:: dreaming of schemes ::

The musings, politics, frustrations and triumphs of an extrovertedly introverted musician from Philadelphia, PA.

Next shows: Blue Scheme: Wed., November 12 (blue scheme on last), Grape Street Pub [Manayunk], w/Lazlo and Secret Society, 105 Grape St., Philadelphia, $5, 21+, Doors at 9:00 pm
Wed., November 19 (blue scheme on first) Malokai's/Club 218 South [Center City], w/TBA 218 South St., Philadelphia $6, 21+, Doors at 9:00 pm
Fri., November 21 (blue scheme on second) Tokio Ballroom [Center City], w/Wellstar and Heather G 122 Lombard St., Philadelphia $5, 21+. Doors at 8:00 pm
Yellow Brain: Saturday, December 27, Fergie's Pub, 1214 Sansom, Philadelphia, 9:30pm

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April 28, 2003

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:: Friday, May 09, 2003 ::

I like your smile...sike!

I was just sitting here and I started thinking about expressions and slang that were in style when I was growing up. Remember when you'd give someone a hard time, and then they'd threathen you with a balled fist and say, "You better act like you know"?

Fun times!

Or how about "decent," meaning "really cool"? (That Michael Jackson Thriller jacket is decent!) Or when people said "no doy" instead of "duh." Then there was "thorough," another word that meant "really cool" or "breathtaking" or something overwhelmingly positive. It was often used to describe very attractive girls. The same way that people often misspell "tongue" as "tounge," people often misspelled "thorough" as "thirl," because that's how it was pronounced—with that little curling of the tongue at the end. You hear it every now and again used in a slang context, but it has the same impact today as describing something as "def." So don't do it.

The following is a likely exchange involving the use of the word "thirl," circa 1986:

"That girl is thirl," said Johnny Tentpole.

"That thirl girl is my girlfriend," replied Turk Beatdown.

"We broke up last week," said Shirley, thirl as always.

"That girl, Shirl, is thirl," exclaimed Caspar Weinberger, as he paid for a chocolate shake.

[Exeunt, stage right.]

Then there was "chumpy," which I think was mostly confined to the Philadelphia area. A "chumpy" (often written "chumpie") was just a "thing." Check out that chumpie! Yo, lemme see that chumpie! "Chumpie" died a quick, cruel death that just wasn't quick or cruel enough.

One of my favorites was when my friends would say things that just didn't make any sense. They meant one thing, and everyone knew what they meant, but when you thought about it, it was completely ridiculous. When we used to play basketball in a vacant lot down the street, every now and again the ball would go out of bounds. But kids being kids, you'd hear "out of balance."

Everybody run! That ball is out of balance! Who knows what hell it will unleash upon our mortal souls if we don't make like a banana and split!

And here's one of the great unresolved debates of our time: "sike" or "psyche"?

For those of you not in the know: say, for example, you go up to someone and tell them that they may want to consider enlisting the service of a tissue to remove some visible dried nasal mucus from their nose. Horrified, they run off to the lavatory, covering their nose. When they return, you say, "sike (psyche)," which translates as "you silly goose, you didn't really need to run off to the lavatory with your nose covered to remove any visible dried nasal mucus--I was just kidding."

Then they bop you.

Ah, childhood.

:: Anam 4:56 PM [+] ::

:: Thursday, May 08, 2003 ::

Memories...all alone in the...in the...uh, line please?

As you can probably tell from the shameless plug above, we've got a show coming up this Saturday the 10th over at Fergie's. It should be a good show.

As long as I don't forget the words.

The worst part about this whole thing is that I wrote most of them!

Ever since I've been fronting a band, there's nothing I've been scared of more than forgetting lyrics. I'm not scared of the crowd. I'm not afraid of playing wrong keys. I'm not afraid that I might sing off key. But nothing will get my knobby knees knocking faster than singing a song and then realizing that I haven't the gurddurned foggiest notion of what the next line is.

These days, it seems as though my memory is only slightly better than your garden variety sieve. Not that there are any sieves lounging in the garden, sipping on apple martinis. Or for that matter, that there's a variety of sieve for use in the garden. If there is, then bully for the sieve.

You know, it's funny—a real frikkin' hoot—my grandfather is 88, and for the most part, sharp as a nail sticking out of a two-by-four. You know, the kind you see in angry peasant mobs after all of the pitchforks and torches have been given out. Well, maybe you don't really see that, but I think that the nail in the two-by-four is a whole lot more worrisome than a pitchfork. Sure, pitchforks are sharp and they can kill you, but so can guns, crack cocaine or listening to David Hasselhoff. Pitchforks remind me of that little red devil you see on packages of Underwood Deviled Ham, which ranks right up there on the fear chain with tooth decay.

