Friday, February 29, 2008

Stupid Human Trick

Stupid Human Trick
New trick learned: How to tie a scarf. Yes, yes, I know, you all mastered this is the 3rd grade. Well, thank you very much, so did I, but then I had to keep relearning it every year, some things just don't stick for me. Sure, I can recall the lyrics to songs my mom listened to while I was gestating, but tying a scarf consistently evades mastery. shit happens, we all have flaws.

However, I have said numerous times and I will reassert my opinion - there is nothing wrong with you that technology can't fix. For really. So I googled "tying a scarf" and there were simple 3-step instructions with a delightful picture! I am not the only humanoid with this particular challenge. I am not alone in the world.

And i'm getting less alone by the millisecond. I'm up to my eyebrows in aspiring writers at Gotham Writer's Workshop, this week I submit my writing sample to the class. So of course I started working on it last night. Nothing like an impending deadline to motivate. I do agree with the sage Douglas Adams: I like deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. brillz.

I joined today. Social Radio, they call it. Right now I'm listening to my favorite Rolling Stones jam, "Sympathy for the Devil." Just the best song ever. It's on my Santana radio station. I have been listening to Pandora, which is okay, but leaves a lot to be desired, such as the use of british english (an advantage exploits to the fullest and I enjoy seeing as I have to remember which country I'm in before I go spelling colour/color favour/favor grey/gray etc.).

Today i was thinking I need to get back into practicing my spoken language. English is easy enough, it's all the other words I know that I've developed some degree in fluency that screw the pooch for me. It takes some effort to weed out the other words and stick to the right one in English. I always think of a recent visit to a friend in Cairo, where she was immersing herself in Arabic and sexist society, and hearing her use what can best be described as FRACTURED English. I laughed so hard because the phrase and intonation she used was a mirror of what runs through my head. I laughed myself sick, yes i did. She knew I wasn't laughing at her so much as I was laughing at the situation and how easily you can lose your native tongue under the right circumstances. i.e. total immersion.

Well, bar-b-que ribs to you all. Have a good night.

P.S. I think i'm going to get a record player and "borrow" all of my parent's albums including the Exodus album and Lady Sings the Blues soundtrack. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who Died and Made Tavis King?

Who Died and Made Tavis King?
By Melissa Harris-Lacewell |

Does Tavis realize that Obama is trying to win an election?

Who put Tavis Smiley in charge?

Over the past two months African Americans have emerged as equal partners in a multi-racial, intergenerational, bipartisan, national coalition led by the most exciting political candidate of the past four decades, who also happens to be the first viable African-American presidential possibility in our history. So why is Tavis Smiley throwing a temper tantrum?

He is mad because Obama has not promised to attend Smiley's "State of the Black Union" next week in New Orleans. At last year's SOTBU Al Sharpton, Cornel West and others joined Tavis is roundly criticizing Obama for not attending. Where was Barack that weekend? Oh yeah, he was announcing his bid for the U.S. presidency. This year, Obama is busy trying to win Texas, which has emerged as the firewall state for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Obama wins Texas; Hillary goes home. But Tavis & Co. think Obama should spend precious hours chatting with them about their agenda?

(Jimi Izrael wondered the same thing about him and the other Popes of Blackness.) Let me be clear: I respect the importance of the SOTBU. Tavis performs an essential public service by creating and reproducing a critical black counter-public through this event. The event is decidedly democratic because it is open to a true variety of black voices. Every year it showcases black intellect, commitment and ideological diversity. All this is great, but it doesn't make Tavis the gatekeeper. It certainly doesn't give him the right to act as King-Maker, or in this case Queen-Maker.

Tavis and his guests have every right to criticize Obama if they have substantive disagreements with his policy, his approach to politics or his viability as a general election candidate. They do not have a right to create a false, racial litmus test. All these black leaders who spent the year telling us that Obama is not old enough, not black enough and not angry enough to earn African American votes must have noticed that Obama can deliver the black vote to himself, by himself, with little help from these self-proclaimed racial power brokers.

I can't quite figure out what motivates Tavis. At least I understand the old guard Civil Rights leaders. They are genuinely unwilling to cede power, believing that they have an authenticity claim based on their proximity to Martin Luther King, Jr. I also understand the frightened Democratic insiders who rely on the remnants of the Clinton machine for their bread and butter. But Tavis is not in either category. He is a part of a new generation of journalists who have carved out their own constituency. I am actually surprised to see Smiley join a pile-on led by his former boss Bob Johnson, who tried to silence him with such an ungracious termination a decade ago.

Maybe Tavis legitimately worries that the policy issues of black America will be lost in the excitement of the multiracial coalition. That is fair. But I wonder why Tavis does not trust us to vote in our own interests. Obama won the votes of the people of Louisiana last week. He stood at Katrina's ground-zero while Hillary blew off the state, assuming she couldn't win it. Now Tavis wants to act as a racial super-delegate by claiming he knows what the people need better than the voters.

