It’s that time of the week again, but not actually! I’m coming to you from the distant past, as I’ll be in Wyoming digging dinosaurs by the time the fifth rolls around. That unfortunately also means no Movie Friday again this week… sort of. I’ve never claimed to be consistent, and as such, I ended up watching Nope in theaters this weekend, and may be watching the Evil Dead movies while I’m gone, so we’ll have to file those under “bonus movies” on my next Movie Friday post. We’ll call it a double double feature. With all that out of the way…Read More
And so, driving down the parkway, George and Delilah talked to anyone but each other:
“I always think it’s crazy that we ended up with a blue sky,” said George.
“Eyes on the road, George,” said Delilah.
“And blue’s not even my favorite color, especially not this shade.”
“You don’t like my dress, George?”
“No! Yes! No, I do, because the blue complements the yellow, it’s a whole different thing. I just think, you know, when the plants are all September-dry and the sky gets more faded-airport blue, it just… I don’t know, an orange sky would be more fun, right? I don’t know.”
“You sound like you know, George.”
“Well, uh… I guess where I’m going with this is, like… the sky is blue because the atmosphere is, I don’t know, dense enough that it refracts the white sunlight and blocks everything down the rainbow up until blue—”
“No, no, everything with a higher wavelength than blue doesn’t bounce off all the molecules. It’s called Rayleigh scattering, George.”
“My name’s not Rayleigh, it’s—”
“I know, I know, Mr. Rayleigh was your father’s name, just call you George.”
“Well, uh… I guess where I’m going with this is, like… the sky’s only blue because of our exact atmosphere and its exact molecules, and it just has me thinking, I don’t know, we wouldn’t have evolved without all of those exact conditions, and if we did, we wouldn’t be the same George and Delilah, now would we? We’d have… lungs on our… brains, or. I don’t know.”
“Turn here, George.”
It went on like that; a trailing kite tail behind the car, winding up and down and around the asphalt anthill they call Humphrey Heights. Humphrey Heights, where sightings of spring chickens like George and Delilah were sparing at best. They call retirees who migrate south “snowbirds,” but there’s no ornithological designation for the more sessile types, like Delilah’s parents. Chickens, maybe, but certainly not the vernal variety. Their daughter may have flown the coop, but she wasn’t above a visit. Delilah owed her parents dinner; George owed Delilah a buffer. Say your prayers, George and Delilah.Read More
Have you ever wanted to discuss music with someone, except it’s not a discussion and the someone is me and I talk for several uninterrupted paragraphs about what I’ve been listening to? Well that’s kind of weird and you need to be more assertive about your boundaries but we’ll talk about that later because right now I’m riled up and ready to talk for several uninterrupted paragraphs about what I’ve been listening to. That’s right Toddheads, Toddlers, Toddlings, it’s that time of the week again! Except not really, because there’s no accompanying Movie Friday because it’s Moving Friday. Housing crisis. Uuuuuhhh okay music goRead More
This is the seven-thousand, eight-hundred and seventieth day of my life. 7-8-7-0. The seventh day of my week begins at eight o’clock, 0-8-0-0 (standard or military), with my alarm fading in across the oblong room. My alarm tone is called “Springtide,” and I chose it because it’s friendly, but not too friendly. It’s eighty-seven degrees outside, and was seventy-eight last night— enough to justify the fan that now blows at the exact frequency as my alarm. This, your honor (for I call my body this derogatorily), is why we cannot rise— facedown, frozen, and odiously awake. “Springtide” has reached its saccharine swell, shedding all semblance of zen to reveal its unforgivable friendliness before I’ve even had breakfast. Friendly, unfriendly— either way, it always ends in a slap to the snooze button.
All it takes is a flick of a switch on my bedside lamp to jumpstart my seven-thousand, eight-hundred and seventieth day. One flick to spark the bulb, one bulb to light the walls, one light to peel the shadows away from the seven-foot naked man across my room, watching while I wake. He sits sunny side up beyond the perpendicular bookshelf that divides my bedroom, but soon launches from his crouched knees and bounds towards me. I’m on my feet before my brain can register and breathing like a marathon runner, but I haven’t dodged a thing— and certainly not a man. No, its grin is far too wide across a head stretched like a lemon, and though it leaps on feet like a kangaroo, it’s too aimless to have aimed for me. It can only ricochet around my room— a bug trapped beneath a mason jar, finding paths with ones and zeros. Stimulus, response. Entomologists call that taxis. If it was my job, I would too.
