Friday, March 31, 2006

Curse of the Drinking Classes

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one. – Oscar Wilde

What do you do when you are stuck? When the walls are closing in on you and there seems to be no alternate route out? When your window is closed with Plexiglas and even though you can see happy people outside and warm, sunny weather, you can’t smell it because there is no way to break though the Plexiglas? Like a fly shut inside a locked window, you stare out and you drool.

Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden. – Orson Scott Card

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind. - Aristotle

Have I always been this way? Stuck and unable to open the window? Am I really like Angelina Jolie in that I have always longed to get through the window to some place else? Should I, like Angelina, get a tattoo of a window put on my back and then have it removed once I learn to, like Angie did, live outside of that window? And how does one learn how to live outside the window when one is not superhumanly beautiful, well-connected, talented and wealthy?

If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves. – Lane Kirkland

I have this vivid memory of being 15 years old and waiting for the school bus to arrive. I was living with my father in Bloomington, Indiana and we had a cool retro 70s house at the end of a quiet cul de sac. I hated (still do) getting up early so I was grumpy and feeling put upon. It annoyed me that I had to spend every day inside surrounded by gaggles of jocks, cheerleaders, metal heads and meatheads. I had this sneaking suspicion that I could do more with my time. (Eventually, this led me to drop out of high school a year later and go to college at age 16. I never got a high school degree and I never looked back.)

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. - Henry David Thoreau

There was a field near the bus stop and an older woman was walking her dogs in the tall grass. It was one of those perfect spring mornings where the thick golden light shone through the transparent stalks and reflected off the tiny budding flowers and the light layer of dew. It was almost too bright and too beautiful. The woman seemed relaxed and her dogs rushed through the field with their tongues hanging out, so happy to be alive and free and running. I was so jealous of this woman. It was obvious she was in no hurry. She had nowhere to go, nowhere to be and nothing burdening her in any way. She was just walking her dogs like she did every single morning.

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it. – Buddha

I have spent my entire life trying to achieve this aimless, dog walker status. My favorite jobs have been funny part time ones such as bartending, projecting, catering and film festivals. You work late nights at odd times and you get to sleep in late and have the entire morning to slowly open your eyes, get ready to face the day, read the paper, and nurse a large pot of tea. I am just not one of those up and at ‘em kind of type A people. I am one of those spacey vampire slugs who only come out at night.

Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. – Oscar Wilde

Work is the curse of the drinking classes. –Oscar Wilde

The American work week seems totally wrong to me. Working 40 hours from 9am to 5pm is like high school but worse: the monotony, the sameness of it, the fact that everyone else is doing it and clogging the stores and parks each weekend. Doesn’t it make sense that our cities, such as San Francisco, would operate more smoothly if people worked different hours of the day? Then the bridges wouldn’t be crammed full of commuters all trying to get to work at the exact same time each AM and there would be no mass exodus out of there every day at 5pm. When I was working in SF and commuting, I nearly killed myself, and those were temp jobs. How do people spend lifetimes doing this?

Most are engaged in business the greater part of their lives because the soul abhors a vacuum and they have not discovered any continuous employment for man’s nobler faculties. – Henry David Thoreau

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work. – Rita Mae Brown

So I left the city and came to a small town, and now I am still complaining. Complaining because I want to open my window and let this fresh spring air in. Complaining because it is 12pm and I wish I had just woken up as my brain is only just now starting to operate normally. Complaining because I always feel run down and sleep deprived and too, too sensitive. Complaining because I wish I was in a field of tall grass watching my dogs run off all their excess energy. Wishing I had no place to go, no phone calls to return and nothing on my plate to think about, worry about, feel responsible for or angst over. I can almost touch the tall, dew coated grass and feel the thick golden air bubbling around me like a soft cushion.

A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor. – Victor Hugo

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. Bertrand Russell

But maybe I am asking too much. Perhaps all of this is just the human condition. We work 40 hrs a week, wake up earlier than we’d like to and, if we are very lucky, we live long enough to retire and walk the dogs. And by then, we will be so beaten down, empty and tired that we will greet this free time with aimlessness and a tired nod of the head. Oh no, I am sounding so bitter! Where is my field of tall grass? I would like to run in it right now.

What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us. – Julia Cameron

And until I find that field, I am going down to the Waterfront to take a 1.5 hr lunch with the ladies and watch a kite explode on the power lines! Yeehaw!

