Saturday, December 31, 2005

The great train ramble-ry

At the opening of The Blues Brothers you hear a song playing "She caught the Katy, left me a mule to ride."

"Oh, my baby caught the Katy left me a mule to ride,
The train pulled out I ran on behind
Still crazy 'bout her, that hard-headed gal of mine."

I was in a cover band that did this song with proper gender adjustments. It's a great tune.

But never I knew what the Katy was. Some kind of train, but from where to where? And when I tried to look it up on Google back some years ago I got porn sites, with no explanation.

Until today. According to this cnn article (which is actually about dudes biking across the States) ganked from AR, the Katy was the Missouri, Kansas, Texas line: The M-KT.

It's further evidence for the march of time, y'know? Back in the day most folks had probably heard of the Katy. Some of them probably had family who rode it. Now, no one leaves their lover by train anymore. At least in the States.

Trains make for the best cinema, though. The flashback scene in "Casablanca," "Love in the Afternoon." Great for love stories, great for spy stories. Trains rock.

In the 70's there was this coca cola commercial in which a travelling american boy is trying to strike up a conversation with an asian girl in a train compartment. He tries to speak to her in any number of languages "Sprechen sie deutch?" ha ha ha and she shakes her head shyly at each attempt. He offers her a coke which offers a first glimmer of recognition; "Co-ca-co-rah?" she says. What an icebreaker! Suddenly things are friendly in the train cab between the boy, the girl, and everyone else in the cab. "Have a coke and a smile." Coca-cola spreading goodwill and friendship across the globe.

I wonder if it had to be a coke, though. What if he had offered her an orange? Who doesn't like oranges?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Yeah, or I could do this instead

In the year 2006 I resolve to:

Eat at least 2 pigeons a week.

Get your resolution here

Thursday, December 29, 2005


I do not click on the splashy banner ads, pop ups or pop unders.

But I do click on the google text ads. And I am developing a real fascination for the webclips at the top of the gmail pages.

It is counterintuitive that a small line of text would grab me where animations, games, the promise of a free ipod, and crazy graphics do not.

I think the tiny text ad piques my curiosity and creates a need to know.


The year is coming to a close. And I am meditating on this year and on New Year's resolutions. I make many of the same resolutions every year and break them. Lose weight, save money, get organized, make a greater effort to keep in touch, read the complete works of Shakespeare, go the Kentucky Derby, see Bryce Canyon. One year I resolved to be a bitch. I remember announcing this to CE and her friend who said "Some think this is the year of the snake, but actually, it's the year of the bitch." And the two of them nodded vigorously in agreement on this. There are some who would argue that every year is the year of the bitch. And I raise a hand to salute you, Sister!

One year I decided that it was more important to keep my resolution than what it actually was. So I resolved to take a multivitamin everyday. I did it for 100 days, ran out of capsules and never went back. But you gots to keep trying right? Bouncing back into the game, that's what it's all about.

For 2006

Obviously, get a job. Sha-na-na-na, Sha-na-na-na-na
I would like to place my feet on the path towards a vocation but all things considered, a job would do me just fine.

This year one of my resolutions started after Thanksgiving. I am being more open with my parents about what it going on in my life. Tell you what, it ain't easy.

Lose my thesis weight. I split the seams of the dress I wore to EF's wedding when I bent down to pick up a hair brush.

Digging through the city of boxes I have stored in my parents' basement, I again faced my affluenza. Despite all that I sold, donated, or threw away, I still have a lot of stuff. So this year I am going to continue to fight my sentimental and acquisitive nature and pare down my material world.

Read the news more regularly. I used to get so worked up about the news. It got hard to get out of bed. So I stopped following it. It's mostly about the struggle of folks to get what they want, right? A war here, a lawsuit there. With one side (usually the wealthy, powerful side winning - but not always). The names and the coutries change but the essential conflicts and struggles are so much the same. However, I end up feeling like a sack of hammers when I talk to folks. To allieviate this and in recognition of the fact that I am not an island or a rock it's back to news of the world.

And lastly I am going to write people back faster. I often find myself muddled in my life (happy or sad) and reply to people's mail/email, return their calls months and months after receiving them.

