Saturday, January 31, 2009

Finally....Music!


I love music.....

but I simply don't know where to find it.

I listen to the radio stations here in town....and they're limited and so pop.....I end up with playlists and cds that sound like they came out of Dick Clark's garage.

Sometimes people give me a cd they've mixed and I covet it....searching out the artists...and discovering their albums.

But that's a lot of work....so with my life in a squeeze in the last year I've lived in a muscial dungeon....it was so bad I wouldn't show anyone my itunes library.

A couple of weeks ago I found some playlists online and copied about 4 or 5 lists.

Bought the stuff...with only an itunes soundbite.....and burned a few cds to take along on the long drive between Iowa and Chicago and home.

It was interesting to pop in these unknown cd's from someone's playlist and see if the music fit me and my feelings. But I either picked well or was lucky....cause few tunes I loved so much....I plugged in my earphones and listened to them directly from my phone so I could catch every muscial nuance.

Today....I was reorganizing some bookshelves in our study and needed creativity and some music.

I fired up the men's folks computer which lives in that room.... and stumbled upon a program called Pandora's internet radio.

You type in a song or an artist you like and the computer analyzes it and comes up with additional tunes you might like....like having a musical shrink except you don't have to lie (or lay?) down on the couch.
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I plugged easy things in like Sting, Jack Johnson...and some songs like Night Swimming....and out popped some incredible stuff.
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I couldn't bookmark the tunes fast enough. I even threw a difficult band in to stump the program....one called Moshav from Isreal but the related tunes that came out were incredible.
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From music drought....to music flood....
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my head is actually spinning tonight ...full of melodies and artists I never knew existed....it's like my soul caught color....... and it has been very pale lately...lol
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I tried to put Pandora's gadget on my blog to show you the tunes I've been loving today...unfortunatley the widget included my name and personal email....and for this blog ...if you don't know who I am....I'd rather keep some privacy.
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So I'm listing them off to the side......>>>>>>>>>maybe you need some new tunes too.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What Pandora Looks Like....

What Pandora looks like....Create a Station...by putting in a song or artist and then it finds music that is similiar you might like......




If you're interested in how it works.....press here for a wiki definition *

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I love my dog...lol



"Ozzzieeeeeeeeeee!"

I spin around ready to scold him.

I'm rubbing my forehead with one hand....and covering up my butt with the other hand.

Ozzie is looking up at me with devoted eyes, a dog grin and a tail wagging from side to side.

He looks like he's either thinking this is the way all mornings should start or it's time for breakfast.

I think it's the later...but then again.... who really understands male ecstasy?

Besides.... how do you teach a dog not to stick his cold wet nose in your private parts....when you bend over to get your clothes out of the dryer and your fresh from your shower and wearing only a robe?

Is it Bowwwwowow wow? or Bow wow wow wow Bow?

And how do you teach him that your butt is different from the poodle butt sashaying past him on the sidewalk?

I don't say a thing and just bend over to give him a big hug.
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He looks like he knows he's hit the jackpot.

Food, water, safety, warmth, a territory, walkies and an occasional good butt smell.

Dog heaven.

I've owned several dogs since I graduated from college....but I've never owned a smart, calm, non-goofy one till Ozzie.

My past canine friends were notorious for their quirkiness.

Buster the Beagle....a hole digging...incorrigible baying hound. I took him to obedience school. We won second place in the final trails. When we came home, ribbon in hand, he peed on the couch.

Minnie the Weimaraner. Dumber than a bag of hammers. Ate steel wool pads, stole food off the kitchen counter, and tried to dig into the floor during thunderstorms.
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Mike the Mealy. Not his fault. Abused puppy...forever submissive and showing us his wienie at the slightest provocation. Yell at someone to pick up their shoes.....there's Mike on his back...leg up...wienie exposed. Good boy....put your leg down.

With this type of history, it's rather amazing to say...."Go downstairs " and Ozzie walks down the stairs...or find your shoes still have mates in the morning or even calling down the street...."Ozzie come back" and HE DOES.

And yet...he is also strong and beautiful.... beautiful in the way...he is an animal.

60 pounds of muscles ....leaping over bushes and tree trunks....the bulk...the mass...the shine of his fur in the sunlight.. a healthy, fit, substantial animal.

When a large or powerful animal...turns to obey you....to follow you....it's thrilling and primal.
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Horses....hawks...elephants...when these animals pair with us....we feel stronger.

When a shaking chihuahua or hamster burrows in our arms....we become protective....even nurturing...it's a different set of feelings.
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I peek out of my office to see where Ozzie is right now....
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He is in the foyer on our first floor.... asleep on a small blanket I put there for him....his people are upstairs....our other pet, our deaf dog, who depends on him to be her protector...is blissfully asleep downstairs.
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He is in between and right by the front door...fully engaged in his doggy business....knowing where everyone and every other animal is in the house...and guarding the path which allows strangers into the house.
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You just gotta love a dog like that.......
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Goodnight Ozzie.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Working from home.....or did you see that condom ad?

I decided to work from this morning....because I have a thousand things to look up and print from my computer. It's a tad anti-social...but heck it would take me 8 hours to do this in the office with all the interruptions...or a good morning's work if I cloistered myself in my home office.