Maybe Tavis is just jealous. Maybe it isn't deep at all, just a replay of the old adage about crabs in a barrel.

I do think that an Obama should attend the State of the Black Union. I agree with CNN's Roland Martin (which is rare) that Michelle should go. She should listen to concerns, answer questions from the audience and take seriously the substantive concerns raised there. Barack should be in Texas. I don't think anybody in the room will claim that Michelle is not a good enough surrogate for Barack. If Hillary can claim Bill's presidency as her experience, I am pretty sure Michelle can talk to Tavis on the campaign's behalf.

I usually watch this event every year. It is fun, enlightening and inspiring. This year I will have to TiVo it. Why? Because I will be phoning Texas voters to remind them to head out to the polls on March 4.
Melissa Harris-Lacewell is is associate professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University.
Copy of Sen. Barack Obama letter to Tavis Smiley

February 13, 2008

Mr. Tavis Smiley
President and CEO
The Smiley Group
3870 Crenshaw Boulevard
Suite 391
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Dear Tavis,

Thank you for the invitation to participate in the 2008 State of the Black Union forum in New Orleans, Louisiana February 21-23. The exchange of ideas raised at this annual symposium are invaluable as our nation strives to address the critical issues facing not just African Americans, but Americans of every race, background and political party.

I especially commend you for hosting this dialogue in New Orleans. On the eve of the Louisiana primary, I visited this great city for the fifth time since declaring my candidacy to share policy proposals for rebuilding the Gulf Coast so that we never experience another Hurricane Katrina. On February 9, I was deeply humbled to win the Louisiana primary with 86 percent of the African American vote and a 14 point lead among all voters who said they were adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Uniting our country and creating a national constituency for fundamental change is why I am running for President of the United States. We have come a long way in this race, but we still have a long road ahead. In the final stretch, I will be on the campaign trail everyday in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly with voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum such as affordable healthcare, housing, economic opportunity, civil rights and foreign policy. I am committed to touching every voter, and working to earn their vote.
That is why with regret, I am not able to attend the forum. I understand that you have declined the campaign's request to have Michelle Obama speak on my behalf. I ask that you reconsider. Michelle is a powerful voice for the type of real change America is hungry for. No one knows my record or my passion for leading America in a new direction more than Michelle Obama.
Tavis, this is our movement and our time. I look forward to working closely with you throughout this election. Thank you for your continued support.

Barack Obama

The closest a girl can get...

to having a penis. No, really. I think I've achieved it...i was looking at how I refer to my leetle friend the ostomy and it's as though it's a part of me, yet separate from me. We eat together, we live together, yet technically it's a part of my body, just not a part I actually would see on a normal-non-life-threatening basis.

And so, I think it's like a penis! Yeah, guys talk about their penises in third person, they refer to doing things with it, etc. etc. Same language and I imagine same experience. Very cool.

Life is bumping along. I went into the office this morning, nothing too interesting there. Still reading Good to Great in fits and starts. Classes are ramping up, I'm definately getting my money's worth out of both. I feel incredibly boring right now. Perhaps I could make good use of a nap...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In the air tonight

In the air tonight
Last night a storm blew into town and it rained so hard and so fast that it reminded me of the someone typing on a keyboard really fast. I woke up and thought "wow, Visigoth is typing up a hot storm, I've never heard anyone but me and my mama type that fast!" Then I realized it was rain on the window and roof.

This morning is drab and gray and gorgeous. It's also pretty warm, which is a plus. I'm still a little brain dead, too much air pressure around town. But, no professional pressure! No other pressure either.

*sigh* that's all for now. Gonna enjoy the rain day.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Good to Great/ Good Grief!

Good to Great
Anyone else out there read the book? I'm reading it now and maybe it's because I'm exhausted or maybe it's because I'm going through a phase of conscientious illiteracy - but I'm thinking I might have to do the audiobook. That way I can learn and do other shit at the same time.

I spent the weekend in Minneapolis, I really didn't give the city its due in my last blog, typos, misspellings, incomplete thoughts and all. Fabulous city. Jar-jar calls it the Mini-Apple and I'm feeling that. Everyone was so doggone friendly, too. Excellent customer service everywhere I went, people on the street smiled. Honestly, the unfriendliest place I've ever been was Indiana - Hoosier Hospitality? Even living in Manhattan I could connect with people on the street, hang out with a homeless person, get a walking partner for a few or 50 blocks if I was willing to tolerate getting hit on the entire time. San Francisco is a friendly city, hell, people will share their cocaine and make you a cheesecake that is 80% marijuana and LSD or have stranger-sex in public buildings - now that's friendly! For the record, I don't use illegal drugs and thus, while deeply honored by the offers, never took anyone up (but still, tell me that's not friendly).