There are many other things I would like to resolve to do and change and stuff but I'll be lucky if I even manage to do one or a subset of these. And there's next year to consider.

Maybe I'll add to this list: Read a Winter's Tale.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Your 2005 Song Is

Since You've Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

"But since you've been gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on"

In 2005, you moved on.

It's funny in itself but also because in May I wrote this. (still laughing)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

channeling Rob Brezsny

I am sure that you have heard of Freewill Astrology that strange and contorted weekly metaphorical food for thought which is fun to read but perhaps not so clear with the crystal ball predictions one usually associates with the field. Some weeks I read mine twice and still have no idea what it's trying to tell me. Right. So as we barrel towards 2006, the Year of the Dog, I thought I'd channel some of that Brezsny-ness out into the blog-o-sphere.

I have become the queen of late night (super late night) reruns. One of which is a super late night repeat of Oprah. Ah, the blessed Oprah. Oprah had a piece on a woman who with neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis caused her to get tumor growths on her skin. One of them was malignant and grew rapidly. In a year the tumor grew to be 200 pounds. 200 pounds on a woman who weighed 120 pounds. 200 pounds!

Doctors all over the country told her that surgical removal of this tumor (resistant to radiation therapy) would in all likelihood kill her. At the same time having the tumor was also killing her. It was an immense strain on her body especially on her heart.

After searching and searching, she found a doctor willing to take the chance and perform the surgery. It took 18 hours to remove. She lost 50 pints of blood. She weighed 95 pounds after surgery and it took 2 years to fully recover. When asked why she risked the dangerous surgery she said that the tumor was preventing her from holding and playing with her little girl. She wanted to be a mom. She wanted her life back. And today she is free.

Hopefully you are not carrying a 200 pound tumor around, hopefully you are happy and thriving and striving but perhaps metaphorically, you are carrying something psychic-ly heavy and malignant. Something that you think that you can't live without, the loss of which you think might kill you. Something that has taken over your life and is preventing you from being who you are meant to be.

Let this be the year that you perform the extraction. Look around you for help from others and inside yourself for the strength to take the risk and remove that thing and take your life back. Find the beautiful person that you are without it. It won't be easy but it's your life, and Loreal would tell you, you are worth it.

*the new age self-help section of this blog is now closed, we now resume our reguarly schedule ranting*

Friday, December 23, 2005

very small stories

NPR and a few of the other media types that I have had a passing contact today are speaking to the nature of the TWU/MTA contract dispute in NYC. 'bout time. I wonder about the media blackout of negotiations. Who does that benefit, if anyone?

Okay. Enough Ms. Crankypants.

My Black Thumb and Housekeeping
The mango seeds never rooted or sprouted. The banana seeds also never sprouted or rooted. The snap dragons have pretty much all died from utter neglect. But the garlic that I forgot to throw in the fridge is growing like crazy. So I planted the cloves.

Chicken Soup for the Body
I have been feeling flu-ey for many days now and threw together a pot of from scratch chicken soup which I proceeded to eat for two days. Note to self: must get a bigger stock pot for the large ambitious cookin' projects. With apologies to My beloved vegetarian Guy I got great satisfaction from the comsumption of bird. Up next: curried chicken salad, curried fruit, and ginger snap cookies. Yes, after days of dead taste buds, I have yen for spiciness and hopefully the stomach to handle it.

Two Days to Xmas
Today the weather was gorgeous. The drivers were cranky jerks as always but the folks at my usual grocery haunts were friendly cheerful as can be. Which was a pleasant surprise for the day before Xmas eve.

There were many confused men wandering around Bed Bath and Beyond alone today, holding strange household devices in the hopes that they were doing the right thing.

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall
I am going through a makeup phase. I go through these periodically. It is a combination of boredom, feeling plain, and seeing all the damn beauty products that I have foolishly spent my earnings on. The tubes and pots of hope and nonsense that ultimately represent a promise that with care and application I could look like those 17 year olds who grace the pages of glossy magazines. Promises impossible to fulfill. But I got much amusement from last night's goth queen makeover.

