Tuesday, June 30, 2009

None Too Subtle Seething

* Stop calling me. Stop texting me. I don't want to know you anymore. Everytime my life falls apart, you disappear. Frankly, I can't do this anymore.

* That goes for you, too.

* You don't own me. You never did. And you never wanted to accept what I had to offer, so stop getting all pissy any time I talk about a girl who isn't you. I'm allowed to move on. I'm allowed to go with other women. And to be perfectly honest, we never had a relationship in the first place, so what are you so butt-hurt about?

* Stop following me everywhere I go. Because of you, I had to privatize my Brightkite account. Thanks a lot, you crazy bitch.

* I don't care that you know people. No one does. So stop perseverating on how many times you fucked so and so and how you ran into so and so at whatever stupid fucking function you were at. No one is impressed.

* Stop being a creepy pervert, you creepy pervert. Memory lapses are not an excuse!

* Could you, in the future, please refrain from winking at me every five seconds? It's, ah, disconcerting.

* Why are you so terrified of commitment? I have to walk on eggshells every time I'm around you, lest you get freaked out and never talk to me again. And you wonder why I'm so timid about "making a move?"

* What's with all the falling for butt-ugly guys who are as interesting as Saw V and ignoring everyone else in your life? It's getting old and you're too fucking beautiful for that.

* Are you into me or not? These occasional bouts of flirting and subversive wordplay have me utterly confused. I've liked you for a long time. Show me the real you. Please.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Swear...

...to the big, fluffy, white cat in the sky that I haven't forgotten about this blog.

My computer is still dead. I'm currently working on resurrecting it using my mad zombie skillz.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Lodger In Us All

(My computer is currently busted for unknown reasons, so I've been using my old tower for the last few days. In the process, I've found a replication of an old David Bowie website I used to run on Geocities. I ran the site, Repetition, for several years until a lack of contributions and interest sent it into the web graveyard. Over the next week or so, I'm going to be reprinting some of my articles from that site. I hope you enjoy!)

David Bowie's 1979 album, Lodger, was his third and final "Berlin" collaboration (the trio of albums recorded in Berlin) with Roxy Music's Brian Eno. It was also an album whose "eclecticism and experimentation" (Buckley, David, p. 69-70) made it an artistic success, but a commercial failure. Bowie's returning lust for fame ultimately clashed with Eno's ideologies and Lodger wound up sounding like two different albums playing at the same time, which was probably why the album was so original. Muddled somewhere in the layers of sound was a message, however. For those who listened closely, Lodger is actually an amazing commentary on the human condition.

Longtime Bowie watcher David Buckley noted a few important conceptual ideas about the first half of Lodger (p. 70). Bowie uses his own experiences in life to cover a subject understood by many on "Move On." The idea that "somewhere, someone's calling me" is one that many people have throughout their lives. In fictionalized form, Bowie describes the adventures of "a traveling man," possibly commenting on his own desire to travel around the world. However, closer inspection reveals that wanderlust was only half the story of Lodger. "Fantastic Voyage" makes a few expressions about the roles of men in society in the lines "it's a moving world, but that's no reason to shoot some of those missiles. Think of us as fatherless scum; it won't be forgotten. 'Cause we'll never say anything nice again, will we?" Bowie continues in that vein, commenting on how women feel around men when he states "we're learning to live with somebody's depression." Through this, Bowie tries to reach out to a female audience that had been alienated by the forbidding timbres of the first two "Berlin" albums (Low and "Heroes"). A few females weren't the only ones alienated by Bowie in the late 70s, unfortunately.

Further into side one, a stance against racism (one that was surprising to some, given the accusations of racism that forced him into hiding in Berlin in the late 70s) can be seen in the Burroughsian cut and paste lines of "Red Sails" ("do you remember we another person, green and black and red and so scared. Graffiti on the wall keep us all in tune; bringing us all back home.") It isn't quite certain why Bowie would want to hide such a statement, especially with the press after him for being a racist. Bowie's fan base had dwindled due to careless acts on his part and it would have made perfect sense to bring those he had alienated previously back into the fold. Whatever the reason, the statement is still there and visible for those who look for it. Lodger's second side, however, alters those statements towards the gloomy for a much darker look at life.

