Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Have You Seen Etienne?



When I saw this poster for a missing hamster, my heart initially went out for the owner of said missing hamster. When I discovered that the poster was from a pole in San Francisco, other concerns came to mind. I'll let you use your imagination.




On a completely unrelated note, I am very moved by Richard Gere and his tireless efforts to free tibet from chinese tyranny.

Anyway, back to Etienne, the missing hamster. I was relieved to discover that this poster was merely a marketing material for some hamster movie. I can now sleep soundly knowing that dear etienne is not lost on the streets of San Fancisco. A huge weight has been lifted.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Experiment IV


There is a song by Kate Bush that I really love a great deal called Experiment IV (video embedded below). The song is basically about a secret government project to create a weapon that uses sound to kill people.

My mind was drawn to this song today as I read about musicians who have requested a list from the US Govermnment of songs used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. Yes, we actually used music to torture people. It saddens me to think of music being used in this way. I think music can be a powerful tool for healing. As this article brings to light, the opposite is true as well.
(Read The Article)

A note about the video. One of the main doctor's is played by Dawn French. For those of you who aren't familiar, she is one half of the comedey duo French and Saunders who created the hit BBC comedy show Absolutely Fabulous. Another doctor in the video is played by a younger Hugh Laurie aka Doctor House.

cocoon

cocooned in your arms,
a chrysalis of human skin
pulsing like a distant drum
warm and full
humid like the Amazon
sleepless in wonder
sleepless under cover next to lover
discovering

digitized.


Photo by Carrie Thomas

The girl next to me on the train was bobbing her head back and forth, madly, almost ritualistically. The sound of the overcompressed over digitized music with its sterile sound devoid of human warmth and emotion filled the air, reflecting off her damaged eardrums. She's a maneater, whoa oh. If I can hear every word of your music, my dear, then you will soon not hear music at all. I look at the eyes of the passersby.

Your pulse is digitized.
You're plugged in to the circuitry.
You don't even realize you're plugged in to the circuitry.
gotta get out
gotta get out
gotta get
gotta get get get get get get get
Lord bless my soul. I'm going home.

The doors to the train open. the people pour out onto the platform like a dam has burst. They flow up the stairs like gravity defying water. There's a rock in the stream a woman suddenly loses the ability to move, paralyzed by the need to send a text message, oblivious to the existence of anyone else. The water diverts its course and flows around the rock.

Her pulse is digitized. She's plugged in to the circuitry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spring in my step Fall in the Air


Photo by the very talented ms.
Carrie Thomas

There's a certain spring in my step
as in spring has sprung. I must be all
turned around, because I am ready for the flowers to bloom
just as the crisp air laced with the smell of burnt wood and apples
inundates my senses.

Having just returned from a nine day voyage, I feel changed in some strange way.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but everything around me feels bizarre, unfamiliar, different. My brain is still in Montréal where the sidewalks bustle with people speaking French in full surround sound stereo. My brain is tuned to french, making it hard for me to overhear subway conversations. My brain is trying to translate english to english and english just ends up sounding like french. I know it won't make sense to you, but it does to me.

Well, I have delightful news of things accomplished on my journey. I finished mixing my 2nd album and will soon have the tracks mastered, which then means artwork, photos, the manufacturing process, touring, press, etc. The wheel is beginning to turn. Soon things will be moving with their own life and speed, perhaps dragging me along for some interesting ride.

The tracks are as follows:
SUNRISE AT THE SPEAKEASY by ROBERT GERMAN
1. Flapjacks
2. Mamma Don't Like No Chocolate
3. Throw That Box
4. Glitters and Sparkles
5. Unplug
6. Mr. Carpentier
7. Life Was Simple
8. Chickens and Eggs
9. Duct Tape and Superglue
10. Ashes and Dust

There you have it folks... 10 songs. The album could have had 12 but 10 just felt like the right number for this one. But don't worry, b-sides are coming. How do we feel about some basement tracks? Demos and b-side? Is it too soon for such things? Do I need to Release The Ocean and The Easel first?(the working title for album #3)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The impending parade

as I sit at my desk staring out into an empty alley
where once a ramshackle tent had been, put there by the inhabitants
of my former basement apartment, I ponder the meaning of life.
Well, It's a constant pondering. I know at times it's as simple as
smiling when you don't want to smile and finding beauty down on the
sidewalk next to a rusted garbage can. Outside my window where once a ramshackle
tent had stood, the sounds of horns and shouting echo through the empty spaces.
It is an hour until the real adventure begins, when people will flood the streets in
costumes screaming and shouting. The streets are barricaded. The population of my
neighborhood seems to have doubled. The sidewalks are packed. It is the night before the Caribbean pride parade
and we do live in a predominantly caribbean neighborhood, so let the games begin.

Monday, August 24, 2009

benzodiazepine


my body numb and tingling,
throat closed, hands trembling
I cut you half so that I don't fall asleep
benzodiazepine.

in just a few minutes my eyes will grow heavy
I'll float like an angel on a warm fluffy cloud
high above the trouble down below
high above the electric bill and the dirty clothes

my body numb and tingling
throat open, hands steady
I feel like I'm drifting off into darkness.
The sun is still shining. I'm just not ready.

A cup of tea and stubborn resistance
is all I have to keep me awake.
Imagine how I'd feel if I took the whole thing
if this is how I feel from the little I take.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Diversions/Critters a.k.a. Cat Massage

What better way to end your week than
by learning a new technique.
We're never too old to learn something new.
Today's lesson is in the art of cat massage.
I can't think of a better way to spend my time
and energy. I also couldn't imagine a better teacher than this woman.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

30 Days

Today is 30 days of not smoking.
Let's just call it a month.
Yay!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Waiting to Inhale


This is my old familiar friend, the albuterol inhaler. I used to carry one of these around with me all the time to deal with both allergy and exercise induced asthma. Well, I think I may have gotten to the bottom of this whole panic attack thing. The doctor I saw on Thursday gave me a new inhaler but told me that if I was having panic attacks then the inhaler would make them worse, so I have not been using it. Well, on Saturday, I was having a bit of labored breathing and decided to try the inhaler. In fact, I found that I could breathe again. It seems that perhaps my quitting smoking has brought back my asthma. The combination of stress, allergies and my lungs purging themselves of crud has gotten me to this place of having trouble breathing. The trouble breathing is causing me to have panic attacks. So, I am back to carrying around this little friend and hopefully I have found the root of the problem, so that I can tackle the world unhindered by a lack of air and a feeling of panic.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 26

I have not had a cigarette for 26 days.
However, I'm now on anxiety medication.
Life is a give and take. Time to explore new ways
of releasing my tension.

Panic at the Disco


Ok, so this title isn't exactly the best to describe this post but it will have to do. This has nothing to do with disco. It has nothing to do with the band Panic at the Disco whose music I don't know, though I'm sure it's totally awesome and stuff.