Holida-a-ay, Celebra-a-ate
For those of you who are celebrating this holiday on Pagan terms or on Christian ones or just happy to have a few days off,
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

feelin' blue

I am sadded by the decision of the TWU 100 to end the strike without a contract.

I am sad for what this might mean.

What you give up, is lost. Getting it back will be a bloody fight.

"Driven at first by economics, but increasingly by ideology, the crusade to dissolve all employer and state responsibility for individual welfare has swept like a grim reaper through pension plans, health insurance, labor rights and minimum wages. New York transit workers are fighting to stop that trend in their particular domain, not for themselves but for the next generation of workers. They are fighting against the lie that abstract, neutral economic necessity, not the ideas and interests of the rich and powerful, are driving the demolition of what remains of social solidarity. Their fight is worth supporting in itself, for the dignity and well-being of a group of hardworking women and men."
-Joshua B. Freeman article for the Nation

I got an anonymous comment full of links to a white power website. I deleted it. I do not approve of anonymous commentors especially the ones who leave racist links. 'Cmon Dude, racism is so, 1800's. We're in a new millenium, dig?

Yet another reason why Canada Rocks (crossposted)

The Canadian Supreme Court has redefined indecency to use harm, rather than community standards, as the key yardstick.
The issue under debate was the question of whether group sex and swingers clubs were criminal because they were indecent.

"Over time, courts increasingly came to recognize that morals and taste were subjective, arbitrary and unworkable in the criminal context and that a diverse society would function only with a generous measure of tolerance for minority mores and practices."
The courts have gradually moved from subjective considerations to objective standards, focused on the harm caused by the acts.
"The threshold is high," McLachlin wrote. "It proclaims that, as members of a diverse society, we must be prepared to tolerate conduct of which we disapprove, short of conduct that can be objectively shown beyond a reasonable doubt to interfere with the proper functioning of society."
Bad taste, violation of religious or moral standards or even public disgust aren't by themselves enough to make something indecent.
Conduct that confronts the public, which predisposes others to anti-social behaviour or actually harms those taking part, would meet the test, McLachlin wrote.


work in america

On skimming through Google News, Yahoo News, and even listening to NPR today, the mainstream media coverage of the NYC Transit Worker's Strike seems to be pretty biased in an anti-union direction. This maybe because most of the media folks now have to walk, bike, blade into work in the cold. It may also be because they are freelance writers who do not have benefits or workers with lousy benefits and cannot feel sympathy for those who actually do.

Those on strike face fines that start at $25,000 on the first day and double for every day thereafter. They might be jailed. Their union is being fined $1 million a day for every day they strike which will bankrupt them in about 4 days.

Don't you want to know why?
And shame on you Michael O'Brien of the Transit Worker's Union International for hanging the local 100 out to dry.

Positive views of this strike:
Beyond the Nickel and Dime blames the MTA
what the North eastern federation of anrachist communists think
Bill Fletcher Jr. : My Vote goes to the NYC Transit Workers!
Juan Gonzalez : Eventful Time for the Union
Confined Space : lives and deaths of ny transit workers
Confined Space: Blogging the Transit Strike
The Labor Blog : Against Slavery

For something a little less glowing but interesting:
commie curmudgeon : Credit to the T.W.U - As Far as it Goes

Okay, so there has not been a transit strike in NYC in 25 years.

The Transit Worker's Union Local 100 was negotiating a contract with the metropolitan transit authority (MTA which was running billion dollar surplus up until the time of the negotiations when it disappeared) The ins and outs of the negotiations are difficult to tease out. In the end the MTA brought in provisions in which future hires would pay a higher percentage of their salary towards benefits and take a 10 year pay cut. The TWU decided that this was unfair and that the MTA by bringing these changes to the final meeting at which they expected to sign the contract were negotiating in bad faith.

