Tag Archives: Loaded

Fangirls and Community

Weirdly, this post occurred to me as I finished Brad Warner’s Sex, Sin, and Zen last night, coupled with the exciting revelation that I get to go be a fangirl with some of my favorite fellow fangirls in April *bounce, bounce,* when Loaded plays the Revolver Golden Gods Awards Show (add to this Alice Cooper AND Avenged, how was I to miss???).  Anyway, I’ll get back to his book and his notion of the effect of personal choices within a community in a bit, but if I recall correctly, I was initially inspired by the realization that I am something of a Brad Warner fangirl (read all the books! link to his blog! *sigh*) and in that regard, fangirl possibly doesn’t mean in my head quite what it might once have.

Fangirl (per Urban Dictionary) [A/N– all spelling errors belong to the site/poster, not kitsch]:

A rabid breed of human female who is obesessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obesessions. 

I’m fond of the use of rabid here; good image, fits the rest of the definition, which seems to regard fangirls as a subspecies of Saint Bernard (read it again, am I wrong?).  I tend to use the term somewhat more loosely, as a female-identified fan of a particular stripe.  You sort of know us when you see us at a concert (yes, I have an lj, and yes, we’ll get to that in a moment).  We often travel in packs, it is true, and we are often a tad…let’s go with overwhelming to the uninitiated.  Couple of examples, all pulled from personal experiences:

At the Avenged show last month, I found myself, as my partner-in-crime observed, square in the ZackyV fangirl squad.  This was not, she also rather cheekily noted, an entirely incorrect placement, either (and not a bassist.  Who would have imagined?).  Now, I’m older than most of the denizens by a decade or more (man, that was horrible to admit–and older than the object of their affection by 6 years.  Ack), and while I sport a few tattoos, piercings, and dyed-hair, I’m afraid my particulars are rather tame in comparison to most of the girls that were in the area around me, owing to the realities of my calling (the industrial, visible tattoos, and penchant for wearing combat boots or Converse high-tops have probably pushed it about as far as I can go, though I would rock blue hair and a lip ring, thank you).  Now, for those of you who don’t congregate in General Admission pits, please note that I am not referring to the sort of lady who pitches her recently-shed thong (not footwear) on to the stage.  Or bra, if you were from an older, calmer era–about 1990.  Those are not fangirls; we have other names for them….like Roxana Shirazi (I kid).  Fangirls, at least the younger and more boisterous set, come equipped with signs that name the object of affection’s dogs (case in point:  “Icky for Prez”* was one that was spotted) and stuffed animals of various sorts.  While such items were certainly present in the ZV fanbase, I did find myself wondering what the group in front of stage left was like…I couldn’t see any of what was thrown at Syn, but I feel certain there were similarities.  Including signs about Pinkly (shut up. That one at least has an easy explanation for its placement in my brain).  And the pet thing…I’m pretty sure this random information collection habit is a holdover from my youth (I arguably reached stalker-like knowledge of the objects of my fangirl affection pre-internet.  Fangirls got it easy now, I tell you.).

More well-known around these parts is the fangirling over Duff and his various bands.  I’ve connected with other women (and men, but we’ll leave them off for right now) over Duff’s bands and Duff himself through various media, including (once upon a time) letters and (now) email, discussion boards, the comment section for Duff’s blog on Reverb, and in person over the years.  And while we embrace our inner teen divas when we rock out at concerts (yeah, much excitement right now), gone are the signs (mostly–they still crop up from time to time) and gifts are likely to be books from discussions or food, should there be any at all.  Giggling and screaming, admittedly, has probably not reduced by much.  Pack-level attacks, on the other hand, probably have, what with our far cooler adult approach to seeing the objects of our affection.

Hey, I managed to keep a straight face to write that!

Once upon a time, of course, I was one of those teen fangirls, complete with signs suggesting rather lewd behaviors (the lovely lady formerly known as CDR, should she read this AND remember any of those signs, is specifically forbidden to relay the contents of those messages.  Ahem.) and, probably, some sort of gifts.  I know I gave Steve Brown (Trixter) a photo album for his birthday one year–filled with live shots of the band (I think.  I don’t really recall what was in it now).  So, I get where the young fangirls were coming from, and I was amused and amazed at the similarities some 20 years on.

