Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life's a Gas (literally in my family)

The title of the previous post kind of made this inevitable. T. Rex was another band I discovered in high school and without their sweet, quietly dreamy music I think I probably would've gone crazy a lot sooner than I did. "Mambo Sun," was my song for an entire summer and I think, "Jeepster," is probably one of the most fun songs to sing along to, as is "Sold Gold Easy Action," as proven by the drinking scene in Shaun of the Dead.

I loved Marc Bolan, the lead singer and "essence" of T. Rex. He was such a hippie glam child of the '70s, and he was always my excuse for not learning to drive (he was scared to and refused to learn and then he died in a car crash). I once wore a t-shirt with him on it and someone asked if it was me... Okay we both have big, curly hair, and I'm flattered but whoa lady, truly whoa.

Most people know T. Rex from the really famous songs like, "20th Century Boy" and "Get It On (Bang a Gong)," but I urge everyone to listen to more. I'd write more but eh, this "Muse" posts are getting kind of repetitive to me. I think this will be the last one, we covered the big five anyway; female screenwriters (and various other authors), brunette starlets (and those with their own style and look), metal bands (and metal culture), glam rock (and fashion), groupies (and music royalty). They represent the other muses and inspirations that fall under each category.






And yes mommy, you, and the rest of our large and insane family, are my inspiration too but I'm not going to write a post about you or people will think I'm weird.

Metal Guru

Oh I forgot to mention in the previous post, I saw Manowar at the airport when we landed in Istanbul. There was a three day metal festival here and though I didn't go (there were only a few bands I'd really like to see but not worth it for only a little bit. Plus I had no one to go with on the day they played and going alone just makes me feel like a bigger loser than I usually do on a regular basis), I was completely in awe. Big men hauling equipment covered in tattoos and metal shirts. My people!

Of course, when I went over to talk to one who was standing around I got a raised eyebrow, the universal sign of, "How do YOU know who these bands are." Well sir, I might be wearing lace tights and a pretty dress and my cool, green glasses and I might be a little girl but that doesn't mean I can't like metal. Hmmph, the cool kids never let me play.

So we'll move on to a nicer band. My darlings, Iron Maiden. They're the band I've seen most often (mind you 3 times might not be a lot but I grew up in Turkey where no one ever played) and I adore them. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was their first album I bought when I was in high school (and cue another instance where I'm in a girly dress and pigtails and the guy behind the register is unsure whether I know what I'm doing as I present him with my purchases. There was an Alice Cooper CD too), and it was after I saw it on a program on VH1 called Friday Rocks. Every Friday night, from 12-2:20 this program would give me all kinds of metal and the first time I saw the video for, "Can I Play With Madness?" it floored me. I think my exact thoughts were, WHAT IS THIS I MUST HAVE IT THIS IS WONDERFUL!! Since then my collection of paraphernalia ranges from Vans sneakers with with Piece of Mind and Powerslave (my favorite artwork as it's Eddie, their mascot, in Egypt), enough t-shirts and tops that I could wear a different one everyday for two weeks, and of course, records, CDs, and even a tapestry (shh, I'm not a hippie I promise).

They remind me of all the adventures I've had with my boyfriend and other friends as they provided the soundtrack. Driving to Long Island from Boston singing along to Rainmaker the only song we like from the dance With Death album, traveling from Istanbul to Athens to see them in concert and hitchhiking back to the city while our kind driver blasted, "The Prisoner," getting drenched while seeing them in Boston but watching in awe as lightening filled one corner of the sky while a rainbow appeared in the other, and so much more. They were even the reason I got my own column for a while at a certain music site because of a piece I wrote about them.

Iron Maiden always seemed like the cool older brothers you wish you had and could hang out with. Everything I've read about them, every interview I've seen, and every account I've heard just proves how, well there's no other way to put it, cool they are.

I'm still sour because as much as I loved watching their documentary, Flight 666 I really wish I could've been on that plane too.

I have both script and book idea that of has Iron Maiden as the anchor to it (kind of like Detroit Rock City. It's my favorite movie, about 4 boys doing their damnedest to get to a Kiss concert Kiss is in it for maybe 30 seconds at the end haha), so who knows? Maybe the cool kids will notice me in the end. Off to listen to their new song now.

Also, I really think they should do an India theme as their next artwork. Eddie has a maharaja. I'd probably wet myself in excitement. I think Ottoman Eddie is a little far-fetched but the Taj Eddie? Are you listening Maiden?





Monday, June 28, 2010

Shut up Belinda Carlisle, heaven isn't a place on earth.

Let's see where were we? Crisis of faith, that's it. Yes, riddle me this universe; if everything has a reason, why, oh why, would it strike you as "the right thing to do" to take an 18 year old boy who hasn't even started living yet? What possible explanation could there be to dish out this kind of pain for his friends, for his close ones, for those who knew him peripherally, and for his parents. His parents, I ask you. What, if I may be so blunt, is your fucking problem?

I have my issues with death. That's putting it mildly. It freaks me the hell out would be closer to the truth. But still just barely grazing the surface. When it happens for no reason, to a kid for God's sake, well, I can't help but understand those who turn that previous exclamation around and forsake God. I don't know why this affected me so much. But sometimes these events do. When I was in high school a friend's older sister died. This past week one of my sister's closest friends, a boy who I remember being 14 and giggling over Chinese food in our dining room, passed away in his home. I cling firmly to the belief that everything happens for a reason because I think my world would crumble if I didn't but this happened and what was faith supported on an already shaky foundation took a pretty brutal beating. Let's just say that particular metaphysical structure is no longer standing.

