Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Year That Was...

While I hate being told what to think, I'm a touch of a contradiction in that I enjoy the top ten lists or Year in Review items that come out this time of year. And we've already established how much I love interactive quizzes...which reminds me, it's about time for another one. Or better yet, one of those "most played" tracks list from iTunes, or another random listing. Or maybe both - we'll see. On the other

But I digress.

I found an interesting list of the Top Ten Stories of 2005 in Online Journalism. Pretty intriguing. And most intriguing of all - I would have put the use of blogs and message boards and the internet in general to reconnect families after Hurricane Katrina atop the list...but perhaps that just my American mind churning here.

Now, back to my playlists.....

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What's hot, what's not...

While we're talking about the future, I ran across this list of what's going to be hot in technology, entertainment, and the like in 2006.

Thank GOODNESS I found it...three more days and I would have been absolutely LOST! After all, I can't think on my own - No one is allowed to create culture - we're just supposed to follow along like lemmings, right?

Anyway, here's the basics. Why? Because the media says so...

Music: RhymeFest, Reggaeton, Christina Milian. Teddy Geiger, Outkast, Killers. And forget the record labels - new sounds on iTunes, myspace, and other online services

Fashion: Look for a return to preppy, collegiate styles, with upturned collars, argyle sweaters and tiny embroidered logos from the 1980s. Accessories-wise, 2006 will be the year of the tote bag.

Electronics: The iPod is still iN. So are XBox 360, Sony's Playstation3, satellite radio, and handheld communication devices.

Movies: DaVinci Code (what else!), Superman Returns, Casino Royale (the next installment in the 007 series), Miami Vice, and plenty of sequels.

TV: The Sopranos final season, The Chappelle Show, Lost, Desperate Housewives, and My Name is Earl.

I've seen the future, and it is hell

Part of my holiday tradition is spending time with the grandparents. This year, it struck me harder than ever before that genetics didn't deal me a very happy hand in this are.

Both of my grandmothers (and for the purpose of this discussion, I'll restrict myself to grandmothers) are unhappy older women. Both have diabetes, osteoperosis, vision loss, and problems getting around. One is in her early 80s, the other, late 70s. This is the hand life dealt me. Now it's up to me to trade it in, draw again, and change my luck.

This, if nothing else, serves as a good reminder to take care of myself today, because even if I'm fine now, what I do today impacts what i'll be like when I hit their ages. I don't want to be an unhappy woman. I want to be a vibrant lady in my later years. Aging is enough hell as it is. If I get crotchety and whiny on top of it, someone slap me, will ya?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sleepless Season's Greetings

Hello again to all, and a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Cherry Festivus, or whatever else ye may celebrate. I'm back after an unexpected exile, and NO sleep.

I went to see my family over the holiday. It was fodder for a number of potential posts that I'll ramble on in the next few days, but one of the shocks that I didn't learn until I arrived was that I was heading into a home with no internet service. For four long days. Talk about feeling cut off from the world. It was nice not to feel as though I was tied to the keyboard as I often do here, but it would have been nice to be able to blog some as the thoughts came to me rather than to try and write things out long hand and now not being able to read them. I had planned on catching up on some back email, and instead wrote two real letters. I stopped at two because (1) my hand hurt, (2) I was sleepy at 2 am, and (3) I didn't want to freak out any of my other friends when they receive actual pieces of paper with real words written on them in this thing called a mailbox that normally holds nothing but bills....

And on that note, Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tis the season?

Normally, I'm a Christmas kinda gal. I don't don the Santa hat or the Christmas socks or any of that paraphenalia. However, I admit I take a certain pride in finding just the right gift for people, no matter what the occasion, so when presented with such an overwhelming opportunity to do so, I seize it and run with it. The first year I had my house, I had a Christmas tree up before I had half the boxes unpacked, because, in my world, that's just what you do. Period.

This year, that hasn't been the case.

I've had a certain laissez-faire about the holiday. Sure, the week after Thanksgiving I scrambled up into the attic, but instead of coming down with all the decorations, I hand picked a stocking, some lights, and a pine scented candle, and hung them immediately. After that, I haven't done a thing. I just wrote the last of my Christmas cards an hour pathetic is that? And this year, I didn't even put a letter in them. Just a hastily scrawled "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" (or a flat out "Happy New Year" for the overseas cards that will likely not arrive until Eastern Orthodox Christmas!)

It's not a bah humbug, per se, but it's not the joy and flair with which I usually approach such a festive time. So for me, it's a tad different. Maybe it's because I've been sick. Maybe it's because I've had so much car trouble....or that I know this won't be a normal holiday, so I'm not looking forward to such a fractious affair at home. Or perhaps it's as simple as I've just been doing too much and enjoying too little. But whatever it is, 2005 is not yet one of those holidays for the memory books. And that's a scrapbook to open another time.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dear (Cyber) Abby:

Now that I can count my readership on TWO hands instead of one, and I know you all to be quite the vocal group, I toss this one out there as a blatant request for advice.

You don't know this, but I'm a rather staid person in my real life. I'm usually very calm, cool, level-headed. Everyone's proverbial "rock" to lean on, if I may borrow a cliche. And I don't mind that. I like knowing I'm helpful to my friends, that they can count on me when they need something.

That said, right now, I'm going through some things that have stretched my patience to its absolute limits! The normally infinite listening ear has found its bounds. I'm crumbling under the weight of my friends' needs and of my own. An in addition, even though all these people open up to me, I don't open up to them, mostly because I don't know them well enough or because I don't trust them to keep my secrets.

There is one person whose opinion truly matters. In fact, I derive the strength to get through much of my day to day bullshit from anticipating the moment when I can fall into his arms. Problem is, I can't. Because when that moment comes, I can't seem to let my guard down. I'm afraid of...well, I don't know what I'm afraid of. Being whiny? Being bitchy? Being needy? Appearing weak? Of just being myself? Of acknowledging that I can't handle it all on my own? Who knows! That's where you come in:

What's the deal? How do I open up to this person? The simple idea of having his arms around me gets me through some of my toughest situations. However, when it comes to asking for his support, I find myself tongue-tied and silent. Even right now, after two glasses of wine, a crappy day, and a series of events that on one hand make me smile and on the other hand hurt like crazy, I couldn't even muster up enough moxie to be angry when he wouldn't come over here when I said I needed him tonight. We've had our share of miscommunications, so I'll take my lumps too...but I digress.

So - your opinions...if you have any... are always welcome. As for me, I'm exhausted. I'm going to go rinse out the wine glass before another glass of Beaujolais calls my name...

Friday, December 09, 2005

200 page views, 145 posts...Double Wow

I don't usually click through to my blog - normally I write, publish, and leave it at that. But this morning I got a tip on how to fix something that had been annoying me, so when I changed the template, I checked to see how it looked. That's when I noticed. I was viewer #200. Just in the last five weeks or so since I put in the counter. Wow! So then I decided to write about it, and I saw that this is post #145. Wow again!

I'll refrain from the lengthy pontifications that will likely come next month when I have 12 full months of archives { anniversary post...ew! ;) } But I did want to say thanks to you guys who actually do read...I think it takes two hands to count you now, and that's progress. It's nothing like another blogger I know where just one of his sites gets in a day what's taken me five weeks...but I'm happy with my little anonymous corner of cyberspace. So wipe your feet on the welcome mat, have a cup of coffee and stay awhile. There's some fascinating reading to be done in my archives.

