Thursday, November 29, 2012

November Rain

Oh, November, how often you torment me. Aside from Thanksgiving, you can be a pretty harsh month. No sun for days, rain instead of snow, very little daylight. A quick search reveals November is the declared Awareness Month for Epilepsy, American Diabetes, Lung, Pancreatic, Prostate, and Stomach Cancer, Alzheimer's, Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis, Homeless Youth, and Souls in Purgatory. Is this a coincidence? I am not so sure. It is also National Novel Writing Month, which, when added to this roster of delights makes a sick sort of sense. I'd like to petition the additions of The Benefits of Ingesting Vitamin D Awareness Month, and perhaps Scotch Appreciation Month, too, as long as we're continuing with the health-awareness theme.

Witness: The Forecast. Hit Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.

But I'm not trying to get too morose or poetic here. No, no, why bother when someone else has said all there is to say about the melancholy of this dark month and its ubiquitous, monkey-wrenching rain? You know what I am talking about. That's right. Guns N' Roses and one of the most expensive and most glorious music videos/songs of all time. I can not recall a single time when this pathos-inducing song did not cheer me up. Maybe this is because it is a good reminder that it could be always be worse. Or maybe its because it is simply an undeniable invitation to wail on the air guitar, which, in my experience, tends to lift spirits.

If those things weren't enough, there is a lot of big hair. The video is broken into two, intercut parts--one, the band on stage, and two, the little dramatic enactment of a love story gone wrong. The concert footage features backup singers with big hair, and adulating hips, and prom-gloved arms sweeping upward in joy and agony. Then there is the biggest-haired orchestra you've ever seen, lead by the biggest-haired, mustachioed, head-banging conductor in the world. There are stadium lights, a blood-weeping crucifix, and a flute. A flute!
Slash wails atop a piano (with his own signature big hair), while Axl channels Elton. This is before the fall, and he still looks nearly wholesome, already addicted and violent, but mercifully free of botox and creepy ginger cornrows, almost normal on the cusp of his steep slide into the abyss of full-fledged assholery.

Then there is the wedding! A priest named Gianantonio! Stephanie Seymour (Axl's then on-again, off-again girlfriend) in her designer dress, all business on top, party down below! And those Sergeant Pepper Pirate jackets! And Axl's weirdo talon pinky coke ring! And that scandalous tongue kiss! And the moment where Slash nearly loses the rings before peacing out mid-ceremony into the highlight of the video...

Poor guy is feeling a little emotional. He needs a little time on his own. Time to execute a most epic shred in the perpetually windy deserted desert churchyard, with his enormous hair seductively billowing while invisible helicopters circle and swoop and zoom in on his shirtless, leather-jacket clad abs, excruciatingly tight pants, heel stomps, crotch thrusts, and incredible mega power stance in one of the greatest, most motherfucking badass melodramatic guitar solos in the history of the universe. Seriously, find me a person on this Earth who can watch that clip and not want to be Slash for even one hot minute. You can't. There is no such person. Everyone wants to be Slash in that moment.

Cut to the strange Godfather-inspired reception, featuring rustically capped Mediterranean boys, 10,000 cigarettes, and the bride's ultra-90's black velvet dress with ribbon choker. Then comes the titular, panic-inducing November Rain, which drives the guests to lose their minds, upturning tables and knocking down the enormous wedding cake that was so recently and tenderly cut, telling us that the party is seriously over. For real. By now the orchestra's conductor is headbanging as if he's being righteously electrocuted, in a way perhaps only another big-haired human (say, me) can truly fully appreciate. Dude is stone-cold rocking it. Then, Boom. Funeral. Bride is dead for reasons unknown, suicide is implied. That blasted rain even interrupts the graveside attendance. Water-phobic mourners run, again, leaving poor booze and pill-addled Axl to toss and turn in his eerily-lit sheets while that same damn relentless rain slides down his enormous windows, the very picture of his poor, broken heart, failure, and sadly, future (Chinese Democracy, anyone?) And, scene.

This is what November is all about, man!

Watch the entire original music video in all of its glory here, and the comic summary here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Ice Queen Cometh

How sweet is Ice? It cools our gin in the summer. It gives us endless recreational opportunities in the winter. It graciously provides us with synonyms for Smirnoff's malted beverages, righteous bling, meth, murder, in case of emergency, and Ned Stark's justice-dealing greatsword, (which, when you think about it, fit together a bit too perfectly)... You just take water, cool it down, and boom! You've got yourself something to interpret. All summer long the hike to Glacier's Avalanche Lake is unbearably busy, but come late fall, it is your own private glittering little diamond trail of wonders...

Avalanche Creek: Curator of Icy Delights

Your Typical Icicle Action (See: Textbook, Jingle Bells)

The Labyrinth (See: David Bowie)

The Dust Ruffle (See: Car Wash, Classy Mud Flap Alternative to Naked Lady Silhouette )

The Trumpet Bell (See: Angels We Have Heard On High)

The Hand-Dipped Candle (See: Renaissance Festival, Rembrandt)

The Blorb (See: Cauliflower. Do Not See: Growths)

The Eruption (See: Death Spikes, Sea Urchin)

The Forest Ninja (See: Death Widow, Nakamura and Slavin)
The Vanilla (See: Flattop, Collaborate and Listen, Terrible Mistake)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Time To Be Koi, Roy

It is the eve of Election Day. Like so many others, I am anxious. I'd like to give my heart and brain a respite from their own constant buzzing. Brain, I say, chill out. Heart, stop thumpering so. Remember that you are full of hope, actually. Think about the least buzzy-est thing you can think of, and meditate on that. And stop rolling your eyes, and tightening your fists for a second, would you? Think of... hmmm... fish...?

Yes, think of those bright koi you saw last week at the St. Louis botanical gardens. Think of those fish, wimpling silently, brocading dark water. Whisper their names: Kumonryu, Nine Tattooed Dragons. Asagi, Spring Onion Color. Kikokuryu, Sparkle. Remember how their scales shimmered, how they glowed, mimicking the falling sycamore leaves. Think how brief the time is that a fish could hide among leaves; how brief any time is in the end. Remember how they came to you, a string of beacons, across the pond, to your very fingertips. And breathe again.

In Japanese, koi is a homophone--a word that is pronounced the same as another word, but has a different meaning--for love. Which I suppose is what I was talking about all along.


"Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculite patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."
                                                                       --Cormac McCarthy, final paragraph from The Road

And also...
Koi to the world. All the boys and girls. Koi to the fishes in the deep blue sea. 
Koi to you and me...