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.


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


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


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.

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