Indiana, not so much.

Well, the trip to Minneapolis was a business trip. Emphasis on TRIP, as in, head trip, mind trip - c.r.a.z.y. Actually, there was just an element of crazy - one single element - but we all know one is exactly one too many as far as I'm concerned. It chafes my ass when people critisize others because of their own feelings of inadequacy. The other thing that chaps my hide, since I'm on the subject, is age-ism. I've been working since I was 8 years old and I've always worked in industries where my "peers" are significantly older than I am. I like that dynamic, it makes separating work and personal life easier and I see it as an opportunity to learn new skills and hear interesting stories. Every once in a while, though, I land in an environment or around a person or people who can't see beyond themselves and their disappointments with life long enough to give me a chance. This doesn't stop me from achieving my goals, collecting my stories or learning, but it hinders the process considerably and makes it uncomfortable on both sides.

This weekend I did an avoidance dance with someone who I, theoretically, should have been getting plenty of "face-time" with. But every time I made that foray into sharing thought and ideas I was condescendingly told that "well, you'll understand once you get older" or, worse, I was given some off-the-wall anecdote and called (hold your drawers) "pookie."

Now, this person isn't stupid. This person is highly intelligent, but I think she's professionally frustrated and personally under stress (or whatever, do I care, NO). Regardless, I saw the chasm grow between us as the weekend progressed. What had been a crack or simple schism became a canyon that I'm not willing to gear up for crossing. It's not worth it. In the timeless phrase of the method actor "what's my motivation?"

What I'm talking about is not a function of age. I can count a lot of people twice this person's age who approach life with considerably more wit, wisdom and tolerance. At least 10 of those people are in their 80s. There was a quote I liked that i read this weekend and i think it applies to those people who are so stuck in the hot tar of their lives that they have to suck the juice out of others with condescension, malice or whatever other little tricks they have accumulated over the years.

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty." - Henry Ford

Old Henry may have been a racist anti-semite, but he was no dummy. That there mentioned above is the sum total of how I approach life and people. I like to see the lights turn on, but boy is it a strain to walk through calling out for a rope in the darkness of another person's mind.

Here is the kicker, by the end of the trip I'd given up all pretense of communication or interest in communication. I decided to talk to more interesting people, from whom i could learn something because they were willing to share and talk. And on the plane ride home, the "old" person had a small shift in (consciousness, perception, motivation, desire) and started chatting me up. Asked if I had friends around my homebase. Looked confused when I said my friends tend to live exactly as I do, with a homebase and nomadic soul. Maybe she sensed the professional situation was not "sold" with her as a participant and my young ass was part of the decision-making mechanism - something that had possibly been doubted or overlooked. Or maybe my rhapsodies about Prince a few nights prior stopped seeming like hormonal outpourings and more like passion - pure passion - for artistry. Who knows? More importantly, who cares? Not I, says the cat.

I want to call my favorite elderly people and listen to them laugh about all of this.

Fuzzy pillows to you all...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ben n’ Ringo and The Pearl fishers

Ben n’ Ringo and The Pearl fishers
Ostensibly, this is about music. But not really. I just saw a clip of Ben Harper interviewing and joking around with Ringo Starr. I kinda dig Ringo, he's low profile and i respect that. Ben Harper, well he's ambitious and low profile, thoroughly NorCal - interesting melange of characteristics and his Burn to Shine album put me on for a long, long time. His voice can annoy me though, so it's a mood thing, for sure.

The Pearl Fishers - I'm listening to Amici Forever right now. i know a lot of purists hate the Pop-Opera movement, but I think anything that keeps an art form vibrant and relevant without destroying the art of it is valid and I'm all for Pop-Opera since it's fun.

I'm in Minneapolis just not. No, I did not purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, but I damn sure thought about it. i've been marveling at this city - who knew? There is an eclectic vibe and industry and some sharp, interesting people wandering around. I like the energy and i can't say that about a lot of Midwestern cities. Mainly because of a prejudice developed while living in the seven level of hell (not Alabama, Indiana). I'm sleepy and I have some stuff to do for my writing class, but I just had to write something while in Minneapolis, hometown of one of the three living performers whom I would be completely unnerved to me. His royal purple badness, Prince.

Ach! There aren't words in the English language to describe how I feel about him, though I tried hard last night to articulate my feelings to a colleague. Prince: the artist who seemed to know the rhythm of my life and expressed spirt and sex ever so eloquently. And he's pretty. So pretty.

Okay, typing with both eyes closed...luvs!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I’m starting to lose faith

I’m starting to lose faith
Oh Amy Winehouse. I've been playing your record for a long-ass time. And you're giving soul music a bad name right now.

You can't sing live. That's the basic requirement for soul music. Not the rnb bullshit they play on the radio with synthesizers, not the "nu pop" of britney spears pedophile-type stuff, but soul music. The gutbucket. You put out a gutbucket album, bitch, be able to sing that shit live!

