Monday, April 28, 2008

Poppy Revealed

No, I haven't done anything yet, except edit this picture, which I need feedback on... I'm supposed to submit it. But I'm wondering if I should just do a retake?

Anyway. Poppy's big shout out is that he has been awarded the 2008 Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, "

Last Spaghetti Post of the Day

I promise. Cuz I REALLY have shit to do.

But speaking of red BMWs... and I'm not a "Beamer" person at all, but this is HAWT!!!! I always used to say that when I grew up to be rich, I'd have a red sportscar. Then I got turned off the whole redcar thing, for reasons I outlined earlier. But this... this changes my mind. Maybe the aforementioned bitch was on to something... she was still nasty to work for though.

I should probably learn to drive, first. I still can't tell you which pedal is the gas pedal, and I used to have nightmares that I was in a situation where I HAD to drive because life depended on it. (I keep telling you I have issues!)

I think Inventorspot is gonna be a new obsession of mine for a minute.

More about the redbeamer on Autoblog.

TOTALLY Spaghetti-like...

...and then I really must start my day. So the ramune look-up caused me to find a blog on Japanese culture and inventions, which led me to this particular gem of a blogpost:

"Fixing Broken Hearts with Menstrual Blood".

Seriously, folks, you have to read it to believe it. And it's believable. And interesting. And medically brilliant but sheesh!

Catching Up - Pt 2 and Other Stuff

So after the ASCAP thing, Wednesday was a quiet day. I can't remember much of what happened... I know I was in a panic about my own presentation for our Big Idea. I had all this information I'd researched, and a pretty good idea about what I wanted to say but had no idea how to start. Way back in the day, I prepared sales presentations for VH-1, and the woman I worked for had the written skills of a 4th or 5th grader, I kid you not. Now that I have an almost 4th-grader of my own, I stand by my accusation. But anyway, I'd gained plenty of sales-presentation-writing experience, so I was familiar with the flow.

Just as an aside, and since I'm on the subject, I hated that bitch I worked for with a fiery passion. Granted, I have a problem with authority, but I've worked for some pretty cool people in my life. Usually, they sort of have an attitude themselves... or they are the type to sort of be Yin to my Yang, and we work great together. I still remember them fondly; Pat Brown, Phil Lee, Andrea Simon. But other people, like this bitch...

She was Polish, but with no accent. Polish was probably her first language, and I never knew (or cared to) if she was born there in Poland, though I would guess so. The first thing that got me going about her was that for this job, she had been transported from LA. VH-1 was fairly new, and MTV Networks was in the process of launching 'HA!' TV, which (when it began to fail early in the game) was bought by somebody (can't remember who though I tend to think HBO) and turned into Comedy Central (which MTV eventually bought back. Go figure). When HA! died, all of us who worked in that division were rolled over to VH-1. In any event... I wanted to like the bitch because she was little and "peppery", but she talked incessantly about "my red BMW" which she had put on a flatbed and shipped up to NY. That rubbed me the wrong way... the fact that she never referred to "my car", but always referred to "my red BMW".

The second thing that pissed me off about her came when she began hiring a nanny. I answered all her phone calls.... and all of a sudden I'd get phone calls from people who spoke NO English whatsoever. Not even Spanish. Polish. Because she needed a Polish Nanny. No other nanny would do. And I guess, as a mom I understand she wanted her kid to speak Polish, but she was unbelievably condescending about the whole thing. And when she couldn't get a Polish Nanny through ads in the paper, she began a succession of phone calls to various au pair agencies, to import a Polish Nanny. The conversations got under my skin. But she got the Polish Nanny.

But thing I hated most about her was that she couldn't write. Or spell. Her grammar was worse than my kid's. And as someone who had already been an assistant for a couple of years, I was used to deciphering bad handwriting, but this was ridiculous. Particularly since she made a shitload of money if she sold stuff. She'd hand me stacks of pages to type up for sales presentations, and even I, in my limited sales experience, even I knew that if I'd typed up word for word what she'd written, she'd never be able to close the deal. Because sometimes some of what she wrote was insulting to her audience. So I started correcting them... at least correcting the spelling. But then after a bit I couldn't stand it any more and started correcting the grammar. I always made sure to hand back what she gave me so she could compare it to what she got back.

But the bitch started complaining that I wasn't fast enough... didn't get enough done in a day. And back then, I wasn't the slacker I was now. I was always at work on time. For one thing, I had moved in with the Traffic Manager (my great love) and he had to be to work early, and I came in with him so I was always early. Now, the Traffic Manager was white... and we worked on the same floor though different departments, and we never hid our relationship or the fact that we lived together, but once we were actually living together we had no need to hang around each other's desks anymore and I think I was pretty efficient in my workday. But I think that as word got out, certain folk had a major problem with the whole thing... she in particular but also her boss who was this big dude from Texas. Complete with Texas twang.

So then I got "spoken to" once or twice by both her and/or her manager. I started logging everything I did, by time period. Obsession comes in handy... and I documented EVERYTHING. And I started making copies not only of what she gave me to type, but the finished product. Then I got a bad review and I was incensed. I went in to TexasTwang, and he confirmed she'd been complaining that I was slow. I said "you want to know why? You want to see what I have to work with? " and I walked back into his office with a stack of stuff. He looked at it all... thoroughly... and his only response was that he would send her to a business writing course. Which she never went to. They vaguely cleaned up my review, but she would still harass the shit out of me until a spot opened up at Nickelodeon, and I moved over. And got along just fine with my new boss thank you very much... except they didn't like him either and eventually they canned him. He was too much of a nice guy.

Years later, the bitch moved to Turner Networks to sell CNN. I was at another network by then, and I HATED it and knew that it was a nowhere gig. Back then I only cared about money... I had no kids. So I was willing to forgo my intense dislike of her and went to interview with her in her new office. She kept me waiting a little bit, and while I waited, I watched on CNN's monitors the beginning of the great OJ Chase. She called me in to her office, explaining that the reason she kept me waiting was that her au pair had suddenly been paralyzed down her right side and was freaking out, her young son was scared, and her husband was away on a business trip so he couldn't go home. But she couldn't go home you see... not because she was interviewing me, but because her boss was also out of town, and she was left in charge. It was after 5PM... and I remember being secretly appalled. Right then I decided that if she offered me the job I wouldn't take it.

I left her office and went home, where I sat and watched the OJ Chase:

(don't you just love YouTube???)

The Traffic Manager was away on business (later I found out that well, he wasn't really away on 'business' business, but was in fact visiting his future wife) and so I was alone. The next day I got a phone call that friends of a friend of ours--a young married couple--had just lost their son. The day I was interviewing, the day of the OJ Chase, this young couple's son was shaken to death by the nanny. The irony of the whole thing furthered my resolve, and I didn't even bother following up with the interview. She never contacted me either. I sometimes wonder what happened to her and whether she'll go to the Bad Place in the end.

