Sunday, August 23, 2015

In The End, Freedom

"This song is over...
I sing my heart to the wide open spaces
I sing my song to the breeze,"

Just three lines from the Who song, The Song is Over.

With certain endings there is a rush of intoxicating freedom, and then the gifts start pouring in like cool, clean air through a long-unopened window.

Holy mama, I like music again!  I mean, to listen to and sing along with.  I'm listening to things I like without a mind to how I must process it.  I like what I like and the rest can fuck off.

Speaking of which, my singing voice wants to come back.  I can't stop myself from wanting to sing now.  I'm not saving myself for anything anymore.  My voice wants to soar out of a speaking contralto-maybe just to sing in the same contralto, but it's for me.  Fuck show biz.  What do I want to sing?

My mind is free!  This I'm still getting my head around *rim shot*.

Robbie Knight was SO CLAUSTROPHOBIC.  I can BE the cool chick on the bar stool, but I am NOT a chick who is on bar stools; I played her.  I was raised in New England; I got the essence of a liberal education, or the sensibility of one, just by osmosis.  I love Shakespeare, I love opera, I read literature.  I use vocabulary that is way beyond 6th grade and I'm tired of dumbing down everything I say for the mic.  I don't have to anymore.

I'm off the rails of the career track.  I work to work, to make money.  I write to create.  I don't need my entire purpose to come from career. 

My mind is free to be mine!  I love science and music.  I love to grow and make food.  I love to tell stories...maybe.

We'll see what happens from here.  For the moment, I'm just breathing deep from a wide, blue, sparkling sky...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Too Much Effort

Most of the worst things I've ever done have resulted from trying too hard.

I take on too much, refuse to give up, pursue too hard, pile up efforts and then I can't keep all the plates spinning.

This is why a little rabbit died a horrible traumatic death.  One of my two French Angoras-Peaches, Plum's mom.

I was treating her for a wound on her foot (and got it healed) resulting from moving the cages to the floor to make it easier for both of them to get outside (which was much better quality of life) at which point she scratched her foot on the edge of the cage.  I took her to the vet, got the ointments, applied them and duct taped the edge of the cage.  I thought I had I had it dialed.

I didn't sleep well this afternoon; I wanted the bunnies to be outside on this beautiful cool day, and I knew they were sheltered under the tree and the grasses, but I still had nightmare visions of the hawk getting to them.

The dog was dying to be outside in the cool weather, too.

She has attacked the rabbits before.  But she also hates being splashed with water, and runs.  So I turned on the hose.  It kept her away from the rabbits when we first went out.  I thought I had the best of both worlds.  I got to throw the ball for the dog while the bunnies hopped around in the fresh air.

Then the squirrel ran over the roof.  Sunny bolted.  I thought I could head her off from the bunnies with the hose, but Peaches bolted in reaction to Sunny's squirrel charge before I got there.  Sunny took a hairpin left turn, crawled under the fence and was shaking Peaches in her mouth before I could get to her.  I had Sunny pinned on the ground.  Peaches was contorted, panting faintly.  Plum saw an escape route and wisely sprang for the back field.  I had to keep Sunny pinned until Plum was far out of sight before I sent her into the house.

I lifted Peaches, still panting, as delicately as I could, laid her in her cage and ran into the house to call the emergency vet.  They don't take rabbits but they agreed to euthanize her to end her suffering. I ran outside with a pet carrier, and found her still.  No respiration, no response when I touched her eyes.  Her beautiful, big eyes.  Rigor mortis had begun within minutes.

I checked Peaches' injury (broken back) wrapped her body in calico and put her in a box and smudged her and sang to her.  Then I sat a wept and thought about how I had allowed this to happen.

I take on too much. And a little rabbit, an innocent little animal, paid with her life.

It's time to simplify.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

On Asking

There's much being made about the "art of asking" and crowd funding.  It works, because some people enjoy giving and others enjoy taking.

I've read a lot of metaphysical philosophy about it.  It's supposedly of great karmic benefit to the giver as well as the recipient.  Giving is a great thing to do, in metaphysical terms-and taking is as well.  And this entire living world is built on exchange, there's no doubt.

I don't believe in karmic debts or past lives.  I was raised to believe in earning your own way, in independence, in self-reliance.  So when I read a blog full of pictures of a great life and the author asks me to donate, or a successful podcast announces a European tour and then asks me to donate, my hackles go up.

I DO donate, plenty.  I've been tithing to Greenpeace for decades.  I make monthly donations through Patreon to one of my favorite writers in exchange for a monthly short story, and to the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast-David Barr Curtley isn't a world traveler and if he's recently bought a new truck that needs financing, he doesn't belabor his listeners with the brag.  He asks for donations to support the podcast and delivers excellent, top-quality work with illustrious guests, deep content and thoughtful, insightful and respectful exchanges.  He has earned my donation.

I suppose that's my age showing.  Self-respect, independence and even a living wage, the way I was raised, were earned.  Not donated.

A Carrot Sermon

I pulled a carrot out of the ground this morning.  Deep orange, crooked, its hairs tangled in dirt, its floppy, ferny top dangling crystals of last night's rain. 