I have never seen my sister cry like that. That alone started ripping up my insides but the amount of pain and loss that filtered through various sources in the face of this event basically broke me down too. Which is what kind of set off this entry. I don't sleep enough or at all anyway and that night, I stayed up all night. What made it worse was my mom and I, along with another lady- my mom's friend, were off to Brussels at 8 am the next morning so I had to be up at 6. I finally just gave up on everything and watched the glow-in-the-dark hands of my watch creep until the moment when my mom softly knocked on my door.

Then we went to Brussels.

Random? Yeah, I know. However, we had our reasons. Mercan Dede, the musician and artist I've previously discussed (here) had a concert there and since my mommy is his bestest buddy, he invited us to come attend. Here's the brief description of what it was from the website:

To celebrate two of the European Capitals of Culture 2010, Essen/Ruhr and Istanbul, the Goethe-Institut is pleased to present a unique gala concert, performed by the Mercan Dede Ensemble and featuring three very special guests.
For “Sounds of Love”, Mercan Dede brings his eclectic ensemble together with three artists from the fields of literature, music and dance, creating a blend of different disciplines, traditions and artistic styles. The best-selling author Elif Shafak will read excerpts from her recent novel, “Love”, while the young musician Karsu Dönmez and the dancer Kadir “Amigo” Memis will add their unique touches to this magical event.


It sounded like such a wonderful opportunity to see him and to hear his music and not to mention, my mom's friend is probably Elif Safak's biggest fan. I'm not kidding. She's read everything by her, attended Q & A's, gifts the books to everyone, and she's basically her muse. Elif Safak is the author I've also previously written about; she wrote the tale of Rumi and Sufism and sort of inspired me to learn more about Sufis.

After a sleepless night, we were at the airport and in the midst of my mental crisis of faith, my mom and her friend giggled and laughed and whispered and talked and exclaimed all the way there. I swear, they were like a couple of teenagers. Teenagers high on that gas they give you at the dentist. When we got there they couldn't stop laughing at everything and anything. They shrieked and guffawed and had so much fun after a while I think my brain just couldn't fight them anymore and just kind of bemusedly took them in(at this point it was putting up a mighty battle with everything else swirling in there too). But I mean it, they laughed. At. Everything. The hotel name (Amigo. Really, the Amigo Hotel in Brussels, okay that's pretty ridiculous), the fact that a huge, blacked out van came to pick us up at the airport, the giant wooden fruits in our bedrooms as art, and figurines of Tin Tin and his dog Minou trapped in glass cases in our bathrooms. Did you know Brussels was the land of Tin Tin? I did not. I hate Tin Tin. I hate his stupid yappy dog, I hate the twin professors, and I hate that I can't remember any of his cases and story lines because I was so wrapped up in hating French and hating learning French I blocked them all. They might have been interesting, I remember he went to Egypt but nooo, he had to be annoying and French, sorry Belgian, and whiny and I had to hate him. We found the Tin Tin Emporium. It was filled with Tin Tin. My mom and her friend also dislike Tin Tin. And he was EVERYWHERE.

Needles to say, we did not buy anything there. I did however get me some delicious steak and pommes frittes and about a suitcase full of chocolate. Hey, it has endorphins, it was for a good cause; to make me feel happier.

Since we were in Belgium, I insisted they take to get beer. Before the concert, we ended up at a weird little cafe restaurant that I found, and finally, after an entire day of me stubbornly demanding beer, we sat down and enjoyed some. They giggled and laughed all through it. First when my mom's friend ordered the same beer as the table next ours and the bewildered waiter told her it wasn't beer at all. Then, when we got our beers (she finally decided to take whatever the table on our other side was having and I randomly picked one from the menu) hers was so thick and dark and heavy it was like Guinness with bread soaked in it and mine was this weird, honey-ale. My mom had coffee and everyone, including the waiters, watched us snort and giggle over beers and take pictures. As we left, I think the waiter was shaking his head and muttering to himself.

And then came the concert. So my whole big thing on this trip was that I wanted an answer. A sign, a clue, anything to help put my mind at ease and calm the roaring in my brain and behind my eyes. It was beautiful. The music with the backdrop of Istanbul and the small segments with guest artists; a modern dance/breakdancer and a girl singing and playing the piano, as well as dervishes that took some creative liberties with their spinning. The first set of dervishes included a man and a woman and the girl's hair was long and uncovered so it spun with her and she had two layers of skirts which undulated up and down and in the dark, the man's gowns glowed and it was the most peaceful, hypnotizing thing ever. I love watching dervishes, they make me feel calm and I could've watched just them for hours. Their movements were so smooth and fluid that you wouldn't get dizzy no matter how focused you were on them.

Then came Elif Safak's reading. I felt my mom's friend breathe deeply next to me. All the stuff going on stage was pretty heavy and it tested the emotions because since there were no words, they had to use movement and images to express the main point of the concert; love. Ms. Safak read two parts from her book. One was about finding love and the second was about losing it. The first part already twisted something in me because part of the reading was the story of Leyla and Mecnun. It's a love story about the deep connection between these two people (brief digression: also why Eric Clapton chose that particular name when writing "Layla" for Patty Boyd) and the fact she kept saying my name in conjunction to this happy, content woman who was filled with love was kind of jarring. I can't remember the second section word for word and I don't want to go hunt for the book right now but the simple message of that particular part was this; though you may lose love and it might hurt more than you would believe, it doesn't end, it doesn't go away. When someone leaves us, dies, that same someone in another name and another body in another place is born because the soul is forever. After she finished the dervishes came out again, this time there were four and they did the traditional whirling, one arm raised up to take from above and one reaching down to symbolize giving below. In the midst of this, a little boy came out. His jacket had his name, my youngest cousin's name, printed on it, and he joined in the spinning, as the middle, the center to the four grown ups. He turned and turned, keeping his balance and making sure his feet were doing it correctly; one anchoring him down as the other guided his movements. He bookended the readings, he was new life. He made me cry.

