Shouting the Poetic Truths of High School Journal Keepers

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Some reflections

So I won't have any new entries until 2005, since young-me was apparently too busy enjoying his Christmas presents to bother writing in his journal. But I just wanted to let you all know I appreciate the positive response I've gotten so far, especially from those of you who have surfed in from elsewhere.

Going back to these journals has given me odd bouts of nostalgia mixed with faint embarrassment. I didn't think at first I'd have to censor anything, but I guess I forgot about several 1995 entries that actually pain me to look at now. (I'm realizing that during my late teen years, I probably felt less self-conscious about writing about private matters than I did either before or after that period.) On the whole, though, I look at these journals with much bemusement, and the vast majority will be presented completely unadulterated. (Apart from Googleproofing, that is -- although I have a wicked urge to let someone Google themselves and find that one of the hits is some terrible catty remark I made about their sixteen-year-old self.)

Another note, for the curious: the seven journals from which these entries are culled are all Mead 70-page college-rule notebooks. I've chosen to end at 1997 partially because I don't have enough distance yet from more recent events, but mostly because that's when the Mead phase ended and I started writing, with considerably less regularity, in small blank books.

Anyway, have a happy New Year, and stay tuned.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

December 25, 1995

It's been Christmas for about a few minutes now, since I tend to write after midnight nowadays. Ordinarily, I'd be tucked away in my little bed, of course, but I thought it fit to transcribe my thoughts, as they pertain a few things, most my grandmother's death. Which occurred this past evening at 7:30 pm. Quite frankly, I don't have a whole lot to say about it and acutally was ashamed of myself for thinking that the death occurred at a most inopportune time, Christmas Eve, that is. I mean, I'm not six years old and care about presents, first and foremost. I am a rationally-thinking, mature sixteen year old. But it kind of upset me that my dad couldn't be with us for the tradition brother-to-brother gift exchange and Christmas cookie-eating delights that we usually partake in. Oh well. And I should probably mention it now, that we had been expecting her to pass away for quite some time now, since she had pretty much deteriorated both physically and mentally, and it was just a matter of days. I should say that so no one accuses me of not feeling anything. I do feel something, despite the fact that I began laughing once I heard the news (a nervous reaction), but it obviously isn't as intense as if she died when she was in perfect health, like this past summer, when she journeyed to Ireland. It makes everything kind of awkward, though. As for the present, the here and now, I'm typing this away on WordPerfect 6.11, listening to my Pizzicato Five CD, not on my portable CD player, but through the computer's CD-ROM drive and the Windows Media Player. All very fancy, I should say, but that's what this new computer's all about. I realize I'll look at this later and laugh at my reaction. Like we'll be living in space in twenty years and the world will be our oyster. This CD's cool enough, I suppose. All in Japanese, and infused with dance-laden pop hooks (God, I could be a rock critic)2. It's so much of a step aside from those alternative rock bands we all know and love, but that's both good and band. Don't want to get into it now. I'm hesitating with my typing now because I fear that I'll start writing more seven-word sentences like the one above, and punctuating every comment with some filler like "Well." It's craziness, I tell you. But that just tells me that I should stop for now, becayse I think I've said what I meant to say. Except for maybe I thought I should record my dreams for yesterday: Diane Breining3r3 with Abbeduto-length4 hair looking at Adam's Human Animals List5. and saying we should put it in the program for the musical; Jay C0llins writing a review of the Jayhawks for journalism class simply to rip the band apart, to spite Dan Piw0warczyk, who in the dream is a slightly embarrassed Jayhawks fan, and me humming a Jayhawks song when I see the idea for the article on paper; in my grandma's house, Shar0n Battista6 telling Bob that he was the third man she's seen naked in her entire life, she talking about shower stalls and me standing by; soaping up the sides of those giant castle-like towers so no intruders can enter by hoisting themselves up; I know there must be at least one more. But Santa should be coming soon, and I should be in bed. Or should I?

1 I was toying with keeping a computer-based journal, but it didn't last past Christmas break. A couple months later, I dutifully copied this entry out by hand (!) into my notebook.

2 Heh. Some people seem to think I am.

3 My sophomore-year English teacher and director of the six plays in which I acted in high school: "Midsummer Night's Dream," "See How They Run," "South Pacific," "Rumors," "Lend Me a Tenor," and "Guys and Dolls."

