My 2007 in Music


Infinity on High, Fall Out Boy
Sounds like: Giddy, catchy post-punk boy pop
Best Tracks: “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” “I’m Like a Lawyer with the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off,” “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am?” “The (After) Life of the Party”
Representative Lyrics: “We’re the new face of failure / prettier and younger / but not any better off” (“I’m Like a Lawyer…”)
Notes: On their newest album, FOB finally found a balance to their blend of smarmily punning lyrics and deft guitar hooks. What truly makes or breaks a band, though, is percussion, and FOB displays such a range of beats and crashes on this album, that aspect alone elevates it above the majority of pop music in the world today.


My December, Kelly Clarkson
Sounds like: “This time, it’s personal”
Best Tracks: “Maybe,” “Never Again,” “Hole,” “Irvine, “Don’t Waste Your Time”
Representative Lyrics: “Someday when we’re at the same place / when we’re on the same road / when it’s okay to hold my hand / without feeling lost / without all the excuses / when it’s just because you love me, you let me, you need me, then maybe / maybe.” (“Maybe”)
Notes: A lot of people have dismissed this album because it’s dissonant, seems unpolished and well, sort of sophomoric. It took some listens to get into, but Kelly’s break-up album, for me, is among some of the best ever recorded. It has texture, ranging from danceable anger (“Never Again”) to wistful longing (“Maybe”) to a disarmingly tender meditation on where’s-he-now (“Irvine”), balanced out by the Southern Rock influences of the syncopated and brilliant “Hole,” plus fantastic bonus tracks “Dirty Little Secret” and “Not Today.”

Good Morning Revival, Good Charlotte
Sounds like: The kids in auto shop put down their guitars and got a drum machine
Best Tracks: “Where Would We Be Now?” “Dance Floor Anthem,” “Victims of Love,” “Beautiful Place,” “The River”
Representative Lyrics: “Where would we be now baby / if we’d found each other first / if I’d said those simple words / ‘I’ll wait, I’ll wait / As long as it takes.’” (“Where Would We Be Now?”)
Notes: The second break-up album on the list is dominated by lead singer Joel Madden’s newfound fascination with R&B and hip hop rhythms and rhymes, generally set to Good Charlotte’s characteristically dark and introspective lyrics and snarling guitars. The diversity is good for them, I think, and like FOB, this effort transcends their smark alecky lyrics and too-easy metaphors. The metaphors are still too easy, but now you can dance to them, or feel sorry for yourself.

Futuresex/Lovesounds, Justin Timberlake
Sounds like: Justin Timberlake and Timbaland had a baby and it wants to kiss you on your privates!
Best Tracks: “Lovestoned/I Think She Knows,” “SexyBack,” “Futuresex/Lovesound,” “What Goes Around…”
Representative Lyrics: “Those flashing lights come from every where / The way they hit it, I just stop and stare / She’s got me lovestoned / I think I’m lovestoned / She’s got me lovestoned / I think that she knows” (“Lovestoned…”)
Notes: For his second solo disc, Justin did exactly what nobody thought he could: an R&B concept album. It’s a bold move, avoiding crafting strong singles in favor of creating a lush electronic landscape that varies from the PG-13 (“Lovestoned”) to the R “(SexyBack”). This album has a surprisingly strong flow from track to track and the tracks work best when heard in order, from start to finish, although fun standouts like “SexyBack” still stand on their own. And since we’re always dissing Britney, there’s the latest “Cry Me a River,” here called “What Goes Around Comes Around.”

The Best Damn Thing, Avril Lavigne
Sounds like: Avril’s got a guitar, a bottle of lemoncello, and a thirst for trouble
Best Tracks: “Girlfriend,” “Runaway,” “One of Those Girls,” “I Will Be,” “Hot”
Representative Lyrics: “I wanna drive you into the corner / and kiss you without a sound / I wanna stay this way forever / I’ll say it loud / Now you’re in / you can’t get out / you make me so hot” (“Hot”)
Avril shrugs off the concern for social issues that peppered “Under My Skin” in favor of mindless faux-punk rock that does, well, pretty much what you’d expect. While this album is less complex lyrically, it’s a fun listen, balancing songs inspired by her marriage to the Sum 41 frontman with fuck-off break-up songs.