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. - Henry David Thoreau

Friday, March 24, 2006

Bad Ass Karma

Karma is the idea that the good and evil a person does will return either in this life or in a later one. Among Pagans, the theory is that whatever negative or positive energies one sends out will come back to the sender in like kind.
Yesterday I fell down the stairs. I have done this before, but I always managed to catch myself by grabbing the banister and finding my footing again. Last night I was bringing my camera down the stairs when I slipped on a cat toy. I would have grabbed for the banister but I didn’t want to let go of my camera. For a moment I sort of hung in the air and my brain had time to go, "Oh shit." A moment later I was slow-mo slamming down all 12 stairs, my body went limp like a rag doll as it realized its helplessness to control the situation. Once I came to a stop at the bottom, before the pain began and before I felt able to move or cry, I wailed tragically, "I'll never be able to dance again!" And then came the flood of tears and self-pity.
Karma is usually translated as the law of cause and effect. That we suffer at present because of past harmful or spiteful actions. Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. When taking actions, it is best to look at what effect this will have on others, and why is it that we are taking these actions.
After having a minor freak out at the mirror looking at my growing lump/bruise/rug burned butt and some much needed medical care from Dr T, I started thinking about karma. When random bad things happen to you, is it a result of something evil you have done in this life - or perhaps even in a previous one? (Damn it, that sounds like a friggin' Carrie Bradshaw question again!)
Karma is the total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.

T tried to make me feel better by telling me awful stories about other people who had even worse random physical accidents. As the lump on my rear swelled and throbbed and burned bright red, I tried to feel thankful that I didn’t break my neck, crack my spine or pull out my hip. It could have been worse, a lot worse. But still, I can’t help but feel guilty. As though I am paying the price for something cruel I have done.

When a Chameleon shows up in a dream, it can be indication that you are learning how to adapt to your environment, perhaps even a new environment. Due to its ability to be unseen an unnoticed, there is a sense of clairvoyance, remote viewing and auric sensitivity. Being nearly invisible allows one to quietly watch, listen and learn, appearing to have greater knowledge than is actually possessed.
Last night I dreamt about two people from my past. When I woke up, I knew what I had to do. I knew where the wrong had gone wrong. I decided I needed to try and fix it and whether or not it worked, it was worth the try, right? But is it possible to get your karma back to normal? Who is keeping track of these accounts?
Worthless people blame their karma ”
- Burmese Proverb quotes
About 5 years ago, I had a run of bad luck. It all started when we got evicted from our fabulous house in North Berkeley. For 5 years we had enjoyed rent so cheap that I was able to be a freelance videographer and spend most of my time bumming around town indulging my inner deadbeat. I was walking home one afternoon with an armful of groceries, coffee and a bag of scones and lo' and behold, an eviction notice was nailed to our door. That day was the beginning of a downward spiral that lasted for years.
Karma is always followed by its fruit, Vipaka. Karma and Vipaka are oftentimes referred to as the law of causality, a cardinal concern in the Teaching of the Buddha.
The bastards gave us one month to find a new home and since the UCB students had just snatched up all the good apartments, we were pretty much screwed. All 7 of us scattered and my life went quickly downhill: my rent doubled, my room was reduced to 1/3 the size, and I lost my backyard and the view from my bedroom window of the Golden Gate, SF and the Bay. I had swapped my plush North Berkeley neighborhood with Oakland's litter covered streets and my new neighbors were a halfway house of ex-cons. My life changed overnight, and what had I done to deserve it?

I know, I know, there are so many worse things that can happen to a person. And I was lucky to have lived in that lovely house for 5 years, even if I lost it in the end. There is always a flip side. But in the moment that you are being screwed, or in that moment that your butt is hitting one stair after another, it is hard not to wonder, "What the hell did I do to deserve this??"
A principle in Theosophy, Buddhism and Hinduism that states that we are the cause of our present conditions. These conditions are governed by the Law of Action: for every action there is a reaction with our deeds, acts and attitudes creating our future and making one ultimately responsible for oneself.
Like the time I knocked my front tooth out on my bike when I was going up a hill and my chain fell off. I had grown my permanent tooth in one month earlier and in a random second I had smashed it to bits. This prompted 6 years of painful dental work, thousands of dollars we couldn’t afford, and an ugly smile for most of my life. And what did I do to prompt that bad luck? Can a 11 yr old have bad karma? And how am I gonna pay for the 10G of dental work these darn cursed teeth still require!? And will my butt ever look normal again? Or will it be bruised, red and lumpy for all time? And even more importantly, what in the hell is this song about?