4 Ms. Abbeduto was a French teacher who I never actually had for class. I think "Abbeduto-length" means short.

5 My friend Adam loved coming up with animals to which he could compare our teachers and classmates (cf. 12/20/95 entry re: Genevieve W. looking like a bat). Some were oddly specific, such as "snow owl" (Megan M.), "aardvark" (Collin B.), and, bizarrely, "pigeon with eyes like peeled grapes" (Debbie G.). He kept a handwritten list of his best ones.

6 My friend (and sometimes rival) Ryan's mom. Bob is his dad.

Monday, December 20, 2004

December 20, 1995

Tonight was quite pleasant, as I still marvel at how immensely satisfying good conversation can be, especially when among people you know and love. It was the Thespian Christmas Party, you know, at A1exia Kruger's house, for she is our President, despite the fact that she doesn't do much -- or so says Adam. He's been doing more than his share, apparently. But that's neither here nor there. Anyhow, quite a few alumni were present: Mike C0rtez (USC), Pe+er Tinaglia (Northwestern), Becki Aske1and (Ill Wesleyan), Sc0tt Malzahn (Valparaiso), Nathan Miku1cik (NIU), Holly Hami1ton (Bradley), etc., the latter having recently been arrested for stealing stop signs. But of course, good Genevieve Webs+er was also accounted for, and she is a sparkling conversationalist, as we chatted about movies and other such things. I really like that girl, to be sure. I honestly do. I was staring at her tonight and thikning she looked like child actress Christina Ricci, but maybe just because of the forehead. Otherwise, she looks like a bat. That's what Adam says, and I agree. I thought Tatyana M. Ali on last night's "Fresh Prince" looked rather Christina Ricci-esque. Genevieve, now at least she's white. She had her coat on the entire evening, too, because she said she was fine, and Alexia asked her if she could remove it for her, and again, she said she was fine. What happened eventually is that everyone kind of split up: in one room, the alumni and the girls who love them (J Sillitti, A Hoffert, M Meier, just absolutely fawning over Tinaglia and Cortez like they were some sort of movie star); in the next, some folks playing a game called Aggravation; and then we (Stacie, myself, Holly, Genevieve, Chris Carley, M@ndy Geiger) playing Scattergories in another room. But it got too loud so we left. It was a fine party overall, but it just got too loud and we wanted our conversation unhampered by that crass commercial alternative rock that kept blaring from the stereo speakers. "Reality Bites"? Give me a fucking break! Counting Crows? Don't think so, pal. And yes, I do realize that that was all me circa February 1994, but that was in my youth and so I have a bit of an excuse.1 I've grown up tremendously since then. Anyway, it was just Chris and I that got really offended, since he's my buddy in the music department. We make each other tapes and such2. So we went to Chili's and it was closed. Daniel H0rn yelling from Mandy's brand new red car, "Hello!" and me thinking what the fuck, you're only at this party because Becky R0senmayer thought you were a Thespian and accidentally slipped you an invitation before she realized it was too late. And then of course we went to Denny's, and of course, typical-typical, Stacie just said "bye" very tersely and left off on her merry way, on her voyage home. I like Stacie very much because she's my best friend and everything, but I don't know if I can always handle her mood swings. As I said to Chris later, I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, and if you're not happy when I am, it's just like, whatever. She had to be home by 11:20 anyway. What happened then was that at Denny's, we pop in and I end up talking with M@rk Beirn and Kyna Smi+h and Becky R0senthal the entire time, because it's not often that I get a chance to talk with them, and they just happened to be there, sitting in a booth, almost ready to go when I showed up. Genevieve and Mandy and Daniel were already at a table, ordering french fry and sandwich-filled baskets, and Chris would make periodic visits to the Mark, etc. table, but I just stayed there the entire time. Talking to Becky mostly, though, because Kyna and Mark together are just, as Becky said, "unnerving." It was quite a good visit and reminded me that I need to call Marie tomorrow to just chat. We haven't personally done so since August and that's quite a long time when you consider that I truly enjoy Marie's company and consider her a good friend of mine. Well, that I must do and a zillion other things. Chris and I decided that we're going to put off seeing "Nixon" until Thursday3, since I'm obligated to have dinner with my great-aunt tomorrow as a sort of a Christmas visit. And I'd truly like to drive up to EJ Br0nkema's house next week sometime. We'll see. It all kind of hinges on my grandma's death, that is, when, in the next few days is she going to actually die. It's hard to talk about it without using such blunt terms, but I mean, Christ, why bother with the euphemisms? She's going to die, and that's it. There's positively nothing erroneous about that statement. Okay, okay. I'll stop with what must be coming off as macho-ism. I won't really know how I feel until it happens. But yeah. Christmas will be kind of weird this year. Let's see. What else went on today that's notable. Nothing much, and that's kind of sad because without a job I have no excuse for not getting things done. Worked a bit on my Duke University application. Talked to Stacie on the phone, had lunch, went over to Stacie's house for like three and a half hours. [...] Much of the afternoon was spent caring for Paula, who was awake for a ridiculously long amount of time, for babies, that is. She'll be three months in six days. And we watched "Jeopardy!" togehter. Ho-hum. I think Adam wants Alexia to be like Stacie is to me. Kyna said something about him having to affirm his heterosexuality, but I don't think that's it. It was a joke anyway. But I just don't see how he's going to accomplish that kind of friendship if he keeps making fun of her constantly. Adam's a very fun person to be around, to talk to, but he can't be very serious at all. He can be serious about things that matter very little, like social etiquette and such, but not really about sex or relationships or things like that. That's what I told Becky tonight, along with the gossip about Ryan and Jes@ida, and about Becky and Steve: people who've had sex.4 She's the girl that wanted to know, and I guess I don't care anymore about telling people. Becky took a chance when she told Mandy. Ryan, whatever. He told me he was sorry he wasn't able to make it to my party on Saturday. Don't even give a shit. Hmmmm. [...]