Yeah, I hold a grudge.

well, that turned into something else, now didn't it! But it feels good.

But anyway... what I started out saying was that it's been YEARS since I've done a presentation and was a little freaked. So I harassed the FatLady and showed up at her door with my giant laptop on Wednesday evening so that she could sit beside me and literally feed me the first few lines. She's good at this sort of thing. And I am inordinately grateful. When I was younger and more narcissistic unaware of my Tendencies, it never occurred to me to ask for help. As I've gotten older I have less of a problem, and when I find someone I know can help me, like the FatLady, I put them on notice that they need to be there when I call. And it's just the best when they are... so a public shoutout to my peeps! Cuz I couldn't have done it without her.

I left her house about 9P (Sugar and Spice needed to go to bed--I have to say... they make me like little girls cuz usually little girls perplex me), and took a ridiculously expensive cab home because it meant getting home in a half hour vs two hours via MTA... and I stayed up to write the presentation. I was done at 5am. I had to laugh, cuz Nene called me at about 11P to rag on me about not starting earlier. He knows me, which amuses the hell out of me. But I got it done, slept for two hours, dressed and made it to the meeting on time. All my peeps came so "cleaned up" and the presentation went extraordinarily well. We have some "next steps" to follow and it's going to be a minute... but it's a HotOne so I can't divulge anything yet. But we were all pretty hopeful.

The best part to me was spending a good half the day with Nene. Yeah, that toothache is pounding away. But whatever.

That night, the Sun and I went to see Bowfire. I took him out to dinner first, for sushi. We ate $60 worth of the stuff at Planet Sushi (which included three RIDICULOUSLY priced Ramune sodas that I can buy online for about a third of the price... but I always forget that the restaurant charges so much for them), and then walked over to the theatre. (By the way, speaking of weird Japanese sodas, check out this post--"Top 10 Weird and Bizarre Japanese Soft Drinks." Made me laugh out loud.)

My little man smiled through the whole first half of the show, sitting at the edge of his seat. The second half he was tired and began to droop but he loved the show. And it's a fabulous show. It's a little unnerving for me, because I'm used to going to a concert and having musicians be musicians... but Bowfire is more theatrical and is produced and rehearsed, and so the order of the show and the costumes are exactly like what they are on the DVD. It throws me. But the musicianship is fabulous. They went through the whole show, though, without playing "Kashmir", so when the curtain went down I was joking to the Sun that the whole reason we came was to see Kashmir... and then the curtain went up and they had saved it for the encore. The Sun beamed and came alive.

We walked up Broadway a little--he had to go to the bathroom so we ducked into Starbucks where I got a free coffee, then we took a bus crosstown and then a cab up the east side (cuz it's cheaper). I spent a TON of money... I chuckled to myself how back in the day I could easily drop a hundred bucks or so on myself and not think a thing of it... and now, given the chance it was so much more worth it to drop a hundred bucks (that's going to cost me) on a night out with my Sun.

I came home and crashed--the Sun, who had been sent to the showers--came back to find me sleeping at my desk. He's still teasing me about it.

So there's more to catch up on but I think that's enough for now...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Catching Up - Pt. 1 - Opus plays ASCAP

So the kid was off, and it was a long and busy week. I halfway felt bad for him because he didn't really hang out much, but on the other hand he got to do some cool stuff.

Monday was a down day.

Tuesday, after I posted, we took the train into the City and arrived at Opus right at 3:30p. We then went by schoolbus to the Nokia Theater in Times Square, where about 12 students had been asked--on extremely short notice--to come play at this awards ceremony they were having for Quincy Jones; ASCAP gave him the Pied Piper award. If you click here, you can view 217 pictures of the ceremony, and our kids are not in one of them. Which pisses me off considering:
  • Patty Austin supposedly called Opus that previous Friday to request the kids, and Opus began making calls to the kids homes to oblige the request.
  • We get down there, about 4:30P, and the kids sat--quietly, mind you--in the darkened theatre for about 2 hours. They could have cared less to see Take 6 and James Moody rehearse, or Patty Austin sing, didn't have a clue who James Ingram was and cared even less about Roberta Flack. Onehalf and I, who got to go as chaperons, had a great time watching the rehearsal.
  • At about 6:30P they call the kids down for a sound check; violins untuned. Roberta was a tad annoyed but didn't complain. Patty Austin told the kids--in one pass--how they'd come on and go off the stage, and who they were following. This is about when--or shortly before-the kids found out all of this was so they could play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." At Opus, "Twinkle" is the "baby" song... what every kid learns first. So some of the kids who'd been around a while--all of them graduates from the Sun's school and now getting ready to go into High School--were a little annoyed. A 4th grader, prone to severe mouthing off, said loudly "this is SO NOT worth it!". The sound check lasted all of 2 minutes.
  • At about 7P, now back in their seats but this time behind a black curtain (so not only was it dark but they couldn't see the stage), a waitress comes around with a basket of rolls to "tide them over to the buffet". The 4th grader with the attitude problem takes two; the waitress tried to chide him and everybody ducked for cover... but I guess he was too tired to spew at her.
  • At 7:30, they tell the kids to line up for the buffet. The performers table was in the back of the theatre and there were no tables to sit at, so the kids all sat on the floor. They didn't care; I thought it tacky. Food was pretty good; my Sun ate seabass and pasta. Afterwards the older kids snuck into the party area and mingled; one of the parents went and took pictures of celebrities. I was pretty annoyed by this point and didn't feel like taking pictures of celebrities. There self-importance and lack of empathy for a bunch of little kids really really annoyed me. And to be fair, the "real" celebrities were a little clueless, but the hangers-on and wanna-bes and almost-somebodys, well... I didn't want their picture. The Sun and the kids his age sat on the floor a little while longer; the Sun played his DS.

  • The show started a little after 8P, no announcements; Savion Glover just came on and started to dance. And not for nothin', but the man can dance.

  • Some cast members from Stomp came on after that, and the band came on. About 20 minutes later, our kids got up and played the most beautifully sweet rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle" you ever heard. And then they got off the stage.
  • They stopped to take the official ASCAP picture, but I haven't seen any posted anywhere, so here's mine. And then they were put on the bus back to Opus. The professor met us there and so very kindly drove us home. The Sun Was on cloud nine... he loved getting up there in front of everyone in the dark.
But I'm annoyed... you'da thunk that after all their work and cooperation--the kids were like pros--their picture would be up with the rest of the perfomers from the show... in fact; another group of kids who were some type of chorus... THEY got their picture taken as they sang with Tevin Campbell (who looks very very old.. much older than his supposed age)

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Life Worth Nothing



The policemen who shot Sean Bell a total of 50 times in the early hours of the morning on what would have been his wedding day, have all been acquitted. Of all charges.

There was no jury. Reports coming out right now say that the judge told the prosecution that they didn't meet the burden of proof. And that he cited the criminal records of the witnesses, and that they weren't credible.

