Random Rants and A Possibly Good Thing

I don’t get this obsession with knowing every little detail of a terrible thing. For example, I do not wish to know the intimate details of the recent death of a loved one. I don’t want to know how badly he suffered or how awful it was. I know how awful it was: it’s why I keep crying. So please stop trying to tell me. This is not idle gossip. I did not wish to know every brutal detail of how my cousin died of melanoma a few years ago, but I was told – by many sources and even after asking them not to tell me. Now I have to live with this mental image of his final moments as he succumbed to respiratory failure.

So yeah, as you can tell I haven’t been having a great time of it. Everything is seriously fucked up in my kingdom and therefore I haven’t been up to blagging. I have mostly been trying to fix the unfixable – a process very much like voluntarily and repeatedly slamming one’s head into a wall (and in my case, while the house is being firebombed). As a result I’ve been in a right shite mood, and every little thing is setting me off.

The meaning is yours to experience and discern.

For example, I am so frelling sick of Hollywood making shitty movie versions of really good books. It irks the shiz out of me, but there’s not much for me to do about it but rant. Rant rant rant. I’m sorry but I like the way the story looks inside my head. I am not the kind of reader who hunts down all the interviews of their favorite authors trying to figure out what they were going for. I don’t believe that this is the point of literature. I believe it is like art – paintings, for example – where the artist composes the picture, applies the details and takes you to that other world. What that other world is like is now a construct of your mind. The meaning is yours to experience and discern.

The writer gave me all the information I needed to build their world, to live in it, experience it and feel it. If the information was good it will have a transforming effect; it will make an impact, resonate, and take hold. That’s why I read books. I do not read books so that directors can interpret them as they see fit and then build stunted visual interpretations of them that will forever taint them and compromise their integrity.

(I’m looking at you Joseph Gordon Levitt).

My dresser.

My dresser.

Sometimes I feel like perhaps I’m doing therapy wrong

I’m also super ticked because a lot of really awesome events are happening in my area that I would love to go to, but I can’t because of my crippling panic disorder. Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman will be doing a musical/reading event with a bunch of other artists and musicians in honor of Ms. Palmer’s upcoming book release. The New Pornographers have been oot and aboot. Various book events and cons. Just so many things I would love to see. But I can’t because I’m a fracking mental case.

Sometimes I feel like perhaps I’m doing therapy wrong or it doesn’t work the way I think it’s supposed to. Or perhaps it doesn’t really work at all. Anyway, everyone’s answer to my issues outside of the medical/therapeutic fields is generally ‘take something and get over it’.

I find it amusing how people who have never had issues like mine or who have never been on any sort of medication have the attitude of ‘just take a pill’ and shrug, as if that’s all it takes to make the shittiest parts of your life just go away. But they have no idea how the medication works, how your brain works and what goes into both the disorder and the medication. (Let me say right now that I think it’s disturbing how little the average person knows about how their own body works.)

Popping a pill is just not that simple. And don’t you think that with this whole nightmare that I go through on a regular basis, that I’d have done that already if that’s all it took? Trust me; I’m not a glutton for punishment.

 banana books

In interesting and non-shitty news, this week I got an intriguing email. I had submitted a portfolio to a charity that was looking for artists to make and donate work for an auction in December. This is sort of a big deal, both the charity and the auction. Plus it’s a cause that is really important to me.

Anyway, the other night I get an email from the committee or whoever that decides these things, and they loved my portfolio and want my stuff. Not only that, but, along with my portfolio I sent a proposal highlighting three options for what I could create for them, and they want all three. So they want at least (and they stressed the ‘least’ bit) five of each thing, all in less than a month.

I went into this thing thinking that it wasn’t just a long shot, but that I’d never get picked at all. But here I am, more than a tad shocked and excited. So I’ma gonna be crazy busy, what with NaNoWriMo, an art competition with a local art shop (for a much needed supply prize package), and now this. So it’s very likely that this will be my last blaggins for a while. Which is fine by you, I’m quite sure.

So with that I take my leave of you. Enjoy yet another musical road map, provided by the Psychic MP3 Player.

