Saturday, February 28, 2009
This has been an extraordinary week. The Universe, God, or whatever you want to call it, has been working overtime in our behalf, not the least of which was my receiving this beautiful Toshiba Satellite laptop as a gift! Between it and my incredible workhorse of a Dell desktop, I have everything I need to do my work like a real, live, super-sonic pro. It even has a 10-key pad, which I've sorely needed.
I was up all night making my way around Vista, and doing all the things one has to do when transferring data files. I'll be at it all day today, but I wanted to drop in and share this with you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
It's a trap, really. Because the landlord is increasing the rent to absurd heights, we can't afford to stay, but we also can't afford to move. It reminds me of my first trip to Vienna, when the night before my departure I discovered that I might not have enough money to pay my hotel bill in full. Staying would mean more expense and a missed flight, but how in hell was I going to leave? Scenes of Victor/Victoria came to my mind and I wondered if I too would be faced with having to "compromise my virtue for a meatball". (That situation turned out just fine, by the way.)
My other concern is that this is a large house in which five adults live. Will the next place be smaller? Will we be stepping down, so to speak, into a stressful situation, where privacy and personal space will be an issue? Then again, why do I automatically assume that we'll be stepping down? What if we'll be stepping up, or even stepping the same? In my life of many, many moves, I think I've stepped down maybe only two or three times, and those were extreme situations in which I had to re-start my life from scratch. Like my fellow Libra, Paul Simon, these words have always applied:
I'm the first to admit it and the last one to know;
When something goes right, well, it's likely to lose me,
It's apt to confuse me, it's such an unusual sight...
Wow. Now I'm actually looking forward to it. I can't worry about the money issue; those things always work out.
Click the picture to move...
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
A body without a soul would feel no reason or need to sing, nor would it derive joy from singing, or from listening to another sing. If there is no soul, then what is it that singing touches in us? Why do we go out of our way to listen? Why do we spend money on concerts, musical shows and operatic performances? As sentient beings, singing seems to be intrinsic--absolutely necessary. Before we discovered that hitting a hollow log with a stick made different sounds, we were already singing.
I also believe that all music emanates from and touches different spiritual centers (chakras) in the human being. Some music arouses our most basic instincts and some touches the heart. Some appeals to the intellect and some inspires our highest spirituality. We have to have all of it to be balanced, but there is an overload of music in our society that is geared only toward the lower three chakras (base instinct, sexuality and rage, and "me" centered attachments that are really not about love, but about need). This is why I've always felt that those of us who are musicians need to understand the power we can have over other people's emotions. When we make music from any of the spiritual centers, that is the effect we create in those who hear us.
When we sing, we're using our body, which is a musical instrument in itself; all instruments were invented to mimic the human voice. Nettl has spent her entire life learning how to use her instrument. Just like playing the violin or the piano requires flexibility exercises, warm-ups and a working knowledge of exactly what each instrument is capable of, singing demands no less dedication. And playing any musical instrument is an atheletic art. Don't think so? Try this:
Hold your abdomen in very tight and while doing so, say "HA-HA-HA-HA -- HA-HA-HA-HA" very quickly (about 4 "HAs" per second) for about a minute. Each HA has to be clear and distinct, and equal in execution. Now try doing it in scales, up and down. Imagine following an orchestra, in front of an audience, then imagine doing it while walking back and forth across a stage while acting out a role, complete with remembering your lines. Finally, imagine doing it with several other people singing completely different things, and even one person singing their part right in your face. And if you're singing Handel, those HAs would have to be executed about 8 per second. Oh, and imagine that you have to breathe in there, somewhere. Feel any respect for operatic singers now? The HA-HA is a basic exercise that all formally trained singers do to warm up. There are countless others that are even harder.
But we don't need to be formally trained to sing because, fortunately, there's all kinds of singing. Have you ever sung when you were a little in your cups? Or do you sing while driving? It doesn't matter how good or bad it sounds, it feels great, doesn't it? You don't care, you just love the way it feels. I think we all should sing as a personal release, whether we can carry a pitch or not. That's not the point. If someone has an irritating speaking voice, should they not speak? Of course not. Singing is every creature's birthright. It's how we connect with our soul, and sometimes with others. It is the soul's expression of its existence: "I am!"