I decided to eat lunch, read Slate online for a few minutes then hit the shower and go back to the office. An article I read.... mentioned some wildly popular condom ads on U-tube with something like 5 million hits?

I watched a few of the ads and scared my dog cause I was laughing so hard.

So I decided to post a few of them.

Here's the warning.....the first one is G-RATED and cute.....the second one is subtle....and the last one is graphic in its own way.... and LOLOLLOL>>>>> I was gonna type squirrel-ly...but that's the wrong species.


Feelings.....




Advice for a tough economy......



Oh my..........


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Do-land

I tapped a note on my phone and sent it to myself.

"feb21"

My next writing group meeting.

I don't know if I can write anymore or even what I could write about.

I stopped writing a year ago.

Writing in the sense of writing essays, narratives, stories....things that might be submitted for publication.

I put my children's book manuscript, the one I wrote about Africa, in a plastic bag and hid it under a skirted table in my bedroom.

I deleted a file of erotic fiction.

I went back to the safety of not creating.

I do now.

I do the bills. I do my work. I do my job. I do the house. I do what I'm supposed to do.

Writing and art never come from "do."

They come from a different place.... a place that needs passion and light.

To write well you have to turn on a spotlight and shine it in your head and heart and guts.

You have to shine it in dark places and hope exposing something...a feeling ....an event...an idea ...creates something new.

It's a strange land..... because you're constantly absorbing....a piece of dialogue in a restaurant, the way something looks in the sunlight, the way you feel when you hear certain words or see the ordinary acts of life play in front of you.

It's a land that's also not totally in this dimension. If you're writing well....you flow out of yourself and flow in something else....something universal....which rises above the normal barriers of culture and language.

For reasons too personal to explain here, I woke up one morning, shut off the light.....and walked into "do" land.

The only times I leave do-land is during religious services....when I watch a man sway and sing and close his eyes in prayer at the podium. I sense he's in that universal and I try, briefly, to hitch a ride.

I can't decide if I want to leave do-land or even if I can.

I don't have any stories.....I don't have perceptions begging to be released.... I don't have anything to say.

I'm a mute in do-land and now I have a date to speak.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is so wonderful I can hardly stand it......

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - An 83-year-old South Bend man said he missed his bus home from the presidential inauguration because he was dancing. Mussa Muhammad said his "spirit jumped sky-high" when President Barack Obama took the oath of office Tuesday.

He became separated from his group and, he said, "just danced and danced" with a couple of young women he met along the way.

Muhammad's tour group waited five hours for him, but left Washington after tour leaders spoke with his wife. Rev. Lefate Owens of Elkhart Community Missionary Baptist Church said she assured them that Muhammad would be all right.

Muhammad said he got on the wrong bus and got off in Pittsburgh, where he took a Greyhound bus home.

He arrived in South Bend Wednesday, still wearing the black-and-white suit with red dots that he wore to the inauguration

Bless a man who has spirit, especially sky-high spirit, bless a man who enjoys life and isn't afraid....(even if his wife is a minister).. bless a man who has a suit with red dots on it.

Amen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I just might have to buy this.....


I've seen books and mugs and hats and plates and fake coins to remember the inauguration....
but this is so tacky.....it almost crosses into cool....
Obama as a chia pet.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Home.

Last night on Facebook, I updated my status with the simple sentence, "Gina is home now."

Home.

Iowa, the blizzard, the bitter painful cold and my parent's little hell are more like fingerprints on a glass ....traces of what I dealt with but nowhere physically to be seen.

I found myself awake and in the dark this morning... listening to the heater chug on against the cold in the house....and seeing the images of the past week slide by.........My son and I walking in the snow on campus towards his adviser's office, the cocoon of the car traveling in the white white of the blizzard, and of course....my mother shrieking over and over again at my father, "You bastard...you bastard....you bastard".... as we put our coats and hats on and told her we were going out to pay some bills...bills she insisted didn't exist....bills that would probably shut down their heat and electricity in a few more weeks.

My mom has always been a difficult woman....controlling, narcissistic, manipulative ....but it's frightening to see her, Virginia Wolf-like....pointing hatefully at my father....a man who gentle nurses her for 24 hours a day....spewing venom...her face contorted in anger....her too long shoulder-length gray hair creating the image of a strange Halloween harpy.

My father sits there, back hunched, head hung....and with a wince and shrug shows me how he handles the hot jabs ...how he let's it all slide off of him. Although I favor my father in many things....I cannot handle her this way....when she occasionally targeted me.... I become articulate, logical and angry....making up for all the time....I sat there as a girl ...a teen....a young woman...biting my lip and holding my tongue.

I left them ...at least temporarily....safe and secure. My dad and I found a checking account with money....and shored up all the necessities... insurance, heat, electricity, water, phone service and food. My next trip, I'll deal with car and of course the future......evaluation, assistance...perhaps moving them closer.

On the way home, I listened to Cd's for hours.....new and unfamiliar music I pulled off some one's playlist.....songs and melodies which kept me focused on the tunes rather than what I had left behind. When the Cd's changed over and there was a small silence....I wondered who would I be when I was old....the agitated Harpy or the complacent one. I was glad the music kicked in quickly....I really didn't like either choice.