A Tale of Not-Quite-Love

At times, I use my blog as a place to think things through, a place to articulate outrage or astonishment or write open letters to someone who will likely never read them. Tonight, though, I’m taking an idea from a friend, and simply posting to tell a story.

One of my favorite bloggers has more time to surf than I do, and in his ramblings through this space we call the web, he found an amazing tale. When he read it, it touched his heart and called to him to write about the ache of first love. When I read the two of them in tandem, the pair of posts called me to write as well, but instead of first loves, it inspired me to tell my story of not-quite-love.

I was 19 and home from college for the summer. (That’s always a good opening line, right?) He was 26 and worked in the office where I found a summer job. We hit it off wonderfully! He was kind, chivalrous, mature, fun-loving yet not quite over the top in the way of the college boy who’s trying too hard to be noticed. He wasn’t the most handsome of men, but I’ve always been a full-package kinda gal…and let’s be honest here…I was slightly overweight and awkward myself. After all, 19 isn’t the height of self awareness you believe it to be when you’re living those years.

He rented an apartment from his parents to save money. I lived with mine for the whole summer, so I was at least satisfied with the fact that he didn’t live under his parents’ “roof.” He lived one hour in one direction from our office, I lived half an hour the other way, so most of our interaction was going for a bite to eat after work, or playing mini-golf with other co-workers. We had a blast!

Then it happened.

We were standing in the parking lot one Sunday afternoon, the sun was shining, we had just had a wonderful day, and he moved in to kiss me. Time slowed like a bad B-movie. I could see him tilting his head, closing his eyes, and moving in for that moment of long-pondered lip lock. The voice in my head was screaming, “Noooooooooo” in that baritone fashion voices always assume when they’re slowed down for those kinds of Hollywood moments. However, I didn’t say it. I let him kiss me. And that was the beginning of the end.

The spark was there, but the chemistry to take that moment beyond its flash point and fuel flames from the ember, was not. At first, I blamed him. I thought that he was just out of practice and the kisses and chemistry would get better with repetition. They didn’t. Then I blamed me. I enjoyed his company and we could play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit, so there had to be something wrong with *me* that his touch reminded me of a limp celery stalk, his kiss of a fish pulled from the water, flopping unpredictably and in vain as it tried to find comfort once again. So I stayed with it until he broke it off, saying he was ready for a family and I had too much school left to make that a practical option for him.

Fast forward two years later. We’ve not spoken, although we did exchange letters twice a year or so….I was on track to graduate and had found a job in my college town to sustain me while I looked for real work. He moved out of his parents’ apartment and to the town he worked in, where he met a wonderful lady. Then one day, my phone rings…he’s on the other end, wondering why I hadn’t RSVP’d for his upcoming wedding. I’m not an irresponsible sort – I had never received an invitation to start with. Not that I expected one, so it threw me for a loop when he gasped in astonishment and sent one out that night.

Put yourself in my shoes for a minute… You’re within driving distance, you have the day off, and the guy has obviously gone to trouble to make sure you’re there… What would you have done? I went. The ceremony was beautiful, and I saw a few friends before wishing the happy couple well. End of chapter, close book.

Not quite! Two years later I went to a high school reunion. I had actually tried to set this man up with one of my friends when we broke up and before he met his now-wife. This friend was at the reunion, and as we reminisced about the old days, she asked if I ever spoke to our mutual friend. I said the last time I had seen him was at his wedding.

She looked shocked.

30 minutes of conversation later, the final pieces fell into place: our upstanding chivalrous citizen…had cold feet and wanted a booty call! My invitation to the wedding never got lost in the mail. He never sent one to start with. He wanted me to come home and talk him out of it, but he would have preferred I not use words to do my persuading. How do I know this for sure? Because he spilled all to my friend over martinis one night, but she had no phone number to call and warn me. She didn’t think I would’ve gone. But I did.

I haven’t spoken to him since the wedding. I recently found something he was looking for a long time ago – I’ve pondered sending it to him with a “hope you’re well” note, but every time I come close, I think of that reunion night conversation and stop myself. If he does still care, I can’t accept the karmic responsibility or opening up someone’s old wounds for something so small. It would be so much easier if I didn’t know that – if I could just be myself and assume that he’s happily married and therefore any act of kindness on my part is merely one old friend to another, without any thing else in the mix. But I can’t.

Ah, the complexities of not-quite-love…

Monday, December 05, 2005

Words for an Absent Friend

The sun has long since set on my side of the world. In fact, only the ticking of my watch marks for me the first hours of a new day. My neighborhood fell silent hours ago, arriving at that same state of suspended quiet you hear inside when only one person tries to make a house, a home. Or perhaps you don’t hear it at all.

Outside, raindrops resonate as they fall slowly onto the city street. The clouds release them so reluctantly, if I tried I could count each droplet just by listening for the sound when it strikes the earth. Inside, the clacking of fingernails against the keys adds a rhythmic accompaniment to nature’s melody. The words banging around in my head cry for escape, coming together as inspirations and ideas that sit in my brain, half formed, until they gather enough strength and wherewithal to command my full attention. Only then will they obtain that which is necessary for every idea and concept and theory to survive – life independent.

My thoughts tend to percolate until they become a running soliloquy in my inner monologue. I search for the right words to express emotions so real to me they have become tactile, with every sensory characteristic of a living, breathing entity. Until the words are perfect, however, I keep them locked inside, and at times, even beyond then. Some nights, the words are there, but the opportunity is not. Others, the desire to compose exists, but the words have left me. At times, I’ll write just to see the words on the page, in hopes that by writing of a topic of little consequence, the greater themes will follow once the words begin to flow. Then, there are nights like this.

Half-formed thoughts swim in my head tonight. I haven’t the presence of mind to try to explain why my brain believes they belong with one another, so I won’t even try. Tonight I write to capture the moment, to use words for the pure joy of seeing them come together and provide you with a glimpse into my mind tonight. I commit this crime against true literature without premeditation, and out of sheer indulgence.

I feel the need to write something in honor of a friend of whom I’ve lost track. We’ll call him, “Mark.” Mark is, for me, one of those people we all have in our pasts – one with whom our paths crossed for far too short a time, but who made a large impact in that brief moment. Mark loves language – he can turn a phrase that is both concise yet complete, and just writing to his level improved my skills as well.

Meeting Mark was like finding a lost piece of my soul residing in the body of another – so strong was the connection, so immediate and so enduring. Or so I thought. About a month after we met, it became clear our friendship was to become a victim of a cruel temporal prank. His job pulled him away, and as the physical distance grew larger and larger, our emotional distance grew more and more tenuous. I never had the opportunity for that closer inspection that reveals whether the imperfections underneath his amazing façade would have been endearing, or repulsive. Then again, as I walk down the garden path in my mind, perhaps it’s best the blush is still on that rose.

Regardless of what could have been, I live in what is now. We lost touch, but I still think of Mark and his love of language. Tonight, I sit and write in his honor. I hope someday to find him. Until then, I continue to write. Some nights, for the thoughts…some nights, for the release…and some nights, for the process. Tonight, for him.

To missed connections the world over, my friend. Saluté.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Stupid Question

Okay folks, I'll show off my lack of techno-savvy. I'll admit that I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm trying to figure out why the type has gotten smaller overall on my blog, why the footer lines are microscopic, and why there is now a category for "links to this post" when we all know no one links to this blog.