What I want to get at here is the formation of community–real, functioning communities–built around a shared adoration of a band/book/person/etc.  I’m utterly fascinated by the creation of such communities, their ability to self-sustain (or not), and the particulars of the communication strategies.

One other common feature of (some–YMMV) fangirls, and this is particularly visible now in communities,  is fanfiction.  Real Person Fiction, as such, has been around practically forever (I’m willing to hazard a guess that Farinelli had a good bit scrawled about him, never mind the fannish movie made in 1994.  Ah, stupid me–googled it.  There is fanfiction NOW about him.  Sheesh.).  I wrote (hideous) fanfiction as a teen, most of it band-related, along with those friends who participated in the same.  In those stories, we tended to work out our anxieties about growing up, about identity–and the band members functioned mostly as sockpuppets for whatever crisis we were attempting to work through at the time.  While I’m sure communities did arise out of such works, I first became aware of such communities only in my twenties, when a friend of mine joined a Xena community (I’m not sure how most of their exchanges were conducted, though.  One person subsequently self-published a novel from the community works, if I recall correctly).  I don’t write fanfiction anymore, but I do read it (as I’ve mentioned endlessly), and I participate at slightly more-that-lurker levels in some commenting areas, but the primary difference for me between now and then (other than identity establishment, maybe) is that I now have a shared language based on community (and to describe the fanfiction community as large would be a rather egregious understatement) standards and agreement, which means we all can more or less have a clue WTF the other person is ranting about.  The language includes an extensive vocabulary, rules–these are the most fluctuating**–and expectations of behavior from authors and commenter.  I’m also fascinated by the breadth of fandom–fiction, discussion boards, tumblr sites, and so forth (along with related expectations regarding ownership, censorship, and plagiarism); take a gander if you’ve not–it’s wild out there.

For the most part, the fanfiction of my youth, not unlike zines and DIY cassettes of the same period, was exchanged primarily through personal means–there was no large-scale publication that I am aware of, prior to the advent of online exchange.  Say what you will about fanfiction, there are serious communities that form around it, and those in bandoms are particularly interesting to me.   These communities form rules–some highly concrete (how to post, standards of exchange (banned words, slash/gen/het), ) and some more ephemeral–particularly in the portmanteaux that have become so common (Brangelina), the alliances behind which can cause some almighty arguments in communities*** (to say nothing of the One True Pairing fights) over what will be regarded as a canonical shorthand for a particular pairing; Glee fandoms have some of the best fights about them (personally, I still haven’t recovered from the advent of Puckleberry).  Like other online communities, the fangirl/fanfic communities have particular attitudes and, for lack of a better phrasing, flavor, based on the personalities of those involved and the participation level of the moderators (who deserve their own discussion).

To follow:  Some Communities are Self-Policing.


*Were Rikki sitting here, she would require the following confession, so in a spirit of honesty, she nailed me on the appropriateness of our placement in the pit when I translated the sign for her.  Her response was naught but a lifted eyebrow and a giggle.  At me.

**A recent occurrence, courtesy of one of my favorite fandom rant sites:  a lengthy debate over the necessity of trigger warnings and, more over, correct trigger warnings (that this debate mirrored one that happened at Shakesville was both astonishing and a bit heartwarming, though I tend to suspect there are more than a few of us in both communities).  The Supernatural fandom was particularly set afire by fics posted on this matter after episode 6.15.  That I am aware of the ferocity of the debate in that fandom is testament to how widespread it was (for that brief internet moment), since I am not a part of that fandom, though I do watch the show.

***We’ll leave off the various splinterings in fangirl communities over wives/girlfriends.  That, my friends, gets ugly.  Far more so than I care to touch, thankyouverymuch.  Like some of the stuff below, I feel certain the same existed in my own youth (I seem to recall some of it in conversations), but nothing like what I see online.  These debates seem particularly common on tumblr sites.

