Monday, August 31, 2009

Jean Blues

Jeans of this breed are so rare I am almost afraid to wear them because they are so precious. I'll explain why: They neither bare your anal cleft when you stoop (jeans of today), nor make your ass look like an empty sack (jeans of the 80s/ early 90s). They don't grab you around the middle and squish your organs, like Calvin Kleins did in the age of designer jeans, and they don't have that dumbass acid wash so popular later on.

I'm going into nostalgic old lady mode now. Back in my day, one formed a relationship with jeans. You bought them just before the new school year, when they were of darkest midnight blue and they fit you with a stiff and uptight formality. As you wore them and your relationship deepened, they softened and became more comfortable. Fidelity in the relationship was easy because it was acceptable to wear them to everything except court and funerals. They were rugged enough for a camping weekend, but still okay to wear on a date.

Fashion trends make it really hard to find good jeans. I got these at Goodwill several years ago, so I have no idea how old they are. I just know they're the only ones I can depend on to fit and to represent themselves honestly. They don't have a fake fade that limits commitment to them to the short term because they'll soon be too faded. They don't have a trendy cut that will bare my ass or get caught in my bike chain. They're not too clingy because of Spandex. They're just dependable, sensible pants. Over the years I've searched in vain to find just plain jeans like this, only to find acid washed ones or baggity assed ones or bell-bottomed ones or ones that would leave me with carpenter crack.

But alas, they have a hole in the ass, ripped there during a home remodeling project. As you can see, it's in a place that's tough to repair. Next to the pocket, where it will be tough to sew a patch. Especially for me. My sewing skills are quite basic. But I need to do something so people won't be able to tell what color my underwear is, and to keep the hole from growing.

I'm so disgusted by how the jean genre has been warped by impractical fashion that I'm considering giving them up. All except for this pair. Carhartts are an option, though the women's varieties are made of less sturdy fabric and tend to sport boot cuts (I'm a straight leg fan). And the Carhartt dungaree cut does about as much for my ass as Mom jeans. But at least Carhartts aren't selling out (yet) to capricious fashion like jeans did.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Alien Planet Needs Bands

If aliens beamed me aboard their ship and said look, we want to clone some musicians so we can bring good music to our home planet, and we need you to recommend some, I'd start with this one:

That's Nick Gilder of Hot Child In The City fame. So many of his songs were good, but he's pretty much considered a one-hit wonder. He's still performing in Canada with the band he left right before he hit it big. Of course he's done some ageing but he's still in okay shape. I don't understand why he wasn't more successful.

So from girly glam we go to Texas jam. This is Joe Ely. I saw him in the mid-90s. It was the best show I've ever seen.

This was the first band I saw live, and they're definitely the most fun.

And to round things out with some moody gloomy I'd have to suggest this dramatic fellow:

Can't leave these guys out. They're my new favorite local band.

Once the aliens' culture becomes transformed by exposure to these musicians, music historians across the galaxy will be outraged that I excluded the Beatles, Elvis, Tupac Shakur and Johnny Cash. And I'll be like, "What? You can't clone the dead, assholes. And Ringo and Paul suck!" I may stowaway on a flying saucer to travel to the planet where these cloned bands rule a just society, because it might be a lot cooler than here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Old People

When I was a kid, I remember hearing adults talk about who'd been in the obituaries lately. Especially my grandmother - she'd ask me "You remember so and so?" and I'd shake my head, and she'd get exasperated and tell me things about that person to jog my memory, to no avail. I'd be thinking, all you adults look alike to me. Then she'd go on and tell me all the details of that person's untimely demise as if I cared. She'd be so surprised about this person's death. He/She was so young, she'd say on the phone to her friends. It was as if a new and mysterious force were at work in our town, like a serial killer but formless and random, and all the adults were amazed. Meanwhile, I'd be thinking that 40, 50, and 60 years of age does not qualify one to be described as young any longer. "What do they expect?" I wondered silently. "Old people die."

But now my contemporaries are dying and I'm shocked too. Last week DeJuan died at 40. We were chummy in 5th grade but drifted apart in middle school, so it's not like we were close. But he was from my hometown and was in my graduating class and was still close to people I'm still close to, so I still felt like I knew him. He started feeling bad one day last week and was dead by Thursday. A rare and whoopass form of Disease X got him. Doctors estimated that he'd had it about three weeks before he died. What was so surprising about this was not his death at an unusually young age; it was the fact that he was such a low-risk individual and many of our contemporaries have led such high-risk lives (drugs, alcohol, general volatility and impulsiveness.) It hardly seemed fair. DeJuan quit the hard living a good 10-15 years ahead of everybody else, belonged to civic organizations, and worked in a helping profession. He was a pleasant and easygoing guy in a family known for some of its, well, not easygoing and pleasant members.

So a couple of days after the funeral home visitation for DeJuan, where we all stood around and marvelled at how old we're getting, I saw this hearse. If you can't read the signs, they say "Prepare To Meet Thy God" and "After Death, The Judgement" and "The Wages of Sin Is Death, But The Gift Of God Is Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ." It puts off kind of a hostile vibe, but its owners may sincerely be trying to help people be more aware of how fragile life is and encourage them not to take it for granted. At the same time, you don't want to ruin your quality of life by quaking in fear of death at every moment. In a way, death is already here. Those children we were in school are dead; we've morphed into adults and those old lives are gone. At some point in the future, we're already dead. The trick is to use that knowledge to enrich your life now, instead of waste valuable time feeling fearful.

It's hard to be aware of death and its inevitability without getting down and afraid about something you can't change. We need to develop better lessons for how to do that.