Karma Chameleon
Culture Club

Desert loving in your eyes all the way
If I listen to your lies would you say
I’m a man without conviction
I’m a man who doesn’t know
How to sell a contradiction
You come and go
You come and go

Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon
You come and go
You come and go
Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
Red, gold and green
Red, gold and green

Didn’t hear your wicked words every day
And you used to be so sweet I heard you say
That my love was an addiction
When we cling our love is strong
When you go you’re gone forever
You string along
You string along

Every day is like a survival
You’re my lover not my rival
Every day is like a survival
You’re my lover not my rival

I’m a man without conviction
I’m a man who doesn’t know
How to sell a contradication
You come and go
You come and go

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lonely Street of Dreams

Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable. Charles Baudelaire

T got me Whitesnake’s greatest hits the other day (against his better judgment, I will add, but he kindly indulges my whacked 80s music fixation) and he added that “Here I Go Again” was my theme song. Not sure why, but that disturbed me a wee bit, probably because it is true, and also probably because Whitesnake are an awfully cheesy, big hair, metal band. And what does it say about me if Whitesnake sing the anthem of my life? Even if the music video has cool slow-mo, Tawny Kitaen and cartwheels on a car!! Still, me thinks this is not a good sign.

“Art is long, life short, judgment difficult, opportunity transient .”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

As I was driving down Main St to work this morning and looking out at Lake Champlain sparkling in the distance, I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of comfort, as though I may finally be at home in this small, sleepy town of Burlington, VT. I have spent so much of my life on the move, always changing, growing, reevaluating, in a state of frenetic activity. It all started when I was too young to make my own choices and my single Mom moved us from the country to the city and back to the country again, from apartment to apartment and place to place with great dexterity. I suppose a part of me got used to carrying boxes and making new friends. I can’t even imagine growing up in one house in one town with familiar people and places around me my entire life. Part of me has always wished that my childhood could have had deeper roots in one place but I know I would be an entirely different person today if that had been my childhood.
“Once in motion , a pattern tends to stay in motion .”
J. G. Gallimore

I left home when I was 15 yrs old and I have been moving ever since, and this was my choice. If we are raised in constant motion, do we grow up to expect the same thing? (Again, is it just me or do I sound like Carrie Bradshaw with these tacky ass questions?)

“There is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream, a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought --a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities! ” -Mark Twain

My 32 years read like a schizophrenic’s wet dream:

3 years, Cherry Valley, NY – 1 residence
4 years, Manhattan – 2 residences
8 years, Johnson, VT – 3 residences
1 year, Bloomington, IN – 1 residence
3.5 years, Great Barrington, MA (college) – 4 residences
.5 yrs, Norwich, England – 1 residence
6 years, Berkeley, CA – 3 residences
4 years, Oakland, CA – 2 residences
3 months, Salt Lake City, UT – 2 residences
3 years, Burlington, VT – 1 residence

10 Places Lived
20 houses/apartments/dorm rooms lived in
“Hell is the place of those who have denied;
They find there what they planted and what dug,
A Lake of Spaces, and a Wood of Nothing,
And wander there and drift , and never cease
Wailing for substance. ”

William Butler Yeats

And do you even want to hear about how MANY jobs I have had in these 32 years? Suffice to say, there were about 24 and most of those were each in a different discipline: food service, film festivals, art world, non-profits, dot coms, child care – you name it and I have probably done it at one time or another. I can barely keep my head screwed on some days!
Ambition has but one reward for all: A little power, a little transient fame; A grave to rest in, and a fading name! ” - Walter Savage Landor
What is it about the act of motion that is so addictive? Already I am feeling antsy, three years in the same place and watch out! “This is ALL wrong! How to get out of here, how to escape!?? Run away, fast as you can!” A part of me longs for the big city, bright lights and late night adventures. A part of me longs for the West Coast and its flavorful cities, diverse populations, spicy food and wistful stretches of ocean. My hands are itching. Something needs to give!

"I am going away with him to an unknown country where I shall have no past and no name, and where I shall be born again with a new face and an untried heart."
- Colette

But is this desire to escape, to venture out into new, freshly laid snow, also some attempt to run away from the present, from the daily life which perhaps frightens me with its regularity and constancy – is this desire for constant motion healthy? Or has it hurt me over the years? Always this push and pull between longing for the new, unchartered territory and also longing for home, roots and connections. How to you manage to achieve both – to keep the balance right?