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Loaded Punk

Eeegads…okay, a request, then a post: if you tweet, go follow Duff and Loaded on Twitter, please. Duff has suddenly decided that tweeting rocks; help the man out and show them some Loaded love. Also, as an additional PSA, if you’ve not heard Loaded’s Sick–get out there and have a listen! Myspace, with tracks from the album, is linked at the bottom of the page (it works now, I promise).

Love, love, love my Loaded boys.

Maybe that should be a weekly post (because, you know, I’m so good at keeping up with my own injunctions about what I’ll write each week–how many marathon posts do I owe? Forget the sobriety posts–I’m so far behind on my initial dictum that I’d probably be writing until sometime next Juvemeber to approximate catching up to TODAY. Oh, and the punk history I should have finished 6 months ago? *Snort.*) But it would be fabulous, right? A weekly edition of “Have you Loved Loaded Lately”? Or maybe just “Loaded Love”…someone help out here. Need a decent name for the weekly blog posts I’ll inevitably forget to do.

Here’s a starter, though: Follow ’em on Twitter (links above, but duff64 and loadedlamf, if you don’t wish to scroll back up), if you are of the tweeting kind. Go on, I’ll wait here.

Finished? Thank you! I’d say that Duff, Mike, Geoff, & Jeff thank you too, as it seems to be a reasonable guess, but, well, I’m not one to speak for other people.

So, the post part–we’re going to pick up on the aforementioned punk history track [link provided if you’ve no clue what I mean, or have forgotten those vast pearls of wisdom (*snort*)]. Two places I have not yet had a chance to wander though yet: gender and consumption. As you might guess from the title, we’ll look at the latter of these first–> ye olde drunk punk.

As I have mentioned before, the “drunk punk” rhyme has been around from the get go, so far as I can tell. The first time we have record of “punk” being employed in written text is in 1575, in the bawdy little poem: “Old Simon the Kinge ” (can be found in a collection called Loose and Humorous Songs, which can be found here*). The notice that precedes the collection is itself a fabulous study of culture; check this out:

…but we make no excuse for putting forth these Loose and Humorous Songs. They are part of the Manuscript which we have undertaken to print entire, and as our Prospectus says, ” to the student, these songs and the like are part of the evidence as to the character of a past age, and they should not be kept back from him.” Honi soit qui ma y pense**. They serve to show how some of the wonderful intellectual energy of Elizabeth’s and James I.’s time ran riot somewhat, and how in the noblest period of England’s literature a freedom of speech was allowed which Victorian ears would hardly tolerate. That this freedom dulled men’s wits or tarnished their minds more than our restraint does ours, we do not believe.

I love this rationale, as it reveals so much about Victorian England (when the book was published)–don’t judge the Elizabetheans*** on the standards used by Victoriana, their “wonderful intellectual energy” may have “run riot somewhat” (brilliant!!), but we do not believe that it somehow lessened their intellectual force, anymore that the restraint celebrated by our Victorian England does now. We have the same farking argument all the time now–what mode best supports art–freedom or restraint? What limits (if any) should be placed on art? It’s clear, of course, that their (editors Percy, Hale, and Furnival) perspective required defense inside their particular culture. What a fantastic glimpse.

Anyway, in the text of the poem, the poet remarks “Soe fellowes, if you be drunke,of ffrailtye itt is a sinne, as itt is to keepe a puncke,or play att in and in…” Put short, the line will go on to tell readers that, while drinking, whoring, and gaming are sinful (and will, result in “want & scabbs”), one must take risks in life–and these are worth it. The worth of wine, women, and game is set out by King Simon, he of the “ale-dropped hose**** & […] malmsey***** nose ,” when he notes that “ffor drinking will make a man quaffe,& quaffing will make a man sing, & singinge will make a man laffe, & laug[h]ing long liffe will bringe.” Indeed, laughter is the finest of all medicines, says our king, but laughter sufficently lubricated is even better. When a fellow of the puritanical stripe calls him out for his behavior, he points out that even the puritans, when caught in “human habits” will claim that “‘truly all fflesh is ffrayle.”

