Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rave on, it's a crazy feeling.....

I have been running since October in an effort to return to a single digit clothing size and to stay healthy long enough to help save the world and maybe meet my grandchildren some day. I began with  three miles every other day and have slowly worked my way up to five miles a day, at least four or five days a week.  I don't always run the whole way, but I try to complete the five mile loop every time, even when I don't want to-which is most days. The music has always been the key. I have multiple mixes of songs that I fucking LOVE, so it is a joy to run while listening to "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" or "All Along the Watchtower". I get a much needed adrenaline rush when "Violet" by Hole comes on because I finally  get their angry young woman appeal,albeit decades later. Good music is essential. It makes me run purposefully. The list of music I have compiled is too long to cover but, suffice it to say-in the Merriam-Webster sense of the word- I think it's awesome.


 I woke up last Tuesday morning dreading the prospect of running. I wouldn't have gone even if I was being serenaded live by a pace car filled with John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Nirvana and U2 taking turns. I decided to go on  Itunes and look for something different to get me motivated. Enter Motion Traxx, a running podcast for different paces and distances. I noticed the "Tribal 10k"-promising continuous tribal house music for sixty two minutes and decided to give it a shot.

As I trepidatiously downloaded it, it struck me that my experience with house music has always involved some sort of enormous multilevel club, where ninety nine percent of the people present are sucking on something glow-in-the dark and are high off their asses on Ecstasy. I attended my first rave in the early nineties,completely sober, and a stranger lovingly flicked sweat on me while my friend and I danced to Psychic T.V. It was as disgusting as it sounds, and it pretty much precluded me from ever entering into the  love affair with the drugs, the deafening electronica and throngs of half clothed people that is rave culture. I guess I have that glistening stranger to thank for my intact eardrums and plentiful braincells. I'm not saying I haven't walked a mile or so down that particular road, but I turned back after the first two hours, feeling as though I'd had enough of the "been whacked on the back of the head with a frying pan" sensation provided  by that particular substance. My singular experience-a  New Year's Eve party at The Delano in Miami- was certainly a festive techno-music experience but, ultimately, not my cup of tea.

Anyway, I digress. I turned on the podcast, listened to the minute or so intro by Deekron the Fitness DJ(who, surprisingly, sports a newsboy cap on his website) and miraculously ran for sixty two minutes- a little over six miles-without stopping. I slowed at some stop lights and veered to avoid getting hit by the many distracted drivers, but I actually ran the whole way. I didn't even think about stopping. The Tribal 10k mix worked for me because it made me feel completely different than I usually feel when I run. I had no history with the music,no emotional attachment to any of it. It put me in a completely different  mental space, almost trance-like, much like it probably does for the people who frequent whole club/rave scene. The music gives people a place to- in the words of D.J. Lance, host of Yo Gabba Gabba,the trippiest kid's show on T.V.-"get the sillies out". In my case, I need to run the crazies out, but it's all the same idea.

See for yourself:

(I kind of feel like the guy at the very end-never really loved the show on T.V.)

Now here they are playing at Coachella:


While Yo Gabba Gabba is known for having interesting guest performers such as Jack Black, The Shins, Supernova, Mark Mothersbaugh, Sugarland, Tony Hawk, The Ting Tings, "Weird Al" Yankovic, The Killers, The Roots, Weezer etc.-most of it my kind of music- its regular music is simplistic,repetitive and unappealing to me for the same reasons that I don't enjoy house music. It is clearly a  show for kids of all ages, so I understand why they keep it basic, but it makes for a strange audience.

I had no idea about the show's cool factor when we took the kids to see them perform a few months ago. The experience I had-with all the lights, bizarre characters,balloons, The Aquabats, Dave Grohl and Biz Markie-was so evocative of the few raves I've attended that I was certain I'd been dosed. I felt like I had landed on another planet-a really cheerful, loud, slightly terrifying planet where people might start spontaneously combusting if they got any groovier. The audience was heavily dotted with hipster couples in their early twenties. It made no sense-who else would subject themselves to the Nokia Theater filled to capacity with a thousand screaming children and their middle aged parents unless they were really high? It became a game of spot the E-tards,  and they were everywhere-grinning and swaying,hands in the air,with pupils like giant swirly lollipops. At one point, three large thuggish looking guys sat down in front of us. They looked disturbingly sober, out of place, even. After much debate, we decided that they had to be either really untalented pedophiles or hit men that were there to whack Muno, aka. the big red dildo. The whole scene was a little too intense for me.The kids had fun, but when it came time to take pictures with the real live characters, Little became hysterical, and Big wouldn't let go of Toodee, the giant blue cat creature.