“I know not how I may seem to others, but to myself I am but a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to content myself with ” - Plato

I love my past. I love my present. I'm not ashamed of what I've had, and I'm not sad because I have it no longer.
Colette, The Last of Cheri, 1926

Well, until someone creates a magic door that opens onto different towns and cities such as in Diana Wynne Jones’, “Howl’s Moving Castle” (also made into a movie by Hayao Miyazaki), I guess I am stuck trying to figure this out. And in the meantime, here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known. Like a drifter I was born to walk alone, and I’ve made up my mind, I ain’t wasting no more time, here I go again….
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home. ”

Australian Aboriginal Proverb

WHITESNAKE “Here I Go Again”

I don’t know where I’m going
But, I sure know where I’ve been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
An’ I’ve made up my mind,
I ain’t wasting no more time
But, here I go againHere I go again
Tho’ I keep searching for an answer,
I never seem to find what I’m looking for
Oh lord, I pray
You give me strength to carry on,
’cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams
An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a hobo* I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time
I’m just another heart in need of rescue,
Waiting on love’s sweet charity
An’ I’m gonna hold on
For the rest of my days,
’cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams
An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a hobo* I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time
But, here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go...An’ I’ve made up my mind,
I ain’t wasting no more time
An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a hobo I was born to walk alone
’cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams
An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a hobo I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time...But, here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go,Here I go again...*

in the 1987 version this word is changed to drifter.
Davids management thought that hobo could be confused with homo! :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Offasty Plant Commits Hari Kari!


This just in from the hotbed of The Offasty, also known as the Administrative Offices of a large non-profit arts organization in Burlington, Vermont. S Monroe has been gone only one day but her plant, a weak at the knees jade tree struggling with a complicated personality disorder (it wanted to be a palm tree and go on vacation with Ms Monroe to the Bahamas) has given up on life itself and leapt to its death from the towering height of Ms Monroe's handy corner office filing unit. The unfortunate suicide attempt was discovered when Ms Monroe's observant Office Mate, Ms Gabor, returned from yoga class to the strange sight of dirt ALL OVER Ms Monroe's desk. It looked as though a rabid squirrel had leapt onto the office filing unit, ripped the unfortunate jade plant out by its pitiful roots and spread its dirty innards all over the desk.

Ms Gabor was shocked and then horrified by the sight and she let out a frightful yelp! Tom and Tracey came running and an agreement was reached that, indeed, the jade plant had NOT been attacked by a rabid beast (although some have been known to wander these hallowed halls at times) but instead, had made a sad attempt at hari kari. The minutes that followed involved a hopeless resuscitation of the helpless roots and stem. Ms Gabor hurried the plants meager remains to the kitchen and did her very best to reroot the miserable left overs by packing them down hard. The sink was a mess of dirt and guts that will no doubt prompt an scolding email to ALL later in the day (the subject heading will most likely read: “Who Left Dirt in the Sink?!”. Patching it up as best she could, Ms Gabor relocated the plant to her office to keep an eye on any future suicide attempts. The jade plant sits there now, jittery and shaken but on a path to healing.

Next, Ms Gabor spent what felt like hours cleaning the miniscule bits of dirt away from the itty bitty crevices of Ms Monroe’s' desk surface area. So Ms Monroe, if you return to a slightly out of order desk, picture frames askew and desk calendars akimbo, do not blame it on the cleaners, it is the result of an unfortunate jade plant and its last ditch effort to end its miserable life without you here to keep it company. How could you leave it/us all alone to suffer here in your absence while you get a sun tan and drink from coconuts!?

In closing, Ms Gabor took a little trip around The Offasty and watered all her Office Mates plants in a last ditch effort to save other unfortunates before their unanswered cries for help become full blown hari kari attempts. She fears the jade plant’s actions may set off a string of sad attempts at plantacide, much like the unfortunate and mysterious beaching of the whales, and she will do everything in her meager power to prevent this sad, sad fate. After all, an Offasty without plants is much like an ocean without whales. No place for any sane person to spend their days.

More than anything, Ms Gabor is lonely and misses her fellow Offasty co-workers who are in warmer climes or snowboarding and have left this Offasty rather quiet, lackluster and dull. But thank goodness for the drama of the plant hari kari. Otherwise, this would have been quite an average Monday.

xoxo Eva Gabor xoxox

PS Ladies, I miss you!

