Amoeblog

(Wherein our hero looks back - and sees so much bleached denim.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 2, 2014 12:21pm | Post a Comment

LOWS 1989
It's 1989 and things are lookin' up... side-down.


The final year of junior high was heavy for my 8th grade class at Live Oak Waldorf School.

We’d bonded unusually deep; our eccentric education, overseen by the same, stern woman annually and paid for by unconventional, often dysfunctional parents, made us peers not just of age and fads, but in isolation: we weren’t represented in popular culture – there weren’t Cosby kids too poor to afford clothes or dental work; INXS wasn’t singing about the world of antiquity, accompanied by recorder ensemble; the cast on Facts of Life never gathered in a bi-monthly circle to share from their hearts until everyone wept and atoned and affirmed admiration for each other – then broke for their next class on American folk dancing.

blair jo
"I'm afraid being raised without an understanding of more mainstream, cultural norms
is going to handicap my trajectory in life, Tootie."

The final months of that semester were strange; our lessons became devoted to one, final project: a run of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, barely edited, performed for the public by either of two casts, each featuring the same students in alternate roles.

It was our teacher’s idea this would avoid certain students having all the glory of lead parts. While well-intended, it instead ensured that shier kids who’d have preferred to skip the spotlight, couldn’t; it meant everyone had two characters to memorize – quite a task, considering this was most pupils’ introduction to iambic pentameter – and made what would have been the natural, unfriendly phenomena of critical comparison between kids’ acting skills even more impossible to avoid.

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Photographic Memory, Part 2

Posted by Job O Brother, September 14, 2009 12:01pm | Post a Comment
This is another installment of music and/or movies that I’m reminded of when looking at old photos of myself, my family and my friends. It was brought to you by the letter E and the number 8. And through a generous donation from the Karen Silkwood Driving Academy. And from Viewers Like You.

angry kid
"I hate you."

Here’s a picture of the dude that’s writing the sentence you’re reading right now. It was taken while he was in Kindergarten. The expression on the boy’s face sets the tone for the rest of his scholastic experience.

I don’t know what happened to make me look so surly in a photograph. It could’ve been as simple as the photographer telling me to “Smile!” which is an order I have never responded to well. I mean, if someone wants me to smile, they should be creative about it. Try saying something like:

“I’ve bought you 8 pints of ice cream and a spoon!” or

“I managed to destroy every last recording of the song ‘Entry Of The Gladiators!'” or

“I am John Gavin, and I’m going to kiss you.”

Something that would make me smile for reals. Don’t just bark orders at me! Especially to portray an emotion. That’s too personal. I AM NOT A LABRADOR RETRIEVER, PEOPLE!

(During which the author suspects ruin is imminent.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 16, 2009 01:15pm | Post a Comment
school

The "homework feeling." That’s what I’ve got.

It started when I was a kid. It would be after school, and I was finally at home. The sense of relief was huge, because I hated school. Every school day was something to survive – forget about excelling.

Not that I attended schools that were innately dangerous, mind you. In fact, my Ma made sure, humble means or no, that I went to private, reputable institutions. But my antipathy was unconditional. I have the test scores to prove it.

Having finished a day of school there still remained, however, a most evil of responsibilities: that heinous curse, homework.

It haunted me every hour I didn’t do it. Whether I was watching You Can’t Do That On Television, or making my culinary invention – Sweet, Scrambled Pancakes* – or writing cry-for-help puppet shows, there was always that voice in the back of my mind reminding me in a chiding tone that I had homework.


I pretty much never did homework. No amount of privileges revoked, respect lost, or threats of future failure could convince me to do a sheet of fractions. Heck, the homework could have been to sit in a chair and clap twice – I would have found a way to avoid doing it.

To this day, most any time I’m not actively doing something responsible and productive, I feel guilty, or like I’m forgetting something important and, as a result, my life will be sent into a furious, downward spiral. I know it’s neurotic, but all it takes is two hours of enjoying listening to music and daydreaming for me to worry that I’ll be living in a rotted cardboard box by Tuesday.

CAUTION: FLAMMABLE!

Posted by Job O Brother, November 18, 2008 11:37am | Post a Comment
fire
The view from my window. That store in the middle is Linda Thai - they have great food.

*Cough, cough!*

Hello! Greetings from *cough* Hollywood!

Sorry about the grey ash everywhere. It’s from the fires. And the heat. Strange, isn’t it? To be in the middle of November and planning your day around which businesses have air conditioning? (Amoeba Music, by the way, has air conditioning.) This is how we do winter in LA: pretend the blazing heat is an Arctic chill and those flakes of ash falling from the sky are snowflakes.

Also, that fat man laughing loudly on Sunset Boulevard is Santa. Nevermind that you’ve never seen Santa throw-up in the gutter and scream that the government put wires in his cereal. This is how we do winter in LA.

*Cough, cough* Word.

I must admit, I kind of like the way the air smells when Los Angeles is consumed in hell-fire. Kind of like everything’s hickory smoked. Kind of delicious, and reminds me of Christmas gifts of Hickory Farms, like you might find a smoked and dried Pasadena nestled in a box of fake grass, next to some strawberry candy. Sounds good, right? Who wouldn’t want to spread a little smoked Pasadena on a poppy-seed cracker? Maybe add a sprig of dill. Mmm!
meat gift
The last seven days – we’ll call it a week for short – have been packed with all sorts of activities. Let’s start with the most improbable of them:

(In which Job abides a leisurely Sunday.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 6, 2007 12:00am | Post a Comment
It is Sunday. There’s a warm breeze that skims our skin outside, keeping us from breaking a sweat, though the sun shines brightly. Even now, as I sit in the living room of my lover’s house, listening to a suite written by my favorite classical composer for a spring day, Delius, the light shines through windows and hits the blonde wood floor and white walls, casting a buttery glow; keeping it balmy, as though this room is an extension of some lazy park.

Upstairs, my lover snoozes; his body sprawled out and touching every corner of the bed. Napping on a Sunday afternoon – he is in Heaven.

I f***king hate it. I HATE SUNDAY! I hate the warm breezes and clement temperature that elicits such ridiculous adjectives as read above! Blonde wood and buttery glow? What the hell is this anyway – a porn story for an Ikea catalogue?!

All my life and especially as a child I have regarded Sundays as the day that fun “takes the day off”. When you’re a kid and still in prison… did I say “prison”? I meant school. Sorry.

When you’re a kid and still in Guantanamo Bay, Sunday is the day before you have to return to class. As if being a kid in the 1980’s wasn’t bad enough. Double whammy!

I am grumpy. The good news is that I took my last dosage of antibiotics this morning. For those of you who haven’t read my previous entries, I have been battling a nasty case of breast cancer.

(Regular readers will know it’s actually just an ear infection, but first timers need to be drawn in with something a little more dramatic and compelling.)

Anyway, I am listening to the British composer, Frederick Delius. You Kate Bush fans will recall a track on her enigmatic effort, “Never For Ever” a song that bears his name, which is her love song for this composer. Or maybe it’s just a metaphor for her angst over her bunny slippers. Or maybe it’s about a ‘shroom trip she had while churning her own butter. It’s Kate Bush, so how are we to know?