Thursday, April 26, 2012

Life in Song: Man on the Moon

Life in Song is a series which will likely never finish. It is not, as originally conceived, a span of my hundred favorite songs; rather, each post covers one song randomly selected from a list of those which immediately evoke a memory or other emotional response. Entries will likely be uncomfortably candid and melancholic, as they attempt to recount a song's personal significance and also its context in my psychotically detailed fantasy life.

Song: R.E.M. - Man on the Moon

Thoughts: It's not a song that immediately gets me excited to write an entry, but neither is it so dull that I immediately regretted attempting one tonight. I love its melody and hook and can still get really into it occasionally. Michael Stipe's adenoidal voice has always sounded very expressive to me.

Defining Era: 2000.

Vital Lyric: "Andy, are you goofing on Elvis? (Hey baby.) Are we losing touch?"

First Exposure: I first came across Andy Kaufman at a pretty young age, maybe eleven or thirteen, when two specials about him were in rotation on Comedy Central. I was taken with the idea of eccentric, provocatively inscrutable comedy. I took the idea that I was his reincarnation. I don't know if I heard the song before the film of the same name came out. Being also a massive, unabashed (if fading) fan of Jim Carrey as a child, it was a dream project. After reading about it in TV Guide, I told my father about it, who told me about the song. As the movie was 1999, "Man on the Moon" is likely among the first crop of songs I had on Napster.

Prominent Memory: Seeing Man on the Moon with my father in the Forest Hills theater. I'm not sure why we saw it there. It was where we also saw Beyond the Mat, so maybe it didn't come to our regular spots, although that seems unlikely. We walked along that street afterward, not the main strip but the one to the side, past the theater. I don't remember how I began the sentence but I was probably responding to the mediocre review it received in the newspaper we had at the diner earlier that day, which said that the film was simply Jim Carrey being Andy Kaufman through different scenes, never really displaying any insight. I told my father how truly touched I was (I may have said it was hard not to cry) at the final scene when "they blare 'Man on the Moon.'" I may have also said "when they show 'Dedicated to Andy Kaufman,'" but I can't find footage of the closing credits to confirm that that's actually true.

Alternate Memories: In boarding school, Bobby comparing himself to Andy Kaufman. It was the last time I said in earnest that I was Kaufman reincarnated. We were standing outside of the computer building. One of us on the steps. I meant it as a big, defiant punctuation mark on the conversation. It certainly was. I don't know which of us was less respectable, him trying to justify his malcontent abnormality with the Kaufman allusion or me contending that I had a spiritual kinship with him.

It was me, actually. I was less respectable.

Bobby isn't on Facebook, I've just found. It's difficult to imagine someone that idiosyncratic, possibly more so than anyone I've known, not eventually achieving fame or an early death. His alias is apt, I'd almost be disappointed to have located him.

Fantasy: Interestingly, this song was most relevant to me in the Cliché Teenager days that predate H Street. Which means that I was picturing a different club when I fantasized about us coming on stage after being informed of Andy Kaufman's re-timed death and performing this in his honor, as it wasn't at the standard summer camp stage. Or perhaps it was, and it's morphed, as I got into R.E.M. in full with the formation of H Street. Either way, this is a mainstay, even with Artist on Artist. It needs recontextualizing.

Out of Ten: 7.2

Audiosurf Score: 295,862 (Global: 4, Nearby: 2)

Some Levity: Possibly just after coming home from seeing the movie or earlier than that, looking up the song's lyrics and finding an interpretation. It explained a lot of the lines but did say that the song itself was calling the moon landing a hoax. I doubt now that R.E.M. actually believes so, but I told my father about seeing that, proudly.

This isn't that funny, especially because on the same night I found some Andy Kaufman message board with a lot of people being very hostile to Bob Zmuda and other names. One of my earliest exposures to vindictive cursing. I'm not sure what they were arguing about.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Watering: Food Backlog, Comments, Invitations

Watering entries are personal diaries, alluding to this post's conclusion. They are a potpourri of recent thoughts and experiences (one might even call them a blog, if one were to be so common), published when I have no other projects to work on, in order to ensure I've written something for the day.

Too much to cover. I'd like to get the pictures in first.

One egg over a toasted slice of peanut butter bread. The way the light of my lamp hits my plate in this picture makes it the closest I've come to food porn or at least reminiscent of a Deus Ex: Human Revolution screenshot.

Far less tantalizing, canned chicken with mayonnaise and pickles over toasted peanut butter bread. Tasted nicer and more in-focus than it looks.