Yesterday I had a panic attack, the third bad one in three weeks. The first attack happened on a crowded train. I ended up getting out of the train 4 stations before my stop because I couldn't breathe. It felt like I was having a heart attack. I climbed up the subway steps and suddenly I could breathe, so I waited for another train to come thinking I was ok. A train pulled into the station packed full of people. When I looked at the crowded train, suddenly it started again. Just thinking of being on the train took my breath away. I ended up walking home after calling Konstantine completely freaking out. He met me and walked with me.

I used to think panic attacks were something people made up, a sort of fake disorder used to get drugs from a doctor or draw attention to ones self. I now know that they are a very real very scary thing. Yesterday, I truly could not breath. It felt like I was going to die. My fingers started to go numb and tingling. I ended up in a clinic hooked up to an EKG, had my blood pressure checked twice, my breathing listened to via stethoscope back and front multiple times, had three viles of blood drawn, etc. My EKG was normal though my heart rate was a bit fast. My hands were shaking. My blood pressure was high. My temperature was normal. The doctor told me that I am having panic attacks and prescribed anti anxiety medication. I started to have another panic attack this morning but was able to calm myself down and stop it from getting as bad as yesterday. I played happy music in my head and focused on the music. My throat and begun to tighten and I was getting to a place where it was hard to breathe, but I just focused on the music and let it be the only thing that existed. My hands were shaking, but I kept my focus on the music and it brought me back. I refuse to let this take hold of me and turn me into an agoraphobic who can't leave the house or deal with crowds. It seems that most of the attacks have happened on crowded trains, in crowded grocery stores, etc. I am going to try my best to get to a place of calm and relaxation. Knock on Wood, this too shall pass.

I just have to tell myself Don't Panic

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Death of a Harddrive
a new play in two parts



A couple of years back, my laptop stopped working very suddenly without any warning at all. I self diagnosed the problem as a failed hard drive. Despite my friends' pleading and apprehension, I decided to fix the computer myself. I have never been so nervous, sweat so much or seen so many tiny screws in my life. I managed to successfully replace the hard drive on my laptop and get it back up and running. It felt like a real victory. At that time, the true loss was the data on the hard drive. I was living from sofa to sofa doing shows promoting my album and everything was in storage. I did not have an external backup of my data so everything was lost.

As a result, I bought an external hard drive and another one to back that one up. Well, I must not have truly learned my lesson because tragically over the weekend my external hard drive died. I had just moved a bunch of files temporarily to that drive because I was out of room on my laptop and the other drive. In my long list of to dos for the week was the purchase of an additional drive to back everything up. Unfortunately, death came to my hard drive before I was able to do that.

I have lost music that I was working on, but oddly I am not freaking out. I am trying to work with the company that makes the drive to see if it is an issue where the data may still be recoverable. If it is a failure to the power part of the drive only, then this is a possibility. If not, then sadly I will have to start from scratch on a couple of songs. Luckily 90% of my music is on another hard drive which is still operational. I am waiting for the arrival of another drive tomorrow and I will back that 90% up onto that. The one good thing is that even if the drive that died is completely dead it is still under warranty so the worst case scenario is that I will be given a replacement drive.

As someone told me when my laptop died... "It is not a matter of IF your hard drive will fail. It is a matter of when."

Always back up the data that is important to you. It could happen at any time.

It's a broken hard drive. I know what to do. I just need some duct tape and superglue.

Diversions: Roisen Murphy


I must admit that when I was first exposed to Roisen Murphy I was less than impressed.
I have sence begun to shift or rather clarify my view. She is a very talented live performer but I am not crazy about the style of production used on much of her recorded material. Regardless, I am completely transfixed by this performance of her song Ramalama Bang Bang. Enjoy



You can learn about the former singer for Moloko by visiting her website.

Woman - Hear Her Roar?
or Open The Door!


A strange thing happened in September of 1968. A protest against the miss America pageant literally eurupted into groups of women burning their bras (among other things).
This was one stop on the long bumpy road toward equality for women, which many argue is still going on to this day. A mere 4 years later in 1972 a young woman named Helen Reddy shot to the top of the billboard music charts with a song titled "I am Woman" as in I am woman hear me roar. The song became an anthem of solidarity for many women at the time.

I am by no means a historian or expert on the women's movement. Yes, I know these are only two instances, blips if you will in a long struggle towards equality for women. It's a struggle that has become convoluted to some extent in a post feminist world.

There are two questions I would like to pose and I will clarify shortly. Can women be treated equally to men? (and) Do all women really want to be?

I know there are some women who feel completely content and fulfilled baking cookies, ironing shirts and driving the children to soccer practice. If that is their choice, that is perfectly fine. There are still others who wish to grab the corporate world by the balls, fly into outer space, become professional body builders, or even run for president. Recently we saw the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as a justice for the US Supreme Court. She is only the third female justice to hold that honored position. Still it is progress.

So, the two questions I have posed were presented with a promise for clarification. Here goes. There is one thing I have never understood and that thing is this idea of chivalry. If women wish to be treated equally to men in society (as they should be), then why is it not offensive to them that men open doors for them, give them seats on the subway, let them walk out of the elevator first. It's the strangest thing to me. It makes no sense.

To me, seeing a man open a door for a woman comes with an implication of weakness. as though a woman is too feable to open the door for herself and needs a man to do it for her. My one exception to this thought is when it involves an older woman for example with a cane or a walker or a woman who is pushing a baby stroller and fighting with a door. That also goes for a man with a cane or walker or a man with a stroller. To me, yes opening the door for someone is a very sweet polite thing to do, but this whole idea of men specifically opening doors for women bothers me. Perhaps it doesn't bother women. I have not seen a woman once complain or see it in this way or at least expressed such feelings to me.

I have been given dirty looks by people on the subway because I sat in one open seat and there is a perfectly healthy able bodied woman standing there. It's as if I have slapped that woman. Why should that woman be more entitled to that seat? Why am I being rude when I am merely treating that woman the same way that I would treat a man? Should I treat her as weak and feable and give her the seat? I'd rather see her as strong. In these instances I find an inconsistency which to mean is in conflict with feminist principles.

So, should women have their cake and eat it too? Is it I am woman hear me roar? Is it, I am woman, open the door? Is it both?

One Foot in front of the other

Photo by the deliciously noteworthy Ms. Carrie Thomas

Well, I am quickly approaching a month of not smoking. It is day 24.
Thus far it has definitely had it's ups and downs.
This week, I'm finding that I'm dealing with some shortness of breath
and insomnia. I know that it will pass. I've been walking a lot in the evening to try and push my way through the stress. I think I've walked around 11 miles in the last two days. It is the evening when I most want a cigarette. Instead I have been trudging through the city despite the fact that we are going through a full on heat wave. I end up returning home drenched in sweat, but I know it is therapeutic for me right now. I changed the inner tubes on my bike as the tires wouldn't stay inflated. I'm going to start biking soon and get back into running. All of these are things which I know are a good replacement for the cigarettes and a step in the right direction for my desire to acheive some renewed sense of physical fitness. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. I am ready to tackle the world with renewed strength and purpose.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Cooking and Cleaning and Scrubbing the Tub



Yesterday I went into a cleaning frenzy the likes of which hasn't been seen in our apartment in quite some time. I enlisted the help of K and dove headfirst into an all day scrub fest. Bucket of bleach and soap with yellow rubber glove in tow, I scrubbed every inch of tile and swept like a crazy person. We gave the apartment a very thorough head to toe cleaning. We took a break to make a brunch of sorts with poached eggs, steamed spinach, oatmeal and my good friend bacon.

