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All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

July 2004

July 2004: D-60s, Blue Moons, Lip Venom & My Little Heaven

Feng shui

Divide your world into 9 squares. Assign each an aspect of your life. Arrange the areas so the energy is maximized. Free yourself of clutter and energy-holding unnecessary objects. Watch what happens. If only to create clean lines, it’s a wonder. What it does to your life—if you’re willing to accept the notion that there ARE higher powers—is nothing short of miraculous. Order in chaos, beauty in reality.
   Bonus round one: Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life—Karen Rauch Carter
   The easy reading, non-mystical book that breaks it all down. Skills & Knowledge, Fame, Prosperity, Health, Family, Relationships - and and and. No-nonsense, just the facts told delightfully. With a subtitle of How To Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect and Happiness, it might well be panacea with perfect binding but there’s plenty of common sense.
  Bonus round two: www.fengshuipalace.com
   Carter’s website. An immediate fix for a feel-good-now world in its worst application, an onramp from wherever you are in its most practical and a way to see the distance from wherever at best.



Knucklehead—Eric Ambel



Raw, brutal, basic rock & roll. Four on the four drenched in feedback, grooves that move like jackhammers with soul and a yowling voice that is barbed wire on a blackboard in your heart. Steve Earle’s wicked guitar god, a founding Del-Lord, the igniter of Roscoe’s Gang. Simple, straight-up, straight-on. A ragtag collection that’s all garage - in the very best sense of the word.


2 a.m. Sunset Strip

The clubs have let out. The road is a river of headlights and shiny cars, garbled conversation and dashed hopes. The tautness of desire and the choking musk of pheromones on patrol is staggering as girls in too little clothing teeter on too high heels and boys try to look so hard there in the current of the humanity just past the party, yet not quite ready to surrender. You can tap into the primal nature of man, strip away the well of reservation and feel alive without succumbing to one’s basest instincts.


Pre de Provence Sage Soap


Coarse textured. Smelling clean and open—in the way sage purges and cleanses energy. Nice lather. And for one’s liberal friends, a way to seem all granola while voting right wing. Talk about multi tasking.


People Showing Up When You Need Them

Faith. Letting go of the results, but owning your need. Go where your heart takes you, believe in the goodness of the universe. Be open to what you’re given—even when it doesn’t make any sense. And so it is that a dear friend of a former client appeared, offered the insight and wisdom and set about transforming things that needed re-definition. Now was the time, and so it was provided.
   Happens all the time. You just gotta pay attention—and not close the door on the gift you’re being given.


South Streets Frozen Margaritas 


A dear friend from Southern California—now transplanted to the wilds of the 6-1-5—recently proclaimed this the best frozen margarita they’d ever had. And they KNOW their frozen margaritas. The secrets are obvious: they make their own mix AND they use Sauza Tequila. Quality begets quality; and so it is that South Street, with its two levels, trees growing inside the restaurant and punched up Mexi/bbq menu bring it home on its knees.


The Sound of Paper—Julia Cameron


The woman who wrote The Artist’s Way now delivers the playbook on creativity from the ground up. All kinds of tricks, truths, insights and essays that are designed to inspire offer the gentle nudge, basic support and solidarity of the intimidation of a blank page, canvas or moment. Treat it like Calgon: soak in it and the barnacles in your brain will loosen and let go, creating the flow the best imagination unfurls in.



The Sound of Paper—Julia Cameron


The woman who wrote The Artist’s Way now delivers the playbook on creativity from the ground up. All kinds of tricks, truths, insights and essays that are designed to inspire offer the gentle nudge, basic support and solidarity of the intimidation of a blank page, canvas or moment. Treat it like Calgon: soak in it and the barnacles in your brain will loosen and let go, creating the flow the best imagination unfurls in.



Muted Moon

Making the night sky turn to mother of pearl. Casting the softest silver light everything. Looking inside a shell and seeing stars cast on the inside, this is truly a breath-taking phenomenon. Just the kind of thing that inspires mad acts of romance, kindness and gentleness.



Purity Ice Cream Sandwiches



The vanilla is always a little soft, with bristles of ice. The cookies are moister chocolate that suggest Hydrox, but don’t have that much snap. Running your tongue along the seams, you’re instantly young again. Innocence wrapped in waxy paper, all yours with a trip to the 7-Eleven.



