Thursday, May 28, 2009

Child Neglect Leads To Child Development

Second Story Books is your typical used bookstore—every available crevice is crammed with literature.  Taking a book down from the shelf is a small act of bravery, like playing Jenga.  The air is full of tiny, invisible mold spores that make their presence known as an earthy, wet tree smell.  I wish some opportunistic perfumer would recreate that scent in a lab and then sell bottles of the stuff to bibliophiles like me.  I love the smell of rotting novels in the morning.

My father was a chess freak in the same way that I’m a book freak.  Every day after work he went to Dupont Circle, where an incongruous mix of businessmen and homeless men gathered to play.  It was a boy’s club.   When he took me along with him, I was the lone little girl hanging out around the tables.  Sometimes the cross-set banter would get a little too crass, even by my father’s lax paternal standards, and he’d hand me a twenty and say, Baby, why don’t you go get yourself a book?

At first I’d go to Crown Books because it was right on the Circle and it had all of the pre-teen targeted serials that I was into. At age eight, I wasn’t exactly a budding intellectual.  I read a lot of Sweet Valley High.   Still, little suburban rube that I was, I could sense that these books were a guilty pleasure, incomparable to something like A Swiftly Tilting Planet or The Wizard of Earthsea. 

As I got older I walked farther away (literally and metaphorically), down P Street to Second Story.   I first read Sylvia Plath and Louise Glück on the floor of the poetry section.  I found The Book of Disquiet, which I judged entirely by its cover:

I liked the photograph and I started reading and I ended up discovering my own thoughts on the page, somehow perfectly articulated by a strange little Portuguese man who died almost a century ago. 

I sat and read and fell out of the space-time continuum and receded into my own internal universe.  Hours later I would wander back over to the tables where my father would still be playing chess, lost in a state of hyper-focus. 

So, here’s what I’ve been thinking—when I grow up and make myself a baby I plan to neglect that child on a small scale, just enough so that they learn how to explore on their own and entertain themselves. I’ll point them in the direction of a bookstore and say, why don’t you go get yourself a book?  And hopefully they’ll be like I was and actually go do that and not slink away to some back alley and discover the flourishing drug scene of our nation’s capital. 

Or put another way—

Mothers of America

                                    let your kids go the bookstore.

(instead of hanging around the yard

                                                          or up in their room

                                                                                      hating you

prematurely since you won’t have done anything horribly mean yet

except keeping them from the darker joys)

Dark Night of the Soul


Haven't you always wondered what would happen if Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse, and David Lynch combined forces?  Me neither, but now that you know it happened, aren't you crazy intrigued?  The other day, Chester mentioned this collaboration (known as Dark Night of the Soul, not to be confused with the nonprofit/indie compilation Dark Was the Night,) so I did some research.
Aside from appearing on two tracks (it's so distorted I hesitate to call it "singing,") Lynch's main contribution is a hundred-page book of surreal photos inspired by the music.  In fact, due to disputes with EMI, the book is the only thing you can get your hands on right now (it comes with a blank CD-R that says something like "do what you will.")  Good thing you can stream the entire album on NPR.org.
I've only given it a few listens, but I'm digging on it.  Almost every track has a different guest appearance, including James Mercer (The Shins,) The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals,) Jason Lyte (Grandaddy,) Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Frank Black (the Pixies,) Iggy Pop, Nina Persson (The Cardigans), Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, and Scott Spillane (Neutral Milk Hotel.)  Although there's a multitude of different artists' fingerprints all over this album, the tone remains pretty consistent throughout.  And in describing that tone, the NPR review states it best:

To be sure, the music is often strange and gloomy. There's pain and madness. But Blue Velvet director David Lynch is involved, so what do you expect?

But even with a name like Dark Night of the Soul, the album has uplifting moments, with catchy pop and rock hooks. It's richly orchestrated, with layers of ambient sounds, infectious rhythms and singalong harmonies. It's the perfect marriage of joy and sorrow.

