Amoeblog

SOUNDTRACK SERIES #5

Posted by Job O Brother, May 2, 2010 12:46pm | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.

For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:


The boyfriend and I need a lamp. Not just any lamp – something that can complete his “reading nook” in the prominent corner of our living room. It must be a lamp that won’t be diminished by our awesome Italian chair (roughly the size of my last apartment) which it will stand behind, be powerful enough to provide the boyfriend with the amount of light he likes in order to read (roughly the brightness of two suns) and, in general, should be hella rad.

So, every Sunday for the past month, he and I have set out into the deliciously temperatured* but cruelly trafficked land of Los Angeles. Armed with my trusty iPod, which I plug into his car – a Lexus with a capacity for smarts exceeding most high school students – its music gives me the fortitude to face another shopping day.


We’ve tried most everywhere: trendy boutiques, flea markets, furniture chains, thrift stores, even kept an eye out on the streets of West Hollywood where, for some unexplained reason, you can always find abandoned pieces of living room furniture. Always. It vaguely troubles me.


How can a city with so many interior designers come to this?

Anyway, last week we went to what I once knew as the Fairfax Flea Market but seems to have re-branded itself the Melrose Trading Post – ostensibly because anything with the name "Melrose" in it  attracts swarms of youths with expendable monies.

And I did find a lamp – unfortunately, not for the reading nook, rather, my desk. It was an imitation Art Nouveau affair, with an ornate, glass, tulip bulb atop a Victorian woman in neo-classical gowns actually swinging from a branch in the center of the lamp! Very Maxfield Parrish meets funeral parlor.


"I wonder if they wear clothes on other planets?"
Another smutty painting by playboy of the art-world, Maxfield Parrish

“But you already have a desk lamp!” exclaimed the boyfriend.

“Yes,” I answered, “But it only has a black-light bulb in it, and I’d like to have a little more light at night.”

“Why don’t you just put a normal light-bulb in what you already have?” he asks, his tone betraying knowledge that he’ll regret asking. But I don’t answer directly.

“I need one with a black-light and another with some other color, like red or blue.” And my eyes light up. “It’ll be so spooky!” (It’s important to know that whenever I use the word “spooky” it means for me what most people convey with words like “cozy” and “lovable.”)

After a meal of some Argentinean street food (which seemed to consist of tired spinach dragged through clear oil and dirtied with salt-less scrambled egg whites – ¿Que pasa, Argentina?) we left the flea market – me with a framed, three-dimensional picture of a Greek peasant woman, a 1950’s chip ‘n’ dip, a bullfight advertisement, and yes, a lamp I didn’t truly need – but no lamp for the nook. Back in the car!


Our next stop was the neighborhood of Little Ethiopia, where you can find some swell thrift stores. I love Little Ethiopia because the air always smells of frankincense, sweet tea spices, and exhaust.

The first store we tried had some amazing junk, and I inquired on prices for everything from a metallic etching of a celebrity rabbi (looking like some elder member of the Justice League of America) to a cross-stitched portrait of Shiva (looking like a Playgirl centerfold).


"I like cuddling in front of the fireplace and girls who believe I'm straight."

The boyfriend, seeing I was in danger of spending my rent money on antique ashtrays and politically incorrect lawn-jockeys, dragged me out before I could get a price check on a mounted, electric Jesus head…

“I at least need to find out what it needs electricity for!” I pleaded. I mean, what happens to a mounted Jesus head when you give it the power of voltage? But he showed no mercy, and we entered another shop. One that was playing this on a boom-box:


Okay, now you the reader will probably lose all respect for me, but hear me out: If you saw how awesome the lamp in the window was, you’d stop, too! I pointed it out to the boyfriend.

“Look! Ah! It’s so good!” It was a shepherd boy, sloppily and carefreeily* drinking from a huge jug, his vest and shirt permanently swept up by a summer breeze; his eyelids painted a delicate, pastel blue, his dainty feet almost dancing over a plot of grassy soil. The lamp stood at about 4 feet and looked to weigh about 1½ sea lion**. The boyfriend rolled his eyes.

“There is no way. You can’t seriously think that goes with the living room,” he said.

“No, of course not,” I answered, “But… for the Study…” (The Study is the room where I work. It’s where I keep my desk – the desk that now would have two lamps on it.)

This led to the boyfriend and I having a not-quite-argument about the necessity of having four lamps for the Study. (Did I mention the fourth lamp? It’s on my bookshelf, with the flicker-flame bulb.) For some reason it annoys the boyfriend that I could have so many lamps in one room without a single one equipped with a normal, white bulb. (Did I mention there’s also a string of blue Christmas lights I keep under the couch to provide an otherworldly glow? And two light-up beer signs on the wall?)