After this we were pretty drained and deservedly imbibed in some wine at the reception. After the general free-loaders left, we got to stand around and chat with Mercan and the pianist who was the sweetest 19 year old girl. Pushy stage mom though, gah. When he brought over Elif Safak my mom's friend almost fainted. She turned from this confident, sensible woman into a meek little girl in front of her hero. She got to talk to her and so did I, and apparently Mercan had told Elif about how her book inspired me to maybe study Sufism and how my job is the same as her main characters'. It was a such a good, pure connection of people and we even gave them a ride back to their hotel, the NH Atlanta, which my hilarious mother decided sounded like a space shuttle. It kind of does. At least the huge black van came in handy. We all felt pretty giddy by the end of the night and it wasn't even all the wine. Heads racing we slept for maybe 4 hours, if that, before heading back home to Istanbul.

I guess I got my sign. First from that last part of the concert. Secondly, on the plane back I was reading a book called, "Holy Cow," by Sarah MacDonald. She's an Australian journalist living in India because of her husband's job, and feeling a little lost, she decides to explore the country and its beliefs. She covers them all from Hinduism to Buddhism and even Judaism and Christianity in India. Now I thought this was just going to be a silly, fun book about a foreigner in India surviving. I quickly realized that wasn't it and nearing the end, she winds up in Pakistan with Sufis. In one sentence she described Sufism as the Kabbalah of Islam. It's a lot of mysticism and it celebrates God through the belief that love is what drives us all, as expressed by poetry and music and dance. Though, traditional Muslims shun and even forbid it. This is what drew me to Sufism. It's the worship of life through love. My religion, Islam, is not in very good standing with the world and it gets tiring trying to defend something when there's so much evidence to damn it. Who freakin' bans a section of your own religion, come on. Let's open the eyes a little, remove the blinders... It's especially hard because I have a boyfriend that spent a year in Iraq and got to witness the abhorrent actions of people who claim they're propelled by God and religion. He even turned a skeptical eye to my newfound interest in Sufism because he said he met some not so nice ones. It's hard to connect these beliefs with actual actions and people who sincerely think they're doing what their God expects of them. I kind of empathized with the author because she had nowhere left to turn because with every faith comes all the hypocrisy and I kind of feel like that too, especially with recent events. I grew up in Turkey in a Muslim family and in a country that used to pride itself on upholding the Muslim beliefs of welcoming and hospitality. But even that's getting warped and the world doesn't see us as an example, it sees, well, to put it lightly the villains in Arnold Schwarzenegger's True Lies. Though I do love that movie, "psychotic terrorist," is generally not what I like to associate myself, let alone my belief system, with.

Maybe this is my sign? I like getting notes from the universe and the fact that some are provided give me faith I guess. It could be coincidence but so what? I can choose what I want to read into. Even if it's literally a book I'm reading. Or music I'm listening to.

Every summer I find a new band and record to obsessively listen to and fall in love with. It just works out that it happens every summer. Last night, I stumbled across this year's winners while I was out browsing in cyber space. I love Scandinavian sleaze rock. Hardcore Superstar, Backyard Babies, Hellacopters, all those punk/metal/glam bands from northern Europe who know how to write a catchy riff. It's probably my favorite genre and I was looking for more when I found Crazy Lixx and Wig Wam and maybe Crashdiet (who my boyfriend had recommended a couple weeks ago but I just got around to checking out). The songs made my heart stop. They were pure, musical love. I loved every silly lyric and inane chorus, I enjoyed their terrible band names and cliched double entendre song titles, and I spent all night listening to them over and over again instead of fretting about being awake. This is what makes me happy.

One of the albums' name is New Religion. I think that's a sign right there. Not a subtle one either.

Haha, I guess music is my religion. Which makes sense given what best illustrates the celebration of Sufism.

Today, i took my grandmother to get her radiation treatments. The usual group of people were there and by now we all know each other by sight. Except a new lady. She's a little elderly and a little nervous but she hides it behind friendliness. She asks everyone why they're there and blesses them and even tries to talk to the Libyan women who don't speak Turkish and don't want to have anything to do with anyone. But this lady never lets up. She and a regular get in to a whole big conversation about how good energy is what everyone needs. They agree that you can't let all this stuff get you down, keep your chin up, your energy positive, and God will be good. It's humbling to see these women who have to put up with so much shit sit there and be in perfectly happy moods praising Allah for their good fortune. I do believe in the power of energy but sometimes it seems too good to be true. If you wish it, it will happen. I guess I need to trust the universe a bit more before I can give in so completely. I like in Turkish how we have the words gecmis olsun for any malady or event. It means let it pass but more eloquent. When my grandmother came back out, I wish it to both women as we leave and add a silent plea to my God and to my universe to take care of them and my anneanne (grandma) too.

We drove on the same road back we've taken probably over 20 times now. But today's the first time I noticed a particular sign at the side of the road. No joke, it said Mevlanakapi; Mevlana gate/door/passage.
My mommy and Mercan.

Canan abla and Elif Safak('s profile).

Hyperventilating fan girl not seeking resuscitation.

Oh. Dear. Sweet. God. Or whatever I place my faith in (we're kind of up in the air about that presently).

You see these bands?


Ignoring they're idiotic names (Crazy Lixx and Wig Wam respectively) I've found my summer soundtracks. God bless Scandinavia and their sleaze/glam bands. I honestly wouldn't know what to with myself without them. Well, I probably would do my work but let's see, awesome catchy rock-out music or boring 288 page book I have no interest in? Oh gee, 'tis a conundrum. I will pay for this dearly tomorrow but for now, I blast music and bounce around my room and try not to wake my sister and mom.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

These Boots Were Made For, I DON'T CARE I LOVE THEM.

