Monday, February 2, 2009

Way Beyond Academic Emo: 2009 Self-Inventory

There's nothing like hanging in your childhood home to lead you into deep, obscene feats of regression and recapitulation. Perhaps that's how I've pulled off such adolescent horseshit as mumbling "I don't care what happens to me" recently, and how I came to spend 20-35 seconds of actual, lived life on lamenting how my parents just don't "get" me. (These last episodes are a few days old, btw, and I've since hit the sea-floor and headed surface-way. Is that Ben Gardner's boat?)

Jeepers Creepers, Lex: I know. But circumstances are such that it'd be even stupider to go about mumbling to myself about just how asshole-ish I'd be to continue indulging these sophomoric courses of action and inquiry. Instead, I'll focus on some things that are keeping me on the sunny side, even if I mean to evoke "sunny" in the hollow, haunted sense of stark winter light.

(These're in no specific order, btw. No matter what the format seems to suggest at first glance, you are reading a now-slightly-better-off-than-totally-insane man's blog, not listening to sports-talk radio.)

1. John Hodgman’s Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require. These astonishing works have played a crucial role in helping me maintain the "keep larfing or you will die" dogma that has pretty much defined my internal and external goings-on since mid-12/08. The laughing's running a little thin, actually, but the wannabe Joycean attention to comedy-not-tragedy is both the upside of irish-catholic-ness, and my anti-spiritual skeleton key. What Hodgman knows, and what Lex believes, is that lies beat fiction: 'specially when it comes to larfs! Like the names of twitterers/life-heroes Tompkins, Scharpling and Barry, Hodgman's nom'll be muttered on my death bed when I ponder the 100s of saints who can claim to've at some point saved my life.
2. The District of Columbia. What is this place? Train, train, bomb threat, restaurant, train. When I say, "this is New York City to me," I mean it houses the better-than-sports, better-than-most-making-out politickery that I'm apt for ambling after, autumn after autumn. Now, to find a 'not crap' job therein!
3. Twitter. Listen, maybe this blog-form's imperfect for the rest of you...god knows I don't use Twitter "as directed," which is to say, via my cellphone. My firm commitment to the tweet-form is mostly forged of a formal affinity for the character limit, and a readerly attachment to a cultivated copse of friends'/celebs' banalities and abbreviated asides. If you don't get it, you're not me. (And if you're not me, congrats! That means your face probably isn't twitching.)
4. Cookie Monster.
5. NJ. Let's see, we've got the "lunar landscape" of the turnpike. We've got WFMU, non-crap pizza, and pizzerias whose delivery folks are all over 50. We've got penne vodka on the cheap. And et's not forget the assholes who drive like shit and a ubiquitous affinity for "semi-formal" men's leather jackets. Everybody's gotta be "from" somewhere, I suppose. Is this my "from" place, still?
6. Rules for Turning 30. More on this later. I talk about turning 30 as if I'm very apprehensive about it, but veteran readers'll recognize that I'm actually just arbitrary and vain. I'm taking the approaching birthday as an opportunity to outline an array of advisable/unadvisable life decisions, as well as the usual bombastic pronouncements. Really I'd just like to have my own apartment sometime before this or that equinox. That's my bleeping goal.
7. Le Foosbook. During the trying times of Holiday '08, I hit the Facebook like a bloody-mouthed, hungry lion. Mission Accompished, though! I think I found what I'd needed to find, and am happy to see myself pivoting back towards the blog-realm, be it long-form or be it micro. Now I'm just good pour the occasional status update while awaiting more insane archival Sewanee snaps. (If only I had a scanner, it'd be curtains for you kids.)
8. The Lite-ness of singlehood: have you ever taken LSD-25? I haven’t: not ever, ever, ever. BUT, I’m told that an alternate-universe version of me has done so. Allow me to imagine I'm him for a moment....When I used to dose on LSD (alt. universe 1997-2000) and the shite got thick, I'd contstantly have to put out my hands, slap the floor, and remind myself where my body ended and the rest of the material world began. This fetishistic work of boundary drawing reminded me how small and physical I was, and helped my occasionally heroic conscience semi-soothe me to the tune of "hold it down, hold it down." So, too, do I find myself seeking reassurance these days from things in the world, and from my own frail physique, as I go about demarcating me and everything else. I am small, I am light, I am unassuming, I am passionless. I am not positioned to hurt anybody or myself. But better, I'm on the way to learning how to just maybe "take it lite" with the enemy of my enemy, Lurks Durkinster.
9. My Grandfather. My grandfather's the kinda guy who, when you tell him you gotta go to the can, he says, he says, he says, “mention my name and they’ll give you a good seat.”
10. Prindle 73. Obviously.
11. Wlkmn. I understand how this fascination/affinity might seem weird to some, especially because on the surface these guys just seem like another iteration of the Brooklyn, 2001 rubric that even Pitchfork's starting to get snarky about. My history with this band: includes the legendary Jonathan Fire*Eater; gleefully acknowledges their way longer-running DC roots; but culminates with the non-context-y realization that I like every single sound coming out of their songs. My new Son Volt, le wlkmn? That's not the right comparison yet, not least because they haven't demanded my rabid attention for a decade yet. But there's something happening with me and they. (And by the way, this particular performance of "In the New Year" will forever connote Barack Obama being president for me. Hamilton's vocal performance is fucking commanding, his leather jacket hardly semi-formal.) I really don't care who else "gets it," and I'm perfectly cool with this being just a 'me' thing. There have to be 'me' things, these days, or I'd go the way of a beached whale.
12. Realizations re: Patrick, writer and Patrick, rocker. Okay, look: I can't sing. Even when the bands I've fronted have no-doubt rocked, it's never been cuz I approached my beloved Chiltons, Parsons, Farrars in the throaty pipes dept. I get this now, having made a solo alb where something like "singing" would've helped. You know what else? I can't even not-sing a la my guys Kinsella, Dylan, etc. Front-guy wise, I think I've done best sounding like, well, Lex Dexter, with all his unconsciously embodied Mark E. Smith, Lydon, Chris Leo-isms. Really, I'm fine with that. Especially now that I've decided not to waste my words on my own voice. Because, you see, I like what I write a lot, and I am pleasantly unconcerned about it winning an audience beyond you seven readers, so there's no need to dress it up all suitable-like for the bars. I'm right now happier doing writing-about-music than I am saddling my writings with music. Try to stop me, eh? And when I do sing again it's gonna be Lex Dexter-y rasp time, not falling-short-of-Chilton follies time.
13. MySpace qua Radio. The only reason to've a muhspuss pazh is cuz it allows one to cruise rock bands' mushpuss radio stations. Why didn't I think of this four years ago? I did, but had to cut bait when 225 students wanted up in my back catalogue. No such problems these days.
14. Relative Libidolessness. Can't help cataloging all of my less-ness-es right now, even if it means (non-)sex-nonsense-blogging now. I am seated between a Straw Man and a Blow-Up doll, and it's cold enough to see my breath. There's the sound of children's laughter pumped in from somewhere. I am my own niece. I shall not not not want for anything saltier than a paperback.

