Friday, July 28, 2006

Happy Anniversary

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Lyric of the Day:

Every long lost dream
Lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart
They were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way
Into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God bless the broken road
That lead me straight to you.

- Rascal Flatts
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Happy 9th wedding anniversary, Hub. I love you.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Beautiful Night

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Lyric of the Day:

Many times I've wondered
How much there is to know

- Led Zeppelin
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I saw M. Night Shyamalan's latest movie "Lady in the Water" last Friday and have been thinking about it ever since. Based on a strange children's bedtime story of a mysterious stranded woman and stalking beasts, I can't even begin to tell you any more about the plot without getting into a big long bramble and ultimately saying too much. It's very involved and very intriguing - as his movies always are.

I absolutely loved it.

It's not really doing well at the box office, nor are the reviews stellar. Unfortunately, this seems to be expected for M. Night Shyamalan’s movies in general. The Sixth Sense was a runaway hit, true. But generally speaking, Shyamalan appeals to a very specific demographic, and at the risk of sounding condescending, I believe that demographic to be a bit above the average moviegoer. I say this because while a great deal of film patrons simply look for an escape in which they can turn their brains off and be expected to do little more than look at pretty explosions or laugh at sophomoric humor, an M. Night Shyamalan presentation will always challenge you and bend your intellect.

Part of the initial mistake I would say is that M. Night Shyamalan’s films are often categorized in the horror genre, while they would be better described as suspense thrillers. Shyamalan has been called the new Hitchcock, and the parallels are understandable. Not only has he taken on the delightful Alfred trademark of placing a cameo appearance for himself in each film – but he has the gift of capturing understated heebygeebiness. He subtly and masterfully forces the viewer out of their comfort zone and into strange and often rattling new areas of thought. He makes you consider the possibility of things not obvious - peculiar possibilities more inside our personal space than we may prefer. He relies not on the shock value of gore, but of classic vignetted glimpses, holding not quite long enough to see things clearly but long enough to make your imagination explode and race into panic mode. He grips you not on blatant blood and guts but on reviving latent fears and causing you to rethink everything you know as reality. You begin to wonder what you are not noticing right in front of you.

Most crucially, Shyamalan places so much thought – so many intricate details and twists, that the viewer is not disappointed by an obvious ending. He relies heavily on symbolism and angles often not even apparent until reviewed in hindsight. I have watched many of his movies several times over, and I see something new every time.

Beautiful, intricate layers. Cinematic baklava.

Growing up, I was a horror film freak. I loved to be grossed out and scared out of my tree by on-screen monsters and lunatics. But anymore, a good case of the creepy-crawlies beats meeting up with a slasher by a longshot. I guess I’ve come to a place where Alfred Hitchcock beats out Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven.

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The M. Night Shyamalan

Wide Awake
The Sixth Sense
The Village
Lady in the Water

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Days of Dreams

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Lyric of the Day:

I see you've got your list out
Say your piece and get out
Yes I got the jist of it
But it's alright
Sorry that you feel that way
The only thing there is to say
Every silver lining’s got a
Touch of grey
I will get by
I will survive.

- Grateful Dead
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"Look to your left ... Now look to your right ...
... One of these people won't be here when you graduate."

When the president of the college said this to us at freshman orientation, you could have heard a pin drop. As loud as a knitting needle.

There was talk afterwards that it seemed a pretty lousy thing to tell us this at orientation. Very discouraging. I agreed somewhat, but the guy had been at the school for about a hundred and twelve years, and I figured he knew what he was talking about. Not to mention, we were in the big league now. The bar was significantly raised. While we were all once the best artist at our school, we were now with every other best artist from every other school.

Still, we were sure we'd be one of the ones who would still be there at the end. We all were sure.

I remember one night about ten of us piled into my roommate's Escort, Keystone Cop fashion, and headed to the dance club for a little steam blowing. It was midterm time and we were all hyped up on a liquid diet of coffee, Mountain Dew and Jolt Cola. We were feeling particularly light of heart that evening, and were ready to have some fun.

"Touch of Grey" was popular that year, and as we sped down the road it came on the radio. The volume of our chatter was much louder than that of the box, but our ears picked it up and we all resounded, "OHHHHH YEAHHHH!" It hit the mood perfectly - my roommate turned it up and we all sang along. One of us said, "This is our song, guys! We'll all make it, forget what the Pres said about us!" We piled our hands together, playground pact style, and sang at the top of our lungs like it was a pledge.


We grasped each other's hands in affectionate high fives for the song's duration, grinning our fool heads off as we bellowed.

The President was right. At graduation time, our class was only half the size it started out. Of the four of us who roomed in the dorm together our first year, only two of us were walking the stage. I remember looking back on the night in that car, and it too delivered only about half of us in the pact to earning a degree.

