Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Archive for December, 2005

A Cup of Kindness

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Well, here it is almost midnight on New Year’s Eve. I started out writing about my Top five records of the year, and the best shows of the year (it turned out to be eight because I couldn’t narrow it down to five) but then I figured that would be boring, to anyone but me. Plus I already wrote about all those shows and records. I’ve been at The Vine all evening, and it was fun. Hannah came with Baby Emma and it was all regulars at the bar. I had every intention of getting home really early, but of course that didn’t happen. It doesn’t really feel like New Year’s Eve, just like it didn’t feel like Christmas this year. Almost everyone I’ve talked to feels the same way.

I am sitting here listening to Wilco, their show at Madison Square Garden last New Years Eve. During this show, recorded exacly one year ago, I go from elated to blown away to fighting tears. And that, in a nutshell, has been 2005 for me.

I love listening to live recordings where you can hear an audience so full of pure joy. I think it would be impossible to listen to this crowd last New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden yelling and singing along and not be happy, yourself. That abandon is infectuous. I wish there was a way I could explain the gut of me. It all comes down to music, and how music affects my gut. I can’t explain! Elation. Comfort. Fuck me, I can’t explain it. I am happy, and crying at the same time.

This was such a crazy tripped out year. I lost one friend, Nancy, suddenly. But I have the memory of me and her watching the Golden Globes at the Santa Anita Inn after a day of betting on the ponies, last January. It seems a million years ago, but I can clearly taste that boxed Trebbiano. And I have the memory of her puttering around that giant, dusty villa in Taormina, and sitting across from me at lunch in Trastevere, in early Spring. Der Pabst e Morte! I kept saying, just to hear her laugh at my California accent speaking German and Italian in the same sentence. I miss her.

This was, in the long run, a year of music. Obsessions and concerts. A thousand two hour drives, a million Absolute Mandarin and Sodas. A gazillion smiles, a few tender heartbreaks. Well, yes, I am exaggerating.

I am happy tonight. I pray that the world is on an upswing. For one night, let’s all be optimists. The music is killing me, but at the same time it’s keeping me alive. I’m not going outside.

Flirting with the Pastor

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

I have been having the most insane dreams. I can’t even write about them here, they are just too sick. Mostly they involve doing bad things, the least of which is a lot of weird sexual stuff, which isn’t necessarily bad, but also stealing and lying. I don’t steal or lie in real life, but I am sure doing it a lot this week in that other reality. This morning I told a blatant lie that I was Jeff Tweedy’s girlfriend and spent the rest of the dream trying to figure out how I was going to get out of the lie. And I am not even into Jeff Tweedy that way! Where is Britt? Man, I wish Britt could appear in one of these dreams. Then it might all be worth it. But why Jeff Tweedy? Is it because I am feeling guilty that I’ve not yet bought Kicking Television? What kind of Wilco freak am I? The kind who already has a couple of live show bootlegs, I guess. I’m listening to the Madison Square Garden New Year’s Eve show right now, just to de-guilt a little.

So maybe it is the end of the year, so I am working stuff out in my head, or maybe I am just getting more sleep than I am used to. Too many people are getting sick around here and I cannot get sick. My party is this Sunday. Can’t, can’t, can’t get sick. Sleep is a form of prevention, but on the other hand, all these crazy dreams are, well, making me a little insane. I feel unbalanced by the symbolism that’s going on in my head. I don’t have time to understand it right now. The sex. The crimes. The getting back together with ex-husbands. Too freaky. How I wish for a couple of nights with no dreaming! Unless, of course, Britt Daniel is involved somehow.

I’m slowly getting ready for my party. Once again I am making massive quantities of food with absolutely no idea as to how many people will show up. This year’s menu:

Pate di Tonno con Capperi (a pretty name for tuna spread, heh heh, I even made it up)
A very colorful spread of antipasti
Little Weenies with Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Cheeses served with Mostarda I brought home from Venice last year
Cheese Date Biscuits
Bread with Chocolate, Olive Oil & Salt
Diva’s Pesto Siciliano
Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
Pasta e Fagioli
Chilequiles de Puerco (or, tortilla casserole with pork in it)
Salad (the one Green Thing)
Panettone Bread Pudding with some mystery sauce I haven’t yet invented

Even more than last year. That is scary. If you are reading this, and live near here, please come by and help eat some of this stuff. I promise to make your New Year’s Eve hangover go away, at least temporarily.

Chasing the Hangover

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Major Strasser: What nationality are you?
Rick: I’m a drunkard.
Captain Renault: That makes him a citizen of the world.