I finally have a new book to read for work but it looks like the most dreary, boring, non-fiction and therefore no-nonsense, dull read and I reeeally don't want to do it. I could write up what I've been up to these last couple days (went to Brussels and came back in less than 24 hours but they were the busiest, most wired 24 hours I've had in a long while), but that would involve "real" writing and I'm balking at that too. So I got to thinking about winter, specifically, winter boots. Yes, I realize summer has just officially started and while I am taking advantage of it and going swimming and trying not to get too angry at the heat, I can't help but wish for cooler weather already. Fall is my favorite season even though it's sometimes the most melancholy time of year.

I've been needing a pair of black leather boots for a good long while now. I've had various black boots but they've usually been suede and though they look nice and don't cost a lot, Boston snow and salted streets make them last perhaps 2 years at most. While I was on Zappos.com (my favorite shoe website. They have everything. And, they have EVERYTHING. Oh and free shipping and 365 days return policy) I found a pair. I'm a flat, no-heels kind of girl, especially in winter when I have a tendency to land on my ass at the slightest bit of ice, but I basically fell in love with these shoes. They only had my size left, and one pair at that, and since they were marked down Lucky Brand and not some crappy brand I'd never heard of, I dithered for two days and finally bought them. The return policy sealed the deal, really. I had them shipped to Boston because I'm in Istanbul but since they allow a whole year to return items, I could just try them on when I got back and if for some reason (please, please no) they weren't right, I can send them back and be reimbursed fully.

But I looove them. The heel isn't too high and it's a wedge heel which I have recently started to really like, the soles are reinforced, it's a pretty black which sets off the wooden wedge heel so nicely and I can wear it with everything. I'm itching to go back home and try them on.



And on a completely different note, why is Smallville still on? Who watches it, really? I would tune in every once in a while and I don't know anyone who is too faithful to it, how is it at season 9?! It's on TV right now and apparently Clark Kent now works at the Daily Planet. Isn't it time to retire it since that's the old Superman series' territory?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mine

Welp, for a small amount, I have purchased www.likeamuse.com. It's still routed through blogger but if you enter www.likeamuse.com (or just likeamuse.com) on your browser, you come to my little blog/website. That's pretty cool.

Comments will be moderated from now on

I do so like the fact that on one of the few legitimately and unapologetically angsty posts I make, the comment I got was one suggesting I invest in Viagra. To make my penis larger.

There are just so many things wrong with this.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Insert maudlin song lyrics or title.

I can't sleep. I can't sleep, I can't sleep, I can't sleep. Why do I sleep late every day? Because without the aid of sleeping pills, I CAN'T SLEEP.

I try to sleep. I go to bed at 12, at 2, early times for me. But then I lay there for the next few hours, listening to the cat snore, listening to the rain, listening to the call to prayer, listening to every damn thing that confirms to me that I'm not sleeping.

Not that sleeping helps. Oh no, hahaha. That would be too kind for my brain. No, no, when I sleep it's the most restless, active-dreaming sleep that when I wake up, I realize I've been asleep. There's virtually no difference! Not even the pills help with that. By pills I mean the PM versions of common headache medicines. Lest you think I've gone the rock star way. Not quite nightmares but by no means pleasant dreams, just weird stories that disturb and sadden and confuse me, every night. And thus, I never wake up rested no matter how late I get up. But Leyla, you say, when the body sleeps more, it feels more tired. Of course you don't feel rested, you're sleeping too much. I beg to differ kind, disembodied voice. When one falls asleep around 5 and gets up at 1, that's not too much sleep. That's the normal amount of sleep the body requires. So technically I should wake up refreshed! Ready! Happy to take on the day! But that would be too kind, no, I should just keep on waking up feeling like something really heavy ran me over. Not a car, not a tractor. A monster truck maybe. One that has a personal vendetta against me.

I have too many thoughts in my head. They swirl around and repeat themselves and spawn many other tiny thoughts like those asexual organisms you learn about in biology. They don't need a mate to reproduce, they just build up and up and then through mitosis or osmosis or some other reaction, they make another. But my thoughts don't let that stay put, oh oh! No, they'll then analyze the meanings of osmosis and mitosis and add meiosis and all the useless information I have stored in there will unravel and join the thoughts until my head is so full, my brain begs to be let out.

You could make a science fiction movie out of my mind. The Girl Who Thought Too Much. You know what the finale would be? Complete, psychotic breakdown. The brain devours the girl, then everything else until the world is a black hole created by a monstrous brain. Hmm. Is this what happens when I stop the Paxil? I thought I was doing fine but then, I could sleep with Paxil. The thoughts wouldn't mutliply like bunnies in heat with Paxil. I didn't grit my teeth, to fight the weird about-to-cry-ness that always seems present, with Paxil. The weird, about-to-cry-ness that comes with any excess of emotion, was never present with Paxil. Supposedly, the reason people cry is because our bodies over-react and produce chemicals and hormones. Well, bottle me up, because apparently I have enough chemicals and hormones to appease both junkies and the sexually confused alike (respectively, the junkies get the chemicals the boy-girls or girl-boys get the hormones.)

Once upon a time, people were scared of anti-depressants including a girl named me. What if they made you a zombie? And not the cool kind of zombie that ate brains (oh-ho, want mine? It's chock full of yummy thoughts), but the kind that had no personality and was numb to the world. But then the girl named me was prescribed Paxil. And it was all right. It made the choking feeling and the heart racing stop and the personality stay the same. And then she went off it and thought, hey! No side effects! She was smart and didn't do it like the last time where she forgot the pills when she went to visit her boyfriend's family and ended up vomiting the entire night from withdrawal and the worst fucking headache a head has had to suffer. In the world. Ever. Your boyfriend's mom's chocolate cranberry brownies ain't so tasty passing through your throat the opposite way. This time, she slowed it down and cut it off. And she was fine and wondering what good were they really? Was it all psychosomatic? Maybe it did really help because right now she's feeling more of the psycho without the somatic. Or is it because she knows, and the brain knows, and the thoughts know, she's off it?