I'm actually kinda shocked that I have 132 hits here in the last month. That's AMAZING to me..even though I know it's the same handful of people, and that about 10-12 of them are me checking changes that I've made and seeing whether I had fixed the tiny type problem....

But I digress. Ideas, anyone?

Edited Saturday December 3 @ 11:15 am: Okay, so I went back and tried to read the HTML code...I tweaked one space that looked kinda random to my limited knowledge, and Voila - it looks normal again. Le sigh.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Speaking of Movies....

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time (or read the archives) knows I'm a sucker for quizzes. So when I saw this on another blog I read, I had to try it...and when I read the answer, it made the cut to make it onto the blog.

So, what kind of movie would my life be?

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic
Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.
Your best movie matches: Office Space, Showgirls, The Big Lebowski

A cult classic, eh? Now it just needs a name. Here lately, how about Writer's Block!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Russell Crowe? Australian for "Blasphemy"!

Some movies just shouldn't be re-made. The classics - those with characters whose shoes no one else can fill. How on earth could anyone else take the place of Bogey and Bacall in Casablanca? Or what about Pacino in The Godfather? Or Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany's?

Well, an audacious Aussie is about to try to fill some pretty big shoes. I don't think he can do it...but then again, I've read the book three times and seen the movie far too many to count. There is only one Rhett Butler, and his name is NOT Russell Crowe.

Is Russell Crowe the new Rhett Butler? Before you say "Frankly my dear, I
don't give a damn," wait till you hear who the Scarlett O'Hara will be. She's a
fellow Aussie but the two have never worked together. The film will be made by
"Moulin Rouge" auteur Baz Luhrman and the script is said to be a love story
based on "Gone With The Wind." Who's the woman who may rip the draperies off the wall to stitch together a fetching frock? None other than the bewitching Nicole
Kidman. The as yet untitled film starts production next year. Just keep Russell
away from the hotel phones.

That said, I'm not a Crowe fan anyway - I'll avoid just about anything with him in it, no matter what his blockbuster status. At least Ron Howard was smart enough not to pick him to star in The DaVinci Code, although of the three who made the cut, I wish he had taken Clooney instead.

(By the way, Happy Holiday season to all! My few days off left many a thought swirling in my brain, and I think I'll do some blogging on them over the next few days. But tonight, I sleep)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Gobble Gobble!

Wow, this has been a busy week. A true sign the holidays are indeed upon us.

But I'm not too busy to wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. Whether you're gathering around the family table for a tryptophan (sp?) overload, or eating your tofurkey by yourself (as I've done with the real thing far too many years to count), or anything in between - good luck, and may the holidays be a good thing in your life this year instead of a drag.

This year, I'm skipping town...I refuse to eat another turkey breast for one. See ya when I get back!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


It's a move that's giving a whole new meaning to the idea of the great literary texts. THe classics are going high tech. According to articles from CNN, the BBC, and numerous local newspapers , services are trying to summarize the ideas of Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, and Upton Sinclair to name only a few, into small, consumable text messages.

Now, I love Shakespeare. Once you get into his work, the rhythm of the language is amazing, and his audacity to create new language or slang to get his point across is admirable. TO me, these snippets will lose something. However, I'm no purist. This could open the classics up to an entirely new generation of people who don't have the attention span or the time or the desire (or all three) to sit down and start them for themselves. This could be their gateway into the old fashioned technology known as print on a page, or a book.

So I don't think I'll be signing up for the service, but should anyone try to condense Hemingway down to 160 characters or less, let me know. That I gotta see!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Is technology turning us into veritable Luddites?

I had already started a great post about technology today when the phone rang. The substance of that conversation started me thinking. As for the other thoughts, well, you'll get them another day, don't worry.

So, a guy I know called me and told me he was thinking of switching his phone service. Turns out a company made the announcement they are coming out with a Skype wi-fi telephone. Forgive me if I get a few details wrong, as I know little about this technology, but basically, he could use his wi-fi router to make the service available in the whole house, and save money. This is because he could talk free to other Skype users, but would have to pay to talk to regular ol' folk like me, but he would do so in two stages - one package for minutes for calls coming in, and one package for minutes going out (We'll call them, "Skype-In" and "Skype-out").

He went on and on, extolling the virtues of this service over his current provider. Knowing, as I do, that this is a man who is hellbent on staying on top of gadegtry and technology, I finally had to stop him to make this observation.

Only the electronics/technology industry will ask us to step backwards and call it progress.

Think about it. Were any established type of phone service to insist that we pay for minutes by two plans, one for who's calling us and one for calls we make...we would be outraged. People would be switching away from BellAtlantic or Verizon or Sprint or whomever if our land lines chose to run like that, not to mention if cell service went that route. It's a pain and almost a step backwards. But because it's attached to a new "cutting edge technology" he's willing to give up that which we have come to expect, to accept something that rings of a throwback to the days of the party line, in order to have that cache of being "the first" or "cutting edge" himself.

And the phone industry isn't the only one doing it. Look, for example, at HDTV. It's no coincidence that more units are selling now. Until the last year or so, many units were not HD in order to see this beautiful new crisp digital picture, you had to get - you guessed it - the '90s or '00s version of digital rabbit ears! People who bought one of these units early on had to put aerials on their rooftops in order to even use their new high tech purchase. Wanted to cable to it? You needed a convertor box, and even then most cable systems fought having to carry the HD signals. Now, most units are HD-ready, and many more are heading off the shelves. It's not the only reason, mind you, but it's one that has opened people's minds and made them more open to the idea of shelling out that kinda dough for a TV.

Now, look at the auto industry. Imagine what would happen if Toyota (and I'm just grabbing random names here, folks) told us that in order to get a convertible, we'd have to have to have manual windows, or the hottest new car on the lot only came in puce, or the on board entertainment system only came in a 4-cylinder model? People who like puce, or don't mind manual windows, or those who ABSOLUTELY have to have the hottest car or the biggest entertainment system would be fine with it. The rest of us would likely high-tail it to another dealership to look for something that matches both our needs and our expectations.

I explained all of this to him, and asked if he was willing to allow technology - that which is supposed to enhance our lives - not advance his life, but rather reverse its course in that he would now have to spend time tracking three accounts of minutes and therefore eat into more of his free time. He said he looked at it as a cost savings. I say my time is worth more than that...his jury is still out.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Quick like a bunny rabbit?

**Disclaimer - links in this post may not be work safe***

Ladies and Gentlemen, virtual sex has arrived. No, I'm not talking one handed typing in chat rooms or obsequious porn scattered about the internet, or even performance in front of a web cam. Sex toys are going high tech.

Before I go any farther, I suppose you're wondering why I even know about these things. Well, I have a friend who's quite a geek (meant in the most endearing of terms, trust me...after all, I find intelligence to be a turn on) who has gotten engaged. His fiancee lives a few states away. In the neverending search for the perfect gift, one of my friends discovered sex toys that can be activated by text messages or controlled remotely from a computer, and felt the need to share them with us before sending one to the happy couple. I just feel the need to share this with you because, well, I can.

We all know that the driving force behind propagating a technology among the masses isn't its utility for education or business applications, but it's ability to expand the amateur pornography industry. Usenet exploded when people discovered most frequented sites in the early days of the web were adult websites and chatrooms. Now, that same entrepreneurial spirit is reaching into the bedroom. Or should I say, across the bedroom?

