Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Step It Up, Pat Sajak

Pat Sajak is guest hosting for Regis on Live With Regis and Kelly right now and he’s spent the last five minutes making fun of global warming and joking that people should start using aerosol hairspray again because that’ll protect us!, and I know that it’s kind of ridiculous to be infuriated by something Pat Sajak has said on Live With Regis and Kelly, but DUDE, if we don't take global warming seriously, we're all gonna melt in about ten or fifteen years, and while maybe thirty or forty people read my blog, millions of people are listening to you not take global warming seriously, and that really annoys me, and I've decided: you're a jackass, Pat Sajak. (Wow, I seriously didn't know I could feel so much vitriol for Pat Sajak.) (Maybe I should have eaten something before writing this because I think my emotions are getting amped up by my low blood sugar.) (Pat Sajak is probably a very nice non-jackass of a man, but still: at the very least, Pat Sajak, you're being irresponsible.)

Anyway, in an attempt to counteract some of Pat Sajak's anti-earth sentiments, I thought I'd link to Bill McKibben's Step It Up 2007 campaign.

The Step It Up campaign is basically a virtual global march on Washington. Instead of wasting the gas that an actual global march on Washington would require, this is a global march you can do in your own backyard (or your own living room) (or neighborhood park) (or wherever). Go to the website above, sign up to host a party on April 14th (they call it a "rally," but rally/party...potayto/patahto), invite all of your friends and family over on the 14th, take a group photo, and then send your photo to the Step It Up campaign. That's all you have to do, super easy. It's basically a petition to get the government to reduce our carbon emissions 80% by 2050, but whereas most petitions (or, online ones at least) are kinda suspect because who knows what happens to them, this one's got your face on it and it'll get seen.

(shout out to my friend Newsom for bringing the Step It Up campaign to my attention)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

One Movie, i.e. Your Comfort Film

If you could only watch one movie ever again for the rest of your life, and you could watch it as many times as you wanted, what movie would you pick?

The movie you choose doesn't have to be your "favorite" film, per se, or perfect by any means, just a movie that would make you completely happy to see over and over (and over) again, the one movie that you never get tired of.

Just curious.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

movies I have to see in the next month

My family always gets together for the Academy Awards every year and of course we also have a betting pool and for the last few years I’ve come in second or third and I’m tired of getting so close without getting the gold, so this year I’ve decided I want to be as informed as possible, which means that by the night of the show, I’m making it my business to have seen every film that’s nominated for more than one award, as well as every film that’s nominated for Best Picture, Director, all four of the acting categories, and both of the writing categories. Which means I have to have seen all of the following films by February 25th:

Apocalypto (3 nominations), Babel (7 nominations), Blood Diamond (5 nominations), Borat (1 nomination, screenplay), Cars (2 nominations), Children of Men (3 nominations), The Departed (5 nominations), The Devil Wears Prada (2 nominations) Dreamgirls (8 nominations), Flags of Our Fathers (2 nominations), Half Nelson (1 nomination, actor), Happy Feet (1 nomination, animated), An Inconvenient Truth (2 nominations), Last King of Scotland (1 nomination, actor), Letters from Iwo Jima (4 nominations), Little Children (3 nominations), Little Miss Sunshine (4 nominations), Monster House (1 nomination, animated), Notes on a Scandal (4 nominations), Pan’s Labrynth (6 nominations), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (4 nominations), The Prestige (2 nominations), Pursuit of Happyness (1 nomination, actor), The Queen (6 nominations), United 93 (2 nominations), Venus (1 nomination, actor), Volver (1 nomination, actress).

I’ve already seen the movies in bold. I’m going to be spending a lot of time at the movies next month.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Future Kids

I’ve decided that when I have children, I want to name them after Beatles songs. (God, I'm really Beatles obsessed lately.) Which means, assuming my future husband is cool with the idea of naming our tykes after Beatles songs, (and cool with the fact that I either want one kid, or four kids, or nine kids), then when we have kids they will be named one (or four) (or nine) of the following names.


--Eleanor-- (lovely name) (and my friend Eleanor would think that I'm naming my kid after her) (which I would be) (I'd be naming Eleanor after both Eleanors, the song Eleanor and the real friend Eleanor) (and also, whenever we got together with friend Eleanor, friend Eleanor would probably give kid Eleanor lots of extra special attention, and kid Eleanor would feel extra loved) (so that would be cool)

--Honey-- (this is an okay name) (but is it a slutty name?) (no offense to real Honeys out there, I'm just wondering) (I mean, it's a perfectly acceptable term of affection, but as an actual real name...it just seems slutty to me, I don't know why) (maybe it's because Honey comes from the song "Wild Honey Pie" and I don't want to think of my future daughter being anyone's "wild honey pie") (they grow up so quick) (also, I'm not sure if I want the "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" double reference)

--Jude-- (my favorite potential name so far) (and I realize that Jude is probably more often thought of as a boy's name, but I think Jude could go either way)

--Julia-- (julia is an "ocean child," which is nice) (seashell eyes) (that's sweet) (and her namesake song would has a very lyrical, lullaby feel to it) (definitely a potential)

--Lady-- (this one would be weird) (but I kinda like it because it's weird) (but it's also kinda wrong to give your kid a name that you know is weird just for the fact that it's weird) (I had this friend named Apple in elementary school--waaaaay before Gwyneth named her kid Apple--and this one time, when I was, like, nine, I said to Apple, "hey, Apple, do you want to eat an Aaaaapppple???" And she looked at me, crushed, and said: "are you making fun of my name?" and the way she said it--the weight beneath her words--you could feel that so many people had made fun of her name, but she didn't expect that I would ever be one of those people--and the thing is, I was nine-years-old and nine-year-olds are stupid and I WAS making fun of her name in a stupid nine-year-old way, but fortunately there just happened to be an apple sitting on the table, just out of Apple's view, and I salvaged the moment and said, "no, no, I wasn't making fun of your name, I wanted to know if you wanted to share this apple, Apple," and I grabbed the apple and offered her half of it, and whether or not she knew that I was really making fun of her name, she played off like she didn't know, and balance was restored to the world, and I never made fun of a person's name again) (or if I did, I never did it to their face at least)

--Lucy-- (okay, i LOVE this one because Lucy could be named after both "Lucy in the Sky" and Lucille Ball, and it would be pretty cool to be named after both a Beatles song and one of the funniest people ever)

--Madonna-- (not gonna happen) (but if you have six minutes, THIS makes me laugh)

--Martha-- (do parents still name their kids Martha? Or is Martha a generation old? In which case, is Martha due for a comeback? And if so, will Martha be the next Jennifer?) (I'm happy to bring a name back. In fact, I used to joke that I wanted to have a kid and name him Oedipus because the name Oedipus has certainly gotten a bad rap.) (We'd call him Oed, for short, of course.) (But I think, ultimately, I'd be too superstitious to name a kid Oedipus--Oed or otherwise.)

--Michelle-- (I'm definitely a fan of this choice) (because, hello, great song to be named after) (but would Michelle feel compelled to take French in high school?) (because I took French in high school and in retrospect I wish I'd taken Spanish) (but if I tell Michelle to take Spanish, she'll probably take French to spite me) (and then if I tell her to take French, she'll probably realize I'm using reverse psychology on her, and she'll take French) (I should just let her do what she wants and go back to worrying about global warming)

--Miss Lizzy-- (another weird choice, but I must admit I'm tempted) (Miss Lizzy Patterson just has a nice ring) (and in case you need any clarification, when I say Miss Lizzy Patterson, I mean that her first name would be "Miss," her middle name would be "Lizzy," and her last name would be "Patterson")

--Pam-- (I named one of the characters in my play Sick Pamela, so I kinda already feel like I've named one of my kids Pam, and I don't think I could ever double up like that)

--Penny-- (I don't want to name a kid Penny) (I just don't)

--Pepper-- (is "Pepper Patterson" too alliterative?) (my stepmom's name is Patty, and that has a nice ring, but I'm afraid "Pepper Patterson" just might be too "p" heavy) (on the other hand, it does have a ring) (I just realized that I'm assuming my future husband will let our kids have my last name) (hmmmm, that's gonna be a conversation)

--Prudence-- (I would never name a kid Prudence or Chastity, because that's just cruel)

--Rita-- (I love this name, I don't know why exactly, but it's definitely a strong possibility)

--Sadie-- (great name, but probably not the best song to be named after) (it reminds me of The Accused, because there's that one scene where Jodie Foster is in the parking lot and one of the guys calls after her "hey sexy Sadie!") (I watched The Accused with my Grandmother) (WHEN I WAS TEN) (during the rape scene, Grandma told me to "go stir the spaghetti sauce in the kitchen and I'll tell you when to come back in") (that spaghetti sauce got stirred better than spaghetti sauce has ever gotten stirred before or since)

--Vera-- (okay, I actually really like the name Vera) (I knew a girl named Vera when I was a kid and she was very cool) (but also very hyper) (however, I suppose a lot of kids are hyper and I shouldn't assume that hyperactivity is a quality of Veras specifically)


There are fewer boys names in Beatles songs, so I have fewer boys names to choose from.

--Chuck-- (I realize that Chuck is a kind of hard-edged name, but I like the idea of naming a kid Chuck, as in "just Chuck," as in "not short for Charles," as in, simple, "Chuck")

--Dave-- (Vera, Chuck, and Dave really work as a set, so I'm only going to use these names if I end up with, like triplets) (is it possible to have triplets that aren't all the same sex?) (obviously they wouldn't be identical) (but is that even possible?) (is this a really stupid thing to wonder?) (but I do)

--Father McKenzie-- (yeah, I just threw this name on the list because the Boys Names list was so short) (it's not a real choice)

--Jude-- (I prefer Jude as a girl's name)

--Maxwell-- (it would be twisted to name a kid after Maxwell of silver hammer fame) (I mean, Max is a fine name, but Maxwell?) (so...not going to happen)

--Mr. Kite-- (I'm really stretching for boys names here) (as you can tell)

--Mr. Mustard-- (um)

--Pepper-- (I think this one’s unisex, so I’m putting it on both lists) (his or her nickname could be “sergeant” or “sarg”)

--Rocky-- (I'm afraid too many people would assume the kid was named after the boxer) (which isn't a bad thing, per se, but it might be confusing)

--Wally-- (short for Walrus) (geeez, I'd better just have lots of girls, because this Boys Names list is, for the most part, preposterous)


Am I missing any names that should be on my list? There must be a few more names that are mentioned within songs (a la "Vera, Chuck, and Dave") that I'm forgetting.

sending out some love

One of my closest friends and one of my closest family members are both (separately) going through intense, crazy times right now...loss...sadness...and I just wanted to send some love out through the interwebs. (Into the interether???)

