Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Albums of the Week: The Muppets and A Very She & Him Christmas

It's been a long time since I bought an actual physical CD, but while I was out Christmas shopping with my sister, I bought two, and they've been on repeat ever since. If you have an doubt about where we fall along the Muppet-human spectrum, just imagine us driving along belting out these:



Monday, November 28, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Advice from Jenny Slate/The New Marcel the Shell Episode

Friday morning after I got back from shopping/singing along to the Muppet Movie soundtrack with my sister, I was snoozing into the big holiday issue of Real Simple and came across this great advice:

"For some, having a thick skin means preparing for the worst--arming yourself for a huge battle. But that notion allows negativity to define you. Rather, I work to maintain an unwaveringly extra-positive self-image. Even when my contract wasn't renewed on Saturday Night Live last year, I remained 100 percent confident in my abilities. One decision on someone else's part, whether they're affirming or rejecting you, is ultimately minor. You are your constant, and your opinion of yourself is what matters most." --Jenny Slate

Of course, it must be easy to have an unwaveringly extra-positive self-image if you made this:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poetic License Horoscope for November 24-December 1

Poetic License Horoscope for November 24-December 1

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): I recently went to a performance at the Circus School near my house, and it inspired me to tell you this: meditate on hoops, and silks, and ropes, balance, foolproof costumes, and funny magic tricks. Also, as always, sequins.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): It’s the end of the semester and everything’s up in the air. Plow through your homework so that you can get on with the festivities, the toasts, the walks around downtown under the snowflake lights.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): “Lose your mind, lose it now, lose your clothes in the crowd. We’re delirious; tear it down, ‘til the sun comes around.” (Ke$ha, Take It Off) It’s time to listen less to your inner Hermione Granger and more to your inner Ke$ha. Put a dance night on the calendar with your cutest and silliest friends.
 
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  Rewatch the movies of your early twenties. It’ll be like a reunion of everyone you’ve ever snuggled with. Involve piles of blankets and lots of tea.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Thanks once again for lending the stars your swagger. If we’re feeling shy, we always ask ourselves what you would do and end up blushing and happily indulged. We really can’t thank you enough.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): It’s time to send everyone lots of presents, even if they’re metaphorical, all tied up in pretty ribbons. The rewards will be many, and warm, and frosted. Probably with sprinkles.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Every year, my sister and I wake up early the day after Thanksgiving and start 
our Christmas shopping. It’s much more relaxing than people think it is. You can go to the store in your 
pajamas, get an eggnog latte, bring home the big, fat holiday Real Simple, then snooze/eat pie. 

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Count the things you are grateful for, yes, but also think of all the many people who are grateful to you. Nod them a “You’re welcome” or write them long, informative letters.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “I'll love you for my whole life through. I can't stand to see you sad. I can't bear to hear you cry. If you can't tell me what you need, all I can do is wonder why.” (Marshall Crenshaw, Someday, Someway) Tell the universe every little thing you need, and it’ll do its best to get it to you.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  See: Aquarius.


Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): Don’t forget that the stars take requests, dear, and I like this request to much, I’m going to quote it directly: “Just a reminder that I have to stop putting myself down and holding myself back. Also, that a positive and loving heart is a powerful thing.” Thanks for writing Libra, pal.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  This week, you are as reliable as The Beatles on shuffle—think of how few of those songs are actually unlistenable—only two or three. Pretty good probability.

Songs of the Week: Expanded Thanksgivin' Mix






Monday, November 21, 2011

Motivation Mondays: On Your Best Day

Just a short one today before I put my head down and slog through homeworktown. On that Poly Weekly episode that I recommended the other day, she said something like "How would you react to this on your best day?" and I kind of wanted to remember that. Things go the most wrong when I have a knee-jerk reaction to something rather than taking time to think about how things really are and do what I'd do at my most adorable. That's all. Have a lovely week, dears!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Triads and Quadrangles: Thanks, Pals. Thanks, Learning Curve.

"Each new connection expands me."--The Ethical Slut

Thanksgiving is coming up and it's my favorite holiday. I've been thinking about how lucky I am this year. Every connection I've made since I became actively poly has changed me for the better, even the heartbreakiest ones. Each person I've got to meet has meant something to me, even if they just added a couple of songs to my ever-expanding playlist. Some were temporary, some ended up friends, some are new and/or up in the air, but whoever they are, my life feels all the richer. So thanks.

There even may be reason to be grateful for the learning curve of it all. My friend Andrea says that a butterfly has to fight to get out of its chrysalis, because that's how it builds up strength in its wings. It it doesn't struggle enough, it won't be able to fly. I'll try to remember that next time I'm struggling with my math homework or, um, anything else.

Friday Love Poems: Steve Subrizi!

BACKSTROKE

I lay down on the cold wood in the dark.

My roommate’s cat stepped on me and purred.