Dignity, Hilary Duff
Sounds like: Madonna, if she still went to church and never got naughty
Best Tracks: “With Love,” “Dignity,” “Stranger,” “Happy,” “Danger,” “Burned”
Representative Lyrics: “There’s no kindness in your eyes / The way you look at me it’s just not right / but I can tell what’s going on this time / there’s a stranger in my life” (“Stranger”)
Notes: Is my gay showing? Um, I think so. What happens when two radically disparate musicians break up? Well, you get the Good Charlotte album, and you get Hilary’s offering, a pointed song-by-song indictment of Joel Madden’s problems, including an especially poignant f-you to Nicole Ritchie (“Dignity”), who’s having Joel’s baby. Isn’t this tawdry? But yes, this slickly produced album of beats does a good job of maturing Hilary out of her Lizzie McGuire drag, but only barely.

Under the Blacklight, Rilo Kiley
Sounds like: Sarah McLachlan and Shania Twain made a baby in the late 60s
Best Tracks: “Silver Lining,” “Close Call,” “Breakin’ Up,” “Under the Blacklight,” “Smoke Detector,” “15”
Representative lyrics: “It’s not as if New York City burned down to the ground / once you drove away / It’s not as if the sun won’t shine when the clouds up above / wash the blues away” (“Breakin’ Up”)
Notes: I got this album just a few days ago, but I’m already obsessed with it. Fans of the late 80s Fred Savage film The Wizard will remember lead singer Jenny Lewis as the apple of his eye, but now she’s all grown up and her heart’s been broke—by a bandmate. Shades of Tragic Kingdom here, but the formula is all Rilo Kiley’s own—everything from 50s doo-wop, 60s psychedelia, and 70s disco influences pop up, echoing everything from the Beatles to Fleetwood Mac.

Too Young to Fight It, Young Love
Sounds like: The Strokes got a little gay
Best Tracks: “Discotech,” “Give Up,” “Closer to You,” “Find a New Way,” “Take It or Leave It,” “Underneath the Night Sky”
Representative Lyrics: “I wanna get closer to you / I’m on the outside looking in / Tell me our love is real / you know that I will understand” (“Closer to You”)
Notes: Young Love are sort of a pop anomaly. While their music is deadly catchy and hook-laden, they have an awkward depth lyrically and musically. I saw them in concert in Phoenix this year and they in explicably replicated the complex beats and guitar riffs in concert. It was sort of amazing to see. And the singer can sing in real life, too. Their album is also just really fun to listen to.

Drastic Fantastic, KT Tunstall
Sounds like: The Indigo Girls – Lesbianism + Ireland + 1950s American pop sensibility
Best Tracks: “Little Favours,” “If Only,” “Hold On,” “I Don’t Want You Now”
Representative Lyrics: “I slipped softly through your slim fingers / Feeling traces, I embrace this / Feeling of letting go / Oh and there goes, there it goes” (“Little Favours”)
Notes: I didn’t want to like this album. I didn’t even want to buy it. But I accidentally overheard it somewhere and then, well, I was hooked. I love on “If Only” how KT switches back and forth between major and minor chords as she sings a lyric; I love her crazy little guitar riffs and fun little beats. Her husky voice isn’t hard on the ears, either. I just like her. I didn’t want to, but I do.

The Black and White Album, The Hives
Sounds like: Sweden just got MTV, and the pop-punk revolution has begun!
Best Tracks: “Tick Tick Boom,” “Hey Little World,” “Won’t Be Long,” “T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.,” “Return the Favor”
Representative Lyrics: “I’ve done it before and I can do it some more / blah / it’s too late, it’s too soon / or is it tick tick tick tick tick tick tick boom!” (“Tick Tick Boom”)
Notes: There’s something about Sweden that encourages them to take American pop music conventions, coat them in sunshine and socialism, and send them back out into the world to spread a Scandinavian message of irreverence and happiness. Even though the Hives can sound a little raw, your mother would probably invite them in for some lemonade if they stopped over. Collectively, they look like the most unlikely group of musicians (by American standards), but they can rock out and have a good time.

On the Road to Nashville, Erasure
Sounds like: Rascal Flatts in a magenta feather boa
Best Tracks: “Alien,” “Breathe,” “Victim of Love,” “How Many Times?” “Chains of Love”
Representative lyrics: “Still you dare to change your mind / you’ll be sorry when it’s over / when you’ve had your taste of freedom / don’t come crying on my shoulder” (“Boy”)
Notes: This live album backs Andy Bell’s plaintive song stylings with a bona fide country sound, complete with slide guitar and twang guitar, and back up girls moaning their sad ooohs and aaahs. It’s actually a gorgeous album, ranging from bluegrass revisions (“Blue Savannah”) to tender and hushed heartbreakers (“Spiralling”). If you ever thought Erasure was fun but lacked depth, this is the album that will change your mind.