1 It was not even two years prior! Although the next sentence seems to signal that I was speaking at least somewhat ironically.

2 Liner notes to a mix tape I made for Chris two weeks later:

1. "Smooth Control," Dambuilders
The almost-obligatory hard-drivin', fast-playin' punkish-type song that must begin every mix tape. Yeah, I know, it's not like Pennywise punk, but I feel all the cooler for at least knowing who Pennywise is and being able to effectively make an allusion to them in the October 1995 issue of "The Raider Review," thus earning the respect of Jas0n Rainwater. Anyway, the Dambuilders are pretty cool. And this is a pretty good song. Check it out.

2. "Stillness in Time," Jamiroquai
True to your wishes, stated both at the Osman cast party and, I think, at my Christmas fiesta, I included some Jamiroquai on this tape. Described by "Rolling Stone" as, and I paraphrase here, "a salt-and-pepper British combo" whose singer has "a Stevie Wonder jones," Jamiroquai has taken the world by storm, earning the praise of critics and audiences alike, as evidenced by their 8-million-copy-selling debut "Return of the Space Cowboy" and a spot on the main stage of Lollapalooza. Ha ha. Just kidding. Actually, no one outside of Aar0n Marsh has ever heard of them, and I prefer to keep it that way. This is one of the mellower tracks; you'll hear the heavy funk later.

3. "El Camino," The Rake's Progress
I realize now that maybe I should've bought this album when we were at the MusicMart place instead of fellow Buy-Product artist St. Johnny, which I later traded to Jenny Patterson's dad for two bucks. But actually, had I bought this album, whose cover contains a tiger, I would've had two albums in which the cover contains a member of the cat family (the other being the tiger on "Ruby Red"), and that would've been beyond my one-wildcat quota. So this is all I have to offer.

4. "Ponderosa," Tricky
Don't be swayed by Amy Kh@n's hasty judgment of "Maxinquaye." She also has the words Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains scribbled onto her bookbag in black marker, showing she's a true alterna-teen. To quote, "I like the sound of guitars, whether they're heavy or not." In my opinion, this and "Washing Machine" may be the top two albums of 1995. Then again, I only had about a dozen to choose from. You decide for yourself.

5. "Bodhisattva," Steely Dan
The story behind this song: I'm picking my brother up from his guitar lesson some dreary Monday in autumn, and good anti-Alanis, anti-Live boy that I am, I've got the dial tuned to WXRT. Needless to say, this song comes on and I'm so blown away, I slam on the brakes in the middle of Boughton, thus causing a multi-car pile-up and injuring a helpless bicyclist. Okay, slight exaggeration (I've got to stop doing that), but you get the point. Since the song wasn't on my dad's only Steely Dan record, I high-tailed it to the library several days later and picked up the greatest hits compilation. The liner notes were rather skimpy, and because it never cracked the Top 40, I can only tell you that "Bodhisattva" was released sometime between 1972 and 1980.

