Tuesday, June 22, 2010

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things (in no particular order)

A long while back, a fellow blogger sent me an award that came with an entreaty to list fave blogs and fave things. I never got round to that, being busy with school and other favourite things. So fave blogs is still coming some dry day down the pipeline. But, here are a few of my favourite things.

1. 1912 Wilson Upright Piano. I once owned a piano. My at-the-time-wife and I found it in a burnt down house. I was up for just hauling it off, but she felt we were reformed from youthful shenanigans and contacted the realtor and the owners, who said have at it. Sadly, it had belonged to the man of the house who perished in the fire, and his kids didn’t want it. It was undamaged, sitting like an angel in the charred mess, with a bench full of songbooks, and sounded beautiful even before it was tuned. I took piano lessons and mauled the keys until my teacher, retracting his earlier statement that anyone could learn, told me to find a new hobby. I loved plinking it anyway. My infant daughter played at least as well as me. Oddly enough, it was the same year we found a violin in an apt we moved into. Good year for musical discord.

2. Cow’s Milk. We(milk and i) are currently enduring a separation, but my whole life, nothing has brought me the kind of comfort, joy and nutrition as milk has. Chocolate cake is pretty nice, but there isn’t really any reason to have it if you can’t wash it down with milk. Incidentally, I spent many years languishing in illicit substances, and without milk—the only thing I digested in a consistent and satisfactory way--I may well have died from malnutrition. So, without milk, I would have missed out on some of the weirder adventures in my life, as well as some of the more mundane times as well.

3. Jazz. Does anything need to be said? If I can’t have Jazz, I am packing up my toys and leaving the sandbox. And by sandbox, I mean life. When life is great, jazz is a perfect soundtrack to accompany it. When life is so terrible that you want to erase yourself so as not to make others uncomfortable, jazz is a survival tool. Jazz is everything. Too hot in the summer, throw some jazz on. Blue over a girl, throw some jazz on. Ace your finals and celebrating, throw some jazz on. Baby won’t sleep, throw some jazz on. John Coltrane's take on the song Favorite Things is definitely one of my favorite things. There’s a song in Grease, “Grease is the Word”. In highschool, someone told me it was the greatest song ever because you could substitute any word for grease and have a spiritual epiphany about life. Well, jazz is the word(preferably with milk).

4. My Sense Of Smell. I'm a heavy smoker, and by all accounts my nose should just be an ornament in the middle of my face(thank god it isn’t just that, as it is a big lumpy nose). But I have a hyper keen sense of smell. This sucks sometimes, when your passing that hepcat who fell into the vat of Old Spice, but more often, I have enjoyed the complex nuances I get out of life, from the smell of trees, foods, fabrics, papers, people. True, I pray for the death of the automobile which tries to commandeer the entire realm of smell. But, the smell of tomato stems, baby scalp, cumin, grapefruit, or a woman on a hot summer day, make all the grunge worthwhile. Perhaps my nose is even defective. When it rains, I would swear the wet apshault smells like corn husks.

5. Water. I can’t swim to save my life. Seriously, when I took swim lessons, I barely managed the dog paddle and turned treading water into the decathlon. And skinny as I was, I sunk instead of floating. I don’t go anywhere near bodies of water without a lifejacket. And why knock lifejackets, you can float at peace in any lake or ocean with them. But I have spent more time in the bath tub than some people do at work or in their marriages. I'm a music lover, and being in water is like making a song happen in your head. I believe, when I am told, that once, we crawled out of water. That water love is even before thinking of how nothing tastes better than water if your pale Scottish ass has been cooking in the sun, or you are recovering from a night of debauchery, or worse, both.

6. Opera. Some folk are middle of the road, some folk are extreme. Unfortunately, I fall under extreme. My moods are so volatile, I can’t actually keep up or keep track. Luckily I have opera to help out. I put some Verdi, or some Wagner, or some Strauss, or even some Glass on, and lo and behold, it tunes me in. Sometimes I need to cry, or I need to get angry, or I just need to fully grasp the holiness of sunrise, and opera guides me. If you don’t get opera, you are just taking up space in my sandbox.

