I should know by now not to do things which are mentally intense right before sleeping. When I was a teenager I learned this when I dabbled in Dungeon and Dragons (are we yet beginning to fathom the soopageek nomenclature?). I was all 'bout-it 'bout-it for a while, creating playing levels and monsters, etc. I found that, if I worked on those things just before going to bed, I would have Dungeons and Dragons dreams. Not dreams about monsters and wizards per se, but dreams about acutally creating it.
So last night, right before sleeping I'm writing in my livejournal about my trip to Niagara Falls. Near the end of the entry, it became rather intense. I wasn't merely relaying "I did this" and "I did that" but I was challenging myself to tie together thoughts and emotions from those experiences and convey them in an interesting manner through language. I'm obsessive about words and language. A friend pointed out to me the other day that out of a 4,000 word journal entry she had made, I was picking on the connotation of one particular word. And yeah, I was basically jumping her shit about it. But she knows and loves that part of me, weez still tight.
Anyway, all of this intensity made for a really restless night of sleeping. I would sleep for about fifteen minutes at a time and keep waking up. I actually had two dreams, the first of which was a result of all that intensity. I dreamt I was remaking Niagara Falls, but with words. Whatever I wrote, happened. I deleted the fact that there is a bridge spanning the gorge for border crossing and wrote in a tunnel which went through the bedrock beneath the upper Niagara river, behind the Horseshoe Falls. It had a more pleasing aesthetic to me. I got rid of all those skyscrapers, too. In fact, by the time I was done rewriting Niagara Falls, there was no visible evidence of the human element. It was all ingeniously hidden behind the placement of well written descriptions of botanical gardens and tree parks. It was really surreal.
The other dream I had occured at my parents house and a bunch of my friends were present. I remember specifically Robin, Stephanie, and my brother. I believe Dwayne was there, too. And there were some people that were "new" friends. I didn't really know who they were, but I felt like I was going to get to know them in the very near future. A car pulls up and outsteps Lisa Cooksey and her brother Paul. Now for some history. When I was in second grade, my parents moved to Washignton Co. Kentucky, where they still reside. For all intents and purposes, this is where I grew up. When I went to my first day of class in second grade, I sat immediately behind Lisa Cooksey. We were never extremely close friends, but we were good friends. All through elementary school, middle school, and high school. We both attended UK and would hang out sometimes on campus. Over the years though, I lost contact with her. As I said, we were never extremely close. A few months ago I had asked my mother if she knew what Lisa was up to. It turns out she did, she was living in Lexington, single... but that was about all she knew. Coincidentally, a few weeks after that I actually ran into Lisa one Sunday when I decided to attend church with my parents. We said hi's a nice to see you's. I always thought Lisa was kinda cute, but I was never really interested in her that way. So when I say she looked nice when I saw her that Sunday morning, I mean that in a general way. In my dream, she looked like I remembered her when she was around 18, though. Just simply cute. She had her black hair pulled up in pigtails and she was wearing a red T-shirt. We hugged and said hi... but the dream pretty much stopped there. I woke up.
I got up at four this morning and picked up my load in Arthur. I got to go visit Luke, Scott, and Loren the Mighty in Farmer City for a while this morning, then made some additional stops in Normal and Springfield, Illinois. It is freaking hot here. The temperature is around 95 degrees with a heat index of over 105 degrees. They were closing schools early today because of the heat. Try unloading 200+ cabinets in what is, essentially, a big metal oven. I'm already in my third shirt for the day. Thank god that's over. I'm now back in Arthur and won't be leaving here until sometime tomorrow for... HOME. I finally get to go home after a month on the road. I'm looking so forward to it. Just for the little break. As much as I love the travel and the experiences, it's nice sometimes to just get home and be with friends and family, even if it's just watching TV together.
My dad and my brother Chris are going to Bristol, Tennesse this weekend. Both of them are NASCAR fans and, apparently, the Bristol race is one of the hardest races to get tickets for, but somehow my dad managed to come across a pair. I was originally planning to go with them since it is in the general vicinity of Cherokee, NC. I was going to visit with Agnieska over the weekend while they did all the race stuff. But with all the time I've been away, I just don't feel up to it. I wanna go see my kids and just relax. I'll probably spend a good deal of the weekend with my mom. Since dad's gonna be gone, she'll be home alone. Plus, when I get in off the road, I am amazingly chatty. My mom and I can talk forever. It's great.
Now for random thoughts. Illinois is an amazingly boring place to drive through, so my mind tends to wander while trucking through the endless seas of corn.
Apparently, Decatur, Illinois is the biggest shithole in the country. I'm not particularly intimate with the city to make an informed opinion, but any community whose motto is "We like it here" gives me reason to be suspicious. It's almost like, they feel the need to convince me that it's not the shithole that it may appear to be.
Wanna hear a good simile? "Bloodier than the fourth week of Lillith Fair." HA!
But that wasn't the only thing I heard funny on the radio today. I'm a big fan of "wife" jokes. I'm sure this is some deep seeded bitterness resulting from my abismal attempt at matrimony, but I find them funny. Two of my all time favorite jokes are old Henny Youngman one-liners:
"Why do men die before their wives? They want to."
"Why are divorces so expensive? They're worth it."
One of my all-time favorite bumper stickers read: I miss my ex-wife, but my aim is getting better.
And my father is fond of saying, "Marriage is a wonderful insitution, if you don't mind living in an institution."
But today I heard two jokes to be added to my repretoire:
"How can you tell when your wife is dead? The sex is pretty much the same but the dishes start piling up."