Some of us ran out of money. Others ran out of drive. Others ran out of confidence. Art school is not the fun and games everyone thinks it is. Creating art on demand is tough. Draining. Exhausting. Those of us who did make it through were vastly different people from whence we started. Of the friends I've kept in touch with from college, many don't even work in the art field now. It's a rough line of work - demanding much and often giving monetarily little in return - and many of us put it aside, because the term "starving artist" is not funny when you live it.

When I hear "Touch of Grey" now though, like I did yesterday in the car, it simply takes me back to that night in the late eighties ~ when ten kids who were sure they had life by the package were absolutely, 100% sure that it would happen for us just as we dreamed it would.

It was a great place to be.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fight Night

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Lyric of the Day:

Fight the good fight every moment
Make it worth the price you pay

- Triumph
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My show is back. I’m so excited I could pop.

"The Contender" is a sports reality show facing off 16 welterweight fighters, divided into 2 teams. The show is hosted this season by Sugar Ray Leonard and Contender I’s champ, Sergio Mora, and the contestants are coached by boxing icons Jeremy Williams and Tommy Gallagher (I love Tommy – he’s too cool for words). Systematically a boxer from each team meets in the ring ultimately coming down to a championship round with a nice purse.

I know I’m a girl, but I love boxing. I LOVE it! And The Contender is so exciting to me because these guys are ALL really talented. Any one of them could take any other one of them, so the fights are a guaranteed challenge to say the least. Also adding to the fun, by the magic of TV editing the fights are streamlined – the lulls in the ring are whittled out, leaving pure boxing action for the folks at home. Some people will get this when I say it and some people will not – it all just depends on whether you like the sport. But boxing is so graceful. It’s about timing and coordination and choreography. Beneath the pummels and blood and sweat spray there is a dance. A hypnotic dance. Beneath the brute force there is palatable passion. A good fight can be beautiful.

The Contender is about more than training and the ring, though. I love the dialogue, and the biography. Most of these kids are from mean streets and lean times. And you get to know them. You find yourself caring about them. You see their tender sides. Men with inextinguishable fire. Men wanting to provide a better life for their families. Men who choke up as they talk about their children.

I find myself loving every one of them. Which makes it hard at the end of each fight, because someone must hang up their gloves and say goodbye.

I cry every time. I’m such a dork.

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The Contender II airs Tuesdays at 10pm on ESPN.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

In the Chop

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Lyric of the Day:

I'm just wondering why
I feel so all alone
Why I'm a stranger
In my own life ...
Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine

- Cheryl Crow
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After a long and arduous vacation week of rain and gloom, it was a really nice weekend. We took the boat out on Saturday, and in the midst of my mind being preoccupied with a hundred other details, I noticed how blue the water looked. The color of our lake is usually more between avocado and pine, but Saturday it looked deep blue. It was beautiful.

The water was quite choppy. As we took a cruise after lunch, Incrediboy curled up against me and fell sound asleep. I'm always amused at how he can sleep with so much chaos going on around him. Our boat rose and fell with the chops, sometimes smacking rather hard. His head would thump and bounce against my chest, but it all seemed to lull him deeper into his sound sleep. I was reminded of times that we'd boat years before he was born. Sometimes, as the Hub would go for a cruise, I'd crawl up into the cutty after a long day, drowsy and warm from the sun, and fall sound asleep despite the fact that the bow beneath me would smack rather sternly against the lake's surface. Though maybe rough to some, it was soothing to me.

Incrediboy has always been remarkably at ease on the boat and the lake. He's been on the water since before he was born - so perhaps - like his mom and dad - even in the midst of ruckus, this is the place of true peace for him.

I am happy by the water. I feel comfortable around it and in it. We used to spend every possible moment at the lake. We'd go out on week nights, and we'd camp out from Friday afternoon till Sunday night. I sleep better on the lake than anywhere, be it cradled in the gentle rocking of the cove waters and quiet serenade of the stars, or while my captain cruised the waters mid day at full throttle. Not that I take on the condition of narcolepsy while boating - but it does relax me, and naps are deep and luxurious in the arms of the lake gods.

I haven't camped out on the boat in four years. It was a sacrifice made when we brought Most Beautiful Dog into our lives (trust me, he would not make a good boat dog). I miss it at times. Hub will camp out every now and then, and maybe in the next summer or two, Incrediboy will join him for boy's campout night. We don't get near the dollar-per-fun-hour out of the boat that we used to, but we are excited to afford this aspect of childhood for him.