7. Animation. I don’t know what to say here. Fleischer, Lantz, Disney. Rene Laloux, Ralph Bakshi. Japanime. Cheap Saturday morning animation from the 80’s. Love. Love. Pixar, Dreamworks. Love. Indie flash cartoons on the internet. Love. Much of life is tedious. Much of it is sad, often out of your control, sometimes sad of your own making. Animation is always there to help you on your way. As much as I love film, it is a pale substitute for animation. And I will go out back to share a can of whupp-ass with anyone who disagrees.

8. Curry. I’ve done a lot of mushrooms, and taken a lot of acid, but nothing takes you on a trip like curry. Some of the best dinner parties I either threw or attended were debauched in curry. My best personal recipes grew out of the local Indian food store. Sometimes, in the excesses of youth, my friends and I would boldly combine curry with the music of Klaus Schulze or early Tangerine Dream. We would gorge ourselves and leave orange peels strewn about and then float around the room on fire with the best spices, soundtracked by space music. To this day, when I get a dinner wish, I can’t ever diverge from Saag Paneer. It’s mostly spinach and bland cheese, but again, I'll duel defending it. I once had an exterminator swear to me that it was curry that attracted cockroaches. My only answer was, those little fucks have been around alot longer than us, maybe they are onto something.

9. Beer. Ahh, what needs be said. The great peaks in my life, and some of the dankest most regrettable moments are accompanied by beer. The best treatise on the fermented beverage was written by Jack London, simply titled, “John Barleycorn”. It details the heights and wells of that most Canadian of beverages. For all the ill, have you ever spent a long day in 30 degree temperatures painting a fence and then cracked open a beer in the fading light?

10. Books. Jeeze, that`s pretty vague, isn`t it? children’s books of faerie and myth. Scif-fi escapism. Political analysis. Physics. Biology. 19th century Russian literature, beat lit. Satire. Graphic novels. Psychology. Norwegian pastoral novels. Anthropology. Disdainful French lit. Pagan studies. History. Indulgent Canadian Literature. Philosophy. Grease thought grease was the word, but the word is the word. If it gots words, ahs a in. It really is a toss up for me which I would survive longer, a drought of water, or a drought of books.

11. Dogs. Everyone who doesn’t love dogs to death, raise your hands. OK, good, now get the fuck out of my sandbox. Dogs and humans have been living together and relying on each other for at least 40 000 years. Some people deride them for their slavish devotion to us, but you have to remember how slavishly devoted we are to them also. They protect us, they hear and smell for us. And we feed them and caress them far more than we ever do another human. They will always come and nuzzle you and offer companionship when you have been a complete ass and alienated everyone else from your life. And they understand the important things: food, frolic, fucking, and sleep. We could learn from our dogs: Live large and hard and bury your nose when you have been bad, and when all else fails, nap.

I have other favourite things, things that keep me going, but that is a basic list. Don’t ask me for the blog list, I read too much to narrow down a list.


  1. You are my younger, male, doppelganger! I swear, everything on your list (including the 'lost years') would be on on mine.Maybe swap cats for dogs, not that I don't like dogs, I love them, they are the only animals that smile most of the time, I just don't own one because I'm selfish.
    If there is any logic in the universe, you and your family must come to Switz and we will regale you with milk, chocolate, BEER,jazz, curry (The Big G makes the best pakoras in the world!)open air opera in an ancient Roman forum and because we live in the country, air that is almost completely petroleum fume free!

  2. ah, that sounds an enticing and fine invitation, and if I should ever find myself in that neck of the woods, I will gladly take you up on your offer. though given my school and work schedule and my budget(it is perhaps delerious to name it thus), it is perhaps not likely soon.

    and in a more downcast frame, my family is actually a fractured family. the big messy D. this is perhaps why my fond reminiscences of my daughter, young, come up frequently enough. Better times.

    Ending on the upnote, I feel thoroughly regaled and am at this very moment enjoying abstract psychic swiss pakoras, chocolate and beer, all while jazz plays. the jazz is actually playing, herbie hancock, because I am on my way out the door to see him at our little towns jazz festival!!!

    Thank You Brite, you are your namesake.

    and I gots nothing against those feral killers known as cats. there are two of them live in this house, and we prowl around each other with gruff begrudging love.

  3. I love love love this post. Even if I would be on your shit-list for not loving a few of your loves (not going to name which ones), I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and the manner in which you wrote it.