Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What Lies Beneath (Movie Summary and Review)

(2000) 2h 10min
It's weird that I didn't see it when it first came out. I mean, it's got Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford in the lead roles. One does trust A-Listers such as these to pick good scripts, doesn't one? After all, Pfeiffer and Ford have each been outstanding in everything, from comedy and adventure to dramatic roles. Moreover I can't think of a single clunker starring either of them, can you? And yet, whenever the conversation turns toward ghost stories, I'm always surprised at how few people have seen What Lies Beneath. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018


Hey, required viewing, okay? All I ask of you today. Please.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Try 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner, They Said

This one works great for me!, they said. 

Yeah, that's gonna be another "no" from me, dawg. Imagine if this were August? My hair wouldn't fit through the door. This is pure Sicilian lockage, folks. If you don't know, the Sicilians hail from Arab and African cultures colliding and merging. Then invaded by Vikings. I looked it up, having always wondered why these green eyes and light brown hair when the rest of my family is so olive-skinned, dark-eyed and chestnut-haired. Because, invaded by Normans. Apparently I come from a long line of ice cream, spicy pasta sauces and religious tolerance as an ethical ideology. And that's how come this ghostly spectre half-lifer has got to have pistachio, fra diavlo, and zero assholes in my life. And, yes, a serious no-foolin'-around conditioner. Graci,


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018

#Throwback Thursday: February 2006

I remember that night! Joe had just installed an editing tool on his Mac. I was cooking and he said "Come here and look at this!" 
So I came over to see. He had his webcam set to this Warhol mode, and he was laughing. Just as I was saying, "Whaaaaat?" he snapped this frame. We don't remember what tool that was and this is the only time Joey took a screen shot. There's a printed version of this framed, on the wall in his studio. He's the best, I love him so much.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Being At War With Each Other

Barbra Streisand was my first punk when I was little.
Songwriter: Carole King
Being at War with Each Other lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Everyone comes from
One father one mother
So why do we complicate
Our lives so much
By being at war with each other
Maybe I'm crazy
But I don't understand it
Why do we seem to vote
To dig more holes?
It's such a waste of a planet
There must be a reason
That I can't see
Maybe somebody else knows
better than me
All I know is
Everyone else is
A sister or a brother
So we've got to look around
Again and stop
Being at war with each other

Maybe I'm crazy
But I don't
No, I don't understand it

There must be a reason
That I can't see
Somebody else must be
Better than me
All I know is
Everyone else is
A sister or brother
So we've got to look around
Again and stop
Being at war with each other

Thursday, October 11, 2018

#Throwback Thursday: 2007

On "Performing Monkey Syndrome"

Throwing back to my 2007 interview with Jonathan Spottiswoode. - md

Spottiswoode: Ah, the performing monkey syndrome. Lexi, it’s all about feeling alive. We all go through life in a numb state most of the time. Some of us more happily than others. Artists do what they do for various reasons. But mostly just to feel alive, to feel that they are expressing themselves in the moment, transcending their troubles. Of course, attention from fans can make you feel alive too. Everyone likes attention. It is incredibly rewarding to hear strangers ask you to play a song you’ve written, especially when you’re starting out. It’s a dream come true. I understand if folks in the audience feel that the artist is ungrateful if he or she doesn’t grant a request. Okay, here’s the other side of the coin…you’ve played a particular song in many places. You’ve had magical moments with that song, unforgettable even. The song is like a lover. If you play it too often, especially when you don’t feel like it, it can dilute the memory and the affection you have for it. The other thing is this: every set of music is an emotional journey for an artist, especially an artist playing their own songs. Each song you play means something significant to you (even the so-called “novelty songs”). And they mean something different to you on any particular night. This is the part about feeling alive.

SuperLowBudge: So it can be like a restaurant patron asking the chef to please pass the salt.

Spottiswoode: Perhaps you have played a few soulful songs and a few songs about past relationships. Perhaps that combined with the weather and the lighting etc. has taken you to a raw and melancholy place. At which point someone requests a funny song or an angry song. On a particular night, that song may be the perfect prescription for you to snap out of where you are and take the show to the next place. But on another night, it just feels wrong and dishonest and abrupt. Not to the audience, I understand. But to the artist as an individual with his or her own tired bag of emotions and memories. Each song in a set is an antidote to the song that came before. The wrong combination and you can poison yourself.

SuperLowBudge: That's quite deep.

Spottiswoode: Call me a low budget drama queen. ∎

[Go to full interview]

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

I will never

ever, ever forgive any person(s) who is still supporting this lunatic. Where. Is. The. Goddamn. Cavalry. For the love of all that doesn't suck, somebody do something.
Related: Dude, I Told You

I Went Away For Five Nights

This is the list that I left Joey 
when I went away for five nights. 
He did a great job.

