That’s not my dad, that’s Morrissey.

26 March 2013

The Hippo/Falcon and I returned home yesterday from our trip to Phoenix. I spent a little time exploring Phoenix. Once the board meeting was complete, we drove to Vegas for a night before heading back to Salt Lake City.

Let’s start with Phoenix.

Walking Phoenix – I sit around the hotel room and watch something called “March Madness” in which a group of sports teams play basketball in order to win some sort of championship. Most, if not all, fans of this event complete what are called “brackets,” which do not refer to punctuation, but instead refer to a game of prognostication to predict the winner of the madness. I clap at one point when a human male makes a “sweet three-pointer.” I decide to leave the hotel.

I know where to find a Starbucks coffee shop, but I want to find something local where all the college kids hang out (Arizona State University is right down the street for fuck’s sake). I walk to the front desk at the hotel and ask if there are good coffee shops around.

“Not really,” says the front desk clerk as she shakes her head to indicate the negative.

“Are there any good bars around,” I inquire. She consults her comrades and notes The Canyons is a good bar. I had been to The Canyons the night before and didn’t want to limit the scope of my travels to the same place right away. I thank her for the information and leave the lobby.

I walk into the warm and breezy Phoenix day. This is Saturday. I expect the sidewalks to be crowded with students and regular humans enjoying a warm day. What I see is space and emptiness. I feel the openness and lack of cluster that is Phoenix in the area surrounding Van Buren and 5th Street. The city is open and warm and I can probably walk with my eyes closed and not bump into another person. I meander by the public transportation rail line. The cars look like old, silver railroad cars. I want to ride, but decide to keep walking. I walk to the park. A gigantic creation that is a series of nets in the shape of a descending tornado is secured by giant cables. I assume this is the centerpiece of the park. (It is.) I walk on past, well, nothing really. I see a courthouse and several areas where one can catch sporting events or a play. I see hotels. Most of what I see is colored yellow and brown and white and made to look like adobe buildings. On occasion, I believe I am in Florida as the colors jump into aquamarines and sea foam greens and purples.

I find an establishment called Chloe’s Corner. Like the rest of the area I see, the place is open. I see a salad bar, a bar resembling a diner (complete with barstools and food service), a separate wine bar, a patio and a huge dining room. A quick scan of the menu board assures me I can order coffee in this place. I walk to the counter and order a 16 oz cappuccino.

“Is that your dad,” asks the man taking my order. I am puzzled for a moment before looking down and seeing the button I am wearing. The Hippo/Falcon’s brother, Adamantium, made a button for me. This button simply has Morrissey’s face, looking casually glum.

“No. That’s Morrissey, former lead singer of The Smiths.” I always have to include the defining information, much to my chagrin. How can everyone in the world not love Morrissey in the same way I do? (To be fair, I did not discover the music of Morrissey until I was in graduate school. I started with You Are The Quarry and have never looked back.) The person behind the counter laughs and apologizes. He gives me a card with a number on it and I find a place to sit. Someone different brings my cappuccino to me. I assume she finds me because the number I have (20) must correspond with my order. Fascinating and efficient.

I sip the warm beverage and take in the beauty and calm of the day. I begin proofreading the novel I wrote last November as part of National Novel Writing Month. I make notations. I look outside at the people walking around. They wear shorts. They hold hands. They smoke cigarettes. I finish my cappuccino, go to use the restroom and leave, back out into the warm day. I walk around and feel the pleasure of sweating in the heat, happy to be out of the depressing winter chill of Salt Lake City.

Deciding I have walked enough to earn lunch and a beer, I choose comfort and walk to the outdoor shopping mall for lunch at The Canyons (the place we went for dinner the previous night). I order a local beer (Epicenter) and a Caesar salad done Southwestern style (the dressing is slightly spicy and tortilla chip pieces are piled on top of the lettuce). I sit and read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and enjoy the pleasure of sitting outside. I am anonymous and at ease.

Later, I plan to meet The Hippo/Falcon and her colleagues at a bar/restaurant in a downtown hotel. I arrive early and go to the bar. I order a dark draft beer. I pay the bartender and begin sipping the beer. The March Madness is on television. I go for another sip of beer. The glass catches on the napkin. In my panic, I slosh a cup full of beer onto the bar, my khaki pants and my chair. The bartender gives me napkins. I wipe up. The stains slowly disappear into my pants. Magic. I look up and the bartender has refilled the beer to the top. “Hey, from one guy who spills stuff to another.” I give him another dollar as a tip.

The group arrives and we all eat dinner. We drink and laugh and tell stories.

We walk back to the hotel in the coolness of the desert evening. We fall asleep.

The next day, I watch the March Madness on television before packing up the car, driving to a parking garage and going to Starbucks for coffee while I wait for the board meeting to conclude. I eat lunch at a sushi restaurant/noodle house. I order shrimp ramen and a salmon roll. I continue reading.

The Hippo/Falcon finishes her duties. We walk to the car and decide to drive to Las Vegas for the night.

But that’s a story for next time.

Music Monday: Ringleader of the Tormentors

2 July 2012

Four days from now, I will turn 31 years old. At various points in my life I have been an evangelical Christian, a graduate student, an actor, a comic, a wimp stuck in unenjoyable relationships, a man in love, a musician, a shoe salesperson, a teacher, a deputy director and an apartment cleaner.

Where I am and where I come from collide in today’s Music Monday selection.

