Shouting the Poetic Truths of High School Journal Keepers

Friday, February 04, 2005

February 4, 1996

Let's just say I've been on hiatus or some shit like that1... there've been reruns of my life playing in the downtime, I'd like to think...but now that we're back, writing live & in color! (blue), I have a few things to discuss. The major one, of course, is the minor auto accident I found myself in Wed. morning, foolishly trying to park into a space too tight for my car (or at least I'd like to think that it was so as to have something to blame) & in the process denting a 1996 black Ford Probe owned by Aimee S@ss, who transferred here this year from Benet & I am now scared out of my wits to face. It was a highly traumatic experience, compounded by the fact that it occurred at 7:35 AM in the school parking lot and everyone knew by an hour later. And everyone thought that it was much worse than it was, that it was a hit & run (well, kind of maybe, becuz when I hit it, I panicked & got the hell onto the other side of the lot & didn't leave a note or anything ... but dutifully, I reported it, as I should have, so it didn't really matter what my prior actions were), whatever they said to me, even if it was mere curiosity about the matter embarrassed & upset me, and the day was marred by that morning's incident because I sat with a lump in my stomach & a total lack of concentration. But it's almost over. That is, I reported my wrongdoing to the Mountie2 (Ken Tepp3l, police officer) after a first period of wondering what to do nervously, and wrote a note to Aimee that night to be delivered on Thursday, and my dad phoned her dad, and estimates on the damage are awaiting. Shit, but it was an unpleasant thing to go trhough -- and damn it if the car wasn't three (3) days old that I hit. Me in my dirty black 91 Mercury Tracer that no one really cares about. That has paper plates & notes from Diane Breining3r & Dunkin Donuts bags strewn about the floor in the passenger's seat. Some Shakespearean playbill inthe backseat. Radio station buttons sticky with cola spilled a year ago & frozen up in the subzero weather nature has been recently providing us. And now a broken bumper. So that's been the big news. Also, the scoop on the musical3 -- even though i knew what the lowdown was last entry, I failed to repost it. I'm having mixed feelings, actually. My audition didn't go as well as I had hoped (Debbie4 kind of fucked up the piano part of "Luck Be a Lady" & not being familiar with the play in full, I was somewhat at a loss when Di asked me to "role-play"), and perhaps it's not worth blaming, but the part I received is that of Lt Brannigan, a trash-talkin' NY cop, which is cool & all, but not a singing part. Really, my first significantly smaller part. And so I'm wondering, am I sad & jealous of people like first-time-out-of-the-gater Aaron M@rsh, who plays Nathan (the role I'd kind of been eyeing) or Collin Br0wn (his role fits him more than me, I realize, but he gets to sing)...? OR is it just nice to not have to worry so much about line memorization & the like? Both, I suppose, but then I start wondering if I'm really that talented or if Di likes me or if I could have done it over, what would I have done (the audition, I mean)? It still should be fun, though, especially since three of my very good friends are in it (Stacie, Jason, Adam) & then people you just enjoy being 'round or like to look at (like Abbey P0we maybe -- and speaking of which, Ryan was kind of annoying me Sat. at dance rehearsal cuz he kept saying "Who's that girl eating the pretzels? Is that Angel?" even though it was actually Abbey, and despite the similarities -- both very young-looking sophomores who sometimes wear glasses -- he should know who Abbey is at least & not mistake her not once, but twice ... I mean, Abbey's just much cuter ... that's what it comes down to). The camaraderie being what I love about theatre most, so I've said, too, in various college application essays. (Proud to say those are all completed as well -- now we just watch our timepieces & calendars to see who wants to give me some extra dough). So many reminders of just how short my time is at BHS. As for more recent events, my life is full of irony as when Chris & I went to see Four Rooms yesterday & -- here's the irony -- we get carded! Ha ha. I apologized to him for being sixteen (he is 17 & 12 days), but I thought it funny that only now has this started to happen. Never before have I so looked forward to a birthday. It was okay, though, because then we went out to record stores (my "strikeout," if you will, at Record Swap indicated to me that there are absolutely no area locations that sell either Motorhome5 or Cibo Matto6, although a boy named Jesse7 at RS who I had met through Marie back in August was willing to order one of them for me) & to the coffee shop, where I had yet another mocha (!) -- (I'm so fond of their mochas I'm afraid to try anything else). He had a date with some RHS8 chick at eight, so I was back home with plenty of tiime, and in fact, took the opportunity to go have dinner with Stacie at TGI Friday's when I returned. And that was quite pleasant, too -- she was very relaxed & not feeling anymore the initial doubt as to whether I really wanted to do something with her (it's that part that sort of annoys me, like when she jumps to conclusions & thinks I don't like her, I don't want to talk to her ... and then there's her possessiveness, too, self-admitted & recognized in one of Mr Abney's guitar songs he played for us on Friday called "Don't Love Me to Death"9 ... but let me not, for heaven's sake, dwell on her faults!) We drove around for like an hour & a half after our dinner (me: blackened-Cajun-chicken sandwich, her: chicken enchilada) talking about minutiae & looking at people's houses, houses of people we know like Zippy or "Ferg" (the despised nickname of Matt Fergus0n -- I despise it at least cuz I don't hold much respect for him10) or Adam Gyn@c. And so it was very nice. But now I run out of my room & should be going, so I will put my tag here to end.
- JMC 11:21 PM

1 I hadn't written in eight days, despite promises to the contrary.

2 Security Officer Tepp3l acquired the nickname "the Mountie" because of his young, rugged good looks and blank-faced stoicism.