Looking for an example? How about a toy equipped with Bluetooth that can be activated via text message, anytime, anywhere? (I'm trying to keep the text work/family friendly at least -
here's the link if you want to know more) Or the one that my friend ended up purchasing: The Internet Enabled Rabbit (Again, this link isn't worksafe - click at your own risk). For those who can't/won't click, here's a sanitized version of the description:

Across town or across the country, plug and play the Rabbit into one computer,
while the other operates the controls with a secure connection! ... And here's
another great feature: hook-up the Rabbit to your PC and gain access to dozens
of additional features...!
System requirements: Windows 98 and later, serial
port or USB adapter (sold separately).

Now, the first thing I thought of when I read this was "
The Grey Hounded Hare" - that Looney Tunes cartoon where Bugs is at the dog track and sees the electric bunny decoy and spends 3 and a half minutes trying to save her from the dogs, only to stop her at the end of the track and get quite a shocking kiss! But the second thing I thought of was a book I read in college about technology and escapism. One of the chapters was about using technology and virtual reality to ease people who had social disorders into real human interaction, from crowd settings to sexual contact. What does this say about our society if we are now choosing to interact in ways that less than a decade ago were reserved for people with imbalances and disorders? Are we all heading toward some greater dysfunction? Or were the people we thought were slightly off, actually right all along?

You know, 63 percent of American families fit the definition of dysfunctional. That means they're the norm now. While you chew on that for a while, I'm going to go have some real human interaction before our rabbits and Bluetooth and computers and cell phones turn our very homes into convents and monastic cloisters.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Oh what a tangled web we weave, and not just when we practice to deceive (Sorry, Will!). We weave a spider's web of connections to the rest of the world every day that we live, every sphere in which we interact. And even when those spheres have no connection whatsoever, or so we think, we are often proven wrong.

Let me illustrate.

Today, I sat down at my computer and went to one of my
favorite blogs. The top post there referred, in turn, to another blog, which I went to and read. Then I read the comments. One of those triggered something in my mind that sent me to that blog, and I did the same thing there as well.

I stopped this mad web of click throughs for two reasons. One - I landed on a blog where the writer doesn't live far from me so I was curious to read their take on things; and Two - the topic itself. The writer was talking about connections, which inspired me to reflect on the clickery that landed me in his piece of the web....

However, in his piece, he focused on connections to the past, and how we hold on to items that remind us of people and times we can't recapture. We are a nation of packrats. But why are we keeping that thank you note from the baby shower gift of someone we haven't seen in three years? Why does that stuffed animal from the ex-boyfriend still grace the shelf of our closet instead of some child's bed? Are we holding onto the things because we can't hold on to the people who gave them to us? Is this our own futile attempt to stop time - by keeping mementos of better days out in plain view where they co-exist with our own current status?

Which brings me back to the beginning. Walk through your house. Look at the little things....not the painting on the wall or the dishes in the cabinet, but the books on the shelves, the earrings in your jewelry box, the CDs by the stereo. Who gave them to you? Why did you buy them? How long have you had them?

I'm sitting here at my computer, and without even leaving the room I can point to numerous connections. The vanilla body spray my grandmother gave me for Christmas last year. The Eric Clapton Unplugged CD that always makes me think of the night the guy I was dating at the time and I saw Clapton in concert doing blues - it was the start of an enjoyment of the blues for me... The journal that same boyfriend gave me when we broke up to help sort through where we went wrong. (Believe it or not, I never wrote a single word in it, but that's a tale for another blogging) . And there's the less obvious ones - the French-English dictionary I bought long ago because I loved my high school French teacher and that's the one she recommended...the shotglass collection inspired by my aunt...

There's a connection there to someone or something gone by...a situation or person you may not have thought of in a long time, but if you stop and ponder a moment, it's there. The people with whom you've come in contact with have influenced your life whether they know it or not, whether you acknowledge it or not. You have done the same to other people, whether they've told you so or not, whether they even know it themselves or not.

Rather impressive, and at the same time rather daunting, eh?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another Reason not to mix Work and Blog....

Disturbing. Absolutely disturbing. On many levels.


PITTSBURGH (AP) - Is it right for a company to take an employee to court to learn his online identity -- then fire the person once the company finds out? That's the basis of a lawsuit filed by a utility worker who used a racial slur on a Yahoo! message board. Clifton Swiger claims Allegheny Energy and a law firm working for it filed suit against a "John Doe" to get Yahoo to give up his identity so the company could retaliate against him. Swiger claims the utility dropped the lawsuit less than a month after it found out who he was and the company also fired him. Swiger's message used a slur for blacks in criticizing the company's diversity policy. A consumer advocacy group that filed the lawsuit on Swiger's behalf says the case is an example of a company trying to silence an employee who had an unpopular message.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Time now for another interactive interlude

Found this on another blog - the Rate Your Life quiz....Here are my results: Looks like I'm smack on average in the over all score, better in some areas, worse in others...

I don't know why I like these quizzes, but I do...

This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 6.6
Mind: 6.3
Body: 7.7
Spirit: 6.3
Friends/Family: 4.6
Love: 4.6
Finance: 8.4
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Battery Battle, Part II

I need a nap.

Between work and play and lots of shit going on in my life, I've not been sleeping much lately. Those are stories for another time, but last night, somewhere around 3:30 or 4 am, I finally shook off some of my worries and captured that elusive butterfly known as sleep.

Not for long.

Around 6 am, I started hearing a chirping sound. For a while, it worked itself into my dream...until it got louder and more annoying. I pulled a pillow over my head and tried to sleep through it, but I knew exactly what it smoke alarm.

I'm a conscientious person, and I change the batteries every year when we fall back in the fall. And, it's
not the first time I've had this problem, so I quit fighting it, crawled out of bed, got the ladder, and changed ALL 5 batteries AGAIN!

Silence. Beautiful silence....briefly.

About 8 a-m, the chirping starts again. WTF?

I climbed up on the ladder yet again, checked each battery to make sure they worked. Instead of stopping, the chirping got more frequent. I needed a sanity break - so I made some coffee and sat outside reading the paper.



And it wasn't a bird.

Back inside I went and called the 1-800 number for help. They suggested that I take them down, clean them, and if that didn't work, to buy new batteries. A half hour later, I think I had the cleanest smoke detectors this side of a vacuum-pack, and still the chirp-chirp-chirping at my bedroom door....Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

Oh...sorry... a bit distracted there. Back to the story.

So out I went, to buy batteries, but when I tried those, they didn't stop it either. So I called the help desk again. After an hour on the phone with customer support and more moving of my ladder than I've done since the day I hung the pictures in my house, I have five brand new smoke detectors coming to me.

So much for all the cleaning I wanted to get done today...I'll be happy with some rest!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

An Open Letter

These are words scrawled on paper in the black of night, then transcribed into something legible to sent them back from whence they came. I write them knowing that you may never see them. I simply feel the need to communicate with you, even if only with the spectre of you, harboring the illusion that you still care. Perhaps I'll delude myself a while longer.

I have offended you. I am sorry. I have hurt you. I am sorry. I can't say that enough right now. I also can't say it to you just yet. You don't want to speak to me and I'll respect that desire, and extend it to other forms of communication for the moment. You're right - I can't make you do anything you don't want to do, and no matter how much I want to solve this, if you don't want to speak to me, I care too much for you to force the issue.