Saturday did me good. I'm still dealing with my forementioned here sadness, wrestling with invisible demons. I used to be able to remain positive by nature, upbeat and light of heart despite the whitecaps around me - nowadays I seem the opposite. I find myself feeling off track. I don't know where to look for the issues or how to identify what they are. More often than not one day blends into another in my life, and weeks go by before I even notice. Our beautiful Saturday was a nice beacon, though. I was reminded that even in the monotony of life, there is beauty and fun and wonderful memories to store away. That while phases and chapters end, others begin. Different, but equally valuable. Some of the simplest concepts can slip our minds.

I'm having these moments of clarity more frequently, and I'm feeling better as time goes by. I'm enjoying things I once enjoyed again. In the midst of rough waters, I am relaxing.

I'm a little bit closer to feeling fine.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Happy 1st Blogversary to Me!

Actually my blogversary was yesterday. But I had my head up my butt as usual.

Here's to a fun first year of blogging! I raise a glass to all the wonderful people I've met along the way - thank you all for enriching my life!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Vacation sucks.

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The other Lyric of the Day:

The weather is here,
I wish you were beautiful.

- Jimmy Buffett

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My summer vacation week is almost over. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm almost glad.

It has rained. Every day. All week. We've made the best of it - seen nearly every movie out right now - one of them twice (guess which one - *sly grin*). Went shopping for window blinds and socks and work clothes. Messed around and relaxed. Did some housecleaning (yay).

Any day off is good. But all our plans we'd made for boating and motorcycle road trips and a visit to the zoo were washed out this week (pardon the pun). It's been about the lamest vacation ever.

I just wanted to complain for a minute. I know no one's sympathetic - but I hope I brought you some fun in laughing at my misfortune.

I'm actually looking forward to going back to work Monday. I'm sure it will be beautiful outside.

Flashback Friday - Cult Classic

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Lyric of the Day:

The heads that turn
Make my back burn ...
The world turns around
The world drags me down ...

The fire in your eyes
Keeps me alive ...
I'm sure in her you'll find
The sanctuary

- The Cult

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I haven't listened to The Cult in probably 13 years. But for whatever reason, they popped in my head about a week ago and wouldn't leave. The strange applications of instruments, drenched in pseudo-mysticism and Native American-meets-metal fronted by one of the most assaultingly knock your socks off voices to ever hit vinyl made them in league with my all-time favorite bands. My Cult CDs were all stolen way back when and I had never replaced them. I decided this sudden reappearance in my mental jukebox was a sign that it was time.

I got my CD today and popped it in the player as I ran errands this afternoon. And as the sitaresque intro to "She Sells Sanctuary" flooded my car, I felt myself suddenly plunge into a springwater sinkhole. I felt as if seltzer water poured over me in slow motion. Mottled hot and cool bolts of satin lapped across me. I stood again on a crowded floor, surrounded by heat, smells, voices, cigerettes and beer, but only seeing the lights. Pulsating reds, yellows, greens, blues, spinning floods. Only feeling the music, rumble deep in my chest and radiate outwards through my limbs. Riding like breaking waves.

They were the worst of times, period. I don't look back with rose colored glasses. I am not in love with my piece of the early 90's. We lived four or five or more to an apartment so we could afford rent. A college education seemingly only meant that everyone else had four years head start on us in the slim job market. We were all thin because when you only had money for food or cigarettes, nicotene won out and we made a few packs of Ramen noodles last a week.

Everything was volatile and fleeting.

All we had for sure back then was friendship and music. And in a fusion of these, I and my band of rogues had one constant escape then. AC/DC-Cult Night, every Sunday night. A few bucks for cover and a few bucks each for a bucket of beer (a literal bucket full of draft beer from which to comunally ladle - kind of revolting, really) bought us sanctuary. Four hours of forgetting the troubles we had outside the doors and burning off our pent up aggressions under the thunder of music as raw and brooding and lost as we were.

A lot of people look back to those years as the Glory Days. If you ask me, they sucked. I don't miss anything about that life at all.

But to this day, that was some of the best music I've ever heard. It still is.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Here There Be Pirates

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Lyric of the Day:

Mother Mother Ocean
I have heard you call
Wanted to sail upon your waters
Since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all
Watched the men who rode you
Switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures
Few have ever seen
Most of 'em dream, most of 'em dream
Yes I am a pirate
Two hundred years too late
The cannons don't thunder
There's nothing to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late.

Jimmy Buffett - A Pirate Looks at 40

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I saw "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" last night. I'd been looking forward to it for a long time - I loved the first movie, full of excitement, romance and a lot of laughs. I was not disappointed with the sequel. In fact I can't wait to see it again.

I have a weakness for pirates. The swagger, the salty smarm, the romance of adventure. Since I was a girl, I have loved the sea and those who lived and died at her hands.