Thankfully, those of us in LA can feel the joy a little more than the sorrow.  Starting May 30th (this Friday), and every Tuesday-Saturday til June 11th, the Michael Kohn Gallery will showcase 50 of the 100 photos from Lynch's accompanying book.  The album will also be playing throughout the gallery.  This is something different, this is worth attending.  Let's go.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We Love You So


I'm surprised I have yet to post about how pumped I am for Spike Jonze's film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are.  I'm very pumped.  I grew up on this book and loved it so much the pages were falling out.  So when I heard about the film I was pretty skeptical, but the trailer completely put me at ease.  And by "put me at ease" I mean "moved me deeply."  But I'll bet you knew that would happen when you remixed images from my childhood with Arcade Fire, didn't you Mr. Jonze?
Luckily, as I wait for the film's release in October, I can get my fill of all Things Wild over at Spike Jonze's blog We Love You So.   Aside from interesting posts about the music, art, and films that influenced the production, I also enjoy the chronicling of various reincarnations of Wild Thing characters.  The above photo is from an opera adaptation (premiered during the 80's), the bottom is a mural on Melrose in LA.  And as an Angelino, Jonze likes to post about screening and events going on in LA that I'm always bummed I've missed.  Guess I'll need to check the blog regularly...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brought to You by the Number Nine

There are two movies coming out this year with simple numerical titles, and both are the number nine.  More specifically, one is "9" and the other is "NINE."  What are the odds?  (I don't care to do that math...)

"9" looks like an off-beat CG epic about a post-apocalyptic world in which the only surviving creatures have potato sacks for skin.  You know, typical stuff.  But as familiar as Elijah Wood doing the whole "why does everything depend on lil' old me?" routine might feel, from what I've seen this film has a unique visual style that will set it apart from most CG stuff out there (steam-punk retro darkness that can only happen if Tim Burton attaches his name).  It looks like a fun, dark animated adventure movie, which might be coming back in vogue (anyone see Coraline?  Nobody does it better than Henry Selick and Niel Gaiman).

Then there's "NINE," a film-adaptation of a Broadway musical that was based on a non-musical film.  You know, typical stuff.   Apparently it loosely follows Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, a semi-autobiographical film about fictional director Guido Contini's obsessions with sex, film making, and his mother.  I'm totally down, the trailer was all I really needed.  Say what you will about film adaptations of musicals, or about the director of Chicago.  I have one counter argument: Daniel Day Lewis. 

Maybe next year, since it'll be 2010, we'll have a musical version of Blake Edward's "10" on Broadway, and a space-epic CG adaptation of The Ten Commandments simply called "Ten."  Our numerical future is looking bright.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The In-Between Times

Pretending to be sane is a fulltime occupation.  My poor limbic system gets near worn out from the effort of keeping “the crazy” tamped down.   Sometimes, I need a vacation from my own mind, a brief foray into madness, like a daytrip to the Arctic. 

Luckily, I have San Francisco, a city that embraces public displays of lunacy.  A city that offers its inhabitants an event like Bay to Breakers. 

Bay to Breakers is publicized as  “an exhilarating scenic footrace,” a weak tagline that does nothing to capture the epic, vision quest nature of the occasion.   No longer are mystical revelations reserved for some lone Inuit boy freezing on the monotonous tundra, fasting and attuning himself to the spirit world.  Instead, you can walk amongst palm trees and ice cream vendors and have a cathartic mental meltdown with 100,000 of your closest friends. 

Allow me to paint you a picture:

Imagine a river of people stretching to the horizon.  They are belligerently intoxicated.  They’re naked.  They are naked and stumbling through the foggy streets at dawn.  Actually, they’re not all naked.  Some of them are dressed as vaginas or seahorses. They’re dancing, spastically. They’re lilting their way to the ocean. 