If anything, I'm in a catch 22. I'm a fixer, a healer...I want the people I care about to be well, and it pains me to know that I have hurt you. I want to fix it. But to fix it, I feel I would only cause you more pain by talking to you. So instead, I have to step back and, in order to do what is best for you, I have to hurt my self. Taking a razor blade to my own soul, slashing in all directions in my feeble attempts to deflect the blade from you.

We have an amazing rapport in that you have managed to break through the wall around my heart and make me feel something. Therefore, it should not surprise me that to remove that influence results in amazing pain. Three days feel like thirty as I wait to hear from you again, to discover what has created such a rapidly growing rift between two people as close as we.

You say you want me to take control, yet you ask me to stay away. Confused as I am, I shall try to respect your desires, and your space, because I respect you. I will do my best to wait patiently in this purgatory of our mutual creation, but you have taught me something - that which is worth having, is worth fighting for. When the time comes I chafe against your abrupt silence and forced distance, I may have to stage one final campaign so I know that I have truly tried everything. I owe that to myself, and I owe that to you.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Words of Wisdom from Damien Rice

Nothing unusual, nothing's changed
Just a little older that's all
You know when you've found it,
There's something I've learned
'Cause you feel it when they take it away

Thursday, October 13, 2005


hi all,

I suppose I can say all...after all, there are at least four of you I know of who read this. If there's anyone else, chime in - I'm curious....

Anyway, please don't interpret my silence as abandonment. I'm simply in the midst of far too much at this point to post anything on a regular basis. I have a few ideas floating around in my head upon which I want to expound, but I don't have the time, the energy, or the tolerance for sitting in front of my PC for that long right now.

I'll be back to my chipper, posting self in a bit - I promise!


Friday, October 07, 2005

Show me the fury

Why is it that people respect anger moreso than logic these days? How did American society devolve to the point that an irrational emotion elicits more respect than that which sets us apart form any other species on this planet (okay, that and our opposable thumbs)? And why am I apparrently incapable of unleashing this anger until it's too late and I've lost what I really want t okeep?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Don't get sunburn, get sunscreen

I had a troublesome dream last night. It's not as strange as the floating resort island, but it's still one that's been bothering me today. Perhaps just telling it to someone will lighten the load.

There was a party going on, and I left it. Seemed normal enough - nothing truly imprinted itself on my memory about that situation. I got in my car (the one I currently drive, not some "dream" mobile or anything) and started driving. I drove a road similar to the Pacific Coast Highway, winding, with a coastal view to the driver's side. I waved at a few people, don't know if I knew them or not, and took a right onto a paved road that disappeared into a stand of trees.

I didn't drive far before the road became gravel, then thatched with sticks. Trees thick with their late summer foliage that hadn't quite turned to brilliance yet blocked out the sun, so things were quite dark for the middle of the day. Just before the road changed again, I saw that two cars had pulled over onto a parking pad - a black Mercedes and a lighter colored sedan of some sort. I only know the Mercedes because I recognized it in my dream. The other car, I couldn't tell much about as I drove by them. I remember thinking "Oh, people are trusting - leave their cars here and go for a hike".

I crested a small hill and the road turned to mud, dipped slightly, and then advanced at such a steep pitch, I would have trouble getting my little car up the hill. I put the car in reverse, backed up until I got to that convenient little parking pad, and parked. I left the car there as I pulled out my backpack and a water bottle and kept going up the road.

The more I walked, the steeper the road became. At one point, the face was so steep, I was climbing it like a rock, face inches from its smelly, gooey surface. Not a soul in sight, I kept going. After all, this was so steep and so high, the view had to be amazing, right? I was about to give up when I finally crested one last rise, and was there. I was right - the view was amazing, but it wasn't what I expected.

The sun is nearly completely blocked out at this point, and it's quite dark, but just as I was about to turn around, my hand hits concrete. I pull myself up to a slab that's facing a rock wall. A small piece of that rock wall is gone, replaced by bars...So you can see see out. Or if that wasn't their initial purpose, that was what they ended up being for in my world. Rays of light reached through the bars, cutting their own pattern on the concrete.

I walked closer. It became apparent I was looking out from a mountain. On the other side of the bars were rolling green meadows, sun-drenched and stretching lazily to the tree-lined side of another mountain across the way. A few people were walking around aimlessly, but all I saw were their silhouettes. I sat down and watched for a while, sitting in my shadows, and slowly began to discern to whom these silhouettes belonged. One of them, my friend "Janet" was wearing a long flowing skirt like she'd never wear in real life...she sashayed up to another shadow whom I knew was her boyfriend that I haven't met yet. They kissed, and she walked off.

That's when I noticed the satellite cone (not a dish, but a cone!) jutting out from the right side of the bars. Did someone live here? That's when a co-worker with whom I rarely exchange words beyond the job sat down next to me. "This is stupid," she said. "Just because you get sunburnt doesn't mean you have to sit in the shade. Get sunscreen."

We made small talk for a few minutes, then, skinny thing that she is, she slipped through the bars and walked off, on her own. That's when I woke up.

Strange, eh? Like I said, I've had stranger, like the time I was on trial, or the fake wedding. But this just stuck with me. Go figure....

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Kick the tires, but don't smell the interior!

Looks like yet another of the good things in life...has turned out to be bad for us. You know that New Car Smell that people love so much?

Doctors say it can cause cancer.

Turns out that the yummy scent that to so many of us says "accomplishment" and "stability" and "new toy" is comprised of volatile organic compounds....toxic chemicals that seep out of glues and plastics.

But don't worry....I think those little air fresheners are still safe.

Friday, September 23, 2005

One last post...

Okay, I know Rita's story will inevitably belong to Texas. Hopefully, with the exception of traffic jams out of Houston, it will be one of evacuation gone right, and minimal loss of human life. But right now, New Orleans is again stealing the hurricane spotlight:

Basically, here's the deal: the outer bands of rain have already dropped enough on the city to overflow the levees, and even cause breaches in areas repaired after Katrina. Engineers said that might happen after the storm...but here they've already gotten that much rain, and Rita's not on land yet....


Age isn't a number, it's a feeling. And as I sit here listening to one of my favorite Connells tracks, "74-75" it's a feeling I can only today describe as isolation.

I'm getting older, but I don't feel old, yet at times I feel the age of my soul. Yesterday, for example. I walked out of the bathroom at the bookstore when around the corner came a woman with two young children, probably twins, crying in a double stroller. I turned around and went back, holding the door to the restroom for her. "Thanks, honey," she said. A diminutive term, but as I walked away, I thought, "She's probably younger than I am.."

Then last night, I left work planning to go out to see friends. No one was expecting me...and halfway there, I realized I wasn't feeling social. So I drove past the club, to a bar down the street, and had a beer in the company of my book. Then I drove home.

I don't know why I did that. I don't know why I had that thought about the young mother in the store - it was no judgement on her in any way. In fact, if anything, it was a judgement on myself, for refusing to live the traditional adult life. For doing stupid shit that keeps me both young and old without allowing myself to live the space between the two.

That's something that's been on my mind a lot of late as well. My failed attempts to navigate the waters between a youthful streak in a responsible person, and a modicum of maturity in a young one. Somewhere along the way, I never learned to let go, to have fun, to take life as it comes. Instead, I dread I worry, I read between the lines and deny myself happiness and joy. I feed off the joy of others, but it's been a long time since I've made a decision because it was the best for me. I need to figure out where to start.