50 shots? 50 shots doesn't clearly indicate "reckless endangerment?" 50 shots.

They say Nicole, his common-law wife and the mother of his children, the woman he was going to marry just cried.

And I'm crying, too.

Sean Bell is gone, and nothing can bring him back and now nothing will give peace to his memory. But Nicole must go on and raise her children and live with this. For the rest of her life. Knowing that the man she loved... who stuck by her and worked and tried to be a good father and was going to marry her... in the eyes of the judge and the cops and now the rest of the world, his life was worth nothing. They thought he had a gun, no wait, they thought he was going to go get a gun... and for that he was shot at 50 times.

My tears are for Nicole. May the Higher Power give her the strength to carry on, because she must.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Almost Back

I hate when I can't write everyday cuz stuff falls in the cracks. I wanted to write about how I had to go downtown and fight for my unemployment last Friday, and how I don't think I'm going to get those two weeks back. And how I hate dealing with the fucking government. They don't do shit for poor people. And I wanted to write about the irony of leaving the government building in what used to be SoHo but is now some bastardized version of a haven for rich folk. And the irony of obviously well-to-do folks of European descent, casually strolling around Hudson street with Dolce & Gabana shopping bags, obviously well-to-do enough to not have a fucking full-time job. Like I keep saying... in order to be free enough to wander leisurely along the street during the daytime, you're either really rich or really poor. And judging by the trendily ripped jeans and the large sunglasses, these folk weren't poor. Rich people always have that "scrubbed pink" look.

See, I don't think I'm going to get those two weeks back because the govt rep pointed out that all their rules and regulations for missing appointments at the DOL are clearly laid out in their handbook they send you. The page that addressed my situation was buried on page 10. Never mind the fucking fact that I called them. Never mind the fact that hey, stupid me, I expected either someone to pick up the phone or return my call. It's not like they were fucking busy... cuz when I walked in the following week, the bitch-ass receptionist was reading the paper. And she told me to come back the next day, which I did. And never mind the fact that the hour I sat there with Nene amounted to a colossal waste of time and taxpayer's money (except I was with Nene) since I received no help or pointers whatsoever, but an hour long lecture on how bad the economy is (NO! REEEEALY??? Trump doesn't seem to think so...). But... everything is laid out on the web and in the handbook, so the DOL's ass is covered.

So I walked out of there crying in frustration, and directly across the street some developer is rehabbing some old building. The big sign on the front had a lump of coal transforming into a diamond. And across the street from that Trump is building another of his glass obelisks of doom.

I was feeling mightily militant, let me tell you.

Well, I finally got that out of my system. I've been fuming about that for days.

I finished the bulk of my monster brochure early this morning... after updating Quark, the Excel import thing worked much better, and since every line of text was in a separate cell, it was easier to apply stylesheets to the the text, and the grid came out pretty fucking cool, if I do say so m'self. Damn, I'm good. I like arranging information so it's easily read. It annoys the hell out of me that charts and graphs are confusing and boring. I once took a seminar I paid for out of my own pocket, conducted by Edward Tufte. The book he wrote, "Envisioning Information" is a little dry, and the follow-up book "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" is even drier, but his seminar was fabulous. If you're into that sort of thing (why, dunno... but hey I like it so you never know) I highly recommend going to one. Turns out he's got a few coming up.

Anyway.

The major design of the 5-panel, double sided brochure is done... and I like it. A lot. They better like it cuz I ain't changing it. Other than make a few corrections. So now, I can double-down and write a presentation for my own meeting on Thursday. But first, I have to chaperon my child who (along with other members of his junior violin ensemble) will be performing at this ASCAP dinner honoring Quincy Jones...

good thing TF didn't come up this week. It would have been hell negotiating a change like this.

But of course I harbor some guilt, still. My little man cried for his dad last night. I crawled up in his bunk bed with him and hugged him till he felt better, and I told him I was sorry it was so hard. That it was hard for all of us, because I know his dad misses him too.... but if it were easier to cooperate with him I'd have no qualms about involving him more. But I can't handle the stress. Not even for my Sun. But I told him I expect his dad to be here in May, and I've already cleared the decks so there should be no conflicts... and hopefully the man will just come and not pick something to be an ass about.

But you never know....

Haven't commented on the Obama-Billary thing, because the whole bashing thing really disgusts me. I have to say I think my man has held his own against the barrage without REALLY succumbing to her level, and I'm hoping he pulls PA out today. It would be nice to see Hope prevail.

But I'm betting on people clinging to guns and religion, m'self. Cuz humans tend to hold on to what we know...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Having a Wonderful Time, Wish You Were Here...

...not.

I'm in hell. Trying to finish the hospital project so I can turn my attention my own, far more interesting project.

Argh. And there's no really good, seamless well to import Excel data, in the form of a grid, into Quark. And I'm using Quark because I didn't have the time to set up the new project in InDesign. I updated my Quark 6.1 to 6.5, and it seems to be working a little better than when I did this last year, but it's still a royal ass pain.

Technical crap nobody but another designer would care about... but it just goes to show you, sometimes I do really work for a living.

If only I could get paid at it...

In any event, I look forward to writing about things I actually care about (like the fact the LittleBrotherSensei sorta dared me to work out with the ladies in the dojo on Saturday, and I did. In my jeans. Hey, I can still kick... but OH MY GOD do I hurt today.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In NYC, It's Poem In Your Pocket Day

In celebration of April being National Poetry Month, in the Big Apple today it has been designated Poem In Your Pocket Day. For the record, it's also Sexual Assault Awareness month, as well as National Autism Awareness month, and while these are extremely important issues and something worth writing about, today I'd like to think of something less serious. Just for the moment. In honor of the writers and poets in my family.

The Sun's school encourages kids to carry a poem in their pocket, and I usually miss it since I'm always distracted by other things. But yesterday, (of course right before his already late bedtime) he insisted on having me copy a poem for him. The one he picked was only going to make sense within the context of the book he's reading (Firestar by Chris D'lacey), but he said he wanted a poem about dragons.

So we googlesearched, and found this one by Ogden Nash:

The Tale of Custard the Dragon
By Ogden Nash
Copyright Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt
Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Week!, which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried, Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pyrate.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

I learned about Ogden Nash a few years ago, ironically enough on a Big Apple bus. The MTA prints poems and puts them up in the buses and trains, and one day riding a bus I spotted this one, which is one of my all time favorites:

Old Men
by Ogden Nash
People expect old men to die,
They do not really mourn old men.
Old men are different. People look
At them with eyes that wonder when...
People watch with unshocked eyes;
But the old men know when an old man dies.

Reprinted without permission so hopefully nobody objects...