Love you guys.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My snotty nose, in detail (don't bother reading this) (and if you do, don't say I didn't warn you)

I remember I wrote something a few months ago (I don't even think it was an entire post, just an aside) about how I was really snotty, and several people told me I was really gross and that I overshare, so I'm just warning you right now that if you were one of those people then you should stop reading NOW, and when I say "now" I really do mean "now." And I'm sorry to be writing a post about snot, but it's all I can think about right now because, okay, the thing is: I have a crummy cold and I've been sitting here blowing my nose for the past, um, several hours, and I'm just...I'm kind of amazed at the body's capacity for snot production. Honestly. Because it really seems quite endless right now. All of the snot. I don't even want to tell you how many boxes of kleenex I've been through because it's embarrassing. And I've taken lots of cold medication and none of it is doing anything to stop the production of all of this snot. The stuff just keeps pouring out of my nose. Okay, if you're still reading this and kinda grossed out, but not totally grossed out, but you think that you've heard enough, then you should really stop reading now, because I'm going to say one more thing, which is: I was standing in the kitchen earlier and snot started oozing out of my nose so quickly that before I could do anything about it, there was literally a puddle on the ground. It was really disgusting. I'm so sorry that I've blogged this, this is way gross. But I warned you.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fifteen *perfect ten* albums

(This list was going to be “ten perfect ten albums” but then I wrote down fifteen albums and didn’t want to cut any from the list, but I liked the symmetry of “ten perfect ten” so I’m kind of disappointed in myself for not cutting the list down, but whatever, I didn’t, so now I’m moving on with my life.)

I could listen to each one of these albums a million times and never get tired. There’s not a single song on any of these albums that I ever skip over. (That’s the main requirement I considered when making this list—if there’s even a single song on the album that I skip over when listening to it, then the album got the boot.) (None of the following albums have any songs that I skip over, hence I think they’re pretty perfect.) (And this list isn’t definitive by any means, I’m sure there are a few more “perfect 10” albums in my collection, these are just the first fifteen I thought of.) (And I realize there are no Beatles Albums listed, but that’s because I decided I couldn’t list more than one album by the same artist and then I couldn’t decide which Beatles album is my favorite):

(in no particular order)

1. August and Everything After by the Counting Crows

It’s not hip to like the Counting Crows, but that’s cool because I don’t think you can actually “like” the Counting Crows—you can only love them or hate them. People who love the Counting Crows don’t always talk about their love for the Counting Crows, though, because they know it isn’t hip and they don’t want to feel the scorn. (I think Paul Rudd’s character in Clueless calls them “whiney college rock,” which is obviously what the “hate them” camp believes, but all of you haters out there just don’t get it.) (Oh god, I just got so distracted thinking about Paul Rudd.) (Yum.) (I remember, when I finally started coming out of the closet, I was walking down Vermont in Los Feliz with a friend and this really hot guy walked by us and I said “yum” and I remember thinking “I just said ‘yum’ out loud and I wasn’t talking about food, I am officially, undeniably, with-a-capital-g Gay,” and it made me really happy to be so self-actualized.) Anyway, back to the Counting Crows (who don’t have a “the” in the front of their name, but I still feel compelled to write “the” before every mention of their name), I’m obviously in the “love them” camp, and it’s always nice to find someone else who’s in the “love them” camp because Counting Crows fans (hey, I didn’t feel compelled to put the “the” there that time!) are a fierce group. (Right, Lanie?)

I remember back in college, those first few weeks in the dorm, when everyone was still getting to know each other, I don’t know how many times I would be hanging out in someone’s dorm room for the first time and I’d casually look inside their cd player to see what cd they’d last listened to and it would be August and Everything After and then it’d be like “oh my god, you and I are gonna be friends forever.” (One of the sad things about the ipod age is that we can’t sneak peeks into our friends’ cd players anymore, hoping to find that little clue that might help us figure out what makes them tick.) I remember, in high school, this kid Ryan Simpkins (who I tried to re-befriend on MySpace about a year ago and he denied my request) (what’s more insane, the fact that he denied my request or the fact that, a year later, I still remember that he denied my request?) (okay, no, obviously the craziest thing isn’t either of those things [too much usage of the word “thing,” Erik]) (no, the craziest thing is that I wrote Ryan’s full name just now, hoping that one of these days he might self-google and read this and be like, “whoops, I didn’t mean to deny Erik’s friend request” and then request to be my MySpace friend) (I can be a neurotic ass sometimes) (sorry) (but anyway, this one time in high school, Ryan Simpkins) borrowed my Counting Crows t-shirt—the one I’d gotten at my first Counting Crows concert—and he kept it for a year because he was also a huge Counting Crows fan and I think he was secretly hoping that I would forget that he had it and go off to college and he would get to keep the shirt forever, BUT I NEVER FORGOT and I finally got the shirt back and even though it’s all tattered and not really wearable anymore, I STILL HAVE IT, and that’s the kind of Counting Crows fan I am.

I think I’ve seen them in concert seven or eight times, which might not grant me super-fan status, but it’s more than I’ve seen any other band—and the thing about seeing the Counting Crows live is, well, I can’t even describe it. They’re better live. And that’s not me trying to justify them to the haters. If you hate the Counting Crows, then seeing them live probably isn’t going to change your mind—but if you love them, then seeing them live is going to make you love them sooooo much more. Because they simply are better live. My favorite Counting Crows show was at the John Anson Ford Theater, my freshman year of college, with Tina Poppy. We managed to get up to the front of the pit area and we were literally standing against the stage, underneath Adam Duritz, looking up at him the entire time, and it was the first time they had played any of the music from their second album for a crowd—they basically debuted the entire album for us. When they played “A Long December” for the first time, Adam dedicated the song to his friend Samantha Mathis (who was standing directly behind us and who cried during the song) (I think I cried during the song too and it wasn’t even dedicated to me) (or about me), and when they played “Recovering the Satellites” for the first time, they filmed it, and all of the footage they used was in their “Recovering the Satellites” video, so if you watch that video (and look very VERY carefully, and maybe freeze-frame) you can see the back of my head. Anyway, blah blah I like the Counting Crows blah blah, and this, their first album, gets me every time.

Favorite tracks: “Anna Begins,” “Perfect Blue Buildings,” “A Murder of One.”

2. Automatic For the People by REM

I’ve met Michael Stipe twice, both times very very briefly. The first time was at a book signing he did at UCI. He had written the forward for this book on some new new-agey medicine theories, and he gave a little speech in support of the book and then he signed copies (I had to buy the book to get Stipe’s autograph, but I never read the book, and it’s currently in storage, and for the life of me I cannot remember what the book was about) (but I was just there for Stipe’s autograph anyway) (this was also my freshman year of college) and as I was approaching Michael Stipe, as the young woman in front of me in line was getting her book signed, this young woman told him “I tried to kill myself about a year ago and when they brought me back from the hospital, I went into my bedroom and turned on the radio and ‘Everybody Hurts’ was playing and I took it as a sign, so thank you for saving my life,” and those book signings are a well-oiled machine—they really do a good job of keeping them moving—so you only end up having a few seconds to talk to whoever’s signing your book, and Michael Stipe looked up at this young woman and he just said “are you okay now?” and she said “yes,” and then he told her to “hang in there and get some help” and then she was ushered forward by one of the people whose job it is to make sure that the line is continuously moving forward, and then I was ushered forward and I handed Michael Stipe my copy of the book to sign and whatever I had been planning to say had obviously been trumped by the “you saved my life” that this woman had just thrown down, so I just kinda looked at Stipe like, “dur.” And then he asked me, “Are you okay?” And I was like, “yeah.” And that was my first encounter with Michael Stipe.

And then the second time I met him was at the Golden Globes in 1999, I was with my friend Wendy who had also crashed, and we noticed that Michael Stipe was just standing there, alone, looking bored, and we were both fans so we decided to go talk to him, and so then we approached him and started talking and he was talking to us but he wasn’t looking at us, and it was a kind of weird, awkward conversation, until suddenly Wendy and I both realized that Michael Stipe was wearing some sort of earpiece and he wasn’t talking to us, he was talking to someone on his cellphone. (This was before those earpieces were very common, I think it was actually the first time I’d ever seen one.) And when Wendy and I both realized we were having a conversation with someone who was actually completely ignoring us and talking to someone else, well, we felt really awkward and weird and we just kept standing there because we felt like we had to somehow salvage the moment, but the longer we stood there the more awkward it felt, and, well, it never got unawkard.

Favorite tracks: “Nightswimming,” “Find the River,” “Drive.”

3. Come on Feel the Lemonheads by The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads make me happy. Happier than chocolate makes me. And chocolate makes me really happy. I seriously think that there’s something about the Lemonheads that affects the chemistry of my brain. I hate cleaning, I simply hate it, I don’t really feel that pleasurable feeling that people talk about when they’ve finished doing the dishes or the laundry or the vacuuming or whatever, that “sense of accomplishment” feeling (I feel a “sense of accomplishment” when I finish a lot of other things, just not cleaning), but the one thing in the entire world that can get me pumped up about cleaning the house is The Lemonheads. I don’t know what that is, but The Lemonheads make me want to clean and they make me enjoy it.

When I was in college, my stereo was stolen. It was super stupid. I had gone to take a shower and left my door open (because everyone left their doors open, we were carefree) and when I came back to my room I didn’t notice it at first, but I’m pretty sure that’s when it happened—when I had gone to take a shower—and then later, I noticed: um, no stereo. But the thing that really upset me about having my stereo stolen wasn’t losing my stereo, it was the fact that my favorite Lemonheads cd had been in the stereo at the time and had thus also been stolen. I put fliers up all over campus that read (and I’m paraphrasing here, because I don’t have a copy of the flier anymore, but this is about what it said): “To whomever stole a stereo out of Room 110 in Haines the other day, you can totally keep and enjoy my stereo. It’s fine, I don’t care about the stereo. What I care about is the fact that you also inadvertently stole my Lemonheads cd and that’s just not cool. And since I realize that you weren’t after the cd in the first place, would you please do me the favor of anonymously returning the cd? My mailbox is #653. Thank you and enjoy the stereo. Just don’t enjoy the Lemonheads. Because they’re mine. I’m serious. Please return the cd. Thank you.” I never saw my cd again. A couple of weeks later, I caved and bought a new copy.

Favorite tracks: “Big Gay Heart,” “It’s About Time,” “Being Around.”

4. Grace by Jeff Buckley

I kinda think this is the most beautiful album ever and it makes me so sad that Buckley isn’t around anymore.