6. "Hit," The Sugarcubes
I'm kind of annoyed by the fact that I haven't kept in contact with my friend Jessie Benens0n, whom I met at Illinois Summer School for the Arts in 1993, and again saw in 1994 (we were only really friends in 1994; she thought I was a scary stalker-type the year before) At least I mailed her a letter; she's the one who never wrote back. But enough bitching. She supplied me with three items in my music collection, all of which I dubbed off the only CDs she had at the time: Sonic Youth, "Experimental Jet Set..."; PJ Harvey, "4-Track Demos," and of course, this release. Fun fact: Bjork's "Post" is Marie Rutk0ski's #2 album of 1995.

7. "In-Betweener," Sleeper
Could they sound any more like Elastica? I bet lead singer Louise Wener snarls in her videos, too. A shrewd purchase by yours truly at the MusicMart extravaganza, for I like them quite a bit, but I'm stumped as to why anyone would buy a full-price CD single that only contains one track. I mean, you have to figure you're paying a quarter of what it costs for a regular CD for roughly a twelfth of the music. And most singles are songs that have already been released and thus, played on the radio. So just tape em, I say. Or buy the goddamn CD already.

8. "Plastic," P.M. Dawn
Still the only artist by which I've bought two CDs (Arrested Development, The Dambuilders, and Sonic Youth have all had at least one dubbed). Their debut was also the first CD I ever bought, in March 1992, birthday and Catholic confirmation money freshly received. So naturally, P.M. Dawn holds a special place in my heart. Note: the chorus should go, "Plastic, what? Plastic, y'all," NOT "Plastic, what? Basketball" as your good buddy Steve K0ven jokingly claimed one day as he was shooting free throws in my driveway.

9. "White Trash," Southern Culture on the Skids
Man, this song makes me feel dirty. Reminiscent, I think, and you can readily dispute this, of Blues Explosion. To tell you the truth, though, I don't know a whole lot about Southern Culture on the Skids, other than that if you get sick of saying all seven syllables of their name, you can use the acronym SCOTS. It'd save some much-needed breath, and plus, you'll earn the respect of your peers, who will immediately peg you as a rock aficionado, like those Hollywood types who are so absorbed in the industry that they talk about having lunch with "Chuck" Heston. Then again, maybe not.

10. "Africa's Inside Me," Arrested Development
This wasn't coincidental, following a Confederate-flag-raising song with a Black Power anthem. It's all part of my attempt to shake things up as much as possible, juxtaposing black artists with white, trip-hop with rock, slow beats with fast, etc. I think you'll thank me for it later. Unless, of course, you're one of those change-styles-gradually types. If so, then I'm terribly sorry. But you'll live. I hope.

11. "Becuz," Sonic Youth
Okay, if you have this album already, just listen to the song and don't go polluting up the air with your ranting about how mix tapes should expose the recipient to music they haven't heard. Besides, I owe you a Soul Coughing incident, too. If, on the other hand, you don't own this album, then what the hell is your fucking problem? The CD came out on September fucking twenty-sixth, all right? And where were you? Watching re-runs of My Two Dads? I don't fucking think so. You've had your chance, Chris. If this song doesn't entice you to buy the album, you're in a sorrier state than I had thought.

12. "Good," Pizzicato Five
I don't actually think that any of the songs on this album are as good as P5's freak hit of last year, "Twiggy Twiggy (Twiggy vs James Bond)." And there are some tracks on it that just need to be fast-forwarded through (here's a tip to the band: stick to pop; don't try ambient). The reason I like it, though, is its cheesy- and bubble gum- cuteness, ordinarily a potential problem, but also kind of a refreshing dip after listening to serious "alternative rock." Plus, I dig Japanese chicks. Especially when they speak French.

13. "9 Fingers on You," Shudder to Think
I wouldn't go so far as to say it's half the fun, but a good percentage of the fun in listening to this song is knowing the lyrics that lead singer Craig Wedren spouts. Therefore, I've reprinted them here. Turn the volume up and laugh laugh laugh.

