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It’s Friday, here’s an exceedingly long post on everything I’ve listened to this week to avoid work.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues | Against me
I’m extremely late to the party with this one and literally never listened to Against Me before. I’ve also only listened to the title track from this album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, before but in a fit of pure exasperation decided to listen to the rest of the album and eh, it’s pretty good.
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The obvious particular lyric I love most from the album:
You want them to notice
The ragged ends of your summer dress
You want them to see you
Like they see every other girl
They just see a faggot
The obvious reason I’ve been hyperfixated on this song is that the US is currently waging an all-out war on trans people and a soon-to-be war on all other queer people. I’m just tired of hearing other non-queer people talk about queer people and really just want to listen to trans people talk about trans people.
If you have recommendations let me know!
Crying those Cocksucking Tears + I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You | Lavender Country
Lavendar country isn’t exactly great music, but it has its roots in gay activism and its primary claim to fame is that it’s the first gay country album recorded.
Haggerty is the same guy whose story makes the round on storycorp about his father saying “don’t sneak” a literal fact I didn’t know about till today!
My older brother first recommended this to me. I love it for what it is: a piece of americana that’s uniquely situated in the gay rights struggle. I’d like to learn more about the history.
Again something I’ve been listening to as I continue to deal with a new rainbow scare and try and find ways to make myself outwardly more gay that isn’t just me yelling at my father and telling him if he votes for Greg Abbot I won’t speak to him again!
A favorite lyric from this album:
You're a romping bronco, I must admit
Stomping while your lips are chomping at the bit
Sure I'll kiss you, but who's gonna miss you
When you're chasing midnight's through
Be glad to be your one shot pleasure
Even leave you grieving at your leisure, babe
But I Can't Shake the Stranger Out of You
Horses/Want Want/That’s Where I Am | Maggie Rogers
I’m generally enjoying the vibe of Maggie Roger’s new singles so far. There’s some through-lines to her past album musically and some departures that make me optimistic this new album will have the same emotional impact her last album, Heard it in a Past Life did. Which is to say, optimistic that it will hit me a little too hard and i’ll be forced to, once again sob while stuck in traffic on South Lamar.
A favorite lyric from this trio “It all works out in the end/wherever you go, that’s where I am/even boulders turn into sand/wherever you go, that’s where I am.
Possibly because I watched it this year and the lyric literally mentions a boulder, I keep thinking of the rock scene from Everything Everywhere All At Once (go watch it, i don’t need to explain why) every time I hear this lyric. A perverse form of love in geological time.
I also wrote a short story about love in geological time after visiting Big Bend. I don’t have an actual description of what love in geological time means to me, but it’s tied to this idea that you could embed your love of someone or something in the very bedrock of a place. I liked imagining how many people had come through the same trails I was walking through, experienced something profound and unique to their lives, and left that experience behind, deep in the soil of a place that existed long before we were even born.
The opening line from that short story is
“First there was an ocean that stretched from Arkansas and Oklahoma, spilling out into far west Texas and emptying its shale into beds of solid stone. Then there was a collision. A smash. A showing of monumental force which rocked the continents and carved out deep valleys and tall mountains which loomed underwater, sinister and full of spite.”
My favorite line from that story is
“And suddenly those points contracted would collapse. Those long things stretched would push together into this tangled mess of black barbs and anxiety. You would choose, like you always did, some way of expanding and when you did you would leave, forever.”
It’s my favorite thing I’ve written, but I don’t think I’ll ever try to get it published again. Three people have only ever read it, and i think that’s okay.
Overnight is still my favorite Maggie Rogers song, 10/10 no skips.
Bury Me at Makeout Creek | Mitski
I am never not consuming Bury Me at Makeout Creek, and by consuming I mean repeatedly listening solely to First Love/Late Spring which has, imo, one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever read:
the black hole
where you sleep
the night breeze
a peach tree…
When I listen I think of a specific window in Parlin on UT’s campus. It’s a room where I took a writer’s workshop hosted by an international writer who really encouraged me to write short stories. I remember in spring opening the window and gazing out at the falling leaves of pink trees that dotted the distance between this building and the HRC. The opposite of a black hole, yet still somehow just as threatening to me.