I now know this is a rare Forest Minstrel, and I know it because knowing is my job. I make puzzles for kids, seven so far with an eighth on the way, that teach them of the dangers that lurk within the woods. Between a Good Fairy level of reward and a Bunny Foo Foo level of risk, most field mice are best left in the nest. I have seen zero Forest Minstrels in my own woodland forays, zero like the empty, animal 0 behind its black eyes. I’ll need to film this one and film it good if anyone is to believe me, so I record its scattered bounces with my phone, already in hand. Eight seconds in, and I remember to turn out the light to show that shadows cast across it unlike cheap VFX. The darkness works too well— swallows the Minstrel whole as it leaps just behind the bookshelf. Zero visibility on my next artistic reference.
I turn disappointedly towards the bedside lamp, only to find myself nose to nose with a drooling face. The Minstrel stands on the bed next to me wearing a smile wider than the span of my shoulders. Its breath sends a stinging breeze across my eyes, shot between thick gaps in dozens on dozens of square, wet teeth. A giggle hisses through its clenched jaw like a less friendly zen alarm. But still, zero behind its eyes— like eye contact with a parrotfish, empty as outer space despite eerily human teeth.
Then, still hissed, a hushed command: “sssshhhh.”
I oblige as it drapes my sheets gently over my face, and I have no choice, your honor, because they’re tucked so tight. And isn’t this only part of the Forest Minstrel’s show? They’re born entertainers, after all, like the imp clade they hail from. It lays me down in bed and the room braces in silence, silent like my muscles that stay still even though they’re screaming. From here, seven possibilities: I’m skewered, I’m bitten, I’m tossed or tickled by spindly, overgrown fingernails; I’m thrashed, I’m smashed, I’m snapped in half by a wound-up kangaroo stomp. I simply make us freeze and wait, your honor, because seven-thousand, eight-hundred and seventy is a nice round number; feels penultimate, like October, without proclaiming too much grandiosity. It even slides nicely off the tongue: 7-8-7-0. That’s all I’ve got, and it’s enough. I can accept that. Still— silence.
“Springtide” lilts on, seven unblinking minutes later. Soft, sourceless footsteps on the carpet advance to muffle it before disappearing, returning after another eight minutes to repeat the cycle. Taxis. This is the Forest Minstrel’s show— I can accept that, even respect it. I stop fighting sleep, picture the moral of the story on the back of my eyelids: I’m safest asleep in the nest.
SONGS OF THE WEEK 07/22/2022
I’ll be the first to admit I’m too lazy for manifestos, but I figure it’s a good idea to give some context as to what these weekly updates are all about (but I’m not gonna pretend I invented weekly songs or movies—actually, I sorta ripped off A Song A Day when I started making these back in the day. I’d link their website, but I’m fairly certain it was shut down a while ago. We are well into digression territory here… maybe this should be a footnote). Since the new year began in 2018, I’ve been creating lists of five songs in Instagram and Snapchat story format and posting them weekly. In the beginning, it was mostly another creative outlet that allowed me to put my own interests out there— back then, I was still in high school, and was fairly convinced that sharing my music with my friends was on par with cropdusting in an airplane cabin. Since then, I’m glad to say I’ve found many people beyond my lovely family (who I owe my music taste to) who are excited to exchange songs, and they’ve propelled this little ritual into something that provides structure in my life through highs and lows— perhaps a bit too much structure. If you know me, you know I rarely drink, and I certainly don’t in the house, because if you know me, then you also know I have less impulse control than a toddler in a shock collar. These days, I’m trying to take a similar approach to social media management, but I’d be remiss to sacrifice this tradition— in fact, one of my main motivations for raising this blog from the grave was to give these a new home. I hope they bring you the same peace and structure as they do for me.
Alright, so maybe I’m too lazy to actively make a manifesto, but too wordy to not accidentally vomit one out. I guess that might be worth getting used to if you want to survive around these parts.