Some links to the man:
And because it's Natural Poetry Month, I owe it to Bigbear, truly one of the world's great undiscovered poets, to publish one of hers. I have several favorites of hers... so it's hard to choose. But I think I'll pick one cuz it describes my mom perfectly:

I am the anti Oprah
© Aiki 2002

I am the anti Oprah
She's rich I'm poor
She has homes, a penthouse
A farm in Indiana
I have two rooms and a hallway
In Harlem

She has two cocker spaniels
I have two granddaughters
She has starred in the movies
I have starred as Nana in
The kitchen

She has a cook and staff
I cook and sometimes clean
She has a personal trainer
I have a husband

I am the anti Oprah

Oprah rides to premiers in stretch limos
I ride to the movies on the 5 train
She has makeup artists
I have the makeup counter
Where the gay guys will
Tell you if you look
Like Bozo the clown

She wears designer clothes
I wear designer knockoffs
Way offs

She has a hair stylist
I have hair that styles itself

I am the anti Oprah

I am the anti Oprah

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

'Tis Spring...

and a Cougar's thoughts turn to flights of fancy:

Spring has sprung!
The Sap has riz!
Tell me where de mens dem iz...

except I've decided on a policy of No Love for the time being. Life is much simpler this way. And you get more when you're not giving any up.

Also the problem is still The Toothache. It just doesn't go away. And I haven't spoken about the situation merely because there's nothing to tell... conversations are rare but flirtations are high.

I was inordinately flattered and amused though, to detect a slight jealousy when I announced plans to marry my FutureHusband. "He's already married" was the retort. "He'll get unmarried!" I said. Then I found out that in fact, my FutureHusband is listed as "single" and so I made sure to announce that my plans were still intact. There was a slight slitting of the eye which just made an old girl's heart laugh and laugh... although I know full well it has more to do with the concept of "Property" than it has to do with any deep emotion. (Seeing as how I was told several times there was no deep emotion.) "He's not gonna get married" was the reply. "Watch me!" I said. "Besides, you should be happy. You have plenty of people to flirt with, and I can leave you alone!"

Ha ha.

But still. A dream is a dream and will remain so... and "Pretty boys" are just too much work so in reality I'm not looking to marry any pretty boys. I'm lazy.

And so my focus turns to making some money. I need to get out of this hole. Spring is springing and the old Bearmaiden emerges from her den... a little sleepy and grouchy, blinking against the bright spring days, off to forage and hunt wander the fields alone. It's all good.

I'm going to take down the column "Things That are Better Than Sex" in a day or so, because in fact, nothing is better than Good Sex (though there are PLENTY of things better than lousy sex) and once you got "good" (um, slight understatement) it's truly not worth it to dabble in "Lousy" or "Hopes of Good." Besides, that column only serves to taunt me. I haven't quite decided what to replace it with yet, though.

So back to work...

...at least for today.

Or unless I turn up anything interesting as I cyberstalk my Future Husband...

Da Baby Shower

Back in the day, when I was pregnant, baby showers were still pretty much a Ladies Affair. Twern't that long ago, neither... the Sun is only 9. I objected to the stupid paper hat decorated with all the bows and ribbons from the presents, but they made me wear the thing, and I did...since my friends had all showed up bearing gifts. I figured I owed them some entertainment.

My dad came, cuz he's Poppy (and he was sick too, had just come out of the hospital pretty much so we were glad he was there), and TF was there walking around. I think. He may have left. Funny, I have to ask the Professor.

One of my friends showed up with her boyfriend (who I instantly didn't like and he ended up dumping her shortly thereafter) and I was awfully glad she came... but I was royally annoyed he was there. It was a Ladies Affair you see. We had light food, and silly games and it was over by about 6 or 7P, and I went home with cool stuff.

When the Diva got pregnant, we got wind that her PITA was trying to plan a shower. We forcibly wrested it away from him since we knew he was trying to plan what the Professor and I haughtily referred to as a Ghetto Baby Shower. He got royally pissed off. But we didn't care; and the Diva had a lovely brunch shower at The Black Whale, complete with breakfast food cuz we knew the Diva liked breakfast the most. We couldn't afford much, but I thought it was pretty classy considering, and she was surprised and got cool stuff. I hope she liked it... I wonder sometimes if we should have just let her have the shower her PITA wanted her to have... but I dunno.

Because apparently, baby showers these days have morphed into something else entirely.

Saturday we went to Mima's daughter's babyshower. Miss Divine is as much--if not more--of a Diva as our Diva is. The invitation said 6P. We got there at about 6:30-close to 7P, and no one was there yet, so we went upstairs to hang out with Mima. It was all women (the Sun was very happy to stay with the Moon and Shoefly), and we had a great time catching up (my ex-Lawyer, who is Mima's friend, came) and being giddy. Miss Divine was out getting her toes done.

About 7:30P we go downstairs... still no one had really shown up, but the DJ was already there, playing tunes. Then the appetizers came out, along with the beer, the mixed drinks and the mixeduppunch thing that tasted like watermelon. I stuck to Corona. Around this time Miss Divine made her entry.

Then the food came out; buffalo wings, fried chicken wingettes (really good), Macaroni and cheese (tasted homemade), pernil (which always looks good but I don't eat), mixed vegetables, lasagna, meatballs.

There were rumors of an altercation outside, but inside the Bloods sat along one wall and pretty much behaved themselves.

The DJ played pretty good music, and I was truly surprised that no one really got up to dance when he played some bachata. I guess it wasn't that kind of a party.

About 10P, the hostess gathered everyone to the front, and Miss Divine had to endure opening the TONS of presents, with the hostess announcing everything over the mic so the people in the back of the room could hear. This took about an hour... and they were rushing.

The Bloods sat politely through the whole thing.

Shoefly called about this time; it was 11P and she was fading. She wanted to know when I was coming to get my child.

They gave out cake. And then the hostesses started to pack up, and several guests (though really none of the men. Or the Bloods. I guess they're too cool for clean-up) chipped in to throw away tablecloths and stack folding chairs and collect garbage. Although the father of the mom-to-be did pick up chairs.

We left about 11:30. I could see that Miss Divine was really tired by this point, but she was a true guest of honor and hung in there. Plus she only had to travel upstairs to go to bed. But she was going home with really cool stuff.

The Bloods were still walking around with beer, but we really had to get home.

Monday, April 14, 2008

%#@%^%*!!!!!!!

I had such a crazy day, being slammed by shit left and right, that my head is literally spinning. The weekend was good, I have posts I need to write about the BabyShower (o my), and then the tournament but I have to finish Poppy's taxes and stuff.

I can't deal. TF is laying on the whining bitch act with the lawyers, and of course, I have to be the big person but I just can't. So I don't know what's going to happen. I realize this sentence probably doesn't make any sense, but I really can't go into it now. It's the third post I have to write.