From Casablanca

Ah, the holidays. They are so exhausting! I am worn to a nub. Sunday was pretty crazy, and yesterday I spent all day on the couch recovering. So that was my Christmas – partying, then recovering. Not so different than my day-to-day life, really, except for the pound of See’s candy I added to the mix.

I had Christmas dinner at Eric and Christine’s. Eric’s Ukrainian pastries were the inspiration for the name of my blog. So, of course, he sent me home with a big bag of Ukrainian Poptarts. It was an incredible meal and a fun afternoon, and the fun didn’t stop there. I went to an all-out Christmas party on Christmas night, a big annual thing thrown by bartendress extraordinaire Sooty. It was there that I noticed I was starting to, well, get kind of hammered. I guess waiting until 4:00 P.M. to eat wasn’t such a good idea, not when there was so much good wine being opened everywhere. At Sooty’s, I ran into this guy E.T., a local OB dude, in the kitchen. He told me he had a bunch of good wine in his car and he wanted me to try some. He told me I have a reputation in Ocean Beach – as a WINE AFICIONADO. People want to go out to their cars and get wine for me to try, even if I haven’t seen them in two years and even if I never even spoke to them about wine before, ever. Whoo hoo! A reputation that isn’t in the gray zone or colored black (or red) is fine by me. I am so happy I have this reputation.

Anyway it sort of got me into trouble in the end, as wine sometimes can. It wasn’t like I was hammered at the party, but I knew I was on my way. One nice thing that comes with age is the knowing that you are on your way to hammered, instead of just arriving at hammered. My brother was with me, and also Lil’ D. Eventually we took off and went to the Lamplighter bar but it was so insanely packed that we left right away. So we ended up back in OB, at Cheswick’s Bar because it was the only place open on Newport Street. I drank a vodka and soda and gave my brother a lecture on how the Beatles could be considered the first punk rock band, because what is punk rock, really? How can Blondie be considered punk rock, or the New York Dolls, but not the Beatles? In my state, my brain was rushing way too fast for me, but I had a rapt audience and it was fun in there. Nothing like a dive bar at midnight on Christmas, to get you into the holiday spirit. I am serious. It was hella fun. Plus having my brother there kept me from getting into any scrapes. He’s very effective at that. It’s almost like having a parent there or something.

But I paid for the excess of it all in a big way. Yesterday I laid on the couch and watched TV for twelve straight hours. After a bit of time (and some food, and more wine) I started to feel better, at any rate I could move my head around a little. It was a fine day for nothing but watching movies, and here is what I watched:

A Philadelphia Story. This is the BEST film to start with when nursing a hangover, because all they do in this movie is get drunk, wake up really hungover, and then start drinking again to cure the hangover.

It Happened One Night. This was the first time I have ever seen this film. Clark Gable is unbelievably young and hot in it. Claudette Colbert’s eyebrows are kind of freaky, but the film is a classic and towards the end I was sipping on a glass of Pinot Blanc, and this was a good sign.

Casablanca. I love this film. It’s one of those movies that you can watch over and over and you’ll always notice something different in it. And the script! I love Captain Renault… he’s so totally corrupt but so lovable at the same time. There are so many brilliant moments in this film – the singing “duel” in Rick’s bar between the German officers and everyone else; Ilsa’s face, shining with pride and love, when her husband leads the French side in this duel; Rick rigging the roulette table so the Bulgarian couple can go to America without the young wife having to sleep with Captain Renault in exchange for exit papers… the entire film is made up of stellar moments like these.

I caught the very end of Sign “O” the Times, the Prince concert film. Why hasn’t this been officially released on DVD yet? This is one of the best concert films ever made. It’s a strange film, very colorful, and with some trippy effects in it. And Prince is a genius. I need to break out that CD again.

Then… Chilly Scenes of Winter. I love the Ann Beattie novel this film is based on, though I don’t really know why I still have my original paperback when I’ve unloaded so many other books over the years. The film has a cult following, and it is a decent film with some real weirdness in it, like Gloria Graham as a crazy mother, and Mary Beth Hurt’s horrible permed hair. I mean, it is truly horrible, that hair. But it definitely brings one back to 1980 again. Also, I love Peter Riegert, especially when he was young. That guy was hot back in the day!

