Tuesday, November 21, 2006

chauvinism in the studio or society?

Watching all the media flak and corporate crap that Jordan McDeere goes through on Studio 60 just kills me.

And it seems like she gets it way worse because she is a woman in a position of power. Everytime she gets a talking to from Danny, or Jack, or Wilson about how she has to do something to fix her image and to make people like her she points out the double standard at play in the scenario. Their response to this is frown a little, shrug it off and stress that she needs to fix her media image problem.

I feel so frustrated and straitjacketed right along with her. Because apparently the world has changed enough to give her the opportunity to become president of a major television network but not enough to let her keep that job without ongoing attempts to publically humilitate her and try to get her fired. I really feel for her.

This is despite the fact that she is a socially awkward, very ambitious, corporate tool and a oddly kind of a goody goody what for all scandal she's had in her life. Kind of like a grown-up Lisa Simpson who's taken some weird turns and made a few too many compromises but still retains her soul - by a thread - and manages to come off shiny as a penny.

(Or perhaps because of the same fact ... it's really hard to say.)

Then she confesses that when she took the job she decided to run the network as if she had one year to live.

Which has me asking myself what I would do if I had one year to live.
I would like to think that I would take risks and cut to the heart of the matter at every moment.
My fear is that the most likely scenario would be that I would cry and mope for two or three months and then live my life usual except eat more chocolate and ice cream.

Monday, November 20, 2006

YouTube meme

There's this meme on Youtube that started with a movie called "One World"

The author wrote a message on his/her hand and put it up to the camera. The message was "One World" with an invitation to respond.

There are lots and lots of responses of all kinds.
Sincere, corny, clever, rude, offensive, stupid.
And corny as some of them, as many of them are ...

I'm kind of moved and entranced by the whole thing.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Vox Pop is a groovy little place to play. You are surrounded by books and friendly people who are all about being political and progressive. They serve fair trade coffee, beer, wine, salads, sandwiches, and (second hand report) an out of sight veggie burger. The crowd was friendly and lively. Added to that a few friends from work and a few friends from way back came out to show their support. I was nerrrrvous and it was great to see friendly faces in the audience. Not everyone was a fan of the sound system but I liked the set up there. The sound in the room felt very warm. Very yellow like the walls. And at the back of the tiny little stage was a sort of padded couchy bench I sat on. It was almost like practicing guitar on the bed at home. Very comforting association but at some point I am going to have to start playing while standing.

The other acts were pretty outstanding.
Jeff Harms came in from Chicago. He has a deliciously low voice and a skewed worldview. His album comes with a really funny activity book and a pencil. And he has a song about a sailing ship. I am jealous as I have always intended to write a sea shanty or a boat song it just hasn't really come together yet.

Stacy Rock has an astounding technical virtuosity and polish vocally and musically. And she's gorgeous to boot. Imagine Fiona Apple's work crossed with Tori Amos/Sarah McLaughlin vocals. Now imagine all of that music coming out of Famke Janssen. That's Stacy Rock.

Both of these acts were very good. Much more professional than me. And then it was the Lunamarys from Indiana. oh. my. god. They made my night. They were seriously fucking amazing. I am considering making them my new religion. With Jane on backing vocals and on guitar and Mel soaring and growling and singing and wailing on vocals. It was transcendent. Mel has a vibrant and vital voice - clear and crisp and incredibly elastic in range and capacity and her stage presence is so focused and powerful. Every motion, every gesture, every change in expression picked up and amplified out from the stage. The song writing was smart and vivid and genuine.

The tunes on myspace do not do justice to any of the acts of the evening particularly the Lunamarys, though go see them live.

And for today I went to the library, paid my late fines, and got new books! Yay!
I visited three coffee shops while wrestling with my pathetic nanonovel wordcount. I am at 10k now. I am supposed to be at 35k by this coming Wednesday best get cracking on that. In the first week several people commented that they wrote through 10-15K before getting to the point where they were actually starting to tell the story they intended to tell. Which I thought was kind of odd but I am finding that this is my experience as well. I didn't really know where things were going but I started by writing a scene that would be at the middle of the whole story. Then I went back and started the whole thing in a haphazard way. And now I am about at the point where things start taking on a shape. The three characters in that scene have all been introduced. They are all acquaintances of the narrator. She can certainly create a situation in which they all meet. She has coffee with one of them which will allow us to estabilsh why he do the things he do. The rest of up to them.

Of course plot bunnies could swoop in at anytime. Not that it will really matter in my case cause much like last year ... there's really no plot to speak of.

