnificent with her long white hair and hanging out comfortably with my friends, was like a scene from a dream. She joked that she'd smoked marijuana and I believed her.

Monster Boy, Angela and I lay around on my bed and occasionally sipped yet more Jim Beam. Angela was gloriously wasted, loudly saying such nonsense words as "Chickenmonkey!" and making interesting suggestions. Theresa came carreening through the room (which was totally dark) and made a few things fall to the floor. Refreshingly, our recent lectures had apparently sunk in; she wasn't behaving violently at all, even though she had lost almost all vestiges of her coordination.

Time passed, we chatted on and on about all sorts of little things. Angela kept expressing paranoia that perhaps she was acting inappropriate or that she has halatosis. But her behaviour, though perhaps relaxed by alcohol, was well within social convention. And her breath was fine. While in blackout, people cannot form long-term memories. As a result, they have to have things explained to them repeatedly. They keep forgetting. Just how many times Monster Boy and I reassured Angela that she does NOT have bad breath I cannot say.

Monster Boy and I were not nearly as drunk as Angela at this point. He told me the specifics of how I'd fucked up the facts in my "goth gossip" musings entry. The Aaron he'd been talking about that night was not Angela's boyfriend, but the much less worthy Aaron the SHARP. I'd totally screwed the facts up, and uploaded it for all the world to see. I'm terribly embarrassed. That's what I get for thinking I have an amazing bit of gossip. It's really kind of funny. But yes:

I am an idiot.  I proclaim this loudly!

[Just so you know: I've left all that embarassing misinformation online as a monument to my limitations as a journalist. I did, however, set the the misinforming paragraph text colour to white and the text face to wingdings, which looks like heiroglyphics. People who really want to can still read the source if they want to know what crap I'm saying.]

While we giggled and babbled on my bed, my mother tried to sleep on a pad on the floor. She'd seen precisely how weird my little world really is. I felt satisfied.

Monster Boy saw to it that Angela made it home safely (she did however fall into the gravel and cut her knees). He slept on the Dynashack couch.

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