Thus begins a loooong association between punk and drunk. Here, of course, we have two points to ponder. First, the words rhyme (duh), which is one of the primary reasons that they are both employed here. Second, song celebrates wine, women, song, and gaming, so we are most likely dealing with the first of the definitions for “punke,” which is, of course, prostitute and, in the case of this song, most likely female prostitutes, given that the context reveals nothing to indicate homoeroticism. We see that second definition, the young male “made punk******” in 1698, in the equally delightful “The Women’s Complaint to Venus.”

In this bawdy tune, we have an apparent chorus of women decrying the men’s recent interest (blamed entirely on France, incidentally) in other men:

How happy were good English Faces Till monseiur from France Taught Pego a dance To the tune of old Sodoms Embraces But now we are quite out of fashion Your whores may be Nuns Since men turn their Guns And vent on each other their passions

I’m particularly delighted by the second stanza here, which conflates war and sex–it almost makes the complaint sound like a Lysistrata one–our men keep going off to war and not giving us or due pleasure (not quite the complaint in Lysistrata, I grant, but not far off either), particularly in the last two lines where “men turn their guns” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and “vent on each other their passions.” One could read this, if one had a sufficiently “clean” mind, as a protest on war, I guess, but the poet fairly quickly annihilates the possibilities (if vented passions weren’t enough) two stanzas later:

The Beaus whom most we rely'd on At Night makes a punk of him that's first drunk Tho' unfit for the Sport as John Dryden

What a great moment. Not only are the speakers complaining that the men “make punk” the man who is “first drunk” (wow…totally passivity here–>”makes punk” of the drunk, who, presumably, is unable to give consent. Holy hell.), but they are also complaining that the men don’t really care what the punk looks like, suggesting that even one as ill-fit as John Dryden (who was notoriously ugly) would do for the “sport”.

[An Aside: the careless use of rape imagery here is a bit astonishing and unfortunately familiar. Ever heard the “insult” that someone is “too ugly to be raped” (the weirdest attempt at insult I’ve ever run across–how to respond to this, “thank you”???)–yeah, that’s EXACTLY what the complaint is here.]

So, there’s the beginning of the association, steeped as it is in the sexual politics of the days (seems that gender and consumption may be inextricable…interesting). The rhyme between “punk” and “drunk” would never go away, of course, so that it crops up time and again is of no particular surprise. Now, let’s fast forward to the late 20th century and the rise of “punk” in it’s most recent sense, that of punk music (however you choose to define it, even if you honestly believe it was (and remains) dead in the water by 1980. Or 1982, for you Seattlites). “Punk,” we have already seen, is employed to describe music that precedes 1970, such as the Garage Punk of the 1960s, but for the purposes of this adventure, we are going to look at “punk” as it appears in the 70s and 80s (we’ll even, much to my chagrin, avoid the 90s and beyond for now).

We surmised previously (see corrections here) that “punk” was appropriated from British prison culture, where the skinheads/hooligans were “made punk” within the system; it’s a bit unclear when the conflation occurs, clearly that is not the use employed in the 1950s South U.S., where punk simply referred to an outcast and was, so far as I can tell, often conflated with the greaser type. It’s neither here nor there at this point, an interesting artifact of language, true, but the particular etymology doesn’t alter what happens when we examine the punk drunks of the 70s and 80s.

Colleague Sam pointed out recently that punk seems to operate from a triangulation of contempt, fashion, and poverty, and I tend to agree. Various punk musicians will fall at various places within that triangulation, with “old punks” veering toward contempt and poverty, and the punks who arose in the era after the media appropriation of the label (think Quincy punks) tend to veer toward fashion and contempt, as many of them hail from the suburbs and have no vested commitment to the politics of punk*******, many of which arise from poverty or, at any rate, fears of poverty.

Next, we’ll begin to delve into the question of style and culture within punk, which we’ll pick up on our next installment, lest I try your patience with yet another obscenely long post. Part II will follow early next week.


*So delighted to find this online!