At this point in my rambling, I think a visual aid has become necessary:

 

I joined the mob at around nine-thirty in the morning at the intersection of Hayes and Octavia.  Within ten minutes, I watched a man receive a blowjob while reclining in a glorified wagon that was outfitted to look like a banana.  It was just one of those days. 


For ten hours, I drifted from absurd vignette to vignette without any forethought.  I befriended strangers and felt an incongruous love for the crowd.  I thought, “I wish every day of my life offered this kind of sensory smorgasbord.”

I’m desperate for “experiences" and the idea of, you know, learning from them.   Like everyone else in my age bracket, I want intellectual, sexual, and emotional (over)stimulation.  I want all of the clichés; I want to grow as a person.  But I can already tell that the brain-melting epiphanies I’m after aren’t going to happen during any of my more flashy life moments. I won’t be a riding an elephant through the Sumatran jungle when I suddenly know for certain what it is that I'm meant to do on this volatile planet.  

Epiphanies aren't going to come in the form of epiphanies at all.  My life is building itself up at a stalactite slow pace, and any real kind of self-awareness will only happen during the in-between times, the boring times, the times when I’m left alone with my own brain and no distractions.  No heavy drinking.  No topless dykes on sphinxes.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fending it Off pt. 2

My sister guided me toward the blog of Sharon Astyk, who was asked by a reader what she would say as a commencement address at a graduation.  It's pretty long, but worth a read if you're a recent graduate and/or at that one-year mark, wondering if you've done anything with yourself.

But if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, I've quoted a chunk that I found to be the most comforting- more so than the general message of "economic downturn breeds personal exploration."

But most of the lessons that you probably learned in college aren’t ones taught by your Professors. For example, you learned how to live closely with others, and share resources with them.  This is an important lesson, since odds are very good that you will either share a small space with several housemates as you eke out your living, or that you will move back in with parents or other family in order to make ends meet. The skill of living closely with others, of deriving happiness from late night conversation and shared work in the kitchen, of taking turns to use the bathroom will stand you in excellent stead.

So too will making the food last, or finding more food when the meal points don’t meet the end of the month.  Tasty things to do with ramen noodles, the making of a pot of soup to feed 15 hungry people, and the ability to scavenge will be of the utmost use.  So will a willingness to drink cheap beer and to laugh about one’s circumstances.

Sports- An Outsider Looks In

After glancing through the headlines of the New York Times, I toss aside the  sports section and go straight to Arts and Leisure.  I'd rather see "Endgame" than catch the big game any day.  I've devoted the last five years of my life to pursuing the arts, and it's the path I intend to follow for as long as I can.  Maybe forever.  Forever would be nice.  I am swept away by theater; marvel at its spectacle, stare wide-eyed and breathless at its subtleties.  I watch episodic television like it's my job.  I wish it was.  Maybe one day it will be.  That would be nice too.  And I've yet to find anything more exhilarating than feeling my ribcage vibrate from a movie theater's digital sound system blasting the perfect pairing of soundtrack and screen action.  

That is, until recently.  I should preface this with the fact that I grew up a loyal and devoted Yankees baseball fan.  I was a Yankee for Halloween (perhaps without a choice) at least three times.  My family, namely my mother father and sister, haven't missed a game on tv in years. Curiously it's my sister Sara who's the most devoted (and loudest) fan of them all.  So I've been watching the past couple games, if for no other reason than to try to understand how something so simple could draw so many people so many days for so many years.  Last night's game housed 43,867 people.  And after three games, I was hooked.  It is truly exhilarating.  There's something about watching these people, experts in their field, under the greatest amount of pressure possible, that makes your heart pump like nothing else.  Watching sports makes you feel alive.  If you let yourself.  

I'm reminded of last year's Super Bowl, which I watched with my friend and fellow RSF blogger David.  Neither of us cared about football.  Neither of us cared about the Giants.  I only knew the rules of the game from being in my high school marching band and half paying attention to every single high school game for four years.  We were really only in it for the commercials. But when the Giants were behind, and that dude caught the football on his helmet, the two of us literally, without thinking, jumped onto the couch and shouted for about a minute.  We went from not giving a shit, to being totally invigorated by a sport we wanted nothing to do with.