"V" is for Very Brazil

Just saw “V” for Vendetta tonight and am curious what other people thought of it? Definitely has some interesting, Brazil-like ideas about the future and what madness is to come - but had that slick, perfect skin, perfectly lit, composed and shot, expertly set dressed feel to it (yes, I realize it is a comic book but COME ON!) and that made it harder for me to take the serious message, well, seriously. Plus, all the blood squirting made it a little silly (again, yes, I am aware it is a comic book!). Some parts had me in stitches like Evey getting tortured for weeks and reacting to this painful experience by whining, “You cut MY HAIR!!" Horrors.

Luckily, Evey/Natalie is drop dead gorgeous with or without hair (and perky nipples always help). But there were some thought provoking sentiments as well such as: “Ideas are bulletproof.” In general, it was an entertaining, beautiful, slightly thought provoking big budget thriller.

But I could have done without all the crap "love" scenes between Evey and V - although their "kiss" had me back to the giggles again. Probably my favorite moment in the movie was when there was a long, quiet, pregnant pause before Evey and V danced for the first/last time (ooh, feel the non-existent tension!) and someone in the theater let out a little, yet long, fart. The 8 or so people dispersed throughout the place giggled like crazy. It made the awkward, lack of chemistry 'tween Evey and V all the more funny. Oh dear Hugo Weaving, how did your sexy-self become such a wet blanket??

I find the reviews of this film interesting as well. You have David Denby in The New Yorker ripping it to shreds and taking a long, long time to do so (me thinks Mr Denby liked this film more than he admitted) and then you have cheese ball Kurt Loder patting it on the back and wishing there had been less politics to get in the way. In fact, they both seemed to be annoyed by the political overtones. Granted, perhaps they were a little sloppy in their presentation of some hot button issues BUT I would rather have the film address them and push them out into public discourse (especially if it is getting to a different segment of the population) than not go there at all.

When I think about the Ominous Future (as I do often I am afraid and have since I was a wee child being brought up to believe I would die in an A-bomb attack - THANKS MOM!), I tend to imagine a world such as the one put forth in Terry Gilliam's "Brazil." The Tuttle/Buttle mix up is the sort of thing I imagine happening in the future. You are sitting around minding your own business in your dilapidated apartment building (again, this grittier vision of the future works better for me than the slick, clean surfaces of V - YES! I know it is a comic book!!!!) and the special government forces come to take you away. No talk, no discussion, no reading of rights, just a black bag over your head and good-bye to your family forever. It is creepy and perhaps it IS the constant fear of intellectuals, artists, dissenters, queers, Jews and all disenfranchised Others that eventually, "someone" will "come for them." And we will have no rights and no options. We will just disappear. How real is this fear? Probably more real than we would all like to believe.

I also imagine a future such as is portrayed in Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" trilogy (can't wait for these goodies to be films!), the Mad Max trilogy, The Matrix trilogy, Blade Runner and A Clockwork Orange. One wonders what to do to take America and the world off these creepy tracks. It is all so big and so hard to stop. Again, I fear the Ominous Future as portrayed in Brazil - perhaps more than any of the others. A world where terrorism is an everyday occurrence and the dinner table next to you exploding does not interrupt your tranquil 5 star dining experience. Is this where we are heading? How to pull the emergency break? Is there a way to do it without sending explosions down a subway tunnel and blowing up Parliament/The Tube/The Twin Towers?

I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.
Anne Frank

We are doing a student matinee of "The Diary of Anne Frank" next month. I went to visit the house in Amsterdam that Anne and her family hid in back in 2001. I didn’t expect the house to affect me as much as it did. The floorboards held ancient spirits and the walls practically breathed memories, thoughts, claustrophobia, hopes and suffering. Anne's bedroom still had the remnants of faded film star's pictures she had glued up. To Anne, these photos must have been like a window to an outside world which she could not access, a glimmer of hope in the midst of all that darkness. We all know the quote where Anne talks about still seeing good in people despite all the suffering and evil she has endured. That is the beauty of hope. It allows you to keep your heart open even in the darkest days.