Seems to me that the media finger of blame is pointing in the wrong direction. It's the local 100's job to look after the interests of its members and that is what they are doing. It's Mayor Michael Bloomberg's job to look after the interests of his constituency, the people of NYC. It's Mayor Michael Bloomberg's job to make sure that the trains and buses are up and running in the city. That's why he got elected. It's his job to do everything that he can to ensure that the city does not lose $400 million dollars a day (a figure that incidentally the Goldman Sachs people think is greatly exaggerated.) Calling the transit workers thugs and greedy theives, running to the courts to fine the pants off of them, getting Judge Theodore T. Jones to threaten to jail them is hardly behavior that is conducive to meaningful negotiation. Negotiating a mutually beneficial labor contract, that's his job. Which at this moment he is not doing very well.

Unless he is doing this on purpose in an effort to destroy this union and to chip away the benefits of the city's unionized public employees into nothingness. Thumbs up, dude. And at the expense of the misery of the people of New York. Bonus.

If you live in NYC and you are pissed about the strike. Call the MTA 212-878-7274 and the Mayor 212-NEW-YORK or 311 and the governor 518-474-7516. They are supposed to represent your interests. Tell them what you want.

If you want the TWU to represent your interests elect Roger Toussaint as the next mayor of NYC.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

music and its discontents

Sorry folks, I have coffee in the late afternoon. Thus, the bloggerhea.

I am Ms. Crankypants right now. Mostly because I have been meditating on how ickypants the recording industry is. And from reading Domystic's most recent summary of the news this week and most of it very much chaps my hide.

"If you're happy and you know it clap your hands
If you're not, that's okay, give me a call. *clap clap*
If you're happy and you know it then your face will surely show it
but if you're not, that's okay, give me a call. " *clap clap*

The music industry sucks. It is a fact that most will agree on. From the point of view of the consumer and of the artist. Son't get me started on the consumer end. For now let's talk about artist development. There are heartbreaking stories of what happened to the great R&B artists of the past. People who signed over the rights to their songs for a cadillac and ended up in poverty while someone else made a fortune. And there are heartbreaking stories of what is happening to artists right now.

Courtney Love gave a speech at the Digital Hollywood Online entertainment conference in 2000 giving a breakdown of just how the life of a recording artist is like that of a modern day sharecropper. This speech is somewhat articulate and quite compelling. Turns out she can do more than throw things at people and get arrested.

Steve Albini has written a very famous essay about how the music industry will fuck you over. I did not realize that it was first published in a zine called Maximum RockNRoll (issue #133)

The songs that you write and record under a recording contract do not belong to you. They are considered work for hire and belong to the label. However you do not get paid for the work you do. You are given an advance. Out of that money you record and promote, license, and merchandise your music. Everyone is taking a precentage of the sales and you might make forty cents to a dollar per CD. You don't see any of that money until your advance is recouped by everyone else involved the label, the producer, the t-shirt guy, the marketing people, the "get you played on the radio" people.

Your favorite artist sees more of your money if you buy the CD straight from her hands at the merch table or if you mail him a dollar bill.

Everyone blames someone else when they look at what happens to the artists that get screwed over. They blame the radio for not playing their songs. They blame the artist for not being good enough or working hard enough to promote themselves. They blame the label for not supporting them.

The business people in the music business have relied on having a stranglehold on distribution, tap dancing circles around their bands with a shower of legalese, and the rule of radio to make their living. (the rule of radio: if you play a song enough times it will inevitably grow on the listener.) Note they distribute. They do not sell, write, or perform. The standard contract is written to favor the house.

I understand the distribution and exposure problem. Having booked three shows and lost money, I know that it's really difficult to get people to come out to see a band that they have never heard. No matter how much that band truly rocks.

With all of this in a major label's favor apparently of 4-6,000 artists that are promoted and distributed in a year only 225 turn a tidy profit for them. (factoid from a very old la weekly article.)

Why so few? Music is experienced in a very personal and emotional way even in a packed venue. It's hard to predict who will love what song, what band and why. And with each generation their taste is often a reaction against what used to be popular. How's a aging hipster supposed to recognize the net big thing? It is difficult to predict which bands will stay together and which ones will grow creatively in directions that the listener will continue to respond to. Added to that some say that labels are not willing to put the time into artist development. And perhaps label execs actually suck at the job they are paid a lot of money to do.