Hiking your skirt up to your cooch in the first 4 bars is not going to distract from the fact that you're OFF KEY and OFF BEAT. Bad, bad, bad. Singing in front of big crowds is difficult, no arguing that. But a shitload of performers have met their obligations high, drunk or any combination of the two in the past. That's the best love you're likely to get for a long time.

Don't be a Dionne Warwick. If you were at the Apollo, Sandman would be dancing circles around your ass. So disappointing. My only hope is that you will be a Mariah Carey and use two years learning to sing live, then go on a concert tour. Take your junkie husband with you if you want, I don't much care, but learn how to sing live. A good album is nice. A good performance is real.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bewitched, Bothered, not Bewildered though

Bewitched, Bothered, not Bewildered though
I wanna go kung-fu fighting (huh!)

Well, I spent today doing lots of things. I watched a series of videos featuring a delicious boy (de-lish-ous) and installed a new computer that is just so fun and fly and fast!

I harassed my employees. It's not really harassment, but you know, every once in a while you have to remind people that you're not stupid. And I'm not stupid.

Now, I'm watching "Bewitched" with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. I know it panned at the box office, but I find it wonderful and enchanting.

Oh, my cousin got engaged this weekend. That's weird. But, somehow, not unexpected. We're kinda the marriage-happy type (pronounce marriage the way johnny depp does in Pirates of the Caribbean "mah-ree-ahge").

I also really like Kristen Chenowith. I think I would watch anything she's in. And I put a new monitor (my former HDTV from my bedroom) with my computer and waaa-laaaa, i can watch netflix movies on my computer (cause netflix, like myspace, hates macs).

Mmmmkay. Nothing real to write about. More focused on the writing class, have 4 critiques to write this week (eek!) and a total rewrite to complete by the 6th of March (triple eek!). It'll be fabulous.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Boo-boo the Clown

Boo-boo the Clown
Watching Blue Streak right now. Ordinarily, I would not watch Blue Streak, but last night I caught "Inside the Actor's Studio" featuring a two-hour interview with Dave Chappelle. Dave said a lot that is especially important to me as I actively pursue my creative vision and desires.

The first thing that made a fantastic impression on me was related to Dave's decision become a comedien. His father pulled him aside, he was after all going to be the first person NOT to go to college since slavery ended, and asked him why he wanted to do comedy and why he didn't go for something more stable - such as teaching.

Dave asked his dad how much he made as a teacher. We all know the answer is "not a lot." So Dave told his dad that if he could make at least as much as a teacher, while following his dream, he would be satisfied. Dad could not argue with that logic and offered this gem: "Set your price at the very beginning. If it ever becomes more expensive, leave." (dave's aside: "hence Africa.") It's not that you fear hard work, it's that you know the price of your soul and what it will take to look at yourself in the mirror each morning. When you hit the point where there isn't pleasure in the work, when you can't look at yourself without wondering how much harm you are doing - the price is too high.

There is a tremendous amount of personal integrity in that statement. It seems in conflict with the way my grandfather did business - he shook someone's hand and if the job ended up being more expensive, he ate the cost. But there is a difference here. What Dave's father is talking about is giving of oneself. More than just skill or trade - self. I've always maintained that attitude about corporate work - always had time limits on how long I would do any given job. But when you're creating, you want so much to SHARE. It's like removing pieces of your flesh and getting giggly because other people want to eat them!

Speaking of, I watched Eddie Izzard "Circle" last night and it was hilarious. He did this bit about Jesus and God, and how God sent Jesus down to stop the false idol worship and Jesus came back to heaven PISSED OFF. He was like "they nailed me to a damn tree for THREE DAYS!" Then he and God got into what Jesus did on Earth. They went over the "easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven" comment and Jesus reported that the rich had started putting their camels in cuisinarts and pouring them through the eyes of needles. So, he said, guess we'll be seeing all the wealthy up here pretty soon.

Then he talked about the last supper. God had real issues with the last supper. The whole "take of this and drink, for it is my blood" reeked of vampirism and the body metaphor was cannibalism. The joke was killer and it killed.

But back to Dave's advice. On Richard Pryor, Dave said this: "The mark of greatness is that everything that comes before you is obsolete and everything that comes after you bears your mark."

That is quite some standard to aspire to, but what was more compelling was the fact that Dave understood what Richard had done: he took all of himself and put it out for display, to teach, to entertain, to plug into the great pulsating stew of life and people loved him for it. Richard smoked crack, set himself on fire, beat his women, neglected his kids (and my personal pet peeve) could not swim. He put all of that on the table. In a hyper-intelligent, highly-refined manner.