Hello It's a long road You've got some ape-guy eight-by-tens and I know what you're thinking You've got to hustle for your muscle machine Hey! I've got nine fingers on you The 10th/pro/get foxy/bottom bin dollar record A record player entitled "Biddy, I Gotta Bump"

14. "Peaches en Regalia," Frank Zappa
This is your first instrumental on the tape and one that I hope you'll enjoy, especially since it isn't exactly a "safe-bet-Chris-will-like-it"...track. I almost said "song" but then was reminded of Debbie (Humphrey band director) Brubeck's rule that "songs" must be sung, and this, of course, is an instrumental. And then I was reminded of a dream I had last week that I was visiting fictitious Zappa University, named after Frank himself. What-evah (pronounce like Aaron Sinclair).

SIDE B

1. "Sophisticated Catchy," Pizzicato Five
So you just flipped the tape. What do you think so far? God, I'm getting so self- conscious, aren't I? Either you've pressed the play button hoping Side B is as good as Side A, or hoping that it will get better soon. Well, I'll alert you to something right now: you're going to be hearing a lot of the same bands, since I think it's only fair someone should hear more than one song by an artist in order to form an informed opinion. Plus, I don't have all that much music to go around. This song, by the way, is the trademark John/Chris quasi-instrumental first track on Side B thing. Think about it.

2. "Christmas at the Zoo," The Flaming Lips
This would be a lot more relevant had I given this tape to you over the holidays, which I had primarily intended. But no matter; it's a good song, anyway, I think. I rather like this Flaming Lips album I bought in late November cuz they understand what I think is basic to my musical tastes: a little off-kilter, but with lots of catchy melodies and good hooks. However, understand that I did not buy "Clouds Taste Metallic" because of what is now known as the "Jelly song"; the Sound Opinions guys just about drooled over it and I thought I might use up my Musicland gift-certificate while I still could.

3. "I Can't Imagine the World Without Me," Echobelly
The last song you're going to hear from my stack of MusicMart purchases (I know, you're crying over the fact you won't hear any Tara Kemp). But what to say about Echobelly? Ignore it if I've already told you this story, but one time I was talking to Kjell and he was going on about how great the Wilco/Jayhawks/(insert roots rock band here) album was, and how the best music is All-American, not that "Euro-crap like Echobelly." I told this to Marie, who then e-mailed me and said that Kjell was full of shit/blatantly lying/etc. because he had once told her how great Echobelly was. I still don't have the definitive answer. I, for one, like this euro-crap for at least one reason: lead singer Sonya Aurora-Madan, is, with Bjork, one of the two cutest women in rock.

4. "Gang of $," Shudder to Think
For some reason, I have nothing whatsoever to say about Shudder to Think, other than that this song, for your reference, also appears on the "Tonnage" CD. ("I Smoke a Lot," "Faster") Therefore, I will address another Washington, D.C., band in this space: Please tell me that some "Red Medicine"-era Fugazi lies ahead for me on a tape sometime, specifically the song "Target," which I heard on the Best of the Big Beat 1995 program, but also remember from that time you played the CD in my room. It's been going through my head lately and to hear it again would brighten my day. Thanks!

5. "Filthy," St. Etienne
When my brother bought this CD, "The Trip-Hop Test," it didn't really match my expectations of it, since all I knew of so-called trip-hop was Portishead and Tricky, and this album contained several 8-minute-long excursions into ambient and, dare I say, techno. Although it took me a while to really appreciate most of the tracks, this tune...right here...won me over instantly. But be patient: at five and a half minutes, it's the longest song on the tape.

6. "Need Some Air," Urge Overkill
Q101's Local Music Showcase Listeners' Poll recently voted Urge Overkill most overrated local artist, but I disagree (that would be an honor reserved for Liz Phair, who's got some clever, punchy songs, but can't sing to save her soul). I think they're quite decent gents, actually, and they've got some lovely songs. If the sound on this track is not quite up to speed with the rest on the tape, it's because my copy of "Exit the Dragon" is a dub courtesy Jennifer Patterson (# 7), whom I forced to lend it to me after she had kept by Dambuilders CD for longer than I had initially had it. Naturally, I wasn't about to ask for it back. But you should note: it is the only non-CD song on the tape, so thank your lucky stars and feel special like you should.

7. "Wild Wood," Paul Weller
Paul Weller, if you're not familiar with him, was the lead singer for British punksters The Jam (1977-1984). He's also put together a solo career in the 90's, which has been described as "tastefully emotional in a soft-soul mode." Yet you wonder: What is Paul Weller (not to be confused with the Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone doing on a trip-hop album? Two words, which should hopefully clear up the confusion: Portishead remix. By placing this song on your tape, I've also included 100% of what I consider the true vocal tracks on "The Trip-Hop Test."