My brain hurts. The thoughts hurt it. And my jaw hurts. The teeth gritting hurts it. Especially since teeth really have no control over eyes and tear ducts as much as we'd like them to.

Sometimes little girls have to ask, Universe? I hope you have a fucking plan because days like today happen and I just can't understand why. Tossing and turning in bed doesn't help especially when your fickle cat growls every time you come near her rear (which sets off even more thoughts, seriously the slightest thing; did the cat suffer some horrible rear-end situation in a past life? In this life? Do cats get reincarnated? What was the cat's life before she found the little girl? Was she happy? Is she happy now? What if something happens to the cat? Will the little girl be okay (NO))? And so on. Oh and don't even get the girl started on life without the cat because right now, the unsuspecting creature is pretty much all that's holding her together.

Little girls aren't as little as they would like to me. They get tired of bullshit and thoughts and mouth aches and lack of sleeping. It's not fair to count on Paxil and pills, because it's just asking too much of them. It's too much pressure for the poor little pills. And the brain. And the jaw. And the eyes. And the head. And the heart.

So Universe, help out a not-so-little little girl. OR AT LEAST LET ME GET SOME SLEEP.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good Earth

One of my mother's favorite stores in India is Good Earth. We always stop by the branch in Khan Market when we're in Delhi, her more than us as she's travelled there more often (lucky), and we even had lunch there the last time we went. It's become one of my sister's and my favorite stores too and we always manage to find at least one thing we can get to spice up our rooms or homes. I think we may have most, if not all, the India-print pillowcases from their collection between the three of us. My mommy just sent me this link and I absolutely love every piece and would be quite content to have any of them in my possession.

This may or may not be appropriate, but hell, it's my blog and I can do what I want. One of my sister's good friends passed away recently and it also hit me pretty hard. I can pinpoint the location too, right in the sternum. He was in the group of boys my sister and I liked to call her Indian boys because there were about 3 of them from various parts of India and all good friends. I haven't seen him in years as he moved away, but among my sister's many friends, and groups of friends, I can clearly remember his smiling, friendly face. I wish him and his family peace and dedicate this post to him because just like these pictures, he certainly added joy and color to the lives of everyone who met him. Including the older sister of one of his buddies.

Click to enlarge.

Like a Muse Part 6: Megan Fox and Diablo Cody

I kind of hate myself for this. But, this is the blog of honesty right? It's not? I get to make up my own rules? Holy hell I could stop writing RIGHT NOW? Golly gee whiz ok!

Nah, I know I can't.

So I still hate myself for the next, okay I don't want to call her a muse. Let's just say, "person on my radar." I think everything she says is carefully crafted by an ingenious publicist and thus she is full of crap. I think she has had too much surgery at too young an age especially since she didn't need it. I think she has been manufactured to be the teenage boy's hot girl fantasy come true and like all young starlets kind of lets her ego get the best of her as illustrated by her tendency to spout off about everything and everyone.

But then she goes and stars in Jennifer's Body which was complete shit and yet, I loved it.

Megan Fox is usually portrayed as so aggressively sexy that it could turn off even the horniest of men. So naturally, women have to hate her right? God I despise my gender sometimes. Especially here in Istanbul where a woman will pointedly eyeball another woman. I mean, girls just adapt a generally bitchy air when they see a girl not part of their herd! I got to witness this when I was out with my sister and a group of girls her age wandered into the same store as her. It's unbelievable and stupid and just STOP IT. Anyway, so Megan would is the kind of girl tacky magazines describe as, "the one you love to hate." I don't love to hate her. I'd be quite happy not feeling anything about her. But I like her. Eh, at least she's not trying to remain relevant by thoroughly trashing herself and her life. Megan Fox might come across as trash but if you push aside all the hype and gossip; she's a girl that's been with the same guy for years and has yet to be photographed coming out of a club with her ass hanging out. I know that doesn't seem much to aspire to, but in Hollywood, that's damn impressive. I don't buy in to the new Angelina Jolie bullshit either. Blue eyes, dark, hair, and tattoos do not the same person make. I've got two out of the three myself and believe me, I don't compare myself to either woman. But the world needs drama and when there isn't any, some will be created. Or lied about. Honestly, sometimes I just hate the movie business.

Figures I'd want to be a screenwriter, I tell you, I am a masochist.

Part 2 of why, why, why must I like you, goes to Ms. Diablo Cody. For the record, I enjoyed Juno the first time I saw it. The second time it kind of grated on the nerves. And I also had fun during Jennifer's Body. Though it had it's painful moments. But past all the "hip" dialogue everyone seems to have a problem with, this is a woman screenwriter whose name everyone knows. Shes not an actress, she's not a director, she's a screenwriter. Screenwriters do get some prestige because ok, where exactly would you get those classic movies if there wasn't someone to write them in the first place? But while you could spout off name after name of actor, actress, director, I dare you to name ten screenwriters in a row. Okay, think you're smart? Name ten female screenwriters. Gotcha.

Diablo Cody might be annoying, and hipster-y and generally piss the pants off everyone but I like her. I like that her writing tastes are about quirky females that don't subscribe to the regular quirky female stereotypes like the faux-ugly one, or the klutzy girl, or the Mary-Sue that everyone loves and is so gorgeous yet doens't know how wonderful she is (cue any girl love interest in any film, ever). She's the creator of United States of Tara which is so weird and so engrossing and she's just finished working on her adaptation of the Sweet Valley books. Okay, I admit, I was huuuuuge Sweet Valley fan. But just the middle school and high school years. Usually I always gets riled up when books or films or toys precious to my childhood get meddled with (have you seen the new My Little Ponies? They're awful. Not to mention, why oh why would you ever want to remake Sleeping Beauty as a live-action film starring Angelina Jolie. That's enough to make me swear off of Tim Burton forever, God knows I've given him plenty of chances so I just hope this remains as a rumor), but I want to know what she would do with it. Because I trust she'd keep the original air of it but add her kicky humor that annoys everyone else so. I usually would be annoyed with someone like this. Someone that seems to be pretentious for the sake of being pretention aka a hipster. But meh, Cody's all right with me. And I really did enjoy her book, "Candy Girl...", about her years as a stripper. But then, I always have a soft spot for strippers who favor hair metal. It's just classic. And I intend to follow in her footsteps and wear something equally awesome and tattoo-revealing when I accept my Oscar for Best Screenplay.