Portugal. The man – Everything You See (All the Kids Say Hallelujah)
St. Vincent – The Neighbors
St. Vincent – Black Rainbow
Lykke Li – I’m Good, I’m Gone
The New Pornographers – Failsafe
The New Pornographers – Go Places
The National – Conversation 16
Grizzly Bear – Ready, Able
Lou Reed – Andy’s Chest
MGMT – The Youth
Guided by Voices – The Future is in Eggs
Portishead – The Rip
Zoe Keating – Forest
Fleet Foxes – The Cascades
The Kinks – Who’ll Be the Next in Line
Say Hi (To Your Mom) – Toil and Trouble

P.S. I’m trying out a new theme. If it’s disgustingly pretentious, please let me know. I don’t mean to be, I swear.


An Embarrassing Comment On Lou Reed and a Thank You


Everybody who is anybody is writing about Lou Reed right now, and as I’m nobody this seems a nonstarter right off the bat. But here it is.

When I was growing up I was inundated with an amazing spectrum of music: My father was uncharacteristically eclectic listening to everything from the Beatles and CSNY to Miles Davis and Johnny Cash. My grandparents loved the standards. I was training to be a classical musician and had a lot of that going on. My mom was a sucker for Neil Diamond, Phoebe Snow and ‘80’s pop. My cousins were musicians into punk and metal and Sonic Youth.

But my favorite of them all was David Bowie.

From the beginning and in a very unhealthy way, too. When I was three or four I had a five alarm tantrum when my folks went to see him in concert and THEY DIDN’T TAKE ME. I had this insane dream that he would adopt me and take me to New York where I would hang out with all of his cool friends and sing and make art. And that was when I was still in single digits.

Someone eventually, probably my dad, started introducing me to those cool friends: Iggy Pop and Lou Reed and Brian Eno. And I loved them too, but I hadn’t the… agency I guess to pursue this music myself.

But when I was in junior high my life was shitty and I was lonely and all I wanted to do was my art and play music and lock myself in a room with paints and a needle and thread and try not to exist. I went to all the local museums and to the libraries and checked out all the art books. I went and taped all the free records from the library. Among them was Lou Reeds’ Transformer. I would put the new tapes in and let them play through and move on to the next, deciding what got kept and what got taped over. But that one…

I wore Transformer out. I had to check it out from the library again, tape it again. See, I hadn’t had any money of my own to buy it (things were complicated) and I had not yet become the teenage PR ne’er do well who hung out at Fort Apache and went to parties with AFP. There was no interwebs to scope out music on and my few friends weren’t nearly as learned about these things as I, so I was stuck with what I could find when I found it.

To say that this album was influential would be an understatement. If David Bowie was the key, then Lou Reed was the doorman, because he opened wide a world of music that I didn’t know existed. I went through all of his albums, which led to the Velvet Underground (of course) and to Nico. Which led back to Jackson Browne (a favorite of my dad’s) and around to Patti Smith, Wire and the New York Dolls. Which led to Suicide and Magazine. Grace Jones and Laurie Anderson. It even somehow led me to Throwing Muses, my favorite band of all time. (Throwing Muses, in their own right would change my life. But that’s another story).

On top of all that Lou was endlessly cool. I could never see him living some weird glamorous rock star life. I imagined him walking after dark in his leather jacket with a cigarette. Sporting shades. And I would look in my art books and he was there. He was a photographer. Just like me. And his music was unreal – painfully simple and infinitely complex, all at once. And his words were poems, stories, rants, narratives. He created worlds in his songs where you can smell the blood and the wet pavement and see the dealers and feel the love for the junkies and prostitutes and punks that lurked around every corner. He took me to the city where I no longer was and most wished to be. Best of all it was completely unapologetic. He could screech or drone monotonous and have six minute pseudo pop songs because fuck you this is art.

I wanted to meet him. I wanted him to be my friend. I wanted to show him my stuff. I wanted to thank him for being him. I wanted to call him Uncle Lou.

And I did. Every time I put on an album or cassette or CD, I would say “time for Uncle Lou”. Every time I saw him in an interview or on teevee or in a book “hey look – it’s Uncle Lou”. Somehow I felt like, as an artist, whatever I did in life somewhere out there I had an Uncle Lou.

And that was my big mistake I think. Because when this happens, when someone that great comes along and changes everything for you, you make them immortal in your mind. And in a way they are immortal – as is the nature of art. But that’s what’s so dangerous about this thinking, because they are really just people, and they get old and they get sick and they have accidents or they get murdered and in the end they die. We all do.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when, on Sunday, at the worst possible moment of an inexplicably bad day (seriously, if I wrote about it here the WTF chorus would be stunned mute), my dad told me that Lou Reed had died. He was human, after all. But I was. The air was sucked out of my lungs, and it was all I could do the exit the building, don my shades and get in the car before the tears overcame me.