Cocktails. Chateau Marmont Lobby West Hollywood



Slightly shabby, utterly Moroccan; a faded Bulgarian rise/luxe bordello appointment that suggests nostalgia a la Brooke Shields’ breakout “Pretty Baby.” It reeks of tarnished Bohemia, and yet exudes a slightly squalid glamour of Keith & Anita circa Exile On Main Street. Now demi-gussied up for its new trendy-respectability, there’s a gilded decadence that confers an F. Scott Fitzgerald-meets-Sofia Coppola essence on one’s time spent there; an eau de aren’t-we’golden-adults’who-remain-beyond-the-beige that inspires dreaming, philosophizing and the things that personal myths are made of.

www.TrouserPress.com

   The original punk rock Bible. Long out of publication, there is now a website dedicated to the movement that blew up at New York City’s legendary CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, the Mudd Club, Cat Club along with LA’s Lingerie, Cathay de Grand and a handful of clubs where the rules of mainstream rock music got skewered, shattered and decimated every night. The bands, the bars, the moments where it all went straight through the wall—it’s all here. As Joey Ramone use to shriek “Gabba Gabba Hey!” indeed!



Xela Nursery Aromasticks



Looking almost like an old fashioned milk bottle filled with scented oil, 9 sticks rise up from the top and reach for the sky to release the gentle smell of chamomile, patchouli, cyclamen, jasmine, violet and musk into the air. Like a baby garden, it soothes the soul and eases the mind. 


Mens Boxer Shorts



The ultimate don’t-care, don’t-matter wear. All cotton, anything but clingy. As straight or as fun as you can stand them. Throw’em in a drawer or a bag, pull’em out wrinkly and ready to go. And with an Izod shirt, the look almost works for public consumption.



Dancing on the Bar


Sure, you may look like Super Muffy, but if you got the jams—and the gams—to handle the hecklers (‘do you KNOW what I DO for a living? This ain’t a fair fight”) and hold one’s own with the bartender, you can make your tail feathers pro-league. Do it sober; respect the integrity of the dance; but drop that quarter on Jet, swing your hips, whip your hair, roll your shoulders and of course undulate that tropic of cancer for all its worth. Free your rump, and the thump will follow—

“Morning is when I am awake, and there is a dawn in me.”
—Thoreau (Walden Pond)
It’s not just about being awake, it’s about being alive. It’s possibility. It’s terchnicolor. It’s reach out and savor without being freaked or overloading. When you come into your own, when you tell the day “Hello! Here I am. Bring it on. I want to see it, feel it, taste it all!” Another blank day to color in as you will, ride where you want, see what you can—only you will determine the way that you deal and accept..


Getting Good & Dirty

You roll up your sleeves and you git after it. No matter how big the job, fling yourself in head first. Because if you commit to the task load—there’s a freedom in the unthinking following of the course. The sweat and gritty gumminess that clings to your flesh is proof positive of progress being made, even if you’re dwarfed by the enormity of the task; the exhilaration of the filth going down the shower drain a re-birth with a side of satisfaction knowing its earned.


Lip Venom

You put it on, it tingles. You feel your lips perking up, pursing up, 
ready for action. You can leave well enough alone, or you can reach for 
the heavy color. Either way, you’re that much more of an assassin.


Dragon flies

If fairies were insects, they’d be dragonflies. Weightless hoverers—glistening with that same oil slick rainbow pearlescence as their wings make the hummingbird look slow. But that streamlined, elongated body which darts quickly, in and out, drinking in whatever has captured its fascination. There is no more charming bug, or more magic. Let your mind fly like a sprite on its back.


The Cold Hard Truth

Not just the truth, but the truth that hits you between the eyes, takes your breath away, makes your blood run cold with recognition. After the jolt and mourning the security blanket of delusion, it sets you free - leaving you weightless to climb into the stars, the clouds or wherever your desires may aim. Human bondage dissolved in a single throat-tightening moment, allowing truth to transform.

Spice Market W. 11th Street New York City

The restaurant of the moment a few moments ago, their Asian-based fusion cooking is pretty straight-ahead, yet flawless. A lot of teak to the decor, it’s a slice of Thailand in the middle of the Meat Packing District - and the hushed sonics of unintelligible conversations creating white noise, the languid pace of the meal, yet the efficiency of service is exquisite. The ginger margaritas and pineapple mojitos makes a bar visit alone worth it, but try to enjoy the fresh seafood prepared with lemongrass and cilantro, coconut milk and other exotic flavourings, as well as well just about anything on the menu.