We completely rearranged the living room which does double duty as my office/editing suite. We decided to part with two chairs that the cat has basically destroyed. They were these beautiful danish midcentury modern molded plywood chairs that someone had thrown into the trash. K and I had found them when we first started dating and he helped me carry them home. We carried both chairs out to the curb and ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the cycle was complete and they returned to the place from where they once came. There is a new zen quality to the space and everything is so much more open and flowing. It feels good to get rid of some of the clutter and get the space to a place where it can breath again.

The desk used to face a wall and now it faces a window. It seems so much more inspiring to sit looking out the window rather than staring at the cold plaster wall.

I feel like I'm going through my own personal spring. Doing the spring cleaning and preparing for my own garden to start blossoming. Lord knows it feels like spring with how much rain we've been getting. It never seems to stop. I know it will soon enough though. There are good things ahead.

Day 15

I promise that the Rant has not turned into a glorified quit smoking log, just a temporary one. Today is a day of note, Day 15 of not smoking. This marks the beginning of week 3 in my journey. I'm settling into a comfortable place and feeling like I'm going to make it.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 12 is sponsored by bacon

Nothing says I love you
like a sizzling plate full of crispy delicious pig candy.


Welcome to day 12 of my life without cigarettes.
I'd like to take this time to thank our sponsor
for day 12... Bacon.








Just what the doctor ordered.

9 out of 10 doctors recommend fried bacon as an important
part of any healthy balanced diet.***




***Any claims of health benefits from bacon and all statistics regarding them are purely the ficticious creation and malinformed opinion of the author of this post. Prolonged exposure to bacon and/or bacon fat may cause cancer, birth defects, chronic diarrhea, migraine headaches, anal bleeding and miscarriage. Children under 3 should only be given bacon under close adult supervision with the recommendation of a board certified physician. In some individuals bacon may cause a rare but serious condition
known as bacon fever. If you experience foaming at the mouth, irrational anger, paranoia or night tremors, please contact your local poison control center.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 11



Well, it's day 11 of nonsmoking and I am delighted to say that it is going pretty well. I feel most anxious at night and took two tylenol PM pills to ensure restful sleep. I have definitely experienced a bit of grogginess as a result this morning.

For the most part I have not wanted to smoke, but when I looked at this photo of the broken cigarette it made my heart beat quickly and lustfully. It's strange how a simple image can illicit such a strong physical response.

Also, I am on day 4 of no coffee. I've replaced it with tea. I've been feeling oddly calm and a bit giddy. I feel very optimistic about life right now. I read a bit more of the artist's way and embark on a journey of artistic exploration starting next week. It's a bright new leaf to turn over and one that is long overdue.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Djembe Man


Sometimes I find myself scared of my dreams.
It makes me scared of sleeping. It makes me stay up late
drinking and thinking and avoiding drifting away.
Last night I went to bed early and drifted into the land of dreams.
I found myself greeted by a very smiley man. I was in an African instrument shop.
I started by playing the djembe and he asked me why I was so fascinated with the djembe and told me that he had many other instruments that made even more interesting sounds.
He kept bringing me instruments to play.
There is a drumshop/African instrument shop over on Union Street and 4th avenue. I have been meaning to go into it for months. I want to explore the use of alternate instrumentation, specifically African instruments for the third album.

I know, first things first, I have to polish up the 2nd album, package it and finally share it with the world.

but for now, here are some of the sounds in my head that will be shaping some of the upcoming music.



Day 10


Well, It's day 10 of nonsmoking. Last night I felt for the first time very anxious and agitated like there was something missing. I drank orange juice to calm my nerves and went to bed early. I feel like my lungs are starting to purge a bit, which isn't the most comfortable sensation, but I know it will pass soon.

Whoo Hoo! Day 10!

As part of my turning over of a new leaf I picked up a book that has been on our shelves collecting dust. It is called The Artist's Way and has been given rave reviews by my friends who have read it. Though, from my understanding thus far, only having gotten through the introduction, it's more of a course on self discovery and unblocking one's creativity as an artist than it is just a straight read. It should be interesting to see what comes from such self exploration. Hopefully it will act as some sort of plunger for my artistic plumbing. I am ready to dive in and find out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 9


"Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times. " - Mark Twain

Here we go again. I am on day 9 of quitting smoking. I have lost count of how many times I've quit. My last long stretch was for 3 years. Then, a big ball of stress came rolling into my life and my knee jerk reaction was to pick up a cigarette, which led to another which led to another which led to a pack, which led to an addiction. Well, We had a friend staying with us in our apartment and all three of us got a cold at the same time. I'm just now getting over it thanks to lots of water and mucinex and homeopathic remedies. I cannot praise the power of chicken soup and cayenne pepper enough.

I developed a very nasty cough, as did my friend who smokes. K did not develop the cough, most likely because he does not smoke. I was forced to put down the cigarettes because I could not breathe. I think I would still be coughing had I not put them down. My friend is still smoking and on antibiotics and is still coughing a great deal. I had a panic attack on the train the other day because it was so crowded and I could not cough and I needed to and by supressing it, I started having an asthma attack on top of the congestion. I ran out of the subway and out onto the street near the bridge and called K, totally freaking out. I couldn't get back on the train, so we walked for a bit until I calmed down.

So, it's day 9 and I have barely even missed smoking. I don't crave the cigarettes like I normally do at this point in the quitting process. I am going to keep my determination and kick this nasty habit. I like breathing and right now I am breathing better than I have in months. I'm sure my singing voice and my lungs will thank me for this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

an angry toothfish is swimming in my stomach


You learn something new every day if you keep your eyes and ears open. Today for instance I learned that there is no such thing as chilean seabass. Yes, stop the presses. I know your dreams are shattered and you feel just as let down and lied to as I feel at this moment. Chilean seabass is in fact the sexy name given to the rather unfortunate looking patagonian toothfish which isn't even a bass.

I had never sampled the pleasures of patagonian toothfish until someone got my order wrong just a few minutes ago and gave me the little critter instead of salmon. I decided to just suck it up and try something new. It was nothing to write home about but didn't really upset my stomach or anything.

That is until I opened my web browser and saw this.


I now have an angry patagonian toothfish thrashing around in my tum tum.
I will try to summon my comfort animal and an artificial forcefield of zen.
If that fails there's always the backup plan of tums and a ginger tea.

Monday, July 20, 2009

internetless

We have been without internet service for over a week.
Communication has come to a grinding hault.
Hopefully we'll be up and running very soon.(crossing fingers),

Monday, June 29, 2009

Apocalypse over Manhattan?


