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Nasty nasal and the Duke

Fuck you in yer nose, expletive: This is the second Wordish so far to reference (read: rip off) the great album Texas Funeral by Jon Wayne. The band, not the dead actor. This is an album that I and about 100 other people own. That's how one becomes a cult sensation, just so ya know.* Jon Wayne has a second album, too, called Two Graduated Jiggers, that came out some time in the early Oughties, and I own that, too, but don't listen to it much. Can't tell you why. Maybe it sucks. Maybe there's only so much drunken, faux-amateurish country punk boasting about Texas and America that one girl like me can take. I mean, I (and my good friend Mark) have tried to indoctrinate many, many people into this cult, with precious little success. I myself was jumped in by a very chic and savvy fifty-year-old Swede whose son-in-law--a music journalist at the time--had taped the vinyl for her.


I can't find my copy of Texas Funeral right now, which really sucks because you know that thing is probably way out of print. But I can't find it, so I can't tell you which song it is wherein the singer--Mr. Wayne--slurs out "Fuck you in yer nose!" I'm pretty sure it's the final, epic track "Texas Studio," a mindfucking portrait of this "band" in the studio with a totally clueless, hit-hungry music exec, to whom the expletive is delivered in the form of a grumpy mumble. The album closer is different from the rest of the record as it utiliizes a healthy dose of tape-manipulated weirdness. As with all things Jon Wayne-related, it's hard to say whether the music exec (and his painfully peppy female familiar) are for real--are they sampled? Are they the band's friends, acting out a part? Did some A&R team somewhere really head into the studio with these moonshine-swilling malcontents and expect to make any money off of it?

And if so, don't they deserve to be fucked in the nose?

*Especially when one of the 101 people is Quentin Tarantino, and he puts the title track on his From Dusk Til Dawn soundtrack.

Wordish will be back in its normal guise very soon. In the interim, here are my pictures from Bali:

Greetings from the paradisical future

bagus, handy descriptor: This is pronounced "bagoooooooosssss," and it pretty much describes my experience thus far in Ubud: verrry gooooooooood. So far we've ridden a scooter (poor Bean, the thing had almost no power over the rocky hills and dales of this island) from the botanical garden to the bird and reptile park (the bird park was better than expected while the reptile one was a disappointment, although we did pay the equivalent of 50 cents to see a chicken fed to a 6-foot-long Komodo dragon), seen legong dance and cecak (monkey chant performance), taken a Balinese cooking course (no, really), seen more temples and beautiful architecture than I can almost handle (so strange to be somewhere whose ancient soul hasn't been completely paved over by war or other kinds of "progress"), drank a lot of Bintang beer, eaten like kings, and, of course, shopped.

Today we're going on a hike that involves some sort of steep staircase just past the monkey forest. Bean picked it out. Tonight we'll see wayang kulit--shadow puppetry, one of the reasons I'm here. Our bungalow is paradise, complete with breakfast and Nescafe each day--paradise DESPITE the LOUD frogs at night., who we've named, as well as the gecko that parks under Bean's discarded shoe every day. Ubud is definitely my kind of town--butterflies and incense in the air, gamelon gongs greeting the twilight. It's going to be hard to tear ourselves away Friday (U.S. Thursday--greetings from the future!) to see Lovina up on the northwest coast, but there's a hot springs there waiting for us and, having swum in the Indian Ocean at Padang Padang, we still need to take a dip in the Bali Sea. At that point I'll definitely have been in more oceans than I have countries.

Selimat siang,

I especially enjoy custards.

Terima Kesih, the first words I learned in Bahasa Indonesia: We spent the first two days of our time here in Bali ensconced in the lush Villa Gitana, where the friendly staff (named Wayan, Kerong, Kerong, and one other one, either Mede or Ketut since most working-class folks in Bali have one of these four names, so chosen due to birth order) took exquisite care of us while we got used to the climate and practiced our halting Bahasa Indonesian. Terima Kesih is the first thing I learned; it means "thanks you" and I remembered it because it sounds like "tiramisu," and I like dessert. I especially enjoy custards.

Fast forward. We've been here 4-5 days, depending on how you count the international date line, and--thanks to the villa staff, numerous taxi drivers, and the staff at the spartan surfer homestay Tete Bali In  in Uluwatu--I can now say "you're welcome," "good," "good day, "good evening, and (as of today) "goodbye." We walked all over Uluwatu and, though the folks here are FAR too polite for me to want to learn curse words (yet--I'm a New Yorker at heart, so give me time) being one of the only people actually hoofing it down the rural roads of that surfer enclave, I did get in the habit of singing an altered version of Missing Persons' "Nobody Walks in LA" in an escalating variety of peevish keys. The motorcyclists and car drivers (the former far outnumbering the latter) don't give a hoot for each other's path of travel--they certainly don't watch out for us. So in Uluwatu, I walked in a lot of ditches.