This morning's breakfast. Two Gordon Ramsay eggs (sour cream gone off) over toasted peanut butter bread.

The bread. See it a lot on r/keto and finally made it. I believe I screwed up the preparation by mixing all the ingredients at once until it simply became a slightly eggier peanut butter, which was so adhesive that I ended up eating too much off of my fingers while trying to get it in the pan. Possibly made myself sick ingesting so much raw egg, possibly placebo. Should mix the peanut butter and eggs until liquid, not further to thickening, then add rest. Should look thin and with sediments. I am not a sedimental man, but it might have helped in this case.

It rose more than I expected it to, but not enough to function for sandwiches. Good as a little plate for servings like this. Nice taste and texture contrast. Got a baker's dozen slices from it, could have narrowed them even further.

Last Player Character column got hotter than I could have imagined on N4G, which was a double-edged sword. It drew some comments and one was pretty negative, although the person who wrote it clearly didn't read the article carefully or fully. I am pleased with how I responded. Remember: priority in running my site is accessibility. I must pride myself on taking criticism, even kowtowing to it. My ego wasn't too bruised. Then linked the comments to the chat chums; Ben's criticism of the column, while mostly fair and polite, was too difficult to swallow.

Couple of nights ago, dreamed of Shiva. Very odd, that. I remembered her exactly as she looked at fourteen. Perfectly beautiful, in a bright blue shirt. Dreamed that I had tried to blackmail or threaten her, then was trying to avoid her in the streets of Forest Hills, walking with Serj.

Found her on Facebook. Friends with Serj. Amazingly, I always knew her last name - I was never certain. She's married now, possibly a mother.

Perhaps I dreamed of her because it was 4/20, and my earliest memory of the day was having Serj tell me that she had been saying "Love you plenty, happy 4/20" to people. I quoted that on Sans Pants. I've never forgotten it. Don't know. Tangential.

Two nights ago sucked badly. Then the love affair which dare not speak its name became more engrossing with the introduction of sexual pictures sent to my phone; you know, like what happens in the movies. Then it sucked amazingly.

Reviewing the pictures this morning, they were adjacent to old pictures of Verse. Trying to find her screen name, I made the minatory mistake of venturing into my AIM logs. Some conversations later, I found myself reading through always painfully pleasant chats I had with Mary. My memory of us barely speaking in 2004 is wrong. We spoke, then and afterwards, and were close.

Two things:

Autumn 2005.

Mary: Dude
Mary: Bella came out
Jason: Just now?
Mary: Well, I dunno when. Clark told me
Jason: I see.
Jason: Fucking Charles made me gay too.
Mary: OH MAN
Mary: hahahaha
Mary: you're funny
Jason: It was a very easy joke.
Mary: I know, but you executed it with such panache

That was a good joke. I don't know if I knew it at the time and just played miserable to be distant or if I've fallen so far by now that my standards for myself have lowered. I had to stop reading there. I feel as though I've let so much slip through my fingers.

To whit:

Spring 2004.

Mary: Hey, you doing anything tonight?
Mary: Robin and Charles and Bella and Lenny and I are all going out to party. Wanna come?
Jason: No.
Mary: Ya sure?
Jason: Very.
Mary: Dammit, Jason!
Mary: You would totally have fun
Mary: Probablly
Jason: First: I wouldn't. Second: I already have a date for tonight.
Mary: Oooooh...
Mary: Nice.
Mary: Have fun, okay? I'm signing off. Bye.

I notice myself acting very cold to her in these conversations. Could be lover's spurn. Could be depression. Could be confidence. I would never act like that to someone now, and I wonder if that's a good thing. I do sound cool, but only by her grace was I tolerated.

As for the invitation, I'd completely forgotten that. I remember Oswald asking me, noncommittally, once if I'd be interested in going to a party. That's mostly all I think of when I reference turning down invitations back then. Apparently, I did better than that. There was no date, obviously. I got to fard myself in fantasy instead of partaking in an experience which could have been pivotal. I wonder what would have happened if I'd gone. If I'd still know them now. If it would have gotten me closer to Allison.

When I still pine for Allison, I wonder what I could have done to break through to her back then. Obviously, there's the old stalwarts of not being fat and being more outgoing. This is something concrete. I could have tried to mingle, to party. I could have gotten invited more often.

But it's a lie to say I still don't feel a certain pride that I didn't. Pride, along with a pain of missed opportunities and forsaken memories that almost has me in tears.

Perhaps it was a lie to say I am not sedimental.