I’ve been Googled!

Champlain Mountain

Champlain Mountain

I used to perceive webloggers as introverted, awkward geeks who never leave the house. After starting Good Grief!, however, I found the opposite to be true and met a lot of interesting, like-minded people, got Blankbabied (i.e., got a job lead based on this site), and met the guy I’m currently dating.

The job story is here, and the guy story is below. After this post, I’m done with the super personal stuff and Good Grief! will return to stupid art posts and doll suicides and Max Raabe.

Continue reading “I’ve been Googled!”

Arts Pick: ambiguous separation

Today’s arts pick is an extremely dark and haunting piece. The predominant theme of the installation is, of course, the angst of modern day isolation. By depicting a common article that is well-known as half of a pair, the artist ensures that his work immediately evokes a sense of ambiguous disconnection. The viewer is instantly drawn into the piece and compelled to explore its context.

How did the subject become separated from its match? Was it a voluntary parting, or was the pair forced apart by a power beyond its control? Was the split abrupt and unexpected, or was it gradual?

The artist deliberately leaves these questions unanswered, allowing the viewer to progress and contemplate the piece’s more troubling concepts. Though it is portrayed as proud and erect, stoically accepting an unpaired status, it’s painfully obvious that the subject is useless without its counterpart. Furthermore, the still image captures the scene at an unidentified moment in time, supplementing the overall mood of loneliness with a hint of perpetuity. How long has the subject been in its current abandoned state, and how much longer must it endure?

Until the subject is reunited with its match, this installation, brilliantly displayed in a dingy, subterranean gallery, will be showing in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia.

Five Years Ago…

The best part about writing a weblog is reviewing the sometimes brilliant and often cringeworthy thoughts of your past self. Five years ago:

I’m no fan of John Street, but at least when he had his photo in Time magazine for being the worst mayor in the country, he didn’t embarrass us with a gigantic schnoz. [Nutter’s Nose]

How is it possible for Verizon to ship a phone in less time than the average wait on their customer service hotline? [RF Protection]

The “traveling men supposedly experiencing profound changes and embracing life but really just behaving like assholes” genre is so tedious. [You Shall Know Our Velocity]

Whole Foods or Turkey Hill?

old-school Turkey Hill sign

old school Turkey Hill by Anosmia

So I’m standing in the Whole Foods checkout line debating whether or not to get an organic vegan decadence butterscotch blondie brownie* when this girl–probably all of eight years old–gets behind me and puts her items on the conveyer belt: one medium coffee and two containers of sushi.

WTF? Is this what the kids are eating now? And how does an eight year old even get to a grocery store in South Jersey, this sidewalk-free land of strip malls and jug-handle-infested highways? When I was that age and whined about being bored on summer break, my mom gave me and my brother a dollar and sent us to the Turkey Hill for slushies. And they weren’t these new-fangled blue slushies, either.

* Vegan brownies are good for you, right? How can those little organic bakeries get away with not putting a nutritional label on their products?

UPDATE: Blech. That vegan brownie tasted like styrofoam. Lesson learned: if you’re gonna indulge, eat the real thing.

Arts Pick: unstable utopia

unstable utopia
Today’s pick is another piece by a popular Philadelphia artist. In many respects, it is similar to her last installation, reviewed here. Note the similarities–especially the limited palette and unstable medium. However, the new work is bolder and more innovative, perhaps even groundbreaking. The canvas has been cleverly placed in a high traffic area, and if the piece’s strategic location doesn’t attract the attention of passers-by, the contrast between the dark, solid background and the luminous subjects surely will.

Appropriately, the images at the bottom right of the canvas provide an overall sense of stability to the work. The flower and the unnamed amphibian represent a childlike, optimistic perspective of nature. This utopia, however, is overshadowed by the impending chaos in the upper-left corner, moving towards it in a classic z-pattern. And it’s this progression that epitomizes the piece’s theme. The artist has abstracted the violent forces that are ever-present in today’s world and depicted their impending detonation. Will the idyllic, pastoral scene survive the onslaught?

Bloodshot Records: For a Decade of Sin

For A Decade of Sin
An exciting announcement from Bloodshot Records, a kick-ass label out of Chicago: they have just released For a Decade of Sin, a two-disc compilation that celebrates eleven years in the business. Forty-two songs of new and previously-unreleased material for $18.

I have several Bloodshot compilations, including Down to the Promised Land, the five year anniversary collection, and The Bottle Let Me Down, a subversive children’s record. Even though there’s always a few bad songs on each disc, there are so many tracks that the end result is still highly entertaining. And because I have my finger on the pulse of the recording industry, I can share with you, the highly intelligent and hot readers of Good Grief!, this secret: on Tuesday, October 25, emusic will feature a song from For a Decade of Sin as a free download. Which means that you can go to emusic.com, give them all of your personal information, sign up for a trial, download some software, and then get the free song.