I don't think it would hurt artists of any ilk to work from that ethos. To carve them(our)selves open and figure that if we can just arrange it right, people might love what we have to show. Jean-Michel Basquiat, anyone?

It's a great morning. I'm writing, fits and starts mostly, but writing just the same. I think I"m up to my wrist back into my characters and they are responding. I keep writing and rewriting. I'm starting to enjoy the rewriting. Always I think, "I don't want to rewrite, why do something twice or in multiples of 4 when I can just do it once?" That's my inner lazy bastard. Once the lazy bastard ambles off for a nap, I'm free to keep playing with the words and see the different ways they come out.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Uh-uh-uh,git it on girl!


Hooray for me. Hooooooorayyyyyyy for me! Rah, rah, rah, gooooooooooooo Camille!

I'm just so geeked. Gotham Writer's Workshop opened up another class for fiction. and I just bought in. I like writing (can you tell?) and I like taking classes. Perfect marriage of my favorite things.

These are a few of my favorite things...has anyone else out there heard Al Jarreau and Kathleen Battle's version of that song? It's glorious. Jazz vocal maestro and opera diva dance and dive and do the minuet over horns and drums and all everything. So beautiful.

And that's how I'm feeling right now. Like soaring. My class has already started so I get to play "catch up" which means I already have stuff to do and I'm behind, which is exciting. Love is in the air.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Crazy is Contagious

Crazy is Contagious
Here we go again.

Same song, different singers. Has anyone else noticed that crazy is contagious? Let in one nutjob and everyone loses their minds. Domino effect and all that jazz. Take out the crazy and things settle down.

Wait, there is this ad for Will Ferrell's move "Semi-Pro" and apparently Andre from Outkast is in it and they are doing a screening tomorrow night. I've still not recovered from Talladega Nights, so I don't know if I need to endanger my stitching with another Will Ferrell movie just right now. Woody Harrelson is in it as well. I predict madness.

And that is encouraging. *Relieved Sigh* Crazy always ends up moving on. Yes, I'd like for it to move on sooner rather than later, but there are some things I can't change or affect in any meaningful way. It's like being on morphine or Dilatted and trying to have a coherent, linear conversation. You can have all the desire in the world, but there's just not that much getting around morphine and its derivatives. Instead, you talk, you black out, you dream you're still talking, you wake up after a couple of hours mid-syllable and continue talking - wash, rinse, repeat. There is no changing the process of healing and when you're not the decision-maker, or taste-maker, or the person who pays the bills - you can't dictate how long the crazy lasts.

Instead you do what you do on morphine, you make a decision that the needles in your arms don't matter, the blood transfusion will end eventually, and you set your mind to be happy and you don't waver no matter what happens. As I get slighly more involved with my office that is my decision - I'm happy. I'm healthy (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) and I have my dreams to accomplish. I'm loved, I've worked and earned the respect of my peers and my subordinates and my supervisors.

That last bit should be taken as indication that someone came after my job today. I knew it would happen. New people are entirely too predictable. What's that quote from Bulletooth Tony in Snatch? "Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity." ROFL. It's the god's honest truth. That's not to say you can't work with stupid people, but if they are actually intelligent but having a stupid phase, someone has to let them know in fairly concrete terms that they are, in fact, quite stupid and cannot contribute anything until they contribute the basics expected of them.

Gosh, that was a dense paragraph. Ah well, anyway, stupidity is predictable. Crazy is contagious. And I'm happy. Everything always turns out well anyway, why worry about it in the process? I need to get the library and rent some books. And I definitely need a class...the best cure for being distracted by the wrong thing is to get involved in the right thing.

Oh, and I'd like to thank everyone who has landed on my page by mistake and read my little missives. It means a lot to me. Just being read is a secret thrill, but I just looked at my blog log and I've had 19 kudos. Wow. that means people read and actually stop, take the time to let me know they have read. Wow. I love the internet. Did anyone else hear Hillary Clinton talking about how the U.S. invented the Internet? Does anyone else remember when the Internet was called the Information Superhighway or something like that? The Hills comment smacked of Al Gore. I dunno, I like Hillary, I appreciate her intelligence and her wily ability to work the system. I've read her books. People hate that she's overtly political and I wonder why. Is she supposed to be covertly political but still run a campaign? They (this being historians mainly) say Golda Meir was something like that. Rather, her effectiveness rested in her ability to take large issues and make them intimate, personal. Golda would take issues like economy, religion, the Palestinian conflict and speak of herself as a mother tending to her children and her home - the Israeli state. It was devastatingly effective.

Margaret Thatcher had a different approach. She was as steely as her hair was coiffeured. There was no soft overlay for Marge. She was highly effective. Hillary tries to blend styles, but you simply cannot make everyone happy at the same time. She's in the unfortunate position of having to attempt to do so. Blech. I don't envy the woman one whit.

I'm going to find myself a writing class. It will make work less interesting and more like a character study - plenty of fodder in a medical office.


