Wednesday, June 30, 2004
edinburgh (how i love that city)
food for thought
So. I was only supposed to be here (Irvine) for three days. Drive down Monday and work. Tuesday, work. Wednesday, work and then drive home. But pretty much by the time I arrived on Monday I knew I should stay longer. I'm getting so much work done and then meetings begin to materialize and more stuff gets done. I'm so glad I've stayed.
Til Saturday. Saturday I go home. And I won't have really have "been home" for three weeks. By "home" meaning... in my home / in my groove. I've had wonderful guests and took the kills camping trip and then guests stayed a little longer and then BOOM!exhaustion and then driving up the Bay Area for the hitching fest and then stop home and feed the cat and then right back on the road for So Cal (aka, Lo Cal). It was a world wind. Whirled wind? World win? Whatevah.
I think most of you know that I've been rather down lately. Death. Damn. And it wasn't just death at all. It was everything. Death just kind of allowed the crack in the dam to expand. And somehow all this momentum just moved that slump away. (I hear the knocking of wood.) It's funny how life works.
And here is my theory. Life this mysterious life is like our mysterious hearts. We can create a time line. Hell, we can create time. But life moves at its own mysterious pace. Suns come up. Suns go down. Seasons breeze through and flowers bloom and then blossom. Predictable and lovely. And people, it is just too easy to the think that all of life moves at this same path.
My theory is that there are layers of time. Time for days. Time for eating. But healing the heart or opening up paths or god opening up eyes that is a timeline we have not discovered yet.
All I know is that I feel eternally grateful at this moment. Grateful and completely optimistically hopeful. And loving that this mystery is something we don't understand, can't see, but can bank on every damn time. Wherever and whatever that time may be.
Can I get an amen?
I just took a stress test. It is a list of stressors where each stressor has a point score, depending on level of severity. It isn't all conclusive (doesn't have death of friend or death of multiple friends), but can still give you a good idea of where you are at. I scored almost 3.5 times higher than the "very high" score. Wow! What a year it was/is.
Mark the things you have experienced in the past 12 months:
- (95) Death of a child
- (93) Divorce
- (90) Death of a spouse
- (80) Death of parent
- (80) Spouse's or partner's betrayal of trust
- (80) New marraige
- (75) Job change over the age of 45
- (70) Conflict between you and your spouse
- (70) Conflict with boss where your job is threatened
- (65) Significant negative medical diagnosis
- (55) Change of home location
- (50) Retirement
- (50) Conflict between you and your teenager
- (50) Conflict between you and your parent
- (40) 40th, 50th, 60th, 75th or 80th birthday
- (35) Significant traumatic injury (include heart attack if appropriate)
- (35) Having to commit parent to assisted-care home or facility
- (30) Job change
- (30) Marriage of daughter
- (25) Chronic pain condition
- (25) Best friend's betrayal of trust
- (25) Last child leaving home
- (20) Purchase of a new car or house
- (20) Big family celebration or get together
- (10) Overly-demanding job responsibilities
Ready? Tally your score.
From the book:
The number in the parentheses indicates the average intensity of stress on a scale from 10 (low stress) to 95 (paralyzing stress).
If your score is between 0 and 30, you are under very little stress at present and very likely have good physical and mental health.
If your score ranges from 35 to 65, the stress in your life may begin to undermine your overall health.
A score above 65 [I scored 250 - emdot's note] indicates that you are undergoing significant stress and this may initiate disease-causing changes in your biochemistry. [!!! - emdot's note] You need support and must work toward acquiring some very specific tools of stress management.
So, you mean drinking's not the answer? [blink blink]
Coincidentally, although I love a glass of wine or a beer or two as much as the next person, about two months ago I had to take it out of my life. Seriously. And I am so glad I did. I've made a couple exceptions (most notably the planned drinking event which is Live Oak), but for the most part I have been stoked with my decision. It's not that it was a problem, but it's not that it was a solution, either. And with so much going on in my life I've been looking at ways to simplify. Not drinking was about the simplest thing to do.