Mark Bright

A man who not only loves music, he crawls around in its essence to get it right. Watching him calibrate vibe as carefully as mic placement; seeing how the songs enter him from the inside out; it gives one hope that even in the day of processed, must get on the radio consolidation realities, there is hope for the real somehow eeking through. Mark Bright - Rascal Flatts or no - could be one of the heroes.


Pellegrino Limonata

It pops on your tongue like the high pressure Italian mineral water that it is. It packs a citric wallop like the best of summertime, but without that overcloying sugar taste that blunts the perkiness of great lemonade. It’s more full-bodied than a soda, broader spectrumed than mere water - and both thirst quenching and palate thrilling.


The color of bent grass


More than emeralds. More than pesto. More than Oz. And it packs that fertile, rich scent that goes straight to one’s head, opening up one’s subconscious to the earth’s fertility and possibility. There is no practical purpose to bent grass - that velvet smooth running carpet that golf balls roll so freely across - which is what makes it so utterly perfect. Deep, rich, consuming. It is about an intense as the color green gets, but also as you’re sinking into the dimension of it as unspokenly inspiring with everything implied above.



D-60 Detroit Diesel Engines


They are in every new Prevost bus, the platinum standard for those highwaymen bringing music to the people. And they are the cradle song for the ones who earn their living on the road: powerful, strong, reliable in the cathedral of the night on the blue lines and 6 lanes alike. Nothing is as comforting as the whine of one of these bad boys winding up and out - either taking you to where the music’s gonna be or home to where your heart is.

The Blue Moon

The second full moon in the same month. The fourth full moon of a quarter. The one that makes you go wild, but also brings out the Black Irish in the rest of you people - meaning the deep emotions that make you think and dream and yearn and wonder.


The Lady of the Lake, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

A paddle wheel boat in a Midwestern resort town. A harbinger of another time. All the innocent panache of a smalltown production of any of the great musicals. The regal comfort of always being there. Once upon a time, a junior girl golfer played her first real major tournament where the transportation to the big party was this very boat. A quarter of a century later, it’s still the same - and it still evokes the bittersweet wistfulness that grounds the knowledge everything is changing.
   But it’s also a grand way to soak up the sun, see the lake and enjoy the fellowship of common hours.

Bands That Truly Rock

It’s not about light cues. Or dance moves. Or the Antares pitch corrector. It’s about the low to the ground rumble of a band set on stun - seek and destroy bass lines, crunching the melody in lock step with a drummer who pounds. It’s guitars and keyboards and whatever else that push the possibilities of a song’s breaking point to the limit, then another dimension, and singers who aren’t afraid when the muscle beneath them takes corners on two wheels, releasing to the moment and momentum in a witness that channels whatever raw emotion is being filleted. Bands that rock tell the truth without words, make lyrics fly and turn moments into something that swallows you whole.



Perceiving


How it is. What it is. What it means. You can take it with no judgment, no thought - and that’s perfect in its own way. But how we see things can add so much dimension. And when you get committed to understanding what you’re seeing, worlds will open of both understanding and new knowledge.



white roses


What could be purer? More graceful? More gentle? There’s an innocence and a beauty to white roses that embody everything good about the human soul. Strong enough to be taken seriously, sweet enough to melt even the hardest hearts. They offer the promise of an unblemished, yet beautiful reality to be colored in in ways not yet considered - and that potentiality is infinite. 


Baby animals


First there was the skunk family trotting along the side of the road - “Bambi” dropped Flower and her kids right there, all accordion-gaited and fromping with pleasure. But everywhere you look - foals turning into colts and fillies, young dear moving with gamine grace, calves rubbing against their mothers as the rain approaches. It is so much more than the pet shop follies we mall people consider.

grown men eating peanut butter sandwiches

You’re sure the next statement is “the tooth fairy’s real,” aren’t you? And yet, they exist. Grown men - anchoring their reality with Peter Pan. Creamy Peter Pan, no less. And if these sorts of sentient Y-chromosonals can not only exist, but lead evolved lives that’re both mentally engaged AND successful, perhaps there’s hope for further evolution of the rest of the just-this-side of knuckledragging testosteronic specimens. After all, knowing what works, not being bound by the high rise and the high impact, but instead savoring the beauty and simplicity of it is where the gate to real happiness lies.