If he really wanted to, my grandfather could probably beat me up. At the very least, he'd make it interesting. Las Vegas would have absolutely no clue what kind of odds to set. Don King, are you reading? Can you dig it?

My dad is your proverbial walking repository of knowledge. My mother is highly intelligent and articulate.

I am a sputtering fountain of potpourri and incongruous esoterica.

Bring on the ginkgo biloba.

:: Anam 12:55 PM [+] ::

:: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 ::

Testing, testing, this is a recording

We've been recording.

Is it a demo? An EP? An album? It's hard to say. Probably a little bit of each, but not enough of any.

You're thinking that doesn't make much sense. We're recording about 12 songs, but once all is said and done, we may hold off on releasing them all at once. Chances are we'll burn a bunch of four song CDs on demand, and every now and again switch up the songs we include. Or we may include all of them. Remains to be seen. But we'll figure it out.

I don't remember what session we had last night—the third or the fourth?—but we finally got to recording the real vocals. I didn't think we were going to get there last night, as it seemed as though the whole session would be devoted to keyboard and saxophone overdubs, but we did. Just in time for my voice to get scratchy. Sheesh.

Those Combos and that bottle of Pepsi probably didn't help matters much.
:: Anam 7:12 PM [+] ::

:: Sunday, May 04, 2003 ::

I represent Germantown, she was raised out in Brooklyn

Well, I guess I represent Center City now.

In an attempt to add some more Philly representation, I’ve added a few blogs that really caught my attention, and hopefully they’ll capture your interest as well. The writing in Throwing Things, go fish, ericalynn, and A Weird, Old, Colonial City is very good, often funny, and quite engaging.

Much like the writer of A Weird, Old, Colonial City, I’m really drawn into city spaces and not only how we affect our environment, but how the structure of those spaces affect how we respond to them. I’m always looking for small streets to explore, tucked away like little ridges on the interlocking fingers of Center City. Sometimes when I’m walking home from work, I’ll sort of wander along what I think of as “paths of least resistance.” Granted, cities without people cease to be cities, but sometimes it’s nice to wind down from the day and be alone with my own thoughts. It also gives me a chance to get out of the cowpaths of the homebound herd and do a little sightseeing in my own city. It’s easy to forget that Philadelphia is as vertical as it is horizontal. It’s amazing what you can discover just by looking up.

Once I get some more film, I’ll try to share what I’ve been looking at, although cameras now seem to be considered instruments of suspicious activity. If I’m not back in five days, call the authorities. Because that’s probably where I am!
:: Anam 6:38 PM [+] ::


Inspiration is a fickle creature. We seemed to have a decent relationship for a while—it never tired of visiting...or so I thought. We share the same house, though my quarters are admittedly a bit more luxurious. Perhaps it resents that—when at rest, it watches me from a spot in the rafters. Always seemed so content there before. It would come down every day for tea, and we’d bounce ideas off of each other, sing songs, edit lyrics, meditate, ruminate, stare out the window, listen to sirens doppler into the distance, and wait for rain and the graylight peace that follows.

It was always eager to suggest ideas as I practiced at the keys: play this line faster; be a bit subtler and sparser here and strip away these extraneous notes; slow down; write this in a different key; don’t go to the chord change that everyone expects.

And it was certainly content to suggest ideas when I worked on lyrics: strike that; this sounds pretentious so get rid of it; this is redundant; this doesn’t make any sense.

Though it sometimes comes off as harsh, I’ve always appreciated Inspiration’s straightforwardness and willingness to be direct when no one else will. And when the finish line is near, it’s always there to cheer me on and commends me on a job well done once I’ve crossed it.

The past few months, however, have been awful. I’m in the midst of perhaps the worst songwriting drought in memory, and land that was once fertile and verdant is barely arable. There are, thankfully, signs of life, but the sprouts barely get ankle-high before they die off. If I squint and hold a flattened palm above my eyes, I can usually find another sprout struggling in the field. Whether I can get there fast enough with the watering can is the problem nowadays. Inspiration was in charge of irrigating the field—next time it visits with me, I’ll be sure to put it in a stranglehold until it submits and tells me how to run the machinery.

Recently, Inspiration has been content to swing its legs as it sits in the rafters, whistling as an idiot grin plasters its face. Occasionally, it flashes a thumbs-up sign, and goes back to swingin’ and whistlin’. I don’t know if it’s laughing at me or if it’s just oblivious to everything that’s going on down here in the dry country.

I’ve been compelled to take an ax to the rafters to bring the damn thing to the floor whether it likes it or not, but I know it will only fly to another rafter. Eventually I’ll have chopped away at all of them, but then the whole house will come crashing down and who wants that?

Perhaps I can lure it down with strawberry cheesecake. Of course, then I’ll have to worry about a visit from the Mirror.
:: Anam 4:57 PM [+] ::

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