Now I'm certainly not going to start wearing shirts with team logos.  I'm not going to refer to a team as if I belong to it, i.e. "my yankees".  I will still make fun of the people that do.  I'm not gonna fall in love with Coors Light and call people queers.  But I don't know.  I think I'm starting to see what all the fuss is about.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dr. Zhivago

Film culture is alive and well in Los Angeles.  Aside from the lavish multi-plexes for today's popcorn-munchers,  there are countless theaters that exclusively show independent and classic films.  These places would go out of business if they were in any other city, but LA understands the importance of seeing films on "the big screen."  Yeah, you can rent it and get all cuddly on your couch, but there's something unique about putting yourself in a room solely designed for optimizing your viewing experience. 

Some theaters, however, are more optimized than others. The New Beverly Cinema is pretty run down; it feels dingy and sleazy inside, but for some reason that's part of the appeal for me.  It allows them to screen whatever they like, and they take full advantage of it.  Where else can you see "Duck Soup" one night, and "Til Death Do We Scare" the next?

So a few nights ago we went to see Dr. Zhivago, a film that I had rented a while back and watched incrementally on my cuddly couch.  The New Bev kept things classy: they played the entire (Oscar-winning) overture before the film, and had a full intermission between reels.  I was wrong to watch this film over several nights in my living room.  I didn't get a real handle on the scope, I didn't really feel every wistful glance that Omar Sharif casts at the wind blowing through the trees (man, he does that a lot.  Gets me every time).  I didn't really appreciate Rod Steiger's performance as one of the most bad-ass and layered antagonists I've seen in a while.  It made me want nothing more than to live with Julie Christie in a cottage caked deep with snow.  We'd keep warm by making love as we listen to the wolves howling outside.  Mmmm, Lara.

Sorry... but you get the idea.  I didn't feel these things the first time around.  It wasn't until my viewing experience was optimized.  Thank you, New Beverly.

Danny Tieger actually spent some time in Russia, and knows a lot more about the historical subtext of the film than I do.  Hopefully he'll write an illuminating post, or at least one about how Dr Zhivago is essentially How I Met Your Mother: The Movie.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Best Way to Lift a Bad Mood

Everyone should read poetry written by small children. Why? Because Prozac’s got nothing on the ebullience of third graders:

 
What is red?  Red is apple heat.
What is orange?  Orange is fruit puking.
What is black?  Black is a poem cat?
What is yellow?  Yellow is a banana flower.
What is green?  Green is a shark bee.
What is blue?  Blue is a sky shark.
 
 
Reading this stuff gives me a dopamine rush that’s on par with a shot of tequila.  My cheeks flush.  I grin.  I lose my moral inhibitions.  Maybe not that last one.
 

Happy is yellow like the sun
running through my room.
It makes me want to
hop like a rabbit.
Mad is red like flames
burning the forest.
It makes me want to
call the fire department.
 

I can't remember the last book I read that made me laugh out loud like this.  


What is red?
An apple.
A strawberry.
A wild strawberry smoothie from Jamba Juice.
And a cherry is red from love and kisses and marriage and squishing.
What is gray?
Ms. Riverstone's hair
and a rock,
my grandmother and my grandpa at Oakland, 12th Street
and my other grandmother in Chinatown.


Occasionally, I find a poem that renews my faith in the essentially kind nature of human beings.  No big deal:
 


I want to fly like a bluebird
And that bird wants to fly like an insect.
The insect is as small as an ant.
 
The clouds are black, like whales, and it is beautiful.
The gardens have flowers with sour grass.
The sour grass is sour like a green lemon.
 
Some people paint good, some people paint bad,
but the important thing
is that they are good people.
 