**Translation: “Shame be to him who thinks evil of it.” Reminds me of a joke:

What is the word for someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual
What is the word for someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual
So, what is the word for someone who speaks one language?

American.

*shakes head*

***BTW, if you or anyone you love is under the impression that our forbears in the English Language were not capable of being dirty, first read Shakespeare. Then, Herrick. Finally, I leave you with these gems of the middle ages. Oh, hell, here’s an Italian one as well–>Put the Devil Back in Hell, dammit! If the last doesn’t quite resonate with you, shoot me an email for an explanation.

**** Use your imagination, kiddos. If you don’t have a sufficiently naughty imagination, you should borrow someone’s for a spell. It’ll make it much easier.

*****Malmsey = wine; therefore, malmsey nose = alcoholic rosacea

******You know, I don’t think I have ever seen the phrase “made punk” used to describe women, though it is equally fitting, as women were made to prostitute through various circumstances and were certainly “made punk” by dominant men in several cases. Huh. So, for women they simply are “punk” (which allows for intent) but men have to be made that way–the masculine is rendered in the passive voice (which eliminates intent). Boy, if that’s not discomfort screaming out of the authorial text, I don’t know what it.

*******Granted, neither did a fleet of the “old” punkers, many of whom rejected the notion that punk was simply meant to be political.

Seven Days

It’s difficult for me to believe that Monday was only 7 days ago, because there is no way that so much could have happened that quickly.

When last I completed a blog (another story altogether), I was riding high. Really high. Fabulous concert; met Duff. Riding high and even managed to garner a description as “cute” as a result of my overall giddiness from a fellow member of one of the online forums I hang out in. Cute, I have to say, is a word seldom applied to me, even by my husband, who finds in necessary to muster up a very serious face just to say it without hurting himself from the laughter.

Suffice to say: whatever I may be physically and emotionally and mentally and what-have-you, cute is generally not among the descriptors. Hence, I was really high on life as the week opened.

On Monday, I met with Rev. Dean on the subject of a book project and held court in the first of many search committee meetings. This one, as I recall, did not go particularly well and brought me down a few pegs, but, in general, all was well.

Then came Tuesday morning, when we received word that a beloved friend and colleague, who was due to have heart surgery that morning, would not have the life-salvaging surgery because his heart was just too damaged by the heart attack earlier in the semester. He was to be sent home and into hospice care. We’d been getting reports all along about his well-being, some hopeful, others quite depressing, but the surgery had been a point of possibility, even as much as it would be a difficult procedure. But on Tuesday morning, he was suddenly dying. For real. G. came home that night to report on the finance committee meeting that had been held at church. To say that I disagreed with the tactics of the committee regarding cutting the budget would be a significant understatement. I was angry, sad, hurt, and convinced that what we had fought so hard for–to protect the ministers and ministries against the tide of support for a building…yeah, wooden beams and stained glass over people and mission–that all of that was for naught. I went to bed furious and exhausted.

Wednesday bloomed a bit brighter than Tuesday ended, if only because there was a concert to look forward to. Early in the morning, still high off the morning run, I got the word that Loaded would be playing a free show in Augusta, in addition to the one I was planning to attend that night. So, G and I arranged to take off early and go to both. As I prepared to leave, there was one last search meeting for the day, and it went FAR better than I expected, in that we made a decision, something that seemed unlikely at the close of Monday. The concerts that night were indeed fantastic and took my mind off the events of Tuesday, just a bit.

I came into work on Thursday on 3 hours sleep (after some 21 awake). Tired, perhaps a bit cranky, but generally mellow, though notably unable to write either of the blog posts I had started. Read Duff’s SW blog, which he swore on Wednesday was a poor one, written in exhaustion. As of today, said blog has generated more response (I think) than any of his prior ones. So much for a pathetic piece of prose, eh*? Posted a response that was likely longer than the original post (oops). Friday was more of the same; a bit rushed, but otherwise tame. The most contentious meeting of the day ended with a decision and I went to the other campus for a meeting, where we signed a poster for our colleague, who was home but trying to work out his affairs, and thus wanted no particular company.