This place is starting to feel like a funeral home. Yes, I know Billy Mays the oxyclean guy died, but I can't bring myself to post one more R.I.P. on here. Sorry Billy.
Not to mention Ed McMahon. Who would have every thought that cracked out Amy Winehouse would have outlived them all?

On Friday, after being soaked to the bone in a rainstorm, I paid a visit to the lovely Ms. Beverly and listened to old records as we tend to do. As I was leaving, we were both commenting on the beautiful light reflecting the sunset from a neighboring building. When I reached the street, I knew something was fishy, because people had stopped their cars and were hanging out their windows taking pictures of the sky.

I looked up and about peed my pants. It looked like a scene from the movie ghostbusters and I was sure that the Stay Puffed Marshmallow man was about to come stomping down the avenue crushing pedestrains and cars like ants. The image for this posting was taken by my camera, but to get a better idea of what was going on check out this great compilation of photos taken during the same evening.

I was unaware that there is a type of clouds called mammatus clouds. You learn something new every day.

R.I.P.
Michael Jackson
(1958-2009)



Well, the rumors were indeed true and Michael Jackson did in fact die last week from Cardiac arrest, though the factors that may have led to that are yet to be determined after one inconclusive autopsy and another underway.

It is so strange, the feeling in the air. I keep hearing Michael's music blasting out of car windows and bleeding from people's headphones in elevators. He was a musical genius and a tortured, misunderstood soul.

I have found myself defending him in conversations that bring up his various legal issues many relating to his unusually close relationships with children. He was never convicted of a crime related to pedophilia or child molestation, but he has been convicted multiple times in the eyes of many.

I have read articles about Michael where he discussed performing at the tender young age of 6 years old when his father would beat him and emotionally abuse him. I have read of his longing to just have a childhood, something he was never allowed. I think he must have lived a very strange and lonely existence. I hope that he is now at peace.

"Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists. " -Michael Jackson

Thursday, June 25, 2009

?RIP? Michael Jackson????!!!?



Does TMZ know something the rest of us don't?

R.I.P.
Farrah Fawcett
(1947-2009)


As a child I adored the show Charlie's Angels.
Sadly today one of its stars, Farrah Fawcett died
after a three year battle with cancer.
my thoughts and much love go out to her family and friends
at this difficult time. May they find peace and acceptance for their loss.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ceiling

Show me a picture of the ceiling in your old apartment.
I have hidden memories there.

Manscaping

We live in a brave new world where straight men known as metrosexuals get their
bikini line waxed and their eyebrows tamed a la asian threading.
Formerly the domain of women, plucking, shaving, tweezing and waxing are now commonplace among men.
Some men though need guidance. Perhaps this instructional video from Gillette is a good starter course.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tomorrow is Far



I am a huge fan of Regina Spektor.
She is adorably quirky and skillfully witty as a songwriter.
Her latest album is scheduled for release Tomorrow and is titled Far.
You can stream the entire album on NPR's website.

Success is a tricky thing. Many musicians begin their careers with a unique style that becomes more homogenized and commercialized over time. Record labels find these beautiful rough gems and then sand them down until there is barely anything left that is individual or recognizable. Regina Spektor is her own brand of wacky and heartwarming with a view of the world that often reminds the listener of a child's view of the world. I have not yet had the chance to listen to all of Far, but I do fear for Regina Spektor and her music that she is at risk as the beautiful gem that she is of being commercialized to a point that compromises her artistry. I hope this is not the case as I have immense respect for her talent and her ability to craft songs that at times successfully break my heart.

Meredith Monk- Churchyard Entertainment

I was recently at the apartment of Mr. Carpentier discussing all manner of things when he mentioned this woman, Meredith Monk whose work he had seen performed at Jacob's Pillow in the Berkshires. I have a fondness for the Berkshires, having visited there at the age of 13. Coming from Kansas at the time, it was like a cultural treasure chest.

Anyhoo, Meredith Monk is a musician, filmaker, dancer, choreographer, etc. etc.
I think there is such an amazing humor reflected in the piece below. It reminds me a bit of Monty Python, but is brilliant in its own right.

I present to you Churchyard Entertainment from Book of Days.



To explore Meredith's work further, you can visit her website:
meredithmonk.org

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Slow Day For News


Nothing of any importance must have happened today. I clicked on CNN's Website to see if anything had exploded or if there was some new strain of goat flu perhaps. Maybe Miley Cyrus had gotten a tattoo or Paris Hilton had stopped using the word hot to describe everything. What I discovered from my brief adventure in pointing and clicking my way toward pounding a few nails in print journalism's coffin was that one of CNN's top headlines was "Dog Eats Bag of Pot, Gets High".

It's great to know that CNN is tackling the really important stories that shape all of our lives. It's thought provoking journalism like this that restores my faith in the integrity of mainstream news.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Daddy (lyrics)

Hookers and Booze
no matter which way you choose
you know you're gonna lose.
You're gonna lose.

you've got car wrecks
and credit card debts
and fingers stained from cigarettes
and I've got the blues in 5,000 hues.

Daddy
I don't want to be your
Daddy
I don't need to be your
Daddy
you're supposed to be my
Daddy

Daddy
I don't want to be your
Daddy
I don't need to be your
Daddy
you're supposed to be my
Daddy

Stick a quarter in the slot
for every minute you would like the bed to purr
with your new her
cheap motels ain't got whistles or bells
but you seem to thing that you have found the cure
Don't be so sure.

Daddy
I don't want to be your
Daddy
I don't need to be your
Daddy
you're supposed to be my
Daddy

Daddy
I don't want to be your
Daddy
I don't need to be your
Daddy
you're supposed to be my
Daddy

Thursday, May 28, 2009

600 miles (excerpt)

Thank you for coming to the show
It means more to me than you will ever know.
I travelled 600 miles just to tune my guitar
for the men playing pool and the ladies laughing at the bar

but you listened to every word that I said.
You offered me a ride and a beer and a bed
you told me I'm amazing and I promise it won't go to my head.

Thank you for the letter that you wrote.
I've been strugglin' just to keep myself afloat
I had rocks in my sweater and I was goin' for a swim
when she handed me your letter I was drownin' over him

but your words pulled me back from the tide
from the place where my fears and my failures collide.
I might have swallowed half the ocean just to wash down the taste of my pride

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Empty Hands

You drink too much
I know because I do too
I recognize the bleary eyes that belong to you.
you resent the forgetting
blaming me for pointing out the points that were upsetting
when you howl at the sky
when the dark side rises out of your skin
again and again
like clockwork
a knee jerk reaction to something deep within your bones
something still unknown but always there, staring me in the face.
I am standing farther away, trying to keep the demons at bay
but missing the person that they inhabit.
trying to explain, but you won't have it.
your ears are filled with sand.
your heart is torn in strands.
your plate is full
but empty hands

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Common Cement

To pull you from the flames

To pull you from the flames of love gone wrong
would take a giant and I am not that strong.
you wipe your lips
they smell of kerosine and feed the flames
for only you unseen.