I can dream, shut up.








Like a Muse Part 5: M.I.A

Meh. Yeah meh. I couldn't care less about her politics or her opinions and I'm not a fan of her music beyond the intro. to "Paper Planes," but I think M.I.A., Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam, is absolutely gorgeous. I think it was a picture of her that half-inspired me to get white streaks in my dark hair and I think she has such an off-beat, weird sense of style that fails almost as much as it works but still. Any time she appears in the media, I take a moment to read the article and pore over the pictures. She has this sort of magnetism that draws me to her. It's odd, I seriously don't care for her music or her views (her father was a Tamil Tiger and well, I have certain issues with guerilla groups like that), but if an article featuring her pops up in my daily readings, I will read it and admire the pictures every single time. She's one of the most beautiful "famous people" we hear about these days and that's partly because she's so different looking. Granted, there are probably millions of girls like her in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc but she's the face that we see and it's refreshing because honestly, who gives a fuck about Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow and other boring blondes? I sincerely don't.














Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tied to the bells, such a sweet, sweet addiction when she's under that spell

When it's late at night I like to put my headphones in and basically rock out to songs with my music on shuffle. I stopped for a while, I don't know why I'm clearly crazy because this is mighty good fun, and I recently started to again and I think this is what's contributing to the overflow of posts; my brain is getting shaken enough to make me want to verbally vomit all over the internet and not care humans will read whatever stupid musings I come up with. My usual pick for this activity is anything with a good beat and loud drums so it's usually 80s metal. With Duran Duran occasionally getting thrown in there. Tonight, as I was indulging myself, a song came up and I kind of stopped to try to identify it. I couldn't be bothered to check the stupid machine so I stood there trying to place what Motley Crue song it was, pounding in my ear holes. It was "Look What the Cat Dragged In." By Poison. I just mistook Poison for Motley Crue. Big fucking deal you say? I say fuck you, there's a huge difference. Thunder growling and the electricity going out practically at the same time as this realization reeeally didn't help with my horror. Yes, I was horrified. Horrified enough to sit down and go to my old bible, Metal Sludge.

All through high school and college this website was my best friend. I would visit it maybe twice, three times a day. It's devoted entirely to 80s metal of the hair variety and updates on recent news they're in. It also had a staff of the most acerbic, bitter, foul-mouthed, well-versed anonymous people ever. They knew everything about everyone, had an attitude and a condescening nickname for those they didn't like, and were just so entertaining to read. I swear they invented internet flame wars because they would spew shit, people would get mad and yell at them for hiding behind their anonymity and lamely try to threaten them, and they would just fire back with witty, cutting remarks that not only defended themselves but called out the offended party as an extremely dim asshole. I loved it. I loved it so much. In the last couple years it's just become another music site with updates on the same bands as before like Faster Pussycat and Pretty Boy Floyd, as well as other metal bands, but the owner of the site came forward (Stevie Rachelle from Tuff) and with that some of its fire kind of fizzled. None of the individual voices write anymore and I don't know if they were all the same person or not and I'd rather not know because I never wanted to know whose brainchild this site was in the first place.

It used to be so fun, people slinging verbal shit at each other not to mention the Penis Chart that had accurate, anonymous but still firsthand, descriptions of practically everyone in music and their bedside manner as well as their bedside acoutrements. I think this is in fact the source that spawned my curiosity and love for groupie stories and groupies. Not to mention, all the interviews and reviews posted on the site were the best I'd ever read. They never followed a boring, standard formula but asked questions I'd actually want answered like if the guitarist of Lillian Axe could smash his guitar on any rock star's head, who would it be? Jani Lane, from Warrant by the way. There were always interesting, off-beat, original questions and the reviews were damn funny. I can still remember the one for the movie Rock Star with Mark Wahlberg. I think it was a link to that, that actually lead me to this site. It was refreshing to read a regular person, albeit a razor-tongued and unforgiving one, reviewing something with nary a pretentious term in sight. But there isn't any of that much anymore. Maybe on the gossip boards but though I'm a member I don't really check it out. In fact, I check the site out maybe once a month now because half the news on it I get elsewhere beforehand.

But this is the place that taught me all about Enuff Z'Nuff and Quiet Riot and Shotgun Messiah and every other band that I sort of adore. I used to dream about writing for Metal Sludge and so after my metal no-no tonight I decided to go back and visit it. I found an old post for The Last Living Slut... ,which I also reviewed a couple posts down on this blog, and that along with just being back on it skimming articles and thinking about how it used to be made some old feelings come to the surface.

I used to want so desperately to be a part of this world. To know these people personally and intimately, to be counted amongst them. This community, the Metal Sludge community, was cooler than any clique or club you could possibly throw at me and I used to sit and read enviously about their site organized gatherings and parties and even tours. They even had a Sludgette and Sludgeaholic, a female and male respectively, chosen each month. You had to wear a Metal Sludge shirt and answer some questions and of course the hot chicks always got featured but sometimes you'd just get a really loyal fan and it would prove what a close-knit little group this way. They even had dumb little competitions like if you get a picture takem with Sebastian Bach (whom the site hated and the feeling was quite mutual) while wearing a Metal Sludge shirt, you'd win a prize.