On the bright side of all of this is the threat that comes from the internet. It could indeed serve to topple the industry as we know it. Which is one way to create change. The structures would be gone but the demand for music would remain waiting to be filled. Perhaps the business will devolve back into the hands of people who really love music. And companies like Seagrams and Sony and Nabisco and Turtle wax will wander off to take a crack at other kinds of businesses. (calm down, the last two are obviously untrue and pure snarkiness)

Perhaps some of these ideas for micropay music distribution will happen. Or someone will find a business model that can run circles around the big labels without getting bought out or sued out of existence. Or someone will figure out new means for distribution or getting the music out to the listener. Or someone will bring an antitrust lawsuit against these media conglomerates that have consolidated so much of the media in our world.

Some folks have put together the Future of Music Coalition. they seem to be a lobbying and education organization. Very change the system from within kind of stuff. Not so glamorous but important.

There is the excellent CDbaby which has been selling CD's for independent artists. They have a excellent, if depressing, list of articles for indie artists. (they have links to the Albini and the Love articles.)

One interesting idea that is floated in one of their articles is that at the point at which artists are being wooed by record labels they should actually negotiate. They should ask for benefits. They should ask for healthcare. They should ask for a retirement plan during the tenure of their recording contracts. The refusal to agree to these things should be deal breakers. And any attempt to strip a band of these while under contract should result in their immediate release from their contract. They should ask for contract renegotation not renewal at the discretion of the label. They should ask for complete control over their merchandising. Or whatever it is that will help them break even/make a buck.

This is unlikely to happen. After all most artists are young and naive and foolish. Only 30 somethings ask about the benefits a job offers. (They had damn well better!) And I mean benefits beyond the potential for hot action and all the blow you can stuff up your nose.

Knowledge is power, kids.

I think the key here is that an artist is also in business. And should take active control of that aspect of his work. If he doesn't, the people that he does business with will screw him over. (that goes for the ladies too. TLC, Toni Braxton ...)

And don't even get me started on the whole live music thing.
Last I checked, in CU most bands rely on promoters and saloon owners to give them the opportunity to play. I don't understand why more of them don't take control. Rent space and promote and book their own shows. It does involve financial risk and hustle but in return they can decide when and where and with whom they play. They also have control over how money gets split up amongst the acts. All of these are very big things. In CU, it is the case that at some saloons local bands do not get paid very well (if at all) compared to touring acts. Which sucks.

Yes, it is a pain in the ass to self-book and self-promote. But it also gives you autonomy and control. Life is full of tradeoffs.

Self Professed Spamadian?

There's this site where they recycle horrible email spam into weird t-shirt slogans. I love this idea, natch. I kick myself for not coming up with it myself. Their links page can direct you to other spam recycling efforts and spam related sites. What they lack, sadly, is links to information about the actual processed meat which is itself a fascinating subject. SPAM used to have its own festival. SPAM has its own museum. People write SPAM haiku. SPAM is cooked in the can. And yummy (the less salt variety) with a medium fried egg and a bowl of rice. The Official Hormel SPAM site is kind of dorky, delightful, and bizarre for a corporate site.

This space is myspace, this space is your myspace

Carson Daly has a myspace account. He annouced this fact on "Last Call" the TV show he hosts. *puke* Some people are really desperate for love. Yes. I have a myspace account too. Which probably means that I am one of them. It is impossible to find. I can't decide on a username. I have, ten friends. I was going to try to pimp my songs there but have had some trouble doing it so far and ended up playing the games instead. I am particularly fond of "Ant Farm" and "Speedy Thief."

Other games I have been playing ( a bad habit that I have dropped and picked up many times much like a pack a day smoker most recently picked up during nanowrimo.) to be found on yahoo! games! are "Betrapped" (parlor room minesweeper) and "Super Bounce Out" (because I really really like the squeaky ball sounds, the boing sound and the hoo hoo sound).

Pieces of My Brain

Yesterday was down and I was utterly lost. When I first heard about this website I thought it was kind of silly. But my site has become an actual compartment of my brain, an online notepad for the links to matters that rattle in my head. To not have access to it was an irritation.

