Choose Your Own Adventure

There is not much going on right now except for being attached to a computer and writing Very Dull Papers (and attendant deadline-related panics).  You can guess at my state of mind by looking at the state of the couch:  when it’s cluttered, my mind is as well.

However, I have nothing to discuss, unless LIS papers are of great interest to you.  Therefore, I’m giving you what’s sitting by me.  You’re welcome to create a story from there.


Many notes to myself on many odd pieces of paper.  Things I thought significant enough to note:  New York Dolls, pentangle?, Romans 1:26, The Light of the World, The Killing of Sister George, Lee Miller, Ballard-Crash, Brother David Gardner?, The Killing of Sister George (1968) [sic], Venus & the Razorblades, Dontavious.

New Yorker, last week’s, still open to the page where I fell asleep.  It’s a very interesting article about schizophrenia and genetic inheritance.  I should finish that.

A band demo CD.

The following books:  How Poetry Saved My Life (Amber Dawn), I Am Not Myself These Days (Josh Kilmer-Purcell), There but for the (Ali Smith), 1928 version Book of Common Prayer.

Empty soda* bottle

*Repeated misunderstandings of the word “soda” abound in this area.

Two cat pictures

I would suggest that I am a genetic researcher who is studying the effects of semi-obscure 70s music on cats.  When I am rolling in cash as a result of my findings, I intend to furnish this apartment with The Light of the World (or multiple pentangles/pentagrams); I will gave at it reflectively while listening to metal (or possibly Pentangle).  Other publications-in-process include a critical analysis wherein I compare Brother David Gardner to J.G. Ballard and generally rant about both, defending my position with excepts from the BCP and reference to The Killing of Sister George.  Dontavious is co-writing this masterpiece.  The two memoirs are clearly there as I seek inspiration in writing my forthcoming one, which will be based on schizophrenic music-listening cat genomes.  None of this would be happening if I were not overcaffeinated.

I’m just reading the Ali Smith because I like the novels, of course, and even genetic researchers need a break.


Featured image:  The last page the previous owner  of this novel dog-eared (blasphemy).  I am left to wonder what prompted this person to throw in the towel on page 75– but that’s another story.


Hello, Insomnia, My Old Friend

I was talking to someone about, um, innovative blog ideas tonight, and then I realized there’s already a pile of weird beside me.

I also recently finished Furiously Happy (read that) and identified all too much with the statement:  “These are the things that eventually happen when you’re alone at two a.m. often enough.”  Except her story was funny and mine’s just me being the zombie version of me.  And I would have worked 3 AM in there somehow for the dark night of the soul etc.

Moving on.

Disclaimer:  I.  Do.  Not.  Sleep.

I am sitting here trying to Netflix (I just verbed something!  Except someone probably already has) myself asleep after several sleepless nights.  I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that I need to pick up the mess on the couch, and then I realized it was all books.  And I don’t know why.

The books beside me on the couch:

Infinite Jest— David Foster Wallace

British English A to Zed— Norman W. Schur, revised ed.

local weekly paper

The New Yorker (okay, technically, that’s today, and I really was looking through that)

Waiting for Godot— Samuel Beckett

Bible, open to Ecclesiastes

Tell the Wolves I’m Home*— Carol Rifka Brunt (there’s a pen stuck in this one)

Nick Cave:  Sinner Saint (The True Confessions)— ed. Mat Snow

something completely illegible on a napkin– presumably me

*Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a few years old now, but I’m STILL trying to get people to read it.  Please trust me:  it’s excellent.  Not happy.  But excellent.

I’m not sure why it’s this piled up, because things were pretty clean (especially since I’ve fallen asleep here multiple times lately).  I have no idea what was going on with all this.  It would be nice if I woke up with something publishable on my computer screen, but it looks like the napkin is the product of the research here.


Wide, wide, wide awake.

Time elapsed:  less than a minute.  Seriously?

Time elapsed: less than a minute. Seriously?

There Ain’t No Storybook Story / There’s No Never-Ending Song

Title:  here (an astonishingly complete site if I ever saw one).  Image, some serious bucket list material.  [reverent silence]

I normally get annoyed by the mysterious “here’s a video . . . guess what I’m thinking!” posts.  It’s almost fall.  I’m thinking about beginnings, but I don’t have anything beginning (surprises?  anyone?).  That pretty much leaves endings, past, present, and future/projected.

So there’s removing the guesswork.  I’m not adding any additional commentary, though.  I know what each of these calls to my mind.  Listen or don’t, and free-associate amongst yourselves.