But I tell you what. Y'all laugh at my obsessions... and for about the last week, since my night out at Fighthouse, my obsession has been Taimak, right? And guess who I got to see again at the tournament in NJ (where the Sun got second place for forms, and second place for sparring. And this time there were a bunch of kids... and he earned his sparring trophy cuz he ACTUALLY WON A MATCH! I told him before he went up, "get that glow!") but none other? I took the Sun up to meet him since the Sun now knows who he is... and I took a picture. So below, is my Sun and my future husband. Who according to MySpace, is single:and check out the second video on his profile. Be patient! And watch the whole thing....

Ha ha!

I Love a Good Quiz






What vampire clan do you belong to?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Tremere

You belong to the Tremere bloodline, the sorcerors of the vampire underworld. The Tremere command a terrible power over the blood of others. Many Tremere could pop a human being like a pimple with a wave of their hand. For this reason, many other vampires are wary around these cold, remorseless kin. All their time spent studying, however, has left them severely lacking in the physical department


Tremere


88%

Brujah


83%

Toreador


71%

Malkavian


67%

Ventrue


63%

Gangrel


58%

Nosferatu


29%


Saturday, April 12, 2008

One Hour To National OBAMA RALLY!

Go out if you can:
Read the press release here.

Randomness

Just to keep myself in writing mode...

We're trying to plan a 25th anniversary for our very important little school. We got the room donated to us for free... but the catch is that we must use the places caterer. Which is price-gougingly expensive. Which meant we'd have to charge. The top estimate for a ticket... including a little bit of profit to be put back into the school's Parent Association Bank Account, was $100. Parents squirmed.... me too and I'm broke but I'd pay.... principal had a stroke. I wasn't at the school when the thing blew up, but I came to pick up the Sun on Thursday and was approached by 3 people who told me the Principal was having a HotFlash, but that they all knew I'd handle her. That's me, the Chihuahua. I had to laugh. Why me? I actually hate confrontation. But I'm not afraid of the Principal because I think I understand her... and I genuinely adore her. She's a human being, flawed, with "isms" and mildly racist in the way that Obama's mother was mildly racist (I realized that her failure was that she tried to teach Obama what it meant to be a "Black American"... but what she SHOULD have taught him was how to be the son of a Kenyan. And that's why he struggled so with his identity. And why he spent so much time writing about his trip to his father's land. He's not a "Black American." He's half-Kenyan, the way the Sun is half-Albanian. There's a HUGE difference in that). Anyway.

Friday morning at the Parents Association meeting I took her on, and I knew I made my point when she walked away. Later one OneHalf and I saw her and she acted like nothing happened. Which only means that we have a little space. She's probably still mad at us, and is probably still spewing, but she'll leave us alone for a minute and that's all anyone can ask for.

=-=-=-=-=-=-

Complete Transcript of a Text Message Conversation:

TF: I'm going 2 fly in on the 21st and stay till the afternoon of the 24th. Make arrangements
Me: No
TF: No -what ?
Me: no i'm not changing plans on the 23 and 24th
TF: You r not changing anything i will take The Sun to Violin Wednesday and i will return him Thursday 4 Bowfire
TF: Do we have a understanding ?
Me: no we do not.
TF: What's the problem ?
Me: I have plans onthe 23 & 24th.
TF: What's wrong with what i wrote ?
Me: We have plans on the 23 and 24th. & possibly Fri sat. We do not have plans the previous weekend, or Mon Tue.
TF: Do you have a job ?
TF: Do you have a job ?
Me: I'm not required to answer that.
TF: So that means No. Get one and u will c how the world works
Me: you are now crossing the line into an inappropraite conversation, & I will no longer respond directly to you. Talk 2 my lawyer.
TF: Inappropriate ? Grow up ! Do you have a job ? because i have to plan my time. And reply to my email !


I forwarded the above to Lawyer and have not answered him since. Later on he spoke to the Sun and told him he would bring up in court the money I owe the Sun (about $100, but you know how kids are... the amount has "grown" in his head to $300) for his allowance. I told the Sun tread carefully right now... your father is mad at me. Not that I like to disturb you but I don't want you to get caught in the middle of a fight. I feel awful telling him that; I do. I asked him if he was OK with me telling him stuff. Would he rather know than not (although in some circumstances he really HAS to); he said he'd rather know. He said his father said he was coming up in two weeks. I told him well... there are some issues with that (told him about the issue with the concerts) so I wasn't sure. But you never know.

I know one thing; I'm not sitting around with my heart in my throat on Thursday... all during my potentially big meeting at that... and wondering if TF will bring the Sun home in enough time to rest and change before this concert at 8P in the city. Cuz I doubt it. He's vindictive like that.

Seriously. I hate That Fucker. I do. It's getting harder and harder to restrain myself. And that "NO"? That's the start of a war. See how simple little words can be a big deal?

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Poppy got a big "shout out" in the literary world. We're really proud. Supposedly in a few days it will be made public, so I'm not saying anything until then.

Poppy's response was "Wow....... ....and I'm not even dead yet!" I had to laugh. Later on he told me that now lets just hope he lives long enough to get it. I told him please, don't even jinx it like that.

Pretty kewl...

Well, off to the whirlwind that is my weekend. The house looks like who-did-it-and-ran and it won't even get cleaned up till God-knows-when: Today: dojo/babyshower. Tomorrow: Tournament. Monday: I've got to do Poppy's taxes so that they can be checked before Tuesday. And after that I've a bunch of shit to do... some for profit but of course a lot of it not-for-profit. I have to stop being so fucking generous.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Killing Fields

The movie came out in 1984, the year I graduated high school. Somehow, through the very narcissistic haze of my senior year, running for and being elected Treasurer of the Student Council, yearbooks, proms, being 19 and cute (was a year behind myself because once in America and starting school, they had no idea where to put me, so they stuck me in 7th grade when I should have been in 8th... maybe even 9th), the impact of this movie filtered through to me. Which is funny; cuz I don't think I ever even saw the whole movie... but I remember that it won awards and I remember the stories about Dith Pran, and about the man who portrayed him in the film, Dr. Haing S. Ngor.

As a kid in Jamaica, I was pretty much sheltered from the day-to-day images of the Vietnam War; our TV was extremely limited, and Jamaica was much more concerned with its own survival. But every so often when an American would come to visit, talk would turn to the war, and I have a vague memory of when it ended. I remember hearing the stories of the collapse of Ho Chi Min City.

In my my mind, the movie was associated with Vietnam, but I couldn't tell you why, or how. But it was the first times that the horrors and suffering of war made an impact on me, even though it all seemed so very far away from me and my little world.

In that same hazy way, I was aware of the passing of Dith Pran, the journalist whose story became the basis for the movie. This morning, looking for something else entirely, I found this video:



I constantly wonder what drives humans to do this to each other. What causes genocide? How do regimes or people or politicians justify this to themselves? Dith Pran says that one time is too many... but it happens all the time. The Native Americans. The Africans. Rwanda. Kosova. Bosnia. Germany. Cambodia. And it's still happening. Will happen again.

Humans talk a good game... but nothing ever changes. Why is that?