At this point, I started to watch The Country Girl with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly, but Bing Crosby bugs. I can’t take that guy. So I switched over the The Group, based on that risque Mary McCarthy novel. I’ve seen pieces of this film over the years but have never watched it all the way through. Yesterday was no exception – I watched the last half or so. Then I watched the last part of High Society even though I hate that film. Bing Crosby. Yuck. Then I watched the last part of a really weird film about a woman who has an insane Ally Sheedy living in the apartment above her, playing her music really loud and screwing lots of guys. Ally Sheedy isn’t looking too chipper these days.

So, it was a long day, but I got some rest and today I went to the mall and spent it all. The rest, I mean. You can spend rest. So I have to save the rest of my rest this week, because Sunday is my annual New Year’s Day hangover relief party and I will need it then. So my exciting tales of adventure (yeah) are done, for a couple of days at least.

Holiday in the Sun

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

This is the first Christmas in many years where my little family is not hanging out at my Grandma’s for several days. Since Jay and Carrie brought Baby Ryan down at Thanksgiving, Mom came out for that, instead. So this Christmas, I am kind of on my own.

Kind of. Today, me and my brother Tom are going out to my Grandma’s for lunch. This evening, I am going to a birthday party (with a tropical theme!) Tomorrow, I am going to a Christmas dinner, and then another party. Thankfully I have both Monday and Tuesday off to recover.

I also have to watch all the movies I love to watch at Christmas. I already watched Auntie Mame. Tonight I’ll watch Meet Me in St. Louis. Tomorrow morning – as I do every Christmas morning, I’ll watch Babette’s Feast.

Last night I watched Mostly Martha. I really love that film. I think I will add it to my list of movies I always watch at Christmas, even though the story of a wounded kid and an exuberant Italian guy breaking through to the closed-off heart of an uptight German chef isn’t very Christmas-y. Neither is Babette’s Feast. They are both films that make me feel happy and human and make me feel like celebrating. Babette’s Feast always makes me cry at the end. ALWAYS. I love movies that always make you cry, no matter how many times you have seen them.

Happy holidays, or happy weekend, to all my readers, and even to the one-times who type “super sexy” into a search engine. Have fun!


Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

It was a hard day, but a fun night. I am lucky – magic, in the form of friends, and music, swirls around me, not only when I need it, but always. Not to be new age or anything, but that’s the way it is. I am so fucking lucky. I walked home through a thick mist, reveling in the heaviness of it. I may be a fuck up and a polemic, but I can still turn my palm to the heavens just to feel fog making a puddle in the bottom of it. As long as I can feel that, my life will be worth living. And if I thrust my palm in your face, screaming FEELTHIS, please don’t take it as an affront. If I splash the accumulated fog on your parched face, just know that I merely want you to understand that rushing undercurrent that flows just under my skin, and that I want to share it with you. I realize that feeling a fog puddle in one’s palm may not be the be all end all, but whatever. It works for me. No I am not talking about a dude here. It’s all just a generalization, really. Kind of. Also I am not talking TO a dude. Unless, maybe, the nerd/geek who has been flirting with me. Where is this going? I don’t know. And to all, A Good Night.

Found in Translation

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

I stumbled on to the funniest thing today… check THIS out. Looks like a sort of professional website, eh? And it probably is, but they have some pretty hilarious “translated” info-pieces on there.

Like THIS one

And THIS one.

It’s almost Christmas! And we live in a crazy world. You’ve got to read that Skimpy G String thing. It’s just too flippin’ hilarious.

Smells Like Christmas Spirit

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

“He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows: and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk — that anything — could give him so much happiness. In the afternoon he turned his steps towards his nephew’s house.” – Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol.”

On this sort of eve of the week leading up to Christmas 2005, I sit here unaffected. Strange, really, as lit trees and egg nog have, in the past, made me excruciatingly happy. But this year is different. I’m not sure if it is the acceleration of time (Christmas just got here too fucking fast, I am still thinking in Summer-time) or the manipulation of the holiday by the media (holiday tree vs. Christmas tree, right wing Christian vs. Everyone, also SHOP SHOP SHOP motherfuckas) or age (Huh? What’s going on?) It could be age. It could be, that I am getting too old to enjoy things anymore. Wait, is that eggnog with brandy in it? I fucking LOVE that shit. OK, maybe it is not age.

I don’t like to be unaffected. The fact that I am unaffected is affecting me. I WANT the joy of the season to wash over me, but there is no joy. Oh. Maybe there is no reformed Scrooge kind of joy, period? Maybe I have been expecting joy when there is actually none except for the bought and manufactured kind? No, I don’t believe that either. Believe what? Here I fucking go, getting into fruitless arguments with myself again.