It's what appears over my head when I get a brilliant idea.

I will admit that my acquisition of so many light sources did seem to mock our mission of finding a suitable candidate for his reading nook, but we don’t choose who (or what) we fall in love with, and I had feelings for the electric, pastoral dude. So I bought him. That, and, an antique mirror, a Depression-glass candy dish, and a hardcover edition of Poe’s works translated into French by Charles Baudelaire.

“You don’t read or speak French,” commented my boyfriend.

Mon nom est Pierre. Je suis un médecin,” I retorted.

So, we have yet to illuminate his reading nook. But it’s Sunday again, today. I’m in the mood for rockin’ music and I'm feeling optimistic, so I’m insisting we go out shopping yet again. Besides, I have to buy some more extension cords for the Study.



*Not actually a word.
**Not actually an accepted form of measurement.

SOUNDTRACK SERIES #4

Posted by Job O Brother, March 28, 2010 04:44pm | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.

For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:


The other day… no, not that day – the other day… yeah, that one… I was painting my collection of pigments, when a car drove past, blaring its music so loud that it felt like an earthquake. But, y’know, an earthquake that could keep a beat.


I’m all for losing one’s self in music, but I do think it’s tacky to blast your car stereo so loud that anyone within an area code can hear it. I’m not talking about regular loud – I’m talking about these people who have pimped out their auto’s sound system specifically so that they can impose their roving, one-man rave on a neighborhood at a time. What if someone’s trying to sleep? What if someone’s trying to record music? What if someone’s being held hostage by a crazy person who’s got a sword pressed to their throat and is screaming:

SOUNDTRACK SERIES #3

Posted by Job O Brother, February 28, 2010 12:35pm | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.

For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:

The other day, while I was counting my number collection, I was interrupted by a knock on my front door. As is customary in my country, I went to see who it was. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be none other than myself.

“Oh!” I said with a start, “How did you get out there?”

“You mean,” I said with a sly grin, “How did you get out here.”

“That’s exactly what I said,” I retorted.

“But not what you meant,” I corrected.

I slammed the door in my face and went back to my numbers. I don’t have to take that kind of snarkiness, you know – not even from myself.


Hours later I was eating some broccoli that the Lord My God made, when a second knock came – this time at the back door. Worried that I was up to my own tricks and hoping to avoid another awkward confrontation with myself, I peaked out the kitchen window to see who it was.

To my delight, it was filmmaker and performance artist, Miranda July. Most people know her from her critically acclaimed debut feature Me and You and Everyone We Know. What they may not realize is they can also find some of her albums at Amoeba Music, as I have. While not the best music to play at parties (unless you exclusively party with Yoko Ono), Miranda July’s albums are certainly an adventure, and one is never sure what will happen. They’re almost like listening to old radio dramas while peaking on purple micro-dots. (That’s a good thing.)


I quickly combed my hair and opened the back door.

“Hello, Miranda July,” I greeted, trying not to appear too excited. But then I threw-up, because I was too excited. And then I was so shocked that I’d vomited that I peed my pants, but as all this happened I pretended to be sneezing, hoping she wouldn’t catch on. I mean, a sneezing fit is embarrassing, but less so than excreting every juice the bowels have to offer from both ends of my shivering body.

“I don’t know who you think you’re fooling,” snarled Miranda July, “Unless it’s yourself!”

The full meaning of her admonishment didn’t reveal itself until she removed her latex mask and feminine attire, at which point I discovered it wasn’t Miranda July at all, but myself in disguise.

“How did you manage to find such stylish clothes in your size?” I asked, trying to appear unperturbed (which I was, of course, and very!).

“Easy,” I answered, “I had them custom made by a fantastically famous fashion designer whose name escapes me. He’s done all the great women of rock – from Polly Jean Harvey to Muslimgauze.”


“I’m pretty sure Muslimgauze isn’t considered a ‘great woman of rock’,” I corrected, popping eight pieces of gum in my mouth, the scent of which had suffered from my retching. “Anyway,” I continued, slurring for the chewy gob now lodged in my mouth, “How did you afford that? I barely have any money.”

“True,” I sighed, “That part was difficult. I’m afraid you’re gonna be receiving some disturbing letters from various credit card companies. Also, you should get tested immediately.”

I didn’t know what I was implying, but I knew I didn’t like it. I slammed the door in my face and returned to my broccoli, which was, by now, cold. This made me sad, and I wept over my plate; tears drenched the broccoli and made it salty, which made matters worse, as they’d already been perfectly seasoned with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. Now it was too salty.

