from my state – literally and figuratively – and other places. i'm not in florida any more, but i haven't given up the sunshine.

12.23.2005

listen here

i tend to rely on friends for discovering new music, so i was grateful for this little overview on npr of the best cds you didn’t hear this year.

what i notice most about the first two tracks played is they don’t fit neatly into any radio-played genres. it’s refreshing. otis taylor’s 'mama’s got a friend’ is particularly interesting both because of the subject – a teenage boy discovering that his mom is a lesbian – but also because of the mysteriously melancholy mood it evokes. imogen heap’s 'speak for yourself' is positively angelic. uplifting and like nothing i’ve heard.

update: okay. maybe it is like something i’ve heard. while listening to imogen heap’s album i thought – wow, sounds like frou frou (yes, i realize i’m probably the last one in the game here.) and indeed. upon going to the frou frou site – she is the voice.

the radio bit is a nice listen. there’s even more on the site. it’s a good eclectic mix particularly for those, like me, who are challenged in new music expertise.

all musical suggestions welcome.

hApPy HoLiDays! be back in a week or so.

12.22.2005

the gift that keeps giving


i just received this holiday gift from my boss.

12.21.2005

i scoff

many days i find i have nothing to write here.

nonetheless, as i scroll through my usual reads and find that others haven't updated their blogs ... i scoff and feel contempt. as though you've shirked your responsibility. like you’ve cheated me out of something.

12.20.2005

no… we didn’t measure

we finally bit the bullet this weekend and bought a new couch. while i love the sofa that once sat in front of our tv, the puppy loved it so much she chewed it to smithereens. it was covered in a lovely textured material that made the ideal pet hair magnet. and a visiting pooch loved it so much he urinated on it. needless to say, after a few good years of abject abuse it was time to say goodbye. (this being my first big girl purchase, i observed a moment of silence as she was placed by the dumpster)

i can be, at times, overly cautious about making big purchases – wanting to weigh the options and make the best decision possible. it’s a trait that caused us to lose – to a faster buyer - the perfect chocolate couch, on sale for a ridiculously small amount of money. my girlfriend, on the other hand, is more the type to seize opportunity as it is presented. both approaches have their merits and pitfalls.

so, this weekend we were determined to make the purchase. i was determined to try not to be too cautious. the result: after about 20 minutes we settled on a great sofa at a good price. delighted, we hurried home only to discover that the beast was way bigger than it looked in the huge showroom. we only got it through the door after calling a friend to help, removing the legs and sQuEeZiNg it through. once in it looked a little, well… out of place. too big for the tiny space.

the best part is that everyone’s response has been the same: didn’t you measure? clearly. obviously. no. we didn’t.

note to friends: these types of questions are not welcome after such a purchase. just go off in your respective little corners. laugh at our stupidity. then come back and tell us how nice the couch is. geez.

fortunately, a little rearranging solves the problem.

12.15.2005

self-mortified


as if karaoke isn’t self-deprecating enough (for most of us anyway), now there’s a new opportunity for anyone to gain 15 minutes of fame: a different kind of open mic called mortified.

“mortified stars everyday adults sharing aloud their most embarrassing, pathetic and private teenage diary entries, poems, love letters, lyrics and locker notes... in front of total strangers.”

the whole idea is perfectly brilliant. ever wondered why you still have that box of old diaries and notes – you know, the pages we folded into cute little pull-tab-to-open designs? now you can bare those shameful teenage expressions of love and anguish on stage or online. since this is currently only available in los angeles, san francisco, boston and nyc, please feel free to “share the shame” here. but please, let us know so we can enjoy your public humiliation – or community catharsis – moment with you.

playing to an empty house

yesterday i sat in u.s. senate gallery watching sen. clinton on the chamber floor passionately deliver an oratory (please excuse the crude paraphrasing) berating congress, namely the republican party, for a budget that continues to offer corporate tax breaks while stripping money from the working class. she lamented the fact that – while corporations that are more than capable of taking care of themselves are being rewarded again and again with measures that make it easier and cheaper to do business and make money – our government is reducing budgets for programs that aid those who can’t care for themselves, like children in foster care.

i was transfixed by her elegant, forceful style. she didn’t skip a beat. her hand gestures were on queue. she turned occasionally from side to side as though addressing every single one of her fellow senators. but every other senators’ desk was empty. on the floor there were are few pages, the president pro tempore, parliamentarian, a couple of secretaries and a stenographer. not another senator in sight, yet she spoke as though it was a full house.

well yes, this is par for the course. senators concentrate, as they must, primarily on committee work. so they often are not on the floor. and her speech was being broadcast, so other senators could watch from their own offices. still, i couldn’t help but be impressed, not only buy her message, but also by her playing so well to an invisible audience. here’s a resulting ap story.