3 Guys and Dolls

4 Student accompanist Debbie Gr0ver

5 Who I found about from Sound Opinions, after Jim DeRogatis raved about them. (And while doing some reconnaisance just now, I discovered that one of the members of Motorhome is in Evil Beaver and another's in Light FM, both currently active local bands.)

6 After finally acquiring the Cibo Matto, I wrote the following review for my high-school paper, The Raider Review:


One doesn't normally expect big names at a record release party for an obscure band's debut album. Quirky Asian hip-hop groups aren't exactly "the thing" in modern music, either. It's all the more reason to notice Cibo Matto, a pair of Japanese women living in Greenwich Village, whose first musical celebration was attended by, among others, Yoko Ono, Lou Reed, and performance artist Laurie Anderson. Although the music Cibo Matto creates consists of mostly hip-hop rhythms, layered with broken English, jazz riffs, and other various sound effects, these elements, which initially may seem disparate, result in a wonderfully effective fusion of genres, as witnessed on the album, Viva! La Woman.

Probably the first sign of Cibo Matto's uniqueness is their name, which means "food madness" in Italian, and which is appropriate since seven of the ten tracks have as a title some sort of food or drink. "Apple," for example, gives way to "Beef Jerky" at the four minute mark of the album. Understandably, this unusual obsession also makes for some bizarre lyrics, a feature compounded by the fact that the group's songwriter, Miho Hatori, has only spent three years in the United States and is not fully accustomed to the English language. The instantly catchy "Know Your Chicken," boasts the puzzling line, "We got 2 babies / Isn't it cool? / One is Magenta, the other is Blue."

Like the Manhattan neighborhood in which they live, Cibo Matto's musical style is a melting pot, a mix of jazz, dance club beats, trip-hop, rap, and even, on one occasion, 1940's Andrews Sisters swing. In "Sugar Water," for example, Hatori (also the lead singer) begins the song with a spoken intro, which when accompanied by synthesizer, resembles the audio to some narrated Epcot Center ride. Soon, a bass-heavy rhythm ensues, and by the end of the song, we've encountered eerily detached backing vocals, a touch of acoustic guitar, and a dance-pop chorus of "la's." What may be the group's strength, however, is that whicle all of the tracks on the ablum certainly contain similar elements, not one really sounds like another. "Birthday Cake," released as a single last year, is an aggressive Beastie Boys-style rant, whereas "White Pepper Ice Cream" is a slow, moody poem, its lazy reading and muted trumpets bordering on beatnik pretention.

In some ways, paradoxically, this variety works to Cibo Matto's disadvantage as well. The first few times I spun Woman on my CD player, I found myself wishing there were more songs like "Le Pain Perdu," apparently a paean to maple syrup, which relies heavily on a Duke Ellington sample. An album chock full of horn-tinged, energetic nonsense would delight me to no end; however, since Cibo Matto is still in the experimental stage of the band, I must also put up with "Artichoke," a long (6:38) and repetitive ballad of piano chords.

And yet in the end, the good does outweigh the bad. Although they don't necessarily have pop hooks as strong as Pizzicato Five (the "other" Japanese dance group, responsible for last year's novelty hit "Twiggy Twiggy"), Cibo Matto make up for it with a lot more depth structurally. There's a moment in the opening track, "Apple," in which the beat stops to reveal a muffled melody that could have been lifted from a classical Oriental opera, complete with percussive bells and woodwinds. A minute later into the song, Hatori repeats the simple theme, but takes it a step further; with a strong, clear voice, she extends the high notes, more or less "breaking free" of the constrictive Eastern sound. It reinforces the idea that although the women's roots may always be in Japan, the band Cibo Matto is concerned with far more than just Asian styles. And when that means an album as strangely fun as this one, it's definitely a plus.

7 Fun facts about Jesse, who was skinny and had shoulder-length dyed black hair and a pale complexion yet apparently was not a goth (as he frequently asserted):

a) There were four bands he was a completist about (and by completist I mean buying import copies of albums that were identical except for the number on the spine) -- I know for sure one was Morrissey/Smiths, because he had a huge Morrissey poster next to his bed, and I want to say the others were, like, Trent Reznor, Jon Spencer (and related), and (wait for it) They Might Be Giants.

b) He built his own theremin!

8 Romeoville H.S., the other high school in the district, whose student body was drawn equally from Bolingbrook and Romeoville, a smaller community to the south.

9 First verse and chorus (copyright Chuck Abn3y):

Well, you worry when I'm driving down the road.
You wonder if that stuff I use ain't tea.
Why do you carry such a heavy load?
I am blue because you're strangling me.
Everything I do you seem to know.
Do you trail me everywhere I go?
Honey, won't you loosen up those arms around my neck?
'Cause I love you, so don't love me to death.
I love you, so don't love me to death.

10 I don't recall any specific animosity held toward Fergus0n except that he was the embodiment of preppiedom, with his cologne and white sweaters and being on the tennis team. He ended up at Tulane.


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