Just because we've developed singing to the extent that we have, we're really no different from wolves, birds, whales, or crickets. We all have the capacity to sing out, and we should. It's one of our inate functions, one that is designed to make us feel good. So just open up and let it out! Singing releases chemicals in the brain that comfort us, make us feel love, and help us heal.
Recently, a friend wrote that she always thought of me as someone who doesn't give a crap about what people think of me. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I tend to shove that vulnerability so far away from me that I know that's how I must appear.
I'm an artist (i.e. musician and writer). Have you ever known an artist who wasn't riddled with complication? I'm also a Libra and I want everyone to like me. Until I'm hurt and no longer care. Then you never existed in the first place, except in the privacy of my mind, where I continue to love and nurture you, and wonder what I did to deserve the scars.
You'd think that at my age I'd be over this kind of self-identification and angst. Maybe I'm just making up for the past sixteen years during which I was in a sensual and emotional coma.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Remember that today the garage is coming out to take the van in to be fixed. Although you remembered to take the 26 garbage bags of Lauren's high school clothes out of the van last night, the box holding the Christmas tree is still on top. You will need help getting it down, or else you'll probably split a spleen. And you only have one.
Remember that the pickup will have to be moved from the driveway before the garage dude can get to the van. Also remember that the power steering is out and moving it will require you quickly develop arms like Popeye.
You have urgent update work to do on that one website. You must get that done before you go back to the other one that you've been working on the last couple of weeks. You'll really need to shake the cob webs from my brain first, though, because although the work is easy, it always gives you brain pretzels. Perhaps some beer would serve you well.
Never watch movies at three in the morning in which Adrien Brody plays a psychopathic killer who is obsessed with Houdini, and seems to enjoy burying people and dogs alive. Watching these will give you some really weird dreams. Especially after eating bratwurst and sauerkraut for dinner.
Don't forget to thank whoever made the coffee this morning. That really made you happy when you stumbled down to the kitchen.
When my dad quit smoking after fifty years of Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes, he said that he was amazed by how badly his senses of smell and taste had been dulled. He didn't even notice it until they began to reawaken.
Likewise, I didn't realize how much I'd lost due to thyroid disease until my THS levels finally balanced out a few weeks ago. My sense of taste is sharper, for example, as well as my hearing. I've also noticed that my absolute pitch is back. For a long time, I couldn't figure out why I could not "hear" to tune my guitar. My pitch was all fookered up. One night last week while we were watching telly, Nettl reached over and stroked my hair and I swear every nerve ending of my scalp lept to attention. I didn't even realize that I'd been slowly losing my sense of touch. My hope is that in time it all will come back. I'd love to feel inspired again, to want to play the paino, to compose, to feel that euphoria that only music gave me.
Please do yourself a favor. If you're experiencing the symptoms listed on this page, please see your doctor. All it takes is a simple blood test. It's easy to think that the fatigue you're feeling when you wake up is due to getting older, but don't let decades go by before you do something. Life's too short to spend even one year in the hell I've lived in these past sixteen years.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
"Humor is the art of the unexpected. We take our listener down a linear path toward a logical conclusion and suddenly we swerve right to absurdity, or left to unreality, and that unexpected detour makes us laugh." Three Writers
"Every little boy's flight away from reality - I had it. Every little boy's anxious list, furtive looks up into the sky on Christmas Eve, checks on one's Ps and Qs. I engaged in it, and mastered it. I was at the Alamo. I was with Napoleon. I was with Ben Franklin. Davy Crockett was a personal friend of mine. My Christmases were so thick, so rich, so packed, real, so unforgettable - and all of it in my spinning little boy's head - it was a wonder I could function the rest of the year." 1 Step Beyond
"Anyway, between all the drinking, smoking, and debauchery that was going on, I DO believe that my liver could have been dangling outside my body and I wouldn't have felt it much." Slydes Blog
"You know, the last few chocolate chip cookies, in the freezer from the holidays, really should be eaten before they get stale." Life at Willow Manor