The thing is, I've been digging it so much, I'm thinking of extending my time period. Does this make me a [using fingers to drawn into the air] square? I don't care. It's been a tough year and I'll take any help I can get.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
I heard about this at the wedding, but didn't get a chance to listen until just now. M. Ward (often lauded here in this blog and to be a total name-dropping famewhore lemme also say he is my former housemate) was interviewed by Scott Simon Saturday morning. And what a nice little interview it is. So, if you are a fan you won't want to miss it. And if you aren't (and we all know that could only be because you haven't heard him yet and/or have completely different musical tastes from this web site which is not a problem and we promise not to look down our online noses but really you should think about expanding those horizons already), here is your chance to get a little taste.
» NPR : M. Ward's Simple Folk
where our hero shares the equivalent of notes passed in class or perhaps her wellwishes on other people's year books.
television without pity. God I love that site. Where else do you find that many snarky people with great punctuation who can make you fall off your aeron laughing? Nowhere, people. Nowhere else. I only pretend I'm in their league.
But meanwhile, TWoP forum people have taken Ugg wearing to task. Specifically Ugg wearing as observed in Six Feet Under, a show which takes place in unspecifically LA. People say number one, Uggs: no. And then, number two, Uggs: no, yet specically no in LA where they don't even require any implementations to keep warm as it is never cold. The exact quote was "Isn't it always hot in LA?" To which I replied....
Hot is a relative term. Isn't it usually about 72 in LA? 82-ish in the dog-day afternoons of August? 68 in the belly of winter?
But hello people -- sometimes it gets down to 67 and even Angelenos have to keep their tootsies warm. And let's not forget the current nippy mornings officially termed June Gloom. I definitely need a sweatshirt outside. A SWEATSHIRT!!! (brrr).
You people with your midwest and your appalachian mountains and your sleety boo-hoos all think you have the corner on the cold and shivery. Pshaw!
Long live the Ugg (heh) and I say why stop there? Bring back the muff! In fact, I will be manufacturing these myself and marketing them to chilly, 67-degree-plagued, June-Gloom surrounded Angelenos everywhere. Cha-ching!
Sunday, June 27, 2004
where our hero marries the lovebirds and sleeps for 24 unconsecutive hours (there is a god)
So. The wedding was great and I loved officiating so much I'm considering going into it professionally (I'm not kidding). What an honor.
For those who've never been deputized before... I got a big taste of patriotism and I think my heart grew in my chest three times (just like the grinch). I had to raise my right hand. I had to swear to uphold the constitution of the United States. I had to swear to uphold the constitution of Califorkneeyah (must now say it like the govenator). I had to swear to protect my country and my state. I have never been so proud to be an American and a Californian before. I was all Yes Yes Yes and Yes!
Yet, there was still no badge and no gun. Rzzl Frzzl. But there was Scott Peterson. I was sworn in at the same place where the Laci Peterson trial is happening and where Scott Peterson is being held in jail. I offered to go in and do my best LAPD impersonation on him, but the Justice of the Peace didn't seem so hot on that deal. To each his own.
The wedding was great on so many different levels. I was so impressed all the way around. Great wedding. AND I must say, the All.Time.Best.DJ.Ever.
The groom is a big music buff and in 1996 wrote to the All.Time.Best.DJ.Ever and said he would like to do a web site for her. And so he did and does. And whowhowho came to DJ dj??!! hello wedding dj?, like who does this? but [greatest dj previously mentioned] as her real life self who is named Concetta. And can I just say she is my new hero and she got that party rocking like it was 199- um. Well. You know. Like it was NYC. (Okay. No. It was not rocking like NYC, but as far as weddings go it was thoroughly impressive).
AND she asked me (for reals? who knows) if I could marry her and her boyfriend on the spot. And I had to abashedly admit that I was only Deputy Dawg for one couple for the day. Back to the deputy dawg house.
Cool wedding things. Brides to be: take note!
The groom is a huge old movie buff (was on the board of the SLO Film Festival which focuses on old movies) and each table had a really cool B&W of a famous star and you were seated according to star table. Some people sat at Cary Grant. Some at Astair and Rogers. Some at Humphrey Bogart. Some at Grace Kelly. Etc. Very nice touch.
And then instead of doing the garter and bouquet toss (where every woman I know heads to the bathroom to avoid this or, if unable to make it to the bathroom neutral zone and must endure lining up to catch the bouquet, just lets the flowers hit the ground with a proud-single-woman thumping noise) they had a married couples dance. All the married couples were invited up to dance. And the couple that was married the longest got to keep the bouquet and garter. I love that. I wonder if they noticed the bride's Raiders pin on the garter? Silver and blue, baby.