Lou’s music is always somewhere in my head and at the tip of my tongue, and in a way that I didn’t really realize or think about until Sunday.

In the soundtrack to my life he was a major presence. He was there for every major phase, stage and disappointment. I learned to drive listening to a compilation tape of every Velvet Underground song I could squeeze onto a super 120 cassette. When I printed photos in the lab it was also to the Velvet Underground. The time I was nearly locked in the wet room it was my singing ‘Satellite of Love’ that saved me. Me and dad on the T going home from a Bosstones show where I got sick before the main act – he was singing ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ to cheer me up. Hot water at the Tasty, after midnight in the Pit, the 77 bus to Arlington Heights, waiting in our seats at the Orpheum Theater, trapped in a Central Square parking garage, sitting alone on the floor of my bedroom – my memories are a Lou Reed mix tape.

And I know I can say the same thing about Bowie and Kristin Hersh and David Byrne and so many others. But none of them are or ever will be my Uncle Lou.

I never got to thank him. So I’m going to do that now. Thank you.

Halloween and Fat Death of the Endless

Things have been sort of strange and slow on my bit of planet, what with all the cleaning, illness, the holidays, and my recent realization that maybe I’m actually Atlantean, and not alien, as I had originally suspected (or both – maybe my people didn’t disappear into the sea, maybe they just left). So I think maybe now is as good a time as any to back track to Halloween; a time of triumph or trial, depending on how you look at it. Either way, there is always lasagna, spontaneous candy checks (can’t let the little ones fall victim to poisons and razor blades, can we?), and at least one great ape. Occasionally there are film festivals (your Plan 9 From Outer Space, your Nosferatu, your Mommie Dearest, your Jason-on-a-boat) or Addams Family marathons. But every year it’s a little fun or at the very least interesting.

Traditionally Halloween is also a holiday for gorillas. One, rather, who sits in a lawn chair in my front garden distributing candy and bananas to the youth of my neighborhood. Occasionally there are two gorillas as Thunderball is often wont to sport the spare gorilla suit and tear around the yard doing the finest ape impression. (This is something not relegated to Halloween.) Last year there was even a fog machine, and so there were Gorillas in the Mist. The gorilla is pretty much the biggest attraction in our area (outside of my ridiculous dog, but that’s something else entirely), and people come from far and wide, driving miles even, just to see him. Families who have moved away return for this one night, and there are those who have had a picture taken with him every year (some since infancy). You’d also be surprised and a little proud by how many children go for the banana over the candy.  Perhaps there is hope for the American youth yet.

This year Thunderball and I were manning the door alone as ‘Superstorm Sandy’ rescheduled my aunt’s wake, and BB went to represent. Every year we get dressed up and mess around with the neighborhood kids. Last year we had two Halloweens (New England is a fickle place) and so Thunderball was Marceline the Vampire Queen as well as a gorilla and I painted my face and sported wings (make of that what you will). A few years before she was a witch, I wore a Christopher Walken mask and together with BB the gorilla we danced to “Thriller” on our lawn accompanied by a dozen or so neighborhood kids. It was epic. This year Thunderball showed up to my house about three hours before go-time determined to make a Brolaire of Astora costume – from scratch. So we hopped into the spaceship and sped to the nearest craft store with an idea and a ridiculous deadline.

During the ride over she and I discussed my recent trend of weird dreams about my teendom. I suspect this trend had a great deal to do with a recent meeting with escapist Sean Von Gorman, who unfortunately got some of my word vomit on his shoes, and heard a bit about my escapades. I get anxious telling these stories to people because I worry that I may sound as if I’m lying or crazy; because strange things do need explanation – if not context. Hence stress dreaming about my old comrades and exploits.

The dreams (and the vomit) lead to my writing an epic blog entry about my youth, which lead to me spending a day exhausting myself on ‘paper’ only to scrap the whole thing and back slowly away from the computer. I told some of the stories to Thunderball (who may or may not have heard them already), like about the time I was at a party and was accused of being homophobic (me with the hag DNA, of all people) when I pointed out that all the young gay men in New England (at the time) were named Mike, and so I yelled “Hey Mike!” into the crowd and pretty much every gay dude answered me, thus proving my point. I was trying to explain to her that it was a lot harder to write about that stuff (my strange employment, the random people I was acquainted with, my complicated friendships and home life) than I thought it would be. It’s strange to think that you are so far removed from your past, only to find that really you aren’t or to realize how much you miss parts of it, and just which parts those are.