Side two of Lodger reveals what Buckley called a critique on "Anglo-American consumer society" (p. 70); the songs prove that he's not far off. "Red Money" has a very obvious analytical spin to it ("project canceled, tumbling central, red money"), but it's narrow scope doesn't mean much to most people. Some of the songs, however, are universal in their scope. Jon Savage called "D.J." an "amusing and sharp look at the fear of instant obsolescence that runs through all media" (p. 161). Using sharp characterization, Bowie lets "D.J.'s" protagonist speak his mind about his reasons for not being fired ("I am a D.J., I am what I play. I got believers, believing me."). A few songs later, however, the commentary turns much more pessimistic.

Bowie reaffirms "Fantastic Voyage's" theme of the roles that men play later in the album (this time with a blue-collar twist) on "Repetition," a droning, but focused review of a wife-beating worker ("well Johnny is a man and he's bigger than her. I guess the bruises won't show if she wears long sleeves."). Bowie is at his most direct here, playing a sort of detached observer callously reviewing the sadness of Johnny and how he takes it out on his wife; occasionally he breaks his silence and cautions, "don't hit her." In fact, it would be rather valid to theorize that the singer could be a detached form of either Johnny or his wife. "Repetition" is one of the few instances in Lodger where Bowie's hidden messages are overtly evident. Another is the "seedy angel of death" in "Look Back In Anger" that makes a case against the trivialization of religion and the fear that people have of leaving things undone in this world (Buckley, David. p. 71). Both "Repetition" and "Look Back In Anger" shine due to their bluntness, but the album as a whole doesn't make things as clear.

Lodger hides its commentary for obvious reasons. Most people don't like having a mirror put up to their own personalities. These themes of personal alienation and social fanaticism are likely reasons why the album is titled Lodger. We are all lodgers in some way or another in our lives. Be it at work or at home, everyone has a certain level of fear of being alienated. Bowie's Lodger obliquely shows that that fear is what makes us so alienated in the first place.
Works cited:

Buckley, David. The Complete Guide To The Music Of David Bowie. New York: Omnibus Press, 1996.

Thomson, Elizabeth and Gutman, David, Editors. The Bowie Companion. New York: Da Capo Press, 1996.

© Feb 5, 1998 Michael A. Liebel

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I came to grips with the fact that I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life quite a long time ago. Yeah, every once in a while I forget and I hold out hope for something good in my life for five minutes, but then reality slaps me in the face and I remember.

I’m broken. And girls can smell that a mile away.

I don’t write this as a way to get attention. There’s really nothing than can be said to comfort me at this point. Those of you who know me well know just how little I believe it when I’m complimented. I’m just not built that way. I really just write this as a way of reminding myself of how things are.

A little over a year ago, I realized that there was no possible way of moving on with my life. Pretty much any chance I had of starting over was eliminated because of my own stupidity, my own follies.

Things have changed since then, don’t get me wrong. I have a different job, my outlook is certainly different. I look different than before. I act a bit different. All in all, I’m a better person now than I’ve ever been in the past. There’s an honesty to me that wasn’t there before. An openness, too. People who’ve met me in the last year or so think I’m a really nice guy (Except for that one crazy girl, but who cares what she thinks? She‘s crazier than I am!). You couldn’t always say that before.

Yet, I’m still stuck at square one. There’s really nowhere else to go beyond square one. I’m ruined financially and emotionally; my sanity is questionable at best. There’s literally no way of getting out of it. There’s no plan. I’m just existing at this point. I look towards the next vodka tonic. The next concert. The next day off to spend with my son.

I can throw whatever blame I want at a certain ex of mine, but the majority of it really does lie at my feet. I did this to myself. And I allowed myself to be hurt. So, I really don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me. I just don’t deserve that.

So, I’m alone for the long haul. I stink of failure and vodka and cigarettes. And even if someone manages to get past those things and wants to be with me, they’ll figure out just how stuck I am in short order. I’m never moving from square one. This is my fate. This is the punishment I deserve.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dancing To The Coral

I’ve just been relaxing for the most part today, listening to LP’s on my record player. When I put on The Coral earlier, Sebastian ran into the room and started dancing. He never really stopped. I had no idea he was so into The Coral.

Regardless, I caught a little clip of him dancing to “Jacqueline” and attempting to sing along…

Sebastian Dancing To The Coral

Thursday, June 11, 2009

True Story, Swear To God

Last weekend. The scene: my bedroom. Simon is sprawled out on my bed. Sebastian enters the room, approaches Simon, and says…

“Hello, Simon! What you doing, cat?”

