Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More More More, on Sunday Sunday Sunday.

I drove Charlotte’s car to my “childhood home” a few weekend ago to spend a Sunday overnight in hopes of accomplishing Very Important work in their town the next morning. For me, it meant free laundry and a family dinner with my parents. It also meant a quiet slumber before an early morning.

The silence at home is nearly deafening. Still, in the fall evening, I could hear crickets and insects in a late summer chorus, 18-wheelers on the other side of the farmers’ meadows that back into their backyard, and silence accompanied by a quiet slumber.

At school, there is a consistent chorus of late night schlepping; at 3 a.m. someone is coming home to his or her apartment from the library, the bar, the club, or the boyfriend/girlfriend’s house. There is a steady stream of ambulances on the highway, our street, or the busy roads that run parallel to mine. There are cars that thump in the night, there are desperate knocks on apartment doors, there are cats howling at the moon, and there are dogs that bark at them. The previous Tuesday night’s activities began around 10 p.m. when the girls next door held a raging party with red Solo cups and jumped from our roof to the worn wooden planks that connect our residencies. Minus the roof jumping, all of this is normal. It is what we expect in my apartment, whether or not we respect and accept it.

The drive home was not planned from the beginning, but it was welcome. I didn’t expect to find a new comfort in home when I drove home, but I’m glad I did.

An acquaintance I am not especially fond of blogged about her own anticipated trip home that weekend. She wrote: “I miss seeing the stars. In [Collegetown] you can’t see stars...but back at home you can see everything.”

I thought she was ridiculous. Our hometowns are similar—mine is slightly more metropolitan, but holds the same elements of country life. I thought of the summer evenings I spent on the deck in my apartment and admired the constellations while on the phone with my best friend. I wouldn’t deny that the street lights and pink haze from civilization is a slight hindrance, but I can’t help but silently dismiss the dramatic claims. When I take open my front door the first thing I see is a dark blue open sky, dotted with tiny points of light. Even in the City, I can see the same pattern of stars, galaxies, an open expanse of Elsewhere. When the August meteoroid shower occurred, it was overcast skies that kept the roommate and I from stargazing, not the traffic or lights. Later when the sky cleared for a few minutes, I saw the wisps of light.

That Sunday night was set for a flurry of comets. Winifred asked that I check the sky at midnight and wake her up if I saw anything. In the basement, engrossed in homework, midnight arrived and left, giving way to 1 a.m., and finally 2 a.m., when I pulled myself away from the glowing screen and into the driveway. Activities in the sky is Winifred's Thing. She knows which planets are in the sky and when to see them.

Only the newest neighbors had left their yardlight on. The neighborhood was silent, and the only activity was a stray cat that briefly crossed my path before darting into the backyard, en route to the meadow which is filled with all sorts of wild cat food.

And when I looked up, I realized how wrong I’d been. My front door still opens to a starfield by night (and bright Simpsons-blue sky by day), but Winifred and The King’s sky is a different atmosphere. They had constellations that I didn’t, darker and more vibrant hues, and the pink hue of civilization was only found in the backyard—and only because their neighborhood is near a Sheetz. I waited for my eyes to adjust so that I could see more—as I do at school—and was disappointed to find out that I was presented with More when I stepped outside.

There was no adjusting for more stars at home, because there is always More of everything. More time and space for laundry, More free dinner, More parental advice, More understanding, More of Everything.

I saw only one flash of light outside; I had missed the comet shower—if we’d been able to see it at all—by doing homework. I stayed outside until I was too cold to remain outdoors and went inside, to finish my homework.

I know that Home with Winifred and The King will always offer More; their laundry is always free, their hugs are always available, and the dinner is always accompanied by conversation. I’m only sorry I’d taken their skies, and these past years of Free More, for granted.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Always Get Chili on Your Nachos Bel Grande"

In keeping with legitimate blogging, The Gospel has its own feed through FeedBurner. To be honest, my web publishing experience is in personal webpages, pages handcoded and managed on its own server, so I am learning how to work the Feed. Real bloggers and blog readers, however, know feeds, so this is to serve you, the reader.
So much adieu. The feed:

And, thanks to my friend, you can syndicate The Gospel to LiveJournal. Go to this website to add it to your friends list:

Many, many thanks!