Blackout, Britney Spears
Sounds like: Britney Spears with a long island in one hand and her crotch in the other
Best Tracks: “Gimme More,” “Break the Ice,” “Piece of Me,” “Get Naked (I Got a Plan),” “Everybody”
Representative Lyrics: “You got me hypnotized / I never felt this way / You got my heart beating / Like an 808” (“Break the Ice”)
Notes: Come on, you knew she was going to be on here. Probably for the wrong reason, because her album, while still fairly mediocre by music standards, was lightyears above what anyone expected. With a sound she culled from digging through Timbaland’s trash can (and working with one of his protégés), the songs vary from sexually danceable (horizontally or vertically) to oddly introspective. “Piece of Me” seems to imply that Britney knows exactly what she’s doing and how the world works, but then again, she didn’t even write that song.

Alright, Still, Lily Allen
Sounds like: imagine Madonna at age 17, drunk and slightly stoned in London, with a big fat chip on her shoulder. So, you know, younger.
Best Tracks: “LDN,” “Smile,” “Knock ‘Em Out,” “Take What You Take”
Representative Lyrics: “There was a little old lady who was walking down the road / She was struggling with bags from Tesco / There were people from the city having lunch in the park / I believe that is called ‘al fresco’” (“LDN”)
Notes: Lily makes the list because her album is fun and sassy, even if some of the songs aren’t even pop-album worthy, but there is enough here to enjoy. The creepy muppet person from the “Alfie” video shows that Allen has her tongue firmly in her cheek when it comes to her music career, and her smarmy lyrics and vocal posturings are both entertaining and often titillating.

From the Screen to Your Stereo II, New Found Glory
Sounds like: the setlist for the cover band I’m about to start
Best Tracks: “The Promise,” “King of Wishful Thinking,” “Stay (I Missed You),” “Crazy for You,” “Head Over Heels,” “Hungry Eyes”
Representative lyrics: “I’ve been meaning to tell you / I’ve got this feeling that won’t subside / I look at you and I fantasize / Darling tonight / Now I’ve got you in my sights / with these hungry eyes” (“Hungry Eyes”)
Notes: NFG found some online notoriety when they covered—and slammed—Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” on Pepsi Smash. Here they stick to songs made popular by films—everything from Pretty Woman to Romeo + Juliet to Dirty Dancing—and bring their snazzy poppy ska-rock sensibility to it. Bonus points for shaking the dust off “King of Wishful Thinking.”


Attack of the 50 Foot Phlegm Monster

I am now thwarted in my return to blogland by the sudden onset of a cold. Sniffles, aches, sneezing, general malaise—it's not good.

I guess my Christmas gift came early!


Oaxaca in Pictures

Some photos of my trip:

My desk in my little room.

Does your house have lions? What about the cutest, tiniest kittens you've ever seen?

Don't drink and sleigh ride.

Self-portrait with poinsettias: Oaxaca's Zócalo.

Adorable stray dog.

Radiohead is love...?

The Zapotec ruins at Monte Alban, above the city.

Our group at Monte Alban.

In this picture I am actually very dizzy and lightheaded on account of the high altitude.

Close up of some stairs at Monte Alban.

Who's that rock star?

Finally, the backyard.


Charlie's Back

Okay, I'll spill about Mexico in a little bit, but first: good news!

I just got a $2,000 grant from Arizona State University's Entrepreneurial Initiatives area in support of LOCUSPOINT!

I'm not sure what this means for the magazine yet, but I'm hoping to have a good plan developed by the beginning of the year...

Advice and ideas welcome.


Hola, Vaya Con Dios

Thanks for listening to my deertastic rants, my gushing over reality TV. I'd say it's been real, but what does "real" even mean anymore? Edited to fit a half-hour? Snipped to the size of Tila Tequila?

I hope I've been mildly entertaining while your real hostess-with-the-mostess has been away. If I haven't -- well, you can celebrate Charlie's return with me. We can all raise our dirty martinis to welcome him back together. Here, I'll make the first toast:

To the guy who got me into Veronica Mars, who helped me up when I fell on the dirtiest street in Austin, who writes awesome poems and has the Buffiest blog around: here's to you, Charlie.

Now, what did you bring me from Mexico???

Please let it be a pony.


Bad Guest Blogger (And Beautiful Thing)

Sorry everyone. I've been a bad guest blogger -- my lack of posts belies only a crazy end-of-semesterness, and some terrible weather hasn't helped.