There was nothing to be done. I would have to prepare more broccoli. Thankfully, God made more. I put on some Annette Funicello records and set to cooking.


Most people know Annette Funicello from her critically acclaimed debut on the Mickey Mouse Club. What they may not realize is they can also find some of her albums at Amoeba Music, as I have. While not the best music to play while making sweet love (unless you exclusively have sex with Yoko Ono), Annette Funicello’s albums are certainly a delight, and one is never sure what will happen if you listen to them while locked in a cage full of tigers and monkeys.

Night came, and I put on my pajamas and brushed my teeth, making sure to use my tooth brush and not the more unwieldy chainsaw that had caused me so many dental problems in the past.


As I was pondering the magical properties of fluoride, I heard a rapping on my bathroom window. I left the underwater dungeon (where I always care for my hygiene) and went upstairs to the bathroom, only to find myself precariously balanced on the window ledge, grinning madly and looking disheveled.

I gesticulated for me to open the window, but I was hesitant. So far, every conversation I’d had with myself that day had been annoying and in some cases disturbing, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear anything more from myself, especially just before bedtime.

Against my better judgment, but worried after all that I was trapped outside, I opened the window.

“How did you get out there?” I asked.

“You mean, how did you get out here?”

I was already wishing I hadn’t opened the window.

“Well come inside, in any case.”

I tumbled onto the bathroom floor, giggling.

“Are you drunk?” I asked, furrowing my brow.

“No,” I answered, “I just remembered how funny floors are.”

I didn’t respond, because I didn’t understand what was funny about floors, and also because I felt that I was only saying things for the sake of themselves – a pretense.

Me and I went to bed, and while I’d been unhappy with my behavior, it was nice to have someone to curl up with.

“Would you like me to sing you a lullaby?” I asked.

“Why yes,” I answered, surprised at such a lovely thought.

I cleared my voice and snuggled close, and this is what I sang:


By the time I finished, I was fast asleep, dreaming that I was at a sex party with Yoko Ono. It was nice, and it only goes to show that for all the trouble I cause myself, at heart I really am supposed to pay my rent today.

The end.

SOUNDTRACK SERIES #2

Posted by Job O Brother, April 21, 2009 07:30pm | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.


For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:


I’m moving. My boyfriend and I are finally shacking up together. We had to pick between our two homes: my tiny bachelor, located in the heart of Hollywood, with decaying floors, rotted walls, and endless episodes of water and power failures – you know, what real estate agents refer to as a building “with real character and Old World charm,” or his two-floor townhouse on the Miracle Mile, a building so nice that even the landlord keeps a room in it, and the only creatures that crawl around are the snails in the pretty gardens out front.

I said, “How about I move in with you.”

So, I’ve been packing up my collections of antique religious paintings, record albums, spooky bad-luck charms, record albums, various flavors of vinegar, record albums, biographies on various dead people I have crushes on, record albums, and plants.


Because I own so many framed pictures (my goal has always been to have enough wall hangings so as to never reveal what color my room is painted) I found that I needed some string to bind armfuls of them together, so as to move them. Since I also needed some boxes, I hooked myself up to my iPod and headed to my local Staples.


After scanning the aisles and being temporarily distracted by the multitudes of Sharpies that are available these days (“It’s not like when I was a youngster!”) I found that string was nowhere to be found. I asked the cashier:

“Where can I find string?”


He furrowed his brow.

“String?” he asked, confounded.

“Yeah. String.” Now my brow was furrowed, too, because I didn’t understand why he seemed so bewildered. He turned to a fellow co-worker.

“Do we have any string?” he asked him. This other co-worker, a supervisor or something, walked towards me.

“You want string?” he asked me.

“Yeah,” I said, surprised that this simple request was causing so much commotion.

“What for?” he asked me.

At this point, I stuttered. I was so overwhelmed with all the many uses of string that I could barely mention one. Besides, why was this even a conversation? When you ask for milk or eggs at a grocery store, they tell you an aisle number and you’re done – there’s no mental pow-wow over the why’s and wherefore's.

“To… to tie things together,” I faltered, feeling so stupid that I had to explain what string was for.

“We have twist-ties,” the supervisor offered.

“No,” I answered, “I need string. To tie bundles together.” He shook his head.

“We don’t have string.”


I bought the boxes and left, astonished that they didn’t have string at an office supply mega-store, and annoyed that they made me feel as though I were requesting an item that was preposterously obscure. I mean, gimme a break people – I was asking for string, not a hinge for my pewter inkwell!