Favorite tracks: “Hallelujah,” “Lilac Wine,” “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over.”

5. Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack, music and lyrics by Stephen Trask

It upsets me that I’ve never seen Hedwig live. I have a Hedwig tattoo for crying out loud. Why have I never seen Hedwig live? It’s an outrage.

My introduction to Hedwig was through the movie, but I don’t think that’s why I prefer the film soundtrack to the stage soundtrack—I think the film soundtrack is just a little bit better. (And I say “just a little bit” because the stage soundtrack is already great, but the film soundtrack has a little more edge to it, and I respond to that.)

“Origin of Love” is the best creation story ever told. Can you imagine what the world would be like if all of our religions were based on the story told in “Origin of Love”? It’s not any more outrageous than the idea of an immaculate conception, and it’s a story that includes everyone. Can you imagine what this country would be like if this song was our National Anthem, instead of “the bombs bursting in air”? A song about love and hope? What a crazy idea.

If you don’t know the song, check the lyrics out HERE.

Favorite tracks: “Origin of Love,” “Midnight Radio,” “Tear Me Down.”

6. Horses by Patti Smith

This album is crazy. Spiritual. Ungodly. Epic.

So fucking good.

If I ever decide to just take off in my car and drive off towards destinations unknown, this is the album I will crank from my car speakers, the windows rolled down, wind in my air.

I think the centerpiece track on the album, “Land: Horses/Land of A Thousand Dances/La Mer,” is really sexy. Like, sure I love me some Justin Timberlake and he makes me wanna move, but even though singers like Justin Timberlake and Beyonce might be sexy, they’re still trying to be sexy, so there’s something orchestrated about it, while this song by Smith…it isn’t trying to be anything, least of all sexy. And as a result, it’s like the song isn’t merely sexy, it is sex. That sounds stupid, but I’m not going to use my delete button, because it’s hard to describe why this song is so powerful. Okay, wait, no—it feels like she’s possessed, that’s what it is. Like she isn’t singing the song, the song’s coming through her. Yes, that’s what it is. That’s what I feel when I listen to this song.

Favorite tracks: “Land,” “Gloria,” “Birdland.

7. OK Computer by Radiohead

This album is already regarded as one of the greatest albums ever by lots of people who make lists of greatest albums ever, and there isn’t anything new I can really say about it, and I don’t even have any personal stories about how this album fits into my life, but whenever I listen to this album it takes me away like a great album should, so it’s on my list.

Favorite tracks: “Airbag,” “Kharma Police,” “Exit Music (For A Film)”

8. Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack, music and lyrics by Paul Williams

I watched this movie for the first time with my friend Carie Yonekawa and we both freaked out over it. (I would go so far as to say it’s DePalma’s best film) (and I like DePalma) (but pound for pound, this movie rocks his other movies outta the park) (“rocks his other movies outta the park”?) (mixed metaphors much?) A couple of birthdays ago, my friend Aimie gave me a copy of the Paradise dvd signed by one of the actors who played one of the Juicy Fruits, which is definitely a prized possession of mine. Paul Williams has written a million amazing songs, so it’s no surprise that all of the music in Paradise is great, but what I love about this album is that every single song is *this close* to being really cheesy…but there’s too much heart in the music for it to fall off that cliff into real cheesiness (“fall off that cliff”?) (seriously, erik, what’s with the bad metaphors?)

Favorite tracks: “Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye,” “Special To Me,” “One Love.”

9. Remy Zero by Remy Zero

Remy Zero opened up for the Counting Crows at the John Anson Ford show that I mentioned above in my Counting Crows post. That was the first time I heard them perform. My friend Tina and I used to drive around Los Angeles, aimlessly, late at night, and we would listen to this album, over and over again. It felt like our own private soundtrack. The weird thing is, I think a lot of people who have this album feel like it’s their own personal soundtrack, because songs from this album are allllllways showing up in movies, and every time I hear a Remy Zero song in a movie I get kinda mad because I feel like my own private personal soundtrack is being raped and pillaged.

Favorite tracks: “Descent,” “Twister,” “Shadowcasting.”

10. Rilo Kiley by Rilo Kiley

When my brother Josh was fifteen (so, um, six years ago), I took him to see Weezer and it was the first time in my life that I ever felt “old.” Of course I realize that I wasn’t “old” at the time—I mean, hell, I was only 23—but I was one of the few non-fifteen-year-olds at the show and it made me feel like a geezer. The weird thing, though, was that I was a huge fan of Weezer when I was fifteen, and then I moved on to other things, and going to this Weezer show made me realize that Weezer must have a lock on that age group. They keep moving on to the next album and then the next, but their fan base stays fifteen.

Um, I know you’re like “why are you talking about Weezer, Erik,” but it’s because I discovered Rilo Kiley for the first time because they were opening for Weezer that night. And none of the fifteen-year-olds in that room could have given a shit. I remember all of the kids were just standing there, sending off aggressive “we want Weezer” vibes, while Jenny Lewis and the rest of the Rilo Kiley gang were performing their hearts out and putting on one of the best fucking shows I’d seen in a long time. I fell in love, instantly, and after their set ended I went to their little cd stand and bought both of the albums they were selling and for the rest of the month I would listen to this cd every night as I was falling asleep.

Now, Rilo Kiley’s definitely more well-known now than they were in 2000, but I don’t understand why they aren’t even bigger than they are. (Are they even still together? I haven’t heard of them in a while. And Jenny Lewis had that solo album with the Watson Twins. Hmmmm.) I love how poppy the song “Frug” is—it opens up with this happy clapping, and then she starts singing, and at first you think the song is just this little ditty about dances that are hard to do, but then she throws in that she “cannot fall in love,” and it becomes the happiest sad song ever, if that makes any sense.

I’ll often listen to “Teenage Love Song” on repeat on my ipod, which is about first love, 50’s style, and I know that Jenny Lewis was in a movie with Fred Savage (not just “a” movie, but that road trip movie about three kids trying to get across the country so they could compete in a Super Mario Bros. tournament) (I was twelve when that movie came out—it was called The Wizard—and I FUCKING LOVED THAT MOVIE as a twelve-year-old) (when I realized that the reason I recognized Jenny Lewis was because she played the girl in The Wizard, she suddenly became even cooler) (god, I can be such a fanboy sometimes) (The Wizard was directed by Todd Holland, who has the amazing distinction of having directed two episodes of Twin Peaks AND two episode of My So-Called Life, so I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say he’s The Coolest Man in Hollywood) (one of the Twin Peaks episodes he directed was the one where we found out that Harold Smith had Laura’s secret diary) (I loved the Harold Smith storyline and I think that everyone who says that Twin Peaks was only good in its first season is crazy and wrong) (and one of the My So-Called Life episodes that Todd Holland directed was “Life of Brian,” a.k.a. the World Happiness Dance episode, which has some of the best moments in the whole series: Ricky’s dance, that moment with Angela and Jordan outside by the fence when Jordan says “why are you like this?” and Angela asks him “like what?” and Jordan says “like how you are” and Angela says “how am I?” and then Jordan goes off with his friends and Angela asks him again, hopeless, “how am I???”, and all of the heartbreaking ways everyone sabotages their own happiness at the World Happiness Dance) (oh god, and it also has that one moment when Brian Krakow is helping Delia Fisher look at cells through a microscope and Delia Fisher touches Krakow’s hand and in his voice over we hear him say “finally! an erection from actual, physical contact,” which is just such a funny and brilliant moment) (the first time I ever got an erection from actual, physical contact was during my freshman year of high school—I remember this moment sooooo clearly—I had been cast as the understudy for ALL of the male actors in our high school production of Children of a Lesser God, and so I went to every rehearsal and basically acted as the director’s assistant, taking notes for her, etc., and there was this one rehearsal that was just for the two leads, John and Bronwen, going over several of their scenes. And, I forget why, but Bronwen had to leave rehearsal an hour early, but instead of just calling it quits for the evening, the director decided to continue running scenes with just John, and she had me stand in for Bronwen, and we started freaking rehearsing, like, these scenes that were basically courtship scenes. And I had watched them rehearse the scenes a bunch of times and I knew the blocking and so I was doing what Bronwen always did, and there was this one moment when she put her finger to John’s lips to shut him up, and so when we got to that moment I put my finger up to his lips and I swear to you I can still remember the feeling of his lips on my finger, and suddenly it was like, “um, hello, erection,” except I wasn’t excited about it like Brian Krakow’s voice over because, “um, hello, boy”) (wow, it’s been a really long time since I started the thought about Fred Savage, I bet you don’t even remember I was talking about him in the first place, but what I was about to say, before Todd Holland got me on all of those tangents, was that I know that Jenny Lewis was in a movie with Fred Savage) and while I don’t think that Teenage Love Song is about him, I like to think that it’s about him. I don’t know why that is. But whenever I listen to this song, images of a young Fred Savage breaking a young Jenny Lewis’ heart run through my head.

Favorite tracks: “Frug,” “Papillon,” “Always.”

11. Scissor Sisters by Scissor Sisters

The first time I heard this album in its entirety was on a road trip to Las Vegas and that seems completely appropriate because the album is filthy and gorgeous and dirty. I know that they’re gay and all, but I still don’t understand why songs from this album never got any radio play here in the states. Star 98.7 has been playing “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” from their second album, but there are so many songs on their debut album that are just begging to be played on the radio. I mean, yes they’re filthy fuckers, but they could (and should) also be pretty mainstream, if they were allowed to be. I mean, hello: “Take Your Mama Out” should be playing on every turn of the dial.

Favorite tracks: “Comfortably Numb,” “Mary,” “Laura.”

12. The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner by Ben Folds Five

This album reminds me of Glendale, and eating Top Ramen, and waiting in fast food drive-through lines, and wanting to be somewhere you’re not. Nothing against Glendale, I enjoyed living there, especially because I loved living with my roommates at the time, Aimie and Sharia, but I was a senior in college and anxious to get my life in motion. And all of the songs on this album have that feel to them. (And I don’t mean to imply that this album is depressing—it’s actually a quite moving album—but it’s not, like, “rousing.”)

Favorite tracks: “Mess,” “Magic,” “Lullaby.”

13. Vespertine by Bjork

It’s well documented (by me) that I’m a big Bjork fan. I love all of her albums, but I think this one is the most perfect through and through. She conceived of the album as a series of lullabies and that’s exactly what it feels like—there’s definitely something very motherly about it. Something warm, something safe.

Favorite tracks: “Cocoon,” “Heirloom,” “Pagan Poetry.”