So for those reasons I am not posting what I wrote anytime soon. In the future I’m sure I’ll regale everyone with random tales of drag queens, street art, AFP, Fort Apache, Rivers Cuomo, home invasions and the like, but for now the dreams have stopped and have returned to the normal vivid nightmares with excellent soundtracks (these days I dream in Grizzly Bear) that I’ve grown accustomed to.

At the store it was like old times in art school: budget shopping; being as creative as possible with as little purchasing as possible, brainstorming insanity that just may work. In just a few minutes we had a gameplan and had freaked out half the store- and as many scrappin’ moms as were in attendance – with our whirlwind savvy. (Whilst oohing and aaahing over new Martha Stewart tools a scrappin’ mom pointed out that she – Martha – was ‘moving up from Walmart’ and I pointed out that it’s high time that Martha joined Thunderball, Anthony – Tony – Bourdain and myself for a night of drinking, ‘cause we all know how Martha can put it away, and oh what a night that will be. Which just served to set Thunderball off in the same vein, as this has been a plan of ours – to get our drink on with Tony and Martha – for ages and we’re really excited about it. We have big plans, people, and this will happen. Oh yes, this will happen. You can imagine how well that entire outburst went over with scrappin’ mom, who hightailed it out of there first chance she got. )

Yeah, if the helm fits...

Yeah, if the helm fits…

Back at the hacienda, we proceeded to assemble a suit of armor from cardboard, duct tape and magic. It was amazing. And beautiful.

Art school pays off.

With Adventure Time and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog for a soundtrack, we literally worked right up until zero hour, whipping up this outfit like two nerds who forgot that today was Comicon.

Brolaire of Astora

Brolaire of Astora

I didn’t even have a chance to suit up myself, so I left Brolaire of Astora to greet the first of the kiddies as I perfected my look: Fat Death of the Endless (because I rule). I was much pleased by the new makeup – which held up all night unlike the glop from the beta test that smudged and spread and bled.  I donned the Generalissimos’ hat (to cover the bald) and joined Brolaire and my dog at a table we’d set up with Coleman lanterns (we have no outside electrics due to the giant crater that is half my house) and candy bowls. We also had a six pack of Sunny D – part of Brolaire’s costume and a prize to any trick-or-treater who could properly identify our costumes.

My house was bombed with sugar crazed masses seeking giant gorilla glory. We had to tell them that the gorilla escaped his enclosure during ‘Superstorm Sandy’, stealing my wallet and all of the bananas before hopping on a bus out of town. While the kids were all disappointed at least our story was believable. Hurricane Sandy had been a complete betch throwing a wrench into many plans and lives in the last week.  They all agreed to keep an eye out for him, and to report back with any information.  I felt really bad for a few of them though, especially the little kid who showed up in a full gorilla suit. I think he was hoping for a replay of last year, where he could have run free through the fog with Thunderball.

The brave steed, looking for reassuring hugs between candy goblins.

The brave steed, looking for reassuring hugs between candy goblins.

Most people got over the absence of the gorilla upon seeing that my dog was present. He is a local celebrity after all, even if he did try to hide behind Brolaire every time someone came in the yard and then demanded huggings and pettings after every encounter. I don’t know what it is about him, maybe his ridiculous height – he is very tall for a greyhound – or his clownish nature, but everyone in town LOVES my dog. Seriously – one time he was six miles down the road, going for a car ride with his head out a window when a bunch of kids on bikes shouted his name. He’s a frikkin rock star. And he’s not the only dog on the street either.  So everyone was so glad to see him and pet him ‘up close’ and tell me a story about the time he ‘got out’ – the most epic twenty minutes in small town history, apparently. Everybody in the neighborhood has a story from that day. One family tells of how he played with their kids in their yard. A mother with a toddler recalled walking the baby in the stroller and his accompanying them around the block. He saved a family from a burning house, delivered a baby and rescued a kitten from a tree. All I know is, the second we realized he got out (something that never happens and I’ll discuss why at another time) half the neighborhood formed a search party. People I have never met in all my years living here got in on the action to find my neurotic greyhound, who was out gallivanting and helping little girls sell lemonade.