Carrots from the store taste like semi-sweet fiber.

A carrot from the garden tastes like...eternity. 

It's got a hint of bitterness that gives way quickly to a hint of intoxicant, like liqueur.  It's got a deep earthiness that is released under the tooth, a taste of the soil and the rain and the hard sun.  It's made of the universe.

Religion loves to tell us we must go to the sky when we die, instead of into the soil, and that we must worship a man in the sky rather than a mother beneath our feet who holds us up, feeds us, catches us when we fall, draws us into dance, cradles us when we sleep, and takes us gracefully home when we die to give back the body we have borrowed. 

Like billions of gardeners before me, through thousands of generations, I am forced to ask, with my mouth full of the sweet-dirty-complex intoxicant of a just-pulled carrot:  "What is holier than this?"

Heroes Don't Eat

I have yet to add up all the scenes in all the movies and TV shows where the protagonist turns down food, but I believe it's the majority of scenes in which food even appears.  Our heroes always turn down food, and often because it simply doesn't look good enough to them.

In fact, one way you can tell a character is a protagonist is by the way they seem to subsist on air and attitude alone.

I understand the device, I think.  If our hero is too distracted or thoughtful or bothered to eat, something important must be up.  Something interesting is afoot.  We should pay attention to the story, because something is more important than food.

In fact, many of our heroes "Haven't touched their food," and can't be persuaded to do so.  They can scale tall buildings, defeat entire armies with one broken arm and save the civilized world on an empty stomach, unless they've been force fed by a loving lackey or grandmother.

I would love to see a superhero chomping on a cookie when the call to action comes, toss back the rest of it, brush the crumbs off the spandex costume and then leap out the window.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Penny Dreadful Predictions (and SPOILERS)

1.  Victor will recover from his drug habit, meet a nice girl, fall in love and get engaged.  Then he'll find out the creature is on a rampage in the frozen north and go after him.  He will barely escape with his life and return to his fiance, running to some country retreat, where the monster will find him and kill his bride, then him, then weep and destroy himself.  There's still so much to the story of Frankenstein they may even be able to get two seasons out of it.

2.  Lilly and Dorian will eventually come to the attention of the authorities and suspicion and drama will ensue.  Lilly also might meet one Dr. Jekyll.  Debauchery, terror, murder.

3.  Vanessa will wander again to the catacombs under the train station to serve homeless people, but might wander off one night and end up under a theater, there to meet a man some call The Phantom.

But also God is dead for Vanessa now, so she'll go in search of answers.  Some other spiritualist stuff?  Spirit cults?  Spiritualism?  Or will she travel herself?  Follow Ethan to America when she finds out what happened to him?  Or will she meet a skeptic who's also an illusionist?

4.  Speaking of Ethan, does his father have him in a kind of imprisonment?  Does he run away, maybe get captured by Comanche who want revenge?  Or will a shaman help him control the Wolf?

5.  Sir Malcolm might meet zombies?  Bring back a curse from Africa?  Or maybe a WIFE?

6.  Will a ship crash on the coast, her crew with their throats torn out, her only cargo boxes of Transylvanian dirt?

7.  Will there be an airship journey with a giant kracken?

8.  How about a poet from Baltimore who opens up a hotel called Usher?

Friday, August 14, 2015

How Great Thou Art

Watching The Matrix, having recently watched Avatar and the ads for "Bondathon", it's a point of culture fatigue for me-the male character who's every potential vanity is validated.

He's special and magnificent and admired by all.  He's the Chosen One, the Chick Magnet, the Hero, the Demi-God whom everyone should have believed in all along.

This theme is SO prevalent that there's barely room for any other in films or TV.

The greatest parody of it was done by the writers of Red Dwarf through the character of "Ace" Rimmer, the ultimate hero counter-character to Arnold The Jackass Rimmer.  Ace knows everything, does everything right, is always noble and is sexually desired by most people.  The show makes brilliant mockery of this, all the more brilliant because it's so rarely done in American shows and films.  In fact, Brits are far better at this, at the imperfect male protagonist who doesn't have to be all things to all people in order to be worthy of our respect.

It's one reason I love my British shows, films and literature.  It's also the reason I turn to feminist fantasy a lot.  I get VERY sick of seeing another guy who's SO GREAT that he Gets All The Goods at the end.  I'm very tired of that character, of the lowering of other characters to make way for his Greatness bloat, and the oversimplification of plots and conflicts to also deal with his Greatness bloat.  I'm tired of demi-god male protagonists.

It's just one reason I need to write.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


As we grind slowly to a halt on our full time gigs, I've heard several jocks say that they're "just cruising through" on their shows, doing "nothing" breaks, or "This-is-that-was" as we also call it, when a jock back sells a song just played and announces the next one with no added value-a travesty in radio.  Some people are feeling discouraged by the very act of doing a show that they soon will no longer have.

I'm experiencing the opposite feeling.

I'm relishing each break, wishing I had more time to really craft them (which is the problem with this gig-by overworking staff, under pressure, they are not getting the best product-but that's what Industrialists do) and I'm working even harder.  I want my last full-time weeks to be the best I can make them.  I want listeners to get the best I've got.  I want to enjoy the HECK out of my show.

