Friday, January 9, 2015

lost weekend found

to Patton Oswalt:

I went to a roast last night for Karen Marder's 40th. Karen is a Queens native, a poet and teacher who is dating my friend Tyler Burba. It was one of the most bizarre and amazing parties I have been to. First of all, throwing yourself a roast is brilliant. You know the dirt is coming from your friends, so it gets raw and mean, which is hilarious, but it's spoken with this backbone of forgiveness and understanding. It paints the portraits of the roastee so well, especially when it's a character like Karen. She comes from a family of Borscht Belt comedians and you could hear it, the whole Jewish tradition of humor. It was great to witness the queen JAP of Queens in full flower when it was her turn at the mic. The party was in a new high end Mexican restaurant in Astoria and they just kept pouring wine into my glass until I found myself wobbling home, whistling Dean Martin songs.

This morning I started out hung over, and listless, keeping myself propped up while cleaning dishes by listening to Part 3 of the 5 part Hardcore History podcast series on Ghengis Khan. I really felt for a moment what it must be like to kill mercilessly, to feel bloodlust, to be part of an efficient and disciplined military machine, but also felt even more keenly the other side, the sadness, the seemingly endless sadness for those who suffered.

Meanwhile I let the girls watch SciGirls on Netflix while they ate breakfast, part of the current Science Friday regimen.

Afterward I took them out to the park to play in the fresh powdery snow. Sofia said the empty park full of snow was like having a wonderland all to ourselves, and it was.

We followed some rabbit tracks around the park for awhile. So cool the way all four rabbit feet close together make one big paw-like print, each paw print spread 2-3 feet apart. It's a kind of natural optical illusion because it looks like a giant animal hopping forward on one paw.

I talked to the park keeper, Ivan, for awhile and heard a great tale about a headless redtail hawk he found there last week. Ruth was there and told me they buried the hawk in the community garden.

Sofia was making snow angels and said, "the clouds look like close-up skin."

Later, when Sofia went to her Pre-K class I tuned into 99 and Barry's Afternoon Sound Alternatuve on KGNU while I organized and cleaned my dresser drawers and Lucia watched "Sid The Science Kid."  A sad Mongolian folk song came on in the mix. I thought of the Khans again, and the millions slain and raped and tortured by them. I realized that I must have this blood in me too, bits of it, from both sides of the battles, this genetic memory. I feel an infinite sadness down deep in my bones. I could fully feel it in the music, all of it. I took my phone and plugged it into the speakers for Lucia to hear too. We danced to the music. I swung her around and around, slowly.  Lucia has a bit of a Mongolian look to her, especially her eyes, from her mother's side. At one point as we were dancing she told me she was a princess. I could totally see her as a Khan's daughter. Her life would have been full of insecurity and pain back then. Now she is a princess of a much luckier kind, a sci-fi princess of the future, and at least for awhile she can relax and dance with her father to the old music of the Steppes in relative peace. The perspective of time is a trip. I was there, now I'm here, voila.

I made a special dessert for the girls after dinner, banana slices with raisin on top and a chocolate chip. Served with "magic garden" tea. Meanwhile we watched Pee Wee's Playhouse on the iPad Mini. I could hardly believe how funny and imaginative that show is. The girls totally got it too.

I read a good New York Times about Miyazaki, and several more too, including excerpts from scripts of Oscar contenders; Boyhood, Inherent Vice, Birdman, etc. Also a Patton Oswalt reading list in the Book Review section gladdened me. Turns out he's a Wallace Stevens geek too. I love Oswalt, like Steven's rabbit. Oswalt the rabbit. Thinking how great it would be to do a podcast with him about poetry, get wired and do close readings of some of those mysterious masterpieces, just delve in deep. It would actually get a decent listenership too I bet. I'm gonna message him on FB and see if he's into it. 

I also read somewhere in the paper about a perfect wool shirt that keeps you super warm on freezing days. We are having an arctic chill. I need to get one of those shirts.

After dinner we took a bath. I asked Sofia what kind of music she wanted to hear during bath time. Maybe Fleet Foxes or Luluc? But she said, no, something jazzy with horns. Hard to believe the girl is 4. So I had the bright idea of putting Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" on the turntable. Sofia loves that song.

Tonight we wound down by watching Fantasia on the projector. (Made the connection with Sofia that the Sorcerer's Apprentice is a similar story to Elsa's in Frozen, both of them about learning to control the magic.)

Then I put the girls in bed and sang them a long song while I played guitar. I was exhausted, but managed to come up with a good song I think. And it did the trick, got them to sleep. It was a song about La La Loopsie and My Little Pony taking a boat to an island where they meet up with Max, kind of the wild things. And it made perfect sense.


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