8. "Ono Soul," Thurston Moore
Thurston Moore, if you're not familiar with him, is the lead singer for a New York art-rock band, Sonic Youth (1981-present). He's also put together a solo career in the 90's, which regrettably, I don't have a quote for (damn Spin Alternative Record Guide publishing deadlines!). I do know, however, that this song is from his '95 release "Psychic Hearts." Think maybe I heard it first on WCBR...Anyway, yeah, I'll shut up now. But just remember this: "Thurston Moore: He's one tall motherf**ker."

9. "The Kids," Jamiroquai
Okay, deep breath, just five more to go...So check this out. I'm sitting at home, writing up my psychology notes for the final, right? and I'm listening to the 33 record of Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life." I'm on what must be the fourth side (it's a double album) when these stringed instruments kick in, at first only vaguely familiar, and then my God! It's "Gangsta's Paradise" right there on the record, thinly disguised as a ditty called "Pastime Paradise." Okay, forgive me if you knew that Coolio copped off Stevie, but it was a shock to me. By the way, I'm allowed to mention this in the Jamiroquai space since I've a) already talked about them, and b) alluded to Stevie Wonder in the midst of that discussion.

10. "Tomorrow," Morrissey
Although I've liked this song for a while, its presence on your tape is a sheer coincidence, only here because I found the album at the Romeoville Fountaindale Library a few days before I recorded everything. Interesting tidbit: D0ug Beaver won't admit it (because it may infringe upon his masculinity), but he's a Morrissey fan, or at least Liz once said she bought him the "Suedehead" single for his birthday because he liked it. Kind of odd, actually, when your Morrissey's your guilty pleasure, and Bush is the band you go around advertising on your chest.

11. "Overcome," Tricky
I feel it necessary in this space to mention that, because Tricky was once romantically involved with Bjork, and because Bjork's "Post" was Marie Rutk0ski's #2 album of the year, that Marie Rutk0ski's #1 album of the year was "Glow" by The Innocence Mission. Now that that's out of the way, here's another person who doesn't like Tricky: BHS alum Becki Aske1and ('93), who just kind of cringed when she asked me if I liked that "letter from the government" song. Maybe I should write an article for the paper about who did the original versions of songs, since people seem to have little if any clue. I'd start with "Gangsta's Paradise," then proceed with "Black Steel," (Public Enemy/Tricky), "Sweet Jane" (Lou Reed/Cowboy Junkies), etc. It'd be a nice little service to the community.

12. "Teenage Loser Anthem," The Dambuilders
In thinking about this song, I've realized how wrong I was earlier regarding why people buy CD singles. I guess I understand the logic now: maybe you just hear something somewhere and you're unfamiliar with the band and you don't want to take a risk with the entire CD. Like this song for example. Had I not known who the Dambuilders were when I heard it for the first time (JBTV), there's a pretty good bet that I wouldn't have bought the album. Then I got to thinking. Here's a list of 10 great songs I've heard, but whose accompanying CDs are absent on my shelf:

"Hell of a Hat," Mighty Mighty Bosstones
"Bonnie & Clyde," Luna
"Ticking," Loud Lucy
"Dive Bomb," Number One Cup
"Idiot Son," Red Red Meat
"I'm On Fire," Motorhome
"Underground," Ben Folds Five
"Man-Sized Rooster," Supergrass
"Fluffy White Clouds [sic]," The Orb
"Red Right Hand," Nick Cave & Bad Seeds

13. "Valley Girl," Frank Zappa
And then we're back to Frank. What a great 80's song this is, sung by his daughter Moon Unit. Every time I hear it, it reminds me of someone, although I can't quite place who exactly it is. I was thinking Mary O'Connor for a while, or at least Mary's impression of her bitch-punk sister Erin, but that's only the voice. Can't place any faces. But oh well. At least I got it to fit on the tape; that's my genius at work. It fit in its entirety, without such previously-used [last name omitted] methods as splicing or fading. And that's why you've got to give me props.