I’m from Mexico.
Some people are from Mexico.
Some people paint.


When I finish this chapbook, I'm going to send copies of it to everyone I know.  

The Saddest Text You'll Ever Send

It's been almost exactly a year since graduating college, and things are pretty good out here in the real world.  I like my job: I'm part of an industry that I love, my hours aren't insane, and I work alongside some very cool and talented people.

But when you spend eight hours a day in a cubicle, you're bound to feel it.  True, you can plaster colorful drawings and posters over all four walls, you can hang neon Mexican Halloween masks, you can bring in a large stuffed Tiki man holding a (newly ironic) sign that says "Let's Party!"  I've done all these things.  Nobody's more liberal with cube decorations than the employees of an animation studio.  It's their way of saying "yes, I'm in a box right now, but it's seeping with creative juices so I'm okay!"  And I buy into it, I find those juices comforting.

But there's nothing worse than sitting in a cube, regardless of how vibrant the walls, and getting a text message from your friends who are still in college.  Worse yet, a picture message of your friends goofing off and drinking in the sun.  Thanks, dudes.  Thanks for reminding me of the fun I once was having.

So almost exactly a year ago I was celebrating Pirate Day by the pond, enjoying Seamus Day on a boat, and feeling sick after the moon bounce on Fun Day.  I don't have those "Days" anymore.  I have Work Days, and they're spent in a gift-wrapped box.  What a difference a year makes.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Nice Chat With Grandma

On the phone today
when I asked,
How are you?

She answered,
I’m terribly old
and life is terribly boring
but the alternative is death.
 

Thanks 
for the laugh, Grandma,
and for the reminder
that I’m inherently
an optimist.

Where
could that trait
have come from?
 
--------


I am so happy to have hopped aboard the slapdash, haiku-ish poetry bandwagon.  

Also, everyone should buy the new issue of Poetry magazine.  It’s only $3.50.  For the cost of one overpriced latté, you can enjoy sensuous, rhapsodic, austere, beauty, beauty, poetry by two Jews and one Danish lady.  Get excited for poetry!  Please?  

(Poetry should be paying me for this shit.  Or publishing me. Whichever.)

Anyway, enjoy this excerpt from Ilya Kaminsky's Deaf Republic, which, dare I say it, "spoke to me" this morning.   I'm sorry, forgive me, what a trite thing to say, but I mean it.  As John Banville said, "That's one of the many things I hate about life, that it's a hideously clichéd business." Man, John Banville is an arrogant prick...but he also keeps it painfully real? 

-------- 


Yet I am.
  I exists.  I has
a body,
When I see
 
My wife’s slender boyish legs
the roof
of my mouth goes dry.
 
She takes my toe
in her mouth.
Bites lightly.
 
How do we live on earth, Mosquito?
If I could hear
 
you what would you say?
Your answer, Mosquito!
 
Above all, beware
of sadness
           
on earth we can do
   can’t we? —
 
what we want.
 

 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chinese Buffets- A Poem

Pace Yourself.
Swiftly flowing appetizers yields swiftly flowing bowels.
Stop.
Breathe.
Have a rangoon.
Have a beef dish.  Don't worry, there's several.
Go with your gut.
Have some soup.
Wantons?  Egg Drop?  How about both?
Have dessert.
Have jello cubes and soft serve treats.
It's okay!  It's the buffet!  Be a fatty for a day!

But don't eat the bread.  That's how they get you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dear J.J. Abrams,

I'm sorry for the things I've said.  I never should have left you, and I think we should get back together.

I know our relationship was never perfect.  Jennifer Garner's curves and my burgeoning hormones weren't enough to keep me interested in Alias, especially after you abandoned it and let Rambaldi zombies feed on its corpse.

I didn't become a Lost fanatic.  I just got tired of running around that island, angrily shouting questions to the sky.  I didn't want to become Patrick McGoohan, okay?