I was the one who let you know...
I was your "sorry ever after"...
Give me some more and I'll defy..
Cause you're really only after...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Living Life in Fast Forward

A gentleman who writes another blog I read posted a great thought piece the other night that waxed nostalgic. For those of you who don’t choose to click through and read it, here’s the last, and for the purposes of my post, most pertinent part:

But I cannot allow myself to think of Mattel Electronic Football, or the AM/FM stereo/cassette player Walkman, or the 64Kb computer as 25+ year-old relics, for to admit that they are relics, so must I admit am I.

And I just can’t do that.

Proof positive, friends, that we are living in accelerated times.

In my opinion, because after all, that’s all we have, rapid advances in technology are aging us faster than any previous generation. As the world around us, our society, and even the means by which we interact with other human beings all continue to change and evolve at the speed of Microsoft, we as humans flail after something that gives us status, that reaffirms our standing in this speeding continuum we call time on steroids.

We reach out to one another to validate our existence through cultural touchstones and mutual experiences, just as our parents did, and their parents before them. But these days, those milestones are merely feet apart. Whereas our parents can mark time by who was the first on their block to get a TV, and it was YEARS before it was traded in for a color set….our generation marks the passage of time in Atari, Nintendo, Playstation, and X Box.

As each division marks smaller passages of time, we become more exclusive and exclusionary as a society. These days, we reach backwards for those moments of validation, and when someone can not share that with us, we’re quick to draw a line between us.
Again, to go back to 1981, I’ll never forget the first time I met someone who didn’t remember the assassination attempt on President Reagan. It made me feel old, yet at the time I was in my mid-20s, she was 19. The older we get, those years will make little difference, but in an attempt to establish ourselves as citizens in good standing, deserving of our opinions based upon our time on this earth, we begin to separate ourselves. Eventually we end up in rather homogenous company, wondering why we feel so old, never acknowledging that we did it to ourselves all as part of an attempt to stay young by keeping up with the rapid advances of technology and therefore of life.

So, 25 year old technology may be a relic – in tech terms only. In human terms, if you ask me, it’s a cherished piece of the RECENT past.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

And another classic moment...

See - Celebrities are human too!

Among the best acceptances was a flustered S. EpathaMerkerson's, winning for best actress in a movie. She confessed that her prepared remarks had been lost in her decolletage, where she had placed them for safekeeping.

"It's down there!'' she insisted, peering into her cleavage.

There's hope for us all

As spoken tonight at the Emmys....and look at her now!

``I would like to thank the incomparable William H. Macy for taking a chunky 22-year-old with a bad perm and glasses out into a cow pasture and kissing me and making me his wife.''

``Desperate Housewives'' Emmy winner Felicity Huffman.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Accomodation? Or Desperation?

Here's a question for that handful of you who read this blog...

I know a couple who seem to have a wonderful connection with one another. However, there is one thing in the relationship he's just not happy with, to the point that they have discussed the possibility of an open relationship.

So what do you think - if she accepts this arrangement, is she being accomodating to his needs, or is it an act of desperation to try to make this man fit into her life?

I'm curious what you all think, if anyone even reads this, cause I didn't know what to tell her.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Unspoken thoughts

There are things I want to know, but you never want to have the conversation unless it's on your terms. And your terms always seem to come at times when I'm making overtures to try and meet you somewhere in the middle.

Why do you do this? Do you KNOW you're doing this? This one-two blow of assurance followed by what I can only describe as sabotage?

You wonder why I trust no one, and you turn around and execute the same actions you've said you wouldn't do. Case in point - you know I have trust issues, so you ask if I trust you. I turn over a small yet oh so important piece of my freedom and let you drive. We're not 2 miles from my house and what do you do? You trigger the flight reflex, starting a conversation that kills the joy of the evening before it's even begun. If you wouldn't have considered it "drama" I was about to give you the money for my drink and walk home to get my car.

And this wasn't the first time. Why does this happen? I find someone who says I can trust them, who says they won't act like everyone else has. You drove right by the "Last Exit to Rockville" sign, only to try to make your own a few miles later where there is no road. Not once, but twice. You know what this does to me, right? It makes me less likely to open up, more likely to resist your next attempts, to doubt you when you say you wouldn't do something.

This is why I tried to show you the door, and kept pushing. Now I believe you, but you want to leave? You have my trust. Do with it what you will.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I’ve been quite slammed at work of late. However, given my strict policy of no commingling of work and blog, I’m not going to talk about it here. Which is why I haven’t been posting much in recent days.

So to make up for my lack of words, I want to leave you with some words of wisdom. The first, from composer John Cage:

“I have nothing to say and I am saying it, and that is poetry”

(Then again, this is also the man who composed a piece called “4:33” – three movements without a single note played.)

The second…from Fiona Apple:

“You fondled my trigger then you blame my gun”

Yeah, my mind's all over the place these days....back to trying to sort it all out. As you were.

Friday, September 09, 2005

It's not easy being green....

Green isn't just the color of jealousy. It's also the color of jade. And tonight I sit here, lamenting the fact that I am a jaded individual, far before my time.

It's times like this that I'm glad I haven't identified myself on here at all. Because these are the times I want to be brutally honest, but can't to anyone I know for fear of offending.

Tonight, I went out with friends, only to discover one of our acquaintances had gotten engaged last week. Before I go on, I can't say emphatically enough how happy I am for her. I've only met her fiance once, but from his first impression and from hearing her talk I know they'll be a wonderful match! And it's thrilling to hear the proposal stories, and know that yes, there are still a few romantics out there!

However, as the night wore on, I couldn't help but feel that nagging at the back of my mind. The voice saying you blew your turn years ago...that it's just not going to happen for you. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I do have a knack for falling for the men who want me right now, but can't make a forever out of it. They aren't bad people, and they aren't bad to me, they just aren't what I'm looking for, but by the time we figure all that out (for one reason or another), I'm in love and they're saying goodbye.

I'm no spring chicken, but I'm too young to be this jaded and bitter at myself. Or am I? Is there an age where you just say, "Fuck it" and give in to the fact that you're more than old enough to be old and jaded and bitchy about everything this world offers at you? Or am I merely an old soul who has seen too much, trying to find her way to clutch to some form of naivete?

What it all boils down to is this - it's a hard year. 5 engagements (and counting - I know another one is coming soon), at least 5 weddings I can think of...and as I offer all these people my heartfelt best wishes and support, part of me dreads another happy face, another wedding to attend, another reception full of people wanting to know what your plans are.

Because have you noticed that people feel like they can say whatever they want at weddings? Complete strangers are expected to make polite small talk, but it evolves into intimate details and probing questions about your status and future and plans. People you DO know take the chance to make comments they've thought twice about saying in any other setting...when are YOU getting married? Don't you want kids? Well you better hurry up!

I love my friends, and I wish them all the happiness in the world and beyond. But I don't like this bitter person I feel myself becoming at the mention of someone's nuptials. The big day always goes's the dread leading up to it that kills me these days. Hopefully it's something I can change before another person truly close to me has such happy news, because I don't want to feel anything but pride and joy for them should that big day be theirs.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Anne Rice Speaks the Truth

Sitting here at work on this Labor Day (how fitting, eh?), I found a letter Anne Rice wrote to the New York Times in Katrina's aftermath.  Here's the link to the whole editorial, written as only a life-long resident can:


However, here's the point that drives it all home...


"But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.

Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you."