And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren't any other people living in the world.
- Anne Frank

And again, this was another place that I disconnected from Vendetta's Evey. When she is thrown in the cell she crumples into a little ball and remains that way stubbornly as she undergoes days/hours of solitude confinement. This struck me as false. Granted, the Franks had an entire attic in which to move around quietly at night but it was still a small space and, despite their restrictions and fear of being discovered, life continued in the attic. Anne had a crush on a boy, they argued over food rations and Anne dreamt of the outdoors and film stars. And life goes on, no matter what the hardship. Perhaps I am being naïve but I saw myself in that jail cell, enduring the worst-case scenario, solitary confinement and no hope of release. And I saw myself, yes, crying and crumpling, but then, getting up and doing some yoga, and probably talking to myself like a crazy person, and then singing every song I ever learnt, and then making up fantastic stories to entertain myself. Yes, I am sure insanity would set in eventually (perhaps it already has?), but that is the thing about humans, we keep on trying none-the-less. What else can we do?

I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.
Anne Frank

I think the filmmakers of Vendetta tried to give this hopeful message to us with the endearing note left by a former cell-dweller. That was a sad story I could get behind and it was moments like these that rung true and real…until the oh so pretty lesbian, model-montage began - but hey, I like nice visuals as much as the next guy.

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.

It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.

-Anne Frank, 1929-1945


Oh, and back to the Uglies, Ominous Future thread, this new song by Pink deserves a shout out and her video is definitely worth a gander!


Stupid Girls

Stupid girl, stupid girls, stupid girls
Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back
What a paparazzi girl, I don't want to be a stupid girl

Go to Fred Segal, you'll find them there
Laughing loud so all the little people stare
Looking for a daddy to pay for the champagne
(Drop a name)
What happened to the dreams of a girl president
She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees
Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
Oh where, oh where could they be?

Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back
What a paparazzi girl, I don't wanna be a stupid girl
Baby if I act like that, flipping my blonde hair back
Push up my bra like that, I don't wanna be a stupid girl

(Break it down now)
Disease's growing, it's epidemic
I'm scared that there ain't a cure
The world believes it and I'm going crazy
I cannot take any more
I'm so glad that I'll never fit in
That will never be me
Outcasts and girls with ambition
That's what I wanna see
Disasters all around
World despaired
Their only concern
Will they **** up my hair

Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back
What a paparazzi girl, I don't wanna be a stupid girl
Baby if I act like that, flipping my blonde hair back
Push up my bra like that, I don't wanna be a stupid girl

Oh my god you guys, I totally had more that 300 calories
That was so not sexy, no
Good one, can I borrow that?

(Do ya thing, do ya thing, do ya thing)
(I like this, like this, like this)
Pretty will you **** me girl, silly as a lucky girl
Pull my head and suck it girl, stupid girl!
Pretty would you **** me girl, silly as a lucky girl
Pull my head and suck it girl, stupid girl!

Baby if I act like that, flipping my blonde hair back
Push up my bra like that, stupid girl!

Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back
What a paparazzi girl, I don't wanna be a stupid girl
Baby if I act like that, flipping my blonde hair back
Push up my bra like that, I don't wanna be a stupid girl

Pretty BIG-n-Ugly Ruts

Today couldn’t have been better. Sleeping in past noon, copious amounts of bacon and hot tea, fresh snowfall to watch out the window, yoga and cuddles with T and reheated Chinese food for dinner. OH boy! And the best thing of all! A mention about a piece from the most recent Deadbeat Club on author Scott Westerfeld's blog! That just about made my weekend, week and month. For those of you who have not read the "Uglies" trilogy, it is time to head out to a bookstore this instant (preferably a smaller, non-chain one but whatever floats your boat) and pick these lovely books up. They are delicious and fun but also get your brain working in the most mysterious ways. You can also watch the video book reviews we did about the Uglies trilogy here:

DBC24, March 2006 - Prettification of America, Part 1

If you had the chance to be prettier and live in a special city with other pretty people, would you? Book review of Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" and "Pretties" series of teen books.

DBC24, March 2006 - Prettification of America, Part 2

Part 2 of the DBC book review of Westerfeld's "Pretties" and "Uglies." Frightening montage about America's obsession with becoming perfect. Perhaps being ugly is a revolutionary statement?

It is funny how your life can be totally in the toilet in many respects and then along comes a new curveball and everything seems new and fresh once again. When we are young (I feel like Carrie Bradshaw opening with this tacky line), we have so many exciting possibilities and our lives are full of hope for whatever tomorrow may bring. Why, then, as we age, do the possibilities seem to grow farther and fewer in between? Is this just part of the aging process? Our lives and minds grow narrower and we find mates and produce spawn and live in our little separate boxes repeating the daily grind day in and day out until one day we retire and start counting the days until the whole thing is all over? Uh oh, this is sounding bitter.

