Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday Tips

These are tips, and it's Friday. The tips have nothing to do with Friday per se. It's just Friday, and these are tips...

1. Don't eat a large portion of whole wheat pasta with garlic right before bed. I know it's tempting. But don't do it. Have you read Stephen King's Dreamcatcher? Think ripley. Think byrus. Um, yeah.

2. Next time you're out for a walk in the woods, or anywhere, try not to look down when you're walking. I know it sounds crazy, but my field research (walking through the woods every day for the last 5 years) suggests that we don't trust our brains enough when we walk. They (our brains) are designed to take care of little stuff, like 'there's a big rock there...go around it' and 'look down at this point, because you're about to step in deer poop.' But we don't let our brains do their jobs. I don 't know, maybe it's all those years of city living, avoiding eye contact, looking down at the sidewalk. Our brains aren't being allowed to do their job of processing incidental sensory information. Have I mentioned we're not letting them do their jobs? Anyways, we better watch out. Use it or lose it, baby.

3. Okay, you're on to me. Tip 2 was really a ruse to talk about my brain theory. But honestly, our escape from hunting-gathering has put us out of touch with some of our brains' coolest functionality. That's my theory. Discuss.

4. Never take advice from someone whose brain is operated by a squirrel.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lazy, lazy, lazy girl

I'm feeling very lazy today. Lazy as in 'exhausted to the point of brain death by the nightmarish awfulness of the government document I'm editing.'

So I'm just going to point y'all to my vintage style blog, Stylaholic--Jonesin' for Vintage. Because I have secret reserve of energy dedicated exclusively to fashion.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

There seems to be a gap where my topic should be

I don't want to talk about current events. I'm tired of politics. Don't you agree? Hmmm? Oh, I get it. You're one of those quiet types...

...Let's see. There's not much to say about music right now, since we're trying to finish our album and I don't have time to do a lot of listening to other stuff. Although I have to say that I both worship and curse YouTube. I watched 3 hours of old Madonna videos the other night. God I love "Lucky Star." All of her 80s stuff, come to think of it. I was one of the teenyboppers who ran out to buy Like a Virgin the SECOND it hit the stores (the vinyl, of course--sigh, it was a vinyl world back then, sigh sigh). Oh, how I coveted her Boy Toy belt buckle. Although I didn't really understand what a boy toy was...

Then yesterday, when I was supposed to be editing this hideous, loathsome, rambling, stinking, besmirchified, horrendous government document, I accidentally thought about Jenny Lewis and found myself forcing myself to watch all the YouTube footage I could find on her. Which led to a search for Rilo Kiley footage. Which reminded me of the Strokes concert I'm going to see in May...

Not really reading much literature these days. Well, okay, you forced it out of me: I'm re-reading my Nancy Drew collection. Are you happy? I don't care, I'll admit it: Nancy's cool. I mean she's a little on the goody-two-pumps-and-a-string-of-pearls side, but she's her own woman and I respect that. The series could do with a little more smoochy-smoochy between her and Ned Nickerson, or any smoochy-smoochy at all in fact, but Nancy makes me feel like there's an order to life, and she reinforces the values of family, and the fact that a woman's place is in the home, and the idea that while it's okay for a girl to sleuth as a hobby, she shouldn't act like it's some kind of serious career or anything, and...hey, wait a minute. Darn you Nancy Drew! Darn you to heck.

Oh, what the hell am I going on about now? Hey, that reminds me, though. Did you know that the famous 'yellowback' series of Nancy Drew books--the ones most of us own--is actually a redrafted version of an original series dating from the 30s and 40s? Yep, it's true. And back then Nancy had a lot more chutzpah and a lot less of the 'oh dear, let's think about it while we make dinner.' She was, in a word, more HEP.

Which leads me to a random thought: If birds evolved from dinosaurs, where do the feathers come from? Are feathers some kind of evolutionized (made up word) lizard scale? And how can birds be so cute, but lizards so incredibly icky?

Monday, April 24, 2006

It all started with the lamb costume....

I was four. It was the best year of my life. Everything I'll ever want to be in life, I was that year. Self-possessed, happy, on top of the world. And then came my first exposure to adult idiocy, a lamb suit, the death of unfettered self-confidence, and lifelong self-doubt and procrastination.

But I'm giving away all the good stuff too early...

I've let the blogging go lately. This is the story of my life, especially with any creative and/or remotely diary-like activity. I am one of those people that still owns all of the diaries I ever started. Most of them have entries on the first few pages, and are otherwise completely blank. Part of me is all 'I want to live my life, not write about it,' but that's the blowing-smoke-up-my-own-butt part. Really, it's an issue of stick-to-itness--or lack thereof.

So as with all of my shortcomings and not-so-favourite traits, I blame a random event in childhood. In this case, ballet class, 1976. My younger sister had just been born. My kingdom had been invaded by a cute blonde ball with big blueberry eyes. I was no longer the most adorable thing going. The downhill slide came quickly. After finding my plastic scissors in my sister's crib, along with my sister and most of her now-detached hair, I believe my mother thought that maybe I needed to get involved in some extracurricular activities. So she signed me up for ballet.

I l-o-v-e-d the idea of ballet. I would be a princess. I would have so much fun. I would make friends and laugh and act crazy. And all of this would have happened, had it not been for the ballet teacher, Madame Sadistique. Looking back from the wisdom of 30-somethingness, I realize that, well, that woman hated me. I was never the shrinking violet type. I put myself out there, man. I went right up to the first free girl and said, hey let's be friends, you look like a good shit. Madame Sadistique despised this trait.