Morrissey’s Ringleader of the Tormentors arrived in 2006. I bought it on the day it was released in the United States. I immediately took it to my girlfriend’s apartment, put it in my computer, plugged in my headphones and consumed the album. At that point, it was the most beautiful thing I had heard and it remains a pivotal album for me. It is deep. It looks back without anger, but with perspective. It is depressed and hopeful. It is contented, but not content. The narrators of this album could die knowing they had done their best. They had glimpsed the lows and the highs and could be ready to go at anytime. They looked back and saw sadness, but also saw an ability never to compromise in the face of stupidity and the constant, crushing pressure of conformity.

This is one of the most adult albums I know.

A few days ago, I waited for GF in the parking lot of her building as she finished up work. I let track seven (“Life is a Pigsty”) of Ringleader of the Tormentors wash over me. It is my favourite Morrissey track to date and fills me with such love and wonder and hope that I feel my entire body will explode. Perhaps I’ve missed the point of the song.

When you listen to this album, please listen to it on headphones or as loudly as possible.


Music Recommendation #1: KRISTEENYOUNG

11 May 2011

Several weeks ago, my friend Marci told me I should start including music to listen to as a part of this blog. This one is for you Marci.

As a child and young adult (hell, even now), I was plagued by self-doubt, self-recrimination and all around low self-esteem. I sought comfort in the Christian god. I found comfort to an extent, but also saw my constant failings as a human brought out in front of fellow, judgmental Christians and an all-powerful, albeit fictional, deity.

I jumped into music, especially Metallica, and found emotional release in the blistering riffs of Kill ‘Em All. Then, I decided I wasn’t dedicated enough to god (after watching one of those Christian “documentaries” decrying the inherent Satanism of all rock music) and dove fully into Christian music. I did find some wonderful stuff, including Five Iron Frenzy and Switchfoot. However, I wasn’t quite satisfied. Eventually, I would step away from my evangelical Christianity and the “songs that made [me] smile and the songs that saved [my] life” would no longer be relevant to me. I needed something else.

Along came graduate school and, finally, the discovery of You Are The Quarry. I had never heard the sweet, melancholy croon of Morrissey before this time, but I was instantly ensorcelled. As soon as track three, “I Have Forgiven Jesus,” played, I knew I had met the musical love of my life. Since then I have devoured the music of Morrissey and The Smiths.

I was incredibly riled up and excited to see Morrissey in concert at Utah’s E Center Ford’s Theatre for the first time. As much as I loved Morrissey’s live performance, I was even more fascinated by that raucous opener KRISTEENYOUNG.

Prior to the concert, I picked up two of Ms. Young’s singles which included the tracks “Kill The Father,” “Life’s Not Short, It’s Sooooo Long,” “London Cry” and “The Dawn of My D-Day.” My musical life would never be the same.

[Kill The Father by KRISTEENYOUNG]

Kristeen Young’s lyrics and music spoke to my deep need to be bold, irreverent and simultaneously worship and disdain those who came before me. When I saw her perform, I knew the lyrics to most of her songs and belted them out as passionately as I could muster. The crowd seemed antsy for Morrissey to appear. But I hoped he never showed. I wished desperately for Kristeen and her drummer, “Baby” Jef, to play all night and for eternity.

[I’ll Get You Back by KRISTEENYOUNG]

Today, I urge you to listen to KRISTEENYOUNG and buy all of her music and see her any chance you get.

[The Devil Made Me by KRISTEENYOUNG]

[Fantastic Failure by KRISTEENYOUNG]


Query as folk

11 October 2011

Blah. Ick!

Hello friends and loves and prepubescent plankton.

As I alluded to at some point (I think), I am spending most of my time at work or traveling for work these days, leaving a small amount of time for other pursuits including writing this here blog.

Consider this a warning that all content up until November 8 will most likely be drivel (more drivelous than usual) and incoherent (more incoherentous than usual).

Let’s play a game:

I’ll give you sets of words and you make a question with those words and leave them in the comments section of this post. I’ll give you an example to get you started:

Example set: hummingbird capture what tapestry jive cellophane Morrissey the avocado

Answer: What jive cellophane tapestry capture the Morrissey avocado hummingbird?

Here we go!

Set 1: Space human tires flail a an if can oxygen Wellington

Set 2: Decaffeinated orange run type kill pumpkin mansion are the flights

Good luck.

Out of my Deppth

19 September 2011

Good evening you wonderful loves of my life.

Has it only been a day since we last spoke? Or since I last spoke at you? Who knows?

I promise to punctuate tonight’s posts with the songs shuffling through my music player. It’ll be just like you’re here with me.

“Yes, I am blind.” -Morrissey

Mr. Steven Patrick Morrissey may be blind, but at least he never spoke like a swashbuckler. (As far as I know.)

Some of my astutest (most astute?) readers may be aware today is a day commemorating the verbalizing of vagrants del mar. Yes, today is talk like a pirate day.

“By the end of the evening I was saying no doubt.” -The Cribs

No doubt I cannot stand this day. Someone actually spoke at me as if they were a pirate today. If you are thinking this is a good idea, let me remind you why it is never a good idea to celebrate talk like a pirate day aloud.

  • You are not a pirate (my apologies to our pirate readers, especially Capt. Edward Trenchmouth)
  • I am not a pirate (my apologies to myself if I am, in fact, a pirate)

Get your booty out of my face

 I am currently listening to “Luzerne” by The Trolleyvox, which is an album I reviewed when I was a reviewer at SLUG Magazine in Salt Lake City, UT. (The curious reader can even see an example of one of my reviews here. I will neither defend nor deride my insufferable, hyperbolic prose. If this review whets your whistle just search the site for “Joey P. Richards” and find some more.) However, the song on repeat-peat-peat-peat in my brain all day is “Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez & The Scene.  

In summation, I hate talk like a pirate day (so much so I refuse to write it properly), love Selena Gomez and am “holding out for that teenage feeling.” (Neko Case)

"I don't care, if forever never comes."