We used to order the #10 at Taco Bell after concerts. I'd eat the taco and my friends would eat the nachos. I think it's a college thing because now we're too old for Fourth Meal and the nachos sound gross. I am abstaining from ground beef as a New Year's Resolution but if you're going to get nachos go all out.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Other Winifred, Round II

I had my own personal adventure this week, traveling from My Fair City, to Charlotte’s Fair City, where I was scheduled to interview my favorite indie rock band. It took a local bus, local train, Marc train, and another local train to get there, but it was worth it. There was thai food, peanut sauce, thai beer, time with Charlotte, and music.
The interview was cancelled before the date of the show, and with Charlotte’s birthday the day before, I set out for dinner.
And before I could get there, I was hurled the dreaded family comment. Talking to Emily before boarding the Marc she asked, “Are you going to blog about this?” It wasn’t a pleasant tone, per se, and it wasn’t the kind of disgust Heather Armstrong weathers on a regular basis, but there was a thread of regret. Which is unfortunate, because I haven’t even begun to drag the family through the mud in my literary quests. And, I think Emily is the only one reading, anyway.
After that Emily asked me why Charlotte hadn’t been mentioned much, and beside, what was her name going to be, anyway? Sophie? No, that was unfair, I argued, I’ve used it too much at Starbucks as an alias, and Charlotte likes that name for children. I thought Charlotte might be nice, but feared it was too Sex in the City.
After we talked, I boarded my train, Emily ate lunch on the opposite side of the country, and hours later, I met Charlotte for book browsing. Then I declared, irrelevant to dinner options, that a life without peanut sauce is a life not worth living. Moreover, I can not marry a man who can not revel and appreciate peanut sauce as I do. (Or, I can, but he’d better be liberal and never mention nary a negative word about the glory that is peanut sauce.) Oh, my goodness, I am salivating. How unbecoming.
Hungry for peanut sauce, Charlotte suggested we try a new restaurant. A restaurant that uses white table linens. A restaurant, not a diner, where you are served, there is not a counter, or white Styrofoam cups, that doesn’t serve soda, that has gone out of its way to design a clean, modern, and trendy atmosphere. I was wearing nice jeans, so it did save me in some ways. Not that Charlotte would have minded; she never has.
Charlotte is ten years older than I am, and in those ten years, has gone out of her ways to spoil me rotten. Birthdays have been spent in the metropolitan city she used to inhabit (and in some ways, still does). She has taken me to museums, silent films, exposed me to epicurean delights, and let me stay in her guest bedroom multiple times. Her currently un-aliased husband has participated in these spoil-fests, so I have two sisters and two brothers-in-law who provide endless fun.
We went to the National Book Festival two weeks ago with Winifred to see Joyce Carol Oates speak; she said everyone has one person who loves you unconditionally—no matter how bratty you are—and she was given her grandmother. I, on the other hand, have gotten two sisters. Which is almost unfair because I am a little shit sometimes.
But moving along, over dinner, we discussed [Queen] Winifred and The King, and concluded and deliberated the following points (whilst I shoveled chicken pad thai into my mouth):

1) Winifred’s constant and seeming unverifiable claims that what we did at ten through seventeen (and present) would come back to haunt us. Police blotters, political campaigns, and court records aside, security clearances, Google, and tattle tales really do come back to haunt you. Luckily for us, only eye rolling followed these admonishments, and none of Winifred’s daughters have participated in any activities unbecoming of a Quimby. Winifred’s standards are high, which certainly helps.
2) I wonder (mused, with head nods and commentary from Charlotte) what careers Winifred and The King would have chosen if they were in college now. Charlotte and I are hell-bent on making a contribution to society sans children. My arbitrary marriage age is 28 (minimum) and child-bearing age is 35 (but adoption sounds painless). But I (we) aren’t criticizing our parents and more than anything, are glad Winifred is not demanding children, or marriage (though I am now the only unmarried daughter).
3) Our parents are not only good people, but good to us…especially in public. I share a night class with an adult mother, with two teenage daughters and one son. She complained last week, and twice this week, that her daughters are interested in posing for photography homework for no more than fifteen minutes. (Truth be told, I can’t even participate for that long, either.) Then she added, “She’s a little shit. I hate my kids.” The comment received a few giggles, but I was horrified. I’m sure Winifred hasn’t told anyone she hated her kids before, I thought. I’m sure—I even hope—she’s complained in other ways. To her sister, maybe close friends, that her youngest is kind of a pain in the neck sometimes. Her music is too loud, her politics are a little weird, she hates math, but I don’t think Winifred ever said she hated me. That the woman said she hated her kids wasn’t necessarily horrifying because she was a mother—neither Charlotte or I think a parent is bound to loving their kid unconditionally, and we’re both grossed out by Helicopter Parents—but it was scary because her kids probably don’t know thirty twenty-one year olds are privy to this information. Charlotte agreed we were safe in knowing that neither Winifred or The King would share that with strangers. First, both are private people (surprised! you’ve been blog’d!); second, they like their kids, which works out well because we like them too. Third, they wouldn’t share information with a group of kids. It’s weird how college makes you realize how much more awesome your parents seem than they did before.
4) It’s probably weird that I check the court records database before I date a boy long-term. Probably true.
5) Winifred is a smart, engaging, charming, and fiery woman who should contribute by writing her own posts to The Gospel. I have never seen Charlotte agree with such fervency than when she began to laugh, “Mom should blog!” She has a lot on her mind! And a lot to say! Agreed, Charlotte. Now that we’re older, other inhabitants of Planet Earth need to be harangued about proper footwear, politics, women’s rights, current events, historical accuracies, and the secrets to successful baking. Probably not the last one, actually, because I like being the only twenty-one year old in town that can make baked goods from scratch.

