- Bret Holmes Baltimore Md

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I Kan't Spell

Thursday, October 05, 2006


  • Everyone has their own corner crap product place to buy cigarettes, maybe a beer, or the occasional slushy and a cookie. My corner store happens to be a 7-11. While deep down inside I wish it was a place called Maude's or a small Mexican bodega with their children running around, rather than a conglomerate world killer like 7-11, but alas 7-11 has Parliament Lights and Maud's has yet to be erected.

    We have all been in 7-11's. It's an American institution pretty much. You go in there and the coffee is less than a buck and they have hot dogs and all the free cheese and chili you can fit into a cardboard box. But, what they normally do not have is customer service. What we normally get in the customer service arena when we enter 7-11 is a nameless faceless interaction with someone that really needs a break for their next mentholated cigarette. We don't even normally get a "thank you", or a "please come again", or the courtesy of a smile. We are lucky to get the correct change. There is no community in our 7-11's. It is an instant gratification machine that is not only thankless but viewed upon as not worthy of receiving our thanks as well.

    My 7-11 is different. It is stereotypically run by a family of middle aged Indian men. Now, I don't know if they are family but 5 different Indian guys working in the same place and taking pride in their place of business usually means some sort of family unit to me. The 7-11 is clean and organized and there are always 3 of them working. There is 1 behind the counter and someone else is straightening the aisles or checking the coffee or restocking. They greet you with a "good morning" and send you on your way with a "Thank you. Have a nice day." They do this every time and every time it resonates within me as genuine. Now, while this may not be anyone's dream nor the most mentally challenging thing one would want to do with their career it does however take a steadfastness and community awareness that is underrated. If you owned a 7-11 imagine the amount of people you would have to interact with on a daily basis. Imagine how miserable your job would be if they were all nameless and faceless. Now, imagine how much better your job would be if you could exchange a joke or a small conversation about the weather or even just know what brand of cigarette they are going to purchase. It seems almost bearable.

    I have to tell you, it's the best 7-11 I have ever been too and I am happy that it is in my new neighborhood. I may even start buying milk from there....nah...

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • Walking to work and walking home from work is such a wonderful thing. I have a few different modes in which I walk. Sometimes I do the walk and read. Sometimes I do the listen and walk.

    I have perfected the art of walking and reading. And I don't mean like looking up in between lines or half-assed not paying attention reading. I mean I can walk and read. I don't know how I do it but i have some sort of extra sensory ability to pay attention to both foot and vehicle traffic and not fall into a hole. In my 30 minutes walk home I can usually read about a page a minute.

    My other mode is the music mode and I would like to expand on this a little. I love listening to music walking to work in the fall, winter, and the early cold part of spring. There is something rebirthing about the entire atmosphere created between your ears. You get to look at the old buildings and feel your foot pulse with the sidewalk all while walking to your tunes. Now, not any tune will do. I have my 15 track walk to work faves listed here for you:
    1. Ryan Adams - New York, New York
    2. Flaming Lips - A Spoonful Weighs a Ton
    3. Notorious BIG - 10 crack commandments
    4. Franz Ferdinand - Burn this City
    5. Oasis - Round Our Way
    6. AC/DC - Hells Bells
    7. Nina Simone - Sinner Man
    8. Eazy E - Easy-er said than done
    9. tapes n' tapes - Insistor
    10. Sons and Daughter - Johnny Cash
    11. Neil Young - Down by the River
    12. Trey Anastasio - Cayman Review
    13. Martin Sexton - Angeline
    14. Razor Light - Golden Touch
    15. Drive-by Trucker - Daddy's Cup

    My 3rd mode is just to walk. When I do this I tend to get sad. I see all the city dwellers. And as much as I would like to think I'm a city dweller, I am in fact, not one. I do not have that hard grimaced pumice face. I don't have the burden of the smog on my children's face. I have no wheel chair to push and pull, push and pull, push and pull with one leg and I have no need for the steam grates to keep me warm. I don't call a bench my home and I have no need to take the bus. The city is oppressive if you let it all in. Sometimes you just need a little music in your ears or a book under your eyes to make the waters you swim in seem a little less murky.

    But, I tell you what, nothing makes me feel more alive than walking around a city.

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • If you are a transvestite having a bad morning. You look 1000 times worse than any normal person having a bad morning. I was in front of a full blown transvestite today in line. It had on a business suit skirt blouse set. Its mustache had not been shaved and it was obviously a little hung over. The Adam's apple and the long fingers with bridged knuckles seemed to stand out more. It's toes barely fit into the high heels and when I looked at it, it seemed to just want to say and say in it's most manly voice, "What? What the fuck do you want?" But it didn't. It just cleared its throat and asked for a pack of Marlboro Lights in its most feminine voice.

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • Next 10 random songs from my Playlist -

    1. Athlete - Wires >>> Athlete is in the same vain is Coldplay and StarSailor. Their songs "can" be more peppy and introspective as to their own demise and mortality but all-in-all they are to Coldplay what Yes was to Pink Floyd. Fortunately for me, this is their best song. They also do a pretty good cover of Alicia Keys' - If I ain't got you.

    2. Peaches - Kick it >>> I heard her latest album is amazing and even more crazy than "Fatherfucker". I don't see how that is possible. This song features the ever younging Iggy Pop and is quite poppy for a rough edged girl like Peaches. I really like this song. Some Peaches lyric action:
      Some people don't like my crotch
      Because it's got fuzzy spots
      But if you flame it
      It's a neat burning bush baby
      And that is just what I've got.
    More power to ya Peaches.