But tonight, my friends Julie and Angie made the trek from where they teach in Barnesville, OH and we watched this faaaabulous movie:

Beautiful Thing (1996) follows the story of two London boys, Jamie and Ste, as they fall in love and struggle to come out to themselves, their families, and their communities. It's as much about the difficulties of class as it is about sexuality.

As touching and emotional as the movie is, it's also rife with some of the wittiest lines in contemporary cinema. Like:

Leah: It's your bird. She talks to me like I've got "cunt" written on me forehead.
Tony: You shouldn't use words like "bird".


Leah: Don't suppose you've got any jobs in your new pub?
Sandra: No. But if I ever do turn it into a brothel I'll get back to you, ok?

I guess I really adore the character of Leah, a high school dropout who tries to become Mama Cass. She lives with her mother in one apartment, adjacent to Jamie. And Jamie lives next door to Ste (short for Steven). When Steven's dad and brother beat the living crap out of him, he starts sleeping over at Jamie's.

And I think you can get the rest of the story from this film still, taken from the scene where Jamie massages peppermint foot lotion into Ste's bruised and battered back.

There's such tenderness and maturity between the two boys: they're the only ones in the film who have a stable relationship, and the screenplay makes of them a kind of model for their community. It's one of the most hilarious, empowering, moving films.

And its soundtrack is almost entirely culled from the songbooks of the Mamas and the Papas. I can't think of another movie this well-done on our side of the pond.... Anyone else?


Triumph and Tragedy (ANTM Spoilers ahead)

I have one thing to ask you:

Do you wanna be on top?

I guess it's no shocker that I love America's Next Top Model. My boyfriend hates hates HATES that show, saying only that he can't stand to see women judged so shallowly.

"But they're metaphors," I say. I tell him I watch it for the transformation. He says "Uh huh," flatly, as if I've just told him I read Honcho for the motorcycles.

Anyway, Brandon's gone to Texas just now, so I threw myself a big ol' ANTM party: grilled quesadillas, homemade southwestern egg rolls, and a pitcher of margaritas. It's a wonder I can spell just now.

I don't think it was the alcohol that made me tear up when this girl won:

It's like she can fly, slay the evil minions, and sell a big-belted dress and some strappy sandals--all in one fell swoop.

After that, I watched Project Runway, a show which is like televangelism for gays. Tonight's episode began with a small tragedy: Jack quit the show to begin aggressive treatment for a MRSA infection. In. His. Nose.

I'll spare you the google-images.


In Dixie

There are two things you need to know before this story begins.

1. My father says rude and inappropriate things, often about my mother. He had a stroke a few years ago. Their relationship has been rocky (which is a little like saying that Lindsay Lohan likes to drink).

2. My boyfriend is African American.

This is a story about singing Dixie.

The scene: Outback Steakhouse, Houston, May 2006. I'm about to graduate from my doctoral program. My disabled father and my mother are in from Indiana. My 88-year-old grandmother, whom we call Crunk Betty, is in from Miami. Other friends from Connecticut and Colorado have made the trek.

What started it all: Someone said, "You're not just whistling Dixie."

Brandon turns to me and says, "Did I ever tell you about the time I was singing Dixie and my dad caught me?" I nod my head, and everyone turns toward him, listening.

"My dad heard me singing one day, 'Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,' and he got this awful look on his face. He said, 'Son, what are you singing!' And I said, 'Dixie, daddy.' And he said, 'Is that what they taught you in school today.' 'It sure was,' I said. And he wrote me a note to give to my teacher the next day. The teacher read it out loud to the class: 'My son will not be singing Dixie.'"

Everyone sort of laughs, amused at the idea of a miniature, but still resolute, Brandon and his revolt against his Texas teacher's racist leanings.

And then my dad starts talking. "I had a friend named Jim Webb."

My dad talks in sentences like this. They are whole paragraphs.

You don't know.

That they will connect to one another.

Until he's done.

And he wags his finger about, pointing in your face if he's talking to you. And he spits a little. And it breaks my heart. "Jim hated his wife," he says, pointing at Brandon.

"And so he took up with another woman, he got a mistress." Now he's pointing at my mother. "Oh, he was so happy after that."

Everyone's getting nervous now. The pink elephant in the room happens to be that my mother has had some pretty scandalous affairs. A doctor, her therapist, and the latest, some man I call Mr. Panties who lives in Jacksonville.