And you know what’s cool about posting this with space for extra words? All you can do is watch as I crack my knuckles in painstaking sequence and get ready to wax poetic about ALL FIVE SONGS.Read More
[TW: Blood and Gun Violence, neither of which I condone, especially given the atrocious political landscape that the USA is currently mired in. As with the rest of the Dream Stories series, this is spun out from a dream and is meant to be entirely humorous.]
There is no canned applause when the disheveled man takes the stage, an AK-47 in one hand and the head of some expired 90’s heartthrob in the other, sunken but still plastered with a surgical smile.
The Dolby Theater’s renowned acoustics complement the gong of each warning shot, and like the great Nicole Kidman before me, I am too immersed in the cinema of it all to dive behind a seat.
“Enter the will of the people, stage left!” squawks the man with far less baritone than his bullhorn gun. He shoos with the head still clenched by its stiff quiff, flicking the comedian offstage with jugular stud’s blood. Her shriek splits the stale air dispersed by her scattered notes, a livelier performance than anything else gasped out in years. She smacks the floor as her polite jokes are atomized into illegible letters by another ear-splitting blast.
But still, this can’t be happening. The crowd is frozen— how captivating a performance! The whole audience joins me outside the fishbowl despite the semiautomatic muzzle snarling in our direction. And this isn’t my party, anyways— my name tag says “collateral damage,” and my invitation rolled out of a raffle cage.
“No more movies, give me cinema! I want to be swept off my feet, not showered in your patronizing mundanities rained down from atop a gilded throne! The people want a culling, not a coddling. Down with mediocrity, I say! Death to the sheep-shaman— death to the Oscars!”Read More
Sample of a Manifesto Printed on the Back of a Shampoo Bottle for a Wizard Separatist Group Which Briefly Attempted to Expose the Immaterial World by Means of Locally Sourced Hygiene Products:
[ DR. DO-BETTER invites you to SING-SONG ALONG to his recipe for ABCendence!
After the Armageddon, Anticipate An Awakening! Leisure is temporary— but nothing ever ends for you! After the Alphabet, Ascend to Alphabet SoupTM!
Before the Betaalph Boiled Alphabet SoupTM. Its Benevolence Boasts that we shall never Be Bereft of it, But this Bargain Behooves our eventual return to it. Happy Birthday!
Chaos Cannot be Copyrighted, though the Children know its name. Communicate the good word, but never Commodify! Our Condolences to the Culture-Consumed Cthulhu, but he Cannot Comprehend what’s Coming.
Do Defend our Descending Dithyramb, for this Dialogue is Demonstrably Dear amongst the Din of Duplicitous and Dogmatic Discourse. We Don’t Dilly-Dally!
Eek! Eek! Emanates from Everyone, the Entangled. They have never tasted Alphabet SoupTM, not like this. No matter! Enlightenment Entails Evolution, but in the End, Evokes Effervescence!
Father is Fallible, and his Flaw is Feigning this Fallacy! He was born like the rest of us his children from the primordial Alphabet SoupTM. So Foster Forgiveness, as his human Form would!
Gentrification is as Gullible as it is Godless! To Gentrify is to Generate your own Gulag, to become the mind’s Gestapo! Don’t Give in— Galvanize!Read More
To be fair, some microbes are
supposed to be good for you
As the wasp, as the worm,
as the pink Pepto Bismol
that tastes like metal for kids.
I hover above the toilet bowl,
my Head a fishEye, both bowls
my microbiome knows from
the fish that ties the greens and
blues we share between us.
Fish eyes and our eyes are both
bowls of water, but only
one of us still lives to swim.
So I must see contrary
to how I must see, must be,
without those who live within me.
I lurch for evolution
because I can have neighbors,
but not bedfellows, even
if there are cities, history
I. Why The Sausage Was Made
Kevlar stops bullets, spider silk more so, but molars, most of all, make castle walls. You sip oatmeal through a boba straw, jaw-broken, psychosomatically satisfied without proper sustenance. Bone-scraping, marrow-slaking, seeds never sewn between crushing wisdom at the back of your jaw, yet still that dull, drilling ache. Maybe bullets and chocolate-frosted sugar bombs are not in the demolition crew’s toolbox– maybe a bath in ancestral addiction is all it takes to show why the sausage was made.Read More