We Lived In A Haunted House

Today I got back from a long weekend visiting friends and family, and my mom reminded me of the time she startled a ghost in her room. - md

Tales From Connecticut

When I was sixteen, my mom woke up one morning and announced that our house was haunted.There was little cause for doubt. For one thing, my frank, matter-of-fact mother is not the sort of woman given to flights of fancy, hallucination or anything of that nature. She's a rock. In addition, it was an 1858 house in Roxbury, Connecticut, and ours wasn't even the oldest house on the street. People in Roxbury speak of ghosts without smirking, like they do down south. Plus, there was some sort of flat stone slab that we found out back, hidden in some underbrush. It could have been just some former gardener covering up a well, but our imaginations led us to "unmarked grave!" We lived in that house for about four years, talking to the ghost, asking for help finding lost things and so forth. Nobody minded.

The Woman In White

First my mom told her story to us, and this is how it went. She'd been asleep. She heard a scraping metal sound, and that's what woke her. She thought she might have been hearing an animal outside eating the dog's food, so she got up to chase away whatever-it-was messing with Grover's food dish on the porch. There wasn't any animal, and the dog was snoozing. So then she did a walk-through, as parents are wont to do when they're woken up by a sound at night. Nothing was amiss, so my mom got back into bed. Before settling back into sleep mode, my mom asked Lou, "What time is it?" No answer, so she leaned over Lou to look at the clock on his nightstand. She leaned far over—that's important to know. She explains, "Picture that I left my whole side of the bed open, plenty of room for someone to sit down there. That's what she did." Because when my mom sat back, she startled a tall woman in a white nightgown. "She leapt back, then she sunk to the floor, back against the wall like she was terrified." They locked eyes. We asked, was she transparent? "No, she was solid." The woman in white was tall, too, which my mother says she could tell because when the woman sat on the floor she drew her legs up close, hugging her knees which were right under her chin. As short women, that's something we would both notice about a tall woman with long legs. My mom tried waking up Lou but he couldn't be roused. That's the last thing she remembers until morning. "The second I woke up, I asked your father if he remembers me asking him if he hears Grover's food bowl, and me asking him what time it was," and when he did remember, that made her certain that it wasn't a dream. It was firmly established: she was definitely awake.

The next person my mom told her story to was Eleanor Hurlbut, the lady of the house across the street. A lovely old couple, Eleanor and her husband Alden were multi-generational farmers with a large, well-respected family. There was a street named for them, they were town council members and I think that a Hurlbut lives in that same house right now. But in 1986 we lived in it, and visited with Eleanor a lot. "Now who could that be..." mused Eleanor when my mom described the Woman in White. Not "What?! A ghost!?" Just "Hm, now let's think of who it could be..." Something led to the conclusion that the woman's name was Ruth, so that's what we called her.

The Warrens

The next person to hear about Ruth was Lorraine Warren, and she heard it from me. One night, my friend Toby and I went to The Curtis House (Woodbury, CT) to hear the Warrens speak about ghosts, demons and all things haunted. During the Q&A, I got up the nerve to ask one question. "When my mom saw a ghost in our house, she couldn't wake my father, and he's usually a light sleeper." Lorraine said that happens, actually. She said the theory was this: when a spirit manifests, it draws the energy from the room, and that's why my father never woke up when my mom was shaking him. Also, Lorraine Warren added, the room might get very cold." Funny she would say that, because there was one bedroom that we didn't use as a bedroom, because it was always cold, even though you could feel the heat if you put your hand directly on the radiator in there. It was the room next to her bedroom, on the other side of the wall where the Woman in White was last seen, and my mom used that room as her closet. She's something of a vintage clothing and accessory maven, and it was suggested that the vintage finery might have encouraged Ruth to make a connection.

Though we weren't afraid of the ghost, to this day, my mom does everything possible to avoid any sort of portal. "I could never do a Ouija Board," she told me matter-of-factly this weekend, "because I know I'm the kind of person they'll seek out." That's what Lorraine Warren advised, too. Don't provoke the spirit realm, because once the portal opens, anything might come through. 👻

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Open Letter For People Looking For Open Letters"

by Robin Sokoloff

I sat down at a sidewalk cafe today, popped open this laptop - ready to send some words to anyone who’s looking for perspective and support out there.

And just like clockwork, when I try to go anywhere or do anything as a woman by myself, I am interrupted.

I am just sitting here, trying to write you these words. I’m typing away. A shadow blocks out the sun above me. Someone is looming above. This is not the first time in a lifetime of men shaped looms.

“Excuse me miss. Hey miss.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Right Through You

Wait a minute man
You mispronounced my name
You didn't wait for all the information
Before you turned me away
Wait a minute sir
You kind of hurt my feelings
You see me as a sweet back-loaded puppet
And you've got meal ticket taste
 You took me for a joke
You took me for a child
You took a long hard look at my ass
And then played golf for a while
Your shake is like a fish
You pat me on the head
You took me out to wine dine sixty nine me
You didn't hear a damn word I said
I see right through you
I know right through you
I feel right through you
I walk right through you
Hello Mr. Man
You didn't think I'd come back
You didn't think I'd show up with my army
And this ammunition on my back
Now that I'm Miss Thing
Now that I'm a zillionaire
You scan the credits for your name
And wonder why it's not there
I see right through
I know right through you
I feel right through
I walk right through you

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Draw Your Sword

Before I Wake (Movie Summary and Review)

(2016) 1h 37m
Some boogie men turn out to be deranged madmen, others are legit non-human entities, but the boogie man in Before I Wake is a different kind altogether. The Canker Man is of two worlds at once. He lives in both our real world and the realm where we go when we dream. Before I Wake is a well-done take on boogie men and stuff of nightmares.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Letters to Strangers and Friends

Dear Mom,

Happy Monday, and Happy October. Isn't October always so weird?