12.13.2005

snap this

a couple of months ago i acquired a holga. this plastic toy camera is built so simply it doesn’t even have a battery (an attribute i found so bizarrely out of the ordinary i searched eVeRy SqUaRe iNcH of the gadget and its instruction manual several times looking for signs of a power source).

despite its simplicity, just ordering the holga was a little intimidating. there are entire internet communities devoted to toy cameras. instructions for modifying them in miscellaneous ways. and some fantastic photographers who use them to create magical images.

when i finally bit the bullet, shot a roll of medium format film and took it in to be processed my child-like anticipation was positively squashed. tromped on by a pompous camera store worker who declared my choice of film ignorant and my decision not to modify the monster a colossal mistake. rather than embracing an opportunity to learn from this owner of six holgas, i wanted to gouge his cocky little leering eyes out. amy likened the experience to going to a surf/skate shop as a teenager only to be ignored by the cooler-than-thou staff. i had similar experiences as a teenager at the local indy music store – the kind of place where music is chosen carefully for fear of being laughed right out of the store. certainly not where i bought my first tape: debbie gibson’s electric youth.

days later when i’d finally mustered up the confidence to pick up my developed photos, i slinked in, approached another salesperson and deftly avoided another tongue lashing from the a**hole holga hun. true, my first holga shots didn’t turn out masterpieces. but not because i’d used 100 rather than 400 speed film. the little beast has a manual film advance that makes it nearly impossible to discern whether one has advanced too far or not far enough.

sigh. i feel better now. any specialty shop horror stories you want to get off your chest? now’s your chance.

12.08.2005

seriously ...

i just walked by an admin at my office who was flossing her teeth At hEr DeSk which sits not in a cubicle or office, but out in the middle of a common area. shouldn’t there be some sort of law against that?

12.06.2005

don’t ring my bell

it’s that time of year again… those people are out with their little red buckets and their little gold bells and that *ding*ding* that beckons for your pocket change every time you enter and exit a store. one has to admit, it gets exhausting. (i wonder if the rings are still in their ears as they drift off to sleep at night.)

for some reason i felt good about buying a christmas tree from a local presbyterian church (particularly after a $70 tree was magically reduced to $40). but, i simply can’t bring myself to give to the salvation army (sa) . heavily involved in w’s push to fund faith-based organizations, sa became a poster child for discrimination based on sexual orientation when it revoked proposed domestic partnership benefits.

target has opted against allowing the bell ringers outside of their stores. as an alternative, the corporation allows customers to purchase sa ‘wishlist’ items online. sounds like a nice compromise. but for the second year in a row, christian organizations are organizing boycotts. “christian activists believe target made the move to appease the homosexual community. the retailer is a contributor to homosexual causes, and [sa] has traditionally opposed the "gay" agenda.”

while it’s difficult to consider every purchase a political statement, I would argue that our money is our most powerful endorsement tool. it speaks louder than letters to the editor and effectively sustains, kills or creates our society’s mores and expectations.

“salvation army leaders have insisted that, as a church, they have a right to let their traditional christian doctrines on sexuality and marriage shape some employees policies and benefits.” that is absolutely true (despite the fact they receive federal funds). and i have the right not to support them. why pass my money on to an organization who will use it to proselytize against homosexuals?

nonetheless, tis the season to give. not just wrapped presents to loved ones, but to those in need through organizations like amnesty international and oxfam.

12.01.2005

to have or not to have … a boy or a girl

for the first time in five years, the u.s. supreme court is tackling the abortion issue, specifically a new hampshire law requiring parental notification for a minor seeking an abortion. opponents of the law call it another step in “eroding access” and say it imposes “undue burden”. arguments for the law note an intention to give pregnant minors the benefit of parental guidance.

the fact of the matter is that cases like these are intended to chip away at roe v. wade. and, because anti-choice arguments are rooted in the belief that life begins at conception, an article on cnn.com exploring gender selection provides interesting juxtaposition:

for parents-to-be, the latest option for gender selection is pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). it goes like this: a woman’s eggs are fertilized via in vitro. each embryo is then examined, and a male or female embryo is then chosen. unwanted embryos are discarded. the procedure runs about $19k.

whether created through intercourse or in a lab, an embryo is an embryo. and choice is choice. while the anti-choice movement fights to eliminate a woman’s right to make a thoughtful decision based on her current place in life, financial status, ability/desire to care for a child, etc … a wealthy few are making calculated decisions about whether they’d rather raise a boy or a girl.