Fearing the worst, I dared to shop at my nearby Wrong-Aid. I call it “Wrong-Aid” because I never get in and out of there without some kind of cockamamie challenge. Either there will be an old man in line in front of me who disputes the price of York Peppermint Patties -- “This coupon says they’ll be five cents each – not six!” or the only flavor of chips they’ll have is “tripe ‘n’ marshmallow” or I’ll slip on a pool of urine that a set of toddler twins left near the beer section, or I’ll be trying to figure out which type of Advil is best for my headache when a ghost ship of pirates will fall on top of me. Whatever it is, whenever I shop Wrong-Aid, the only guarantee is that I’ll leave with a frown and a story.


And yet, lo and behold – they had string! I was so happy that I let my guard down and was startled when the cashier informed me that they were “out of coins” so I couldn’t use cash. I would’ve committed suicide, but I still had things to pack and a blog to write. So I guess you sorta saved my life, dear reader. So thanks. Thanks for life and everything.

Hopefully this is my last report from Hollywood. Miracle Mile, here I come!

SOUNDTRACK SERIES #1

Posted by Job O Brother, April 29, 2008 11:13am | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.


For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:



So, I was at Target the other day, looking to see if Method had launched any new cleaning products (which they had – a new toilet bowl cleanser, so I was happy), when I found myself looking at the pet toy section with fresh interest.

I decided to purchase a cat laser. That is, a little plastic mouse which shoots a red laser point; the idea being that the cat will think the red spot is some kind of living, flying, glowing thing and chase it around. Not every cat registers the laser, however, so spending the four dollars was a real risk on my part. You know me, though – I live on the edge. Cat laser? Purchased!

Before I left Target, I put my courage to the sticking place and ventured into the men’s restroom. The men’s restroom at the West Hollywood Target reminds me of jail, somehow. And yes, I’ve been to jail, thank you for asking.



Everything was going well – if not for my olfactory sense. I was washing my paws. A few sinks over from me was an old man in a porkpie hat. I watched, transfixed, as he removed both his upper and lower teeth and set them on the very public, men’s restroom sink.
I quickly left. I didn’t want the janitor to have to clean up any regurgitated Vitamin Water on my account.



I walked home and fantasized about the different kinds of bold and delicious sandwiches I could make using doughnuts for bread. I’ve never actually done this, but I think about it. A lot. No matter what I contrive, however, I always come back to this fantasy of a simple glazed doughnut, cut in half, holding a few slices of warm ham and Swiss cheese. This obsession of mine is made all the more odd when you consider I don’t like doughnuts and actually hate sliced ham. For this reason, when I dream this recipe, I imagine feeding it to someone else, and watching them love it. Why do I want this to happen? I don’t understand. Sometimes I even imagine I own a restaurant, and the doughnut/ham/Swiss sandwich is an entrée. This is a long paragraph. Way too long for a blog. Unless, of course, it’s a blog entry about Guantanamo Bay, in which case, lengthy paragraphs are justified, if not because the subject matter is complex, then simply because the name of the place is so long. Guantanamo Bay, Guantanamo Bay, Guantanamo Bay, Guantanamo Bay… See how much room that took up? And I only mentioned it four times!

I’m drinking coffee right now, obviously. Corey and I stopped by his favorite café, Stir Crazy, on Melrose.



It is rad, I must say. It reminds me of the coffeehouses that dominate the northern half of the West Coast. The barista was this charismatic lass with curly locks who gushed over how soy milk bleeds into the coffee, leaving Corey envious that she could so lose herself in a moment. Meanwhile, I was studying the covers of the magazines they had displayed and doing what I always do – looking into the eyes of the cover models and trying to discern how they were “really feeling” when the photo was taken, as opposed (if opposed) to how the photographer wanted to portray them.


"Hmm... A taco would sure hit the spot..."

I just got an email from our new blog editor. You didn’t know we had an editor, did you? (This rhetorical question is meant for those of you who didn’t know. I want those of you few readers who did know to know I knew you knew, because I care about you and never want you to feel alienated. Now kiss me!)

Through her email I learned that she loves Pinkberry, which reminds me of the time I went to Pinkberry with Corey…



See, I had tried Pinkberry but Corey had not. So we went to the new location at the Farmer’s Market at The Grove. That’s pretty much the story. He got some and I didn’t, ‘cause I’m not that into it. But he liked it. I didn’t say it was a good story – only that her email reminded me of the story. Not every single thing I do is fat-with-a-ph.

Oh! I almost forgot - the cat laser? Fangs LOVES IT. Thank you for asking.

Here’s what’s playing as I’m about to save, edit and post this entry: