Be-Attitude: Be Thankful

I was sitting on some new and exciting news all last night, but I finally have to let it out. See that shiny, sleek, glossy thoroughbred there? It's mine.

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!


Okay, so I reinstalled the fugly Followers widget. Shut up.


Armchair Circumnavigator: What Is It?

Google Earthlings have located some pretty unexpected things during their flights around the planet. From a woman nude sunbathing in the Netherlands to the possible location of Atlantis, these satellite images are interesting, even if they bring up the controversy of The Eye In The Sky. Here are some things that are hard to explain if you don't know what they are (be sure to enlarge the images). Links take you to the explanations of what these formations are, if any exist.

Egyptian Desert Spiral
27°22'48.49"N 33°37'57.52"E

Red Star
53°51'00.30"N 1°58'15.23W

Phoenix Triangles
33°44'47.51"N 112°37'32.79"W

Ocean Grid - Atlantis?
30°45'06.47"N 25°50'54.10"W

Mountain Maze
40°26'55/97"N 93°23'24.62"E

Hill Spiral
36°24'23.78"S 174°43'33.78E

Giant Toothpick
31°10'04.51"N 7°58'22.89"E

30°30'40.21S 115°22'51.32E


Move Number 29, but Who's Counting?

I have to admit that the prospect of moving in July is causing me no small apprehension and anxiety. It's not leaving this house, it's all the considerations that go into a move. That's just five short months away. Where will the money come from? Moving is expensive...


Just Open Up & Let it Out

I believe that singing is a lot more than most people think it is. In fact, I believe singing is proof of the soul. More to the point, music is proof to me that we each possess a soul, regardless of our species. But for the purpose of this entry I'll stick with the human being, and I'll stick with singing rather than playing an instrument.

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.


People think they don't know me when, actually, I'm rather an open book. No, I'm not. Well, I am, but it's complicated. Like most of us, there are (at least) two of me. On the one hand, what you know of me is only what I choose to show you. On the other hand, what you see is what you get. That's not true. Well, it is, it just depends on the nature of our relationship...


Notes to Self

Dear SK,

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...

A Wee Sermon

I had no idea how much of me had slowly gone to sleep, month-by-month, since 1993. First, it was a lack of energy, then I lost my ability to make decisions, then I lost my music, and then my physical senses.

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 Hashimoto's 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...


Sunday Linkage - 2/22/09

I think that on Sundays I'll post things I read on my favorite blogs that have impressed me for one reason or another. If you've never read some of these blogs, pay them a visit...


You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Forget super powers, I just wanna dance!

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.


Armchair Circumnavigator: The World

The World is a man-made archipelago of 300 islands in the shape of a world map. The World is one of several artificial island developments in Dubai. Like the other artificial island projects such as the Palm Islands, The World was built primarily using sand dredged from the sea. Development was by Nakheel Properties and originally conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

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


Something New

No, I'm not crushing your sun, that is the joy of daylight. This morning I awoke to sunshine both inside and out: no migraine and no cloudy sky. If the weather gadget on my desktop didn't tell me that it's 39° outside, I'd swear it's a summer morning and I'd be heading out to my hammock.

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 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.


Just Great

Of all the days that I didn't need the gardeners to turn on a Volkswagen-sized air compressor beneath my window so that they could spray the neighborhood yards with toxic insect repellent, it's today.

Just sayin'.


Lessons Learned Late are Better than Lessons Never Learned

There are people who say they don't care, but in truth they actually care very much. Their statement is in fact a battle cry, a defense mechanism raised to keep themselves from getting hurt. Then there are people who say they don't care, and really don't. They've either gotten over or never needed the opinions of other people.

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...


Lost It

The imponderables of life aren't necessarily the big things, they're usually the little things that make up a normal day. Things we take for granted because they're repetitive in nature. Like making coffee in the morning. It's something we do while our brains are still robed in sleep, while we're still on that slow sojourn from the nightly coma to daily wakefulness...


Inbox Ignored

This is one of those weekends I really don't want to end. I usually work through my weekends, but this time I shut it all down and put it all away. And I refuse to pick it up again until late tonight. My Google Desktop sidebar tells me that I have a number of emails in my Alla Breve box, but I'm choosing to ignore them. This has been the most stress-free and relaxing weekend I've had in over a month. I needed this. Keep your hearts and flowers, Hallmark, this is what I wanted for Valentine's Day!

(P.S. Thank you Ville. You know why.)



How about a little history today? How about a little pants history? It's an interesting subject...



It's probably the number of hours I'm working, or it might be the off-and-on grayness of the weather. Or it might be that I seldom get to bed until right before sun-up. Perhaps it's that I haven't eaten and that all I had yesterday was an omelet and three cups of coffee. It's probably that I haven't had any of that today. I'm feeling very #E6D7A7 today. That's 230/215/167 in RGB-speak.

Letters To Dad

Dad died in May of 1993. Since then, there hasn't been a single day that I have not thought about him, or missed him.

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 maybejust maybehe 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.


Alternate Realities

Have you ever thought that a blog could be more than just an update of someone's daily life, or a political opinion, or any other left-brain expression? What if a blog could emanate from the right brain? I think about it all the time. In fact, I've thought about it since I first encountered the medium nearly 10 years ago, and I've experimented with it. In fact, I continue to experiment with it. I envision spaces on the web that make us reach beyond ourselves like literature does. Spaces where we explore the world of mind (not thoughts, mind you), a world where intuition creates the reality and invites readers into alternate universes which, in the world of literature are called "fiction"...


Holy Crapoly!

We just nearly got hit by a tornado! 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...

Why I Love Ventura #7: The Ventura Marina

Last night I ran the coffee percolator through a clean using some powdered toxin made for that purpose, and the coffee tastes so much better. Whenever I do this, I remember someone I encountered long ago. He has become a permanent--although tiny--stitch in the embroidery of my life...


Is it Morning Yet?

Success! I did what I intended to do! That is, shower, go to bed, and sleep the day away. I woke up a couple of times, but resisted the guilt-inspired urge to get up. I finally woke up feeling betterthough not by mucharound 3:00. Two cups of coffee later, I'm somewhat awake. God only knows what will happen tonight.

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 (although I haven't been in the chat for months and I deserve to be destroyed). Actually, I think that Patrick at The Lost Ogle summed up the awards best. Wish I had balls like that...

Plans For a Rainy Day

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?


Road Trip

Some of the best and most challenging thoughts come to me the moment I wake up. Take this morning. My first thought was, I'm never quite sure I'm doing this life thing right. And of course, that thought brought up a slew of other such thoughts.

I remembered a trip my mom and I took in the spring of 1972. Joel was around 15 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...


Armchair Circumnavigator: A Message to GoogleEarthlings

I was just flying over my old stomping grounds in Brighton, England, and I saw this. It just made me smile. Click to enlargiate.

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.

A Sapphire Anniversary

Today is a very special day for me. It was 45 years ago today that the Beatles first arrived in America on February 7, 1964. And inasmuch as 45th anniversaries are signified by the sapphire, and that's my birthstone, I consider this a special day for me and me alone. Well, and any other Beatle-Peatles"that were born in September... Here's video to mark this date. I can't believe it was that long ago!

Just When You Thought it Was Safe

Just when you thought it was safe to watch late night TV again, Vince, the headpieced Sham-Wow dude returns with the Slap-Chop...


Introducing the Letter 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.


If I Sleep, Will the Clowns Eat Me?

I think I now know more about the musicians, comedians, clowns, and magicians of the San Francisco area than any one person really needs to know. Without making 20%, that is.

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.

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!


Doing the Happy Dance

After a three-year roller coaster that took me through all the different levels of hell, I am finally leaving the ThyroidzillaLand Amusement Park. I just received a call from my doctor's nurse, who told me that my THS levels came back "perfect". I don't have to change my dosage or go back to the vampires for a whole year! I feel like I've just been told that I'm in remission, that feeling as good as I have the past two months isn't just a fluke, that I'm going to live.

The nightmare is over. For now.


Nothing's Ever As Easy As it Seems

Have you ever had an idea, a really good idea, a simple idea, an idea to create something novel and unique, and then, as you start to research that idea, you find out it's not so unique, but still, your take on it is, so you plunge onward with it, learn all you can about its history, its tradition, its impact on society, and the deeper you go, the more you find out that it's not all that simple—you find out it's really complicated, in fact—that it has many long-established rules attached to it, and then you really start to hate Google and Wikipedia because they've made something so simple and pure into something complicated and difficult?

Me too.


I Respectfully Decline Your Invitation

I'll probably insult some of you, but I don't get into the gladiatorial games and the once-a-year burp-off known as Superbowl. I'm not into sports anyway, football being the one that tops the list. I don't understand the mountains of money the players make, I don't get the naked, flabby beer bellies on the guys who paint themselves in tribal colors, roaring and grunting into the television cameras, and I don't get the way our country has fixated on all that.