So, while I try and muster up the motivation to run on this rainy Sunday, after a three day hiatus due to a root canal, I wonder if a mix of D.J. Lance and the gang might be just the thing that I need to go the extra mile this time. I do feel like  I re-learned something incredibly simple from my sixty two minutes of running to techno tribal rave music:  trying different things is good, even if you have already written them off as "not your thing". Sometimes it's just the thing you need to break out of your own track worn by habitual passage and into a new groove in which you can really run.And I am talking about the music, not the drugs, folks.
In case you haven't had the pleasure:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Come on get happy

"Attention, Trader Joe's customers, will the owner of a freezing brown dog tied up outside the store please come to the front desk?". I was already deep in line, Sunday morning crowds as expected. I looked around to see if anyone reacted to this announcement and saw a lot of warmly dressed middle class Angelenos waiting patiently to check out. It was hovering around 50 degrees, the closest thing to winter that Los Angeles ever sees, and rain was imminent. I happened to glance over toward the front door that exits onto Vine Street and saw the dog that had warranted the announcementI found it vaguely annoying that the announcer had mentioned that he was "freezing", as he was a large Chow with a substantial rust colored coat. He may have been lost, but he was far from freezing. He stood in the middle of the sidewalk looking perplexedly into the store. He wore a harness but no leashPassers by began to stop and through the front window I could see that a lot of people were staring and looking and wondering what this dog was doing there by itself. A somewhat pregnant looking father stood with his young daughter, waiting to see the outcome and presumably the face of the despicable person who had left their dog on the sidewalk on such a "freezing" day. A few well intentioned people hovered around the dog: a young well dressed couple with a baby in a stroller, a middle aged woman wearing jeans, a baggy sweatshirt and a beret, and a pretty Asian woman in full make-up, strappy high heels and a white fur lined parka. They had formed a circle around the dog while the beret woman came in and told the front desk that the dog was now loose and wandering. Another announcement was made and, within seconds, a fleece clad fifty something Hispanic woman rushed out and claimed her dog. I couldn't hear the exchange but based on the body language of the people who had stopped to help the dog, she was less than appreciative. She walked quickly down the sidewalk with another fleece clad woman. She looked nervous from my vantage point, which struck me as curious and kind of sad. The pregnant father tailed her for a few moments. The well dressed couple pushed their stroller up the street in the opposite direction, looking back at the woman and her dog a few times. The beret woman and the Asian woman had a two minute conversation with a lot of shrugging and head shaking, presumably rehashing the cruelty they had just witnessed and congratulating each other on taking such extraordinary measures to put a stop to it. Everyone walked away feeling righteous about themselves except the woman with the dog-she probably felt lucky that her dog didn't get hit by a car. I walked away thoroughly annoyed with the human race. People are so fucking annoying.

Don't get me wrong, helping a lost dog  is a praiseworthy thing to do, but they all acted like they were transporting refugees across a war torn perimeter instead of engaging in the simple act of being aware. Awareness is something that we owe our fellow earthlings, animal and otherwise. Helping others is not this great sacrifice that deserves back slapping and complex analysis. It also made me wonder if it were the fleece clad woman lying on the sidewalk waiting for her dog- would they have reacted with same intensity?

As I drove home, it occurred to me that I haven't made any resolutions this year. I have been busy dealing with a lot of annoying middle class shit:

1) I have been traveling for the last ten days and am overwhelmed by the re-entry. I have a HUGE mountain of clothing that needs putting away and piles of tedious miscellany to attend to. I need a vacation after my vacation, which is now officially being called a trip. A week with five kids under six is NOT a vacation.

2) My pediatrician of five years was unnecessarily rude to me on the phone yesterday, then called me today out of the blue all agreeable, which makes me wonder if I have a Facebook mole who tipped him off to my unflattering though anonymous depiction of him in last night's status update. I am now officially paranoid.

3) I accidentally erased an entire file, including hundreds of scripts, on my husband's Ipad while uploading Scrabble for the kids to play. Now he can't do his job and the kids might be going to public school next year.

4)The kids got a exceptionally nice play structure for Christmas, and they christened it with violence, complaining and constant injuries. After an hour, I gave up and sent them inside to watch TV so I could start drinking. It was 4:42 pm.

5) I have a weird thing by my eye that needs a dermatologist. It might be cancer or some sort of growth, but I reallyreally don't feel like dealing with it.

6) I am procrastinating buying tickets to our school's fundraiser because I don't want to spend three hundred dollars on tickets to get dressed in a bedazzled jean jacket and go spend six hundred dollars on something that is worth a hundred dollars. I hate bejeweled clothing with a passion.

7) A handful of my nearest and dearest are in some sort if crisis and I can't help them. It hurts my heart.

SO, while I am not dying from terminal illness or evading roving death squads in some landlocked country in Africa, I am having a few issues with 2011 thus far. Despite the fact that, while I write this, my older child, Big, is hounding, threatening and fake crying her way to a time out because she wants a cookie, I will make those resolutions right now. Hang on, let me just go get her that cookie.......

My New Years Resolutions for 2011

1) Travel less-stay home and enjoy our well feathered but seriously cluttered nest.

2) Change pediatricians. Who needs that bullshit when your kid has red spots on her vagina?

3)Stop writing about people on Facebook, even anonymously. The world is small, terribly, ridiculously small. They always find out.

4)Stay away from my husband's Ipad. Period.

5) Play with the kids on the play structure even when I don't want to. Soon they will be locked in their rooms texting like maniacs while the play structure rots in the back yard.

6) Put on something sparkly, go to the fundraiser and bid on something we might actually use. Write the check already. They need the money, and they do a excellent job with my kids.

7) Keep tabs on my nearest and dearest and let them know that I am here for them, tears, fears and all.

8) Talk less, judge less, curl my lip less, eat less, complain less.

9) Write more, compliment more, smile more, run more, and GET FUCKING HAPPY!!!

10) Rescue some stray dogs. Had the opportunity to do it last month and it does feel good, even though the owner was an unappreciative bitch.