It all started Friday. As usual, the girls and I were having our Friday lunch out. And as the minutes and then the hours ticked by, I realized my life had managed to enter a gigantic rut. Granted, I am one of those people who likes to constantly be doing new things, meeting new people, exploring new ideas and hitting the road as often as possible. A desk job is hard for me to stomach, especially if there is no hope of change, activities or new ideas around some far off corner (you need to have something to look forward to). Perhaps I require too much change and renewal. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why I move so often and then complain about not having any roots or connections in a place. But what is a girl to do when there are no mysterious corners upon her horizon? When there is nothing new, strange or unusual to look forward to beyond that Tuesday night dance class she loves so well? Well, that is just no good.

This is what we discussed at lunch noon Friday. S was morose despite the fact that she was getting ready to go on a week vacation to warmer climates. She was in the midst of the pre-trip jitters which encompass you when you realize all the loose ends you need to tie up before you can escape properly. A and I were sad to think of life at the Offasty without S. So we made ourselves feel better by ordering three lunch specials (kick ASS frittatas with avocados) and, since they were out of Chai, some kick ASS St Pattie's Day green mocha thingamagiggies. Yum. Then we took some green cupcakes and green dusted sugar cookies back to the office where there were some other members of the Offasty who required a sugar refueling session.

And then, low and behold, like a whisper from someplace mysterious, I got an email with a super cool, but possibly top secret opportunity in my In box! Since it might not actually come to fruition, I will just say that it is a collaborative project with two artists I totally dig and respect and would love to work with. Additionally, it involves some things I hold dear: storytelling, VT tales, obsessive people and places off the beaten track and vlogging. And now I will shut up but first I will say one last thing. When you least expect it, there you are. When life seems to hold no hope or options and everything tastes like old dried, unbuttered toast, along comes something juicy and exciting that you are dying to sink your teeth into. Maybe this does not always happen but, more often than not, it does. It happened to me this weekend and it happened three months ago when I met a swell fellow. So fellow rut-dwellers, have hope! Chins up!

The second signs that the rut was shaking off were later in the evening when I went to Radio Bean to see Nest Material play (video coming later). They were doing a stripped down set sort of a la Velvet Underground (minus Nico). The night was dark and frigid, the streets were full of St Pattie's day revelers, the Bean was packed and the music was moody and perfect. I filmed them and got some cool light effects with the camera on slow exposure. The music couldn’t have been a better fit for the evening. Also, a girl in my dance class, Sarah Dawn, played her sexy cabaret style tunes earlier in the evening. It was fabulous to see her in this entirely different capacity (different from sweaty cabaret dance class that is). Ran into some people I knew at the show and had one of those strange dawning moments when you realize, "Oh, I am finally getting the hang of Burlington, VT. Cool!"

Then A and I headed to Metronome to see The Jazz Guys play (video also to follow) some kick ass pop tunes interspersed with hilarious melodramatic and confrontational chit chat from Mr. Herb van der Poll, the band's fearless leader. For instance, "You sir, in the green shirt, what's the last book you read? Don't you read? What are you, stupid or something?" and other such gems. That guy has no fear. A and I danced to our hearts content and I got to do some more filming and run into some other people. Man, I dig this whole small town thing! Much as I miss Northern California, it is nice to shrink down your place of reference and take some time to know all the little itty bitty parts of a place.

All in all, a fabulous weekend which involved much uploading to YouTube (you can see my videos if you search for "evadeadbeat"), too much surfing of the web, some late night TV watching, late nights, late mornings, minimal amounts of staring out the snowy window and general good rut escaping devices. Just remember, when you least expect it, there it is.

PS I didn't realize that ruts are so pervy! See the definitions below:

  • The breeding period, as in deer.
  • a period of sexual excitement of male deer and other animals, corresponding to the period of estrus in the female.
  • A period of concentrated mating; the mating season. Often used with reference to males.
  • is a general term that refers to the breeding period of mammals, especially the deer, elk and moose. During the rut, males exhibit specific behaviors to establish harems or to attract females to mate with.
Here are some other artists who have been stuck in ruts and lived to tell the tale:

Wow! Apparently, I have a syndrome, the Stuck In A Rut syndrome, otherwise known as SIARS - for real!