Friday, September 02, 2005

Accidental Soundtrack

This song has been running through my head for the last few days. I need to find a copy of this. Mine's on a cassette of Old Time Radio Shows....

Our prayers are with ya, New Orleans...

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
And miss her each night and day
I know I'm not wrong because the feeling's
Getting stronger the longer I stay away

Miss the moss-covered vines, tall sugar pines
Where mockingbirds used to sing
I'd love to see that old lazy Mississippi
Running in the spring

Moonlight on the bayous
Creole tunes fill the air
I dream about magnolias in June
And I'm wishin I was there

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
When that's where you left your heart
And there's one thing more,
I miss the one I care for
More than I miss New Orleans

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Divine Intervention?

In a city known for its voodoo Catholics, anything can happen, so is this really so far-fetched? True or not, we're all praying for some more divine intervention for the entire Gulf Coast.

In the garden behind St. Louis Cathedral on Royal Street lies an incredible tangle of zig-zagging broken tree trunks and branches, mixed with smashed wrought iron fences.But right in the middle, a statue of Jesus is still standing, unscathed by the storm, save for the left thumb and
index finger, which are missing.
The missing digits immediately set off speculation of divine intervention.
New Orleans has a long history praying to saints for guidance and protection in times of great peril. In fact it was Our Lady of Prompt Succor who was said to be responsible for saving the Ursulines Convent in the French Quarter from a raging fire that consumed the rest of the city
centuries ago.Since then, New Orleanians have prayed to the saint for protection
from natural disasters. On Saturday, Archbishop Alfred Hughes read a prayer over
the radio asking for Our Lady's intervention to spare the city a direct hit by
Hurricane Katrina.
Many in the Quarter are now saying it was the hand of Jesus, the missing digits to be precise, that flicked the hurricane east just a little to keep the city from suffering a direct blow.

Apocalyptic Aftermath

I haven't provided Katrina updates, simply because you don't need me for that. All you have to do is turn on the TV or open a newspaper to see that New Orleans dodged her first bullet, only to get shot from behind by a sniper, so to speak. The storm made a last minute jolt, but the levees still weren't strong enough to hold.

As more and more images come out of the area, it gets more and more unbelievable. This is the American tsunami. This is the Andrew of the aughts (or however you choose to refer to the '00 decade)

Yesterday, I was selfish. I watched the CNN and Fox News Channel coverage, looking for aerials of places I had been and neighborhoods I knew. Yes, I shed a wistful tear for the cityt I once knew and that will live on in so many people's memories. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The time a street punk ripped us off with a shoe shine. The time we got blasted at the Funky Pirate and listened to blues in clubs up and down Bourbon Street for the rest of Happy hour. My never ending quest to find a drink I liked and a place to drink it in. My orders of cafe and beignets, trolley rides on St. Charles and daily strolls through the Garden district, the warehouse district, the arts district, and the CBD.

Today, I spent the day watching local news coverage from WWL and WDSU. Both stations are streaming their coverage over the internet for people who were fortunate enough to get out and for the rest of us who, voyeurs that we are, must watch.

At one point this afternoon, a photographer was on set at WWL talking to the anchors about going out among the people who are left in town and how each one had a story to tell. So he turned his camera on and one at a time let them have their say. I can't tell you how many of them brought me to tears. Most gave their name, their neighborhood, and a vivid account of how they survived the flood, then where they were headed or a message for a specific friend or family member in case they saw the tape. It was the hope that they or a loved one could find this needle in a drenched haystack that kept them going.

I can't tell you how much those stories made me cry. Each one more heart wrenching than the one before, not necessarily by design but by sheer volume. People who sought refuge in the Superdome, now being moved to another state without so much as a chance to see if their homes are still standing. Helicopters plucking people off rooftops who survived on water and M&Ms.

I've survived my share of storms, for someone who has never lived in Florida, and their wrath has been devestating. Katrina, m'dear, you take the cake. Your name will be retired, to hang in the rafters with Ivan and Frances, Andrew, Hugo and Camille. The dubious distinction of setting a nation back on its collective heels and making us reconsider how lucky we are and what we can do to help those who were not. Now if only it didn't take a disaster, natural or otherwise, to draw us together like this.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Doomsday Prophesy

Life is very *UN*easy in the Big Easy tonight. Hurricane Katrina is gunning for New Orleans.

Yesterday, she was a Cat 3 and counting. Less than 24 hours later, she's a Cat-5 and nearly unstoppable. There are all sorts of statistics out there I could quote right now....the fact that she would be the 4th Cat 5 in recorded history to slam into the mainland....that New Orleans has dodged this bullet for four decades...but there are two numbers that rise above it all for me:

1) New Orleans sits six feet below sea level.

2) As of midnight EDT tonight, nearly 100,000 people have not heeded the mandatory evacuation order, for one reason or another. EPodunk puts New Orleans' population at 469,000. That means, at a conservative estimate, 20% of people won't get out. One in Five people, stuck, trapped, stranded in that city to ride out a Cat 5.

I've been to New Orleans many times - one of my favorite vacation destinations in fact - and I've gone beyond the French Quarter. It is not a well-off area. It's the big city in an area where the surrounding parishes and states are not well-off financially. It's where people move to because they DON'T need a car to get around, or where people never leave because from birth to death they can't get a strong enough financial foothold to escape. That's exactly why these people are now stuck in the city - they don't own a car and have no way out of town.

Should New Orleans take a direct hit, the levees that hold back the River and the Lake will likely burst, turning the bowl in which it sits into a veritable cesspool of toxic chemicals, human waste, coffins, fuel, and anything else living or existing in the Crescent City at this point. That will likely also turn into a final resting place for a significant portion of the population...if they don't all make it to the Superdome first.

But for me, thousands of miles away, all I can do is write, and wait, because it comes down to this: This lady has a vendetta against my city. And all I can hope is that Lady luck is stronger than a bitch named Katrina.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I Need a Price Check On Comfort Food

We’ve all heard the maxim, “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.” I’d like to add, “or depressed.”

I just went food shopping for the first time in two weeks. I did fairly well at staying to the outer edge…perishables only. But then I remembered I was out of Wheat Thins. At my grocery store, crackers are right next to and across from other things that are bad for people trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose some along the way.

I came home with a few diet-busters. Maybe I’ll take them to work and share so at least I don’t eat them ALL myself.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Testing the MS Word Plugin

Hmmm….wonder if this is going to work the way I want it to…

Or if I can change typefaces….

Or if anyone cares.

Coffee Lovers? Or Lovers' Coffee?

It's been FOREVER since I blogged, mostly because it's been a rather disappointing month with nothing positive to sprinkle in amidst a lot of the negative. Case in point, the last 5 days have been enough of a roller coaster to keep me three steps behind. However, I saw this article and had to share. I can't find it online yet, though, so you'll have to read on

Coffee - that black caffiene in a cup. Better than sex?
For many coffee drinkers, the brew beats the bedroom, with 42 percent of those in a recent survey reporting that coffee is more or equally important in any given week as sex.
The survey - commissioned by Dunkin' Donuts, also found that coffee drinkers reported more robust romance, with two-thirds of respondents saying they had sex once a week or more. Only 58 percent of non-coffee drinkers reported as much action, according to the survey, with more than 1200 repondents.
After water, coffee is the world's most popular beverage, with more than 400 billion cups consumed annually.