After all of this we discussed aliases and Charlotte listed names she likes. Most of them were French and for hypothetical children. I only mentioned Henry, but not Rocket. She said that if our sister was Emily, then she should be literary too. I said Jane didn’t fit—even if I loved Jane Lane for being outspoken and a little weird—it was too common. We didn’t commit, but for now, Charlotte Bronte is appropriate.
Then Charlotte paid the bill, I went to rock out, and we spent the next morning procuring Coca-Cola imported from Mexico.

Henry, Henry, Henry!

As mentioned previously, Winifred and I went to see Henry Rollins on his Provoked tour. It is worth discussing, even briefly, because Winifred is not a typical Henry fan.
...But I am. I regard Henry, or as my friends have taken to calling him, "Hank", with the utmost reverence. The only pedestals higher than Henry's and Joe Strummer's, are Lisa Simpson's and, finally, my family. Oh, but my love, for Henry! First, there is his career in music--he left his job at Haagen Daaz to sing for Black Flag, a band that pioneered hardcore punk with an unmatched ferocity. Musically, Black Flag took jazz and played it really fast. I'd like to see My Chemical Romance give that a shot. (Actually, I'd prefer they don't; I'm not fond of MCR and their ultimate failure would probably give way to frustration.) Henry didn't write the music, but he took copious notes in the form of journals, which turned into his book Get in the Van. After Black Flag, he started his own publishing company. He hosts/ed his own TV show on IFC, radio show, and tours tirelessly with stand up and The Rollins Band. I saw the band last summer in DC, and lost my mind in the excitment when Provoked was announced. The man never stops, and I think it's cool. I find a solace in his anger; like Jeffrey Rowland, he Takes One for the Team and watches Fox News so I don't have to. He's angry with the State of Things. I'm surrounded by apathy and I need to see someone riled up; Henry is the man for me. He also let me interview him in what is my biggest journalistic accomplishment to date, if only because I find it so incredibly exciting.
Winifred decided the night before that she might like to go too, so I bought her a ticket. I warned her, Henry is an angry man. Henry yells, and he uses profanity. Henry is angry with President Bush, furious with Ann Coulter (where to now, my sweet fascist? will learn the meaning of respect and learn every word of Caddy Shack!), and aggressive. He is The Biggest Neck in Rock 'n' Roll, I say. But The King nods enthusiastically and says, "Your mother hates Bush, too!"
So onward we went, though I was hesitant. We secured the last two seats at the venue after a delicious lunch down the street. A life altering lunch in which Winifred discovered that she loves chimichangas.
...And...nothing bad happened. Henry yelled, he used profanities, but he encited laughter from Winifred. Winifred nudged me as she agreed with Henry, and she nudged often.
She said the following in an e-mail to the family, cementing her approval of Hank:

Henry Rollins was very entertaining. He talked non-stop from 7:30 pm to 10:10pm. No intermission and not a sip of water from the bottle he brought on stage with him. There was a story about his singing at a benefit with the Ruts, an English band that, in my mind, did not need to go on for 40 minutes or so, but KMH enjoyed every one of those words. My most enjoyable moment was his take on Condoleeza Rice.

Questions followed. CondRo? What could he have said about CondRo? It must have been revolutionary, they agreed. (You can read a review from DCist here.)
The biggest accomplishment, however, was not that she agreed, but that the drive home was filled with questions. Who were The Ruts? I didn't need to know so much, but... and Tell me more about Henry.
And because I am obsessed, I did. I was able to answer questions about his upbringing (mother, DC), college (American University, but it was short-lived), music (Black Flag, The Rollins band), friends (Ian MacKayeww, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Discord Records people, Bad Brains), bands he mentioned (The U.K. Subs, Iggy Pop, The Stooges, The Damned), DC's then-burgeoning hardcore scene. How he walks through his old neighborhood, pays regular visits to his mother and MacKaye's family, etc.
I am always over-the-moon when Winifred wants to know about a topic she thinks I am well-versed in. But this time, she wasn't asking about current events, she was asking about hardcore, and it was the coolest thing I'd told her about in a long time.

A Message from the King

In an e-mail today, sent around 10:15 a.m., EST

Hi Honey,

This is what Dad said about
Doris Lessing winning the Nobel prize for literature: "She was the first feminist author. The winner wasn't [Capt.], but at least it was a woman."

Love, MOM

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Few Technical Things

1.) I changed the comment settings so unregistered (people without Blogger and/or a account) "users" can critique, criticize, and discuss The Gospel.

2.) The comments will be sent to my email, captaincaptaincaptain [at] gmail [dot] com. That's three captains (my alias) sent to google's mail, dot com. One dot.

I have to go--Winifred needs outfit assistance for tonight's Main Event, Henry Rollins' spoken word tour. The irony of this will be discussed in a future update. As will her feelings on Dancing with the Stars.