Doin’ the Hallelujah Dance

Doin’ the Hallelujah Dance
Oh, I loooooooove to eat.

I relish good food. Last night I nearly ascended to the heavens. I had rich whole milk yogurt (what is the deal with low-fat? All they do is add sugar so it doesn't taste like shite on a stick and then we wonder why we're diabetic. No one needs that much sugar) with cardamon, cinnamon and honey. It was all creamy and wonderful. Said to be "European Style" which I don't quite understand as the mass-produced weird stuff they sell in mini-containers here in the States is foreign to me, but whatever.

Then, I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich with thick organic wheat bread and Jarlsburg slices. If i'd had tomato and avocado, I would have thrown them in there as well. It was ridiculous. With the yogurt I did a victory fist-pump in the air. Involuntary reaction to good food. I started dancing as I ate my grilled cheese. Chased all of that with strawberry-kiwi juice and went to gaze at my new sunflowers, which for all the world insist on looking like a Van Gough painting come to life. I'm not mad at them.

I'm sitting at home, in my bedroom, laughing at the foolishness of others. Crazy McCrazy is at it again, but she's just about worn the welcome mat out of existence. Poor thing, there is probably a lot happening in her personal life that she just can't handle.

Does anyone else out there love Handel's 'Messiah?' I've heard so many versions, but every single one is lovely. My favorite is an arrangement Quincy Jones did in the early 90s. I also love Debussy. Nothing calms the savage beasty inside like Debussy. His music is pure confection, notes like cotton candy whipped in the air on a cool day. And Mahler, Mahler is great for being productive. Can't leave out Rachmaninoff. I wouldn't play Rachy cause I'm rather fond of my newfound sanity, but listening to his compositions is heartening. It's lurvely.

Well, this is my morning missive. I just had to share the food tales. I had yogurt this morning before running out the door and it brought sunshine to what is a classically cold, dreary winter day. The other love of my life is my heating pad to warm my feet. I do harbor concerns that one day it will simply burst into flame, and I hope I wake and get away without any harm being visited upon me, but until that day it's my second-favorite thing to have in bed with me. All that warmth and just one little me.

Cheers and Happy Day to you all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I am listening to Ewan McGregor's fast and funk-y version of this song from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack...I need to download that movie onto my iPod. Anyway, here I am, back to doing what I do.

I had a moment this weekend. Life has been coming at me quite rapidly (that's me avoiding a trademark infringement) of late, I've been integrating into day-to-day life, the one that got disassembled around late february of last year. So, I've visited the office, I've started back to sorting through the miscellany of my life, piled high in corners of my house. Hint: most of this shit is going to the garbage. I take my little no-more-than 5 pound bags and feel quite accomplished. Every day a couple of bags. I've learned how to do things slowly in this past year. I've learned how to plan down to the bones every activity, but lately I've been feeling overwhelmed.

Then, this weekend I watched Akeelah and the Bee. Part of feeling overwhelmed was having more factors in my life than I'm accustomed to: agendas of others and everything. Who ARE these other people? Passers-by. Has anyone else noticed that the people who raise the most hell are the ones who spend the least amount of time in any given environment? You just can't sustain hellraising when you're a part of a group, when you're linked or otherwise bonded to other human beings in a consistent fashion. Ubuntu, you know, being human only through other humans. You cannot raise hell among your close fellow humans, but you can certainly do drive-by hellraisings.

So, there's been some hellraising in my life and I've had my internal head cocked to the side and my eyes slightly squinted wondering just what the fuck all these other people are going through and why they are dialing my number with their problems? That, I've realized, is entirely too much thought to give to these issues. Too much weight. I don't know if I'll ever say, "listen, you're an idiot and your business plan was purchased for $5.99 on go away." But that's what I'm thinking. All.the.time.

Back to Akeelah. With all these different factors and whatnot I've been distracted from my books - from reading and writing and so forth. Agitating in the extreme (for me that means I spend a few hours a day wondering how to remedy my block and eat a lot of yogurt). Anyway, watching Akeelah I realized I simply needed to shift focus. I looked to the side for the equivalent of five minutes, being helpful, and danged if I lost track of my words. Danged if I didn't.

There is a quote in the book by spiritulist and writer Marianne Williamson that talks about the moral/spiritual/sentient being imperative to be the very best of ourselves. To let our individual light shine, as it gives others permission to shine their own. Obliterate the light, try to hide it, and we feed the darkness. I know of darkness, I know of living life with a boulder on your soul's shoulders and still seeking the sun. That life is over for me, so it's important that those passing by or passing through understand that even if they are slick enough to fool the people close to me, I'm not fooled.

These things resolve themselves one way or the other. In the meantime, I'm writing, I got a new fountain pen (Pelikan - aaaaahhhhhhh) and returning to the pleasure principle I've honed in the past year.