Perfection, not a virtue I would fit
to ask of you would I turn hypocrite?
I stand aside and watch the clouds of smoke
I offer water and but still you choose to choke.

2 Years

2 years ago today I had just moved into a basement apartment. I was sleeping on a blowup mattress and the floor had just been finished so I was dealing with a constant nausea that comes from breathing in fumes. I had just finished a stint of sleeping on people's sofas for over a year, traveling like a wandering gypsy, bags and guitar in tow. The blowup mattress was a big step up.

I rushed with my guitar and equipment to a show held at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn for Marriage Equality New York. As everything was being setup,I spied a boy in tight jeans with nice legs and very cute floppy ears. I told my friend that he would be my boyfriend. I of course never made eye contact or tried to approach him. It was more of a joke. I had given up on dating. My life at that point in fact did not even leave room for flirtation. I was content with and resigned to being alone.

I performed a set as my self while two dragqueen friends, Chic and Sassy held umbrellas over my head to sheild me and my guitar from the rain. Then, I performed a set as Kitt & Kaboodle, my cabaret alter-ego with Jeff Cubeta. I was packing up my guitar and winding down when I was approached by a tight jean wearing floppy eared boy. He asked if I had a mailing list. I said yes, but I had rushed and didn't have it with me. He seemed dejected. Was he flirting with me? I was impervious to such things and oblivious perhaps, but hopeful. Maybe I wasn't content with being alone. I had seen him earlier walking around with a microphone followed by a camera crew. I asked him what they were filming for and he told me it was for a television show produced by the LGBT community center. I gave him my email address and told him to email me to let me know when the show aired. (this is the short version, btw. He left and then came back minutes later. I thought I had scared him away...and the whole throughout the whole situation I was very confused with his intentions...if it was flirtation, professional networking...I had no clue.)

I received an an email a few days later

"Hello, Im the guy with the camera from the marriage rally. The show
will be airing the third thursday of June in Manhattan on time warner
34 at 1030 and some other time on BCAT. You can also watch it online
at gaycenter.org/out.
Also if you ever want to grab a coffee or something that would be great."

I responded:


"Hey Konstantine (a.k.a. guy with the camera)

Thanks for the info. I don't own a television, so I'll
have to check it out on the website.

I am always up for grabbing a coffee or something. If
that something involves an old wooden rollercoaster in
Coney Island or a game of pool, even better.
I'm free Thursday evening,this friday from 2-4pm or after
8pm(very specific, I know), and then I'm in Minneapolis
doing a show, but I'll be back on Monday."

I will spare you the details and just say, the rest is history.
Two year later, I'm engaged to a floppy eared boy who looks quite hot in tight jeans.
oh and he is smart and sweet and kind and gentle and all that stuff... If you need a puke bucket, I totally understand.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

Occasionally a movie comes along that is so horribly bad that it's amazingly awesome. One of those is Coffy with Pam Grier, an absolute classic in my book.
The question is, Can Deborah (Debbie electric youth) Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas pull off the so horrible it's amazingly snakes on a plane good with their newest picture Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. It's a challenging balancing act. You watch the trailer and decide.


btw, if this does not go straight to DVD, I am so going to the theater to see this. That is no joke. Who's with me?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

remember these?

Peak a boo

Hello out there. Testing testing, is this thing on?
It has been a while since I've written here.
I promise that I am still alive, still working on music, still breathing and all. I've still got ten fingers and ten toes and an overabundance of love for bacon despite the hysteria over a little flu. Swine flu? really? Is this what it's come to? It's just a different strain of the blu people. It's not the end of the world. It's not ebola.

I'd much rather read headlines about pirates. I know that it's tragic and all, but I kept looking at cnn's website and seeing headline about pirates. I let out a little arrg in my head. I pictured men with patches over their eyes and scarves on their heads, brandishing swords and swinging in on ropes to kidnap unsuspecting passengers.
The word pirate makes me smile. I'm not totally sure why. It doesn't even have to be proceeded by the word butt to make me do it.

There has been much going on with my family. It has really taken its toll on me. One bright spot of light that peaked through the clouds was my sister who came to visit us in New York. She is 4 months pregnant, expecting a boy, so needless to say her visit focused around food and her desire to eat it. I have no complaints on that front.

this is all for now...peak a boo. I'll be back with you soon

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I wanna protect you from the people
singing hymns of love under the steeple
who don't even know what being a christian is all about

I wanna protect you from the picket lines
from the red faced people
with hate filled signs
kiss your limp wrist and let the closed fists have their closed minds.

cuz you are beuatiful no matter what they say
they chose to be like that
you were born this way
and god will kiss your face on the judgement day

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

May-oh-no-no!



Mayonaise is like the poor man's butter, you can add it to almost anything and increase the fatty goodness and flavor. What would Potato salad or tuna salad or a BLT be without mayo. I hobble through this world carrying many sinful vices , one of which is an overindulgance in foods of a fatty nature. Bacon is at the top of the list, but in a close third just behind butter there is Mayo.

Recently I thought it necessary to buy a giant tub of mayo as part of my stockpiling madness. I also recently turned up the temperature of the fridge because things had been freezing. I noticed more recently that milk seems to go bad so quickly, but attributed this to the fact that it was fresh milk from the farmer's market. Perhaps, I turned the temperature up too high in the fridge, yes the same one with the giant tub of mayo. Do you see the kitten tied to the railroad tracks? in other words the impending doom facing my belly?

We were invited to dinner on Thursday by our friends Jason and Simon. Jason cooked an amazing meal centered around one of my favorite forms of pig, the porkchop. We had wine, enjoyed music and the company of Jason's friend Heather. All was well in the world. We said our goodbyes and walked home.

When we got home I was a bit peckish, so I made veggie burgers from frozen patties and put some mayo and ketchup on the side. I awoke to the sound of K vomitting but thought nothing of it. People vomit. I made myself a sandwich for lunch slathered with a generous helping of mayo. A couple hours after eating said sandwich, I began to get extremely nauseous. I ran to the bathroom and went all Linda Blair on the toilet. I still did not make the mayo connection, but thought perhaps we had both gotten a stomach bug similar to the one I had wrongly blamed on the empanada place. I think they may have closed. I think it might have been my fault. Oh dear. The last stomach bug was extremely contageous and basically struck everyone. I watched all my friends fall like dominoes around me. Well, anyway I heard no word of anyone else being sick and I will spare you the gorry details, but I have never in my life vomitted like I did on Friday. I could not hold down water and the pain was horrific. I spent Saturday in bed most of the day just recovering from Friday, but luckily by Sunday I was back to normal.

So, with picnic season fast approaching, please heed the warning of making sure you keep all dishes containing mayo nice and cold. Don't let what happened to me happen to you. On the upside if it does happen to you, the weightloss side-effect is amazing. I lost that last stuborn 5 pounds around my waistline and just in time for spring break. ;)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ricky, You are an angel and you know why

I'll send you an email shortly, but thank you in advance. I hope that Minneapolis is thawing. We had hail, thunder and lightning this evening? I may have angered God.

R

Big Edie is watching you!