As the night wore on we were quickly running out of candy but remained well-stocked on Sunny D. A lot of people tried, mostly guessing that Thunderball was someone from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (got to hand it to my neighbors on that one), and one precious little kid (had to be maybe three) did manage to finagle a juice as he assured us he was really thirsty and just wanted to go home. Costume-wise I am happy to report the absolute lack of zombies, which I’ve previously stated are the Disney Princess of costumes these days. I was sure we’d see dozens of those. Rather, I was shocked to see a surprising number of Mario Brothers, especially Mario. Am not sure what that was all about, but it was a trend I did not see coming.

In the end we were down to a handful of candy when a bunch of high schoolers in some decent getups show up. They were accompanying a young man who lives a few houses from me who is mentally handicapped. He was upset when I told him he couldn’t take all of the candy that was left, in case we got any more late comers. So he got sneaky and replaced our remaining candy bars with candy from his bag that he didn’t like. Touché, kid. The rest of the group was preoccupied with scoring Sunny D from Brolaire, and failing miserably. One of them, a guy in drag, was particularly endearing. He was in a miniskirt and boots with bad makeup and a big blonde wig, all giving him the effect of a drag queen who just woke up in an alley behind a dumpster. I asked him if his name was Mike. Thunderball nearly lost her shit (epic spit take ensued).

As we were closing up for the night, folding up the table and chair, gathering lanterns, my neighbor came over walking his dog. (Of course my dog is asleep back in the house when his girlfriend comes over). He isn’t looking for candy. He’s come specifically to ask if Thunderball is a Sun Bro. She almost keeled with joy. He tells us that he saw us from his candy distributing station at his house across the street and was dying to ask but his wife wouldn’t let him come over.  So when the kids stopped coming he snuck over under the guise of walking their dog. It was awesome. Much Sunny D was shared, the Sun Be Praised.

Praise the Sun

Praise the Sun

So I guess it was a successful night. Lots of diabeetus was encouraged, much praise was given the sun, and my dog continued his work as Ambassador to the Neighborhood. Plus, Thunderballs’ night was made, so that was good enough for me.

Oh, and here they are, the last pictures of me to appear on the interwebs.

It's all about the angles, baby.

It’s all about the angles, baby.

Not so bad for someone with so many chins. It’s all about the angles people. Awww yeah.

Fat Death

Fat Death

The Sad Truth About Vampirism (and Eating Babies) Part II

Here comes part two, you can unbait your breath now:

Turns out I had little to no iron in my blood. Worse than that, my ferritin levels were almost nonexistent. Ferritin is the stuff that keeps the iron in your blood so your body doesn’t flush it out. It holds onto it and then releases it as you need it. Your average levels are between 180 and 250. Mine were 3. I asked the doctor if she knew where exactly these three ferritin were so I could keep an eye on them, keep them safe, but she didn’t find it funny. She already had a haematologist lined up to see me in a few days, so I made the appropriate arrangements and got out of her way.

That night Thunderball, BB, Mum and I went to Chunky’s and saw the Muppets. (Badass). On the long ride home we decided that the only solution to my blood problem – logically – was to turn to vampirism. I was mostly there already – being nocturnal and hyper intelligent and everything. (Hear that? That’s the sound of me tooting my own horn.) I could easily maintain my vegetarian cred just by keeping people on tap and not killing them. We also decided that instead of picking off random people on the street (nothing like a night ride through Dracut and Lowell to put you off eating people) it would be in my best interest to eat babies. Yeah, I know, I know, tiny bones and stringy. But I’m just going to hit them up for a few ounces here and there and not consume them whole. Or even kill them. Thus I lessen my risk of contracting something more insidious than what I may already have and retain eternal youth and beauty (you can’t get any younger blood than baby blood).  Not a bad plan, really.

The following week was all Christmas preparations.  Thunderball and I went insane and made everyone cookies in lieu of cash or prize gifts. (We’s broke, yo). I was really cold and tired with no appetite, but I was alright. Until I started passing out. Mixing dough in mixer. SUGAR EVERYWHERE. The next morning I wake to Mum shouting at me about the SUGAR EVERYWHERE. Then I explained, you know, ‘Sorry, I was sort of feeling weird when I tried cleaning it up after losing consciousness. I’m sorry I didn’t get it all.’ That was followed by an emergency GP visit, where she explained to me the gravity of my situation. My blood was not able to oxygenate properly, my blood pressure was dangerously low and she was considering hospitalization. I could potentially die. I was ordered to stay off my feet until the haematologists appointment and if anything else happened to go to the ER. I told her if I had to go to the one with Clooney I wanted no part of it. I seen what they do. Then I told her not to worry, there was a baby in her waiting area and I had thought to bring a straw.

