Hangin’ Only Steps Away From Genius

About an hour ago, I was ten feet away from one of the coolest people I’ve ever seen, watching with a giant grin on my face as he played two pianos at once, tapping his white alligator shoes and giving the crowd a sly smile.

I knew Dr. John would be cool–he was damn cool in 1978 when he played with The Band in The Last Waltz, which is the only other live performance of his that I’ve watched, and we all know great musicians get better with age. But when he came on stage in a green suit (complete with green-banded hat with a green feather, green socks and old-school suspenders), great big sunglasses and white alligator shoes, I was so impressed that I just nodded my head. He wore a huge wampum and seashell necklace, among other talismans, and his grand piano was adorned with skulls, giant lobster claws, an alarm clock and other trinkets, and when he entered and exited the stage, he did so with the assistance of a beautiful hand carved cane, also decorated with feathers and other hoodoo.

I’ve been trying to find a way to describe his voice for a while now, and I’ve finally got it–it’s the vocal equivalent of an overtly suggestive wink, particularly when he sings lines like, “You came in with my best friend Jim–and here I am, to try and steal you away from him…” His songs are sexy and mischievous, an ethical grey area that’s chock full of temptation and pleasurable as hell. It’s the kind of music that makes you smile even when you’re trying not to.

Alas, I did not have my camera to capture the incredible green suit and seashell necklace reflected along with his dancing fingers in the polished black of the piano–or the stage just before the encore, blue-lit and empty, with the two pianos, the skulls, the feathers and the claws all bathed in indigo light.

Throughout the show, I thought of my dad. He would have loved it–I can practically hear his voice in my head, and what he’d have been saying (“Man, he’s cool. You see? Most kids your age don’t even know who he is, and they’re certainly missing out tonight”). If the two of them could have met, it would have been a collision of geniuses, and the conversation would have gone on for days. There would have been a rhythm even to the talking–the gravelly, buttery N’awlins drawl of Dr. John, and the deep, deep, relative monotone of my dad. If there’s a heaven, I bet they’ll hang out when the Doctor gets there.


Midnight Wisdom

A friend of mine told me yesterday that I should get a tattoo of an anatomical human heart on my forearm, because I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve.

I gotta stop doing that.


The Perfect Midnight Snack (or a great 5 minute dessert idea)

The Salt Girl’s Lazy Strawberry Shortcake

2 Eggo toaster waffles (Buttermilk or Homestyle)*
Fresh Strawberries
Breyer’s Natural Vanilla ice cream

-Toast the waffles to a deep golden brown–maybe a touch crispier than you usually like them.
-Spread a generous layer of butter on each waffle, then stack them.
-Finely slice several strawberries, covering the waffles completely.
-Add two average sized scoops of ice cream.
-Garnish with a strawberry and a sprig of mint (if you happen to have mint).

*You may want to be wild and use blueberry or cinnamon waffles, but I’m a purist on this one.

[There’d be a picture here, but I ate the shortcake before I thought to write about it]


Nightmares & Dreamscapes

So I’ve been pondering dreams lately, since I’ve noticed some trends in mine. I am a vivid dreamer, and I often remember my dreams because I’m a snooze button glutton, and often reset my alarm ten times before I get up (and we all know you only remember your dreams when you wake up from them, right?).

I have realized that my most satisfying non-sexual dreams have to do with winning a fight, or fully expressing my frustration or anger without consequence. For example, I’ve dreamed of punching people in the face twice within the past month–one was a coworker I couldn’t stand, and I punched him repeatedly, like I was hitting a speed bag; the other was a guy grabassing me in a bar, and after telling him to stop touching me twice, I punched him square in the mouth, to everyone’s surprise. These dreams are so satisfying because in them I succeed in something I would probably never attempt in real life, and because they are the direct opposite of my normal fighting dreams, in which I swing and swing and I’m too slow or uncoordinated and I keep missing and eventually get my ass kicked.

The other trend among good dreams is dreams in which I get to talk to or hang out with my dad. They’re very infrequent, and often we’re debating something, but when I wake up, it’s like I’ve just seen him, and it makes the year and a half since he died disappear for a moment.

As for nightmares, those have trends too. The most common one is a work-stress dream in which I’m the new waitress or bartender, I’ve been given no training as to where anything is or how anything works, and I’m left on my own in a slammed restaurant with the boss breathing down my neck and no help from anyone. Pretty self-explanatory.