I know, I could use bookmarks. I just really like the look of this site. It's spare and clean looking with those pale pastel colors. So orderly. Makes it easier to think. Yahoo bought them recently and I am concerned by this. I don't want to start seeing logos!, ads, and banners littered all over the space. It would crowd my already overcluttered brain and I would have to find somewhere else to store my links online.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

bows, the tying up of loose ends, and the liberation of G

I moved plants from the office to the 705. Some of them were quite tall. I drove over with the rear windows down so that they could hang out the window like dogs that love travel. Stems quivering, leaves flapping like mad. They have suffered greatly in my care, fighting for their very survival. And now under SM's green thumb my hope is that they grow grow grow.

I wrapped gifts today and had a flashback to another gift wrapping occasion. At a gathering at AC's apartment a fellow named Marcello was watching me fumble with tape and wrapping paper. Being a bit of a Felix Unger, with a passion for gift wrap, he asked if he could help me and then proceeded to wrap with precise creases and beautiful curls of ribbon, narrating his process all the while. I had my beer and nodded in appreciation, half listening, learning nothing. He did a lovely job, though. My mother would have been so proud. I know several girls at the party were very impressed.

These gifts today look rumpled but festive. My Guy assures me that the improvised bows are pretty before dropping off to sleep. That'll do.

We close with a shout out to G who has taken her last final exam of her undergraduate career. Yay! Hep, Hep, Hoorah!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

cake and socks, just not on the same plate

1. Dear MomVee, Kat E, Fishlamp, and Misswg I am without addresses for mailing at this moment. Please email me (ergodica at yahoo dot com) and I will send ya CD's forthwith.

2. I did cry at the wedding. The bride had such a teary happy look on her face that everytime I looked at her I got weepy. While it is not fashionable these days to put a little bride and groom on top of your cake I thought theirs was very romantic.
It was a small and simple affair. Very intimate with close friends and relatives. And really fantabulous food. At least the vegetarian plate was pretty darn good. There was snow outside and talk of hoildays and the chance to touch base with friends.

3. I went to Osco to buy a toothbrush. And I walked out with socks:
warm and comfywarm and fuzzy And they are silly warm and fuzzy. Before this I would describe happiness in many ways but now I can describe happiness as a pair of fuzzy socks.

4. I am disturbed to consider that the CEOs who close factories and layoff their employees will get a raise or a bonus for taking such actions. If a company is in enough trouble that they need to close factories and fire people, where do they get the money to give a CEO or upper management bonuses and raises in the millions of dollars? I do not see where a person should be rewarded for such actions even if it does save money for the shareholder.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I've got music and I'll give it to you for a song

So. My recording is done. I am taking a day or two to sort through the tracks and decide what's actually listenable and then you are welcome to a copy if you would like one. Just let me know.

misty watercolor memories

I have been dragging my foots for years now. Leaving thick black streaks across the floor. The ultrathick soles of my shoes are paper thin in places and rubbing blisters into ma tender foots. At long last. I have moved but no one knows to where. With no final destination to report, not knowing my next big move, I have been bashful about getting in touch with folks. And still am.

I went through my University email account and started collecting up email addresses and I reallized that I have met so many wonderful people. And I have done a really lousy job of keeping in touch with them. I have question marks next to so many names. Has it been too long? Can they still be reached at this address? Is it insulting for me to try to get back in touch with them? Will they be offended? What if it has been too long and there is nothing to say? What if time has changed us too much and we have grown apart? Do they even remember who I am?

In part I have been so silent because I have nothing to report. No wedding, no offspring, no raises, no purchase of property, no big moves, or new jobs. I have not cured cancer or solved world hunger. (In either case I suppose they would read about it in the paper and not need to wait for an email from me. =P) For years and years my life was ( and might still be) a line from a Joni Mitchell song: "Everything comes and goes, marked by lovers and styles of clothes."