This weekend K and I watched the original documentary Grey Gardens from the 1970's. It is truely a brilliant doc. and slightly if not entirely crazy, which of course means it's right up my ally. I previously had blogged about my excitement for the HBO original movie with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. I have asked my friend Marc to save it on his DVR since we are pioneers truding through the world without cable.

Something strange happened this evening. I received an email from the official Grey Gardens website telling me that they have relaunched. I have never visited the official Grey Gardens site nor signed up for any email list pertaining to that site. I feel a bit creeped out. Does the official Grey Gardens website read The Rant?

If so, hey little Edie! What up?

Friday, March 27, 2009

WHAT THA HELL??

Sore Fingers

Photo by Carrie Thomas

My fingers are sore today and the tips are white from the combination of about 4 hours of piano and 3 or 4 hours of guitar playing yesterday.
I have been teaching myself a few of my new songs on piano.
It's interesting, because I find that there is more of a classical inspiration when I put things to piano, whereas guitar seems to draw me to a place more rooted in folk.

What I really want is a djembe. K and I passed a shop the other day full of African Art and Djembes which are handmade by this one man from Senegal. He even goes to Africa every year and picks out the goats to be slaughtered for the skins that are stretched to make the drums. I will hopefully get one soon, because I feel it is part of the sound I want for some of the newer recordings (yet to be recorded but what I hear in my head)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Grey Garden on HBO April 18th


Today K goes deep into Brooklyn to return our cable box.
As part of a buckling down and tightening of the purse strings
we have gotten rid of cable and our landline phone.
Not to fret though, the internet is still up and running.
Despite being cut off from cable television, I recently caught the trailer for HBO's Grey Gardens starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. I must say that I'm dying to see it.
After doing a little research I learned that Drew took a year of diction lessons and completely immersed herself in the role. You can read a bit about her process for taking on the character here. I ran into Drew once on the street and she was sweet as a peach.

And now without further babbling on my part, behold a preview of Grey Gardens...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Critters: Bat hitches ride to space


"A bat that was clinging to space shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank during the countdown to launch the STS-119 mission remained with the spacecraft as it cleared the tower, analysts at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center concluded.

Based on images and video, a wildlife expert who provides support to the center said the small creature was a free tail bat that likely had a broken left wing and some problem with its right shoulder or wrist. The animal likely perished quickly during Discovery’s climb into orbit." [Nasa]

aw, this poor critter got a rather rude awakening while trying to take a nap on the side of the space shuttle discovery.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Divine

Photo by Carrie Thomas

I have loved you wondering if love was born from your loving me or from my own sense of something wet below your belt. I have loved you like a child staring at an icecream truck knowing that there is some relief from the heat of summer.
I have loved you selfishly with the need to feed
the need to feed the hungry parts inside me
yearning to be fed
yearning for your body in my bed.
I have not forgotten how to eat
how to cook the meal or to zest the peal
to add that special something to the dish.
I have learned a new language of seasonings
a new avenue of reasoning from every kiss.
I love you because I want to, not out of fear
of coming winter, not out of fear that nothing better may come.
I know nothing better may come because I have loved you
and after eating a dish so devine and drinking your lips stained with wine,
I have been shown what loving truely is divine.

light and dark


Photo by Carrie Thomas

sometimes the light fades to black so slowly that you don't notice that it's out
until you're grappling with your hands like they belong to a stranger
until your feet stumble over one another and you've lost sight of left and right.
one foot in front of another is often the best that we can do,
a forceful dance with instinct...driven back to the beginning, crawling and learning to walk again. Sometimes a match is suddenly struck in the dark and we find ourselves dancing, waltzing inappropriately to a chopin tune that was designed more for contemplation. The light, the spark that drives our feet to move knows no sense of propriety. This is the truth. Think about it and you will trip over your own feet a carbon smell fills the air. a glimpse of smoke and a return to dark

Kitten of the day: St. Patrick's Day edition

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday the 13th, the full moon and the Brooklyn Penal system in a 14 year old vagina


There is something about the full moon and the amount of water that is in the human body. Much like the oceans we have our high and low tides, governed by the whims of the man in the moon. My mother is a nurse and she used to work nights in Medicine Lodge Kansas. She would come home and recount tales of how the emergency room was flooded with crazy cases and crazy patients and then she would say how the full moon seems to always bring them out.

I'm not sure if it is just the movie with the guy in the hockey mask that has made Friday the 13th so menacing, but whatever it is, there is a truth to it. Oddly we've had two months in a row with the 13th falling on a Friday. Just so you know, this will not happen again until November. However, this Friday the 13th proved for me to be particularly crazy. I don't mind waiting until the fall to deal with such craziness again.

Thursday the 12th was a pretty great day. I met up with a friend who shall remain nameless for the purposes of this blog. I respect him greatly and he has been a shining light for me in times of bitter darkness. I was pleased to take him out for a drink in celebration of him obtaining temporary employment after a rather long dry spell and a time which I feel has been damaging to his confidence and his heart. Another purpose of our drink was to discuss a rather difficult time he has been enduring with his current boyfriend. I gave advice which is like giving yourself and express ticket to hell when dealing with relationships. This is something I've learned oh too well in the past. You express your true feelings about someone your friend is dating, they breakup and later, you are held accountable for being a shoulder to cry on and saying that the person your friend has been dating is a user and a dick.

We parted and I returned home. At midnight I tried to call him, but his phone went to voicemail. Immediately, my phone flashed with a new message. It was from him. The message basically said that his boyfriend was threatening him and that if anything should happen to him, I should know that the boyfriend was responsible. In the background I heard the boyfriend yelling at my friend that he was an asshole and full of shit. I called my friend and spoke briefly with the boyfriend still yelling in the background. Though he assured me that things were semi-o.k., I had a bit of worry regarding the situation. I had taken a tylenol PM to counter my natural state of insomnia. Actually, I lie. I had taken two tylenol PM and washed them down with a martini. I'm not sure that this is recommended, so please don't try this at home. At 1am my phone rang with a call from my friend's boyfriend but I was very groggy from the tylenol and possibly the martini or the combination of the two so I chose not to incoherently answer the call.

I awoke on Friday the 13th with a nagging feeling of worry. At 10am I called my friend. NO answer. At noon, I called my friend, no answer. By 6:00, I became worried after leaving multiple messages and repeatedly calling my friend and his boyfriend. I went to visit my friend and adopted grandmother, Beverly. She suggested that I call the precinct in the neighborhood and see if there had been any arrests at my friend's location. I called the precinct and was told that my friend had been arrested and that I should call another number where they could give me more information. I asked about his boyfriend but was told that he was not arrested. I called the number but it rang with no answer. My mind then began to spin. I had called and text messaged the boyfriend with no reply. Was he in the hospital? Was he dead? Was he ignoring me. Beverly called local hospitals pretending to be his aunt, and we could not find any information connected to his name. I called the number I was given again but got no answer. I called back the precinct and was given the address for the Brooklyn Criminal Courthouse. I was told that they were in session until 2am.