But there are other recurring nightmares too, and these are the really terrifying ones: 1) My teeth are totally rotten or have been knocked out–sometimes they’re dissolving and I’m involuntarily swallowing them; 2) Lice. Head lice. They freak me the fuck out, and I’ve had several dreams in which I was either trying unsuccessfully to get rid of them, or surrounded by people who have them and trying not to get them; 3) Spiders. A room filled with spiders and egg sacs, all huge, the egg sacs spitting baby crunchy spiders out all around me, and web so thick I can’t move, 4) Heroin. I’ve had several nightmares in which someone is forcibly injecting me with heroin and I can’t get away from them, or it.

It’s interesting that the first three are among the most terrifying nightmares that I have, since I’m not as afraid of lice, spiders or losing my teeth as I am of other things (skunks, religious hysteria, throwing up). Number 4, however, makes total sense–I’m downright terrified of heroin. I’d be less afraid of someone chasing me with a knife than I would of someone chasing me with a heroin-filled syringe.

Oddly, I never dream that I’m swimming, or that I’m drowning. I often dream that I’m falling–for a second–but I jolt myself awake and am grateful for the minute glimpse at what it would feel like to fall from great height.

All in all, I suppose this post is a ramble, but it’s what I’ve been thinking about. Dreams are weird. And apparently, so am I.


Paying Homage To The Troll

When my father was alive, I talked to him almost every day. I still do–only now it doesn’t involve a telephone or takeout burgers, and he doesn’t talk back. Most of the time now, it’s some sort of inside joke that we had, or something I’ve observed that entertains me in a way only he would understand. Sometimes, it’s like a confession. If I’m really upset, I’ll stand outside in the dark and talk to the air–and imagining what he’d say back to me somehow makes me feel better.

On that note, some Dad-isms:

1) “Yabba-dabba-doo!” Every summer when I was a kid, my father would take me to Provincetown, where he and my mother met, and where later in life he told me he’d spent his best youthful years. The road into town was peppered with little beach shacks, which he loved. Each time we’d cross into Provincetown and see the cottages, my dad would throw his arm out the window of the car (the old blue Impala when I was really young, then the Jeep Comanche pickup) and he’d yell as loud as he could, “Yabba-dabba-doo!” His eyes would twinkle and his grin would widen, and then we’d both yell it again, just to make sure we were heard.

2) “Pay the troll.” Although it wasn’t necessarily the healthy thing to do, my dad usually bought me a package of candy when we went to the grocery store. He had a sweet tooth, and he indulged mine, too. Often he’d pretend he wasn’t going to get me anything, but he usually would anyway, and once we got into the car and I ripped open the package (usually Skittles), he’d thrust out his big, calloused hand and say, “Pay the troll!” Reluctantly, I always shared. Occasionally I thought I was being clever, and I gave Dad the flavors I didn’t like–the purple and black Necco wafers, the green Skittles–but he was onto me, and always called me out. “Oh, give me a couple good ones, for Chrissake,” he’d say.

3) “I’m gonna give you flying lessons!” When I was being mischeivous, but not downright badly behaved, my father would scold me gently, laughing, “If you don’t cut that out, I’m gonna give you flying lessons… off the end of my foot!” And when I’d protest, he’d say, “To the moon!” and he’d swing his foot like he was kicking something heavy, an unruly towheaded child, perhaps.

4) “OUT!” Usually this one was directed at the cat, when she was in a place she wasn’t supposed to be, but sometimes it was directed at me, if I was in his way. With a big grin, he’d say loudly, “Out!” and shoo either me or the cat away dramatically; I’ve noticed this tendency in myself recently, as the bar gets more crowded with staff, and I’ve been careful to explain that I’m not angry, just channeling Dad.

So Dad, I miss you. And it’s comforting to hear your voice come out of my mouth sometimes. It makes me laugh, in a way only you would understand.


It All Comes Back To Bill

If you know your Shakespeare, then it’s no surprise to you that Hollywood has been ripping off the Bard for years–decades, even.

And the recent trend has been for television to rip off the movies: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Friday Night Lights, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Clueless…

Which brings me back to the Bard–and the newest tweenybopper double-ripoff: 10 Things I Hate About You, the series.

Clueless, and now 10 Things, are both Shakespeare adaptations (Emma and The Taming of the Shrew, respectively).

So finally, what I have to say about all this business is PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEONE WRITE SOMETHING NEW and leave the Bard’s business alone. It was much better the first time around, and just gets worse with every successive tweak.