Then Saturday. This one made national news. While we oriented and registered two hundred or so new students at our lovely semi-rural campus, a local professor shot and killed three people at a local theatre gathering near downtown. I live, as I have mentioned before, in a college town, and one of the (many) idiosyncrasies of college-townness is the incestuousness–everyone knows everyone, at least by degrees. And, indeed, as the news unfolded, we discovered that one of the victims was the husband of another beloved English professor. To say that shock washed over this campus would be a serious understatement; we held together, registered the new students and went home to our families, trying not to feel morbid as we saw “Professor on the loose” in the headlines.

Sunday was for grief. For my friend. For the families. For my community. Rev. Dean reminded us that life exists within all this death, when he dedicated two babies during Sunday’s service. Fought tears during the service, then gave into them. What safer place to cry?

This morning, as I returned from class, I received an email regarding my friend Tom, who died this morning, simply and quietly, as befits his delightful and magical life. He died at home, as he wanted. He died with friends, as was needed. I gave more tears at the desk and turned toward getting the word out and making sure students and faculty knew there was counseling available. “We are here if you need us,” I signed off. Morbid humor pervades the day–I find myself making cracks about the relative insanity of PhDs or listening to similar jokes about SWAT teams in camo…in the middle of the city.

Seven days of highs and lows**; an exhausting 7 days. A puny seven days. SEVEN. Life, death, music, terror, anger, sadness, and humor.

And we are still here, somehow or another, if a bit in a heartbroken daze. But, we are here, trudging ever onward and wondering if this week will bring peace or something we have not yet even begun to imagine.


*Of course, mentioning vinyl will tend to generate comments from the masses.

**And reading about bipolar disorder at the same time. Bipolar life would be more accurate at the moment.

A Loaded Evening

I have a longer, serious post for later on the same subject, but for now, only celebration and sharing. After 18 years (either I am getting old, or I was ridiculously young the last time. Yes, that’s it. I was 5 in 1991. At a GNR show. In the pit. Yeah.), I got to see Duff play live again and finally had the opportunity to see Loaded in action. I am delighted that I took the time to get up to Nashville to see them–the show was well worth the drive.


The pics included here attempt to document the inveterate silliness that occurs on the Loaded stage, as band members plot and harass and cajole each other and the audience into sharing in the good time. Readers, if you have the chance to see them (oh, look, a list of dates!), take the opportunity–make the opportunity, for few bands have the energy (even if Red Bull…ummm… “enhanced”), camaraderie, or excitement as this band. The segues in and out of band and fan favorites in the midst of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” (including a hint of Judas Priest, an appearance by ZZ Top, and scores of others) is alone worth the price of admission.

Gentlemen, should you ever see this, my hat is off to you. Thank you for such a fabulous show.

I also had the pleasure of meeting two women, duffdiver and rhyte (nicknames are theirs from the Loaded fan forum), who epitomize musical fandom and allowed me to share in a brief retreat back to 15-year-old girl concert craziness. Seriously groovy ladies, they are. Even managed to get a few excellent book recommendations from them (Loaded seems to draw in an awful lot of English degrees in the fanbase).

Now, as befits the geekiness of this blog, I do have to share one tiny thing. One infinitesimal detail about the evening, that, as you can imagine, I have mulled and pondered and tried REALLY, REALLY hard not to drive G crazy with.

I got to meet the band after the show, and after Duff’s shout out to me in his SW blog, I thought I was prepared for the event. Squires, Jeff (a god of the stage, I must assure you–wow), and Geoff were terribly groovy and gentlemanly, even as I quite clearly geeked out over meeting Duff. Cause, you know, haven’t idolized the man for 22 years or anything. Okay, truth be told, I managed to keep my cool–didn’t geek out (completely) and even managed to introduce myself to Duff. The exchange when like this (remember, all of us were suffering post-traumatic-hearing-loss, so I’m editing a few “huh’s?” out of the exchange):

K: Hi (shakes Duff’s hand), I’m Kris (cool, ain’t I?), from your SW blog.
D: (leaning in, hearing being what it is at this point in the evening). Hi. You’re who?