If you’re not familiar with Bloodshot, check out the website, the upcoming shows (any Lancastrians out there? Split Lip Rayfield is playing the Chameleon!?), and the manifesto. An excerpt:

Since 1994, Bloodshot Records has championed the music that lurks between genres. We’ve always been drawn to the good stuff nestled in the dark, nebulous cracks where punk, country, soul, pop, bluegrass, blues and rock mix and mingle and mutate. We like artists who work over American roots forms with chains and velvet gloves with little regard for formality or protocol, who aren’t afraid to molest and caress these forms to take music into uncharted and exciting waters.

Jim and Jennie & The Pinetops: they’re back!

jim and jennie
Jim and Jennie & The Pinetops haven’t been to Philadelphia in such a long time that I’d stopped checking the performance schedule on their website. But the ever-excellent Bloodshot Records announced today that Rivers Roll on By, the new Jim and Jennie CD, is now available!

Even better, the band is playing two Philly shows at World Café Live. I can’t wait–it’s been too long since their last visit.

Cognitive Therapy

Soulless office park got you down? Are silly internet quizzes ruining your self-esteem? Pants making your butt look big?

Hey, maybe you need a shrink! Who out there couldn’t use some good, old-fashioned therapy? I’ve been thinking about shrinks because NPR’s All Things Considered recently profiled Albert Ellis, a psychologist who was very controversial back in the day. Ellis cooked up something called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which laid the groundwork for modern cognitive therapy.

Basically, Ellis advocates controlling “despair as a result of fundamentally irrational expectations.” In other words, don’t get depressed because back in ’99 you invested your life savings in a company that sold bikini cream on the internet. It’s all about dealing with reality. If you want to turn that frown upside down, I’d like to recommend my neighbor Em as your new shrink. She’s actually a junior high art teacher, but based on a recent conversation, I think she’s got a future as a cognitive therapist:

EM: You know when really bad shit happens? Like, it’s so bad that you can’t even believe it’s happening?
ME: Yep.
EM: Well, you better just fucking believe it’s happening.

Em accepts most health plans. The co-pay is one (1) beer.

Girard Ave trolley

septa trolley
A recent trip on one of the newly-restored Girard Avenue trollies featured a man named Petey and his unnamed friend:

Yeah, I call myself Petey, but don’t you call me that. I get pissed, that’s what. And when I’m pissed at you, you’ll know it. I don’t blow my stack or nothing, but I just won’t talk to you. And after a while, you’ll know I’m pissed.

One time, a guy came around calling me Petey. I had been givin’ him the silent treatment, and he showed up at my house one night yelling “Petey’s mad! Petey’s pissed!” all mocking-like. After a few minutes of that, I went out with a golf club and knocked out two of his teeth. Then I told him to fuck off and stop bleeding all over my goddam sidewalk. He ran away pretty quick, and I yelled after him, “Petey’s mad! Petey’s pissed!”

Of course, I’ve calmed down a lot. God told me I had to change, or I was gonna die, and no one can change you except you. And religion.

Inflatable Mr. Stud in the hall closet

Mr. Stud

Mr. Stud

What is this inflatable, action motion Mr. Stud box doing in the hall closet? Fair question. I first met Mr. Stud in January of 2003. He was dressed in jeans and a hoodie, calmly occupying an old rocking chair in the basement, and I was coming down the steps with a load of laundry.

“Fuuuuuuuuck. Serial killer in the house. What the fuuuuuuuuck?”


“Blow up doll? Who the !#$^%^% *&!! dressed up an inflatable doll and put him in the ^&!! basement? ”

The ensuing investigation revealed that Mr. Stud belonged to the guy on the first floor, Industrious R. Industrious R runs a freelance camera crew operation, a job that entails lots of double parking and lots of parking tickets. The intent was for Mr. Stud to sit in the passenger seat of the illegally-parked camera crew van while Industrious R did his errands, somehow tricking the Philadelphia Parking Authority into easing up on the citations.

This plan, however, was never implemented. Mr. Stud lived in our basement until Industrious R and his wife moved to Collingswood. The day after they moved, I found Mr. Stud’s empty box in the trash and decided to keep it for future use in a practical joke. Unfortunately, I never did think of a good joke, and now I’m scared to throw away the box, lest the neighbors get the wrong idea.

Moral: think carefully before you take an inflatable, action motion Mr. Stud box out of the basement trashcan.