"For some reason, my fifth grade history teacher never taught the class about former British Prime Minister Bonar Law. Possibly because introducing a figure named Bonar Law would have had a more disruptive effect on the class than pulling the fire alarm." Rifftrax Blog
"One of the weirdest things I ever found was The Andrew Sisters version of "Rum and Coca-Cola" on Gia's iPod. It's actually a very cute and catchy Calypso tune, but something you don't expect to find. Normally. But whoever said Gia was normal. She digs me, after all. That ain't normal." The Verdant Dude
"I got tired walking in the Newark airport -- I swear it must have been four miles from the gate to baggage claim. I had to sit down three times before I got to an area labeled "Customer Care." I figured that, since I was a customer, they could care." Flapdoodle
"I love cats. But I couldn't eat a whole one." Ruby Isabella Jones
"If a car costs you more than 60,000 dollars, by all means, talk to it, name it--recite lyric poetry to it. The little auto man spoke again "32 miles to, 143 Park Avenue, Manhattan" I almost swallowed my gum upon hearing the car's declaration. Park avenue?! I was broke. I couldn't even buy a cup of juice on Park Avenue without feeling the pinch." M.IV
"Because we live at a time where information is so massive and pervasive it can also be a very confusing time to sort out what is important and what is not. We need to be editors of that information in order to handle it intelligently." The Pink Cowboy
"I’m a shit magnet. Everything sticks and I can’t let it go. Something I did wrong twenty years ago. Something I saw today that made someone angry. People going out of their way to insult someone. The fact that I could never seem to get away with what others get away with. If I screw up I eat myself up like crazy over it; suffer guilt pangs about it years down the road. A mind like a steel trap, but only for the bad things." Tourette's Cat
"I went to see another Doctor today to get my blood pressure checked. When I left I found that one of my gloves was missing. I went back to the Doctor’s office and they looked everywhere for it – including in the Doctor’s room where I had been having tests. We eventually found it under my beanie – which I was wearing (groan!). Is there no end to this humiliation." Vienna for Dummies
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I remember when a weekend was a complete waste if I didn't go out dancing at least once. I love to dance. And I'm not talking about 70s Disco, I'm talking about live bands in dance bars. Bands that played songs by everyone from the Stones to the Cars to Heart. Songs like Roxanne and Werewolves of London.
I only went to one disco in my life and it was awful. As a musician, I grew up with live bands. Dancing to records was crap, because I went out to listen to the bands as much as I did to dance. I loathed Disco.
I don't want to fly, nor do I want x-ray vision. I'd just like to be able to dance all night like I did when I was 25, just one more time. Well, I'd have to have something else to make it a gratifying experience rather than a totally embarrassing one... I'd have to look like I did when I was 25.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Each island ranges from 250,000 to 900,000 square feet (5.7–21 acres) in size. The only means of transport between the islands is by boat and helicopter.
Prices for the islands range from $15-45 million. According to the National Geographic Channel (The Best of Megastructures) the overall price for the World is $14 billion.
Plans are in the offing to build The Universe archipelago. It will form a cluster of islands in the shape of the solar system. The Universe will have about 7,500 acres of land and will take 15 to 20 years to build.
Buy a piece of The World
Coordinates: 25°13'00"N 55°10'00"E
Thursday, February 19, 2009
We have decided not to renew our lease on this house. Lynette told the landlord that we just can't afford it, and he keeps raising the rent on us. It's ridiculous. Besides, it's way too much house for me to take care of. I'm tired of feeling inadequate because I can't keep nearly 3000 square feet clean.
Hopefully, things will go our way (for a change) and we'll be able to move back to Ventura, but if not, that's okay. There are plenty of great houses here that would accommodate our needs and leave us some money to live on after rent and utilities are paid (for a change). Although I'm sad to leave a place that has become home, and holds so many memories (and I double-dog-dread the idea of moving), I'm ready for something new. But right now, that "something new" is a head free of pain and a sky full of sun.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I've always cared, and to my own detriment, I confess. I always cared when kids made fun of me, or threw rocks at me. I've always care when people slander and malign me, and I always care when people misjudge who I am as a person. Hell, that's what artists want most: to be understood. When I'm misunderstood or misjudged, it always hurts.