14. Violent Femmes by Violent Femmes

“I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record…” Come on: awesomeness.

I just found out that Gordan Gano wrote most of the songs on the Femmes’ debut album while he was still in high school and that makes so much sense because every single song on this album is raw with that kind of fucked-up, my body is out of whack and the world is a screwy place, and why the hell are you looking at me energy that’s so typical of high school.

Whenever I karaoke (and I don’t karaoke as much as I used to) (which is sad), one of my favorite songs to karaoke is “Kiss Off.” The build in that countdown, as you get closer and closer to shouting out that “ten is for everything, everything, EVERYTHING.” It’s such a release. And it feels so damned good. Seriously, next time you find yourself at a karaoke establishment, sing “Kiss Off.” You will feel so high afterwards, you’ll thank me.

Listening to the Femmes brings back so many high school memories (even though I still listen to them, they just evoke that time), but one of my favorite Femmes-inspired memories is going to visit Jesse when I was a junior in high school and he was a freshman at San Diego State, we got slightly drunk (“slightly” might be an understatement) and at one point in the evening I serenaded some girl by singing the Femmes’ song “Gimme the Car” to her, and for years after that I was known by Jesse’s San Diego friends as “that freaky kid who wouldn’t stop singing ‘Gimme the Car’ that one time.”

Favorite tracks: “Blister in the Sun,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” “Gimme the Car.”

15. When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King What He Knows Throws The Blows When He Goes To The Fight And He'll Win The Whole Thing Fore He Enters The Ring There's No Body To Batter When Your Mind is Your Might So When You Go Solo. You Hold Your Own Hand And Remember That Depth Is The Greatest Of Heights And If You Know Where You Stand. Then You'll Know Where To Land And If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You Know That You're Right by Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple took a lot of hits for the ridiculousness of the title of this album (and rightfully so), but if you stayed away from this album because you were annoyed by Fiona Apple’s preciousness or stuck-upness, or whatever you might have been annoyed by, you should really give this album another chance, because the most ridiculous thing about this album is how good it is. Some of the most quiet, poetic rage. And “Paper Bag” is one of my favorite love songs.

Favorite tracks: “Fast As You Can,” “Get Gone,” “I Know.”


Photo credits:
--the photo of the crow is by tarotastic
--the photo of the nightswimmer is by jeverwolf
--the photo of Evan Dando singing is by jer
--the photo of patti smith is by iguana jo
--the photo of jake shears is by darwin bell
--the photo of glendale sign by 7-how7
--the photo of violent femmes lyrics by mandydale
--the photo of fiona apple by otterfreak

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hugo and Fay, 2001

The other day, I was at a friend's house for one of my writing group meetings, and I noticed this photo on her fridge:

It's a photo from the 2001 Theatre of NOTE production of my play Tonseisha. That's (the brilliant) Hugo Armstrong as Richard Brautigan and (the phenominal) Fay Kato as Akiko. (She was nominated for an Ovation Award.)

When I saw the photo on Jacqueline's fridge, I was like "why do you have a copy of this photo??? I don't have a copy of this photo?!? I WANT THIS PHOTO." And then Jacqueline looked at me like "calm down" and then she said, "don't worry, it's okay, you can have it." And then I shoved my eyes back into my head and I took the photo. (Thank you, j.)

Hugo and Fay were damned freaking good in this production and this photo just makes me happy, lookin' at it and thinking back on how good they were. I feel like a lucky dude, having had the chance to work with them. I love actors.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I'm a huge fan of Grey's Anatomy. I have been since day one. I'm kinda obsessed, in fact. Like, most of the TV I watch—and I watch a lot of freakin’ television—but most of the TV I watch gets Tivo’d and then stored up until I have a moment to catch up on, say, my Ugly Bettys, or my Top Chefs, or my Standoffs, or whatever.

But not Grey's. Oh freaking no. Grey's Anatomy is appointment viewing, Grey's Anatomy cannot wait until tomorrow, Grey's Anatomy has gotta be watched when it's on.

It's, like, my drug: I gotta have it.

This whole Isaiah Washington fiasco makes me sad. It’s not gonna make me stop watching Grey’s because I love me some Grey’s (I told you, it’s my drug) and besides, Washington is not the face of Grey’s, he’s just a small piece of the Grey’s puzzle (and he keeps getting smaller, because the longer this off-stage debacle goes on, the less I care about his character--a character I used to love), but still: the whole situation is so fucked up. (I'm not going to get into all of the details of what went down because the story has been covered all over the blogosphere in the past few days and if you don't know what I'm talking about you can follow some of the links below.)

Washington just released a statement apologizing for his words, and that’s a good first step, I suppose, but still I feel like there have got to be repercussions for Washington’s multiple remarks. If you just slap him on the hand and say “don’t do that”—if there are no consequences—then what are you saying to the world? You’re saying that calling someone a “faggot” is not really that bad a thing.

I’m sorry, but it is.

It should be simple: calling someone a “faggot” is as bad as calling someone a “nigger,” (I'm almost embarrassed to write that sentence because it seems so, like, "duh") but I don’t think "faggot" is viewed by the world at large as such a hellacious word. That’s why the “legit” press chose to focus on the physical confrontation between Washington and Patrick Dempsey back in October, while they barely acknowledged the “faggot” part of the story—sure, that part of the story came out, but it trickled out slowly, and it didn’t get nearly as much coverage as it should have, or as it finally is getting, now that the word has been bandied about for a second time, at the Golden Globe Awards the other night.

I work as a substitute teacher and I have heard teenagers call other teens “fag” many, many times. It’s the insult de rigueur. Just today, in fact, I noticed a sidetable in the classroom with several magazines, including a recent Vanity Fair which had been vandalized with the lovely word. (I took a picture, below.) (The blue eyeshadow effect was made by my camera rather than the homophobic student who originally vandalized the magazine, but I think it’s a nice final touch, don’t you?)

It’s just a word. But it’s ugly. And we need to treat it as such. Because we’re raising a generation of kids who use it and they use it well. Let’s stop letting them.

(p.s. I love how T.R. Knight handled the situation on the Ellen Degeneres Show yesterday, and I didn't think I could love Katharine Heigl more [she wuz robbed at the GG's! she shoulda won], until she made these comments and won me over even more.)

Overheard in class today

Teenagers are so funny. This girl came into class today, pissed off, and announced, to no one in particular:

I may be eccentric, but I am not contrived! I put effort into my appearance because I take myself seriously. Why can't the world?

True story.


Love it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

3 Reasons I Love My Friend Angela K.

(1) I love Angela because:

The other night, I went to see her in “Pageant of the 4 Seasons, a 99¢ Only Modern Something!”, the latest 99¢ spectacular from Ken Roht (genius) (love you Ken) at the Bootleg Theatre. Angela’s one of my favorite people to watch onstage—I genuinely think that she should be the star of everything—or at least the star of most things—and she was great the other night. After the show, we were talking in the lobby and Angela told me that she had something for me. A gift. Very exciting, I’m intrigued. And then she tells me I already have it. It’s the same book my brother Matt gave me for Christmas. It turns out, Angela and her then-boyfriend Eric were at a book store THREE YEARS AGO and they saw this book and Angela said, “I think Erik Patterson would like this” and she bought it for me and then she proceeded to forget to give it to me for the next two years, then I started this blog and Angela thought “I should really finally give that book to Erik Patterson because it’s perfect for his Year of New Things,” and then she wrote me a letter about how she’d been meaning to give the book to me for two years and she put it in a big manila envelope, and then she put that envelope aside and it sat there for a whole nother year (why isn’t “nother” a word?) (it should totally be a word), and then I wrote a blog post about how one of my favorite Christmas gifts was this awesome book my brother Matt gave me, and then Angela’s now-husband Eric read the blog post and he called Angela and said: “Hey, guess what Erik Patterson got for Christmas?” And she didn’t know, because why would she? And then Eric said, “he got the book you’ve been meaning to give him for three years!” And so then, finally, after all of these years, when I went to the 99¢ show the other night, Angela finally gave me my book, and it makes me doubly happy because (a) it was one of my favorite gifts this year and (b) getting one of my favorite things twice is way better than getting it once and (c) one of the things the book tells you to do is to see how much faith you have in humanity by writing your name and phone number at the beginning of the book and then abandoning it somewhere and see if you ever get it back, and while I generally have at least a smidgen of faith in humanity (if not more) (depending on the day), I was freaked out by the notion of leaving a book (that I love) out in the world and then waiting for it to come back to me, but now that I have two copies of the book I’m not as afraid of leaving one of my copies out there (jeeeeez, that makes me sound like I really do have zero faith in humanity, but the opposite is true, it’s just that I’m really particular about my books), and (d) this is a really long #1. Anyway, how freaking cool is Angela Kang for holding on to a gift for three years and finally giving it to me??? I understand that the previous sentence could be read sarcastically, but I mean it as genuinely as possible, because seriously: she never gave up on the gift and I love her for that.

(2) I love Angela because:

She has a “shame box.” I have a “shame box” too, but I never thought to call it a “shame box” until Angela mentioned that my book had been in her “shame box” for the last three years. Basically, a “shame box” is a box where you keep things that belong to other people that you’ve had for too long and every time you look at them you feel shamed because holy crap I was supposed to give that to that person way too long ago and I’m a horrible person. Of course, I like to think that the very act of having a “shame box” makes you an unhorrible person because even if your follow-through isn’t always the best, your intentions are still good. Anyone else have a shame box?


a. “Walk the Line” on DVD, which I borrowed from my uncle’s family over a year ago and which I still have not watched.

b. a random video-camera tripod that I think I borrowed from my dad but which I’ve had for so long (over three years) that I’m not quite sure who it belongs to

c. a little framed photo that belongs to my friend McKerrin that she had brought to a rehearsal of a workshop we were working on at the Gang in 2002 and then accidentally left behind (but it’s been awhile since I’ve looked inside my “shame box” and I think—though cannot be certain as I write this—that I gave this back to McKerrin the last time I saw her)

d. several photos that belong to my friend Leo, who was my roommate (that’s weird, what are you supposed to call someone who is ostensibly your “roommate,” but roommate is really the wrong word because we didn’t share a “room”) (should I say apartmentmate?) (flatmate?) during the summer of 2002. Leo and I were home at the same time so infrequently that it became a joke and we started leaving messages for each other in the living room, but our messages quickly devolved into photo messages and it became a contest to see who could leave the most random photo for the other person—like, I would leave a photo of my grandmother and then he would leave a photo of himself wearing a fake beard and then I would leave a photo of my stomach and on and on. It was a fun game. Every time I’d come home, I would be excited to see if there was a new photo on the photo pile (because we never took any of the photos away, we’d just put a new one on top of the old ones, until they were all just piled up there) (again, I haven’t looked in my “shame box” for awhile and I think that maybe I actually have returned Leo’s photos, but they were in the box for so long that they still exist in the “shame box” of my mind)

(3) I love Angela because:

She once left a comment on my blog that read, and I quote:

I totally want to have business cards made up that list me as: Angela Kang, A.O.E.P.P. And when people ask what it stands for, I'll say (in a bad British accent): "Authority on Erik Patterson's Penis". (I don't know why it needs to be said in an accent. It just does.)