The article goes on from there, but you get the point. As for me, I'll have a hazlenut with cream and go!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Musical Poetry

I turned on my computer tonight and clicked play....and "Sail" came on. I love that song, especially the lyrics. They're so plaintive - honest and well-spoken without obscure reference or puffery. That's when a thought occurred to me. I wonder how it would read if I posted the first two lines from the next 10 songs to play on random shuffle. So here goes nothing....

It's just...some of the things you said
Keep going round inside my head
I looked into your eyes
They told me plenty I already knew
Tonight, the moon's playing tricks again
I'm feeling sea sick again
I'd like to see you out one night
Dressed up like a rock and roll star
If the sun refused to shine
I don't mind. I don't mind.
I woke up this morning
with this feeling inside me that I can't explain
I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
You're with her, not with me
I hope she's sweet, so pretty
It's never easy and you'll never know
What leaves you cryin and what makes you whole
Honey you are a rock upon which I stand.
I come here to talk - I hope you understand

Not too bad....admittedly, I went through 20 songs to get this...between skipping over the instrumentals and deciding once I saw the list that there would only be one per artist (for some reason, half of one Sarah album came up in the top of my list!)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings, 1938-2005

In a profession where miracles, great and small, occur each and every day, I think, deep down, I was hoping he had one more in him. Instead, tonight, the world lost a great man, journalism lost the last of the network anchors. I lost an idol.

Peter Jennings succumbed to lung cancer. He died in his New York home at the age of 67.

I grew up watching ABC News with Peter Jennings. Dan Rather was too old for me, and Tom Brokaw, well, NBC didn't come in very well until we got cable, and by then my preference was set. I was an ABC gal. I remember watching Peter Jennings and realizing that journalists weren't just the vultures television portrayed them to be. I remember watching him when I finally understood the difference between being famous and being known.

His voice is the one that narrates my memories of all the big news events of the 80s and 90s. Pan Am 103...The Challenger....Even Oklahoma City and the Atlanta Olympic Park bombings. By then, CNN had infiltrated the common conscience, but at 6:30, I flipped over to ABC to get the network take on it all. And I'll never forget watching at the to of every hour as he rang in Y2K in each timezone around the world, donning a sporty tux for the bash in New York City.

Pardon me a moment as I draw a rather long quote from an ABC News piece on Jennings' background, but it makes a wonderful point about the experience he brought to the desk despite his youth...or youthful appearance.

He was in Berlin in the 1960s when the Berlin Wall was going up, and there in
the '90s when it came down. He covered the civil rights movement in the southern
United States during the 1960s, and the struggle for equality in South Africa
during the 1970s and '80s. He was there when the Voting Rights Act was signed in
1965, and on the other side of the world when South Africans voted for the first
time. He has worked in every European nation that once was behind the Iron
Curtain. He was there when the independent political movement Solidarity was
born in a Polish shipyard, and again when Poland's communist leaders were forced
from power. And he was in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania and
throughout the Soviet Union to record first the repression of communism and then
its demise. He was one of the first reporters to go to Vietnam in the 1960s, and
went back to the killing fields of Cambodia in the 1980s to remind Americans
that, unless they did something, the terror would return.

Now, the era has ended, not only for ABC News, but for network news. NBC groomed Brian Williams to be Brokaw's successor. Now he is the senior anchor on the evening news desk. A strange state of affairs indeed.

The world has lost a man who made many a meaningful contribution. We are all the poorer for it, yet all the richer for having encountered him and his work. On behalf of America, I bid you...goodnight.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

World of Dreams

Funny how dreams seem so real when you're asleep, then fade rapidly as you cross that space of near wakefulness where sleep and reality overlap like a beach where the tide rolls ashore onto the sand.

Even funnier how the snippets of dreams come back to you at the most inopportune, or least expected, moments.

I woke up this morning with that faint sense of something in my dreams that I should remember. But I couldn't. Not for the life of me. It wasn't until I laid back down on the bed after a shower that the lightbulb came on.

I dreamed my friends threw me a surprise party, but the party was my wedding. My parents were in the front row in polo shirts and pants, but a co-worker gave me away to a man who wasn't even there. And the ceremony was based on the fact that he wasn't there. No one even used his name...just said that when he returned, I would already be his wife.

As my co-worker walked me down the aisle, the one I truly wanted got up and walked out of the building. I bolted and ran after him. The organ stopped and one of my supervisors caught me at the end of the aisle, turned me around, and sent me back to the altar, but half-way there, I think I woke up. I don't remember getting there, at least not yet. I just remember wearing an ivory strapless sundress and carrying a wilted flower - a daffodil or a tulip or something.

Perhaps more details will come back to me as the proverbial tide rises again.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Product of a sleepless night

I have a slight problem...I revere words, to the point that when I get a phrase stuck in my head, I can't get it out until it's just right. Those are the times I have to step back and remove it from my head so I can work on something else.

So I took a few minutes and jotted this down. It's not my best effort, but one of my fastest. I don't ususally share unfinished work, but everything else is out there right now, so here it is for your perusal.

I've seen too many summer sunrises.
Stayed awake and watched until the dawn
laid her blazing fingerprint across
the ever-receding horizon.

Spikes of Orange, casts of yellow,
emanating from the glowing orb
making its daily trek into the world,
while wisps of cloud cover refract
random hints of hesitant reds -
A performance before an awe-struck audience.

Shades tints and hues
all become more brilliant
when viewed from the wrong side
through a lens without the shade of slumber.
Vibrant and resonant
when seen through dozens of individual prisms
as gravity pulls them, one by one,
from troubled eyes.

Amazing how a force of Nature so commanding
can be so fleeting,
returning each morning,
with no visible mark to prove its existance,
yet leave an indelible impression on
mind, heart, emotion,

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Rule Number One:

If you're going to cover a song, don't just sing it. Make it different. Make it your own.

A group called DHT covered Roxette's
"Listen to your Heart"
and if you listen to the unplugged version, I swear it sounds like the original.

It's a good song, but come on!

PS- On a side note, can you believe the original was out 16
years ago? Where were YOU when you heard that song? Swaying
at the senior prom? Daydreaming of Danny in math class?
Sittig in the backseat as Mom and Dad drove you to school?

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Corporation

Through a series of events that started with being there for someone who needed to vent, and ending with unanswered messages (that I kind of hope that by procrastinating my bedtime a little more through blogging will be answered eventually), I missed what promised to be some killer music in a local venue tonight. However, I saw a rather decent documentary: The Corporation.

Warning! This movie is not for the sleepy or the uninvolved. It's 2 hours and 25 minutes of why corporations are what they are and what they do to the ecological, social, and moral fabric of our society. A disembodied voice that could be HAL's sister carries you from segment to segment in this massive undertaking. The writers provide the history of how corporations came to be these legal entities with all the rights of a person (piggybacking the intentions of the 14th Amendment), then tick through a series of mental health criteria and how they apply to monster corporations. It's amazing, but corporate entities fit each one of the WHO's criteria for a psychopath!

All in all, a very good (yet waaaaaay too long) film. One that definitely makes you think, even if you don't want to.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I thought news was the ultimate in reality T-V.

I was wrong. A local news station in Virginia is taking it to a whole new level.

The FOX affiliate in Roanoke borrowed a page from the American Idol playbook to select their next employee. Basically, five well-qualified people are competing for one job, and the viewers get to decide who gets it.

Now, I know that TV is one of those businesses where connecting with people is key, but am I the only one who thinks this is going a little too far?

Voting ended tonight. We'll see who wins.