Here I am, three and-a-half years away from 60, and I think I've finally learned, and hey, I really don't care about people who don't like me, or are jealous of me, or don't approve of me, or just don't "get" me.
Caring what people think about me has kept me from not doing things they thought I shouldn't do, but I should have done, and from doing things that I knew I should do and I didn't. According to some people, we go around only once. If they're right, then it's a crime to live for other people's opinions of us. But if I'm right in believing that we come back again and again, then I've let other people get in the way of my growth and evolution. Either way, I've messed up. If someone doesn't like the fact that I believe in reincarnation, so what? If someone doesn't approve of my loving wine, what business is that of theirs? If someone thinks my marriage is perverted, screw 'em.
What started this is that I wanted to write an entry about wine, but then I thought about some of the Flying Monkeys out there who like to leave comments about me being an alcoholic. Truth is, I'm not. I can't afford to be for one thing and for another, I have a horror of addiction. That's when I started wondering why I should care what stalkers and trolls think about me. That's when I realized that the opinions of people like that just don't matter. They can't matter. Besides, if I were an alcoholic, why should they care? It's none of their damned business. It seems to me that in the last twenty years, people have gotten far too concerned about how other people live their lives. What was it Billy Joel sang?
Go ahead with your own life, and leave me alone!
So I'm going to post about wine if I want. And reincarnation. And about being in a committed relationship with a woman for ten years. The people who have a problem with who and what I am can choose not to come here. As Ville always says, "Don't like it, don't look." And if they leave one of their pointless comments I'll just delete it.
I think our downfall comes when we care about the opinions of people of lesser integrity, or the comments made by internet trolls, or the gossip of people who don't deserve us. Caring about the opinions of those who either don't like us or people who carry grudges, only gives them power and they know it. That's what they prey on. Well, I've learned and I'm taking away their power over me.
I really just don't care.
Monday, February 16, 2009
At first, that's what I attributed it to, that I couldn't remember how many scoops of coffee I always put in the basket. I'd just woken up, so I measured out four, but throughout the day, as I thought about it, I still couldn't remember if I was supposed to use three or four. I could remember that our old drip coffeemaker used 3.5, but I couldn't remember how many I used in this percolator. The coffee tasted fine.
Thinking this was just a temporary lapse in memory, I let it go, but this morning when I went down to make the coffee, I still couldn't remember. This time I used three scoops and coffee still tastes fine, but I think four tasted better.
I seriously think I've killed my 'coffee' brain cell because not only can't I remember the number of scoops I'm supposed to use, I can't remember how it's supposed to taste, strength-wise.
This is weird.
How does one lose something like that? I make the coffee ever damned morning, how could I forget something like this in 24 hours? (And no, there's no history of Alzheimer's in my family.) It makes me 'sleep' brain cell back in 1987.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
(P.S. Thank you Ville. You know why.)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
* Nomadic Eurasian horsemen such as the Iranian Scythians, along with Achaemenid Persians, were among the first to wear trousers. Funny that they wear galabiyyas now, which I think look pretty cool.
* In ancient China, trousers were only worn by soldiers.
* The first European appearance of trousers was in Hungary, in the 9th century.
* Trousers were introduced into Western European culture at several points in history, but gained their current predominance only in the 16th century, from a Commedia dell'Arte character named Pantalone (the Italian word for trousers, thus, pants).
* In England, in the 12th century, peasants were often seen in long garments to the ankle, rather like trousers. Strangely enough, trouser-like garments, which became rare again in the 13th century, vanished altogether during the 14th, and scarcely reappeared for 400 years.
* By the end of the 16th century, the codpiece had been incorporated into hose, which were roughly knee-length and featured a fly or fall front opening.
* During the French Revolution the male citizens of France adopted a working-class costume including ankle-length trousers in place of the aristocratic knee-breeches. This style was introduced to England in the early 19th century and supplanted breeches as fashionable streetwear by mid-century.
* Breeches survived into the 1940s as the plus-fours, or knickerbockers, worn for active sports and by young school-boys. Types of breeches are still worn today by golfers and baseball and American football players.
* In Great Britain, "pants" are not trousers, they're men's underwear. Likewise, "knickers" are not knee pants, they are women's underwear. Remember this if you ever go there.