Best. Comment. Ever.

Which isn’t a surprise because Angela’s pretty much the coolest person ever, too.

And therefore she is the authority on my penis.

(Thank you for the book, Angela!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

word for word, a diatribe against subs who don't let girls wear hats

So I'm teaching a freshman class today and they're all supposed to be reading quietly, so that's what they're doing. Kinda boring. But this girl launched into a diatribe when she walked into the classroom and saw me and I thought I'd reprint her diatribe here, 'cuz it made me laugh (and she seriously would not stop talking and just went on and on, and I kinda understood why, maybe, this other substitute teacher might have clashed with her).

GIRL: (upon seeing me sitting at the lecturn at the front of class) "Oh my god. Thank you. Yes, you're not Mr. Buca. Yes, oh my god, this is so awesome. I totally thought you were going to be Mr. Buco. Oh my god, I heard we had a substitute today and I was like, "it's so going to be Mr. Buco because Mr. Buco hates me and it's so going to be Mr. Buco" and I am so happy that you're not Mr. Buco. Oh my god, this is so great. You don't even know. He wouldn't let me wear a hat. How stupid is that? Because when guys wear hats it's disrespectful, but when girl's wear hats it's a fashion accessory. Why don't teachers ever understand that?"

She actually went on longer than that, but I was wondering if her hat comment is the consensus in the real world:

Hats on guys = disrespect, while hats on girls = fashion.

True? False? Depending on the circumstances?

Monday, January 15, 2007

A trip down Golden Globes lane

I used to crash the Golden Globes with my grandfather and my Granny Joanny. I think we crashed about seven or eight times. We would always compete to see who could have more interactions with more celebrities. Every year we snuck in, security got tighter, and by the last time we went it was pretty darned near impossible to get in, so we finally decided to stop while we were ahead (because trying to sneak in and failing was not an option for us--we'd had so many years of success, we just couldn't imagine being turned away) (or kicked out) (or arrested) and the last time we crashed the Globes was in 1998 or 1999, I'm not sure which--it was the year Hilary Swank was nominated for Boys Don't Cry, so whenever that was.

So, in honor of tonight's ceremony (even though it airs at 8pm, they film at 5pm, which means the celebs are beginning to arrive now), I thought I would post a few of the Golden Globe photos from our last foray into the trenches.

(1) Granny Joanny, Hilary Swank, and me

Hilary Swank was so freaking nice. She really was. GJ and I were huge fans of Boys Don't Cry and I'm pretty sure we gushed about how much we loved the movie and how great she was in it (because, honestly, it really is one of the best acting performances of the last decade) and she wasn't put off by our gushing at all. I want to say that Chad Lowe took this photo, but it wouldn't be true (I remember they had gotten separated from each other in the crowd and we kept bumping into Chad Lowe, and his wife was one of the evening's MVP's so every time anyone saw him they'd be like "where's Hilary?" and he'd shrug and say "I'm looking for her") so I'm not sure who took the photo. You can't see Hilary Swank's Golden Globe, but she's holding it in her left hand, just out of frame.

(2) Chloe Sevigny and me

This photo was taken about a half an hour after we met Hilary Swank. Again, we gushed with Chloe about how great Boys Don't Cry was, but then she gushed about how much she loved working with Hilary Swank, and then she said that she hadn't seen Hilary since she'd won and so she hadn't been able to congratulate her and we told Chloe that we'd just seen Hilary and then, suddenly:

(3) Hilary swept back into the room...

...and Chloe congratulates Hilary on the win.

(4) Chloe and Hilary, talking

And here they are talking, trying to catch up, but GJ and I are still standing there. This would happen a lot. We'd start talking to a celeb and have a nice little conversation and then they would see another celeb (because the place is swimming with them) and then this new celeb would start talking to the celeb we were talking to and then suddenly they were in a new conversation and we'd still be standing there and then I'd start to feel awkward and take a photo because an awkward moment without a photo is just an awkward moment, but an awkward moment with a photo is forever.

(5) me in the PR room That's me on the podium where all of the winners answer questions for the press after they've done their winning, pretending to be a winner. Notice the gift bag I'm holding? Yeah, I can't say where or how I got it exactly, but let's say I kinda stole it from someone. In my defense, this certain someone left it at my feet and then walked away and Granny J and I looked at each other and shrugged and then I picked up the goody bag and we ran. So I really *was* a Globe winner--at least, a winner of a goody bag. I can't remember what was in the bag exactly, but I think it was mostly gift certificates and the most exciting gift certificate was for a pair of free jeans from some jeans store. (Maybe it was The Gap--do they have jeans at The Gap?) (I am SO not a shopper) (but I claimed my free jeans) (I guess they were blood jeans) (seeing as they were technically stolen and all) (god, I am a thief) (one of these days I'll have to make amends and give L**r* S*n G**c*m* a pair of jeans) (she's the person who left her gift bag at my feet) (in my defense, she DID just leave the bag there, for the taking)

Saturday, January 13, 2007


It's been well documented that I am a dork.

Here's more videographic proof.

The video posted below is only 20 seconds long because that's the time limit my new cell phone has for videotaping. I'm sure that if the video was longer than 20 seconds, its dorkiness level would increase at least tenfold. But as it is, it's still pretty dorky.

Just me, alone, with my cell phone, listening to the Lemonheads on my ipod, and pretending to be in a music video, with the room spinning around me as I sing. (And "sing" is putting it politely.) Dorkiness ensues.

(If you're wondering, the song I'm "singing" along to is "Bit Part" from the Lemonheads' album It's a Shame About Ray.) (oh, and the sound is slightly off-synch with my mouth, but whatever)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just call me "the cool sub"

Okay, so my goal in life was to become known as "the cool sub," (to right the karmic imbalance of never being very cool when I was an actual high school student) (not that I really wanted to be cool) (I mean, I liked being a dork) (but still), and I've officially achieved status as "the cool sub," so now I need a new life's goal.

This is a conversation I just had with a student in my sixth period class:

STUDENT: Yes! It's you.

ME: What's me?

STUDENT: You're the cool sub.

ME: (soooo excited, but trying not to act too excited) I am?

STUDENT: Yeah, I was talking to my friend in fifth period who had you for a sub in first period and I asked him who our sub was and he said "the cool sub" and I KNEW he was talking about you.

ME: Cool.


ME: So...what makes me cool?

STUDENT: You just are.

--end scene--

So there you have it, folks. I just *am* a cool sub. Feels nice. (Especially after having been called "Jeff Goldblum" by a record FIVE different students today.) (No one ever says I look like anyone unless I'm at school, is that a teenage thing to do? To say, "has anyone ever told you you look like x" to someone?)

(warhol photo idea stolen from soleclaw)

UPDATE: As soon as I posted this--literally the second I hit the "publish post" button--I overheard the abovementioned student say to another student "isn't he a cool sub," to which the other student replied, "eh, he's just okay," and I was taught a lesson in humility: don't go publishing blog posts about how cool your students think you are because (1) that's sooo not cool, and (2) they can take away as easy as they giveth.

Missing Coco

I should be in bed. I should be sleeping, I have to get up in five hours, and I have a full day tomorrow. I should listen to common sense and put the blog down...slowly.

And I was going to--
I was--
I was going to go to bed...
...but then this happened:

I’m looking for an envelope, one of the big yellow ones--(actually, they look orange to me, but I’m colorblind and I’m told they’re yellow, so that’s what I’m looking for). And that’s when I find the Coco envelope. This big yellow (or so I’m told) envelope with pictures of Coco, my childhood dog, and condolence letters that family and friends sent after she died. And when I realize that’s what I’m holding in my hands…these letters about Coco...printed-out emails, these simple, sweet things...yeah, that’s when I start crying.

And I don’t stop...
...for an hour.

The tears aren’t flowing continuously, no--but they might as well be. See, I’ll stop crying for a moment. And I’ll think the crying jag is over...and then--boom--I’ll start again.

Sometimes these things just hit you and it’s best to let ‘em ride.

Before I get any farther, if you don’t know who Coco was, she was a funny little miniature dachshund (or “wharf rat,” as some liked to refer to her) who my mom and step-dad gave to me for Christmas when I was eleven (circa 1988). If you’re not a dog person, then maybe you don’t understand why I’m having a little breakdown (and I’m writing this in the present tense because the tears are still trickling down my cheeks), maybe you’re like “what’s his problem??? It’s been three years, get the freak over it.”

But if you are a dog person, then you understand.

I don’t think I’ve cried for Coco since we lost her (from a combination of cancer and old age) in late 2003. (“Lost her” is such a weird thing to say.) (Since she died.) (Talking about death can be so...awkward, I guess--because some people want the euphemisms, and some people don’t want anything sugar coated, and you always have to figure out what kind of person you’re dealing with when you’re talking about it.) (At least, I think about it, but maybe I think too much.) (Regardless, we had to put Coco to sleep because she had been sick and things turned—suddenly—quickly—and the day we put her to sleep...oh, man...that was one of the hardest days of my life.) (Because she was unquestionably a part of our family. A huge part.) (And the day we put her to sleep, I cried so hard...so fucking hard...and for the following few weeks, every time I went home, every time I opened the door to my parents house, I would expect her to jump up and greet me--I always said hi to her before saying hi to my folks because, after all, she was the one who was literally jumping for joy at the sight of me--and the first few times I opened the door to find...nothing...the absence of her--yeah, that was really tough, and that would get me, and I would cry--but I don’t think I’ve cried for Coco in a really long time.)

Of course, I wasn’t just crying for Coco--I was crying for some other things that have been lost--more recent things. I’ve never talked about this on my blog because my parents read my blog and I don’t think this is really the place to talk about their stuff--but it affects me too and I feel like I should at least acknowledge what’s been going on, for my blog readers (so they don’t think I’m a complete basketcase) (whenever I cryptically talk about how this past year has been a “difficult” one):

Basically, in a nutshell, my mom and step-dad separated after twenty-six years together (give or take), and it was all pretty heavy and emotional, and it all happened while I was living at home--so I was right there, experiencing the whole shebang as first-hand as an adult son possibly could. And ultimately--I hope--it’s all for the best, and we’re getting through it, and we’re growing, and we’re redefining family. And making peace with things. And building stronger, deeper bonds. I’m not gonna pretend any of it has been easy, but I love my PAM, and I love my step-dad, and we're doin' our thing. (And hey, the whole experience has given me loads of writing material.) (I'm serious.) (Soooooo much writing material.)