She has cat asthma. I thought about snorkeling.

There are islands that only one of us will ever visit—

you barreling over the sand near Greece, chucking a frisbee through the rain,

me with my body hanging beneath the sun like a complicated fruit.

DEDICATION



Here is a series of ugly sounds that I make to beckon you near me.


Here is the hot stink of the Tupperware kept in my chest.


Here is the shirt that I wear so that I look like a person.


Here are the pants that I wear so that I walk like an animal.


Here is a bouquet of sparrows at your feet.


Here are the keys to my throat.


Here is your portrait in piano wire,
            in a squid’s last ink,
            in digital.


Here is the satellite that I put you inside.
Here is the satellite where I live.


Here are five stupid fingers.


I know where your left shoulder lives.
I go there when I sleep.


My imagination is a naked animal, giving you a glare
like you’re the one who ought to know better.


My ambition is the same animal with longer hair.
It will live in my house forever and ever.


Here is the misinformation to which I have committed.


Here is the bottle you were searching for, devoid of content.


Here is a letter to go inside of the bottle;
this is what it says. Please,
will you put it away inside of your room?
Will you take it with you into space?

Steve Subrizi is a New Englander. He has performed his work at dive bars and lecture halls across America. His poems have appeared in such places as The ScramblerNAPMuzzleMonday Night, and NOÖ Journal. His e-chapbook, Newly Wild Hedgehog, is available for free from NAP. He plays in a band called The Crazy Exes from Hell.
-- 



Poetic License Horoscopes for November 18-24

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  You are as comforting and comforted as snuggling on the couch in front of Mystery Science Theatre 3000: the gentle rhythm of time-capsule jokes, the Zen of B-movie (Or C- or D-Movie) framing, silly and soft as breath.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Last weekend, I got the following fortune cookie, and it reminded me of you: “You will be spending time outdoors, in the mountains, near water.” The coming weeks will be like that, exactly like an advertisement for being alive. Collect lots of leaves and luck, and keep them.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Last week in church, the sermon was about learning the trapeze. It turns out, when someone is reaching out to catch you, you can’t just reach for them back. This is what’s referred to as “grabby hands.” You can’t catch them, you just have to hold your hands forward and let them catch you.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): “You change all the lead/ sleeping in my head/ to gold.” (Arcade Fire,Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) Yes, maybe I refer to this song too often, but only because alchemy is so important—let things mingle in unexpected ways and see what shiny things might happen.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  You are a flurry of breakthroughs, a hurricane of progress, moving as fast and as warm and as glowing as a galaxy-be sure you are ready to catch everything spiraling by. Write it all down and be a metaphor millionaire, swimming in gold just like Scrooge McDuck.

Aries (March 21-April 18): “It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart, but the welcome I receive with a restart.” (Mumford and Sons, Roll Away Your Stone) Life is always starting over, dear, beautiful and fresh.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): “Walk me all through you. I am not afraid of all the shades. We dreamed of faith.” (S.C.U.M. Faith Unfolds) It’s perfectly acceptable to lose faith, from time to time. It’s the kind of thing that tends to wander back on its own.

Gemini (May 19June 21): It’s totally okay to be a little braggadocio about your life, dear. You made it this way with 
love and adorableness and generosity and well-chosen songs. Write a list of all the things that are totally AMAZING about you. Make copies and post them up 
everywhere like show flyers. 

Cancer (June 22-July 23): This week, whenever there’s a choice to be made, make the optimistic one. It may be a risk, but you might just end up neck-deep in snuggles and/or publication credits.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): If all of your energy is suddenly fizzing, take advantage of it. Make out often and emphatically, write a whole novel, make mixes for everyone you know. Take advantage of the surge while you have it, then rest.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “No one ever told us we had to study our lives,/ make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history/ or music, that we should begin/ with the simple exercises first/ and slowly go on trying/ the hard ones, practicing till strength/ and accuracy become one with the daring/ to leap into transcendence.” (Adrienne Rich, Transcendental Etude)

 Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): The stars would like thank you for all the time you've spent listening to our secrets, for the all the miles and texts received. Never forget, you are generous and perfect, sweet as fancy cinnamon. warm as toast.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Motivation Mondays: An Optimism Day

(Amy says she was at a stoplight when she took that picture, so I didn't have to worry she wasn't driving safely!)

A few weeks ago, I was having a day where I was feeling kind of lost, so I decided that whenever there was a choice to be made, I would make the optimistic one. That little experiment has paid off in some lovely unexpected ways, so I think it might stay my policy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Submit Friday Love Poems! Eek, I've run out!

Amy's says I should post "I'm All Out Of Love" whenever I run out of Friday Love Poems, but I wouldn't do that to you. Well, maybe I would. But really, you should send some. I have a really broad definition of what constitutes a love poem, but I'll get really excited if you are writing from a queer and/or polyamorous perspective. Send as many poems as you'd like, in the body of an email along with your bio and a picture. It can be a picture of your or just a pretty something that goes with the poem.