* Sailors may have played a role in creating trousers as a fashion around the world. In the 17th and 18th centuries, sailors wore baggy trousers known as galligaskins. Sailors were also the first to wear jeans, or trousers made of a fabric that came from Denim, France (for Serge de Nîmes). These became more popular in the late 19th century in the American West because of their ruggedness and durability, and survive today, easily the most popular pants of the modern world.
The Codpiece Hose: I think this probably came first from armor of the Medieval period designed to protect the nether regions of the male anatomy during battle. Later, it became a fashion statement by which men could promise more than they actually had, much like the roll of socks thing that rock stars used in the 70s. Maybe they still do, I don't know. I don't look anymore.
Balloon Pants: These are by far the silliest pants ever designed for men to wear. What's worse is that men, important men like William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many of my famous Waller ancestors actually wore them.
Fall-Fronts: In certain parts of Europe in the 18th century, these were made off hot, non-breathing, unforgiving silk, and were v-e-r-y tight. Their obvious purpose was to 1) allow quick and easy access, 2) show off a shapely calf, and 3) show off your junk. I have two pairs of breeches, which I wore when I used to portray Mozart in the public schools, and they're damned uncomfortable. And I don't even have junk to get smashed.
Hip Hops: So this is heretofore the culmination of fashion evolution? Now men are showing off their backsides instead of their fronts.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I'm feeling very #E6D7A7 today. That's 230/215/167 in RGBspeak. What I want is a big pot of homemade chicken soup, but there's no way to get to the store. Not that I'd go anyway. I haven't even managed to get my ass out of bed to go downstairs and make the coffee. Normally, I'd be feeling really guilty and would force myself to get up, but not today. I will get to work as soon as I post this, but it won't be another 13-hour day for me today.
Maybe I'll just make some Ramen. I like to doctor it up with Asian chili sauce and rice wine vinegar to make it hot & sour. I also throw leftover things in it, like broccoli, asparagus pieces, snow peas, whatever there is, as well as an unbroken egg and any leftover pieces of beef, pork, or chicken we might have. I don't think there's any of that down there, except the eggs.
The damned power jack on the back of my Dell is going out again. Remember last year when this happened and we had to put out a bunch of money getting the motherboard replaced? The geniuses at Dell... To keep connected to the AC plug, I have to jiggle and twist the chord this way and that, which usually results in my being forced to adopt weird sitting positions for hours on end. This only came up over the weekend, which means I'll get about another week out of this laptop. I've backed-up all of my files, so at least I won't lose all of my business invoices, receipts, billable hours worksheets, etc.
Okay, enough of this. I have to get up now. I'm in the middle of a sneeze attack and there are no tissues nearby.
Today (yesterday to diurnal people), when the crisis came up about the car situation, I quietly reached the end of what I can handle, feeling like I was in quicksand with no one to offer me a branch. In a fraction of a second two thoughts went through my mind: 1) I need to call Dad and, 2) I can't call Dad. Then it occurred to me that I could write to him.
When you're in quicksand up to your chin, you'll try anything.
I opened up MS Word and let it pour out. I told him about the situation and how we're on a slippery slope to hell if we don't get some help soon. I confessed sins. I apologized. In short, I wrote to him exactly as I did when he was still here. As I saved and closed the document, I got an instantaneous sense that it was a done deal. I felt total peace. Then I went back to work.
It wasn't three hours later that Nettl came home and we figured out a solution to the issue. A really GOOD solution. Maybe Dad didn't "make it so", but maybe—just maybe—he opened our minds a little so that we could figure out some possibilities for ourselves.
I've decided to continue writing Letters To Dad. He doesn't seem so far away now.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Would you feel betrayed if you discovered you were reading the words of a character rather than an actual person? If so, why? Especially if they'd shown you things you'd never seen and had expanded your personal boundaries. Would you resent Anna Karenina, Elinor Dashwood, Mrs. Dalloway, or Huckleberry Finn if you'd first met them on a blog, only to discover they were characters and not actual people living in the Midwest or England?
The brain does not differentiate between real and imagined events. Imagine that! In your brain, you've actually flown on Eagles' wings with Hobbits! You've floated down the Mississippi on a raft and you've fought alongside King Arthur! How marvelous is that!