This even makes me start a new tag... things that make me incredibly sad.

Through the fog that is my every day, and the every day problems I'm facing right now, I've been aware of the protests surrounding the Olympic Torch. Half of me wonders whether this type of thing is really appropriate... taking an event that is based on good sportsmanship and brotherhood, and turning it into something else entirely. Whether it's right to boycott the Olympics in China, to protest their treatment of Tibet. I'd be annoyed if I got to a karate tournament, and the the Sun couldn't compete because protesters were causing disruption. People train their whole lives to make it to the Olympics, and wouldn't it be cool if humans could all be in one place, and earn each other's respect on a level playing field? Just once? Would it cause an understanding, a brotherhood?

But on the other hand.... the fact that I've become more aware of what's happening in Tibet speaks volumes. And so I sort of appreciate the fact that I've been made aware.

I dunno. Things like this can set me to ruminatin' for days....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

...And Some Things Won't Change...

About two weeks ago I got a text from TF asking what the plans were for this spring break. This particular school break hadn't been included in the proposed agreement, in part because it's hard to specify when it will happen. TF gets the school newsletter (which he didn't seem to be reading at first, but lately he seems to have discovered it's chock full of important info so now he reads it) so he knew the break was coming.

I didn't answer the text right away. I figured he was mainly trying to show that he knew the break was coming, and I figure he can't come to everything, so I wanted to pull a bunch of dates of things I knew were coming up in The Sun's life, so he could decide what he wanted to be here for.

But time gets away from me, and few days later... maybe even a week but I don't think it was that long... I got the same text again "what are The Sun's plans for spring break?" Only this time he added "(2nd text)". I wrote him back that I wasn't ignoring him, and told him I would try to send him out an email that night (it was Saturday) outlining everything that was coming up.

I sent the following email that night (Saturday):

"April:
The week of April 21st
Mon-Tue 4/21-22 - no plans
Wed 4/23 - the Sun is performing with members of his Junior Violin Ensemble at the home of some Benefactor. Parents are not invited; I drop the Sun off at violin at 5p and he won't be picked up until 8P.
Thur 4/24 - the Sun and I have tickets to see "Bowfire" at the Beacon Theatre.
Fri-Sat we are discussing a trip to Philly to visit our cousins.

May
We have a court date on Friday May 23. While I like to keep the Sun home on Friday nights, I promised you extra time in exchange for me picking him that Sunday night in January when our Passover was ending. So if you'd like to pick the Sun up Friday evening and keep him Sat/Sun, I'm OK with that. I'd like to bring him home first though, because he has his last day of swimming that day in school and will have a lot of stuff to carry. We could meet in Pelham Bay at 6P. Monday the 26th is Memorial Day, and as per our agreement, if you come in on a weekend where there is a holiday that Monday, you are entitled to keep him until Monday. I don't know what my own plans will be that weekend, but I'd like to pick him up at 6P Monday in Pelham Bay, since he does have school on Tuesday, assuming you can take the time.

June
June X is the yearly all-schools violin concert. It's a very long day for him, and he does have school the next day but if you wanted to come in for the concert and he spent the night with you, I wouldn't be opposed to him missing school[the next day]. He'll be really tired.

Also in June, the Sun goes up for his green belt promotion in Karate. This is kind of a big deal... green is getting into rank. And supposedly there will be lots of Martial Arts masters at this particular promotion. However, I have no idea of the exact date; it hasn't been set yet. The promotions tend to fall around the first or second weeks of the month. It would be great if it were the same weekend as the concert... as soon as I know the date I'll let you know, but they don't often tell us the date until close to the event.

Also, we should start to decide when in July / August you'd like to take him to California. I know your are entitled for two weeks. I have to tell you though, that when I told the Sun he was a little hesitant about two weeks away (though not hesitant about two weeks with YOU... just two weeks away from home). So I was wondering if you'd be willing to spend a week in Cali with him, and the next week in NY, or in reverse. Whichever you decide, I mainly need to know when you think you might want your summer weeks so that when we make our summer plans they won't interfere.

I'm attaching another picture from the tournament he was in last. And this week I will mail off his official school picture to you."

Today I got back the following email:

"First of all i told you ( about 200 times )you may pick-up and drop off the Sun at where i am staying. i will not MEET you anywhere. It brings another smile to my face to see you have made plans,whenever i plan on coming in. i was to have the Sun during Winter recess but he tells me he wants to stay in and sleep instead of seeing me but that had nothing to do with you.
second, you like to keep the Sun home on Friday nights is a straightout lie. In the last 2 years whenever i have called the Sun on Friday it was either he was at your sister's house or he didn't answer the phone (most of the time ). That's your exchange for me to have the Sun on the night i am SUPPOST to have him. please.
In May i am staying till Tuesday the 27th and i am spending that time with the Sun. You like saying 'per agreement' but NOTHING is agreeed upon yet.
I would like to know 2 things from you 1) are you working ? and is it full-time, meaning 5 days,40 hours aweek. 2) are you involved with anyone that is in the Sun's life?"

I haven't answered it yet. In fact, all I did was forward it to lawyer, and asked her to help me respond. In a few days, if I don't hear from her I'll be calm enough to send back a well-planned answer, but tonight...

aaaaaaahhhhh. I'm so tempted to just "go off" but what would be the point?

He told the Sun tonight that he twisted his knee, and cant' really move around, and he doesn't know for how long he'll be laid up. That would explain the testiness of the tone, I guess.

...some things are never going to change...

Happy Blogging Birthday to Me!

In a weird mood I am, having a major "spaghetti" moment with tons and tons and tons of things swimming around.

Some it frustrating... I frequently wonder why I get these crazy ideas, and how useful they are.

It's why I started this blog, after years and years and years of these crazy-ass ideas making me crazy, running around in my head. Screaming lambs, jumbly, whispery voices.

In a year, writing constantly pretty much, the Voices have gotten considerably quieter. I think they've learned they do have places to go, they can run and shout into the Virtual Universe and they will be heard, and so when they're locked up in my head they've learned to use their "inside voice". That makes a huge difference, it really does. There isn't as much shouting behind my eyes.

A lot has happened in a year. I got fired laid off, but I also learned I got real skillz I can actually get paid for. They were real-world tested, and held up. That went a long way to boosting my confidence. For a long time I wanted to be a graphic designer, and even called myself that, but really, I was terrible. I would be SO frustrated... could see entire layouts in my head and no idea how to get them out onto paper. I look back at some of the very early things I did and am embarrassed. When I got into Pratt, I learned how to get those things I saw in my head onto paper, learned the skills necessary to do so, but I could only compare myself to other students, most of them 10-20 years younger than myself, and who would be able go to out and work for peanuts while they continued learning, or do internships, or lollygag and drink beer. I couldn't do that; couldn't afford to. I had to hit the ground running, and I did. My first graphic design job EVER, got me $50k a year. Not bad for someone who had never held the title "designer", and with a two-year degree. I know I'm worth more than that... and freelance, I may be able to get it if I can produce and hustle. But at least it was proven to me this year that it wasn't lack of talent or lack of skillz... cuz I got that. In spades.