I'm sorry I missed your call yesterday afternoon, and I'm so glad we got to talk this morning, if just for a quick minute. I hadn't been able to get to sleep Saturday night, and so Joe let me sleep until past three o'clock. That's why I missed your call. I was sleeping. He came padding in for a cuddle when he heard me stirring, and when he told me what time it was, I said "Are you fucking kidding me right now."

So this morning I was literally just at that moment looking at my phone when you called, because of course I was. For some people, that might be no big shocker, what with the way the world is ruled by phones now. But for me...let's just say that these days, I don't even know where my phone is, or if it's even charged, a great deal of the time. (I have a theory about why that is, but I'll save it until I see you this weekend, should the topic of crippling anxiety and depression due to post-traumatic stress happen to come up in the course of conversation.) All these years and that kind of coincidence still happens. Remember how Hub used to call that "the Vortex"? The way there always seem to be weird things, way past mere coincidence, that extend two, three levels deep. Did I ever tell you that Hub believed you and I were psychically connected, like at the cellular level? Apparently when we were together, the way that you and I would interact would, from time to time, freak him out. Apparently there was one time in the Davenport Road house when you and I were cooking and setting the table. Hub pointed out that I answered a question that you hadn't asked yet, and he says that you replied without comment, like that was no big deal. Hub had, and still has, a lot of theories like that. For a stubborn know-it-all driven by the pursuit of math and science, he certainly does retain a great deal of supernatural beliefs. I guess I was always drawn to paradox, wasn't I? And he may have something there. Do you remember that time we hadn't talked in months and then you called me right when I was meeting with my boss? I remember looking down at the phone trying not to let the tears fall out of my eyes and seeing your name come up on the caller ID. Hub is positive that you know when I am in distress, all these miles away. These days he doesn't even freak out or say "VORTEX!" anymore. He just goes, "Well, ya know."

Joe just shrugs. My Joey thinks everything is magical, because his brain knows how to convert math into music. I submit to you: is there anything more magical than that? Oddly enough, the Vortex is strong this week. Last night there was a real know it's hard to know where to start when telling about these things. Start anywhere, the Vortex brings it back around again. So...

...back in the 90s there was a local band called Angry Salad that Hub and I liked. I hadn't thought about Angry Salad in a long time. But here's the thing. Just last weekend they came up in conversation with Joe.

Joe and I were in the studio and he was showing me some new synth plugins, and we got on the topic of cover songs using alternate instrumentation. You know, like when you hear a rock song played on a ukulele, that sort of thing. I was trying to locate a video of Angry Salad covering Devil Went Down to Georgia so Joe could hear that Angry Salad had this guitar player who slayed the fiddle part. That guy was awesome. But it's not on any of their records and I realized I'd only seen them do it live. So I described it to Joe, and then spent some time listening to a lot of Angry Salad. And then randomly, last night Hub sent me a link to an Angry Salad video. Why though.

I told him that the guitar player went on to join a reunited Quiet Riot, and he told me that the lead singer died. That's terrible. I guess he OD'd in LA in 2007 a few days before Thanksgiving. I could never live in LA. Not that we don't kill ourselves in Boston.

Okay, back to this weekend. Update. Since my friend Chris is giving me a lift to Connecticut, that means I can bring more than just my one small bag. Maybe I should bring some of the dolls that I've been making so that you can appraise them? I have started using the jewelry bits and parts, but I realize that I don't know what I'm looking at...what if I price my doll to sell, and it turns out I've used a real pearl on the damn thing worth twice that alone? Let's talk again before Thursday, that might work out. I could also use some advice about selling in general. I'm an expert in back office operations, logistics and customer service...sales, I always relied on a whole 'nother kind of crew for that!

I should also a finish a doll that I've been thinking would be a gift for Fernando Fox from his auntie. I texted Michael that I'd always thought I'd be more like Aunt Sharon, and it turns out I'm a Carol. Living out of state and never seen. I remember always being surprised at what she looked like, because I think I only ever saw Carol a total of...maybe seven times, total? I can't believe I haven't met Fox yet. Does that baby boy even know about me?

So let's talk again. I'll keep my phone close by, so that I can get your call in the next few days. I know that you get up before God in the morning, so I'll keep it by the bed. And charged.

Love you,


The Hollow Child (Movie Summary & Review)

(2017) 1h 32min
It's not a great movie by any stretch. Still, between the haunted children, the woods, and some vaguely-explained local lore about what's lurking therein, The Hollow Child will satisfy your desire to "watch something scary" in the spirit of the season, will keep you entertained, but without keeping you awake all night.

Currently Reading

Forged: Writing in the Name of God
it was amazing
tagged: currently-reading