The problem is, most people are programed (or choose) to be literal beings. Or at least that's what they've become in the black and white "real" world that the establishment defends, sometimes to the death. I've always pushed these boundaries and I've never hesitated to share what I've discovered. We are not flesh and blood. We are pure spirit, although we're driving these flesh and blood automobiles around for now. It won't last. Meantime, we're here to learn, and reading blogs is an excellent way to learn about other people, their experiences, cultures, pain, and joy. Yes, there's a place for the left-brain blog--we need that connection with reality--but we need fantasy as well. What I envision are spaces where we get our daily dose of imagination as well.
I think that a blog can be a book. Notice that I didn't say LIKE a book, where you read an online doc file. I think that a blog can BE a book, where the story takes place in real time. How many times have you read a wonderful story, only to dread having to say goodbye to the characters when you finished it? What if you could meet those characters on a blog, where they speak for themselves without the stranglehold of plot, form, and the constraint of linear, numbered time/pages? What if you could read the story as it happens through the characters' thoughts, not as an observer through an observer?
It might be pretty cool.
I believe that what we call "blogging" will not die. I think that it is--like any new form of communication--in its embryonic stage and that it will evolve just as literature and art have evolved. It will have to, or it will die.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Well, one didn't touch down in Stillwater, but it was as close as we've come since we moved here in 2000. The funnel cloud was about 5 miles from where we live when the sirens came on.
I packed up this laptop, my cell phone, all of the recharging paraphernalia, the camera, the Mozartiana, the cat (in her carrier), and a check for $100 that I haven't deposited yet, and headed for the back yard, where the storm cellar is.
As I stood there wondering if it was really necessary to go into that dark hole (which is probably full of creepy-crawlies), I saw two people trying to open our back gate to get to the cellar. Suddenly, I was in that Twilight Zone episode where the man has to decide if he has room for his neighbors in his bomb shelter. Our cellar would hold our family snugly--what would I do if I really had to make that decision? Besides, they were from the landlord's office. Hey! We pay too much rent as it is, and the cellar is in OUR BACK YARD! What make a deal?
Once the hail came, it was massive (I took the picture above from our front door). We never did go to the cellar, but I was ready. Poor Nettl, who was at work, had to hide out in the restroom with a co-worker until it passed. And bless her heart, when there was a lull between the storm cells, she went out and got me some much-needed wine.
There are a series of cells coming right at us and we're in a tornado watch until about 8:30. Edmond, outside of OK City, was hit by a tornado that destroyed several businesses.
I hate this crap! It's not bad enough that I live in the reddest of the red states, I also have to deal with this!
Back when I was a 36 year-old college student, I worked as the night manager of Lorenzoni's, a gourmet deli/coffeehouse at the Ventura Marina. While it wasn't exactly Cannery Row (it was more like Steinbeck in a golfer's windbreaker), the marina certainly had its underbelly: colorful sailors and dock wenches who lived on small sailboats and worked on the tour ships, paddle boat rentals, and restaurants.
Because I worked the closing shift (closing sucks in the food industry) and didn't get off work until well after midnight, I'd sometimes walk over to the bar and have a beer before heading home. That was my Steinbeck summer (watered down though it was) and I spent my weekends either in the bar, at a table at Milano's with the waitstaff, watching the bellydancers at The Greek, or onboard different boats sitting at banquettes in their galleys, drinking and laughing. I loved listening to the hands' tales of their trips around the Channel Islands, fishing, and celebrity tourists (I served John Davidson's family chili and cappuccino for an entire week when his mini-yacht was docked in the slip closest to the deli).
Anyway, back to the bar.
"Anyone who washes a coffee pot deserves to be killed!", I got up and left. I don't know why. Maybe it was because when I wasn't in school, I was making specialty coffees (this was in the days predating Starbucks and other such places). Maybe it was because he looked and sounded like he really would whip out a blunderbuss and shoot me if he staggered by the deli one night when I was cleaning the espresso maker.
spend a little time below with Johnny Depp, even if he's really just a guy from Oxnard who works at Procter & Gamble during the week. Back in my day, all we had was Harbor Days (a hell time to work in the deli) and the Christmas Parade of Lights, when the best show in the marina was watching Santa cruise in on a yacht, greet the kiddies, and then get plowed in the Margaritaville bar while sexy women sat on his lap, telling him what they wanted him to give them for Christmas.