"A guy walking through a cemetary spots a man kneeling before a grave, sobbing 'Why did you have to die?' The guy asks the crying man 'Your wife die?' and the man responds, 'No, her first husband did.' "
What follows is a completely uninformed critique:
Michelle Branch couldn't write a melody if her life depended on it. She comes up with a great vocal hook ("You're everywhere to me!"), then writes a middling, hackeneyed song around it with thoughtless accompaniment. Maybe I'm being too hard, I mean she is only, like, 18 and has more musical inclination than I will ever possess, but, perhaps her career would be better served if she dropped the "singer/songwriter" cap and focused on her voice, which appears to be her one redeeming quality. Let someone more qualified write you a good song, 'chelle. Practice your songwriting, hone it. Unleash it on us when you're ready. Bubblegum ends up stuck under chairs. Learn from Billy Joel: plain, sterile instrumentation is prefectly fine as long as you have a great melody. Billy was certified in the Sir Paul McCartney school of melody writing. Play "She's Always a Woman" then listen to "She Has a Way About Her" if you're not following me here. Tiffany at least had the good sense to cover "I Saw Her Standing There", but she didn't have nearly the talent or voice that you have. You've conquered the teeny boppers, now show us what ya got.
I like that Evanesence song. That chick has one amazing set of pipes and the melody is absolutely haunting. Even though it has that Nu Metal smell, the heaviness is appealing. I could do without all the white-boy G-thug rappin' probably, but, in some ways, it works, too. So put me down for summa dat and the Justin Timberlake joint as mainstream stuff that I wanna hear more of. Save me from the nothing I've become.
And speaking of teeny boppers.... very few teen sensations have the capacity to transform their careers into something more substantive, professionally and artististically. Sure the Beatles did and to some extent, the Rolling Stones... but no one in recent memory with the exception of maybe Madonna, depending on your take on her. So this is what I want... Avril, Michelle, Justin... somebody just fuckin do it. I want one of you bubblegum come-latelys to just go into the studio for your next album and make one totally fucked-up brilliant album. Don't say in interviews how you want to grow as an artist and "explore" new areas then put out the same old shit. Go in there and really bang one out. Totally mind fuck me. Madonna would wuss out and put, like, one song (like "Act of Attrition" with Prince) on her album but as a whole, it would be a perfectly viable commerical vehicle. I want guitar scree awash in tonal feedback, syncopated rhythms, skronking saxophones, and vocals laid down in shrieks, screams, and impossible melodies. I want to hear the frightened whimpers of your Muse as you repeatedly rape her every orafice with every instrument you can imagine. Screw your fans, they're not gonna be "there for you" in a few years anyway. C'mon Justin, you're almost 30, how long do you think you can keep making the girls scream? Avril, sure you've got that suburban damaged-goods jailbait image goin' for ya right now, but say it very slowly with me... Fi-o-na Ap-ple.
Britney? Christina? Man, you guys have those multi-octave ranges that most singers would kill for. Do something other than those vocal acrobatics you mistake for R&B. Aretha had half of your range. Tina hits three octaves and look what she chose to do with it. At least Pink has the courage to push the envelope and she faithfully hits about three notes. You two are on the cusp of true greatness and you don't even know it. Whitney blew it. Mariah blew it. Get with some real musicians instead of the industry swill of producers and session musicians that churn out this intolerable pap. It's time for a new Brill Building, find your own Big Brother and Holding Company or Booker T and the MG's, hell, just start a band. Sure, Kelly Osbourne hasn't a hundredth of your talent and is little better than watered down Donnas but at least she has the guts to do it on her own terms. Poor Kelly hasn't the ability to make the sort of music you could be doing if you half-assed it and will forever be overshadowed by her father "the rock legend". For that matter, consider being the daughter of the King, being married to a freakshow like the King of Pop, and then having the balls to put together a band and make an incredibly personal album. Or Gwen Stefani, perfect example. Someday she'll wise-up and go solo, but within the limited abilities of the band she started with her friends so many years ago, she's managed to make a handful of records that people will proudly say they're fans of. And when she does go solo, I'm apt to think she'll truly explore the range of her interests and unique voice much like Bjork did. Rather than use her marquee name to simply capitalize on it, she'll use her name to open collaborative doors, although hopefully with some better choices than Moby. But for the love god, would one of you talented fucks do something with it.
And Eminem... god love ya... you have proved to the world that you can rap like nobody's bidness and even have a poetic flare from time to time. Misplace that chip on your shoulder and lose the deadweight of Dre for someone with a little vision. Right now you're a three-trick pony who's going to find a very bored public real quick. You aren't the first great MC and you won't be the last. Consider this: only two rap artists have sustained a viable, relevant music career for more than a few years. One of them have far more inferior MC skills, however they are white, just like you.. The other is Uncle L. I suggest you crib a few pages from their books before proceeding any further.
This month, the planet Mars is closer to the Earth than it has been in a very long time. In fact, I heard someone today say that Mars will not be this close to Earth again for another 300 hundred years. So grab some binoculars or a telescope and take in the view. It's pretty magnificent with the naked eye, too. Many nights this summer I've noticed it sitting low on the horizon in the early evening, a big speck of red in the sky. This weekend when I'm home, I intend to borrow Robin's telescope for a little viewing myself, should the sky be good for it.
And speaking of the astronomical, I learned today why August is called the "dog days of summer". Apprently it is a rather old term: it refers to Sirius, the dogstar, being closest to Earth during this time of year. I love information like that. I can't remember how to figure the hypotneuse of a right triangle, but I'm a wealth of useless information that enriches none of our lives.