So please hurry, leave me
I can’t breathe
Please don’t say you love me
Haunts me so much I wrote a short story based on it. It’s a story about a couple, one dying of some new disease, that travel up to the northwest in search of a large oak tree they read about online. Certain that its sap could heal his ailing partner, and running out of time, the story centers around the distance between the two: the subtle knowledge each one has that love, even at its truest form is outmatched by death. The main narrator, unable to accept that one day his partner will die and he will be left impossibly alone, is willing to try anything to defy those odds. But simultaneously he hopes that things will end, and soon. Stuck in the tragedy of prolonged death and prolonged love, he comes to recognize a certain sweetness to the finality of it all. Something will expire–should expire–before it twists each moment negatively.
The story is okay, I like it. I’ve made tons of edits to it and am at least passingly proud of it but feel now I’ve passed the point of publishing it. A story about a strange disease that causes havoc on the body is cliche.
It was also based on a specific trip I took up to the coast where there was, of course, a giant tree. I remember seeing the tree and thinking that it looked remarkable, like the picturesque setting you see in fantasy novels.
The opening line of that story is:
“We’re driving out west, tracing the snake of Highway Six as it crosses through the forest and inches towards the coastline. It’s early, the sun peeking through the evergreens looming over us like sinister idols.”
But the line I like best from it is:
Tiny cones of white plastic mark the fallen trees, gleaming white against the headlights of our car like gravestones guiding us to our final home.
Because it’s based on a real memory I have of riding through the forest and seeing tiny white markers on a hillside that traced the curve of the road and followed us. I never knew what they were officially for, but gravestones seemed oddly touching at the time, a fact I told nobody.
Sinister idols is from a story I wrote in college about a world that was rapidly freezing. In that story the mountains loomed over the narrator, forming a basin around their tiny town, constricting his movement and compacting his grief. Which was based on the idea of Ice-Nine in Cat’s Cradle.
When I presented that story in a writer’s workshop most people were so obsessed with a sentence I wrote about the sun disappearing and the moon still being there.
After class ,my professor basically told me not to worry so much about that, just keep the world logically consistent on its own.
The idea of sinister and basin and grief surrounded by said basin would come back to me for the above-mentioned story about Big Bend, a fact that I’m fully connecting just now.
Sometimes, forever | Soccer Mommy
I love soccer mommy because I have to listen to every song fourteen times before I can fully understand the lyrics.
Because she sings softly
Because I am half-deaf and it’s getting worse!
Is there a way to love soccer mommy without announcing to the world “I might be having a depressing episode so watch me closely”
My favorite lyric from this album is:
I wanna know what’s wrong
with all of the ways I am
I’m trying to be someone
That you could love and understand
But I know that I’m not
I’m not, I’m not
You don’t need therapy to figure that one out!
Pharmacist | Alvvays
Alvvays releasing a new song after 4-5 years (due to, among other things, a theft!), I don’t know if I actually like it, but I’ll listen regardless.
My favorite Alvvays song is (no surprise) Archie, Marry Me.
My favorite lyric is:
“you’ve expressed explicitly your contempt for matrimony.
You’ve student loans to pay
and will not risk the alimony.”
Primarily because, I explicitly tell Zach that I have contempt for marriage, and also like the main narrator would probably still get married years later if things keep going the way they are.
I don’t have student loans to pay though!
Mamma Mia | A*Teens
No insights here, Zach reminded me (told me about for the first time) the A*Teens and now i keep listening at like 2:00 when i start losing attention and focus at work.
Marielda 01 | Friends at the table
I’ve been consuming more D&D-related stuff because Zach’s into it and I’ve started DMing my own game and am trying to get better at it.
This particular episode is actually related to the game A Quiet Year, a game I’ve been mesmerized by since playing it once.
I could talk about A Quiet Year a lot, and maybe I will later. But the premise is less about playing a game to win and more about building a story with your friends.
You can play it jokingly, it would make a great drinking game. Events happen you discuss them, you build a community, and draw a map.
I’ve used the game in the past to build a world for a particular campaign.
Zach and I played it together one night and created a world that we might use later to run a joint campaign.
My particular contribution to these games continues to be a society of good-natured bunny people who want nothing more than to make baked goods and layout in the sun.
They are 100% lopporits, which I have told everyone multiple times that if a San Junipero situation ever exists they are to upload my body into a lopporit or my lalafell so I can live the rest of my life in absolute bliss.
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