Although the marina's original 1970s architecture screamed, "I want to look like Cape Cod, but I don't know what to do with all these damn palm trees!", it's now looking more like, well, Ventura county, with tan stucco walls and red tile roofs, and it's still full of the wonderfully funky folk that make Ventura what it is.
Sod the old pirate. This coffee tastes really good.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Well, no surprise to me, I won a huge pile of nothing in the Okie Blog Awards for 2008, just like every other year. The usuals won. Popularity contest, that. Meh. Congrats to those who won though, especially Monty, for best audio blog! She deserves that award. Her radio show on MPYR is great (althoughIhaven'tbeeninthechatformonths&deservetobedestroyed).
Actually, I think that Patrick at The Lost Ogle summed up the awards best. Wish I had balls like that...
It's been raining all night. I should know, I haven't been to bed. I love rain and the sound it makes when it lashes against the windows. I should have gone to bed, but I just couldn't. After I take Nettl to work, I think I'll take a shower, then hop into our cloud of a bed, all clean and cozy, and fall asleep. I don't really have to work today, do I? I put in 6.5 hours last night, didn't I? Does that count?
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I remembered a trip my mom and I took in the spring of 1972. Joel was around fifteen months old and we packed her Toyota to the seams with baby accoutrement and the three of us set out for a six-week road trip that took us from California to Texas to Louisiana, to Colorado, and back home again. We took turns driving, and read The Lord of the Rings trilogy aloud to each other. It was one of the best times we ever spent together. But this entry isn't about that so much as it is about remembering my one supposed screw up during the trip.
In Colorado, where we spent a few days with family friends, I was invited to a band practice of one of our hosts' sons. I was twenty, the same age as the guys in the band, and we jammed together at the bass player's parents' house. It was great. I played guitar and a little drums, and sang some, and we had a good time. No booze, no drugs, just a little fun making music. Earlier, when we'd left the house where I was staying, our hostess told us to have a good time and since I was with her son, I thought nothing about not coming back until practice was over. I'd gone with him, after all.
When we returned a little after 1:00 am and I went upstairs to the guest room that Mom and I shared, she was up and waiting for me, and she lit into me about being a bad guest, of embarrassing her in front of her friends, etc., etc.. I didn't think I'd done anything wrong, but she had flipped into one of her manic episodes and there was no stopping her. I knew the routine all too well. She became verbally and psychologically abusive, screaming loud enough for everyone in the house to hear. I was horribly embarrassed and ashamed and she ruined the entire trip for me for years to come. Like any abusive person, she had a knack for finding the smallest thing and building it up her mind until it was all out of proportion (one is reminded of "Mommie Dearest"). She was monstrously hurtful when her hormone levels changed like that and because I was grown and she could no longer beat me, she let her tongue become the doubled up black leather belt she'd used on me when I was a kid.
As I lay in bed this morning thinking about that event, it occurred to me that whenever I begin to wonder if I've done life correctly or not, I can trace it back to my mother. I mean, yeah, sometimes I screw up of my own volition, but since her death, I've started to realize that my mother's mental illness and subsequent abusive behavior played a huge part in creating my underlying sense of failure and futility. Just when I start to feel good about myself and my accomplishments, a huge, accusing finger juts down into my life and tries to push me back down the hill. That finger has always belonged to my mom. No wonder my relationship with "Goddess" has been problematic for me while that with "God" has been comforting. It's true that we create our Father/Mother God in the image of our earthly parents.
Sometimes, when I think of all I've been through, I'm amazed at how psychologically healthy I am. I can attribute this to a number of things. The most important is that, despite the abuse, there was never any doubt that I was loved; for every bad thing that happened, there were a hundred good things. But while much was expected of me as a child prodigy, I was indulged at least equally as much. Even up to their deaths, my parents indulged me, which did me no favors, really. I was never taught how to survive on my own with no net to catch me when I fall.