The haematologists had other ideas about my infant consumption. They scheduled a series of infusions (of ferritin, red cells and a drip) to begin immediately which they felt would fix the problem. They drew more blood and told me that I had nothing to worry about, that this was most likely a onetime thing and a little fusing would do the trick. They began the treatments right there in the office.  If you are squeamish you might want to skip this next bit. (Of course I say this after the straws and babies part.)

BB was there with me for the first treatment and all the ones that followed. I get sick a lot, so people, especially BB, tend to ignore it or just think I’m exaggerating. It gets old, I know. However this time, with the urgency and the test results, the more extensive testing and then the infusion procedure itself, he got really freaked. Suddenly this is really serious. Basically what they do is they put you on an I.V. with a saline bag and magical red cells in another bag and let that go. When the red cells are gone they give you the ferritin in a ‘push’ which is injected slowly in to the line via a big GIANT syringe. (Every time they bring it out all I hear is Melora Creager whispering ‘a 20 gallon brass syringe’…). When they were preparing it across the room BB says “It could be worse. You could be getting THAT.” And then of course they brought it right over to me. It’s really really thick, this infusion, so they have to push it slowly and let the I.V. dilute it. I learned quickly over the next two weeks (and six treatments) which nurses to watch out for and which to root for. One is really really bad at finding veins and would tear me up every time. At one point BB went and insisted on a different nurse and hasn’t let that one near me since. Another nurse is this incredibly racist Irish woman who pushes too fast so it is amazingly painful. (If you ever hear that I’ve had a stroke it’s because of her).

The haematologists insisted that most everybody who gets this treatment feels better immediately, but I didn’t. Rather, I got really really sick. Before I was just cold and exhausted and randomly unconscious, but now I was a wreck. Vomiting and nausea. It was a nearly immediate reaction. I was lucky that my first treatment was the Friday before Christmas, because on the following Monday I ended my second treatment with a head to toe rash. Literally. My scalp, all over my face, up my arms, everywhere. They began to start the treatments with a shot of Benadryl which cleared it up a little, but mostly made me barely conscious enough for BB to get me back into the car. During off days of treatment I was unable to get out of bed and I hurt in a strange exhausted way – as if I wrestled with the steamroller before it ran me over. It was awful, and I didn’t want to complain, especially considering that the oncology and hematology departments are the same building and the transfusions, infusions and chemotherapy treatments all take place in one big open room. I literally see much worse things being put into people every time I’m there. So I’d sit there next to a garbage barrel – for puketastic fun times – for about an hour and try to act like it wasn’t bothering me.  (By the way, those little pink kidney-shaped bowl things are for chumps. Real women puke in barrels.)

“He’s just begging for the Juice Fusion!”

It was supposed to be over after that one session of six treatments. Instead it’s happened again, and it keeps happening. Turns out, when I joked about having vampirism I wasn’t too far off. I’ll be dependent upon transfusions and infusions for the rest of my life. I have some kind of anemia in which my body makes too little ferritin, and then my immune system (shocker) tries to get rid of what’s left. I get so sick during the treatments because my body is trying to reject it. That’s why I don’t respond to it like everyone else.  After the last visit the haematologist said I can look forward to getting fused to the juice every three months, six if I’m lucky. That’s two to two-and-a-half weeks every three to six months where I will be generally incapacitated. Yea, me.

So basically being a vampire entails being dependent upon human blood and human blood components.  Which we already knew. But it also entails plaque psoriasis of the noggin (cradle cap! fast forward to 5:04) and possibly irreversible hair loss, rash, oxygen deprivation, vomiting, constant chill, and a ghastly pallor. And it means having a really high chance of getting blood cancers. It means having track marks for weeks on end but without the heroin chic physique. It means possibly bleeding to death during your period (that’s menstruation).  It possibly causes debilitating vertigo and migraines… It includes being manhandled by creepy nurses who don’t mind telling you a few things about the blacks and the gays as they stab you repeatedly and make you bleed. There is absolutely no romance.  That’s only in movies for gullible teen girls (and gay teen boys. I’m a professional hag, so I can speak to this.). It also doesn’t help with any embarrassing I.V. phobia (not needles, tubes). You’d think it would, but no.