Then you made the big transition to film, and although I was entertained by MI:3, it wasn't exactly the most memorable installment (how many times can face-mask-technology be the twist in these films?  Come on now). 

However, I'm now willing to put all of that completely behind us.  After seeing Star Trek, you've really proven that you know how to make a solid, well-crafted, summer blockbuster.

WARNING - if you're reading this and you're not J.J. Abrams, spoilers ahead.

You made me care about these characters, you kept me on the edge of my seat.  There were sword fights, crazy snow monsters, green alien breasts, and multiple shots of heroes hanging from cliffs.  That's all I've ever wanted from a sci-fi flick.  It's like you're in my head.

You were able to please Trekkies and Newbies alike, and for that very reason this might be the most brilliant franchise reboot since Batman Begins.   You know that the nerds are gonna eat that time-travelling-alternative-universe-shit right up, allowing you to do whatever the hell you want.  It's genius.

I don't know what the critics are saying about Zachary Quinto's interpretation of Spock, but for my money he gave the best performance in the film.  At first, Chris Pine was a little too bro'd-out for me to fully invest in his Kirk (spin-off series: Star Frats), but somehow his roguish charm ultimately won me over.  He's at his best when lunging himself into the fray with a masochistic grin on his face.

Sometimes the humor fell flat - Kirk's bloated hands were a little much (reminiscent of "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps," never a good comparison to draw), and Scotty zipping through a maze of water-tubes felt out of place.  But I forgive.  The witty banter and one-liners were much more impressive than any of the failed visual gags.

All in all, the film blew me away, and I had an awesome time watching it.  So I've been doing some thinking, J.J.  Thinking about you and me.  About us.  I think we can give this another shot. 

I'm willing to wait in line.  Get back to me soon.

Love,

-DK

P.S.

Do I have to start watching Fringe now?  Fuck. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Watchmen - A Poem

If you went back in time
and told me
the director of 300
had another film in the works
with lots of glowing
computer generated penis
I would say
Yes
Yes, that's the next step.

The Best Brownies

Subtitle: And The Gayest Blog Post Title in History
Although in retrospect, it's better than my initial title of  "Blowing Men RULES!"

Switching gears, let's talk about my niece, Lucy.  Yesterday we made brownies.  The recipe didn't call for white chocolate chips, but we had a box of them, and we thought, why the heck not, let's put some in.  So I handed Lucy the box and she put one in at a time.  For about five minutes.  And then I guess got bored, and dumped the entire box in at once.  All of them.  The dough was pretty much one part brownie mix to one part white chocolate chip.  I thought my brownies were done for.  

But we baked them anyway.  And they didn't rise.  They turned into a molten chunky paste.  
And they were delicious.  Hands down the greatest brownies I have ever eaten, albeit the thinnest and least congealed.  

Now, I could get all heady about this and be like "listen to the children" but I won't.  All I'll say is they make really good brownies.  And listen to the children.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

watch these shows, i'm serious.

Two shows you should be watching but probably aren't:

-House MD
-Fringe

I'll be brief.  Both shows have been meh.  Both have required patience on my part to continue watching week after week (Fringe especially.) But, as they are gearing for their season finales next week, they have been heating up like the valley in may (or so I've been told...I'm in New Jersey right now).
Here's a few reasons to watch each:
House MD- Compelling acting from Hugh Laurie, great choices from the music supervisor, interesting and accurate medical information, and, for real, some kissing I was pumped about.
Fringe- Fucking Leonard Nemoy is guest starring as Willam Bell, a character the entire season has been leading up to, who will be revealed next week.

Judge away, tv snobs.  I'm into these shows.  And I want you to be too.
(Also they're both on Fox.  What a great channel!  ...Please pick up our show Fox.)

What I'll Be Listening to This Summer


Rock n' roll bands are gonna take a well deserved rest this summer and make way for some quality electro pop.  No longer will we air-guitar and head-bang our nights away.  Instead, we're gonna find ourselves skipping to the beach and having moon-lit dance parties along the shore.  Yeah, it might feel a little gay at first, but we're not gonna give a fuck.