At the tables each place setting had a paper placemat with sections for you to fill in with markers: sign your name, draw a self portrait, draw the bride and groom, write your hopes for them, write your best memory with them, offer advice, etc. Me having the maturity of a six-year old made mine extra extra colorful and outside the lines. Me and the crayola markers? We go waaaaay back. In fact, for the married couples dance I went up there cheek to cheek with the Red Crayola Marker until the Blue one got all jealous and then there was a fight and it got really messy really fast. So much for poly-color-y.
And I finally got some sleep.
It was so nice to stay in a hotel. I slept for 12 hours each night. Those curtains they hang in hotels should either be outlawed or revered like cats in Egypt. That's how fricking great they are. I haven't had a good I mean a really good decent night's sleep in weeks. I could really get used to hotel living. No clutter, full cable and someone who cleans up your messes. Call the Chelsea cuz I'm checking in.
Friday, June 25, 2004
So, I'll be gone for the weekend as I am driving north to the Bay Area to officiate a wedding. Thassright. I'm getting people hitched! To do so, I'll be deputized today (though I heard it doesn't come with either a badge or a really big gun drats.) Let me know if you have any parking tickets to fix or leg cuffs to remove.
Meanwhile, the wind came to town last night around 1:30. I know because it was slamming my blinds back and forth against my window whilst I was attempting to have technicolor, pastoral, richly inspired dreams. Stupid wind. And what's with coming three months early? It shouldn't be windy for another three months at least. Right?
Other news: I've been listening to Brett Dennen non-stop. You can, too, at CD Baby or iTunes. I'm telling you: he's the love child of Jamiroquai and Tommy Jordan of Geggy Tah. Love. Child. So go and listen and let your hips shake and get that smile spread right cross your face.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Your doubts are very helpful, very useful, for yourselves and for us and [us] altogether. If you had no doubt, you all would become jellyfish. You would be like flocks of pigeons or sheep. Lenin said that religious people are like a flock of sheep. They only try to follow their leader; therefore, they run into trouble. They have no social conscience and no political vision. Lenin was right on this one little occasion. Your doubts are a valuable family heirloom. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
More pictures will be trickling up on this site in the week to come as JDR, Rebel, and KB get a chance to upload theirs. Meanwhile, music...
» The Duhks
A self-proclaimed "young, kick-ass folk band," The Duhks were the festival's resounding biggest hit. You couldn't walk anywhere and not hear somebody talking about them. Talking about the music, talking about buying their CD, talking about how they were still at the Festival. This is a band we'll still be crowing about for festivals to come. DO NOT MISS THEM. And PS, all the men at my camp claimed the Duhks wimmen as their own. Oh, and PPS, they tore up the after-hours barn dance. The place was pounding.
» Adrienne Young
She won me over at the Workshop Stage and then sealed the deal when she played the main stage a couple of hours later. Adrienne Young is awesome. A great songwriter, she's created her own old-timey flavor with her band: rewriting songs, adding a spin, or just doing all those trad songs a great justice. I defy you to listen and not fall in love.
» Brett Dennon
Brett Dennon is so good that people were buying his CD at the sound check (!!). I've never seen that before. But not only do his songs have hips (try not to shake yours as you listen to his music), the lyrics have a soul that might trip a couple of tears down your cheeks. Perfect Sunday morning music listening. The added bonus was his drummer, Randy Schwartz, who was the slipperiest, grooviest beat maker I have ever seen. Randy Schwartz is a drummer to watch. Mark my words.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Reb flies in from Boston at 4:45. JDR flies in from DC at 6:33. In other words, Live Oak Festivites are starting two days early, 75 miles north of the Live Oak camp.
Saturday, June 12, 2004
kcbx, our local public radio station has gone above and beyond in paying tribute to ray charles. you know, when you are a little sad in your life (since feb i've had two friends die, had a prominent community member commit suicide, had a cult-like community member be stabbed, and a few other bummer-like personal things happen) can i recommend listening to ray charles?
charles's music is forlorn and yet relentlessly optimistic. it's like his songs are sad in the most joyful way.
anyway, friday's morning cup of jazz became morning cup of ray (playlist). this morning's freedom jazz dance was one ray after another (playlist). and tonight's evening blues is fully dedicated to the man and his piano (playlist).
if you are thinking about adding some ray charles to your music collection check out the playlists for some good ideas on where to start. right now as i am typing charles' "oh what a beautiful morning" is playing. man there is nothing corny about that show tune when ray sings it.