My email address is serotoninfactory@gmail.com


XOXOXOXOXOXOXO and have a happy weekend full of snuggles.

Poetic License Horoscope for November 11-17

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  Happy birthday! This week, meditate on TV shows about cupcakes: The sudden ubiquitousness of red velvet, the intricacies of frosting roses, the elaborate themed showpieces displaying an array of sweetness, that’s you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” (Semisonic, Closing Time) This week, and every week, really, let one thing go and let one new thing start, even if it’s  trying a new recipe or getting attached to a new sitcom, it’s a little way to keep starting life over.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Take whatever you did with your extra daylight savings time and invest it—even if it pays dividends of dancing or of extra sleep, you’ll be rich with it soon enough.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): To the Aquarius who asked a boy nicely to kiss her—good for you. Whatever softness you’ve gained, whatever future snuggles, can be attributed to the bravery of (ever so politely) claiming something cute for yourself.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  However vexing or important the dreams are that are stubbornly refusing to come true, take time this week to celebrate the ones that are already yours. Collect hugs and snapshots, and wholesome tourist experiences. The other dreams are watching you through the Lost-mirror lighthouse and waiting for their time, we promise.

Aries (March 21-April 18): “And all the children walking home past the factories/ can see the light that’s shining in my window as I write this song to you/ and all the cars running fast along the interstate/ can feel the love that radiates, illuminating what I know is true.” (Gabe Dixon, All Will Be Well) Like the characters on last week’s Parks and Recreation, pretend it’s the last night on earth, and do everything you’ve ever wanted to do.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): To the Taurus who’s been sending me like a million songs that help keep my brain alive in times of too much homework: Brian Eno’s Baby’s on Fire was especially helpful, and so was the Le Tigre and the concert footage of Kiss doing Detroit Rock City. Gold star to you, sit. and sorry for the autotune I sometimes send in return.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): It may seem a little bit early, but it’s time to firm up your plans to go see The Muppet Movie with the family over Thanksgiving break. Jason Segel! Has a roommate! Who is! A muppet! He is a FAN of Muppets who also IS a muppet, which is confusing, but apt, and reminds me of you. (Of whom I am a fan)

Cancer (June 22-July 23): You are like a poem that can be used for a million lesson plans, photocopied for children, parsed out on the overhead projector, an introduction to the mathematics of color and the science of prisms. You are always the entire spectrum, and so edifying.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “this fucking/ Scotch is/ great./ let’s play/ Scrabble.” (Charles Bukowski, Pulled Down Shade) Even if it’s dealt you the occasional bad pew in the past, Scrabble is wonderful to have in the house, like love.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “The world is a bloodrush of rough harmony.” (Ali Smith, There But for The) You’ll pick out the notes that jostle you awake, that jangle your soul. Don’t stop listening until you find them all.

Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): “If you had the courage and/ Could give the Beloved his choice, some nights,/ He would just drag you around the room,/ By your hair,/ Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world/ That bring you no joy.” (Hafiz, Tired of Speaking Sweetly)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Songs of the Week Part Three: LMFAO+ Brian Eno

I'm drawn to this combination of songs like Buffy was drawn to Spike. 

They find themselves next to each other in my iPod due to a confluence of couple of good bad influences, including the new Beavis and Butthead, which I wholeheartedly endorse. Seeing them watch MGMT did my slacker heart good. Seeing them watch LMFAO made me, well, you know.

You can skip the zombie plotline if you want to--the song starts about two minutes in.


Songs of the Week Part Two: Pleasant Ones From the Thursday Shows

Last week on Parks and Recreation, everyone was living as if it was the last night on earth. April and Andy decided to drive to the Grand Canyon and April couldn't even find anything to be annoyed with.

On The Office, Andy decided to end every work day with one of my favorite Nineties pop songs. I've decided to do the same at the library whenever possible.



Songs of the Week Part One: Faith Unfolds

Monday, November 7, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Oh, Hafiz, Oh My...

Sometimes being Unitarian is awesome. Like when you hear this poem in church.


TIRED OF SPEAKING SWEETLY
Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.
If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth
That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,
Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.
God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.
The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:
Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.
But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.
~ Hafiz ~

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Love Poems: Kat Guarascio!

Your Chosen Tree


Tall laurel stretched skyward.
These arms flail                        wildly,

always reaching too far,
serve better as branches,
break the sun from stony earth,
streak light across your face.

My hair,
the blending of so many green leaves

fall in phases of the year,

hides my spine in the form of autumn,
change from yellow                    to orange
to brown                                   to dirt.

I cannot be your lover despite clever disguise,
and I am too old to be a flowered bride,
whose petals you stroke and
call your lovely.