But when I started looking through the photos of Coco and reading through Coco memories, it just hit me that the family...the family unit that existed back in Coco times...we don’t exist in the same shape and form anymore. So while I’ve been crying for Coco, I’ve been grieving that other thing too.

It felt good to cry. You gotta have a good cry every once in a while and you never know when they’re gonna come. Because the really good ones--the really deep, woeful crying sessions--they something you can plan. But now I feel spent, purged, exhausted. So I’m gonna go to bed and I’m sure it’s gonna be a deep, deep sleep. (I dearly hope it is, because I'm subbing in less than five hours now and if I don't get at least a little bit of sleep then the kids are just gonna walk all over me and I won't have the strength to be the little mister Hilary Swank I know I can be.)

It’s a new year...and we welcome it...

(...but we still miss you, Coco.) (xoxo)

Monday, January 08, 2007

I pick "unique"

The following google searches will lead you to only one place: My Year of New Things. The fact that these google searches lead to my blog and my blog only...I don't know if that's unique or weird. I'm happy with either.

8 word searches:
"Scott Caan and I have the same hand"
"snakes are gonna come out of people’s personalities"

7 word searches:
"i just pooped a huge ass shit"
"my newfound love for Louis Van Amstel"

6 word searches:
"the poop in a cup story"
"I think Kanye West is fly"
"my infected wound got all pussy"
"The Incredible Hulk has been defeated"
"Michael J. Fox is a hunk"

5 word searches:
"as attractive as Anderson Cooper"
"derrick is a pit bull"
"Joe Chandler monopolizes my blog"
"seen Tootsie over 100 times"
"your thang with your wang"
"Derrick is such a manstud"
"I am the cock rock"

4 word searches:
"Jennifer Aniston's crotch area"
"an incorrigible little duck"
"Requim for a Fish"
"I had Lolita arrested"
"Urp calls me Erp"
"Shirt signed by ALF"

3 word searches:
"dope-ass sunsets"
"Erik Patterson, please"
"kinda fucking beautiful"

2 word searches:
"Erik McPoopyPants"
"Snowy McPowderBrows"
"Gremlins sheets"
"Eleanor's boobies"

1 word searches:

I totally have indigestion right now. And I'm newly addicted to Top Chef on Bravo. And now I'm off to bed.

Sunday Afternoon at the movies...

Jesse and I saw Freedom Writers and The Holiday today (Sunday), both at the Grove. A few thoughts:

--Before I saw it, I’d been jokingly referring to Freedom Writers as “Dangerous Minds 2,” but it’s so much better than that. Honestly.

--Freedom Writers made me cry about ten times (again, no joke) (my neck was wet, that’s how much the movie made me cry), and I realize that I substitute teach at an incredibly affluent high school, but I still identified with Hilary Swank and all of her travails.

--They totally wasted Patrick Dempsey. Even though it’s kinda refreshing to see a man wasted in the typical “girlfriend” role, I love me some Dempsey and all of his scenes could have been cut from the film and the plot would not have been affected in the least (except it would be tighter and I might have cried even more than I did)

--one of my favorite scenes was the “step to the line” scene. If you’ve seen the movie (and you probably haven’t), then you know what I’m talking about. (Or, maybe you HAVE seen the movie—after all, I tried to see it twice this weekend, but was thwarted the first time I tried to see it because it was sold out, and it was pretty packed the second time I [successfully] tried to see it, which was this afternoon.)

--One thing that bugged me (and this is a minor thing) (but I kept noticing it) was that it felt like Hilary Swank only taught one class. I realize that they only focused on one group of students so we could get to know them and love them (which we did), but you’d think there would be some sense that she also had five other classes that filled up her day. I don’t know why I got so fixated on that, but it kept nagging at me.

--There were a lot of good criers in the movie. But my favorite crier in the history of criers is Claire Danes. Seriously. I’ve never seen an actor cry better than her. Sometimes, when she cries, her chin twitches a little bit, and it always kills me. (See Little Women, Shopgirl, or the My So-Called Life pilot episode for evidence.)

--Hunter Parrish, the dude who plays the older brother on Weeds, is in Freedom Writers, but he looks soooooo much younger in Freedom Writers and I wanna know: did they make this movie five hundred years ago, or did he just wear “younger” clothes, and that’s why I think he looks like he’s thirteen (when he’s twenty in real life).

--There are so many attractive people at the Grove.

--I really hated the first hour of The Holiday—I even asked Jesse if we could leave, but he wouldn’t let me—and then, somehow, the movie won me over and I started enjoying myself. I don’t have much else to say about it, except to mention that the fire alarm went off towards the end of the movie and the lights came on and a voice came over a loud speaker announcing that we were being evacuated and to calmly leave the theater and how sad is it that my first thought was, “what if this is the end of the world?” (Um, can we say drama king?) So they evacuated the theater and thousands of people calmly walked out into the fakosity of Grove Street, and we people watched for a while. Because, like I said, there are so many attractive people at the Grove it’s ridiculous. And then Famke Janssen ran past us, obviously annoyed that she’d had to leave whatever movie she’d been watching. And then a fire truck appeared and who knew how long we would have to wait for them to let us back into the movie theater, if they ever even would let us back in, and we had to leave soon because we were running late for a birthday party we were planning on going to after the movies—so, finally, as much as we wanted to know whether or not Kate and Jack and Jude and Cameron all got together in the end, we decided to leave. But then when we got up to the top of the parking structure, we looked back over the ledge and noticed that they were letting the throng of dejected movie-watchers back into the movie theater to resume their movie-watching, and then we were like: um, we have to run back down there and see the end, so we ran back to the elevator, and we raced through the crowd, and we got back to the theater just as the movie was starting back up, and then…the credits started to roll. Okay, actually there was about 90 seconds worth of movie left to watch, AND THEN the credits started to roll. But still—it felt kinda ridiculous to run like crazy back to the movie theater just so we could see a mere 90 seconds of movie, but we needed closure.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Woman I Want To Come Into

I’m having a slumber party with Urp tonight. After dinner we’re going to get into our pajamas and have pillow fights and put our underwear in the freezer (or maybe not) (because I don’t want to think about her underwear) (and she doesn’t want to think about my underwear) (yeah, the underwear in the freezer thing is SO not going to happen).

We decided to go see a psychic this afternoon (something I would have called a “New Thing” last year, but we’re not really doing the New Thing thing anymore, so I won’t label it) and we spent most of the afternoon walking around Los Angeles, looking for a psychic (we didn’t actually walk that far, but we walked for about an hour, and walking for an hour in Los Angeles is equivalent to walking for about seven hours in New York)—it was remarkably difficult to find a psychic, which was strange because when you’re driving around LA it feels like you see those neon hands in windows everywhere, but we simply couldn’t find one.

Until we did. This strange woman named Mrs. King who operated out of a tiny little beat-up apartment with several bad couches and a wobbly little dog. Who got absolutely nothing right. Like, for instance, when she found out that Urp was engaged (after seeing the ring on Urp’s finger), she pointed at me and asked, “is this your fiancĂ©?” And we were both like, “um, no.”

Still, I thought I would jot down the things she told me, in case any of them come true, I can look back on this post and be like, “wow, Mrs. King wasn’t full of it like we thought,” and then I can go back to her and drop another twenty bucks her way. She really does need a new couch, after all.

Things the palm reader lady told me:

1. I’m confused. (um, not really) (but maybe she was) (just you wait, you’ll see where her “confusion” comes into play a little later down in this list)

2. I’m frustrated. (sometimes, I guess, but I don’t think I’m frustrated enough for that to be one of my defining traits) (oh, and hello, vague and general, right?)

3. I’m a jealous person. (sooooooo not true) (at all)

4. I’ve had two relationships end because of jealousy. (again, not true) (see my response to #3: "sooooooo not true") (not a jealous person)

5. I’m in a lot of pain. (jesus, this psychic really has it out for me) (I have my moments of angst, sure, but I wouldn’t say I’m a walking wound or anything)

6. 2006 was a really bad year for me. (okay, it wasn’t the best year) (the first half of the year was definitely better than the second half of the year) (the stuff in the second half of the year that was “bad” was family stuff that has since settled down, stuff that I would categorize more as “difficult” than as “bad,” and ultimately there was a lot of growth, and good things come out of change, and all that, and I’m sorry I’m being so vague but it’s not bloggable) (and a lot of good things came out of 2006 too) (like the blog, for starters) (so to just say that “2006 was a really bad year,” as a blanket statement, is totally foolish)

7. I want a family. (okay, yes, I do, but she had a fifty percent chance of getting that one right)

8. I’m having problems with a family member whose name begins with the letter “M.” (that’s a no)

9. I’m going to publish a book this year (it might be helpful if I was writing a book) (and the only reason she even knew I was a writer is that I told her: “I’m a writer.”) (but maybe I should write a book this year and get it published so she can be right about at least one thing)

10. A woman whose name begins with the initial “D” will help me out in my career this year. Someone who I haven’t met yet. (Okay, cool, I’ll look out for her.)

11. I am going to make a lot of money this year. And when I do, I should come back to her and buy another palm reading. (She actually said I should do this.) (And hey—if I do make a lot of money this year, I’ll give Mrs. King another run.)

12. I will find true love this year. (Sounds great, but wait for it) (this is what I was talking about when I said that she was “confused”)

13. I will find true love this year. With a woman. (there we go) (Grandma will be so excited)

14. Or, to use her exact words: “You will find the woman you want to come into this year.” (Um, could you repeat that?)

15. Again, with her thick Armenian accent: “You will find the woman you want to come into this year.”

And then she kept going on and on about how I was going to find my woman this year, and Urp and I kept trying not to laugh, and she finally finished her reading and we paid her and we left—quickly—and as soon as we got outside we both burst into laughter.

But as we walked back to Urp’s house, I think I had a little more bounce in my step because now I know this is going to be my year. The year I’m going to find the woman I want to come into. I’ll let you know when I find her.

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's My Comment Party and I'll Have a Cold If I Want To

I was sneezing all day yesterday and I thought it was just allergies, but now I’m afraid I’m getting sick because I’m kinda achy and I’m even more snotty (sorry about referencing snot, I know that the last time I referenced snot people got grossed out, but I think I referenced snot more graphically that time, and this time I’m trying to be as casual and nonchalant and nongraphic as possible in my snot referencing as humanly possible), so I’m spending the day in bed.