» NPR's Ray Charles Tribute (Scott Simon) (Don't miss this)
» Check him out on iTunes
so i've been down. really down. like hit me with a ton of bricks down. but today i actually felt that light-hearted spring feeling for longer than a flicker of a second and ohmigod it felt so good.
unfortunately, this smile was induced by shopping.
it seems i am nothing more than the gatherer in the hunter/gatherer equation. today i gathered in several garage sales and the straight-down grange hall blowout sale and i actually noticed, afterward that the sky was looking particulary beautiful in its blueness. noticing such things is always a good thing.
- an old fashioned and hiply ravaged watering can (painted green
w/orig red peaking out where green is flaking off)
- solar powered radio for live oak!
- cd carrying case i can send my friends 12 yo with the cds i burned for her
- silly very small ceramic basket for back deck
- b&w ceramic thingy for my lipsticks
- abstract art complete in killer double-mat frame
- trivet w/ pear motif
- electric pencil sharpener
- three clay pots for cactus
and then at the straight down factory sale ($69):
- three shirts
- two jackets
- 50-gallon sized bag filled with fabric remnants
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
[from beliefnet] The abuse at Abu Ghraib prison is what happens when we abandon compassion and allow our animal nature to take over.
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has been a spokesperson for peace and human rights since the 1960s, when his activism to end the Vietnam War inspired Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has been living in exile from his native Vietnam since 1966, and calls Plum Village meditation retreat center he founded in the south of France, his home. He conducts retreats throughout the world on "engaged Buddhism," nonviolence, and mindfulness, and has written more than 100 books. In an email interview with Beliefnet, he offered his thoughts on the prison abuse scandal.
» Read the Interview
A general who is mindful of his actions is capable of looking deeply. He may not need to use weapons. He will see that there are many ways to deter the opposite side and he will exhaust all other means before resorting to violence. And when nothing else works, he may use violence, but out of compassion, not out of anger.
I am absolutely against torture. It is very easy to create a pretext for why it is necessary to torture a prisoner when we have fear and anger in us. When we have compassion, we can always find another way. When you torture a living being, you die as a human being because the other person’s suffering is your own suffering. When you perform surgery on someone, you know the surgery will help him and that is why you can cut into his body. But when you cut into someone’s body and mind to get information from them, you cut into your own life, you kill yourself as a person.
If depression is actually biological instead of solely psychological, then you can understand that saying "pull it together man!" is kind of like giving a diabetic a hard time about all that insulin. That is one of the points of the Infinite Mind radio program about depression. You'd never roll your eyes and think a diabetic could be a stronger person and just regulate their insulin on their own, would you?
On top of that, it turns out that when someone is depressed there are actual repercussions in the brain: the hippocampus (which regulates the ability to learn and remember) begins to shrink. They can actually correlate the size of the hippocampus with the number of days a person has been depressed. Keep in mind that some people are depressed for years.
"When one is stressed, the body secretes hormones called glucocorticosteroids. It's known that these can damage the nervous system, causing neurons to shrivel up or even killing them, in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is essential for learning and memory. He said new imaging techniques now have allowed researchers to see that in people with recurrent depression, there is atrophy of the hippocampus. This clearly shows depression is biological."
On top of this, I wonder (and now I am a bonafide lay person, so take this with a grain of salt)... will they end up finding a correlation between Alzheimer’s or Dementia with depression?
There are other correlating implications as well. As the hippocampus begins to shrink, the part of the brain that regulates anxiety (the amygdala) begins to grow in other words, making you more susceptible to anxiety disorder.
My bottom line is, while prescriptions for anti-depression medicines are more and more common place, and as we as a society scoff at this and think "just suck it up people and handle this on your own," what if we are dismissing a very real and important medication for a very real and prevalent biological disease?
» Infinite Mind: Depression
Monday, June 07, 2004
check out this poll from nerve magazine. it does seem to have its fingers on the under-40s view of marraige, from "a good marraige requires a lot of blow jobs" to believing that infidelity starts with a hot-and-heavy chat session.
for some reason this poll made me feel all validated. i am in agreement with most of the highest-percentage answers.... how about you?