Not to say I was unhappy--far from it. Even when the monkeys stole my prescription sunglasses at the cliffside temple, I laughed, and appreciated their cunning--an older one posed for snaps while a little one moved in for the grab. And then a few of their human familiars (aided by Bean) chased the furry felon down, retrieving my specs for 50,000 rupiah (less than $5 American). You would have laughed, too, if you'd seen me standing there at the top of the ancient stone stairs, clutching my hat (another cherished prize among thieving monkey types) and blind as the day I was born.

At any rate, after a blissful day spent on Padang Padang Beach, swimming in the Indian Ocean and drinking Bintang beer, we determined that we are not necessarily beachy people, so we decided to skip Padangbai (another beach further up the coast) in favor of Ubud. And so here we are, checked into our place, picking out gamelan and legong performances, and kanoodling our precious internet. Well, I am--Bean finished some time ago, and so, I suppose, should I.

More soon. I hope. Selamat jalan.

Resistance Sickness, psychoemotional syndrome: Resistance Sickness, being a sickness, sound unpleasant by nature; in fact, it's intensely pleasurable, but, by definition, followed by the queasy pall of guilt. RS is when you find yourself enjoying immensely something you'd purposely (and successfully, so you'd thought) exorcised from your pleasure center. For example: Classic rock. And me. My cool aunt was a tremendous Rolling Stones fan, as well as a bonafide 60s/70s rocker--she was engaged to the piano player from Vanilla Fudge, and rode in a helicopter to Woodstock alongside members of Jefferson Airplane. My older sister inherited her love of the Stones, and augmented it with the appropriate late 70s/early 80s radio stars: Supertramp, David Bowie, KISS. And my brother (just two years her junior) dug all those plus The Cars and Squeeze. (And, as we were on Long Island, Billy Joel is simply implied between all of those lines.) It was a pretty rawkin' legacy to inherit, and in my very early teens I gave it my own spin, choosing the path less traveled in my high school by listening to everything Euro and synthy weird that I could find, plus the Replacements and early REM.

By the time I entered college, I'd renounced anything you could hear on the commercial airwaves. I joined my school's tiny radio station and pored over the record library, studying Sonic Youth, Bongwater, X, and the Meat Puppets till my ears rang wrong. Of course, I was also experimenting with drugs, so a little "Peace Frog" and "White Room" made it into the mix, too. But for the most part, I was done with songs I recognized--I wanted to be surprised when I opened my ears. And though that early exposure gave me a good foundation upon which to build my brief music journalism career, I still, to this day, listen primarily to college and free-form radio; I put my massive iPod library on shuffle.


Lately, when I drive my car to work, I find myself scanning the dial for something I know. And since I don't have to be at work till 10am, and since I'm habitually 10-20 minutes late, I usually land on the 10 at 10, when one of the Bay Area's many "World Class"/"Classic"/"Greatest Hits" rock stations plays ten songs from a single year. I tune it in and hope for any time before the '90s, as that was the decade when I stopped listening to mainstream radio. I cross my fingers for a year whose music I know. And I sing along, to whatever--though the 10 at 10 gives KFOG a chance to play some stuff they don't normally play (and therefore I know) somehow I can sing all the words to all of the Seger songs, the AC/DC and the Elton John. And not only does it feel good, but it edifies me on my commute. It reminds me of where I came from, right before I step out of my car and into the life that I've come to.

And then I feel bad.

And then I post "stefanie knows what a guilty pleasure is" on my Myspace status.

Because that's what Resistance Sickness really is--the guilty part of the guilty pleasure. Recently I went shopping online and it actually made me horny, it was so forbidden (I'm supposed to be saving money for Bali) yet it's what I was raised on--shopping trips with my mom, mall and flea market hangs with my friends. But this shopping made me exhilarated. And then it made me feel rather dirty.

And hey! Speaking of Bali! Today I realized that--two-and-a-half days before my departure--I'm feeling a different sort of Resistance Sickness, a sort of Reverse RS. Up until very recently, I would have characterized myself as a very open, very zen person. Neurotic as hell, sure, but definitely a kind, careful, and curious visitor to other cultures--a writer and observer as well as an accommodating, friendly sort. Now that I'm on the cusp of my most intense journey ever, I find myself looking at myself very much like the Ugly American I never thought I was, and never wished I would be. I feel loud and brash and clumsy. I feel like I'll stick out like a sore thumb, and everyone will take advantage of me. It doesn't help that, upon finally meeting with the friend-of-a-friend whose house we'll be staying at the first couple of night we're there, I felt incredibly awkward. At first I interpreted the awkwardness as being a result of the fact that she and I immediately realized we'd never actually met, but now I think it was all on my part--on the part of my feeling like an inexperienced rube, not like the late bloomer who will travel the damn globe when she's good and ready.

I wonder how this one'll turn out.