    3. Velvet Underground - Head Held High >>> This is from the Loaded album, which IMO is the best album of that year and of the Velvet Underground. It is just a perfect album. I have had the talk with a lot of people about what makes a song or an album or even a band good. And while I have struggled with a concrete answer I can honestly say that I know the root of everything great comes from it being genuine and effortless. I'm sure hard work goes into the creation process, but the place where the answers to that creativity come from is pure and effortless. You can feel the genuineness in certain song, albums, and bands. In the album Loaded and the song Head Held High by the Velvet Underground I absolutely get all those resonations.

    4. Jackson Browne - Boulevard >>> Hmmm - oddly this song and this album were the only two things of Jackson Browne's to go to #1 on the Billboard charts. Wait, no, Somebody's Baby from Fast Times at Ridgemont High went to #1 but we won't really count that. Unfortunately, for everyone that bought this album they were either 5 records late into Jackson's amazing career or listening to it at home saying to themselves, "Fuck the 80's are gonna suck!". This album is everything bad that happened to music in the 80's. There are keyboards, and laser sounds, and way way way too many back ups singers. The guitar reverb was turned off and people were wearing piano ties. Somewhere in this album Jackson still doesn't lose all of his lyrical merit. He can still write a song but now he is just so lost in the sound of everyone else doing blow and counting their money that his identity as the poor man's Dylan is lost in the fog machines now on the stage.

    5. Ice Cube - Check Yo Self >>> Back when Ice Cube was still fresh out of NWA and before the marketing success of Lethal Injection he released probably his best album Predator. It still sounded very early 80's West Side rap style. It has some interesting overlays as far as the zoom in's and zoom out's and whatever rift he lifted for the chorus. It's a great hook. And then he went and started to make movies...and really loving George Clinton too much...and joined West Side Connection...and...yep..."Friday after Next"... This song is still pretty good but I have to say my fave 'Cube song is still "Down fo Whatever'

    6. The Roots - The Seed >>> Everyone loves this song because it may have the catchiest hook and chorus the year 2002 ever saw. Seriously, this song made The Roots an instant success after toiling in Philly anonymity and while sort of in the front of the Hip Hop scene that still really doesn't account for a ton when it comes to touring and selling albums. The song itself was almost not made because the sweet sounding voice of Cody Chestnutt, whoever that is. Apparently Cody wanted a damn good bit of money and then failed to show up for rehearsal etc... Anyway - let me tell you why I am mad at the Roots right now. I like the Roots and Common and Mos Def - these Hip Hop artists make sense to my white ass. But what I don't understand and what I thought they sort of stood against is selling out - but I guess what I said above is oddly ironical if that is the case - but let me tell you anyway that I saw their pictures (all 3 artists) on a flyer going around promoting their upcoming tour. The sponsor of their tour was...Kool...that's right Kool fucking cigarettes. I thought they were better than that.

    7. Loretta Lynn / Jack White - Portland, Oregon >>> This is probably one of the best duets I have ever heard. Loretta Lynn is adored by Jack White and he even produced her last album and ...shhhh...played guitar on a number of tracks even though he isn't credited. They come together on this song like a boy with a crush on an older woman. You can hear Jack's love for Loretta Lynn and how he tries to carry her with his guitar. It was as if a son got his mother a new dress and sent her to the beauty salon just to take her out on the town for one night...or in this song. I adore this song.

    8. John Lennon - God >>
      God is a concept,
      By which we can measure,
      Our pain,
      I'll say it again,
      God is a concept,
      By which we can measure,
      Our pain,
      I don't believe in magic,
      I don't believe in I-ching,
      I don't believe in bible,
      I don't believe in tarot,
      I don't believe in Hitler,
      I don't believe in Jesus,
      I don't believe in Kennedy,
      I don't believe in Buddha,
      I don't believe in mantra,
      I don't believe in Gita,
      I don't believe in yoga,
      I don't believe in kings,
      I don't believe in Elvis,
      I don't believe in Zimmerman,
      I don't believe in Beatles,
      I just believe in me,
      Yoko and me,
      And that's reality.
      The dream is over,
      What can I say?
      The dream is over,
      I was a dreamweaver,
      But now I'm reborn,
      I was the walrus,
      But now I'm John,
      And so dear friends,
      You just have to carry on,
      The dream is over.
    John always referred to his first album "Rubber Ono Band" as his eulogy to the 60's. Every time I hear this song I just see him pushing his arm out at the world and saying, "I've had enough. This is me. I am John. Nice to meet you again."

    9. Masta Ace - Born to Roll >>> Nice follow up to a If you were from Baltimore County in 1993-1998 you listened to rap music. I don't care who you were but at some point you were in a car with 4 other teenage boys bobbing your head to Masta Ace. There was a base tube in the trunk and 18's in 12" slots on the side of the seats. The trunk of the car rattled and you thought you were cool as shit. That's this song in a nutshell. It's awful. But, it's also part of me in some way.

    10. Seven Mary Three - Lucky >>> This is on my top 10 all time saddest songs ever list. This song just makes you want to curl up in your comforter and hold it as tight as you can against yourself and hit yourself in the stomach. The song is soft and then hard and then soft and you just want to hurt something when you hear it. You just want to take back all the lies and feelings of the past. This song is a really good stress reliever. For me at least...

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