I really love doing this.

I won't miss the pressure of being full-time, I realized with a thrill.  I won't miss the mid-week exhaustion from chronic lack of sleep.   I won't miss having to hang out for an hour just do do production while my animals have to wait to get breakfast and the cool prime-watering hours of the garden slip away.  But I love finding stuff to talk about and relate to and make jokes about, I love pulling bits off You Tube to punctuate those bits and I love learning from my own process as I go.

Weekends for this process will be perfect.  I should have decent material every weekend (I can get 15 breaks even from a slow week) and I'll have the energy and enthusiasm and rested brain to apply to it.

So I don't feel this is ending with a whimper...more like a relaxed coasting home...

Saturday, August 8, 2015

I Got Me Some....Satisfaction...

This blog is for stories and thoughts on other people's stories, but part of the story of my life is growing food.

This morning I put in three hours in the garden planting fall and winter crops, and this evening I harvested supper, tossed it in a pan and we had an incredibly flavorful and satisfying supper.  My stomach is purring.  The earthy beets, robust greens and piquant eggplant complimented with fat and salt made for the kind of repast that remind you what it is to be Well Fed.

Eating like this makes you satisfied, peaceful, grounded and, to use again an overused word, grateful.  But I AM grateful.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Perfection and Death

"To be beautiful is to be almost dead, isn't it?  The lassitude of the perfect woman. The languid ease.  The obeisance. Spirit-trained. Anemic.  Pale as ivory and weak as a kitten," Vanessa Ives (or is it the demon?  Or Amen-Ra?) Penny Dreadful.

These lines were written by a man (given that they are about the Victorian standard), so they are only half true.  I've often gotten the impression that men envy beautiful women's ease in getting attention, admiration and sex.

I've been considered beautiful, and fat, and old, ugly, and many other things.  I'm very fortunate in this; my world view is not skewed by the privilege of beauty as it is for some.  Very beautiful women tend to ride the privilege hard, without even realizing it-a phantom stallion of expectations.  They often leap over the rest of us, but jumping too high lands them in gullies sometimes, just like the rest of us.  Sometimes, just sometimes, they are reminded that they are not as beautiful as they were, or as they hoped to be, or as they thought.  It's a painful landing.

There is, in beauty, "A peace of mind that religion is powerless to bestow," to quote Wilde.  But even supermodels are ragingly insecure.  The painful landing is built into physical beauty, first because we change; as Carrie Fisher said thirty years after her bikini scene in Return of the Jedi, "I didn't know I was supposed to stay exactly the same," But there's another pitfall as well: comparison. When your date sneaks a look at the waitress, you're painfully reminded that there will always be someone prettier, thinner, younger.  Beauty is a perilous track, not a languid ease.

But there is a bone-deep obeisance, infectious as cancer.  It sets up shop in a young girl and grows into an all-consuming disease of the mind that can spread to the body.  Obedience to the narrow male search image of "hotness" chokes the vitality out of the female population.  We'll never know what works of genius or what solutions to world problems would already have sprung from the minds of young women who are obsessed with their thighs or their hair.  Beauty is a virulent dictator.

But in the last few years, there are more and more glimpses of hope.  The "third wave feminists" are more outspoken, more uncompromising and assume more entitlement.  They assume the right to be valued apart from physical beauty and rail against sexism.  This is the latest rebellion against the assumption that a woman is only to be valued for some constructed idea of physical beauty, which is a variation on the idea that a woman is not a person. The third wave are casting off the dehumanizing obeisance, the spirit training and the spiritual anemia.  They stomp on the racist ivory standard and the stale pose of weakness.

Perfection is completeness.  A living being is only finished, only complete, after its final breath.  No living thing is perfect and beauty is a static measure of value; as living humans, we must not accept any static measure.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Watching TV on mute is amazing.

The preacher with his book is raging and pleading and bleeding for commiseration, he's pounding, he's resounding, he's clearly baffled by a world in which his book has so little power.  He cannot believe the evil around him.  He clings to his book, hating the world, and will go down with the book.

The celebrity is reveling in hir new show.  Shim has a New Reason to be Someone, and loves the glamour, but does not expect us to just love hir for the glamour.  Shim has decided that shim is now "The Icon for the Trans community"-and so is both glamorous and important.  Shim needs to hear this a lot.

The action star is serious, and surrounded by supporting players who can out-act him with one acting hand tied behind their backs.  But it makes the action star more believable.

The sportswives are working very hard at pretending that the camera is not there, and dying to fix their makeup just one more time.

The music star has rehearsed every hair flip and fish-face gape.  She is leaving nothing to chance or art.

The fighter contains herself; she is made-up and coiffed and wants to be poised for the camera.  But then, there she is in the ring and she does not care about the camera, she is a perfect killing machine, perfect as a lioness.  No move is wasted.  She brings her prey down.  Cut back to the interview and the fighter is staying in the frame, as if she were balancing on a very small platform-and for her, it is.

The comedy is full of screaming.

And now I want to watch Penny Dreadful again.  Sound back on.