the return of Louise Erdich



First there was The Beet Queen, a tale of female strength and resilience that trumped Tom Robbins’ Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. From that foundation, Erdich created a realm that was based in contemporary Native American lives—both amongst themselves and modern white society—that deftly illuminated hypocrisy as it offered portraits of people making the difficult work with insight and a strong sense of self-determination.
   Four Souls weaves lives and truths and revelations together—so that the seemingly uncommon have unthinkable impacts on the others. And in keeping with the tradition of Love Medicine and Tracks, there is the profane and the profound merging to make the living make the kind of sense that doesn’t require intellectual understanding as much as wondrous acceptance.


peppermint oil wake-up calls


All you have to do is open the bottle under your nose on a slow morning—and the magic happens. Instantly, you’re awake and aware. Ready for action. Acutely dialed into the present, with a smile on your face and an intellectual pole vault beckoning like opening day of your favorite season. Even a runaway freight-train of an all-nighter can’t blunt the effectiveness of this cure.


the pink pony Manolos with the fuchsia suede skinny double wrap ankle strap


Vicious. Vicious, vicious, vicious! Nasty, bad, wicked, evil, YEAH! Leave it to the high priest of higher heels to bring it home with a streamlined toe—not quite pointy, but lengthening and curving in a way that just suggests everything good—in a color that’s revved up bubblegum and then double cross the back strap at the place where your ankle curves in before swelling up into a perfectly formed calf, only to wrap twice around and buckle.
There’s a reason women utter his name, then reach for cigarette! This season’s shoe hands, er, soles down.

hell freezing over

Just when you’re sure it can’t happen, check your date book! Because if you live in a world where there are things that are impossible, isn’t everything? And perhaps that’s the beauty of being open: the wondrous miracles that come from playing ice hockey in Hell with amazing people who savor the moments and irony, too.

cinnamon ice cream

The ultimate perk me up spice buoyed on the richness of the cow’s fattest gift. Here is a contrast that tickles the tongue, settles the stomach, isn’t too treacly, yet satisfies that urge for something sweet. And if you go to a mix-in place, broaden the prospects with shattered bits of Heath Bar. Trust me. Crunchy, spicy, sweet, cold, rich and then some. It’s a big treat in a common setting.


“My Little Heaven”

The guitar part ripples out like rain drops on a still pond. Ditto the piano - lean chords that barely travel from one to the other in shimmering patches. And in all that beauty, Pat Green’s split rail voice swells up as a jagged vessel for the truth: love is independent of the return. Life is strictly a hand’s off proposition. 
   Don’t remember the last time a song took me hostage like this. Dizzying in both its truth and the way the melody laps up on the words, tumbling like cards from a loser’s hand - gravity taking control when the emotions just won’t recede, right down to the whirling, swirling “la, la, LA, la, la"s which bob up and down across the instrumental bridge. 



The Virgin of Guadalupe Candles

A classic Madonna in a red and gold paisley robe, head bowed beneath a sky blue veil littered with stars, the candles are poured a two shades more than bubblegum pink. But they’re scented with rose oil—and they send out a comforting smell that embraces you with that nurturing sense that your mother will intercede for you.
   Whether you buy them—99 cents at most Mexican groceries, though my Kroger carries them—for the kitsch or the intercessionary value, they imbue any moment with a sense of being grounded. Given that flowers miraculously appear for this Blessed Virgin, we can only imagine what else may flower in her stead.


love’s transmutations

What a potent force. No matter how it starts—when it’s genuine—it transmutes, deepens, softens, warms. Even when weathering the tides and the seasons, somehow a little beaten up for the wear and tear, there’s a glow to it. And if you can not define what it’s supposed to be, there’s a richness to love’s evolution that is flat breath-taking. Old boyfriends who become rocks to lean on, good friends who turn into beacons, dear companions who evolve into refuges when they’re most needed.
   Nothing is as intoxicating as the people who know your stillest, deepest places—and the things you love about those people never changes. Amidst all the rest of it is the reason for love in the first place, it’s a new kind of garden. If you can maintain sight of that, you’re richer than Trump and far more peaceful.