3 We actually never saw the movie together. I saw it the following summer on video.

4 Six months later, commenting on this entry, I said: "both couples quite unlikely at this point ... that they ever have, that is." Rumors, rumors.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

December 18, 1994

It should be said, I suppose, that the Dec 12 entry1 was copied over a span of two or three days and I only now finished it so I could write tonight, hence the hurried-looking handwriting. Here I am again, past midnight on an eventful Saturday night outing, when I should really be deep in sleep, resting. It's not like I don't have any free time for the next 2 weeks. It's just I don't want the feeling to dissipate. Because it was a good night. Generally speaking. What happened was that Jason, Ka+ie Szum, Kris+in Sanders and I ended up eating at our brand-new Chili's restaurant here in Bolingbrook, the hotbed of retail & fine eateries. It just seems weird, I guess. I don't hang around with those girls. But what really happened, how it started was when we were at Oak Brook and there was Stacie & Jesaida & Karen Krueger2, because we sang for about a half an hour, then she had an appointment of some sort, we will never know. But the singing was secondary to good times & the Christmas spirit. It is a truly wonderful time of the year. We were shopping, well mostly just looking, in a fascinating little shop called Sharper Image for quite a bit, a quirky little business of $4000 rubber monsters and talking language translators and gumball machines and vibrating chairs. Katie apparently gave some 33-year-old guy named Al her phone number when he asked, so that was the big controversy of the evening, producing a ten-minute argument with the guy & Kristin about what was he doing talking to her in the first place. But then, of course, our little eight-member group had to part ways, and Stacie3 went home with her mom, who I have negative feelings about, just because she got lost on the way there and I knew where to go, and I didn't like the fact that she was going anyway. But I understand Stacie not wanting to drive on 355. It's just awkward being in the car with someone's mom, I guess. So anyway, Jason & I attempted to get to Chili's because hey, it was something to do afterward, and wasn't it funny that we were a perfect SATB4 quartet (Jason: "Suck this quartet")? And wasn't it an interesting quartet anyway? And plus, Katie & Kristin were really hungry. So the two of us got lost & had to call up Sid5 around Westchester, at some little gas station. So many highways, it just gets really confusing. But we're having a good time. That's the main point. But we finally get there, though. Now this, I just find fascinating, the four of us. It's like, who are we? It felt like some double date or something, kind of awkward, kind of enjoyable. Of course, I liked it, but when Katie started sliding down the seat and pushing her stomach up and down and giggling about it, what are you to do? It wasn't as if we were just friends because I don't consider them really to be friends, per se, but it wasn't anything else, either. It was just a random grouping. I think the fact that Katie's just so damn attractive throws a wrench into the system (I think that's the right idiom). She's just ... mmmm ... I don't know. Interpret that however you want (some people "mmm" when they're thinking and it sounds kind of like a delighted yawn, but the letters also have other lovely connotations). How else do I say it? Anyway, that was my evening. A thought just crossed my mind, which was that if I were to write a book or something, I would certainly include detail & personality & physical characteristics, which I don't always do here, such as the fact that Katie has brown hair & wishes she was 5'3". That is, of course, that she's shorter. Thus my attraction. But in this journal here, that's not my purpose. Maybe it would make for better reading, though. I like to think I have several good images, but I don't have to go so far as to describe Kristin as having a face too wide for her features, rosy apple cheeks, etc. It's not important. That should be the key: importance. Because maybe Katie's sparkling eyes and little-girl voice are important. -JMC 12:50 AM

1 I'd written my entry for Dec. 12, 1994, outside of my official journal and thus had to transcribe its contents into the official journal over the past couple of days.