Discovery is a side project of Rostam Batmanglij (of Vampire Weekend "instant-buzz" fame) and Wes Miles (of Ra Ra Riot "how are these guys not famous yet?" fame).  They only have two songs on their myspace, but they're already winners. Particularly Orange Shirt, which delivers a tasty blend of romantic honesty and infectious synths beats.  We're gonna blast it from our cars driving along the PCH, and we're gonna feel alive.


It's a little unfair of Passion Pit to use the word "shimmering" in a song that wishes to do just that.  Regardless, I really don't think they'll be cursed by the "sophomore slump" as do most who recieve instant acclaim.  From what I hear they now sound like a full band instead of a dude on his laptop, and I like it.  Will others?  Only summertime will tell.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Death Cab - "The Open Door" EP


Have you heard "Little Bribes," the single from Death Cab's new EP?
Notice anything different?  Like, how it's not ostensibly depressing in the least?
The Open Door EP is a tiny collection of four songs that the band felt "didn't really fit" with the rest of what they had created for their last album, Narrow Stairs.  So here's how I think things went down:

Ben Gibbard skips into a recording studio where Chris Walla sits.

Chris:  Hey Ben.

Ben:  Good morning, Chris!  What a beautiful day!

Chris:  Um...what?

Ben:  I said it's a beautiful day!  Am I right?

Chris:  Yeah, sure.

Ben:  Good day to make some music, huh?  Rock and roll!  Let's do it!

Chris:  Uh, Ben, are you feeling alright?

Ben:  That is so thoughtful of you to ask, Chris, thank you.  And no, I'm not feeling "alright."

Chris:  Okay, good-

Ben:  I'm feeling GREAT!

Chris:  Oh boy.

Ben:  I've never felt better!  I really don't think I've ever been so... so...

Chris:  Happy?

Ben:  Happy!  That's it!  Happy!  I feel happy Chris, I really truly do!

Chris:  Fuck.

Ben:  And I just want to sing about how good I feel!

Chris:  Ben, listen...

Ben:  So good!  Woo!

Chris:  Ben, shut up for one fucking minute!

Ben:  Hey!  What's with the 'tude, cranky pants?

Chris:  This band writes sad songs, okay?  Epic feeling-anthems about being alone and miserable.  Songs about how women make us want to die under an avalanche of our own insecurities. 

Ben:  I know that, man.  That's our thing, it's not like I've stopped writing like that...

Chris:  Dude, are you kidding me?  "Little Bribes" is an up-beat song about people falling in love with each other! 

Ben:  They're in Vegas though.  Vegas is sad.

Chris:  It's not, Ben.  It's dancey and shiny neon lights.  Your songs are the opposite of that!

Ben:  You know, you've got a point.

Chris:  I hate to say it, but your happiness is totally ruining your sound, man.

Ben:  Wow.  Yeah, I guess I hadn't realized.

Chris:  I know.

Ben:  I guess I've never not been sad before.

Chris:  I know.

Ben:  It's just...it's really hard to be sad when you're fucking Zooey Deschanel.

Chris:  I can imagine.

Ben:  It's just been great, Chris.

Chris:  Okay.

Ben:  Her inner and outer beauty are completely harmonious. 

Chris:  You need to stop that.

Ben:  Sorry.

Chris:  Here's what we're gonna do:  we'll release these happy-lil-pet-sounds of yours as an EP, and we'll keep the album brooding and melancholy like we always do.  

Ben:  Great, that sounds great.

Chris:  Great.  You know, maybe it's time for another side project?  Postal Service might be a good outlet for this stuff.

Ben:  I've actually been thinking about joining Zooey's band.

Chris:  "She and Him?"

Ben:  Well, we'd change it to "The Perfect Couple and Him."  

Chris:  Yeah.  Might want to run that one by Ward.