The RM's cat was nestled into my shoulder purring like mad. He smells like shampoo. Which is weird. He smells like a pretty girl. But he's just a fluffy kitty.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Student shot repeatedly with taser by University of California Police officers

University police officers at UCLA tasered a student who was working at the Powell Library computer lab at 11:30pm because he didn't have an id card and he did not want an officer to physically handle him (grab his arm) as he left the building.

If a person is tasered he will not be able to stand up immediately after being shot. To shoot him again for "refusing to comply" strikes me as an application of excessive force.

One of the police officers threatened to taser bystanders when they him to stop tasering the student on the ground.

There is a Youtube video of this. I can't bring myself to watch it. I am already furious and I don't want to start crying.

What happened to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

This is not right. It has to get fixed. As a nation we have imprisoned ourselves in our fear.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

gimme an "F" - gimme an "S" - gimme an "S"

There's always a long list of things that I want to do in a weekend.
And most of them get tabled.

Because I forget in the midst of the life maintenance things and the neato people to meet and neato things to see that there is the need to unwind. The need for downtime.

F: Nancy and Chuck

This weekend was originally going to begin with an event sponsored by "The Men's Journal." A presentation from a guy who took a long trip to Madagascar. Drinks and snacks provided by Chivas. The RM and I had this theory that perhaps an event like this might be where the boys ... er ... Men are. We RSVP'd and everything.

I think we didn't go because I was feeling weird, ill, anti-social and unappealing. We went instead to the other planned activity of the evening - happy hour drinks at the Nancy Whiskey Bar with co-workers. The Nancy Whiskey Bar is a divey bar with loft are seating that is perfect for short people. A great place to get fatty foods, throw back some drinks, sing along to loveable songs blasting from the jukebox, argue about politics and other stupid bullshit with know-it-alls (provided that you have friends of that sort). Our coworkers are too sensible to argue politics or stupid bullshit. So we went with talking about work and other things that I could not hear in the din of the room. I canvassed those at the table who had spent time in the UK to see if the boys are cuter in Oxford or Cambridge. Simple question. No one seems to have an answer.

The Hero BLT sandwich there has two pounds of bacon on an enormous hero roll. The fries are big wedges of potato with a hint of crisp.

It reminded me of a couple of my favorite saloons in CU. For once I felt very much at home drinkin' in the City.

Weaving back from there I spent the evening bringing closure to the reading of my most recent book for the train: Chuck Klosterman IV:Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas." He's be my train companion for some time now. Witty, sharp, smart, insightful, slightly curmudgeonly, difficult, and very much a guy. I almost missed my subway stop many times whilst reading. And disgraced myself during the commute by laughing out loud and often. Plus most of the essays are short enough to allow the reading of several during my commute.

Sometimes I wonder if his ideas would spin out into greater and deeper dimension if he was not writing about pop culture for Spin.

Sa: Lazed and Cornfused

I knew that there were things I should do/wanted to do: Practicing singing and playing guitar, flyering, laundry, cleaning, shopping for lightbulbs and other essentials, yoga, mailing bills, working on my nanowrimo word count, seeing more of New York, seeing more of Brooklyn, finding a show to attend, working, answering emails, calling friends, and on and on and on.

But I ended up dragging around the house, eating donuts, Budding sliced meat sandwiches, and watching "L'auberge Espanol." A cute movie about a french grad student who studies abroad in Barcelona for a year. It's one of those unstructured movies where stuff happens, then he goes home, and somehow that year changes his life.

Maybe if I had studied abroad for a year during college my life would be changed as well. Although perhaps my life has seen enough changes as it is.

Barcelona is on my list of places to visit. After the movie, I am mentally circling it and bumping it higher up.

Then off to the coffee shop to attempt to put some words behind me for Nano. I am up to a platry 6.5k quite a bit off from the 20k I ought to have. A pathetic showing compared to last year. Next year I will have an outline of the overall story arc to use as my guide.

The shop was very warm and crowded. Apparently killing time in coffee shops with slouchy furniture is just the thing for a Saturday. A few fellas tried to engage the RM in conversation with limited success as she was engrossed in a new book. And I would occassionally grimace at the poor guy and then get back to typing or websurfing.

And back home to watch a very sad Nature documentary called "Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History".
Eat more Budding Sandwiches and Lollygag around.

Su: It's a Wine World

And on this rainy grey day, I went to a wine tasting. An alumni wine tasting. I was pleasantly surprised to run into a few people that I know and meet a few new people. I don't know squat about wine. A lifetime of drinking fruit juice and soda means that I bring a pretty childish point of view to the whole wine tasting experience. Most of what I know comes from what I recall in drinking it myself, reading "Wine For Dummies," and the opinions of my friends who loooove wine.

