Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This Is a Groove Pt. 1

Well, it's time for my annual post on this poor, neglected blog! I'm immersed my other website, but I thought I'd use this one as a venue for a series of posts about music. I'm not going to attempt to be organized about genre, or to try to dissect my reasoning. I just want to make a point about rhythms. As a dj and a dancefloor participant, I often get downright (and unreasonably) angry about songs with beats that I consider ungenerous...stingy with the kinetics. I don't know how to properly explain it, but I think of a good rhythm as having a "forward-leaning" structure, one that just guides your body almost involuntarily into a state of motion. Anything I post here will be either great executions of classic rhythms or beats with something original and exciting about them. Here are a few examples of tracks that didn't phone it in.

Running From the Cops, Phantogram. The first time I ever heard this song I actually yelled out the words, "Now THAT is a god-damned GROOVE!" I admit I was extra psyched because at the time, Phantogram were an emerging "local" band recommended to me by a friend... a friend who was of a more banjo-y, mandolin-y persuasion, so this hip-hop/electronic thing was quite a shock. And now they are blowing up!
Go, Moby. This gets heavenly at 46 seconds in. It makes me levitate to this day. It's something about the little grace-note just before each actual beat... what do you call that? I'd love to know, because it's like magic.
Pump Up the Jam, Technotronic. Beginning at
32 seconds in, each little synthesized noise physically grabs your limbs and swings them where they are supposed to go. It's just perfect.
Saturday, Ludacris. If this comes on in my headphones while I'm running, I'm at risk of my heart exploding. And passing cars are at risk of witnessing a ridiculous, involuntary dance routine by a sweaty crazy lady on the side of the road.

Coming soon: Nit-picky rants about good vs. bad house beats. Hey DJ, what is that, Sousa? Mix it up already!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stop and Smell the French Elephants

Whenever we reach this page in "Babar's Family," I involuntarily pause. "Mommy, talk!" Sonja prods, but the poetry in this depiction of leisure pulls at my heart. The entire book is comprised of little vignettes of familial harmony and joie de vivre, but this description is so vivid -- a sensual, physical and emotional portrait of the experience of living in a moment. "Sometimes Babar and Celeste go sailing," it says. "They love to glide silently over the cool water, pushed by the wind." Of course they do! What I wouldn't give for an experience like that! But in fact, my life is full of these moments -- they just need to be recognized. Because my view of life right now can be summed up by this little painting I made yesterday ("SONJA UP CLOSE"), I'm feeling pretty incapable of seeing past this admittedly adorable obstruction to the rest of the world. So that's my current project, and it might cause me to look a bit silly... for example, when I'm running and something catches my eye, I'm now inclined to go right over and, say, run my hands through the attractively sideways-blown tall grass, and then maybe even tear some off to smell before trotting back onto the road.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back In the Saddle?

I'm tentatively reclaiming this blog after not posting for 7 months since I might be about to live up to it's title again. No, not another baby! I might actually take a DJ gig. My last stint behind the tables was in 11/07; I was 7 months pregnant and reaching that extra distance around my belly to get at the decks was uncomfortable, surreal, fun and funny. Had I known then that the luxury of immersing myself for endless hours in the process of constructing a set would be so throroughly taken from me, I would have relished it so much more. Sonja is 25 months old, and even now I can hardly imagine how I would find the time and the concentration to do this... Will they really let a newly forty-year-old mommy spin house music? I shamefully remember playing a rave in Louisville when I had just turned 30; I felt like such an ancient sage, savoring the shocked "no waaaaay!" I would get when revealing my age to the young candy-ravers. But just recently there was that actual old person in England, a 69-year old grandmother, who is now blowing up as a DJ in Europe after learning about electronic dance music from her grandson. I think maybe she will be my new power animal.