Now don't get me wrong, I didn't let my social calendar interfere in my art. I threw myself into ballet. I wanted to impress Mme. Sadistique. But the harder I tried, the more she hated me. When we'd do our stretches, she'd push me down into the splits until I wanted to cry. When I told her it hurt and I didn't like this part of the class, she suggested that maybe I just not come to the class anymore. She was awful.

But when the day of our big recital came, I didn't give a crap about the old witch. I had a costume! I was going to be one of Mary's Little Lambs! Screw her! The adorableness of the lamb costume was not to be denied. Big red bow at the neck with a little bell hanging from it. Lamb ears made from cotton balls.

To make a long short story a little shorter, we were a hit. Except for those few times when I forgot which direction to turn in. But hell, I was four, goddam it. When we came backstage, we were so excited. And then Sadistique scowled at me, and asked me why I'd turned the wrong way. I don't remember my response, but I'm sure I had a good comeback. I never went back to her ballet class again.

In fact, every class I attended after that ended well before the final recital. Gymnastics. Then sports in high school, school plays. And now my blog. Oh, and the two screenplays, novel, and three short stories I've been working on for the last 5 years.

How I want to be one of those people that follows through. I do it in the other areas of my life, the non-creative areas. I'm very disciplined about deadlines for work, and vacuuming the floor and stuff. But I also do a lot of creative things--music, painting, flamenco (well, used to do that), shopping (I'm very creative about my shopping)--and it's really hard for me to follow those through to the end. I still blame Sadistique. The real woman from so long ago is just a blip on the radar-screen of my life; but, as we humans tend to do, I've internalized the creative ambush she represents.

What's the solution? I'm here now, aren't I? And after this, I'm going to go back to that novel and give it another read. So to hell with you, Madame Sadistique! You won't stop this little lamb...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Can you make the squirrel stop?

The woods are different this time of year. It's a shadowy, between-the-seasons kind of time. Today, it could just as easily have been late October as early April, with a cold damp wind making the branches of the tall cedars moan in that creaky, shiver-inducing way they have...

There's a circle of trees I visit every day. Their branches form a canopy that makes you feel like you're in a cathedral. I go there to think and sort through stuff that's preoccupying me, or to ask myself questions about life (I guess that's a form of prayer).

And then my dog and I wander through the woods. We have a few routes. Every day we see herds of deer. He chases them. He never catches them, of course. Every day the woods are unchanging, and each day nothing's the same at all. I love those walks, and the woods--I mean, I feel real, genuine love for them. I try not to disturb a single thing, because they're so perfect.

Perfect except for one little creature, that is: the squirrel in my brain. The one who just runs round and round, non-stop, always thinking, planning, obsessing, dwelling, dreaming, while I'm trying to enjoy the damn scenery. You might think 'Lighten up, some of those things are healthy--it's okay to day dream.' But then, you may not have the same obsessive tendencies I do. There's a squirrel in there, and he's not just lazily roaming from cool idea to cool idea. He's found himself a nut, and he's working that nut, turning it around and around and around. And I want him to stop.

And that's the thing that counts, isn't it? It's not the fact of that constant stream of thought and self-talk (as the psychobabble refers to it), it's an issue of control. So here's the question: how do you make that squirrel sit back and take five?

I'm sure you've met my squirrel. He's probably visited you once or twice in the middle of the night, making you wake up in terror at the thought of a conversation you had earlier that day. Little bastard likes to mess around at the most inappropriate times...

I've tried various...pest control...techniques. Meditation, visualization, baths, quiet time, relaxation techniques, breathing, yoga, yada yada yada. They work for a while. Yoga worked best. Running and walking are bad, because they seem to somehow trigger the squirrel. But of course, I run and walk every day--and never do yoga anymore.

What I'm looking for are some thoughts on how to stop my thoughts. Not including death, alcoholism, or narcotics.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I'm baaaaaaa---aaaaack!!!

Hello. Took a little hiatus but I'm back now, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and blog-ready. A few news items:

1. Ginger tea works. It really does. I have a very sensitive stomach, because I'm a redhead and we are SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN to be more susceptible to pain (Note to God: Thanks again for delivering that article into my hands...).

But don't bother buying the teabags. Just get a fresh ginger root, snap off about an inch of it, grate it peel and all, put it in a tea-ball thingy (the ones you put in your teapot), throw it in the t-pot, pour boiling water over it, give 'er a good 5 to 10 minutes to steep, and enjoy. You can add honey or sugar. I use stevia. Not sure you can get that in the States yet. Your stomach will feel better within half an hour. Unless you have a tapeworm or a bleeding ulcer, in which case why are you sitting there reading my blog? Get yourself to a doctor, man.

2. Moose: The cookies never came! I checked the parcel desk in Nashville every day, and they never got there. So you should try to get your postage $ back from U.S.P.S. I am still going to send you the syrup...e-mail your address to me at my gmail account.

3. Spring is here and I feel F-I-N-E fine, baby.

4. What's up with Blogger slowness these days? Poor guys have such an awesome tool that everyone's joining & clogging the works!

5. I will get back to regular postings soon. Thanks for dropping by, both of you!