Let me be your tree.

I stand well on my own knotted knees,
my posture firm against the winking of eons.

Balance your steps
on my
rigid                 roots,

stare at my silhouette
blackened against setting sun,
touch my bark with tentative stroke.

My weathered skin
remembers past affections,
the words you carved
on my trunk remain there still.

And when I am no longer picturesque
and you no longer call me darling,
I will still hold
memory
in my gathering rings
and spout green leaves
to scatter
around              you.

Whenever you come looking
I’ll be where you left me,
happy to shade your head.

Take this token in place of me.
Be contented to wood and debris,
and regret not
your foolish play with bows and arrows.

Orange


You told me once,

when you
found me
at two am,

sitting cross legged
on linoleum floor,

pulling apart
sections
of an orange
to suck on the slices,

you can’t decide
which part of me

to forge
into a locket
so you could
fold yourself up,

held within
for always.

Katrina K Guarascio is a writer and teacher living in New Mexico. As an active member of the poetry community, she has worked as an editor for various literary magazines and small presses, along with hosting bi-weekly poetry workshops and producing various poetry performances, including The Smokin’ Slam, Rio Rancho’s only monthly Poetry Slam and Open Mic.

Along with many small press and e-zine publications, she is the author of two chapbooks of poetry and two book length publication previously released through Casa De Snapdragon publishing entitled A Scattering of Imperfections and They don’t make memories like that anymore...  Visit her Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0039T049Q


Poetic License Horoscope for November 4-10

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  To a Scorpio pal who builds elaborate architecture out of Legos, and who alerted me to the existence of Lego conventions—people and conventions are so wonderfully specific. Good for you if even in your spare time you are building something innocent and complicated, all at once.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Every good mixtape contains a few skippable tracks. For instance, the stars often like to include a Glee cover of a belty pop song—delightful, but certainly not for everyone. Celebrate the miracles of imperfection this week, the reasons we are both human and divine.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): To the Capricorn in the picture, head of a festive zombie family—it’s exactly right, given the number of times you’ve resurrected yourself, how hungry you are, and how tireless. May you roam the streets forever, uncursed, never to be decapitated or set on fire.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Legend has it, Jonathan Safran Foer just rattled off Everything is Illuminated with no drafting process or writing training. Anya Ayoung-Chee, this season’s Project Runway winner, started sewing just four months before the competition. Look for talent to come bursting out of you like that.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  Your friends are closer than you think to where you are already going, so be sure to send them invitations, they’ll come. You will soon enjoy workshop-reunioning, poems for refastening, and your friends will line up to have you sign every precious new creation.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Last weekend, the stars went to Broadway to see Daniel Radcliffe in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It made us miss Mad Men and you, made us wax philosophical about gender and the secretary archetype, made us worry a little extra about the Occupiers getting covered in slush, but mostly we just loved the tap dancing.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): “I contain all I need for a life full of delight.” (Affirmation from The Ethical Slut) And you do—you are exactly in the right place for it to all come bursting out of your hands like a magician’s bouquet, as if from nowhere.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): “Your life long membership is free, keep a-giving each brother all you can. Oh, aren't you proud to be in that fraternity, the great big brotherhood of man?” (From How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) If this quote included “sisterhood” and all the other genders too, it would be how unified and complete you’ll feel this week. 

Cancer (June 22-July 23): To the Cancer who is packing up his office as his job is being outsourced—I forgot to make you a last-day-of-work mixtape, but here’s this: You’ll have a new work home soon, a new place to hang your semi-ironic Twilight calendar, to cozily express your fondness for math, a new team of pals with whom to have inside jokes. Until then, enjoy catching up with your reading.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “If you get tired, pull over. If you get hungry, eat something.” (From Best in Show, as Christopher Guest sets out for the Mayflower Dog Show) This week, submit to your body—if it says fall asleep at 8:30, put on an episode of Radiolab you’ve already heard and let it soothe you off to sleep.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  While it may be tempting to stay in your comfort zone, on the couch, in front of the television, the stars will give you 50 points for every risk you take, every stranger you meet, every new experience. First one to 500 points wins a pancake supper.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21):  The stars do no know what it takes to run a marathon, but we know you’re headed towards worthy goals. In the next few weeks, you will have uncommon strength, steady endurance, and…the right number of electrolytes? I really don’t know what it takes to run, but you’ve got it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Song of the Week: Underdog

Since I spend so much time in the gray world of online grad school, I'm always asking people for wake-my-soul-back-up-after-too-much-homework music. This one got suggested by a nice new pal. Send more, there's a lot of homework to go! serotoninfactory@gmail.com

Also, this Malcolm Gladwell-ian  quote from Robert California, James Spader's character on The Office: "Underdogs can be very inspiring, to the unremarkable."

And here's a nice Radiolab episode on games.