What is holiday spirit, anyway? What is TRUE holiday spirit? What is the point? Have I been buying in to the wrong thing all along?

Sometimes I have to breathe deep and remind myself, this is the 21st century. Most likely, you will have to deal with Walmart taking over the world and dudes in giant pickup trucks cutting you off on the 405 for the rest of your life. There is no Christmas, really, only life, and Walmart and assholes in giant trucks are a part of life now, regardless of the time frame. But when I breathe deep, it stinks. My Christmas wish is, that people could take an interest in the world around them and also, be a little nicer on the road. My Christmas wish smells like brandy laced eggnog. We are already hungover anyway, so any sweet, enebriating potion is welcome medicine, at least until January 2. And joy happens when you aren’t expecting it, and joy can’t be bought. Still, I wish I could look at my little tree and feel something there.

Maybe now that I have written this I will feel sorry for the tree and feel something. Or at least SMELL something. One can hope.

Show Her the Money

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

The other day, the guy who handles my IRA retirement account stuff, called me up to ask me how much money I am saving every year. This kind of call always catches me a little off-guard. I can totally answer if asked am I eating enough green vegetables (no) or if possibly I am drinking more wine than is good for me (yes.) If you were to ask me, right now, my five favorite records of the month, I could answer in two seconds. I know how many hours I am working a month, and I know, sort of, how much I have in the bank. And I do know, with a few minutes of thought, how much I am saving and/or how much I’ve got saved. Still, when IRA guy asked me how much I’ve stashed in my 401K this year, I was like, uh, three thousand? That is the wrong answer, I totally underestimated under the strain of being put on the spot, but he was like “you’ve got to bump that up to $10,000 per year.”

Let’s just say right here, that I have definitely invested a little more than $3000 in my future this year, but that the number also falls fairly short of $10,000. I don’t make very much money, and to save $10,000 a year would, well, make my life really, really boring. Also, do I REALLY believe in a future that far away? I am not so sure I do. I want to believe I’ll be around in 2030, but I can’t imagine it. I really can’t imagine that I could live that long. So wouldn’t it be a drag if I put everything cool and fun on hold now, and saved every friggin’ penny, for no reason because I am going to die kind of young anyway?

It sucks knowing I will probably never own a house (at least in a place I’d want to live) and that there may not be any social security left should I even make it close to 67 or however old you have to be these days to get it. And it’s not like I am not saving anything – I am, but how can you live now, and also save enough for later, in case you make it that far?

I am lucky that I have no hardship in my life and no debt. My life is good, and I know how to live this way within the confines of my income. When I think of my mom raising me and my brothers alone on a fraction of what I make (and I only need take care of myself) it makes me feel, well, weird, and whiny, but I am not trying to be whiny. I am just trying to figure out how to strike a balance, without feeling guilty or frivolous, between what I spend on music and travel and wine (which is what keeps me going) and what I put into a tax-deferred void for my questionable future.

It’s nice, I guess, that I get a call from time to time from someone who seems to care, for a forty dollar administration fee, about my future. I just want more. A crystal ball or a winning lottery ticket would be a nice start.

The Dream of the Motorbikes

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

First of all, I am TOTALLY IN LOVE with Elbow’s new record Leaders of the Free World. The first song is so totally epic, industrial, tripped out and cool… I love it when a record starts out with EPIC. Fuck waiting until the end for that. The rest of the record is killer, too.

I can’t stop listening to it… I know my life is hella boring. Just the way it is.

Also, I found out today that Sigur Ros is going to be in Austin, Texas at the end of February, at the same time I will! All of a sudden I am all excited about everything again. What is WRONG with me. I fear that I am hopelessly out of touch with anything resembling reality.

And I already have a ticket… more on that later. I was already so excited to go to Austin since it is the home of you know who but now I don’t even care about that! Well actually I do, but whatever.

So the other night I dreamed about Britt Daniel for the first time since, well, the first time. That I can remember anyway. I woke up right after in a sweat. The dream was perplexing, not like the first one. I was in a big lot, almost like a junkyard, and Britt was there too. We were both working on our motorbikes. We never spoke, though I was always trying to get his attention. He looked on with a detached, unconvinced air.

What is the symbolism of the motorbikes? That one is weird.


Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

Type, into Google’s search engine, “the most awesome website in the universe.” Then hit search, or even “I’m feeling lucky.”

As Napolean Dynamite would say, yesssssss.

Sorry Pauline, I know your website is way better. You just need to use the word “awesome” a lot more.