Later, I hear squealing coming from Sebastian’s room. I check up on him. He holds up his stuffed Bobcat and says…

“Not me! Bob!”

Toddlers are bomb.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Excerpt 17 (June 24th, 2008. A Death Star So Long Ago)

I was drunk last night. And there were images flickering in my head. It was M, and she was over me, naked and lustful. She’s growling, clawing at my chest. Our hips grind together. She continues to growl. I fucking love it. These were times when the rest of the world didn‘t matter…

The sad part of everything is that I do fully understand my dual nature. 75% of the time, I understand my feelings. I don’t want to die. I realize that not everything is about me. I understand that there is more going on. He/she didn’t hurt me because he/she directly wanted to hurt me. I get that there are layers to that. It’s the other 25% of the time when my emotions take over and I want to kill myself because she left me or she never wants to be with me or he’s hurting me again. During those times, I can’t rationalize my behavior. I’m taken over by the pure feeling of it all. They’ve hurt me, and now I want to hurt myself.

When I’m rational, I apologize. I know for a fact that S can attest to that. She’s done nothing wrong to me. Over the years, she’s been such a good friend. She’s put up with a lot of my bullshit. And I take so much personally with her. If I don’t hear from her, I agonize over it because I’m an idiot. I’ve begged at her feet. I’ve screamed at her. I’ve ignored her. I really have no idea how she puts up with someone like me. I swear, someone with a dartboard could do as good a job dealing with my crap. I’m all over the place. No wonder my relationships end so badly.

I hid so much of this from M. She really has no idea. She says I’m crazy, but it’s not that I’m crazy. I just FEEL so much. I’m an emotional person by nature. And I let it get to me. I think that she oversimplified me. She had no idea what kind of impact leaving would have on me. Not that I think things would be any better had she actually known. In fact, she might have treated me worse.

She left me on April Fool’s Day. Very apropos. You know the story. What you don’t know is what I did a week later. I guess that’s the idea. Trying to drown myself in a pool wasn’t a cry for attention. It’s why I never mentioned it before. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed for failing. I can’t even do that right. One week after M left me, I got drunk. I had a lot of rum lying around to finish. I really shouldn’t have been drinking that much.

I was still confused. I still am, I guess. I didn’t understand why she left. Why she had hurt me. Why she still seems to gain self-satisfaction in watching me tumble and twirl to the floor. Drunk, I finished off half a bottle of sleeping pills and passed out in the living room, thankful that my life was all over. I woke up in a pile of my own vomit. My overindulgences had saved me.

After this attempt, and the attempt at the pool party, I was ashamed of myself. I understood how stupid it was to try and kill myself. I just didn’t know at the time I was swallowing pill after pill. And it goes in that cycle. I can spend most of the day just fine. And then two hours at night will send me over the edge. Sometimes all it takes is a flickering image in my head.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'll Tumbl For Ya

Earlier this year, I started a Tumblr account that I barely use these days, seeing as how I need to focus most of my energies on working and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. The other day, I got an e-mail from Tumblr tech support, regarding a copyright issue. The tech guy who contacted me actually forwarded the e-mail he got from the photographer.

Hi Marc,

I am contacting you to inform you that one of your members, http://thelossadjuster.tumblr.com/, is using and allowing downloads of a photograph of Ute Lemper that I own the copyright to without giving me credit.  The press page for Ute Lemper's site where he downloaded the image requires the user to credit the photographer  Please contact this individual to ask him to post my credit ©franjanik.com or remove the image from his page. Please find atttached a copy of the image that I had downloaded from his page today. Thank you for your assistance

Fran Janik

This is all fine and good. Artists need to protect their work and I fully understand that. What got me is that this photographer is so out-of-work/bored that he was trolling the internet for illegal use of his photos. Apparently, there aren’t enough weddings to shoot in Vermont at the moment.

And, I’m apparently bored enough to complain about it.

"Using and allowing downloads?" Yes, how insidious of me. That free trade of information that is the internet is my medium for profiting on the hard work of unsuspecting photographers. Remind me to credit Mr. Hankey next time I go to the bathroom. I want to make sure his intellectual properties are preserved.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Crazies

I abhor nights like this one. It’s one of those nights where the thoughts swirling around in my head are threatening to take over and push me over the edge. It’s like a panic attack mixed with depression, served with a side of paranoia. I’m sure someone with far more in the way of qualifications has a proper term for it. I usually just call it “the crazies.”