My dad continues his story. "Jim was seeing his mistress all the time, every day after work they'd hit the bar together."

"And her name was Dixie."

Here he looks up and down the table, surveying his audience, pausing in his pointing to fold his napkin into smaller and smaller triangles. The room is quiet when my father says, "And he'd always be singing that song, "Oh I wish I was in Dixie....."

My friend Chi choked on her filet. My brother Dustin picked up on my father's ellipsis and began talking over what can only be described as the stunned-loud silence. My mother looked crazy-embarrassed.

And my father, a few moments later, saw what he had done. And he laughed harder than I'd seen him laugh in years. He practically shattered the shocked but not-disapproving quiet. Laughing like a kid laughs, pleased at his disruption, at his power. Chortling and chewing his steak, the tears running down his gaunt face.

Until we all were laughing--even Crunk Betty, who hadn't heard the first whistled word of song.


Nothing Wrong with Being Career-Oriented

Raise your hand if you think The Golden Girls is timeless.

My boyfriend's favorite episode is the one where the girls are mistaken for hookers. It's the one where Rose details her "bitter butter memories," recounting the time she lost the "Butter Queen" title due to some malicious "churn-tampering."

The one where Blanche calls her cellmates "common gutter trash."

The one where Sofia refuses to bail out the others so she can see Burt Reynolds, who shows up in a guest spot.

The one where Dorothy, fending off a fight with an aggressive hooker upset by being called "gutter trash," says that she spent time in Attica. A men's prison. "I was there a year before they found out," she says, snarling.

The relevant clippage:

Which reminds me of a line Jeffrey Ross fired off at Jerry Stiller's Roast after a weird-ass performance by Sandra Bernhardt. He said, "I wouldn't fuck Sandra Bernhardt with Bea Arthur's dick."

Poor Bea. It's true.


Top Ten Reasons I Hate Pennsylvania in December

Think deer season.

1. Imagine, if you can, a (mostly) undereducated host of men in neon orange vests and camo. The outfits alone are enough to make me gag.

In case you need a visual. Oooh, he almost makes me want to go bear hunting. Grrr, honey.

2. Now, give them guns and tell them to shoot fer Bambi. They say "fer" up here.

3. Also, "y'ins," and "y'uns." That's plural for "I'm a jackass."

(I google-imaged "yins")

4. "Pennsylvania is just a state that gets in your way when you want to go somewhere." -- Jackie-O Pascal, Parker Posey's character in The House of Yes.

5. Deer entrails by the side of the road. I guess I'm lucky: at least I don't live near deer-gut dumping grounds.

6. Two weeks ago, a deer running for its life plowed into my car. It hit the front passenger side, forcing me into the oncoming lane. Thankfully (?) I drive to work on a rural road that connects West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and no one was driving east. The deer flipped up onto the hood and then deflected or bounced or maybe even piroutted off of my car. The deer was fine. My car's funeral is next week (followed, hopefully, by the resurrection).

The feeling of the impact: like a wrecking ball of muscle hit the side of my car and swung it effortlessly to the end of its path. Like being sucker-punched by the hand of God. I can still feel the animal's velocity in my body.

7. People keep saying, "Oh, you hit a deer." No, bitches. The deer hit me. Here's your orange vest.

8. The people at the collision center, who are fixing my car, keep saying, "Oh, it's a very common occurrence." The hell it is, I thought. But now, it seems everyone I tell has an aunt who once mowed down a buck on her John Deer tractor. The sighs at the end of the stories make me think that poor Aunt Shirley never was the same.

9. The guy who wanted to be excused from class so he could go deer hunting.

10. The guy who offered me deer steak for extra credit. When I said I don't eat red meat, he said, "It's not red meat, it's deer."

Lest you all think I'm a negative nelly, I'll say some nice things about PA, the birthplace of freedom: the snow delights me (I grew up in South Florida), the Andy Warhol museum rocks, Philadelphia doesn't suck, the confluence of rivers in Pittsburgh is beautiful, and the air near Hershey, PA is redolent of chocolate. There, now I'm a negative butch.

But don't get me started on West Virginia, babysitter precious. We could be here for hours.

Let's Talk About Sex

Come closer. Take off your pants.

I want to sew them.

Seriously, is anyone watching Project Runway? I mean, besides Sarah Jessica Parker, who only watched for herself anyway, and who had to make sure the gays still loved her after her turn as a throat-clogged homophobe in The Family Stone. The gays--we hate nothing more than a clogged goddamn throat. (Wait, do we? Oh, I'm getting a message: we apparently LOVE clogged throat. My bad. Erase, erase, erase!)