Can you believe I've been having surgery and hanging out at the hospital for an entire year of my adult life? Wow. What a year. Now...two years of recovery. Two years! Wow. I'm smiling. I'm so happy to be healthy that my toes curl in anticipation of the next milestone. i don't even know what it will be. Probably some incredibly unpleasant test or (infinitely less exciting) nerve pain that indicates new healing. There was talk of putting an implant on my spinal cord. I shit you not. I drew the line at that. I have, of course, drawn the line in the past to no avail, but I just can't reconcile myself with having an implant on my spinal cord. The longterm indications are not encouraging and just to correct some weird nerve damage that could very well correct itself in not too long? I trust my body to heal itself on that front, it's ambitious, I'm young and I appear healthy (getting closer on the inside and it feels so good!)

So, this message jumps around a lot. I generalized. Mostly i talked about work and keeping my mind sequestered away and honoring my priorities and ignoring the priorities of others. Life is simpler that way.

Go out and jump around in the world!

'Til Niagara Falls (did anyone else love that book in elementary school?),

Secret Heart

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sweet In the Morning

Sweet In the Morning
Big Shout Out to Rue for her Photo Exhibit at Lincoln Center. One day I'm gonna stay in her guest house and shag her cabana (yes, i put her on blast, buy a print, you know you wanna).

Well, wasn't today a a day? What did YOU do today? I dismissed an employee, debugged two computers, installed antivirus stuff on them (not norton or mcafee, i hate them both with a purple passion, this program out of ...oz or something).

Then i came home, sneezed around a bit, took a nap, woke up, worked on the house. I don't think I talked to anyone much after the dismissal. I'd been wondering if I would do it today as it was storming (Tornado weather apparently) and I don't go outside in those conditions. Plus, I wasn't sure if I had it in me, then I recalled other dismissals I've done. There have been some pretty amazing (as in, I remain amazed that I actually did it) ones. No details will be given, but suffice to say I endeavor to empower the person walking away from the organization so that they feel they are getting the better end of the deal.

In all honesty, the ending of something almost always is an opportunity to begin something else, something better even, if only we open ourselves to it. I remember when I got fired. I was sitting in bed, post-operative, druggled, scared witless by a big disease with a big name and I got the hatchet. I also got mad as hell. I was not too bothered by being fired, I saw that coming from the day I started working, but they hadn't sent a card or flowers and there I was struggling for my life. And when I looked at the broader situation i.e. the fact that I was struggling for my life, I decided I would focus on living my best life with my big ole disease and fuck the dumb - which included the job and a lot of other things. It was the start to a fantastic year. Sure, I was patchy in terms of health, but i read about 20 books a week, watched double features at an old-timey theatre near my house all the time, met new friends online and saw spaces and places I hadn't had time or energy for before. I dated - a Lot. I developed crushes on completely inappropriate people, saw performances by some of my favorite artists, traveled all the time and enjoyed my little garden apartment in San Francisco.

I spent uninterrupted weeks and months with my friends around the country and my family. It was magical.

I don't disclose all that to people who I'm letting go. But I talk to them, talk with them and listen to them until they can start to see those glimmers - the things they can do when they walk out of the door and not be tied to the phones, the desk, the Dr. Seuss said "All the Places You Will Go." If I can get to the point where the other person says, "You know, I think this is for the best because I just have so much other stuff to be concerned with and it's really been hard for me to even pay attention..." then I've met goal. And the dream begins.

The funny thing is they always come back to share their happiness and success and to see the team. They don't want to see me, I mean, nevermind the pep talks, I'm still the a-hole who gave them the axe. Shit's personal. But they want to see their former coworkers, show off their new clothes, new hair whatever. They want that validation and closure.

What does this have to do with friends? Not a damn thing directlin', but I suppose I could do a quick tie-in: friends are the glue that hold us together when we're falling apart. And when you lose your job, spouse, life-as-you-knew it - friends are what hold it together, give you perspective, voodoo dolls and anything else you need to get through the dark times.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Who was the shortest president?

"Harrison. He was president for 47 days...he spent most of his time dying."

That'll show you the relevance of history to our everyday lives. I have recently discovered the Cable Television Channel Guide. That's good reading! It even has descriptions, better descriptions than On Demand or whatnot.

I'm purging my house - still - and it's wearing on my back. But I'm not cranky. Last night I ... wait, yes, it was last night... I had a mixed drink for the first time since April 07. This morning I had my first hangover since Rhys and I killed a few bottles of syrah, watched Beaches and The Color Purple and laughed and cried ourselves to sleep. That was at least 8 years ago.

A hangover. I mean, my eyes hurt, my head was swimmy, I knew it wasn't the cold that had been threatening to happen because it felt so distinctly different. That's what I get for letting a Brazilian businessman with a wily personality make me a caiprinha. I have good luck with Brazilian fellows - but then one wonders who doesn't? They are relaxed, funny and have wonderful accents that soften all the consonants in their speech.

