5.27.04 hits

Today as I meandered about running errands I was more than a bit shocked to hear certain songs from my youth playing on mainstream rock radio. Okay, they call it alternative, but whatever. That normally means the Offspring and Nirvana and Sublime in a recursive loop. But today I scrunched up my face over a familiar old tune - could it be? Yes, it was: Bitchin' Camaro.

My parents gave me a black 1968 Camaro for my fifteenth birthday but I stamped my feet and threw the keys at the wall above my fathers head. If you know why, you know everything that is important about my childhood and hometown. If you don't understand, that song offers a good summary, even if it is a novelty recording. The next song also surprised me. What is the title - Don't Let's Start? An old They Might Be Giants ditty, from the mid-eighties when the boys were neither famous nor alternative elders. Hearing the song any other day would have just been background nostalgia but trundling along downtown with jetlag I blinked and remembered the first time the band played Seattle. There was no security at the show, which was poorly attended, and toward the end of the set all my friends scrambled up on stage and started dancing madly around the band. Both of the John's looked baffled but kept playing and at the end of the song (which song? no idea) my friends tumbled back to their seats.

Because, contrary to grunge video mythology, lots of Seattle shows involved sitting politely in your seat and perhaps nodding along to the music. Or if you were terribly adventurous standing up in front of your seat and hopping a bit. But the whole stage diving thing? The mosh pits? That only happened at specific kinds of shows. It was not the dominant aesthetic choice. Not even in the punk scene.

I think that my point, however, is that neither of these songs would have been on mainstream FM radio back in the day. It would have been surprising to hear them on KJET. But somehow they have become classic oldies which makes me wonder about the received wisdom of radio playlists. It also makes me wonder what it would take to get some of the other bands on the air - Al deserves a hit, don't you think? We should all start faxing in requests for Some Velvet Sidewalk songs.

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5.26.04 cairn

If you live in the Denver metropolitan area you should check this out. From my dear friend Gabriel Liston:

29 May - 3 July 2004
State of the Union
group show

There will be a public reception the evening of Friday 4 June from 6 - 9 pm, and I am planning on attending. My nook is an introduction to Denver and we're referring to it as The Sociable Anchorite. The bulk of it will be a wall of recent blue book/tiles, rounded out by a few small oils from Slower than Molasses in January and one of the recent Proposal for a Cairn to Mark group.

+ Zeile Judish Gallery
2350 Lawrence St.
Denver CO 82025

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5.25.04 limb

Justin is great, you should check this out if you live in NYC and buy the book too!

From the New Yorker:
Issue of 2004-05-31
In skateboarding, a sport for outsiders and misfits, for those who haven't grown up or who are lucky enough not to have ever grown up, authenticity is the coin of the realm. "Life and Limb," a new anthology published by Brooklyn's own Soft Skull Press, is as authentic as they come - all the pieces were written by folks who have spent more time on a board than might be considered healthy. On May 29 at 9, Justin Hocking, Jocko Weyland, Jared Jacang Maher, Sharon Harrison, and other contributors celebrate its publication with a reading and party at the Autumn Skate Bowl, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where they'll be joined by the Boxes, an all-girl punk band, and some of the city's top skaters. (73 West St., between Noble and Milton Sts., Brooklyn. For more information, call 212-677-6220.)

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5.24.04 for

I've been to England for the first time.

My friends weren't joking when they warned me that most houses have carpeting everywhere. Even in the kitchen and bathroom.


Home now for a brief respite before heading off to Chicago. We might have found a place to live but we won't be sure until we have a signed lease in hand. Now I need to find someone to rent this place and sell the cars (aside from finishing the visa process and etc.).

Cambridge was brilliant.

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5.13.04 for

The news about torture in Iraq is not surprising, though it should be deeply shocking to everyone who can follow the arguments and allegations. I've been opposed to this military action from the beginning and I've exhausted my reserve of protests. We are all complicit in this abuse. It doesn't matter if we as individuals originally supported or opposed the war - we need to work now to change what will happen in the future. Partisan politics have no place in this discussion.

