1-13-04, 9:03 PM -

Two weeks back in New York. No job. Craptastic.

Not that it hasn't been worse. It has. But it still sucks.

Starting to get a bit European around here, too. I wake up late in the morning, only bathe once every couple of days, and spend evenings reading books & drinking hot tea. Except I use the Southwestern-flavored egg substitutes for breakfast/lunch, so there's my Americanism. But it's getting difficult to remember what day it is.

I do remember that in the wee hours of last night/this morning, I sat sipping Yellow Tail merlot and pontificating on the state of modern music over at Paul's with him & his wife, Maja. They left today for a two-week holiday to visit her friends and family in Belgrade. Apparently the radio's really good over there, even if it is run by the Serbian mafia.

So consequently, I stink of an odd mix of tobacco, incense, and my own effluvia saved up for a few days.

This can't last much longer.

The Wifely's doing well, though, now in possession of her new laptop (see her December entry). Of course, being responsible for my upkeep probably isn't the best way to stir the creative juices. Especially when her husband's gone Howard Hughes all of a sudden.

Woke up late yesterday freezing my carcass off, since I'd left the window cracked for the cat to sniff out of. She gets cranky if she can only LOOK outside. She wants to SMELL what's going on. Otherwise she'll stand at the front door and yowl until you crack the window. Which, of course, encourages the behavior, yaddah, yaddah.

I didn't understand what she wanted when she first started doing that last week, though. Puzzled, I thought, "Hell, let her see the damn hallway if she's so worked up about it," and let her explore the narrow passage that is the entryway to our humble home. She walked to the other end, stood up on her hind legs and twisted her head all the way around in that hilarious way she's done ever since I picked her up from the pound, and walked back into our apartment. So obviously that's not what she wants.

No, she wants the window cracked when it's 4 degrees outside. So on with the radiator and up with the window, giving her the minutest slit through which to sample the riveting activities surely taking place on our alleyway fire escape.

So like I said, I woke up yesterday freezing my carcass off, despite the presence of a huddled cat in my armpit trying to warm herself because the goddamned window was open.




My brain said to wake up and shut the window. My body said no, I'm tired. My arm said wait, I can reach the TV remote that Wifely left on her pillow. My brain said okay, and my body said what the hell.

So I flip on the box. NY1 weather report. Cold. No shit.

Flip again. Daytime TV's a bitch. There's Bob Ross. No, can't deal with happy people today.

Flip again. Cable access. Some kinda show about America's peculiar spiritual crisis. Okay, we'll see. Apparently in most other countries, being is a goal in and of itself, whereas in the U.S. being is not good enough, we must accomplish. I'll buy that. Being ain't doing me a whole lot of good at the present.

I've heard this before, that somehow we lack the proper joie de vivre in American culture, that we don't know how to be happy simply being the best "we's" we can be. I believe that, but I think it makes sense, actually. I tend to lean on the "of those to whom much is given, much should be expected" philosophy.

If you were raised in a shack on a remote Caribbean island, I can see where possessing a regular job and a two-bedroom house in New Jersey would make you happy. But I guess that still invokes accomplishment.

See, in the U.S., those who are born to much, by the standards of many countries, can either use that position to start off towards accomplishment on a higher rung, or can choose not to. But I find that generally (and this was true in colonial Britain), those who choose against accomplishment tend to develop not joie de vivre, but ennui. Which is annoying and does the world no good whatsoever.

Ah, but there's the old "are you doing the world any good" thing. Damned if I'm not a well-ingrained product of American raisin'.

Of course, I watched The Safety of Objects this weekend, which combined with my recent viewing of Bowling for Columbine has reinvigorated my fear of suburbia, the ennui factory of the nation. I sure am impressionable these days.

In good news...

My recent time off has allowed me to do a lot of work on the website, and I am proud to unveil a grand experiment in foolhardy idealism: the matthew show forums.

As you will read in the Introduction, I would like for these forums to be a place where people can talk about what's on their mind without resorting to critical hyperbole and needless antagonism, of the sort that I zealously employ elsewhere on this site.

But mostly, it's fun. Talk about music, talk about movies, talk about where Howard Dean may have misplaced his neck, it's all grist for those feeling a bit gristy. And truthfully, who among us can say we aren't?

I've been beta-testing the forum with Paul & Wifely for the last few days, so you'll find a few discussions already in progress, but feel free to start your own. You do have to register first, as any good bulletin board denizen must, then you're free to jive & wail, as Louis Prima's always urging me to do.

I have this hippie notion that we can create a cool little online community, uniting for the common good around the righteous banner of the matthew show, but most likely we'll all just enjoy poking fun at stupid people and bitching about our jobs. Which is fine, because Pete knows there's gotta be a place for that.

So ladies and gentlemen, the matthew show forums.



In other good news...

For those of you with DSL or cable connections, I've finally updated the matthew show radio playlist for the first time in a couple of months. This month: Femcentricity. All women, all the time. Except, of course, for the occasional matthew show track. It is a promotional tool, after all. So if'n you like Aimee, Dolly, Sinead, Sheryl, & their goodtime friends, come on down.

Working a bit on a recording project with Dorian, a friend of mine I met while he was busking the light fantastic in our friendly neighborhood subway station. He's got a great voice, and is a nice guy to boot. Throw him a buck or two if you spot him on a platform along the 1 train route. He'll be the one who can actually sing.

By the way, I had a great time at the Galapagos show last week. Thanks to the Production department at Wifely's job for schlepping out in the cold to see the show, and many thanks to Lori and the Masters Of Film for cheering loudly and showing us a great time at the after party. There are rumblings that I'll be making a return appearance, but keep 'em under your hat.

As shows are being sought, the live show is evolving by leaps and bounds. Paul, Wifely, & I have been brainstorming like uppity Claymation chickens in a gulag, and the results are looking damned interesting. Some require only balls of steel, and others require various small bits of cash as they come in.

Which brings me back to this chair in this apartment in front of this computer, eating an Atkins chocolate wafer (hey, I'm not made of stone here) and listening to a TV documentary about Sparta in the next room.

It seems that as we theorized on New Year's, the theme for this year is Perseverance. But that's not hard around these parts. New York is a city of perseverance, otherwise it would be deserted or else given up to natives who've never seen a detached house, much less a yard.

So take your joie de vivre and stick it. Gotta get back to work. Only one more day to be 29, you know, then it's off to the glue factory. Ow. I guess those of us married to older women who read over our shoulders should keep our mouths shut. Happy Perseverance Day.

"I spent the summer wasting
Under a canopy of...
Seven weeks of river walkways
Seven weeks of reading papers
Seven weeks of feeling guilty
Seven weeks of staying up all night..."

- Belle & Sebastian, A Summer Wasting



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