Here are two of my paintings, one from 1997 and one from 2010. It is hard for me to reconcile these two lives.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I was browsing at our awesome neighborhood thrift store Noah's Attic the other day with Sonja, picking through some fantastic eightiesness on the blouse rack, when I was approached by a boy. I'd say he was around 10, blonde, a little scruffy. He talked in a kind of muddled but incredibly fast way, starting with some very involved questions about some shoes he was thinking of buying. This led to telling me about how he might try out for football this year, and these shoes might be good for that. Then, on to his father, who used to play football. I was slowly tuning out, a bit distracted with my shopping and the baby. But I snapped back to attention when I heard "yeah, but then I found needles under the trailer...my mom says he was doing lots of heroin." His tone of voice hadn't changed, still that sort of breathless "um and then um and then" way kids can get. "Oh, really?" I said, looking right at him. "Mm hmm, and he was always hiding it, but then he drove into a propane tank...he died, and my mom is says it was cause of his ex-husband(!) ...She smokes, I tell her to quit but she says she's ADDICTED!" Meanwhile, Sonja was beside herself, laughing, clapping, trying to join in the conversation -- oh my god, this big, cute boy is paying attention to us! "Um, it's really hard to quit smoking, but you're right that she should..." I said, lamely. "Yeah, I'm not ever going to smoke!" he said, "I've only done it a couple of times -- " "OH NO, DON'T SMOKE!" I interupted. "But I get it from my MOM," he said, shrugging helplessly. This went on for awhile, and finally I had to extricate myself. "Well, I have to take my baby home now," I said, edging toward the stairs. "Okay," he said, smiling and waving, "hope your baby doesn't eat too much sugar and go all crazy!" Riiiiight. It didn't even occur to my stupid ass until later that I should have asked where his mother was or anything. I wish I had never heard the words "I found needles under the trailer" come out of a child's mouth.

Monday, July 20, 2009

You think YOUR sister is crazy...

Mine is a freaking superhero! Check her out up on our roof. She and her husband are painting our house and just couldn't quite get the right angle to paint one side of the chimney. After snapping this picture I promptly took to my bed with the vapors.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

my own personal cakewreck

Okay okay, look -- I unmolded this thing and "decorated" it within the few minutes that Greg was in the shower, without any forthought or the proper materials and with Sonja on one hip. I was like, oh hey, maybe Greg would like his cake on his birthday eve, I can totally get that together right now! Wow, this is one ugly-ass cake. See, every year I get a peanut butter cup Ben and Jerry's cake for him, but suddenly they don't carry that flavor. So I took matters into my own hands and decided to make a Greg-specific ice-cream cake myself. In honor of his afternoon graham cracker with peanut butter habit, I made Peanut Butter Cracker Time bombe cake as follows:

2 1/2 gallon boxes Stewart's Peanut Butter Pandemonium, softened
2 pints Stewart's Crumbs Along the Mohawk, softened
1 package Oreos, crushed

Line mixing bowl with wax paper (or don't, since it gave my cake a wrinkly surface).
Line bowl with 2-3 inch-thick layer of Peanut Butter Pandemonium all the way around, leaving a bowl shape in the middle. Put in freezer to re-set. Take out and coat inside with crushed Oreos. Re-freeze. Fill remainder w/ Crumbs Along the Mohawk, cover whole thing w/ remainting Oreos, re-freeze.

Turn cake out onto plate and peel off wax paper. Hastily scrawl a few blue and red hearts around the lumpy, mottled surface. Randomly stick graham cracker pieces on top. Voila! A good idea gone so wrong... it tastes good though, of course. Happy birthday Greg!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I'm continually baffled by the psychological/hormonal effects of pregnancy and motherhood. There are aspects that I had not been told or read about, and maybe they are specific to my chemistry... Early in my pregnancy I began having memories so strong and vivid they were like waking dreams, almost obscuring my sense of my actual surroundings. They were mainly focused around my grandparents and their homes as I experienced them as a young child. Small details such as how the carpet on a staircase felt and smelled, the temperature of the air one morning on the bluffs in the backyard, or the taste of Fruitloops came back with significant-seeming force. I guess I was either connecting to my own babyhood/childhood or with the ancestral contributors to my own little growing project. Of course, there were a zillion of more obvious and well-documented types of hormonal adventures which I experienced on the way to Sonja's current toddlerhood, but today I found myself returning to that early type of memory madness.
Over the past few days Greg and I have really been noticing that Sonja is gaining the heft and presence of a person, a child rather than baby. She just feels huge; her legs are so long, her feet can walk up your body and face til she's upside down in your arms before you know what happened! I have this overwhelming sense that I can FEEL her growing. And so throughout the day today I've been repeatedly rendered still and stupid by memories of my youth, broken into specific stages. They were categorized by the mood created by my group of friends and the music specific to that era. It was almost as if I was reliving each block of time, and I realized that there main feeling that you have as a child or a young adult that seems to go away as an adult is EXPANSIVENESS. It must be the sensation of growing! That sense of your fingers extending out, literally and metaphorically, but with the whole body, and of course the heart and mind. I think that my ablility to re-feel it right now is directly related to Sonja's delicious, heavy, healthy body in my arms.