To get back on subject, it was just something that I really wanted to be part of. Even the Slut chick got to be a part of this world but see I don't want that. I don't want the groupie aspect, just the belonging one. I'm moving further away from music and all that and augh, it makes me sad because I loved it so dearly for so long.

So here's my open letter to Metal Sludge and any person, musician or otherwise, who was a part of it.

Dear Metal Sludge,

Oh Metal Sludge, first of all, let me tell you how much I love you. I can still remember the day my Hey! That's What I Call Sludge CD arrived in the mail. It brought pure, golden joy to my ears and heart to hear all those people you talk about singing especially for you and for me by default. Glory Hole UK's, "Misery," is still one of my favorite songs. And the time you were posting reviews for the Motley Crue tour and you posted my review of the Boston show. It made my heart just pitter-patter seeing it on there and I don't care that you posted any review that came in. So I do Metal Sludge, I love you.

Oh Metal Sludge and Mr. Stevie Rachelle, I remember when you called me personally when you had no shirts in stock and we actually talked and then you sent me a bunch of free CDs. I think, "Tied to the Bells," and, "Another Man's Gun," are by far some of the best songs to come out of that era and I even featured it as the song my main character has sto strip to in one of my scripts. I may have actually told this to you on the phone but you were in a hurry, because your baby started crying, and had to go. Thank you for Kings of Sunset Strip Volume 1 though, I still have it in my iTunes library.

Oh Metal Sludge, how I long to press you to my bosom. If that translates to pressing your old staff writers then by all means, come to my waiting arms so that I may show you my gratitude. But alas not in the classic girl-like-music-people way (no sex, please now I have a boyfriend, let's show some manners). I've even written to you on lonely nights when I had no friends and you didn't have enough updates so let us allow our physical feelings to flourish.

Oh Metal Sludge, remember the days when you cared? When you cared enough to hide who you were through clever manipulations of famous names like Bastard Boy Floyd and Ozzy Stillbourne? When you cared enough to play April Fool's jokes on us, your loyal readers, like when you removed all the links on the main page and we couldn't access anything? Those were the days my old friend.

Oh Metal Sludge, I have embarked on a new path now. I write and I try to make my way into the world of publishing but will you do me, your most loyal follower a favor? Can you wait until I am a big shot editor or something along those lines and then come seek me out for any book needs or writing woes you have so that I can meet you and join your world? We could make sweet, sweet love aka awesome biographies and tell-alls and put all those other music ghost writers (I'm looking at you Anthony Bozza, you hack) to shame. Let me in. I can help you just like you've helped me.

Oh Metal Sludge, though we are not as close as we used to be, I never eschewed you for another. You are still the lone music site on my Bookmarks bar and though the heart grows older, it doesn't get colder. I still have you in my heart. Will you take me?

It's all the way to heaven with you,
Leyla

Okay, anyone in a hair band looking for help writing their biography? I'm right here. Just chilling. Hanging out. Don't want to rush you, or crowd you but I'm just saying, we could be friends? Yes?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Secret task number- oh who's counting?

New project: Get my hair this length and then wear this style and not look like a jackass.

Like a Muse Part 4: David Bowie

Let's talk about David Bowie! Why? Because we loooove him. I was listening to, "Soul Love," as we were driving across the bridge from the Asian side and it occurred to me I haven't written about him, exclusively him, on here before. And I thought to myself, what is this madness!? David Bowie ranks right up there with Madonna and Iron Maiden and before I go on my customary boring spiel on why I love him and why he inspires me and why roses grow wherever he sets foot and why my eyes shine like stars when I behold his visage and hear his dulcet tones, let me explain why I was in Asia.

Among the million things that make Istanbul awesome is the fact that it spans two continents. I live on the European, and in my expert opinion, the far superior side but my little cousin had his 8th grade graduation today, so we trekked all the way out there to attend. Middle school graduations are a pretty big deal here because they're basically the prologue to high school graduations. Every kid has to take an exam that evaluates which high schools they can get into and each school has different scores that students have to meet to be eligible and the preferred schools are usually fought tooth and nail for. I thank God I never had to deal with that crap. But so we went to cheer my cousin on and as we sat down in the courtyard it was held in, it started raining. It was only a few sprinkles and the principal announced the kids wanted to have the traditional walk down the school to the courtyard and so we should indulge them. So everyone was huddled under umbrellas and it was all right especially since it stopped after a while. Right at 7 pm, a remixed version of "The Wall," started playing and the teachers marched out. Yes, we were so in awe of how cool they were. Then the, "Carmina Burana," score started playing (yes, rather over-bearingly epic and kind of morbid for a middle school graduation. I don't know why but my country loves this theme. It's played with the news, during movie ads, and I'm for everything else. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw a tampon commercial with it accompanying some demonstration of leakage) and the heavens opened up and...the largest, most vicious raindrops came bulleting down. We stood there getting drenched as the kids, instead of walking sedately, abandoned all dignity and basically ran across the stage. After the last of them zoomed by and we waved to my cousin, it was announced they were moving the ceremony indoors to the auditorum. The miniscule auditorium that was on the second floor of a building with two doors. I used to come to drama festivals at my cousin's school when I was attending my own school and I had some not so happy flashbacks of being crammed into that building suffering through various mediocre performances. Not ours, I assure you. But it took so long to get people in and no one knew what was going on and finally my mom had to go lasso the principal and order her to let parents in first and then have extended family. Of course it had stopped raining by that time. She, my sister, my cousin (the graduating one's older sister) and I ended up hanging out at the back watching. We did have our moment though. When they announced his name, we screamed and cheered and clapped like maniacs. EVERYONE turned to look at us. Yup, that's how we roll in my family.

It was a rainy drive back but it was so pretty crossing the bridge between continents with the lights twinkling and when David Bowie came up on random on my iPod, well it was just a nice moment. Onwards to Bowie now!