Let’s have a look at the Pro’s and Con’s of being stuck in a rut:

It’s comfortable
It doesn’t take much effort
You know what to expect
It’s easy to surround yourself with like-minded people
There’s less chance of making a mistake

It makes life boring and predictable
You feel that life is passing you by
It can leave you wondering where your life has gone
You could look back and wonder about the what-if's
It can be scary even thinking about breaking out

Friday, March 17, 2006

Pretties and Uglies

Beauty in the flesh will continue to rule the world. ~Florenz Ziegfeld

The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, "It's a girl." ~Shirley Chisholm
If you had the chance to be prettier and to live in a special city full of other pretty people, would you do it? There would be no more war, envy, menial labor, crime, poverty, hunger or drama. Your face, body, life and mind would be, quite simply, pretty - with a little bit of help from some surgeons. What do you think? Are you in or out? This is the question posed in Scott Westerfeld's teen books "Uglies" and "Pretties." Considering the current state of American pop culture, these questions are quite relevant. When did the superficial become so important? Perhaps it always has been? Biologically we are programmed to desire soft, unblemished skin, bright eyes, healthy limbs, white teeth and the right waist to hip percentage. MAYBE THIS IS ALL BEYOND OUR CONTROL?

The one thing I know for sure is that I have spent much of my life worrying about my body, face and exterior - and I don't even live in LA! Don't get me wrong 'cause I love fashion and clothes and playing dress-up. But there is something insidious and creepy about this cult of The Perfect Body that one can attain through many surgical procedures (thanks Dr Rey!). Where are we at as a culture these days that girls want to grow up to be Playboy bunnies, strippers and whores? Sure, I flipped through Playboys as a kid too, but I still had dreams of a future career that involved my mind and my imagination - not JUST my naked body. I suppose the naked female form has always been a comodity but, is that all there is??? Where do modern, slightly superficial and vaguely intelligent females stake out a claim - someplace in the middle between 70s, uptight, anti-sexuality feminism and 21st century, vapid-Paris-Hiltonesque, 2D Body Culture?

The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.

- Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky

"When you are depressed, you invariably believe that you are worthless. The worse the depression, the more you feel this way. You are not alone. A recent survey by Dr Aaron Beck revealed that over 80% of depressed patients expressed self-dislike. Furthermore, Dr Beck found that depressed patients see themselves as deficient in the very qualities they value most highly: intelligence, achievement, popularity, attractiveness, health and strength. He said a depressed self-image can be characterized by the four D's: You feel Defeated, Defective, Deserted, and Deprived."

- David D Burns, "Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy"

Even beauties can be unattractive. If you catch a beauty in the wrong light at the right time, forget it. I believe in low lights and trick mirrors. I believe in plastic surgery.

- Andy Warhol

Beauty, of whatever kind, invariably excites the human soul to tears.

- Edgar Allan Poe

DBC24, March, 2006 - The Prettification of America, Part 1
Is being pretty the end all goal of all humans? These teen novels ask some good questions about our current state of affairs and where we are headed in the not-so-distant future.

There is no such thing as beauty, especially in the human face. So many women that I'm told are beautiful...hell it's like looking at a soup bowl

- Charles Bukowski

In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty

- Christopher Morley

DBC14, May 2005 - Deadbeat Special Report

Join the deadbeat club gang for a frightening look into the Future. Investigate the disturbing trend of girls aspiring to be Playboy bunnies when they grow up. What does a future of plastic, big-boobed bunnies hold for us? Tune in to see the scary reality of 2055: Paris is President, drive-thru plastic surgery rules, CA falls into the ocean and Elephant Man Bones Barfing!

94 MB, 9:20 RT

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.

- Francis Bacon

Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaning it.

- Georges Bataille

The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.

- John Cage

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies, for example.

- John Ruskin

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror,

- Kahlil Gibran

Plain women know more about men than beautiful ones do. But beautiful women don't need to know about men. It's the men who have to know about beautiful women.

- Katharine Hepburn

Mute icons are the only kind of beauty we find acceptable today.

- - Mark Rothko

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.

- William Somerset Maugham

A woman who cannot be ugly is not beautiful. ~Karl Kraus

Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light. ~John Ruskin

Enough about beauty and time for some athletic achievement!

DBC24, March, 2006 - Ice Capades
Enjoy some winter Olympic ice skating and a jumping montage that will make you dizzy.