In other words:  the starting point is self-referential, but I’m not doing this to suggest you read my mind.  Actually, really, seriously, don’t.  Listen to a song or two and see if anything comes to you is more the point.

*I minimized heartbreak-type songs and went for the more general.  No real reason; it just ruled out a lot of things that came to mind first.  Much of Motown, for instance.  At any rate, I was going for more general, less specific.

AV without Commentary

Spotify for the Whole Dang Thing:

Various Mama and Papas Preaching, Just Not The Mamas and The Papas

Roseanne Cash, “Runaway Train”

Gram Parsons, “In My Hour of Darkness”

J. Geils Band, “Where Did Our Love Go?”

Janis Joplin, “Me and Bobby McGee”

“Buffalo River Home,” John Hiatt

Kim Richey, “I Know”

“All the World Has Gone By,” Mimi Fariña

“I Wish I Was the Moon,” Neko Case

“A Rainy Night in Soho,” The Pouges (eh, tough call)

“I Wish It Would Rain,” The Temptations

My Personal Winners’ Circle, No Order Implied or Intended

If music can make you cry . . . well, I warned you.  And I’m REALLY warning you about “Mercy Now.”  

Johnny Cash, “Hurt”

Mary Gauthier, “Mercy Now”

Lucinda Williams, “The Night’s Too Long”

“I’m So Lonesone I Could Cry,” Hurray for the Riff Raff

“Bromptom Oratory,” Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (more tough calls)

“Christmas Lullaby,” Shane McGowan (not the album version/edit, FYI)

“Anna,” Arthur Alexander

“In Dreams,” Roy Orbison

“Wild Horses,” Flying Burrito Brothers

“Red Dirt Girl,” Emmylou Harris

In Conclusion:  Top Three

“I Shall Be Released” (fragment), Flying Burrito Brothers

“Angel from Montgomery,” John Prine

“Paradise,” John Prine

. . . Eventually, I Shut Up.  Incidentally, It’s 2:56 AM

Don’t mistake a list of “sad” songs as a cry for help, sadness, depression, or cynicism.  Darkness (or some loose approximation thereof) is not always the dark night of the soul.  Nor is it moodiness, artistic flair, and I’m running out of stereotypical associations here.

Topical free association can be fun.  And it probably won’t kill you.

From the greatest age of wisdom.

From the greatest age of wisdom.

But I’m Not Going to Leave You There, Anyway

This is one of my favorites for radio tarot.

“Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” Bruce Springsteen

Still cool, after all these years.

Still cool, after all these years.  Also still listening to a lot of the same music– you may have gathered.

Enunciation Is Power, Even in the South

Mini-post!  Title sort of, not really, kind of related to content!  Mostly an excuse to post a clip of my Higher Power:  Julia Sugarbaker.


I have an entry almost ready to go (in draft), but it’s not quite there, and I’m not in the mood to t-h-i-n-k tonight:  It’s about a sci-fi novel, and I started it last week, before the Hugo winners were announced.  In other words, it’s semi-relevant, which is a big change around here.

So I’m going to do a mini-entry that has absolutely nothing to do with anything instead!  The more things don’t change . . . .

Presenting three snapshots from today.  Your choice of funny, musical, and beatdown-needed.

Snapshot from Today

I stopped to get a late lunch in between two appointments; I’d gotten three fillings in the morning and had put off eating for the obvious Novocaine-mouth reasons.  Here’s how ordering went:

Me:  . . . and a soda.

Her:  A side?

Me:  No, thanks.  Just a soda.

Her:  Did you say a salad?

Me:  SO-da.

Her:  Sourdough?

Me:  A COKE.

Her:  Okay!

Behold, regionalisms at work.  I felt like Ernest T. Bass by the end of the exchange:

Then again, I often feel like Ernest T., so this isn’t anything particularly new:

I feel like I should mention here that there were not a lot of TV options when I was a kid.  I’m equally proficient in 50s/60s B monster movies, but they typically lack Life Lessons.

Julia Sugarbaker would have handled it more effectively.

40th Anniversary Is Rubies; Pretty Sure This One Is Multi-Platnium

In other news (file under:  FEEL OLD YET?), the radio is doing a marathon celebration of the anniversary of Born to Run:  August 25, 1975.

As always, my main danger for arrest is reckless driving, brought on by radio-induced enthusiasm.  For those of us who really, really can’t sing (see:  the episode where Barney tries to sing in the choir), the car is a safe haven for wholehearted belting and dancing like no one is watching (I did apologize once to someone; I had parked next to what I thought was an unoccupied vehicle in a parking lot, only to realize her father was sitting in it; unfortunately for all involved, he had his window down, and I was letting the world know that I didn’t give a damn about my reputation).