2 My inept, goody-two-shoes choir instructor.

3 My best friend, from sophomore to senior year.

4 Soprano (Katie), alto (Kristin), tenor (Jason), bass (yours truly).

5 Jason's dad. We often spoke fondly of "Sid and Betty."

Friday, December 17, 2004

December 17, 1993

...because apparently she was confused over when OUR monthaversary actually occurred.1 I don't know; I didn't press her on it. But anyways, today is last day o' school before holiday vacation. I hasten to say "Christmas vacation" because of course, not everybody celebrates Christmas. It's sad, really, that they have to be subjected to it, especially if they're too shy to point out that they don't believe in it. Why must we assume that everyone gets presents on Dec 25 and sings Christmas carols (by that I mean those mentioning the baby Jesus, etc.)? I was reminded of this on two separate occasions, the first being Sra. Rosa's2 non-stop "Christmas fiesta" this and "Feliz navidad" that. In our Christmas carol singing yesterday, I would have gladly sung CASCABELES, but O PUEBLECITO DE BEL√ČN or LA NOCHE DE PAZ, I think is blurring the lines of church and state. Apparently, a Mississippi principal was fired last week for reading a prayer over the PA (while I disagree w/ the extent of the punishment, I do believe it shouldn't have occurred.) Mike Royko also spoke of a similar situation in the Tribune on Wednesday. I'm thinking, though, how much religion impacts us. For example, I was ushering for the Marilyn Bie1by-directed A Christmas Carol (which does not count as a religious inclusion because to try out for the play or view it is not forced upon someone), when Becky R0senthal comes up to pay for her ticket and remarks, "Hey, have you seen the Seinfeld book? It's so good. I got it for Hanukkah." I had never thought twice that she would be Jewish. But it makes sense, though. Rosenthal, Seinfeld ... So now I can't see her without thinking "Jewish." I don't know what it is about the Jewish faith that does that. I don't think *METHODIST* when I see Katy B1anchard or *LUTHERAN* when I talk to Jay J0rdan. Oh well... -JMC 10:55 am


1 This ellipsis carries over from the previous day's entry, which was abandoned mid-sentence: [Dec. 16, 1993: Today, friends, is Ryan & Shanna's monthaversary; that's what Ryan told me today, and I suppose my Nov 17 entry confirms that. Stacie was upset...]

2 My daffy, inept Spanish teacher.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

December 14, 1992

That's real chinsy, don't U think? It looks like some dead tree. Of course I'm talking about my decorations.1 We got one of those fake trees this year which really got me upset cuz it's like a tradition, but what got me even more mad was that we put it in a different spot, which was even more untraditional. Well, anyways, I finally started on my shopping yesterday and I bought my brother the BOBBY BROWN CD cuz he'd kill me if I didn't -- and, plus, I got my cousins' friend the exact same CD at half-price. What the hell? It wasn't half-price. It was only 2 dollars off. Damn, it's like last year when I inadvertantly referred to Mrs Gawlik as Ms Brubeck. Well, anyways, I have to give him a present (his name is Luis) cuz he's staying w/the family for a few months instead of his hometown of Guatemala City, Guatemala, and I figured this was as good as any. If it wasn't on sale, I'd probably get MTV Party to Go Vol. 2 or Boomerang cuz I could dub it. Speaking of which, Steve still hasn't given me his tape 2 dub even though he's been telling me for months that he would. We had a volleyball tournament in Godparents2 last nite where we ended up at an even .500 record of 2-2. We won the first game against Dudkowski, which featured an old bag that Steve + I called the "OH SHIT" lady becuz whenever the ball came near her, she'd always miss it and mutter "OH SHIT" -- What a bitch! Anyway's we won, 15-10 even though we clearly could've scored more. The second game we lost to Monica Koenig's team -- I don't remember the score -- but we lost 15-5. The third game was the oddest of all becuz we were down 5-3 when someone on the other team tipped it over the net where Steve was. Steve complained that the basketball hoop was in the way and so he was arguing with the ref. Meanwhile, the other team was serving, and Steve realized that it was coming right at him so he raced in and hit it. Well, that was good, but he hit it over this really tall wall onto a platform that no one could reach. Eventually, Jim O'Brien ended up scaling the wall of a back room to get to it, but everyone was blaming Steve for it. So, then, after the game, which we lost, Steve was coming down real hard on himself. However, I was scorekeeper in another rare game taking place at that time, which I will have 2 discuss later due to the unusual circumstance that the bell will ring soon.

[Marginalia: 1. I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston 2. If I Ever Fall in Love - Shai 3. Rump Shaker - Wreckx-N-Effect 4. In the Still of the Nite - Boyz II Men 5. I'd Die Without You - P.M. Dawn]3

1 I've drawn the date in the corner of the page and attempted to dangle ornaments from the numbers.

2 A Catholic youth group I belonged to. Each kid was assigned to an area couple (mine was the Biddles), who led a group of eight or so in religious discussions every Sunday night.

3 These weren't my favorite songs but the top five songs in the country that week. Around this time, I was obsessed with the Billboard charts.

Prefatory Notes:

1. This blog will only contain journal entries I made between the ages of 13 and 18, from 8th grade (1992) to sophomore year of college (1997).

2. Entries will be out of yearly chronological order, but I will attempt to post on the same day and month as the original entry.

3. "Shouting the poetic truths of high school journal keepers" is a line in Sonic Youth's "Skip Tracer," a song I loved when I was 16.

4. Though I had an inkling to do a blog like this for a while, it was recently inspired by Sarah's similar project.