This is the part where I would usually have died and walked away.

K: (louder, realizing he’s as deaf as she is) Kris, from your SW blog.
D: (eyes wide & incredulous): You’re fuckin’ Kris?

I will never hear my name quite the same way again. (*grinning as she types*)

D: Okay, so you’re not a professor? (not sure what I said in response to his blog that gave this impression, but it was the second time someone had asked me that during the evening. So for clarification, he was half-right in his blog: I am a professor, but I am not from Seattle. Unfortunately.)

And so on….

He was very cordial and complementary, even saying that he found my little blog inspirational.

At which point I fainted.

Kidding, kidding.

I maintained my cool (sort of), and thanked him, completely awestruck…even gobsmacked…again. Cause, like, you know…22 years. My hero–one of the coolest musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, certainly one whose life and work has provided much aural pleasure and, indeed, inspiration over the years–said that I (or at least what I write) am inspirational.

To him.

I am humbled once again.

My fuckin’ hero.

Trippers and Askers Surround Me

If you don’t recognize the post title, it’s from a Whitman poem, Song of Myself. Even as much as I make fun of Whitman at times, this really is one of my favorite poetic moments:

Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself. (4:1-9)

This resonated today insofar as this post is as much grab bag as analysis (and probably a good deal more). See, I am not the bits and pieces I collect; “I” am more than the sum of their parts, but they are no less a part of me. If I fail to give them voice, I reduce myself. At the same time, if I give them more attention than is their due–try to make them all of me, I reduce myself. So, this collection of randoms is not “me” but they are very much the expression, the clothing of my voice.

Marathon Training: 25 miles last week, the same and additional change for this week (27 total?). Time is, as ever, pokey, but speed is not the goal–dragging myself across the finish line is. We can worry over speed after the race. Not thrilled with the whole return to cold weather deal that we had this morning. In fact, it SUCKED.

The 10 mile loop I mapped out is an interesting beast; turns out that little country road behind my house is one very long hill. With bikers.*

10 miles–two of these uphill battles plus a 10K and I’m done, right?

The psychology of running is a beast with which to reckon–more on that in a later post, but I’m pretty sure I rewrote my will, sketched the first 74% of a novel, and re-centered my current research project in the course of Saturday morning. I did discover that it is a good thing that I don’t carry my iPod along, as I am distracted enough without music.

Duff: A perennial favorite in these parts, yes?

For those who missed my über-freakouts last week, a brief update:

First, Loaded kindly consented to come to the Southeast on their tour, and while I can take no credit (though I did harass), I am very pleased and wish to say thank you to all four musicians in question. I look forward to seeing all of you this month. Thank you, gentlemen.

Second, Sick (Loaded’s album–see the link at the bottom of the page) arrived yesterday. Good tunes. Good fun. Great humor. The joy in the music is palpable.

Third, Duff mentioned me in his blog. No really. See the quote below? “Kris” is me (I love, love, love the digression about newspapers and blogs that accompanies the remark about me…it’s ridiculously fitting):

Of the readers that I deem to be local, a professor dubbed “Kris” has a blog of his/her own that is drenched with deep-thought and hyper-awareness. I am honored that people like this even give a guy like me the time of day to read the neophyte script that I turn in to the Weekly. (On this subject, I just watched CBS’s Sunday Morning, and there was a segment on blogging and news otherwise obtained on the Web. Apparently, for the first 100 or so years of their existence—1680 to 1780—newspapers would leave a blank page at the end of an article so that readers could write their comments and then pass it along for someone else to cross-comment. By 1915 there were some 15,000 different newspapers and magazines circulating in the U.S. Radio, TV, and other media eventually diminished the high demand, but it appears now that with the Internet, we are back up to having the wide variety celebrated those 100 years ago. Back to the future, I guess.)

I grant that the pink daisy probably should have been a gender clue, but, I appreciate the gender-non-specificity nevertheless and, moreover, I really appreciate his kindness. When in the world did I become a “people like this”? I thought that was his role. He’s my hero after all.