I'm sorry there's no big red bow to tie up this entry--I usually like to end with some pithy or insightful comment. I just wanted to get this thought out before it gets lost in the business of the day.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Also, if you get the newest version of GoogleEarth, you can travel all over Mars. Find the "Face" and talk to an alien named Meliza. I like to mess with its head until I get bored and leave.
“You’re going to be in a great mood all day because you’re going to be slapping your troubles away with the Slap Chop.”
Anyone who's spent a good amount of time in England will get that double entendre... (don't ever tell a biker that you'd like to ride his chopper. Just sayin'.) But the best/worst line has got to be, “You’re going to love my nuts.”
I fear this is what Steve ("Dude, you're gettin' a Dell!") would have turned into, had he not run into that little spot of trouble.
By the way Vinny, good toss.
Friday, February 6, 2009
J is the tenth letter in the modern Latin alphabet; it was the last of the 26 letters to be added. Its name in English is "jay" (pronounced /dʒeɪ/). It was formerly jy (from French ji), and in some dialects, mainly of Scottish English, it still is (pronounced jay. Occasionally, J represents other sounds, as in Hallelujah, which is pronounced the same as Halleluyah and Halleluia. The dot above the lowercase "i" and "j" is known as a tittle.
J was originally an alternative version of I. Its minuscule, j, was used in the Middle Ages as a swash character to end some Roman numerals in place of i. There was an emerging distinctive use in Middle High German. Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478-1550) was the first to explicitly distinguish I and J as representing separate sounds.
When I see the letter J, I think of my son, Joel. My other favorite Js include John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, JSTOR, J. Paul Getty Museum, Joaquín Rodrigo, jasmine, .jpg, Jib-Jab, Jabberwocky, Jacki, jackalope, jade, Jaguar, Jailhouse Rock, jammies, Janis Joplin, juice, Jefferson Airplane, and Johnny B. Goode.
Thanks to Willow for giving the letter J to me today. If you would like me to give you a letter, leave a comment and let me know. This was fun.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The work I'm doing is for an entertainment and event coordinating company, and I'm about half-way down the list on the Entertainment page. Yeah, I'm proud of that site. I built it from scratch and I've spent more time on it than any other that I've done, including my own. The Flash, by the way, was developed by Micah.
Anyway, After working only 8.5 hours today, I called it quits and have spent the evening watching telly and piddling around online. Now I'm about to go to bed so that I can get back at it in the morning. It's shameful how working forces one into a normal sleep schedule.
I promise to get around to your blogs and comments over the weekend. I feel so out of touch!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The nightmare is over. For now.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I remember when baseball was the national sport. Baseball was nicer. But then, old arm-chair shrink that I am, always analyzing everything, I think that our love of baseball was at a time when it was a kinder, nicer society overall. America was in its prepubescence and we were happier, less insecure. We liked being outside in the spring, eating peanuts and Cracker Jack. Hell, we didn't care if we never got ba--. Sorry. Then, after the Cold War, we got a little older. Our balls dropped, so to speak, and we had forces within us that wanted to kick some ass. No one was gonna mess with us! Reflecting this loss of optimism and trust, even football changed. The play became more violent and the pads beneath the uniforms grew to ridiculous proportions. Look at the difference between the uniforms of the 30s compared to those of today. But this was war and the gladiators needed more armor. And no one's truly happy until someone (on the other team, of course) gets carried off on a stretcher, or until half-time when the nearly naked dancing girls come out to perform.
Worse, if you're not a football fan, you're really not an American. There's something wrong with you. But I'll bet that back in ancient Rome there were a few people who stayed home because they didn't understand the need to take part in the spectacle of the blood sport.
I've watched Superbowl only two times. The first was when a roommate and I had a party in our house for the guys in our circle. That was fun... we spent all day cooking, and picking up beer bottles. The second was at a company for which I worked. They had a super huge TV screen that covered an entire wall, and there was an open bar. The guys, normally nice and well-behaved during the work week, became loud-mouthed, rude and insulting sons of bitches, and the women in the office still did all the cooking and picking up beer bottles. At both of these "parties" the common battle cry was, "Would you get me another beer?"
Nope, don't like football, won't be tuning in.