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Willie's Off-Brand Web Journal: January 12-January 17, 2004

Saturday, January 17, 2004:

I got this e-mail from my brother: "Yeah, so I got to enjoy your kareoke performance last night :-) My phone rang and it was a number I didn't know. So I pick it up and hear 'Tim, it's Paul. Listen to this!' Evidently Paul Nagy was at Champps and was like 'Whoa, that's Tim's brother,' and decided to call me and let me listen in. I couldn't really hear it that well, but it was still amusing. I told him he should go up to you and let me say hello but he was like 'I don't think he'd remember me and it'd be weird to be like "Yeah I graduated with your brother."' Anyway, just thought I'd tell ya that story. Up there on the randomness scale, but very fun. I honestly didn't even know Paul had my number."

Isn't that cool?

Yesterday, Jen both e-mailed me and called me to emphasize that she had nothing to do with Anne sending that essay to Steve Knowlton, and to reiterate to me that she likes the album and doesn't have a problem with it. In return, I feel I should reiterate that I don't think she is a "calculating, relentless, salivating, man-eating bitch from the flaming pits of Hades." Thanks to all of you who gave me your support regarding that; I'm feeling better now. (As Jess said, "So is she going to disregard every breakup song ever because they're one-sided? What the ass?")

I got a package in the mail yesterday from my new friend Bev, with whom I exchanged a couple CDs. She also sent me a mix tape and a can of Worthington brand vegetarian "beef" stew! It was delicious. What a thoughtful, fun surprise that was! From now on, I think I'll eat only food that's come in the mail. So you all are to send me food. I'm into it.

More snow today. And for the second snowfall in a row, Slutty Slutterson across the street has worn something that actually covers her midriff while she shovels. Has the world gone topsy-turvy?

CURRENT MUSIC: Century Spring by Mason Jennings.
Productive! But slowly succumbing to the narcotic wiles of Benedryl. Lousy headaches that caffeine can't cure...
NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS IT TOOK ME TO TYPE THE WORD CURE IN THAT LAST SENTENCE: Three. I automatically typed cute and then sure. Benedryl is an amusing thing, alright.
12:45 PM.

Doot? | |

Friday, January 16, 2004:

To get my mind off the horribleness of what is now yesterday, I went to Champps with Aimee, Janet, Lorenzo, Erica, Brendan (who apparently works at the bookstore, and has a cool cocky-aloof-Stephen Malkmus thing going), and Lorenzo's friend Sandy. This was not my idea, but I had fun anyway. It was karaoke night, with $50 cash prizes each for the best female vocalist and the best male vocalist. I imagine $50 cash carries more clout than a Grammy, honestly. Lorenzo got some undercooked chicken, which he sent back. I gloated about not eating meat, so I wouldn't have to worry about the chicken disease germs that are now invading his body.

Lorenzo agreed to get up and sing a song if I would, so I signed up for "Optimistic" by Radiohead, and he signed up for Chris DeBurgh's version of "Lady in Red." Unfortunately, the DJ informed me that they'd lost the disc with "Optimistic" on it, so Lorenzo kind of got screwed over. Nevertheless, he went up and performed what is likely the funniest version of "Lady in Red" in history. Off-key, off-tempo, most likely incorporating the word cooter if I know Lorenzo... but very enthusiastic. He dedicated the song to Erica, and got lots of applause when he did the whispered "I love you" at the end.

Later, Aimee and I wound up performing "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League, with fake British accents. Aimee danced her way through the whole song, whereas I stood completely still and cocked my eyebrow at her, because I figured my character wouldn't dance. Method acting, y'see. And not at all a result of the fact that I can't/won't dance. Aimee won the $50 for best female performance, and generously split it with me. So after my $20 tab, I made five bucks tonight! (Lorenzo and I lost the best male performance money to some guy who did a serviceable version of "Pretty Woman." I'm confident that if I'd had the chance to show off my Thom Yorke, that money would be mine.)

On the way home, I started crying while listening to "Synthesizer" by the Electric Six. Something about those New Order keyboards hits me really hard, regardless of the lyrics or who's singing. Wish I was a robot.

CURRENT MOOD: Not tired. I may as well just stay up all night at this point, since I'd have to wake up at 6:00 anyhow.
I imagine it will go toward some sort of coffee product.
1:10 AM.

Doot? | |

Thursday, January 15, 2004:

The following is an essay that my ex-girlfriend's roommate, Anne, sent to Steve Knowlton (of Steve & Abe's Record Reviews) regarding his review of my album. I thought I'd reproduce it here for the benefit of those who don't regularly visit Steve & Abe's- although you really should- and for those who are interested at all in Airbag's lyrical content. For the record, my ex herself has heard the album and gave it her blessing, claiming to have enjoyed it. Although I definitely wasn't expecting Anne's comments, I'm not entirely surprised by them, and I'm not going to say she's wrong. She was there, so she's entitled to her perspective, and it's not every day I'm lambasted in such a thorough fashion. (It's nice when someone puts more thought into their points than just saying, "Your taste is really quite awful.") Someday, I hope to use this essay as the liner notes to Airbag's 25th anniversary reissue, because... wow.

Hello there. I felt the need to write this email as soon as I read your review of Willie Williams' Airbag's Lipstick Kiss because I am sick and tired of sitting on my rage concerning this matter. The first time I heard the album, I found it to be catchy, yet quite humorous, as it was like a badly manipulated and overdone caricature of what I had seen and known to go down in flames in the years that I have known Willie and the girl in question who ultimately broke Mr. Williams' heart. Then, I was somewhat enraged at its content, largely because I feel that it is based on a truly embellished misery...