I discovered Bowie by chance when I was in high school. I think it was my sophmore year and on a whim, I decided to order the albums Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Hunky Dory from Amazon. I'd always heard of David Bowie and knew his radio hits like, "China Girl," but I was curious to listen to more and since it was also around this time I got into T. Rex, I thought it made sense. Oh. My. Allah. Those were the two best choices I could've made. I have exactly three people I am in touch with (beyond superficial, "Oh heeeeys," on Facebook) from high school and I truly believe Bowie contributed to our bond. Each song had such a different effect on me. "Kooks," was just the sweetest little ditty, it makes me want to squeeze cute things and pinch their cheeks and go aww as it plays in the background. "Soul Love," and "Five Years," are so simply soft and beautiful, I've spent many a night cueing them up before going to sleep. My friend Kit and I would always belt, 'Life On Mars," at various points in the day and I think she and I especially got close because of Mr. Bowie. You see, every year there'd be the Istanbul International Film Festival and we'd always try to go to a few movies. That's how we saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch, at a midnight showing in a huge, old-fashioned theater off a pasaj. This one particular year, we kept missing movies and being unable to sync schedules. Finally we made it out the last day of the festival and kind of half-heartedy agreed to go to the last movie playing, some Russian film I can't even begin to remember the title of. It had a lot of consonants. Maybe it was Polish. But when we got to the theater there was a sign up saying that the movie had been cancelled and in its place they were playing, "Ziggy Stardust and thr Spiders From Mars," the concert film. I think it was at that point we wet ourselves. Or worse. We double-checked with the ticket person who probably thought we were high, we were so giddy, and ran in and parked ourselves on the best seats. The theater was playing the album as house music and we got even more excited, they were actually going to show it! See, at that point we still couldn't quite believe it. We sang along to most of the songs and even did the clap-clap part during, "Space Oddity," and got the one other person in the theater to join in too.

Over the years, our love of Bowie has grown both individually and together. His music gives me such mixed feelings. Sometimes it's a rush like when I listen to "Blue Jean." It's my favorite and yes, I admit it's an odd choice because it's from his less popular, 80s years but I first heard it on TV and it enthralled me. It was really late at night and it was on VH1 and I just saw the name Bowie flash by so I dropped everything and and watched. We had a channel here that would turn to VH1 after a certain hour and we'd always stay up to watch videos and every once in a while we'd luck out and get Bowie (this was the reason I also never really wanted to go out Friday nights becaue VH1 had a metal show every Friday from midnight to 2:30 and it was usually classic stuff and I'd just stay home and bask in the Motorhead and Judas Priest and Warlock. They played Warlock a lot, I don't know why). The video for Blue Jean was so wonderful. It had David Bowie in two roles; a showman everyone was in love with (doi) and a nerdy guy on a date with a girl he's trying desperately to impress but she just ignores him for the performer. It's part of a short film called Jazzin' For Blue Jean, which I also adore, and from the moment I saw it, it became my favorite. But then I have some older classics as favorites too like the aforementioned, "Soul Love." It just gives me such a relaxed feeling of peace that I'm happy to listen to it and just be. Just exist in my contentment.

I went to his Reality tour with a friend and it was the most overwhelmed I've ever felt at a show. It was just so awe-inspiring being in the presence of a musician I admire so much. And he was so charming and charismatic, it just seemed to roll off him in waves during his stage banter. I teared up during, "Under Pressure," and when he stopped to say hello to a little girl on the balcony with the words, "Hello little girl in a white dress. There's nothing more rock 'n' roll than a girl in a white dress," augh, it just killed me.

And all through this my friends and I, usually Kit, always touch back and keep each other updated on his activities like when our other friend Des saw him at a restaurant or when my cousin told me where his recording studio was in NY and we jokingly (eh, for the most part) made plans to stalk him. She'd seen Labyrinth as a child and I never had, even though I was a huge Jim Henson fan, so I got to enjoy it with Kit for the first time as I took in his infamous Goblin King bulgy pants. We also got to witness the "Dancing in the Street," video with Mick Jagger together and I still remember how helpless we were with laughter. The cheapest, most ridiculous video ever. When he was on our favorite talk-show, Parkinson, we both watched it individually and then called each other immediately afterwards just like when The Linguini Incident was on TV and we discovered that highly underrated bit of cinema.

When I got to college, I was known as Bowie girl for the first couple months as I was wearing his shirt and that's how a bunch of people got know me. My first day, I was given a hug froma complete stranger for wearing a Bowie shirt and I think Bowie is partly the reason I loved Emerson so much. I came from a place where no one really had heard of him, or cared, past my best friends and here was this entire school where a grand portion of the students worshpped at his altar. David Bowie is also the reason I've made quite a few, ahem, internet friends, as lame and loser-y as that sounds.

I can't think of any other male who, like our dear Madonna, has been through so many transformations and reinventions, each affecting his music. I love his glam years and I can't help but enjoy and dance to his 80s era. But then he has his Berlin years and his exploration into electronic music not to mention his earlier folksy, hippie years. Of course, there's always going to be stuff I don't like. It's natural with anyone. I don't really like Madonna's uber-dancey stuff and her American Life album, and with David Bowie I never really got into his early stuff and though I enjoy some of Outside and Low, they're not at the top of my list. And he's a pretty fashionable man, let's not kid ourselves. I want his Thin White Duke fedora.

I don't think I'll ever push him aside and even though its been a while since I've really sat down and listened to him, he's one of the few musicians that I will turn back to time and time again and enjoy both the music and the memories. Blue Jean Genie was actually the name of the blog prior to this one, it's a combination of the songs, "Blue Jean," and "Jean Genie." Not to mention, he's got some pretty great groupie/rock stoiries and coming in the fall is Cherry Vanilla's book and I'm sure I'll be enjoying it as soon as it's out.







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