So, I spent the early afternoon nursing my hangover (three sips and she's O.U.T.!) and the afternoon crunching numbers and reviewing hundreds of pages of financial information. I learned that the writing class I wanted to take next is too far in for me to join, so I'm wondering what I should do next. I need to keep writing, but I like having an audience of peers and superiors to read what I'm writing. I suppose I could harangue my friends again to start reading, but they don't do so well with anything that hasn't been rewritten at least 10 times, there just isn't the ability to ask the questions I need as a writer to clarify matters. Plus, they think writing is just shy of magic when really, it's one of the few things I can do to relax.

I have one friend, but I don't want to impose on him because he's pretty durn busy being a writer himself. I suppose this is what you call a high-class problem. heh.

For the last sixty days I've had this end-of-days fear. It's my second mom's fault. She told me about some Mayan calendar that says the world as we know it will end in 2012. That just pissed me waaaaaay off. I mean, 2012 is 5 freaking years away and I just got healthy enough to focus on living the life I love and the world is gonna end? I've been pretty pissed about the whole thing. But now I have an election to focus on (Clinton.Obama) and a business and a writing class to find and the weather is unseasonably warm (famous last words on the issue of global warming), so I'm not so concerned about the 2012 destruction.

i read a great quote not too long ago about life being a way for the sun to watch itself. I like that. Makes me feel warm inside.

Keep it gully snitches...

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Na-na-na...Miiiiiiiccccccchhhhhhaaaaaaeeeeeeellllll.I always thought Michael Jackson and I would make an amenable couple. He could be all reclusive and mysterious, I could be the muse for his music. Screw the Liberian girl, he could pull a Prince and make an entire album named Camille...

I keep hope alive, though I don't know how I would deal with Mike's disintegrating face now. He used to be so cute - about 20 nosejobs ago. Okay, 15 at the minimum. Now the cartilage in his face won't suppor a nose and he wears a prosthetic like some nasal cancer survivor., I won't even posit that, I know in my heart it's a lie even if if makes my head feel better.

This song also made my head feel better:

Light Years Away by Mozella

It's almost like you had it planned
It's like you smiled and shook my hand and said
"Hey, I'm about to screw you over, big time"
And what was I supposed to do?
I was stuck in between you and a hard place
We won't talk about the hard place

But I don't blame you anymore
That's too much pain to store
It left me half dead
Inside my head
And boy, looking back I see
I'm not the girl I used to be
When I lost my mind
It saved my life

It's how you wanted it to be
It's like you played a joke on me
And I lost a friend
In the end
And I think that I cried for days
But now that seems light years away
And I'm never going back
To who I was

Cause I don't blame you anymore
That's too much pain to store
It left me half dead
Inside my head
And boy, looking back I see
I'm not the girl I used to be
When I lost my mind
It saved my life

I think I cried for days
But now that seems light years away
And I'm never going back
To who I was

Cause I don't blame you anymore
That's too much pain to store
It left me half dead
Inside my head
And boy, looking back I see
I'm not the girl I used to be
When I lost my mind
It saved my life

That life seems like light years away
Light years away
And that life seems like light years away
Light years away

I am getting involved in my job...again. I've always maintained some level of involvement, I kept my computer running in the hospital and had big fun processing paperwork while hitting the pain pump. I did relax quite a bit the last couple of procedures, being in the hospital really is a full-time endeavor, as is recovery.

Tonight, though, it crept in a little more. I always like the phrase "stealthy paws" and that applies. Incidentally, Valerie (the remix feat. Amy Winehouse on Mark Ronson's Versions) just came on. So, I just came off the phone with one of our subcontractors. At least I know they follow directions well even if the outcome isn't desired.

Lately a lot of my friends have been turning 30 and talking about getting serious about life and their work. They talk about trusting themselves and taking themselves more seriously and honoring themselves. It's all well and good, I'm very happy for them. I've always taken myself seriously, so it's a bit of a mystery how people exist without being serious about themselves and their lives and actually have to come to the realization that one must be direct in their approach to life to have a shot at achieving one's dreams. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, for sure.

I wonder if, when I turn 30, I will get serious. This past year has certainly re-prioritized my ambitions, I've not discovered any new ambitions - but certain things I valued less have become more important, certain things I thought would take longer to achieve seem easier. The perspective-kaleidoscope has changed.

I watched Mad Money last night and had a very good time. I watched Ratatouille tonight and had an even better time. I don't know what it is about movies set in Paris - perhaps it is the feeling that I am visiting 'home' when I see the spires of the le tour Eiffel. Or when I hear French being spoken. Or the Queen's English. Ah well...

Watch a movie, enjoy a great wine and make love to something - it all does your body and soul good.