If you do, too, please stay tuned--I'll try and post to this sucker while I'm overseas.

The Bland Version of a Hang-Loose Look

Kinkos/Casual Fridays, ensemble: I've always been a little obsessed with clothing, whether it was elementary-school me, lavishing page after page of attention on the outfits worn by characters in my sci-fi novel in progress; undergrad me arguing with a boyfriend that the fact that he always wore dark T-shirts, Levi's, and low-top Docs certainly did not mean he didn't care what he wore; or early-30s me, reveling in the anti-consumerist camaraderie at the clothing swaps I hosted. So of course, when a new uniform was introduced to North American culture, I couldn't help but notice. A year or more ago, I started thinking about the khaki-pants-and-blue-Oxford-button-down-shirt thing that I'd recently realized had become ubiquitous. That this look had been added to the canon alongside the suit and tie, T-shirt and jeans, and their ilk rang a little weird to me. I mean, why was everyone wearing this? It looks like a kid's school uniform, writ large. It expresses zero creativity, and it doesn't look as sharp as a suit.

And then I figured out that the rise of the look coincided with the rise of "Casual Fridays," those days when workplaces with a dress code get a little looser to celebrate the coming weekend. So I originally started calling it just that--as in, "Check him out, he's got his Casual Fridays on." But then I noticed that it also looked a whole lot like a Kinko's uniform, or at least what used to be the Kinko's* uniform. They may have different ones now that they've merged with FedEx. Irregardless, it''s became my alternate title for this bland version of a hang-loose look.

*This Wordish is dedicated to Geoff Trenchard, who understands
the madness of an all-night copy establishment, and with whom I first discussed this ensemble's need for a name.

Swear Week 5

Yeah, it's like Shark Week, the annual Discovery Channel event that my boyfriend loves, except instead of giant carnivorous sea creatures, this week will be all about stupid curses I've picked up from my friends.

Fuckstick, dirty, dirty word: Even more fun to say than "bitchwad"--thanks to the internal rhyme--"fuckstick", at first blush, makes even less sense. But once you break it down, it's basically a sexual aid. It's a whole lot more fun to say, though, than "sexual aid," or any of the other words you could use for that.

Courtesy of Michael "Fiddlesticks" Shaw (bottom row, second from left).

Swear Week 4

Yeah, it's like Shark Week, the annual Discovery Channel event that my boyfriend loves, except instead of giant carnivorous sea creatures, this week will be all about stupid curses I've picked up from my friends.

Bitchwad, nonsense: This one (courtesy of Captain Shane Gabbard) is fun to say, even if it makes no sense. I mean, why should one be insulted by being referred to as a wad of bitches? I guess I get it--a pile of bitches would certainly be more bitchy than just one single bitch. But if the bitches are all wadded up together, wouldn't they be a little too concerned with untangling themselves to actually lay any bitchy mojo on you?

Swear Week 3

Yeah, it's like Shark Week, the annual Discovery Channel event that my boyfriend loves, except instead of giant carnivorous sea creatures, this week will be all about stupid curses I've picked up from my friends.

Shittastic, adjective: OK, so I said this week was going to be all about curses I got from my friends, but this is the exception--I made this one up. I know, I know, about a hundred and ten people probably made it up before me. But, you know, "shitty" is just so twentieth century. I can't help but be excited about a Profanity 2.0 way of saying it.

Swear Week 2

Yeah, it's like Shark Week, the annual Discovery Channel event that my boyfriend loves, except instead of giant carnivorous sea creatures, this week will be all about stupid curses I've picked up from my friends.

Cuntlet/Cunt cutlet, really nasty insult: My oldest friend in the universe is Kristina. We've been friends since high school, and most anyone who has known her in the intervening years would tell you that she is a kind, gentle, accommodating gem of a girl, and always has been. Sure, she's got a little temper, but she chooses to take it out on inanimate objects, mostly, and over the years she's even perfected her rage so that she only throws or assaults things she cannot break.


Kristina did not learn to drive how I did, with extended adolescent practice on the shady lanes and minor-league parkways of Long Island. No, Kris didn't learn to drive till she was in her mid-20s, and was living in Los Angeles. Which means that Kristina behind the wheel of her car is an entirely different animal than Kristina NOT behind the wheel of a car. Kristina behind the wheel of a car is not just of two minds, she's of two mouths--the one mouth keeping up an erudite conversation about music, literature, travel, or cuisine, and the other swearing at her fellow motorists with a cursey creativity that is unmatched. My very favorite I ever heard her utter was, I believe, unleashed as she tried to get me to LAX after we spent a little too much time enjoying Santa Monica's lovely beaches: cunt cutlet. And I absolutely could NOT resist asking her if she'd actually just described a stranger with such a visceral, painful-sounding slur. And indeed, she admitted, she had. "Sometimes," she added, "I abbreviate it to just 'cuntlet.'"