When I’m alone and having “the crazies,” I tend to drink a lot, which isn’t exactly the answer to my problems. But it does have the effect of keeping me from doing something really stupid. And if you can think of things that are really stupid beyond drunk dialing, texting, driving, getting kicked out of bars for “bringing the place down” or whatnot, then you’ve probably got a good idea of what I’m like when I have “the crazies” and aren’t drinking.

It’s like the drinking curbs the really, really bad stuff. Which, again, probably isn’t the best thing in the world. But, hey, I’m still alive right? Maybe the alcohol renders me relatively inert. That’s what I’m going to continue to keep believing.

I never really know what’s going to set “the crazies” off. My last bout was Monday. I remember going to a meeting at work, hitting the bank right after, and driving to the bar. A few bar-hops and a dozen or so drinks later, I’d been kicked out of a bar, I’d infuriated a good number of my friends, and I was no closer to happiness than I was the day before. But why did it happen? What set me off? I have no idea.

Normally, I can keep “the crazies” at bay if I’m in some sort of enforced busyness, like work. And, in fact, the first few months of my new job did a great job of keeping my brain on the straight and narrow. But now it seems like I’m having “the crazies” a couple of times a week again, which is not helpful. It makes me feel like I’m stagnating, or maybe even regressing. And I tend to be the sort of person who doesn’t think very highly of myself in the first place, so the feeling that I’m backpedaling tightens the knot in my stomach even further.

So, in a little bit, I’m going to take a good, long shower. Then, I’m going to make myself a cocktail. I might do some stupid things that stem from that drink, or the drink after, or the drink after. I might even text you to tell you I love you. Or that I hate you. Maybe I’ll do something really stupid. Or maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow morning, feeling just fine, only slightly embarrassed for opening up about my fragile psyche.

Tomorrow might be the best thing in the world. Maybe I’ll figure out some techniques at work that’ll expedite the socialization process for my current patient. Maybe I’ll meet the girl of my dreams, and maybe she‘ll think I‘m the boy of her dreams. Maybe I’ll discover something that makes me so happy that none of this will ever matter again. Or maybe I’ll have “the crazies” again, and I’ll have to explain to everyone why I’m acting so very strange.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Excerpt 16

I’m listening to Chris Connelly’s new album this morning on vinyl. Listening to Chris Connelly has always made me think of you, despite the years and distance. This new album, in particular, brings thoughts of you flooding to the forefront of my mind. Pentland Firth Howl is a song cycle about Connelly’s childhood in Scotland, so it’s obvious…

We met back in high school at a writer’s conference. I guess I would say that I was just coming into my own as an official “man slut” (or so they say), and when I heard your lilting accent from across the designated meeting place, I knew you had to be mine.

You had driven down from Portland for this conference; who knows why? You’d lived in the States for a few years, so you were used to useless American bastards like me. But still, you talked to me, and we established quite a rapport.

I asked for your name and you gave it freely. It’s so classically Scottish that I nearly choked on the terrible buffet spread. I’m sure I was smitten. Or maybe it’s just the hazy memory.

We talked about James Joyce and Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen and Edith Wharton and everything we ever wanted to do and everything we were going to do and how utterly fabulous we must be for just being there, that very day. It was glorious. And it was oh-so brief.

By the end of the conference, we were holding hands. You gave me your address, and I gave you mine. And we did exchange letters for a year or so. But we never met again.

I never figured out why. I guess some distances are never meant to be crossed. I don’t belong in Scotland. And maybe you don’t belong in America.

But I still remember that day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Twitter Can Suck A Fuck

Twitter is frustrating and I hate it.

There, I said it.

There’s nothing quite like having your own personal Texts From Last Night to greet you every morning after a night of bar-hopping, heavy drinking, and stupid decisions. “Thanks, Twitter, I really needed to be reminded that I was a train-wreck the night before.”

Yes, I did a solo pub-crawl after work last night. I got rejected by a girl, slammed by a friend who thinks I’m an asshole, and kicked out of a country dive bar for being too “drunk and depressing.”

So, yeah, it was a night.

I’m reminded of Art Brut’s “Alcoholics Unanimous” this morning, as I am so many mornings. I was up all night, making mistakes. And I certainly wasn’t handling things as well as I thought I was. I apologized by group text. Unsurprisingly, few of the apologies were accepted.

I guess that’s my life in a nutshell.