He’s “people like this,” not me.

Him.

Duff. The guy mentioned first in the blog’s cast of characters. My hero thinks I’m a “people like this”!

I’m not though. He is.

“people like this”

…The last piece of Duffness came in an article that inspired a post that I will put up later this week on the subject of recovery. Because, damn, he is “people like this” and fuck all if he doesn’t make me think time and again about where and how and who: this time, he made me remember something about recovery that I had rather suppressed.

On that note…

Recovery: Rather melancholy at the moment. I realized this week, happily, that while the first go-round at recovery was brutal for an extended period–the craving, the obsession with consumption, I haven’t had much in the way of a pull toward alcohol at all this time, at least since the first month (which was a bitch–way worse than the first time). The…I can’t think of the right word here…lackadaisical? ambivalent?…what? The (whatever word I am seeking–detached?) attitude is a bit baffling, and, at first, I thought it was a good thing. Then I remembered that this was about the same feeling that preceded the decision to drink again. At which point I began to pay more attention to my thoughts and rambles, and they are a bit darker than I realized. Not threatening, mind you–not going there, but definitely dark.

Or maybe it’s the return to cold weather that’s getting me down.

In all likelihood, it is some of all of the above–some of each of the bits and pieces reflected here. I was getting low last week, before I saw the remark quoted in Duff’s blog above, which buoyed me more than I can readily articulate. My hero and his kindnesses. Great highs, such as the excitement of last week, inevitably precede precipitous lows, and I will simply have to weather those, as well as the snow flurries outside my window.

Snow flurries in Georgia in April should be verboten, dammit.

Maybe I should work harder at not hanging my hat on the kindnesses of heroes and strangers, but celebrate those moments and allow myself to revisit on tough days and hours, but buoy myself with my own service and work in the world. Touch upon the joy and savor it for a time, but rely on internal measures, rather than external ones.

And in thinking about the weeks to come, perhaps I should not worry so much about how I appear to others, that I may be over-excitable (why not be so, after all?) or risky or scary or whatever, but I do. I do worry over the trippers and askers, the dress and compliments, the depressions and exaltations.

My compulsions and ecstasies and smiles and encounters and addictions and stories and whatevers and whatnots are significant. Even my silliness.

Which makes me wonder…what makes you who you are? What are the events and ideas and behaviors that clothe your self? Who and what surrounds you?


*For those not in the know, this community is rife with cyclists (not bikers, I know…I couldn’t resist). Scads of brightly colored, spandex-clad folks on minuscule tires cover the roadways each morning. They are, as a rule, a fun group of folks to watch, even if the occasional super-athlete feels it necessary to make an obnoxious remark at me. Heh…I’m usually too whipped to care by the time they come upon me. Fortunately, most of the cycling crowd is quite polite.

No Words

I have none at all. Laughing too hard….

The Loaded boys are at it again, this time in their new video for “Flatline.” (the link to the video is at the bottom of the article.)

Watch. Enjoy. Laugh your ass off.

Open Letter to Loaded

Gentlemen:

I am so very excited about your forthcoming full-length album, Sick, and your upcoming tour plans. Please be advised that I am dragging my butt to a marathon in your lovely Seattle in June and would be ever so delighted to discover that you are playing there that weekend. This would be the last weekend in June, if you need more specificity–for the Rock N’ Roll Seattle Marathon.

See, it’s perfect, no?

But, I know you have aspirations to hit the UK again and that you’re planning to play at Download in mid-June (Faith No More?! Be still my heart!). Totally understandable, wish I could join. So, in case you won’t be hanging around Seattle that weekend, you are more than welcome to, say, join Crüefest (since you have mentioned this tour as well) on the late August dates, where they will swing through the South (hey–you know, Atlanta would be fabulous!).

So, please, feel free to take any of the above suggestions. I won’t mind. Really. I’d be grateful, thankful, eternally in your debt…whatever.

Begging aside (sort of…please?), best wishes to you. You guys totally rock.

Peace,
Kitsch