Also, being a vampire gives you a completely new perspective on blood donation. I’ve always been for it and encouraging of it, but now I think that it’s more important because I need it. I need your blood. Give it to me. (Sarcasm!) More importantly, lots of other people need it. Lots of people, like me, find out they have some weird anemia, or have accidents, or have cancers and find themselves in that chair. In fact, according to the American Red Cross about 44,000 blood donations are needed every day – that’s a need for one donation every two seconds. So next time you see a donation truck in front of your work or school or concert (Amanda Fucking Palmer, indeed), go for it. You can also donate blood for someone specific or even to yourself, strange but true. So go for it. Twenty minutes can save someone’s life. And you’ll get juice and a cookie! (and even a sticker). And a swell mug and a t-shirt for those who donate frequently. Make it a sport, go with a group of your friends and try to out donate each other in a year. Imagine the Red Cross loot you’ll score – you’ll be the envy of all!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this epic two page whine and have now learned a thing or two about vampires and blood donation.
And why I’m so annoying.
I’m cold people. And hungry. For your blood.

Oh and my Cyborg has corrected me: babies are tender and not stringy. Sorry.

Blather On and On

This was my present from Amy Ray for being awesome, back in the day.

From 1994-2006 I had a curious self made job. I became a professional street teamer for various indie acts and labels, providing free PR and even booking gigs across New England. I was extremely successful at it. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s really hard to get a club gig in an area where not many people know who you are, and for indie bands and labels word of mouth is a big deal. This was especially true in those pre-interweb days. In return for literally hours of footwork I was paid in music, merch and tickets. At one point I represented over a dozen labels, countless bands and venues. It was a true full time job. Some of my biggest achievements include getting the White Stripes and Deerhoof their first gigs around Boston.

You’d think I was getting ripped off doing all this for seemingly little, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t work at a job that paid cash, as I was in a situation where I wouldn’t be able to keep it for myself (complicated fucked up shet, yo). And in the end the things I most looked forward to were going to those shows. They were everything to me. It was one of the few escapes I managed back in my preteen-teen years when I was uprooted from my inner city life and dumped into a lower class suburb full of people who tortured me for fun. I saw Sleater-Kinney when no one knew who they were all the way up to their end. I danced with Kaia from the Butchies and Team Dresch on a table at the Middle East Downstairs. I sang with Beth Ditto who told me that I was going to get herpes if I shared her mic (I couldn’t love her more). I witnessed Rasputina snap a string (which is rather hard to do). I saw Kristin Hersh hypnotize crowd after crowd after crowd. I saw Ani DiFranco in tiny rooms and giant theaters. I saw +/-, Deerhoof, Elliott Smith, Mia Doi Todd. I saw Helium and Mary Timony. I told Neil Finn I wanted to have Lisa Germano’s baby (he said he’d be sure to pass that on). I saw the Faux and stood confused outside of a closed venue on the night that Lady K died. I still had her ticket in my hand. I saw Tricky and Moby. I heckled the singer from Fluttr (who threw me free CDs because he didn’t know what else to do). I heckled Dee Tension (who took it and ran with it like the rock star that he is). And I saw the Shods kick more ass than you’ve sat on.

While I was there I was so happy. Nobody gave a shit that I didn’t drink or smoke. Nobody gave a shit that I was so fat. I made friends. Went to more shows with those friends. Went to parties. Made more friends. Watched Amanda Palmer play a Casio keyboard on a friend’s bed. It was frelling epic.

Until it wasn’t. Until I couldn’t go to a show anymore without hyperventilating or vomiting. Until I couldn’t be alone in a crowd without being alone in a crowd. Until the panic attacks became so bad that I stopped leaving my house, stopped driving, stopped going to classes. I stopped my epic reign as PR/Geurilla/Street Team Queen and lost all of my connections. I lost friends. I lost myself. Everything fell apart. My dream of being a musician myself was completely crushed. It got so bad that when the National toured Boston last year with Wye Oak and Yo La Tengo my parents bought tickets and took me with them because they are so worried.  Because there was once a time that I’d be backstage annoying the shit out of a band, not crying at home because I couldn’t bring myself to watch them play.