15. The State of Michigan (home of l'UAW, Joe Louis Arena, le Bellman,)

Even the Apostles stopped Always Pressing After the Pentecost.

Maybe my imaginary Reuther's better to Virgil me All throughout Anti-Purgatory. Every other year after every other year, there's Always Pickets.

Anti-Popes, After-Parties: Vinnie Johnson, Ron Gettelfinger, Elmore Leonard, Chet Lemon. All Pink wine And Pantlegs.

Fuck bread and roses! We want fixed prices on A lot full of Packards, and we want Awesome Pastels for our nephew and our niece.

Union Security for Dummies: Sure, dues checkoff = AutoPay.

It's gonna take A lotta Patience, Michigan. It's gonna take A lotta Poise.

16. Sam Adams/Two-Beer Patrick. Two-Beer Patrick is an important, prophesied deliberor, coming soon to yawn at you, be yawned at by you, and to go home early... ( Where's the vaign?) Sam Adams has been on my mind for months before I came home to Jersey and started slurping 1.25 of 'em every other evening. It's my new idea of "plain" flavored beer, and darned if it's not delightful having no more than 1.25 of 'em. Out of curiousity, what're you all's submissions to the Plain Beer Survey?
17. Big Black Boook of lists/dreams qua Open-Ended ‘What is to be Done?’ conversation with self. Thank god. 'I've sporadically maintained a big sketchbook (sans sketches) since my second night in Eugene, 2002. Lately I've returned to reading/adding to the retrospective catalog of rock shows, crushes, insane ambitions, dreams, French Trotskyists' speeches and list of girls kissed btw. 1996-2000. Don't you judge! I'm just trying to take it lite, and these days that's hard work, Regis.


robes said...

you want a comment on this? get over here. you are needed back at base.

lex dexter said...

yeth, robes, yeth, good news? the apartment down the street is back in play.

Ky'all McCaterbear said...

Being a good singer has nothing to do with voice.

You were a great singer in Semi-Finals.

gabbagabbahey said...

penne vodka? wtf? and that's not a spirit made from pasta?

is it snowing at all in Joizee? it is in Dublin, for once.

evil r + b guy said...

Meet me at the Mountain Goat meeting. Then we'll go for a drive.

Anonymous said...


Lex will caulk, drain, strip, spackle, weave, feint, carve, chisel, grump, scriven and stun. If you see Lex, tell him to come home. Mother moved back to Parsippany.


evil r + b guy said...

robes, you're needed back for napes.

yerobain said...

Swing by Chicago before you go back to Oregon, we'll give you slaw baths every night.

Jen said...

Nice post. I know you're enjoying the writing and you're so good at it, but I am still excited to hear lex's voice for some of that 30 something advice. It's okay if you don't want to sing it. And I'll be happy to try a Sam Adam's while discussing too.

david said...

Number 9 made me laugh, I'll have to remember that one. A good plain beer that's recently available in Nashville (in the last year) is Yuengling. So let's see that list of girls kist, whaddya say?

david said...

Here's a link to feed your Walkmen crush, Hamilton playing "Thinking of a Dream I Had" with local band The Privates at a recent show at the Basement in Nashville. Pretty neat. I had tickets but didn't go, I've discovered it's hard to rock on a school night.

lex dexter said...

That was my favorite "drive" ever. Especially everything that came after you saying "Oh yeah? What do you think about this, man?"

lex dexter said...


You will simply have to visit the USA some time, or at least track down a legit ristorante where you live. When done correctly, penne vodka is a spicy, delicious delicacy. When fucked up, it tastes like undercooked noodles soaked in pink milk.

lex dexter said...

Jenny, get ready for some "flies on shit"-like cohort action effective Sat.

lex dexter said...

Srsly, you want the kist list? How many do you think you can guess, circa 1997-2001. Just gimme a number. Names'd be tacky, you know.

lex dexter said...

Kyle, I miss le Semi-Flame-ls' sound. The unrecorded latter-day falcon (see the video) stuff brandishes something like a grown-up version of that shite. And when I say "grown-up," I mean that in the sense that Juniors seem grown-up to Frosh.