I arrived at the courthouse at midnight. I removed all the metal from my pockets and they put my bag through one of those xray machines like they have at the airport. They kept putting my bag through while I stood there. One of the officers turned to me and asked if I had a microphone in my bag. I replied yes and she said, oh yeah, well prove it. I sang "flapjacks are flippin' in the fryin' pan".

She smiled and handed me my bag after making sure that I did not have a recording device on me.

I arrived at a window with lists of names on pieces of paper. I frantically looked for my friend's name with no luck. I went to the window and a tired looking man with a mustache approached me. I gave him my friend's name and he told me that he would be arraigned in the morning. I asked what the charges were and was told assault. I asked about his boyfriend and he said that his boyfriend would also be seen in the morning also for assault. I was told to come back at 9:00 am. I pictured my friend with a swollen lip and a black eye, his boyfriend also battered and swollen.

I got home at 2am and didn't sleep very well. I was so worried. What if there was bail to be paid? Could I afford it? What could I do if I couldn't? Should I call my friend's mother. I had never been in this situation. I felt helpless.

I was barely able to drag myself out of bed, very bleary eyed, very groggy. I took the train and arrived at the courthouse at 8:45. I waited outside with a crowd of people until 9:15 when the unlocked a chain that was tied around a tall metal gate in front of the entrance. I took all the metal out of my pockets and went back through the metal detector. I approached the same window and found my friend's name and his boyfriend's name on a list and an arrow pointing towards a courtroom.

The courtroom was full of hard wooden seating much like church pews, the kind of seats that make your butt hurt after 15 minutes. I sat there for an hour before the judge saw the first case. The prisoners were brought out in groups of six and put into a little holding pin towards the right side of the court. As their names were called, they were led to stand in front of the judge. They had to hold their hands behind their backs as though invisible handcuffs were keeping them there.

I heard case after case after case. I wondered when my friend would be one of the six or 8 led out the door by an officer of the court. I began to familiarize myself with lingo to which I had not previously been privy.

The one case that stuck in my mind the most for some reason was one where they began reading the charge of an 18 year old boy forcing a 14 year old girl into a bathroom. They described him sticking his fingers in her vagina, then his penis, then her recounting that she did not see any semen and she didn't think he had orgasmed inside of her. It was at that moment that I began to feel sick. What was I doing here? I heard case after case and got to her the rap sheets of those there. Some of them were there for disorderly conduct, some for selling crack. People still sell crack? Really?

After a few hours of this something struck me like a brick in the chest. Our justice system is completely broken. As the judge set bail for these people, I began to see a pattern. Bail would be set based upon whether the person had a job, whether they had a phone in the home, whether they were considered an upstanding member of society with some sort of value. I noticed also that most of the people being brought before the judge were poor and black and that the bail seemed like a punishment for their circumstance, often the thing that had brought them to this place. Basically, it's all about money. If you are poor and your skin is too dark, then you are locked up because you can't afford bail. If you are a white kid with a b.b. gun who held up a car and stole property, well then you are released to your white parents, because you just need to see a therapist. (a real case, btw)

At 12:45 they adjourned for lunch and locked the big gates to the courthouse. I went to the local Wendy's and then sat on the steps waiting for them to reopen the doors. At 2:15, they reopened the gates and I took all the metal out of my pockets and went back through the metal detector. I sat back down on the hard wooden benches and listened to case after case for the next 3 1/2 hours. Finally my friends were brought out. Neither of them had black eyes. Neither of them had swollen lips. No bail was set and there was no reason for me to be there. They looked at me strangely like, WHY ARE YOU HERE? Their case was dropped because neither of them pressed charges against the other.

I was told that they had gotten into a loud argument and knocked over a table and broken a glass. Apparently the neighbors had called the cops and though they told the cops that there was no physical violence occurring, just an argument, they were still taken into the station an booked for assault.

I had double vision and was pretty exhausted by the time they got out. I did not sit in the courthouse to receive a medal of appreciation, but I just felt a coldness from both of them. When I mentioned that I was tired from being there all day they just recounted competitively that they were more tired from being in holding. When I told them that I had been worried about the message and not hearing from them, the boyfriend attacked me as though I was a horrible person for thinking he might be capable of doing anything to my friend. I walked them to the precinct to get their keys and belongings. They offered to get me a car to take me to the train but I chose to walk.

I asked if they would be ok going home together, if they would not fight or end up in jail again. They said they would be fine. I have not heard from them at all today. They did not call to thank me for spending two days worrying or a day sitting on a hard wooden bench at the courthouse. I know this is what friends are for, but a part of me feels like a phone call today would have been the least that they could do.

It is a horrible place to be when you are filled with worry, but have no control and can't do anything about it but wait.

On the bright side of all this, I think it is an invaluable experience to sit on a hard wooden bench and see the true ugly face of justice in this country. It is frightening, and I have a new appreciation for not having been thrown into the system to experience it first hand.

My tylenol PM is kicking in and I am about to slip into a warm milk and olive oil bath as the cats play in the hallway. If the phone rings at 1am, I think again in my grogginess, I will choose to not answer it. If it rings tomorrow at 1am, again, I think I shall choose to sleep.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kitten of the day

The Power of Selfishness(sort of)


Last night there was a protest in Union Square to free Tibet from the tyrannical reign of China. As I was passing this protest what struck me was how quiet it was. One person was speaking very calmly and all those gathered were attentive and completely focused.

I was on the phone with K who had previously recounted his short stint as a Buddhist.
This led me down the path of looking at quotes from the Dali Lama. I don't know much about him other than the fact that he always looks happy when he is filmed or photographed. There is this glow that he has. I sometimes refer to people like this as ones whose souls shine through their skin.

I know that I have moments of this. I have had periods in my life where this glow was a part of me. Lately however I have felt more like the opposite, a darkness or dullness that dims the soul, much like one standing in a shadow.

I think there is something to be said about selfishness. When I say selfishness, it's probably not what you think. The word has gotten a bad wrap, but perhaps a certain form of selfishness is part of the road to happiness. When one denies ones own needs to express art, to get enough sleep, to generally nurture ones own happiness, there is a suffering that ensues. Being that we are all interconnected, this bleeds into the lives of others. We affect those around us with our sadness, with our disappointment and our discontent. Ultimately the selfishness involved in nurturing one's self can pave the way to happiness. This happiness can ultimately lead us to be happier and kinder to others around us.

Feng shui for instance is a two way road. It is often thought of as this silly art of moving furniture to solve all your problems or putting a mirror in the right place to bring financial prosperity. Feng shui however is about your environment affecting your inner peace. Conversely, your inner state can affect your environment and those around you. When I am stressed and depressed, I find that the apartment is a mess and a reflection of my inner turmoil. When I am organized and content on the inside, the apartment is clean and organized.

We must embrace selfishness in the sense of taking care of your inner environment. Our well-being shines out of us like a light or stretches out like a shadow covering the light of others. The world starts from within us and stretches out.