As the snow and ice slid off the hood of the car, thanks to the warmer temperatures as I headed south, as I shed the obvious "this car has been up north look" on the road....I found myself itching for my notebook. Not to record any of this....indeed I'm afraid too many images are embedded in my mind already....but to plan.....not what I'm going to do with my parents....but what I'm going to do with me.......in the small spaces of freedom I have between job and my responsibilities with them ....what can I do...what would I like to do to keep myself interesting and growing and connected to my immediate family and friends.

It was a strange thought....almost novel thought after focusing on my parents all week long....but it felt important....a planned escape to make sure I keep living despite what's ahead...and perhaps insurance against the rage and complacency....I hoping I have more options.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Safe but shakey

My teeth are chattering.....I'm sitting in my parent's basement wondering if I'm shaking because it's a Lake Michigan special frigid 9 degrees....or if I'm still recovering from the drive.....or if I'm nervous about what's coming up in the next few days with them.

It is wicked cold....the special wet sub zero cold that slaps you mercilessly here in the Midwest. During the day with a blue sky and sunshine... it was tolerable....but as soon as night hit....all the charm vanished.

Yesterday's drive was tough. Blizzard driving....not in my repertoire anymore.

The drive was long and slow and tedious. Cars were littered to and fro like some giant got mad and tossed them to the side of the road.

I hit the brakes gently because of a snow plow and suddenly I was sliding from one lane to the other ...gaining control....losing control....the car spun suddenly and I ended up perpendicular to the lanes but at least not moving.

Ahead of me....a nice deep ravine....which I stared at for a few seconds.....a nose dive down the slope would have meant an intimate encounter with several big oak trees.

And today my parents....what a fucking mess.

My mom....good in so many ways....but paranoid and hording and suspicious in some ways that are endangering their safety now. She quite her checking account because she thought the bank was taking her money, she hasn't made car or house insurance payments, ignoring credit card bills.

I tried to reason with her....asked if I could help her...got firm and told her if the house burnt down that would have nothing since she hasn't paid her home owners insurance..but she gets belligerent and illogical and says she owes no one money....she berates my father...and just gets mean....a trait she has always harbored but at least when she was "normal"there were inhibitory controls.

I wish I could get in the car and drive someplace now...anyplace really......but instead I'm sitting the basement...with the fat crazy isolated cats....who are not on her cute list anymore...(a trait I share with them)and wondering what the hell to do...where to start.

There is so much to shake about tonight.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Iowa fun

All I have seen for miles is this truck's butt...I feel strangely
attached to him.... My trucker lifeline

Welcome to Iowa

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Winter Road trip


I haven't even checked the weather...but no matter....I am leaving for a winter road trip on Saturday.
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Heading up to Iowa to drop my son off at school....then heading to Minneapolis....then on to Chicago then back home.
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I am looking forward to the solitude of the road and the down time.
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I've gotten three fat audio books and a couple of new Cd's my son burned for me off some play lists I copied from the web.
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It sounds odd to some people....but I have missed traveling alone.
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When I was writing, I would attend conferences and meetings and often schedule some time before or after to just be in the city or place by myself.
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Being alone gives me time to think and absorb a location.
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If you travel with someone or you're traveling for business you're often so preoccupied with the person or the business...you can't sop up the flavor of where you are...the smells, the architecture, the thousand of observations about people and place and food and the slant of the light .
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I am also desperate for art.
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Ever since I've started working full time....my reading and movie time and writing time have hoovered near zero.
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My whole creative self feels shriveled. I do hope to meet a friend in Minneapolis but if she is not available....I have booked a hotel near the art museum and plan to drift there for hours.. ..re-hydrating my spirit.
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Then on to Chicago....where I will help my parents for a few days before the drive home and the return to work.
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I have nothing ready ....just a to do list of 25 things I must finish at work on Friday... before I can even focus on what I need to pack....but it forces me to be simple...jeans...a sweater...a jacket...a camera...I don't need a lot for this.....but I do need a lot from this.
~~~

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Horror Barbie meet Obsessed Ken....


I have a feeling this is an old ad....but still.....

I mean it's brilliant.....but after stumbling upon Peck-my-eyes-our Barbie....this Ken is a bit creepy.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Horror film Barbie......

I love movies but when I saw this ad....I had to rub my eyes.

Barbie + an Alfred Hitchcock movie?

A movie where birds go berserk and peck people to death?

I remember watching "The Birds" on TV late one night when I was in high school.

Till this day....when I see swarms of birds flying low above me...I get a nanoflash of a scene in the movie when the birds start attacking people.....

Wow...what a great gift for a little girl.........can we say, "Mommy I'm having bad dreams?"

Of course it's not for kids....but geez....even a grown woman collecting a Barbie-being-attacked doll is a bit creepy.....

and even more creepy....you can buy it online at..... Walmart.


Hmmmm.....I don't remember the birds hitting below the belt.....


Is there some kind of subliminal message here from a deranged toy designer?
~~~