I know Mr. Williams, and I am also close friends with the person in question that he has so unjustly portrayed on this album, and I must say that this is a crude and inaccurate portrayal of the wonderful person he has so callously smeared simply because he obviously felt "owed" in the end. He says so himself in so many words. "I got screwed!" I do not deny the pain that Willie went through. I know it was painful. However, I feel that what has been done to my friend's memory as a result has been relentless and disgraceful.

Knowing the situation, I do not feel that this album is what I would call a "mature" example of anything, and if Willie is allowed to puke out whatever he wants about such a cool chick, and people who review it are gonna feel sorry for him or are gonna quote things like, "A false-hearted lover is worse than a thief", I'm gonna have to air my latent bitch as a result. In my opinion, this album is not some kind of brilliant catharsis of artistic integrity and beauty...it is merely what it is...a bunch of bitching and whining.

All of the lyrics consist of "poor me", "why me?", and "why not me?"...No matter how cleverly worded. The album even misses its own point, contradicts itself several times, portrays Mr. Williams as a poor deluded victim, and in the end, evokes feelings of irritation and pity rather than wounded grace or vulnerable beauty. As an insider, the very lyrics themselves generally convey that his heart was beaten and broken by a ghost created by his own self-deception.

If you ask me, Mr. Williams answers his own self-centered questions all on his own...he helped do this to himself...with his own inflated hopes, inability to see change, and propensity for "investing" in "somedays" and all throughout the album he keeps making those same errors of judgment. Mr. Williams, isn't learning anything at all from the heartbreak...he is simply justifying his self-re-victimization. He obviously loved beating the crap out of himself all the while writing this album for he does it the entire way through the album, and I'll admit, he really does make you feel the searing pangs of self-defeatism, but at some point you gotta wonder when the guy is gonna give up the vomit bag.

However, it is not a beautiful, eloquent display of honesty and integrity...it is a blistering example of self-deprecation, denial, and self-victimization at best, and Mr. Williams enjoyed the bumpy, obsessive ride the whole pathetic way to the bank for it is the very basis of "depth" that he had obviously been seeking, and he certainly did squeeze the breath out of the one thing in his life he claims had any meaning in order to obtain the identity of the truly "tortured" artist he so desperately was trying to make himself out to be in Airbag. Meanwhile, the true memory of the girl he claims he purely loved has been forever made a sleazy lie, as one might think after listening to this album that she is some kind of calculating, relentless, salivating, man-eating bitch from the flaming pits of Hades. True, Mr. Williams has honed his craft well, and musically (as far as technically) he has come a long way, and on a more positive note, I commend him for that...but lyrically, all that remains is a false reality in exchange for the truth and the respect of those who know what really went down over the course of two freaking years of misery-loving, shameful and unforgiving behavior.

Always remember, there are two sides to every meandering, waning, whining story, and like every person who aches from an ended relationship, Mr. Williams has yet to learn and admit to exactly what part he had to play in the destruction of his relationship and the ultimate result of his own broken heart. Clearly, those lessons were not learned during the making of this petty celebration of self-misery and flailing vengeance. Basically, this album is a blatant undeserved slap in the face for the most understanding and considerate break-up in the history of all break-ups.

CURRENT MUSIC: "Seahorses and Flying Fish" by Christian Bok. (Jess told me about this- craziest thing I've ever heard. Check it out!)
Dire. Hands very dry.
5:26 PM.

Doot? | |

Wednesday, January 14, 2004:

I really hate snow. Sure, it's pretty for 20 seconds or so, but then it lands and becomes a huge inconvenience. It's cold, it makes driving difficult, it's slippery- it's like all the worst aspects of sex, basically. We had a winter storm warning today, so my usual 15-minute commute to and from work was extended to about 45 minutes. We got about a foot of snow. Must get out of Michigan.

However, I was out shoveling the driveway earlier, cursing under my breath and wishing that I was wearing a beer helmet, and my next door neighbor (the one who wound up in a walker a month or so ago) showed up with his snowblower and cheerfully plowed the entire driveway, sidewalk, and path to the house in like two minutes. It was a nice little reminder that people can be really decent sometimes. I wish I could've offered him something in return. The smell of gasoline is in my beard now.

CURRENT MUSIC: Barrett by Syd Barrett.
SHOULD I EVEN BOTHER READING THE NEW ISSUE OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY? Jessica Simpson and Bland Husband Guy are on the cover. I'm getting really tired of that magazine's reality TV fandom.
6:03 PM.

Doot? | |

Monday, January 12, 2004:

It's going to be at least another week till The Airbag's Lipstick Kiss is ready. I called Oasis this morning, and it seems their manufacturing plant in Oregon has been shut down for the past week due to inclement weather. At what point do you think this sort of thing crosses the line from "bad luck" to "giant chuckling devil face omen"?

Goals for this evening: (1) Finish Holidays on Ice. (2) Buy a couple more boxes of checks, perhaps with a funny signature line like "Steal my money, will you?" or "To be cashed only by Vice-President of the Pornography Division." (3) Finally make a copy of the breakdancing compilation Jon lent to me (Electric Breakdance).

CURRENT MUSIC: Fire by the Electric Six. (Which, by the way, is the funniest thing I've listened to since Dirty Fan Male. If you don't giggle approvingly at lyrics like, "I went to the store to get more FIRE!" you cannot call yourself a rock fan.)
You know that feeling you get when someone's bashing you in the teeth with the butt end of a baseball bat again and again? Yeah. That.
I don't think I've ever known anyone who's owned a Mazda.
TIME: 6:29 PM.

Doot? | |

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