» nerve's marraige poll (from boingboing.net)
Sunday, June 06, 2004
» christopher walken interview
terry gross interviews christopher walken. the best part of the interview is the snippet of kevin spacey on snl as christopher walken auditioning for the role of han solo. it's at the beginning of the interview, so don't miss it. oh so worth it.
and speekina, do you suffer from strange speech patterns? creep out all your friends? can't get enough cow bell? perhaps you suffer from walkenitis.
the movie about the walkenitis epidemic.
» lemony snickett's trailer
this might be a case of the movie being better than the book(s).
two fives for good measure.
yes, i'm still pissed i didn't think of this first.
» terrible alt names for “The Decemberists”
» transp. ensuring you'll never get laid
capturing the friedmans
Friday night we rented Caputring the Friedmans. I meant to see this in the theaters, but you know how it goes. [One, it didn't get to my town for weeks after it opened (this is really starting to annoy me)]. This movie... it really stayed with me all weekend. To the point that I decided to find that Fresh Air interview Terry Gross did with its director last summer and listen again. So I give you the interview, the David Edelstein review, and the link to the site. What a movie.
» Director Interview
» Edelstein Review
» Official Site
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle.
The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Friday, June 04, 2004
So I finally filled out my blogger profile (look in right hand menu) and whaddayaknow.... Blogger's gone Friendster. You can click on books read or town you live in to find out who else likes your books or lives in your town or whatever.
Question: Our human bodies are designed to move almost all the time...Since most of our time is spent in movement, why not use movement as a form of meditation?
Chogyam Trungpa: You can't do that because it would be very convenient and there would be no discipline.You have to set aside a time for sitting practice that is especially allocated for that practice. Whereas with the approach you suggest, you could just say: "Well, I'm going to visit my girlfriend and I have to drive. So on my way to my girlfriend's I'll use driving as my meditation." That approach to mindfulness becomes too utilitarian, too pragmatic killing two birds with one stone. "That way I meditate and I get a chance to see my girlfriend at the end too." But something has to be given up somewhere. Some renunciation somewhere is necessary. One stone kills one bird.
» a little about Trungpa Rinpoche
Thursday, June 03, 2004
» spelling bee champ. NPR's feature on the new national spelling bee champion. What? You didn't see Spellbound?
» patty griffin. NPR interview with Patty Griffin. Tonight, only four songs are linked from this page, but I expect a feature to listen to Friday morning.
» gmail. I'm finally getting around to using it. So far, so good. I like the searching. I like the organizing (aka labeling). I wish I could get rid of my Grid account. I've had it for so long... it's like the worn-out t-shirt: see through, frayed and stained, but soft as hell and fits just right.
» maps. My current favorite song: Maps (Live) by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And while you are scootdoodling around iTunes, look for the iMix called "KEXP Inspired." It's currently my favorite iMix. I think I've bought three songs off of it. I really need to move to Seattle.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
First there was the Funny Indian Vanilla Coke ad (via Boing Boing) and then lo and behold I find two more Bollywood-inspired nuggets from Sasha at Subtle.org: Absolut Vodka's Origins of the Mullet and the coolest Peugeot ad of all time. All three are worth the download wait.
» Ice Creamy Thanda!
» Mullet History
» Peugeot Creations
changes and rants
At the risk of totally turning you off, here is the link that really touched my heart this morning: NYT article on Oregon's terminally ill patients. The multimedia link is really good. Personally, I don't think we talk about death enough. Personally, I want to look it right in the eye. I want to be there for you if you are looking it right in the eye. I want to acknowledge these great lives that touch us and then slowly blow out.
» oregon's terminal option
check out the multimedia link on the right-hand side
Deep Springs College. Now here's a place I would have wanted to go to if I were a male high school senior. This is just up my austere, community-monastic-leaning alley. I read an article in the latest Vanity Fair and the place sounds weird, challenging, brilliant and something that would change your life in the most impactful way.
» deep springs
The random things. I'm dying to shake this blog up. Totally change it -- from what I write to the way it's displayed. But especially from what I write. I've got these hankerings lately that surpass the daily regurgitation. I hope I find the time to do it.
And for my sister. Rance's cover might be blown. And under that cover there appears to be no Owen Wilson. Still, it was fun to try to figure him out, wasn't it? Bec and I had more than one conversation pondering on who the myseterious author could be. Hats off to the author for creating a fun illusion -- whether it is that he is an actor or not.
» no second rances