As far as I can tell:

Cabernet Sauvignon is dark, thick and taste like a punch in the face.
Pinot Noirs taste like dirt, are thinner and lighter. Dry with less after taste.
Beaujolais are very very light and watery. Grapey without tasting sweet.
Zinfandels, the red ones, taste green like grass or moss or the smell of a forest after a good rain.
Merlots are bright reds in flavor, not necessarily in color.
Malbec (at least the one I had that one time ...) is a sweet red.

Kabinett is fruity, sweet and straightforward.
Riesling is fruity, often pretty sweet, but can have other aspects to it.
Gewurtztraminer can be fruity but has a little bite to it, more non-fruity flavors. A crispness at the end.
Pinot Gris is a subtle almost invisible wine.
Chardonnays are white wines that try very hard to be taken seriously. The oaky ones would slap you where a Cab would punch you.

The rest of them are a mystery to me. I tasted an amarone once that was just beautiful, though I can't remember why. It was very expensive too. Maybe that was why.

A syrah, a grenache, a sauvignon blanc, sangiovese, chianti, and ... ? I am at a loss.

I don't know much of the terminology associated with tasting. I got in trouble once for describing a wine as "metallic." It tasted like aluminum foil. No joke. I tend to classify wines as "friendly" or "unfriendly." And of course with my low alcohol tolerance I end up weaving over the table hoping that I am not spitting at people as I speak with them or braying like a jackass. Really, I should learn to spit gracefully. The thing that I wonder about wine tasting is to what degree it really gives you a feel for a particular wine. To me the last sip of a glass is different from the first. The third glass a little different from the second. And throw in some cheese or a plate of spaghetti into the mix and everything shifts yet again.

There was a wine at the tasting that literally smelled a little like vienna sausage or canned ham. I find it interesting that white wines are described as tasting like pale or yellow things like apples or pears or butter while red wines are described as tasting like berries or cherries. But rarely have I had a red wine that tastes sweet or tart or sour. I don't know what else there is there is about red fruits that is in red wine that I am missing.

At this moment I contemplate keeping better track of what I like, the varietals, the kinds of words that would be associated with those wines. When you reach a certain age wine becomes a thing you have. And at that age it's good to have some idea of what you like - because wine turns out to be incredibly subjective and leaving the choosing up to someone else could make for an "unfriendly" bottle and an evening spent trying not to make the *ick* face after each sniff or swallow.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Shameless Act of Self Promotion

I am playing a show in Brooklyn on November 17th. My brilliant friend NF has even made me some groovy fliers:

flyer #1

flyer #2

So if you're in the Brooklyn next Friday ...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Famousville is a small place

At a late lunch today I sat at a table next to Michael Stipe:

from www.americanmovie.com

or at least someone who looks a whole lot like him. He came in, sat down and read the NYTimes with big black chunky reading glasses.

At a table across the room Ed Burns was having lunch with "the guys."

from www.rottentomatoes.com

Recognized because of his very distinctive voice. I wouldn't have noticed them except that the RM pointed out that that table of hobbits looked like they were from out of town.

Perhaps someday I will interrupt someone famous for no reason except to say "Hey it's you! Hi. I love you. ... um, uh ... bye!" And run off.

My project for next week is to make a list of the people I would like to meet in NYC. It starts with zefrank and Malcolm Gladwell.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I am one in a half million, and I am so proud

Well, 559,643 in the US to be more exact.

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

1,190,875 people in the US share my first name.
134,986 people share my last.

This out of 299,968,595 people in the US.

Reminds me of that Gary Larson cartoon "I just gotta be meee!"

Speaking of which, at Worth 1000 they had Far Side Tribute competition. In retelling the joke in a "real image" many of them are as hilarious as they ever were.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

liquor and tissues are in order

Sympathy to Lever. So sorry about Huey. =(

stuff and more stuffness

A personal New York first - I saw a super drunk guy puke on the train. He tried to get off the train but his friends wouldn't let him because it was one stop too early. And after the doors closed he spewed.

And half the train including ldbug and myself rushed to the other side of the car and switched subway cars at the next stop.
I think he knew which stop to get off from. He wanted to get off because he was feeling so sick.

The car we ran into was also being occupied by a young man with a guitar who could actually play and sing quite well. So that was a welcome thing.

ldbug and I were invited last minute to a Sausage Fest in Greenpoint. As Greenpoint is a very Polish part of town, we were unsure whether the invite indicated that the party would be a room full of sausages or a room full of "sausages." We will never know b/c we had a previous engagement to have dinner with nanowrimers. There was hearty ukranian food to be had and guilt. Three days into it and I have maybe 100 words.