At any rate, I spent a lot of time today listening to the preparation for the Day of St. Bruce (hey, Boss’s Day is already taken).  Needless to say, I heard “Born to Run” itself multiple time (swerve, veer, swerve) as well as “Thunder Road,” both Top Ten All-Time Favorites (see previous post), “Thunder Road” being way up there in the Top Ten (a subcategory of the definition I neglected to mention:  being “way up there”).  “Hungry Heart” made an appearance too, for some reason.

I’d like to point out that all three of these songs have something in common:  for the person who gets way too wrapped up in lyrical performance while driving, they’re all pretty much versified prescriptions for wrecks:

  1.  “But Officer!  I wasn’t driving carelessly; I’m just chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and stepping out over the line!”
  2. “But I’m pulling out of here to win!  I can’t do that AND pay attention to the speed limit . . . or the lanes . . . or other cars . . . .”
  3. [cooly gazes over shades]  “I’m not from around here.  I went out for a ride . . . and I never went back.”

I really have no idea how to relate Bruce Springsteen to Designing Women.  Ideas in comments?

Radio Tarot

A major point here is:  I’m a longtime, firm believer in radio tarot.  I have no idea if that’s something other people have heard of or do.  At any rate, what it means is that the car radio is your horoscope for whatever you’re on your way to do.  Needless to say, the rules exist in my head (and you don’t want to go there).  Positive song, positive outcome, obviously.  Added points for a song you really like.  Even more if you hear the whole thing (rather than coming in on the end or having to cut it off mid-song).  You probably get it.  And yes, theoretically, a sad song can still have some plus points if it’s something you really love.  I told you to stay out of my head.

Incidentally, for the scientific value, a recent study confirmed that, even if a song is sad, it can still improve your mood.

Yes, I AM aware that current/new artists exist.  I even listen to some of them!


Should the mother of the young girl in the waiting room with me, by some extreme coincidence, read this:  She was trying to get you to take the very simple quiz from National Geographic Kids.  You would ignore each question until about the third time she asked, then give a dismissive answer.  Finally, you told her to leave her alone and go wash her face:  she’d gotten it painted in art class and very clearly, even to me, a complete stranger, was still excited about it.


I’m done.  I needed to get that out.

Julia Sugarbaker would have schooled her on the spot, not on a blog.  Sigh.

“If I don’t keep this job, then my only future career-options are working in Argos, or being a prostitute,’ I say, wildly.”

Post title from How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran.  Which you should read ASAP.  Post image is just me, y’know, thoughtfully composing this post.  Yeah.  Resemblance to Carson McCullers entirely coincidental.  Nope.  Really me.

Correct:  image chosen at random, simply because I like the picture.

Sorry I’ve been rotten at updating lately.  This post has been in draft form for who-knows-how long.  I’m still trying to find a work/non-work time balance and am trying (key word:  trying) to at least some ducks in something like a row.


This is pretty much what I’ve got going, though. But I like rubber duckies! (as everyone of– ahem– “a certain age” begins to sing “Rubber Duckie, You’re the One”)

File this under “shocking revelations” (perhaps on TMZ?), but I never had any career counseling, career aptitude tests, etc.  I know, I know.  Hard to believe.  Some of us just know we were born to sit on our butts and veg.


Undated. Yet proof that I have always known my calling.  Tramps like us, baby we were born . . . to sit.

Paycheck?  Oh.

Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?  [you are very welcome for the earworm, courtesy of the 90s]


I’m not dating myself with these songs, am I?  But I don’t know of anyone who’s put it better in the time since . . .

So here’s where I career-counsel myself and look at some available options.


I am not.  I mean professionally.  I mean tulle, taffeta, glitter:  the works.  I need to practice throwing shade.

I started contemplating this some time back, when I was doing an image search for Toddlers & Tiaras gifs (I was looking for pictures of kids saying snarky stuff; I actually jumped ship on this search really quickly because it was so depressing– I’ve never seen the show and was picturing regular kiddie sarcasm, not what I got).

Do I have what it takes?


Clearly, she’s been spending quality time with Captain Howdy. Paging the Exorcist. NEXT.


Sufficiently gendered? (I tried not to gender Alice, but it didn’t work out.) NEXT.


Weave insurance? I’m nonviolent. NEXT.


Okay, jacking up on Mountain Dew seems reasonable. I’ll file this one away.


This kid’s dead-serious expression kills me. He looks like he’s in the confession booth.


Please stage an intervention for this kid, stat.