I always fancied myself a pirate's lady.

I know that real pirates were not so savory. With and average age in the late 20's despite the old gray haggards oft thought of (youth was probably a necessity in order to handle the great physical demands of a life of strong-armed debauchery on turbulent seas), they were an undesirable lot - devoid of morality, conscience and code, even amongst each other. Dirty, scurvy-ridden, lacking in habits of hygiene, burned to leather by wind, sun, and sea. Not a consideration for any man - driven by greed and lust. Loathesome, rotten-souled cads that would turn your stomach at their very disposition, let alone their very smell.

In reality, would I have been drawn to these men and this lifestyle? Hardly. Despite the fact that in an odd twist of irony, one of history's most famous women pirates by the name of Grace O'Malley, was a descendant of the family which once ruled Ireland's Clew Bay region :), I don't think I'd have been seduced into the path of piracy.

Regardless, I am afforded the option of turning to the pirates of literature and movies. Handsome, chiseled, sultry, seductive rogues who brandish swords and trail sashes. Adventure draped in mischief and scoundrel, but deep down anchored with loyalty to comrades and Robin Hood-like backwards justice. Smelling not of body odor, rotting teeth and illness - but of leather, musk and rum. All handsome, romantic underlaid ruffians who would sweep a girl literally off her feet while swinging from a mainsail line. Those were the men of my dreams since I was old enough to have a crush.

In my sensible woman's head, even with the romantic view of a life under the Jolly Roger, I would never opt to follow either my own whimsies nor pursue a man under spell of the sea.

But in my girl's heart - here there be pirates.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Audial Fire Baptism

Lyric of the Day:

Ride to a place beyond our time
Reach for the edges of your mind
And you are there
See that the light will find its way
Back to a place where it will stay
Make it stay

Queensryche - Take Hold of the Flame

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It's been a while since I've felt or thought anything I deemed worth writing on. I've been in a place of self-reacquaintance at the bottom of my emotions. I've been far and distant from my muses this strange month or so - But I am feeling the tug to come back to writing. My thoughts are jumbled tonight, but they are there - I'll try to sort them out and hope they find a way into an order of sense.

I will say that recently I became keenly stressed at how disconnected I am with myself. In the process of life I lost me somewhere. I'm finding my way back finally.

As I have said on here before, my whole life I have always been about music. I do not play any instruments. My singing is not the best. But music has had such a deep meaning and effect on me always. I'm a music junkie, I've never been able to get enough. My joy in good times and a salve for any heartache. I have always turned to music. But during these past few years of difficult times, music has become muffled. And after J died, my passion-for-tunes soul sister, even music lost its power to soothe me. While I still listened to a few select artists or cds - in all, my world became quiet.

I had not realized how I missed it until recently.

Taylor Hicks, that cat who won American Idol, brought music back to me. I fell in love with his soulful voice - comfortable as a flannel shirt with just a touch of road rash - and being that he'd followed the musician's path forever I went on a hunt to find any possible independent releases after his win. In the dozen or so tracks of two previous releases, once peddled tirelessly out of a bookbag and now available to fans online, I discovered gossamer gold.

Based on these early treasures, please listen when I say this guy is touched by the gods. Once he's able to make his own music in the league he's now entering, his star will not just rise but rocket.

Sparked by his performances, unwittingly I have been rediscovering, recraving, the music that I'd walked away from. I have been hungering for new artists, reuniting with old, and am learning and remembering all I can about all kinds of great works. Resubmersing myself in music has had an effect on me. I'm being reborn through these songs. Music has a way of fusing itself to specific times, places, memories - so it's often a strange mixed bag. It's been a baptism of fire. It's sometimes sharp and spiny. Sometimes painful, but a sweet pain. It feels right, that I burn this way. I'm burning impurities away, and getting down to who I am again underneath.

Being that I'm all about music right now, I'm going to be experimenting a bit here. I have been thinking of posting a lyric of the day and just running with whatever it means or however it strikes me at the time. I have no idea what will generate, but this is my inspiration right now.

Thanks to everyone who kept up on me, checked in with me, prayed and sent hugs. I'm so glad you're still here, and I'll be back around to yours soon. Hope you enjoy this new trial run of entries.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Still here ...

Hey everyone!

Yes, I'm still out here. I'm sorry I haven't been around, but I have kind of needed a break. I've been working through some issues a bit too personal for me to blog about, yet of a nature consuming enough that nothing much else is on my mind. So I'm just kind of quietly tidying things up in my head off line. Nothing's wrong, please don't worry. Hub's fine, Incrediboy's fine, MBDog's fine. Just some me-stuff.

I'll be back to my insufferable pontifications before you know it. Till then, thanks for not giving up on me. Much love ~