Sure, I did stuff: tai-chi, cardio boxing, radio show sidekick, makeup user, piano lessons, run a 5k, concert promoter and staffer, sounds girl, radio interviewer and producer, cover band singer, songwriter, social drinker, knitter, cat owner, spider solitaire player. But for whatever reason it did not seem worth mentioning. Much less the hours spent on the confocal microscope and setting up fly crosses and marathon dissections and immunoprocessing. And image after image of negative or ambiguous data.

But perhaps that was my problem. My underestimation of the life that I was living. BW thinks I need to embrace the fuzzy nature of my life and just go with it. He might just have a point there.

I am looking for a Christmas card that reads: "I know that we have not been in touch for years. Too many years. I hope you are well. What's been up? Despite my tendencies towards worry and self-criticism, I am doing really well. I think of you fondly. We had grand times back then, no? Sorry you're getting this in February. Many hugs."

Saturday, December 10, 2005

RIP Richard Pryor

I read the news today, oh boy.

bits and noise

1. There are the usual places where air will escape from the body. The back end. As discussed recently by Jay. And the nose and mouth. But this morning I woke to the sensation of having air pass from another body cavity and am a bit puzzled as to how it got there in the first place. (!)

2. I am going to the wedding of SS who is marrying AE, his girlfriend of 9-10 years today. I imagine that I will get teary at this shin-dig as that is what I do of late. It didn't used to be that way but as the years pass I guess I become more of a sap. (If that is possible.) I have been going to weddings since my freshman year of high school and attended most of them alone. Which is not as much fun now as it used to be. Over time weddings have become very Noah's Ark - it 's a good idea to show up as a pair. Showing up alone makes you the odd woman out. Today, I have a date. My Guy is wearing a purple shirt. Which is snazzy. I have broached the possiblity of branching out into other colors for the sake of variety: blue or off white or pink but so far have met with a tepid response. Just another gal trying to redress her man I guess.

3. And I am about at the end of my trailing days in Champing-Urbanana. The weekly 4-6 hours of driving will not be missed but the people and favorite haunts will. I had an order of super nachos yesterday in honor of this impending change and was uncomfortably full for the rest of the day. It is a dish better consumed drunk. As is true of the Stack. But it was delightful nonetheless.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

This year in review meme

Ganked from my LJ friends. Take the first few lines of the first post of each month. It is a mini-review of your 2005.

"Truth is my friend, just between good guys. It's not what road you take, what life you pick to live in. No matter what you choose, the longing is a given. And that's what makes the ache that only the good guys ache.

Closer than Ever is a fucking brilliant musical. No two ways about it. Although it seems like longing for the road not taken is an ache that people who are not good guys might also feel."

"My Guy is professionally concerned with issues of human rights. He showed me this last night:

children's drawings "

"I see the Indigo Girls every chance that I get. I have seen them twice in town. Once at the Performing Arts Center. The sound quality surpassed any other venue it was so good my heart was cracking my chest with happiness."

"I have a mental block in my head that is making it very hard to grasp statistics.
Yeah yeah sigma, yeah yeah normal distribution, 1.96, p value null hypothesis ... might as well all be written in Estonian."

"If confusion about your [...] life is ruining your day, I think it's good to go over to your best friend's house and ruin her day too. "
-L.A. Story

my life is spent in a place
where I put on a happy face"

"Endnote lovefest - drop in all them references
Make text from fragments
Cover my Netrin-1 bases"

"All my life I have wanted to bake bread. I have this day-dream about becoming a baker - up before the sun, covered in flour, elbow deep in bread dough. Providing people with the staff of life."

"I have some songs up on purevolume. You can check out my pugly self and hear me bring my genre - meatball folk music to the people."

"I have been watching "America's Next Top Model." I am entirely enthralled. In part, it stems from a fascination with the beautiful people. I wish it were otherwise but I will admit that in many ways I have been duped by the beauty myth."

Monday, December 05, 2005

525,600 minutes (crosspostage)

"How do you measure - measure a year?
In daylights - In sunsets
In midnights - In cups of coffee
In inches - In miles
In laughter - In strife"

"How about love?"