This would be why I quit my search for those particular images.  I think I can rule out pancake makeup, fancy dresses, and Aqua Net [I remember the blue and white can on my grandmother’s dresser– do they even make that anymore?].  Perhaps it’s because I never got a childhood start?

So how do later-in-lifers approach this?


Hello, I’m Maggie. I like . . . cats, books, and coffee. I will now read some of my tweets, which should clarify what I don’t like. Get comfortable . . .


There are games that don’t? That’s a serious question.

I’m not sure I could even be ironic about it.  Sigh.  Strike this option off the list.



I love Little Miss Sunshine (which is one way to guarantee a movie will not be on Netflix:  I love it).  And what does that kid have?  Super role models and people cheering her on!  Can I handle that?


Grandpa is a great role model! So he gets a happy ending . . . oh, wait.


Maybe if I sit really, really still and cover my mouth with BOTH hands, I can pull “normal” off?


Sentence #1: sad, but true. Sentence #2: Why not?



This seems like a viable career for a philosophy major.  I definitely have that huge Platonic dialogues book . . . somewhere.


Oh, no, this NEVER went through my head at ANY time while I was teaching!


This reminds me very much of my intro to philosophy course. After it, I swore I wouldn’t take any more . . . and here I am today. My name is Maggie . . .


Bonus philosophy comic! This is how I show you I care!


QED. So the Socratic path is out.

Oh, yes.  I just remember that I dislike Socrates intensely, for quite a variety of reasons.  I’d be okay with being sentenced to die for impiety and corrupting the youth, though.

Time to go order that hemlock-tini before last call.  [This seems very Sex and the City.  I mean, I’ve never actually seen it, but it sounds right?]


This one isn’t really my idea.  I’ve kind of forgotten exactly how this came up, but I was either reciting or singing a Bob Dylan song (it’s safe to assume I’d gone on far, far longer than I should have).  The person I was with finally said they had never actually understood half of what was being said in whatever I was singing, and further experimentation proved that I can usually get what he’s saying (yes, this is the excitement level of my life).

Therefore:  I propose that, much like an ASL interpreter, I follow him around on his Never Ending tour, translating phrases like “ehorhgorh orhgorhoh rhorehoh hneornhonrh” for the audience.  This is a completely viable idea, right?


This message needs broadcasting.


The video in which he provides his own interpretation. I could do SO much better. (note Ginsberg on left, back)




As are many of his song lyrics. (Ginsberg again, left)


One of the most crucial moments ever, man, and you can barely hear it on the bootleg. (this concert moment has been covered here before, because, no, I’m not obsessed)


Does he “sound” angry– or do you *understand* the words? I’m here to help!


. . . and here’s where I come in!

Yep.  This one’s going on the list.  Should be really easy to get my people (that would be Alice) in touch with his people, right?


My secretary/agent/Girl Friday. What can I say: she’s a professional.


Just throwing this out there, but you know those hairstyle magazines you see in the grocery store?  I’m stylin’ with the best of them.

Taking this picture to the person who cuts my hair.  She repeatedly insists that it look "feminine."  I'm not actually sure what this qualifies as.

The “Classic Lynch.”


The “Drugs, Man” Cave.


The “Role Model.”


The “Hi, I Had a Rough Night! Also, I Have No Shame because I Haven’t Had Coffee!”

The explosive rat’s nest could become a thing.  How do you find a stylist if you are not a Kardashian?  Also putting this one on the list.


So what has worked, historically?  I have a small box of old photos (technically:  an ancient Cover Girl plastic box that I think is supposed to be for jewelry; it has a photo insert in the top, presumably for your beau or besties.  Mine is the Wolfe’s angel gravestonecompletely normal teenager!).

I found:


Let’s face it: a true pole dancer is born, not made. And when you’re a true pole dancer, the world is your pole. And when you’re from, uh, where I’m from, shoes are just not necessary for this.


My great-grandmother’s house? Looks like some great technique there, particularly in the way I appear to be flat-handed banging the keys and have my eyes closed. A kid messing around? No. An experimental performer.

Well . . . maybe I’ll just hold these in reserve.  While I continue to keep this couch cushion warm.


No, I do not know why this has moved to French headings, except it’s after 1 AM, and the coffeepot has run dry.

If couch-warming falls through, I need a fallback, right?  So here we go with most realistic option #2:


And of course I mean the Sartre part.


From How to Grow Up, by Michelle Tea:  “I am someone whose path to adulthood is not a clear A to B, a straight line through life.  My path is more like A, B, back to A, but it’s a different A this time, and now B looks so different from my time back at A– and whoa, here’s C, what a trip!  I’m a grown up!”