But since I’m feeling sick and just planning on lying here in bed all day, I’m kinda bored and I’ve decided I want to have a “comment party”—whoever gets comment #100 wins.

Topics of discussion up for grabs:

--how Diem was totally robbed on MTV’s The Duel last night. (I am so mad at Aneesa. I was actually rooting for Aneesa before last night, but then she goes and lies to Diem and I was screaming at the television) (I know that most of you don’t watch The Duel, but I also know that the few of you readers who DO watch The Duel are as obsessed as I am, and I hope you are as incensed as I) (Steve? Marie? Bonnie?)

--the hotness of Daniel Craig (along with a confession: Casino Royale was the first James Bond movie I ever saw) (and then another confession: that last statement is partially false, because I’m pretty sure I saw one of the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies when I was in high school, but I don’t remember it at all, so I’ve decided to strike it from the record, and I definitely haven’t ever seen a Connery Bond film, so I think it’s okay for me to go around saying that Casino Royale is the first Bond film I’ve ever seen.

--now, I’m really bad at deciphering lyrics—like, reeeeeally bad—but at least once a week someone comes to my blog after googling the phrases “Bryan Adams” and “looking to me eyes” and as bad as I am at deciphering lyrics, I don’t understand what anyone might think “looking to my eyes” is supposed to mean. Maybe that’s why they’re googling it and coming to me for answers. But I don’t have any answers other than: it’s “look into my eyes.”

-- It seems like they’re handing out national holidays right and left these days, (or there was the one, at least) (and I’m not saying Ford doesn’t deserve one) (he totally deserves one) (in fact, I think his death should have gotten more attention than it did) (because remember when Reagan died? That was all you saw on every station for what felt like weeks—it was all Reagan this and Reagan that—and I think Ford got short shrift compared to Reagan) (hey, where does te phrase “short shrift” come from, anyway?) and I want to declare today the National Gia Does Not Have Rabies Day. Yes, her quarantine is over! (Actually, it’s not officially over until the end of the day, and the Animal Control woman should be coming by sometime this afternoon to give us our walking papers.)

--Speaking of Gia, any suggestions on how I can get her to stop licking her bunghole?

--how great is the word “bunghole”? I think it’s my favorite synonym for “anus.”

--I just sneezed and a huge loogie flew out of my mouth onto the couch and it was really gross.

--Britney Spears’ vagina.

--Joe Chandler is a punk.

--Apparently Danica McKeller (who played Winnie on The Wonder Years) wants to be on the next season of Dancing With the Stars. I have a feeling she’d be a really good casting choice, actually, because who doesn’t want to watch Winnie Cooper dance? She’s totally hot (I’m not as much of an expert of female hotness as I might be on male hotness, but I think Danica McKeller’s gotta be almost as hot as Daniel Craig) (right?) (or am I wrong here?) and she’s totally smart (I mean, she solved a math theorem and they named it after her) and she’s gotta be more fun to watch on the dancefloor than, say, Harry Hamlin. I think the next Dancing With the Stars cast should be made up entirely of former child stars. Like Wilson Cruz—that’s actually a great idea—if you work for Dancing With the Stars and you’re reading this, steal that idea—NOW—get Wilson Cruz on your show—I remember back in the mid-90’s when we went to the AIDS Dance-A-Thon at Universal Studios, Wilson Cruz was hot off of My So-Called Life and he was one of the hosts of the Dance-A-Thon and he was an awesome dancer—and then, of course, if you need any more proof of that, you can just watch that one episode of MSCL, the Happiness Dance episode, the one that Brian Krakow narrates, when Ricky dances with Delia Fisher at the end of the episode and the whole world (or at least the few thousand of us who were watching) was all like, hello. (Uma, I know you’re reading this right now and you’re thinking “why is Erik going on and on and on about Dancing With the Stars and he still hasn’t written the post he promised to write about the Staples Center show, but I’m sorry, my nose is filled with snot and this random post came out first because I really want to have a comment party) (of course, it’ll be really sad if I’m lying here in bed and no one comes to my comment party, but c’est la vie if that happens) (oh, and wait, speaking of Delia Fisher, I was watching this random documentary in the middle of the night last week about all of the child actors who were ever in Annie on Broadway and there was this one actress, Senta Moses, talking about what it was like to play an orphan in the show, and as she was talking I suddenly realized that she played Delia Fisher and she looked great and it made me want Senta Moses to be on every TV show ever, because she was great, and I can’t believe she was only in three episodes of MSCL because she definitely made a really big impression, but I don’t think she should be on the Former Child Stars season of Dancing With the Stars because she’s not really a big enough name)

--Oh, but while I’m on my rant about former child stars, have you seen this cracked out Corey Haim video??? (if you read Defamer, then you’ve probably seen it because they wrote a post about it a couple of days ago) (I can’t watch the whole video—it makes me too sad) (how can you go from Lucas to this?) (and Lost Boys is soooo not “still there,” Corey—sorry—it was great in its own way, and all, but I think your best performance, other than the one in Lucas, was your performance in License To Drive)

Okay, I think those are enough topic suggestions to get a comment party started.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Sixteen Favorite Beatles songs

I spent the whole day getting things done:

--paying bills (oy) (lots of bills)

--sorting through piles (if you’ve never seen the way I live, then you don’t truly know the meaning of piles) (Urp knows what I’m talking about) (she and I lived in the same room for three years, and she is intimately acquainted with my piles) (but I’m getting better, I swear) (the piles seriously aren’t as bad as they used to be) (Urp, you totally don’t believe me right now) (I can feel you not believing me, and you haven’t even read this yet) (But the piles are totally lesser than they used to be) (geez, “the piles”) (that sounds like a geographical destination, like Stonehenge) (like, “hey, honey, when we go to Europe next summer, lets take a daytrip to The Piles” “oh, honey, not The Piles”)

--throwing things away (papers I found in the piles) (papers that I once thought I’d need, but which I so clearly don’t need anymore)

--filing away other needed things found in the piles (how did my passport get into one of the piles, that’s what I want to know) (my sad, sad passport, which hasn’t been used in years) (my lonely, dusty passport) (craving Wagamama’s)

--doing laundry (okay, I didn’t actually do laundry, I just thought it would sound good on the list of things I got done today) (and I actually did, like, five loads last week, so I still have plenty of clean clothes, and I can get away with pretending that I did laundry today) (except I’m mysteriously low on underwear) (it’s weird) (I simply don’t understand) (what happened to all of my underwear?) (I used to have so much underwear) (I need to put that on my “to do” list: buy underwear) (it’s a serious concern)

--making lists (even if I don’t get anything on the list done, I consider the act of making a list an accomplishment in and of itself) (still, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as crossing things off a list) (so much so that I’ll kinda cheat on my lists, sometimes) (like, I didn’t make today’s “to do” list until after I’d already paid my bills, after I’d sorted through my piles, after I’d thrown things away, after I’d filed away what I was going to file away, etc., yet I still wrote all of those items on the list and then dutifully crossed them out) (oh, and I don’t just cross out, I like to obliterate the completed items with ink until you can’t even read what the completed items were) (which is why it’s doubly weird that I write things I’ve already completed on the list and then cross them out—because it’s not like I can look at the list later and be like “oh, yeah—I did that”) (because the completed items are totally illegible) (I also usually write “make a list” at the top of my “to do” lists, and then when I finish the list, “make a list” is the first thing I cross off) (so satisfying)


Last night, my step-dad’s side of the family got together (I’m part of so many different extended families, the holidays are slightly insane) for a late Christmas celebration. It was me, my step-dad, my step-sister, Urp, and a few friends. We ate a big meal (so many big meals lately, I’ve put on about 200 pounds in the last week, I swear) (give or take 190) and then we exchanged gifts. I gave Urp some green socks and Urp gave me a Beatles poster (we did our actual gift exchange last week—when Urp took me to the Dancing With the Stars show—which was one of the funnest—and gayest—nights I can remember having in, um, I don’t even know how long—thank you, Urp—but I’m still planning on writing a whole other post about that, so moving on), and today I put my new Beatles poster up in my bedroom and it makes me feel like a college student again, because I haven’t had posters up in my bedroom since college (that’s totally a lie—I had a Dude Where’s My Car poster on the back of my bedroom door at the Commonwealth apartment for three years—but the Beatles poster still makes me feel like a college student), and the poster on the wall inspired me to listen to The Beatles on my ipod all day while I was getting all of the above-mentioned things done. And, okay:

I have to admit something.

(a) I love The Beatles—

(b) —I totally freaking love them—

(c) But—and here’s the thing I have to admit—I’ve never really known which songs are Paul songs and which songs are John songs.

(d) Does that make me a bad Beatles fan??? Did you just read the above statement and scoff at me, gloating “I’m such a better Beatles fan than Erik”??? Are their voices and writing styles so obviously incredibly different that you find it impossible not to be able to tell the difference and you’re so totally appalled right now?

(e) It’s just that, I’ve always loved both John and Paul equally and maybe that’s why I never learned whose songs were whose—because I don’t have any interest in playing favorites.

(f) On the flip side, I can totally always tell which songs are George songs—but his songs seem obviously very different to me.

(g) So tell me, does not knowing which songs are John songs and which ones are Paul songs make me a bad Beatles fan?

Anyway, in the spirit of making lists, I’ve decided to try to make a list of My Ten Favorite Beatles Songs. It’s going to be hard to narrow them down to ten, but I’m gonna try. (Oh, and as I make the list, I’m going to look up who the songs were written by, just out of curiosity.) (And I’m not necessarily saying these are the “best” Beatles songs, I’m just saying they’re my favorite ones.)

Okay, so I tried to only pick ten, and I couldn’t do it. So here’s my Top Sixteen Favorite Beatles songs. (I realize that sixteen is a random number, but it was “Top Twenty-One” and that was ridiculous, but I can’t cut another song from the list, I just can’t.)

Picking my top sixteen songs was difficult enough, so I’m not going to rate them from #1 through #15. Instead, I’ve ordered them chronologically by their release dates.