I got closer to my real-life friends, and made a couple more online friends. I went on vacation, just me and the Kid (with Shoefly and the Moon... but the first time I and mine have gone AWAY away without the entire clan). I got SLIGHTLY more organized. I finally got my red couch. Mr. Kip passed away. The Professor had to move, the Diva bugged out, MoodMagicBarbie calmed down. I got custody of my own kid. I stood up to TF. And I fell in love. This last thing, well it didn't exactly work out the way I'd hoped, and it didn't turn out the way I'd liked, but considering I had had every intention of keeping those metal gates tightly shut, that was a pretty big deal. Of course now, it's in the "toothache" stage... where just when you think it's all healed you bite down on something and get that shooting nerve pain, which aches for hours afterwards. But whatever. I'll be OK.

I've also had the opportunity to do a lot of soul-searching. My own words serve as reflection of myself... I do go back and look at what I've written. I can see where I'm crazy. I can see my ups and downs. But I can see I've grown a little this year. I don't think my "downs" this spring were as bad as my "downs" last spring. Well, maybe. There was that week I wanted to stay in bed. But still, I think I've come a long way in owning up to the things that make me me.

As part of the soul-digging thing, lately I've been trying to figure out exactly what I'm meant for. I found the creative part of me; and this year I finally admitted that I'm an artist and not really a designer. A designer can be approached by someone with an idea, and reproduce it cleanly and neatly with some emotion, but not a lot. Me? Can't do that... I do my best work either when it's my own, or when I truly believe in the cause. And I hyperventilate when I'm forced to "just do it, because that's what I want. I don't care about the art part." Because I don't understand why everything can't be beautiful. It doesn't take money for that. It just takes an ability to be open, to see. There is beauty everywhere you look... even though sometimes you really have to look hard. But I am driven to find it, to show it. I get mad when others can't see. Bewildered.

But I'm an artist that likes very expensive things, and because of that I've got to figure out how to make money at something I can tolerate doing. Real money... not just maintenance money. "Free to be me" money. Cuz I'm tired of being "Free to be me" poor.

I've figured out that not only do I not like people (never have) but that there are some people who are willing to stand between me and the world. And I've figured out that I have a need to champion the underdog. I've always had an interest in social justice. But up to a point. I like the pre-planning... and not necessarily the standing around protesting. I hate handing out flyers or bearing placards. But I'll paint something... a door, a room, I'd rather work at Habitat for Humanity than be part of a march-on-something. Too many damn people.

When I was a little kid, my sister and I had a game we played, called the "Eric and Johnny" game. I'm not sure how it started; role playing I guess, little girls with dolls. Eric was the Professor's husband, and Johnny was mine. I had one child, the infamous Susie, and the Professor had one or more, depending on the doll she had or liked at the moment. The Professor was no where near as obsessive as I am, though she does have her "isms".

For me though, the part of the game we played with our dolls-- nursing our babies, cooking, going shopping, planning birthday parties--was no where near as important as the entire world I had going on in my head, behind the scenes.

See, Johnny was president and owner of a large company that ran programs for poor people. He was the president cuz I was older. Eric worked with him; he was vice president. The company, in my head, provided food and clothing for those that needed it, trained kids and soldiers (dunno why, but they did... it wasn't about war but about discipline), provided doctors. I'm almost embarrassed to admit all this, cuz it was all very Socialist, probably inspired by my father's very Marxist ideas at the time. And I've no idea why I spent so much time developing the world in my head... or why the idea stuck with me all these years. I think I was seven when we started playing the game, and I think we continued well into the time we lived in Bull Bay, where we moved when I was 10.

I've been thinking about the Eric and Johnny game a lot lately... in a funny kind of way I've found myself drawn into a project that has some of that feeling. It's a BIG dream. HUGE. So big that when I spoke to someone about it, they asked whether it had been patented. Wow, I thought. I never thought of that. I'm kind of scared that this dream has merged with some other people's big dreams... and I've put myself in the mix. Can I deliver? Does everyone understand it's a dream? It seems that those I've spoken to are like, "Hey, you never know". On my good days I think "well, I have a better chance at pulling this off, starting it rolling, than I do at winning Lotto or Powerball"... on my bad days I think "Holy Fuck. The Narcissistic Tendencies have gotten me into a world of trouble. Those Voices are leading me down a garden path".

Or nothing could come of it at all... but you never know.

Then there's Things You Ask For But Need To Be Careful About Getting, and into that category falls the Opportunity To Pursue. The Opportunity has another name, but I'm not going to divulge that yet... cuz I'm still not sure where I'm at. There's a kindness and a patience and an understanding there that I appreciate, that like a cat I find myself sitting under the sofa and peeking out at.... but at the moment I prefer to stay under the couch. Nursing my toothache.
Every cat worth his salt knows that generally, things are too good to be true, and extreme caution is required.

So that's my blogyear. I've enjoyed it. I hope there will be many more... in fact, I'm sure there will be. I kept a diary when I was a kid, and sporadically throughout my adult life. I never finished "1977" here, but am still planning on pulling it out and trying to get a hard-copy release... complete with Poppy's wonderful pictures. In the meantime, I'm wondering what other phase of my life to reveal... but I still will post my day-to-day. It's a life-long habit. And I need to. When I don't, the lambs scream.

Thanks for being here with me! Happy Birthday to Us!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Saturday Night

Haven't posted since Friday... and my mood hasn't changed much. The little kids singing and playing did help, but they were experiencing technical difficulties with the donated sound. The kids didn't care... in fact they were spectacular considering we're talking about kids no older than 16 or 17 (and mostly 9 and 10) playing very difficult rhythms and changes and time signatures like 6/8. The Sun had a blast. The director however, was distraught, and her mood was palpable.

I saw her afterwards and told her honestly, the kids were great and you can ALWAYS hear drums without a mic, but I understood why she was so upset. The thing is... despite whatever you've heard about "Black People", I have no rhythm, and the Sun inherited that unfortunate trait from me. TF has a good sense of rhythm and wasn't a bad dancer which is something I liked about him. But the Sun is a little um, stiff. But he's made tremendous strides since working with the Percussion Ensemble, and he's graduated from cowbell to tambourine...

On Saturday, the other half of the kids from the dojo were having their belt promotions, and the Sun and I went to lend our support. The promotions were held at the dojo in the Bronx, which is a little smaller than the one we go to, and much more masculine.

