October 24th, 2010

I listen

A good morning

A hanging-out morning. Portland is in and out of heavy rains this weekend, and I don't have to be out today if I don't want to, so this morning (same as Saturday morning, I'm glad) I slept in a bit. Yesterday I got going early by Saturday standards so I could get my car's DEQ check-up, and after it passed I treated myself to steak breakfast at Jubitz, a legitimately world-famous truck stop in North Portland. In other words, they know from comfort food, and the food was comforting. So after that errand, some hanging-out and relaxing was possible. And relax I did.

And relax I do. With my leg resting (I barked my knee on my desk last night and it's a little sore. My knee, not my desk) and with a break in the clouds letting in the sun for now. I'll take the sun and let some of it soak in (though as I showed last night, I don't mind the rain and can usually handle it). This is relaxing, too.

This morning I've also been doing that hanging-out thing with music, courtesy a mix CD by my friend rafaela (hi, Anna). I realized I was in the mood for at least one song on it, and as Anna's good at making mix CDs it turned out many other songs were right for my mood as well.

The lineup:

1. Harry Nilsson, "Jump Into the Fire"
2. Tom Petty, "Zombie Zoo"
3. Bonzo Dog Band, "I'm the Urban Spaceman"
4. April March, "Chick Habit" -- this song just makes me smile.
5. Love, "Alone Again Or"
6. Pentangle, "The Trees They Do Grow High"
7. P.J. Harvey, "Send His Love to Me"
8. Fairport Convention, "Meet On the Ledge" -- I can so imagine this song being used in a movie in a way that could make the audience cry.
9. The Decemberists, "Eli the Barrowboy" -- quite gentle. I introduced my former girlfriend Alicia to the Decemberists this way.
10. XTC, "Dear God"
11. Al Stewart, "Electric Los Angeles Sunset" -- this song really works for me.
12. Slainte Mhath, "Annie" -- the one song on this mix that does very little for me, for some reason. I skip past it.
13. Steeleye Span, "Alison Gross"
14. Noir Désir, "A l'Envers, A l'Endroit"
15. Jane Siberry, "Mimi on the Beach" -- evocative, in a way I'm not eloquent enough to explain right now. I quite like this one.
16. Joy Division, "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
17. Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, "Tanglewood Tree"
18. John & Beverley Martyn, "Stormbringer"
19. The Saw Doctors, "Never Mind the Strangers"
20. The Strawbs, "I've Been My Own Worst Friend"

Thank you, rafaela, for this and for the others.
Good Omens

"Screw the procedure. I want someone on the goddamn phone before I kill 20 million people."

Just a little reminder of how great John Spencer was.



War Games was my first run-in with him: a single scene that's stayed with me ever since, with him and a near-unrecognizable Michael Madsen...as in, I saw the scene again just now, thought "Is that Michael Madsen?," decided "No, it's not," then looked up online and found that yep, it was him. (And by the way, know who almost got Madsen's part? Kevin Costner.) He goes from joking around and teaching Italian terms to preparing to launch those missiles that many, many, many of us thought were going to kill everybody, or at least lots of everybody, back in the Cold War. And finding he can't. (Not knowing, of course, that it's a drill.) I remember that era. Grew up with nuclear war-inspired dreams. Wondered how close I'd be to any potential strike sites. And that worry: neatly encapsulated in that one opening scene of a good film.

I probably didn't notice Spencer again until he joined L.A. Law in late 1990 -- during its last really good season -- as gruff cynic-with-a-conscience Tommy Mullaney. Backed up a bit and saw him in weary pot-bellied glory in the film version of Presumed Innocent (a film which I saw having known Whodunit. Not sure if I ever "bought" that ending, but I've never read the novel which maybe handles it better, but anyway). Perked up whenever I saw him somewhere else, like his both intense and kind of funny performance in The Rock. (Maybe the only time his appearance onscreen has been scored with guitars.) This reminds me I need to see Ravenous, in which he only appears briefly but c'mon, it's still John Spencer, and I've heard Ravenous is a good movie that would be my kind of disturbing. ("He was LICKING me!")

I watched plenty of The West Wing during its first two seasons, when I could -- but then I moved and went for four years without a TV or a way to watch DVDs, and fell out of following the show's ups and downs -- but The West Wing stayed on my radar, and I was sad when Spencer died suddenly, and then glad that the show found ways to pay tribute to both him and his character Leo McGarry.

Here's to one of the truly good character actors.
Me 1

Here's to being a sick, sick person (sometimes), and other blogging thoughts

I can be a sick person.

Sometimes I indulge that here; often I don't. But if you've read my writing enough, here and elsewhere, you've probably seen me indulge in that. (I know not to indulge in saying such stuff in, say, an office. I learned that lesson VERY quickly in my professional life.)

Before I started this journal, I took part in a couple of bulletin boards in 2003 and 2004. One was for fans of Caitlin R. Kiernan, who's greygirlbeast here on LJ; another, related one was for fans of Poppy Z. Brite, a.k.a. docbrite. On the "Doc" Brite-centered board, someone started a thread that was meant to be the board's Unleashed Id. We were encouraged to be AWFUL...but ONLY there. Harsh language was fine elsewhere (celebrating Kiernan and Brite, both fans and good users of harsh language, means that harsh language is usually just fine), but we were better behaved there.

The thread where we were allowed to be awful was called "Daddy, No!" And its first entry was "Bad Touch! Bad Touch!" And the first reply Collapse )

That set the tone very quickly.

I had fun indulging in that thread, both reading it and (sometimes) writing in it. It was disgusting and cruel. I wasn't disgusting or cruel anywhere else, though, at least I don't think/feel so. It was an outlet for weirder thoughts, and I can use those outlets. And I stayed well-behaved elsewhere online. The rest of the boards had all sorts of discussion, as they should: book thoughts, movie reviews, band appreciation, dealing with news (both boards were loaded with animal-lovers, and on Brite's board we were lamenting and discussing what to do about the poisoning of dogs in Portland, Oregon parks), and more.

I try not to read someone who ALWAYS posts like that. And the people I regularly read, they don't do that. Thank you for not doing that.

Reminds me how I don't like the "always joke about stuff" response to stuff. Certain writers, anything happens, they make a joke. Being knee-jerk funny can lead to no longer beign funny. Even Dave Barry wrote serious columns: I remember when one of his kids had an accident, and of course he was completely serious in his first column after 9/11. Even he knew not to use his strong humor muscles in those situations. He still wrote like Dave Barry, though.

Blogging allows the whole spectrum of experience, or at least it should. I try for that. I'm going to keep trying for that.

If you want me to tackle something on that spectrum that I haven't been tackling, ask! I like suggestions.

This is me reminding myself to keep varied. It's a way to keep interesting.