Favorite New York Picture to Date:

where's waldo

Found him ... er ... her ... er ... them.

Had I been paying more attention to the things that really matter I probably would have signed up for nablopomo instead of nanowrimo this year. The brightside is that there's lots to read from momvee.
Go, V, Go!

I think one of these months I am going to set out to read 100 blogs. I think it was something that I read about at the Pink Lemonade Diva's blog about Jennifer Garrett's blog. I think the RM will get pretty close to reading 100 blogs this year. I've got a long way to go if I want to catch up.

Congrats are in order to misswg who has brought a lovely baby girl into this world!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Late night blurtletts, other people's words, and edits

"I been up, I been down
Take my word, my way around."
-ZZ Top

Happy Novel Writing Month. 1667 words a day for one month. I thought I had two plots to choose from for this month. It turns out that I was all set to write "Don Quixote" or a novelization of "Unbreakable." So now it is November and like last year, I've got nothing. I felt like a great big nothing. But the email that Chris Baty sent out to all of us nanowrimo-er's cheered me up considerably.

"Novels are not written by novelists. Novels are written by everyday people who give themselves permission to write novels. Whatever your writing experience, you have a book in you that only you can write. And November is a beautiful month to get it written."
-Chris Baty

While I do not like the Rod Stewart cover I have always liked the Tom Waits song "Downtown Train."
"Outside another yellow moon
has punched a hole in the nighttime"
-Tom Waits

So gorgeous. So lovely. So unlike much of his work.

But now, living in NY my frame of reference is shifted.

Observe -

"The downtown trains are full
Full of all them brooklyn girls
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds

You wave your hand and they scatter like crows
They have nothing that'll ever capture your heart
They're just thorns without the rose
Be careful of them in the dark"
-Tom Waits

Now that I am a brooklyn girl, I take offense. I do spend a fair amount of time on the downtown trains. It's how I get to work. But I like my little world. Were it not for the museums, a few friends, and my job I might spend a good deal less time on the trains and more time in my corner of the 5 burroughs. Mr. Waits, you can take your diss on brooklyn girls and sit on it. For four months I have been a brooklyn girl. My laugh triggers avalanches and my smile melts ice caps.

I have very positive associations with Halloween. I like dressing up and seeing other people dress up. It's an instant conversation starter. There are alwys parties and they are usually pretty fun. Added to that in my past Halloween was always a great time to meet cute boys when single. Many a boyfriend was met on a cold autumn night while in costume. Of all holidays, Halloween has always had the most hookup potential. (Thanksgiving usually has the least.)

Until now. There was no love connection on Halloween. Whatever "it" was that I used to have is apparently insufficient to captivate the men of NY. Or maybe I just haven't got "it" anymore. Perhaps I have merely misplaced it. Except with the creepy guys. I have had a few occassions in which I accidentally smiled at the wrong stranger and had to contend with creepiness or unattractive pushyness. Then again, creepy guys probably respond to anything with a pulse that makes eye contact.

"Once I had a love from the Georgia Pines who only cared for me
I wanna find that love of 22 here at 33
Got a heart on my right and one on my left and neither suits my needs
No the one I love is a way out west and he never will need me."
-Nanci Griffith

Oddly, while there was no love connection happening I got hit with the love bomb today. A warm feeling of love without a person to associate it with. It reminds me of an email I got once from ER* who said something to the effect that part of what made the breakup so hard was that he had all this love with no recipient, no object. No one to express it to.

In a bout of seasonal pavlovian-ity Halloween has triggered a free floating feeling of love. *slaps forehead*

*I tried to poach ER from another gal during his painful but civilized and friendly breakup which of course lead to their getting back together. I took a page from the "I'm there for you" episode of Seinfeld. After their reunion I feel a bit ashamed of myself. The attempt to poach a man in relationship limbo - pathetic.

"You don't know. How desperate I've become and it looks like I'm losing this fight"
-John Waits

Brad Will (36) was shot and died in Oaxaca City Mexico. He was an indymedia journalist and documentary film maker who went to see what was going on. He was shot by pro-government paramilitary folks. I would say more but it's kinda hard to figure out exactly what's going on down there. Poverty, corruption, oppression, a call for resignation, protests and strikes, a protracted teachers' strike, military and paramiltary action ... ? Which, I think, is why he went down there to begin with. Because there is serious stuff going on down there and there are important stories to tell.

"I came here to see some stuff for myself. Why leave the telling up to everybody else?"
-Ani DiFranco

RIP: Brad Will. I read the news and shed tears. In the face of great injustice and suffering that is insufficient, no?
What is required is action.