Afterwards, Shihan was going to "MC" a Muay Thai exhibition down at Fighthouse, and Big Sensei wanted to go check it out... and I did too. Little Sensei was out playing double-A baseball, and so wasn't around. When tempted with the Wii, the Sun went off with Big Sensei's wife and son (a major first... though he looked mighty shell-shocked when I got back) and so Big Sensei, his daughter (blue belt/black stripe and very talented but also very "15" which means she's too cool to sweat), another guy from the Yonkers dojo who's English is extremely limited, and myself, all piled into Sensei's car and rode downtown.

Ha ha. Grandpa left too soon. I would have loved to call him up and tell him all about Muay Thai. I taped the following clip on the Trusty Treo. These are two 13 year olds....


video

Turns out, BigBear goes down to Fighthouse to play Tai Chi sometimes, so I was excited to go down there... nice space. I introduced myself to the owner. She's a bad motha("shutyomouf!") and I really wouldn't want to mess with her on a dark night. The entrance fee was $35 a pop, which none of us could really afford but we were down there already. Place was packed. And Taimak ("The Last Dragon") was there:


(mmm mmm mmmm still looks good! a year older than me...)

and the fights were good.















Afterwards, I went to Big Sensei's sister-in-law's and played Spades for a bit.

On Sunday, I told the Sun about Taimak, and we rented the video. The Sun was entranced, and replayed the ending a few times. Talked about getting the glow.

Sho Nuff!

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Blues Are Brewin'

...well, not so much the blues.

More like

questioning the validity of love. Whether it matters in this world today.

whether the world would really be different if MLK had lived. Or would he have been broken? Corrupted?

40 years ago today MLK was shot. They said the bullet tore a hole in the side of his face. What an awful, awful way to go... a hole torn in the side of your jaw because you believed in hope. In love. And for what? Has it really changed? Crawl around the internet, listen to Fox News, hear the Gollums all hiss and sneer... some of the most profoundly racist and disturbing shit. Hope didn't triumph... evil just went underground.

Have I given up on love and hope? Not completely. Actually, not at all. But I think I may need to switch gears.... and I think I feel it happening.... and I'm not really sure it's a good thing. People haven't really seen me in "bitch mode" but I feel one coming on.

Off to a meeting. I'll probably be late. Not cuz I took 5 minutes to post this, but because I needed a half hour to gather all the shit I'll need for the rest of the day....

The day will end well, though, I know for certain. The Sun will be performing with the Speaking In Rhythms Percussion Ensemble, and kids singing and playing instruments always gives me hope.

But right this second....?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

About A Mom

although a bit late on the uptake. But hey, I'm busy doing much of nothin'.

This is a mom who had big dreams herself, big ideas, and big hopes for her multi-ethnic son.

I can relate. May I be as successful...

Published: March 14, 2008

In the capsule version of the Barack Obama story, his mother is simply the white woman from Kansas. The phrase comes coupled alliteratively to its counterpart, the black father from Kenya. On the campaign trail, he has called her his “single mom.” But neither description begins to capture the unconventional life of Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, the parent who most shaped Mr. Obama.

Kansas was merely a way station in her childhood, wheeling westward in the slipstream of her furniture-salesman father. In Hawaii, she married an African student at age 18. Then she married an Indonesian, moved to Jakarta, became an anthropologist, wrote an 800-page dissertation on peasant blacksmithing in Java, worked for the Ford Foundation, championed women’s work and helped bring microcredit to the world’s poor.

For the rest of the story, click here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Every So Often...

...I throw down in the food department, and it's even better when the Sun agrees and eats it all. Cuz generally he's picky.

I made a slammin' meatloaf. So I'll share it here.

1 lb ground sirloin (NOT CHUCK)
1 lb veal
1 packet green Badia Sazon
about 1 good teaspon ground garlic*
1 teaspon recaito **
ground seasalt... maybe a half teaspon
freshly ground pepper
1 jumbo egg
about 3 handfuls 5-minute Quaker oatmeal (about 1/4 cup, if you're measuring)
3 strips beef bacon
4 oz tomato sauce, or some barbecue sauce, or some homemade spaghetti sauce or a mixture of all three.

Rinse the sirloin and the veal, pat dry with a paper towel (I squeeze it dry, too). Add all the seasonings, mix with your (clean) hands till beef and veal are pretty blended. (A fork just doesn't cut it.) Beat the egg in a separate bowl, then add to the meat. Mix with a fork till egg is entirely blended. Take the oatmeal in your hands and rub it so that the flakes break a little, adding them to the meat mixture. Blend well with your hands and pat into loaf pan.
Spoon the tomato sauce (or whatever) on top, shake a few drops of tabasco. Place the bacon strips on top of the meatloaf, spoon a little more sauce over the top. Cover with tinfoil, place in a hot oven. My oven doesn't have numbers on the dial, so I've no idea of the temperature, but I'd guess about 350-375. Bake a half hour. Uncover the meatloaf, bake about 10 minutes minutes more. Drain the fat off the meatloaf, spoon on some more spaghetti sauce and cook another 5 minutes.

Then let it set about 10 minutes before you cut it.

The Sun said the meatloaf tasted like sausage, and ate two slices. Not bad for a kid who only eats meat on a bone.

* ShoeFly's BigSister hipped me to the ground garlic. But a package of peeled garlic cloves (probably equal to 2 big bulbs, and fresh garlic is of course better, but I HATE peeling garlic), and put in a blender with a teaspoon of virgin olive oil, a tiny bit of ground seasalt and a 1/2 tsp of white vinegar (to keep the garlic white). Dump all this in a food grinder, and blend till it's pasty. Put it in an airtight plastic container, and place in freezer. You can chip off a few pieces with a spoon as needed. I always keep ground garlic in the freezer now.

**ShoeFly's sister also showed me how to make Recaito.

1 pkg recaito leaves (looks like this, smells like cilantro on steroids)
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped large
1 large yellow onion
1 package peeled garlic cloves (about 2 bulbs)
2-3 tbsps Oregano (fresh is better)
crushed red pepper flakes to taste (or a few habenero peppers to taste)

I added to the recipe
2-3 tbsp white vinegar (to preserve freshness)
rock sea salt
tbsp virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper.

Put everything into a food processor and blend until creamy looking. Pour some into an airtight container and freeze. The smaller portion, keep in the fridge. It gets a little fermented-looking, but it will keep about a month.

Somethin' May Be Brewin in SoBro

and it's such a fucking good idea that I'm bustin'... but like most really good ideas I think I'll keep it under wraps until such time as I have something real to report.

But it's cool to be able to put something in motion, that may help people out that you care about.

The problem is though... I wonder if some of the players are really up to the task, really understand the potential and are brave enough to aim skyhigh.

And... I wonder if my contribution will earn me any brownie points.

Though I doubt it will. But a girl can dream. And dream big...

I Think I May Need To See This

Haven't been to a grown-up movie in a minute. And most movies are like "eh". I didn't see the first "Harold & Kumar," but I laughed at this trailer so it could be a "go"...

Warning: This trailer is rated "R" for a reason...



Doesn't say when this year the movie comes out...