And, honey, this man could clog me anyday.

By which, of course, I mean I'd wear clogs for him. And only him. Though they might scrape the cieling.

Holy Jesus on crack, that man must be mine. It's gotten to the point that I can't watch Project Runway with my boyfriend without feeling like I'm cheating on him right before his very eyes. And though I'm marginally certain that he'd be into that*, still I order him into the other room to watch his other shows. And Rami Kashou and I fabricate beautifully together, in case you wondered. We silk charmeuse. Daily. We chiffon when no one's looking.

Okay, I'm fine now. Sorry for that. Whew. It was like I'd gotten lost and wild in Mood, wasn't it?

And I'm sure I'm not the only one who's gotten Rami-fever. Michael Kors looks so stiff every episode; his should-be off-the-cuff "Hey guys" always comes off calculated and cold, as if he's been repeating his lines for two hours before the show. "Hey guys," he's saying in the mirror, practicing emphasis. "HEY guys?" "hey GUYS?" "Hey. Guuuuuys." I can only blame the hotness of one Rami Kashou.

Anyway, I'm loving this Season, which I'd venture is the gayest season of Project Runway EVER. And I just didn't think it could get gayer than Season 2, with Andre and Daniel V. and Nick Verreos, who I wanted to be more brilliant than he was. And you know what I say: the gayer the better. It's like my approach to hairstyle: there's big, there's bigger, and then there's best.

Let it be known across the land: James Hall is a size queen.

Well, that's half true, anyway.


Tomorrow, Guest Starring...

Please welcome the fabulous James Hall, who is guest blogging for me while I am in Mexico.

Go for it, James!

Countdown to Mexico: Tomorrow

Why is it no one in Phoenix sells The Wizard of Oz?

Let's put that on the list of questions I never thought I'd ask.

Yesterday I won the divisional title in the first annual Piper Center Scrabble Tournament.
Some fun words played: "devoted," "elixir." Neither played by me.
I won on a technicality.

What I am taking to Mexico:

Every DVD of Buffy, for research
A yoga DVD
Ben Lerner's Angle of Yaw
Mary Gaitskill's Two Girls, Fat and Thin
A half-written novel

What I hope to come back with:



Countdown to Mexico: 2 days.

When you live in Arizona, Mexico does not seem exotic. It seems...there. Nearby. Like Canada when you live in Minnesota and pay for things with Canadian change. When someone gives you Canadian change and you can't be upset about it because you pass it off all the time anyway, except into vending machines, which are smarter than people, smarter than you.

Trips to Mexico this year: 2 (cumulative after 12/16)
Trips to Canada this year: 2
Other trips this year: Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, Austin, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, Nebraska, Michigan

I don't think I want to write poems anymore. Or, to be succinct, I think I don't want to write poems anymore.

I want to write things that people read and say, "I don't know what that is."

Or, better yet, "I don't know what that is
but I think I like it."

Countdown to Mexico: 3 days.

Last night: dreaming of running out of pesos.
Dreaming of bacterial food, of getting lost in Mexico, misunderstanding the taxi situation.

I did not sleep well.

Three days until Mexico.

This won't be my longest international trip. I spent 22 days in Europe when I was 16 and two weeks in Belgium when I was 18. What can do for two weeks in Belgium? I'll tell you: Antwerp, Oostende, Brussels. My mother's small hometown and all the family you can imagine.

Watching American movies on TV with my cousins. Laughing at a joke, then moments later they laugh. The subtitles were slow.

Learning one word in Flemish: wacht. It means "wait."

A project idea.

A tentative first poem that is surely garbage but a step in a direction, toward something.

Slowly coming back to writing. Like doing too much cardio. Feeling tired, but not tired at the same time.

And then, the name of the film my main character is making in my novel: Phantasmaorgasm.


Countdown to Mexico: 4 days.

I'm going to Oaxaca in four days to spend some time writing and helping ASU MFA students while they enjoy a writing residency. In the meantime, I am crazy busy:

Wrapping up things at the office so I can leave with a clear conscience
Writing and/or studying for final exams in my Human Resources and Financial Management classes
Getting Arden to the Sun City Puppy Spa (my folks' house)
Cleaning my house so I can come home to...a clean house
Packing: This is a huge issue; I travel like Diana Ross
Paying my middle-of-the-month bills

I'll be gone until December 17, but in the meantime, the fabulous James Hall will be guest blogging here to hold your attention and titillate you variously.