1. I’m Looking Through You (Rubber Soul, 1965) (written by Paul McCartney)

This isn’t a perfect song. There are other Beatles songs that aren’t on this list that are better songs than this one. But I didn’t say this was a list of the “best” Beatles songs, I said it was a list of my favorites. And this song sends me back to a very specific moment, so it’s really a nostalgia thing. I was a freshman in college and I’d gotten cast as Hal in a mainstage production of Joe Orton’s Loot. I was the only freshman in the cast and I was so intimidated by the other actors—Carie, Marjie, and the two Mikes—that’s what we called them, “the Mikes”—I was in awe of them because they were all really really good, and I was also freaked out by them because they were all already friends and they already had their own in-jokes and secret handshakes and such. I just wanted to be as good and cool and hip and awesome as they were. Anyway, the Loot pre-show music was a mix of Beatles songs, and by the end of the rehearsal process I’d gotten in good with Carie, Marjie, and the Mikes—we were a little pack—and before every single performance we would all stand in the wings and just fucking dance our little hearts out. “I’m Looking Through You” was one of the songs we danced to. When I listened to the song just now, I had this vivid image of Carie dancing on a little staircase that was backstage—wearing a tight black mourner’s dress—and just getting jiggy with it. (Carie, remember how much fun we had dancing to that Beatles mix???)

2. Norwegian Wood (Rubber Soul, 1965) (written by John Lennon)

One of their sexiest songs, imho. Especially when you consider the rumor that the song was originally called “Knowing She Would.” There are several theories as to why it was changed to “Norwegian Wood,” one of them being that “knowing she would” was too suggestive, but I don’t buy that the Beatles caved to some sort of censorship thing because they were totally into suggestive lyrics. Another story is that John sang the song for the rest of the group and they misheard him—“are you saying Norwegian Wood?”—and John changed the lyrics because, hello, the obliqueness of the phrase “Norwegian Wood” makes the song so much more intriguing and strange. Anyway, listen to the song as if he was saying “knowing she would” and it totally makes sense. (“She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere, so I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair?” They so do it before he goes to sleep in the bathtub.) Of course, the idea of the lyric actually being “Norwegian Wood” works with the last line, about him building a fire, but the fab four were good with multiple meanings like that. Regardless, it’s a dirty, sexy song.

3. Eleanor Rigby (Revolver, 1966) (written by Paul McCartney)

The string section—oh man, the strings throughout the song give me the chills. And the quiet, little story told through the song—the images—so many heartbreaking images. You get such a clear picture of both Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie. Sure, the earlier, poppy Beatles songs—songs like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love”—those songs are great. But the later, bleaker, sadder Beatles songs—songs like “Eleanor Rigby”—songs like “Eleanor Rigby” kill me. In a good way. I love the lyric in the first verse about how she “[wears] the face that she keeps in a jar by the door—who is it for?” This woman who “lives in a dream,” alone, working at the church—who doesn’t show anyone who she really is, we only see what she shows us. I went for a ride on my bike tonight, just around the neighborhood, around 7pm. It was dark out. You know how bright living rooms look from the street at night—how you can see inside so clearly, but you can’t see outside—the way light works—anyway, I was riding my bike around the neighborhood and I saw several people, in their living rooms or kitchens, alone—I saw a few families, but I kept noticing people alone—it just struck me how vulnerable we all are, especially when we don’t think anyone’s watching. That’s what I think this song is about.

4. A Day in the Life (Sgt. Peppers, 1967) (written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

I remember reading somewhere that Paul Thomas Anderson modeled his movie Magnolia after the crescendo shifts of “A Day in the Life.” It’s such a crazy song—the different pieces of it shouldn’t fit together, but they do. (You could say the same about Magnolia.) I can never just listen to this song once. (God, I’m making the song sound like the musical equivalent of Pringles—“once you pop, you can’t stop”—but it’s true, whenever I listen to this song, I always hit the “repeat” button at least once.)

5. She’s Leaving Home (Sgt. Peppers, 1967) (written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

This song is sadder than “Eleanor Rigby,” but it’s more hopeful too. Because even though you feel for the parents in the song—you feel sorry for them, they’ve lost their kid—and oh those plaintive, long cries of “sheeeeee’s leeeeaving hooome” are a killer—even though you believe that they did, in fact, give their kid “everything money could buy”—you also get the feeling that their kid is seventeen-fucking-years-old and she’s so over her parents—they’ve never “gotten her” (in a way that only a seventeen-year-old can feel like they aren’t being “gotten”) and she just wants to have some “fun” for the first time in her life (so Cyndi Lauper of her). The chasm between these two generations, it’s so sharp and sad. On one side you have this little old British couple—this well-meaning man and woman who have tried so goddamned hard all these years. And maybe they don’t do something as simple as say “I love you” to their kid enough—because they asssume it’s implied in their actions, in how much they’ve sacrificed for her—but that’s all they’ve ever really done wrong. And then on the other side, you have this girl who doesn’t see their sacrifices as love, she sees them as a burden, and her parents “sacrifices” have been suffocating her for years until finally, on “Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins,” she just has to get out of that house, now—just now. But the hopeful thing about the song is that she leaves a note for her parents, “a note that she hoped would say more,”—that note tells me that she’s going to go off and have an adventure, she’s going to go off and find herself, but she’s going to come back home. If she wasn’t planning on coming back, one of these days, then she wouldn’t care whether or not the note “said more.” And when she comes back in a couple of years, she’ll be a little more worldly, she’ll have made a few sacrifices of her own, and she’ll “get” her parents in a way that you can’t ever really “get” your parents until you’ve been out in the world a bit, until you start to see them not as “parents,” but as actual real people who are struggling with the same things you are—trying to be happy and find their place in the world. And then finally, she’ll understand the love they were giving her all of those years, the love she couldn’t see. Such a good song.

6. The Fool on the Hill (Magical Mystery Tour, 1967) (written by Paul McCartney)

This one’s pretty straight-forward. People see a guy with a foolish grin and they think he’s stupid so they don’t pay attention to him, but he’s actually really smart. Not much to analyze. I always want to sing along to this song when I hear it. Maybe it’s because I’m terrible when it comes to remembering lyrics and the lyrics to this song are so simple they’re impossible to forget. But whatever, it’s a sweet song and it makes me feel happy.

7. Blackbird (White Album, 1968) (written by Paul McCartney)

I think this is one of the most lovely songs ever written. I think “lovely” is the best adjective to describe it. I don’t know if they meant the song to be a lullaby or not, but that’s what it is. Perfect.

8. Happiness is a Warm Gun (White Album, 1968) (written by John Lennon)

In the last section of the song, when John speak-sings: “When I hold you in my arms and I feel my finger on your trigger, I know nobody can do me no harm,” and then he sings “because happiness is a warm gun” and the background singers croom “(bang bang shoot shoot),” don’t you just want to be there, right there, right then, in his arms?

9. I’m So Tired (White Album, 1968) (written by John Lennon)

This is such a great, sleepy song. The way it slowly builds and then falls and then builds again and then falls again, the rhythm of the song actually feels like when you’re trying to stay awake for whatever reason but you’re eyelids keep shutting, and you keep snapping them open, but then the curtains start to fall again, and then you jerk them wide open again, and then, slowly, they once again start their descent. You know? And I love the phrase “you were such a stupid git.” I want to start using the word “git” in daily conversation. I want to start using the word “jagoff,” too. (Ever since I read this post by Sheila yesterday, I’ve been wanting to use the word “jagoff,” but I haven’t found an appropriate moment to drop it into conversation yet.) Git and Jagoff—being incorporated into my daily conversation now.

10. Rocky Raccoon (White Album, 1968) (written by Paul McCartney)

I’ve never been a good singer. I’ll admit it. I don’t have the best ear for a tune. Fine. Whatever. There was a (very short) period of my life, however, when I decided I wanted to become a better singer. This was, like, a two-week period of my life. I think I was a freshman in high school. I took two private singing lessons to try to hone my craft. And this is the song I tried to learn at those two private singing lessons. Which is so absurd because the song is almost entirely spoken-sung. I mean, sure, there’s some melody. But not much. It’s mostly talking. Ridiculous song to learn, Erik. But great song to listen to. Would it be weird if I had a kid and I named him Rocky Raccoon Patterson? Probably. But I couldn’t name a kid Rocky without having Raccoon as a middle name because with the Raccoon there, people would assume my kid was named after the Sylvester Stallone Rocky and he’d have to go through his entire life explaining that, no, he wasn’t named after the boxer, he was named after the Beatles song. (Speaking of which, there was a kid named “Steely Dan” in one of the classes I subbed for last month.)

11. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (White Album, 1968) (written by George Harrison)

Apparently, George Harrison decided he would open up a book and write a song based on the first phrase his eyes stopped on, and that phrase happened to be “gently weeps.” That story sounds almost too perfect to be true, but I like it. I’m trying to finish my latest play by the end of the weekend—tomorrow I’m going to pick up a random book and write a scene for the play based on the first phrase my finger lands on in the book. I’ll let you know if anything comes of it or if I just feel like a jagoff after I’ve written the scene. (I don’t think that was a very good use of the word “jagoff,” but I’m trying and I’m sure I’ll get better at using it.)

12. Hey Jude (single, 1968) (written by Paul McCartney)

Singing along to Paul as he screams that quick succession of “Jude”’s at the end of the song is like a drug. It totally gives me an insta-high.

13. Because (Abbey Road, 1969) (written by John Lennon)

Go to a park, lay down on the grass, put some headphones on, and listen to this song. Some of the best lyrics ever. I like the cover version that Elliot Smith did, too.

14. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Abbey Road, 1969) (written by Paul McCartney)

If I’m remembering correctly, the Beatles were working with Joe Orton at the time of his death—Orton was writing a movie for them (with the working title “Prick Up Your Ears”)—but he never finished writing the script because his boyfriend Kenneth Halliwell bludgeoned him to death with a hammer. And then Paul wrote this goofy, catchy song about someone named “Maxwell” bludgeoning people to death with a hammer. So in the spirit of Orton. Love it.

15. You Never Give Me Your Money (Abbey Road, 1969) (written by Paul McCartney)

When this song starts, it’s just another sad song—more wistful than the other sad songs on this list, but still just another sad song. In a weird way, it reminds me of the Carpenters. (And I don’t mean that in a bad way, I love the Carpenters.) And then the song shifts—the piano and drums kick in—and then it becomes this rousing little ditty about following your dreams. Yes, fucking yes—I think I will.

16. You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (the Anthology 2 version, 1969) (written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

This is a crazy, wild, weird, fun, funny, b-side. It was one of the last songs the Beatles ever recorded and it astounds me that they weren’t really getting along anymore by the time they recorded this song because there is so much joy in this track. When my brothers were all young teenagers, I introduced them to the Beatles with this song and I remember we all danced around the living room to this song. Good times.


Any other Beatles fans in my blogosphere? Anyone wanna share their own list of favorite Beatles songs? Anyone hate my list? See any ridiculously glaring omissions?