I finally saw Rent. The show was much much better. The movie was very uneven. Hot and Cold. It would get static. I would get bored and then the movie would grab me and throw me off the fire escape. For all my grumbling about boring static and cold, I cried and cried throughout. I am a sucker for musicals. Especially the dramatic emotional ones about life and death. The ensemble vocals gave me chills. And Rosario Dawson kicked serious ass. She has come a far way from being the sidekick in "Josie and the Pussycats."

I scoffed, I yawned, I laughed, I cried all at the same movie.

Rent took seven years to be born. Its creator Jonathon Larson saw the final dress rehearsal for this show, did an interview, went home, put on some tea, and died of an aortic aneurysm. This at the age of 35.

Jon Larson wrote the book of a lifetime. A show about celebrating life in the face of death. He did not live to see opening night. But he did live long enough to make it happen.

I am 35. And I hope I have at least seven more years to do that thing. The one thing that is everything. To do the thing of my lifetime. (whatever it is)

Makes me wonder if there is something that I was put on this earth to do. I could ask that question of you too.

"There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.
No other road
No other way
No day but today"

It is a tension of contradictions that life is to be lived in each moment as if every day was your last and also as if you are going to live forever.

"Life is what happens when you are making other plans." -John Lennon Nonetheless we all make them, we can't help it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

soul mind heart and hand

I have been watching "America's Next Top Model." I am entirely enthralled. In part, it stems from a fascination with the beautiful people. I wish it were otherwise but I will admit that in many ways I have been duped by the beauty myth.

Secretly, I have suspected that being pretty was everything. That being pretty or a big flirt would open the kind of doors that I could not even imagine. That life is better and people love you more and in the end you are more successful. That the more like a fairy tale princess you are, the more like a fairy tale your life will be. That my life would be better if I were prettier.

And what industry is more fixated on looks than modeling?

It is strange to watch a show in which I am rooting for young, pretty, vapid girls whose dream in life is to pose for pictures and sell me deodorant and sunglasses. And yet, I feel for them. I want them to realize this silly dream.

In part, it's fun to see pretty girls not get what they want. To see that they are human and imperfect. They have bad hair days and they sometimes fall flat. To watch them face harsh but perplexingly vague criticisms (beauty being to some degree subjective).

In part, it's surprising to see that being pretty doesn't mean that you will take a pretty picture. There is more to it than showing up and batting your eyelids.

I have been disillusioned with the show towards the end. I really liked Lisa, the crazy funny looking girl who knows how to take a good picture. She was eliminated. I also liked Kim, the androgynous tom boy who had to struggle every week to fit some girly feminine mold. She was eliminated as well. In the beginning they tell the girls to be themselves and that personality and presence are essential for a top model. In the end they picked pretty girls with no personality and then keep trying to pressure a distinctive spark out of them.

We live in a time when a woman (some women) can be more than a pretty face, more than a pretty thing. She can be soul, mind, heart, and hand. She is a human being. Human. There is so much more to human than pretty.

Tonight, I watched a movie called "Iron Jawed Angels." An HBO movie about Alice Paul and Lucy Burns and the struggle for a constutional amendent to secure for women the right to vote in the US. The level of hatred and hostility that these women faced was astounding. I am knocked out by the determination and the courage that these women showed in their struggle. They would not wait. They were tired of waiting. They started the National Women's Party in 1917. They criticized the majority party, the Democrats. They criticized the president in a time of war. Because even though the country was at war it did not change the injustice of denying women the vote. And they insisted that the president and the nation had to face and address this injustice.

The scenes in which they are in prison are so painful. To have the courage and conviction to go to prison and resist and protest in there. Guts and determination. Being pretty did not win women the right to vote. It took more than that.

Alice Paul fought for women's rights until she died in 1977.

Taking a pretty picture is nice. Getting paid money to have your picture taken is nice. For most of us that life is a fantasy. The state of women in our world is a reality and that reality is not nice.

All over this world women suffer. They are raped, they are beaten, they are bought and sold, they are denied work, they are denied autonomy, they are denied choices, they are denied their humanity. They. We. In many parts of this world women are not free.

Here, we are lucky. But it is not actually luck that brought us here. It is that we live in debt to women who would not stand for injustice. Who would not be patient. Who would not be quiet.

How can we repay this debt?