Decent people everywhere can claim they are opposed to torture. But what are we for? What do we want to see happen next?

We need to force our elected representatives to take action. We have to demand accountability. If we cannot pull out of the quagmire we should be realistic and address fundamental problems. At a minimum, the policy of sending the National Guard, reservists, and civilians to a war zone without adequate training should end immediately.

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5.13.04 party

In my opinion the current administration has betrayed the philosophical position of their own party. To review:

con ser va tism n.
The inclination, especially in politics, to maintain the existing or traditional order. A political philosophy or attitude emphasizing respect for traditional institutions, distrust of government activism, and opposition to sudden change in the established order. Caution or moderation, as in behavior or outlook.

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5.11.04 tired

The plumbing problem was minor (hurray!) but the toilet cracked during the fix (sigh) and will be replaced this morning. The new screen door is propped up in the kitchen waiting for installation, the downstairs wall is almost finished, and Byron is living in his office to avoid all the dust and fumes. I'm still fixing the various sites that were addled last week and everything must be finished now because we are going out of town on Friday . . . and this overview does not begin to capture all of the sundry organizational details and competing deadlines.

I am very tired.

In happier news, AR visited for the weekend and after we dropped her off we had a nice Mothers Day dinner with my folks. On the way home we stopped at Seabeck and walked on the beach with the Olympics looming across the bay.

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5.7.04 calamities

I've spent two entire work days wrestling with web site calamities. Most of the problems are fixed now but I have a dozen serious and pressing tasks to deal with before visitors arrive for the weekend.... and Byron has the cords for my digital camera, but he is apparently downtown giving a talk to three thousand people at the convention center. In short, no photographs of my head are available.

Though last night I realized that I've done this twice in the past. Once in 1984, after the first cancer year, when my ill-advised punk rebellion head shaving idiocy finally grew out and I pretended to be normal to "make friends." Once in 1994 when I finished grad school and attempted to pass as a "bureaucrat."

It is not clear why I feel a pressing need for normalcy in 2004, especially since I never actually look normal even when I conscientiously assemble the correct camouflage.

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5.5.04 hair

I kept my eyes clenched shut as the fellow chopped six inches off my waist-length raggedy blonde hair, then dyed the rest brown to match the roots.

This was my first haircut in seven years and the first time I've seen my natural hair color since 1992.

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5.4.04 salt

Sunday morning we had arranged to visit Stella and Al and when we arrived we were surprised to learn that it was their twelfth anniversary. We were honored to spend the day with them, eating a picnic feast of salmon and champagne on the beach where they were married. I held up my skirt and waded out in the salt water of the Sound, with tiny crabs and jellyfish all around. Later we stretched out in the shade under an alder tree and talked. Stella told us about the flowers people donated to decorate the cabin, about the friends who brought food and cake and gifts.

The day was perfect - lovely in every possible way.

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5.3.04 presents

Over the weekend we saw Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and spent time with small friends, including a brand new baby with a very serious expression on his face.

Today the mail brought letters, books, and packages: from James in Japan toys and paper and zines and kits for the children; from Hapawawa in Ireland a huge stack of newspapers, gossip magazines, crisps and tea and candy.

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5.2.04 preview

I've finished the new site for Girl-Mom. The old hacked scripts will disappear shortly. Here is a preview of the spiffy new design:


Huge thanks to Lynn for technical development and Lefty Lucy for graphics.

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5.1.04 may

Happy May Day! I was raised to believe that it is a crime to cross a picket line; today my thoughts are with my friends on strike - from graduate students to grocery workers, I wish you all well in your fight for benefits and a fair wage.

New on Hipmama.com:

How Can They Make History So Boring? Emma Goldman, May Day, and The American Experience
by Gordon Edgar
Was Goldman seen by other anarchists as making the anarchist movement too middle class because she was interested in birth control and sex, i.e. womens issues? Goldman is a wonderful feminist icon, partly because she realized that a strictly class-based revolution would still leave women unequal in society.
click for more

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