I am not a Buddhist. I would be a terrible Buddhist I think, but they definitely have some great ideas. Today I am going to nurture my inner peace and hope that I can shine beyond my skin a bit. Today I'm going to embrace the power of selfishness, not such a nasty word after all.


"As human brothers and sisters, I have a feeling that deep down we are all the same human beings. Therefore, it is quite natural that when some human brothers and sisters suffer, then other brothers and sisters spontaneously develop some kind of sincere feeling or concern. At this moment I find this very much alive. I consider this a hope for the future."- The Dali Lama

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

back from the dead


Photo by the ridiculously talented Carrie Thomas

I feel like I have risen from some sort of zombie state. There has been a lot going on that has weighed me down and put my in a place where I feel sort of vacant and disconnected from reality.

I didn't go home for Christmas this year, partially as a protest. If my parents didn't want both me and my boyfriend then they could have Christmas without me. I don't know how my decision would have been made had I realized that this would be the last family Christmas in the way that I have known them for so long.

My parents now live in separate houses. One would think that this would be a traumatic situation for an 8 year old and more easily handled by an adult, but it doesn't seem that way to me.

I spoke recently with the extremely talented Carrie Thomas, and she told me that she felt sorry for the children who thought their families were normal and then realized later that it had all been an illusion. She, having accepted that her family might not be up to par at a young age, felt it to be a softer blow.

I have never really had illusions that my family was perfect, but I guess I didn't really understand how fractured it was. My mother shielded me from a lot. She acted as a sort of ambassador for my father. He could not tell me that he loved me, so she would tell me that he did. She would tell me that he was proud of me. She balanced him in this amazing way.

My father is in a wheelchair. My mother is in a house by herself. There is so much pain, so much loss.

I cannot focus on this. Though I am doing my best to be supportive, I cannot let this swallow me. I have enough problems already with CNN telling me that the world is collapsing into sub-prime rubble. I can quite easily created my own private apocalypse without the help of others.

I choose however at this point in my life to watch the flowers bloom from the ashes, for the grass to grow where the mine fields once marred the landscape.

I believe in positive thinking to some extent. Perhaps I have forgotten to practice what I preach at times, but I do know this... There is so much beauty in this world, so much hope. I am surrounded by amazing people who I am blessed to have in this world. I have to choose every day when I wake up whether I want to focus on the dark underside of the clouds or the rays of sun shining through the breaks in them.

Yes, feel free to put me before a firing squad and shoot me for being guilty of cheesiness. I bare my chest for you.

Lest we forget why we are here

I am in the process of booking spring and summer shows and am working on some new material. I have been in a bit of a cocoon with everything going on in my personal life, but ultimately I know I am blessed. I also know that it is time to get off my butt and get back out on the road. The break has been nice, but I can't hybernate forever.

25 Random Things About Me

1. I cannot eat anything with Sweet and Sour as it initiates my gag reflex. My mother learned this the hard way by forcing me to sit at the kitchen table until I finished every bite of sweet and sour chicken.

2. I lost my virginity when I was 13. It involved a washing machine while his grandmother was at the grocery store. It turned into a three year secret love affair. All this in a town of 1,000 people in Kansas.

3. When I was in kindergarten, I packed a bag and told my family that I was leaving them and going to M&M land after seeing a commercial with M&M's swimming in pools of liquid chocolate. I got my neighbor Ashley to come with me. We sat in a red wagon with a helium balloon tied to the handle until my mom came out and brought me some cookies and explained that I couldn't go to M&M land.

4. I used to believe that if I thought impure thoughts that people could see them projected onto my eyes. For some reason, I always seemed to have these thoughts in church and it would cause me to laugh, but I would pretend that I was crying and moved by the holy spirit.

5. I deal with emotional stress by consuming fatty foods. The main culprits are butter and bacon. If I could incorporate bacon and butter into every meal, I think I would be a happier person.

6. I am easily hurt and often paranoid that people do not like me. This sometimes results in my pulling away to protect myself.

7. I am allergic to eggplant.

8. I refused to take a shower until I was in college. We were in army housing and I had traumatic memories of my mother holding me under a shower that shifted from hot to cold while I would scream. In highschool I would wear my sweaty clothes home from track practice and take a bath.

9. I used to sing Opera and was pushed very forecefully by multiple vocal teachers to pursue this as my career. Though the music was amazing and powerful, It was not my passion.

10. I have titanium plates and screws in my left arm due to a very bad break. When I was thirteen I was running and tripped over a deformed dog that ran sideways.

11. The first concert I saw was Paula Abdul with opening act Color me bad. They wore matching suits in primary colors and she danced with a man in a catsuit and flew around the stage like peter pan. I was wearing overals with one strap hanging down and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

12. I graduated from highschool when I was 16 and moved into a frat house.

13. I got drunk for the first time on everclear and orange juice. I ran around the fraternity house being chased by fratboys who were trying to get me to go to bed. I was finally aprehended after running into a volleyball net and falling down in the sand.

14. I couldn't drink orange juice for 2 years after getting drunk on everclear and orange juice.

15. When I was in gradeschool I had a crush on Arnold Schwarzeneger. I used to watch Conan the Barbarian all the time and fantasize about him tucking me into bed at night.

16. I am a card carrying member of the Choctaw Indian Tribe. I think my native name would be something like, "burns in the sun".

17. I sang with a choir in Westminster Abby when I was 16.

18. I learned about fermentation at the public library when I was 14 and created really bad tasting moonshine under my bed.

19. I like sleeping in a cold room with really thick covers.

20. I would rather be respected as a musician than famous.

21. I walk a lot to clear my head. I have walked across the Brooklyn Bridge more than 100 times. That is no exhageration. I've lost count on the specific number.

22. I often lack confidence and doubt myself. ie. Stephen King's Carrie. They're all gonna laugh at you.

23. I talk too much about myself and thus don't listen enough to what others are saying.

24. I have lived in NY for 10 years. I keep saying that this is my last year in NY, but this time I mean it.

25. I saw Dancer in the Dark four times in the Theater which I'm told makes me a masochist.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscars, chili, rambling


Last night K and I made chili and watched the Oscars. I thought Hugh Jackman did an excellent job, especially on the dancing/singing numbers.

I was thrilled that Sean Penn won the best actor award for Milk. He definitely deserved to be recognized for the great job he did.

I sense that someone is mad at me, that something has happened, but I don't yet have confirmation. It's just one of those gut feelings where things seem to not match up quite like they should.

I've been very wrapped up in a great deal of stress with my family, much of it is completely out of my control, which just gives me this overwhelming sense of helplessness.

I feel optimistic today, like it is the first day of the rest of my life and that I can just put one foot in front of the other and gain much needed momentum that at times it feels like I've lost. I guess I just feel bogged down or as Kate Bush Would say, "Suddenly my feet are feet of mud. It all goes slow-mo. I don't know why I'm crying. Am I suspended in gaffa?"

I need the soundtrack in my head to switch to Robert Smith singing Doing the Unstuck. It is time for that shift in my perspective.

And now a word from our sponsor

Without shameless begging, independent musicians would surely starve.