Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm Not There

I always liked coming home.

Didn't matter how sick or tired I was, when I saw the sign at the end of the block, I knew I was safe. Even when I wasn't.

Rose of Sharon - 2009

When we moved here 28 years ago, one major selling point was the backyard, because I liked the park by the rat water but now it was too far away. The backyard would be good for me, I heard. Because I had imagination of a seven-year-old, the backyard was as terrifying as the rooms that had no lamps yet. Then the sun came out.

It may seem like I'm going all Pocahontas, but this house and the land it's on may never be mine in the sense that I can't be removed from it, but I belong to this land. I've bled for the house. But the air makes me live and at the end of the day it's what I want to see. It never leaves me. This is where I am. This is my home. This is my safe place.

Rose of Sharon - 2009

The air is getting colder and soon the flowers will stop blooming. Until next time.

"Everything dies, baby, that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back."
-- Bruce Springsteen


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Crockett's Theme

I never watched Miami Vice. I knew enough about it to appreciate the in-jokes in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, though, and I loved the soundtrack the instant I heard it. Not that I had the soundtrack, mind you. I had radio.

I became obsessed with Crockett's Theme one night in 1989, when I was heading into a low point. Low like fifteen, out of shape, knowing My Poppy wasn't doing that well...really low. So low I was listening to WPAT. The muzac station. I never listened to the muzac station willingly before that night, but missed it something awful when it was sold a few years later. This is why:

I'd saved up enough money to see a doctor about my migraines, because the constant crying and sitting in the dark was getting annoying. He gave me some iron supplements and helpfully suggested I stay away from McDonald's. I haven't been to McDonalds' since 1983, but I didn't bother telling him that. I just went home and wrote silly violent stories, and was encouraged to take the iron the next time I was dizzy. You know what iron supplements do to someone with digestive problems? They make them worse. You know what a fifteen-year-old who just keeps bloating until she can't breathe ends up doing? Abusing Correctol. Yeah. My "anorexic" phase only lasted three days, which is another reason my memory lapses are a blessing, but during those three days, I kept picking out Crockett's Theme on my synth, and crying, but mainly picking out Crockett's Theme, and watching Monty Python.

14 years later, I found the song on Emotion 98.3 as I mowed down Vice City drug dealers in a golf cart and was so happy to hear it I nearly disturbed the sexy man-cat leaning on my leg. He purred and rubbed on my elbow as I drove into the water. It was a good night.

Remember kids, music can save you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, A Pirate's Challenge For Ye!

Ahoy mateys! The 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge were overtaken by pirates!

The theme were Pirates!

Pirates were all about, and a bit o' the themes chose by shanty maker Guy David and yours truly.

It be a hard life for Capn' Swallow since the international shanty composers began demandin' royalties. He near lost his ship after we were caught playin' Barnacles, Me Hearties without askin'. Askin’ Two-Legged Davy if ye can sing his songs t’ain’t a wise move if ye hope to live another day.

I understand why the captain had to run me through five times afore setting me out to sea. There be sharks circling me leaky dingy lookin’ friendlier than the last face I saw. No matter, I got me parrot, a bottle o'grog, and me harmonica. I'll survive. Probably.

The whole crew be assembled 'ere, and if ye've ne'er listened to the podcast, what be wrong with ye? now's the time! AVAST!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Tangled Yet Rather Endearing Mess That Is My Life

The tangled yet rather nice mess that is my life.Summer of 2009 was weird. It started out with me all gung-ho to die of extreme sunstroke and ended with me staggering around unable to recognize even my Puppy's father-in-law after a week of tackling said Puppy to flush her ears with what is basically douche and then driving a great flaming car through rezoned streets of death after playing Frankenstein on patio umbrellas.

It's alive, I say when I wake up.

Not that I sleep much, especially since I got it into my head three months ago to stop taking every pill I used to take. No Benadryl, no Rite-Aid brand Sudafed knock-off, nothing. Commando head. I credit/blame Michael Jackson. I was up to way too much Benadryl to sleep an extra hour. I've had chronic insomnia since age 1 so suggesting more exercise or counting things is going to go over with me as well as suggesting hats for UV exposure for my legs.

I did a lot this summer, or at least it feels like I did. I didn't let anything like the occasional lack of a functional right side stop me, either. I developed a tan. My skin will hurt until 2012. Everything I pruned has grown back and my hair dye has nearly grown out. Time marches on. Or drags awkwardly like Torgo, in my case.

I started putting this Autumnal Vlog together a while back, because I knew it was going to be big, but it was held up by the most recent shocking reminder that I need to keep track of what goes on in my little world at all times. I think it worked out, though. I think it made the video, I think it summed up this year, and I especially like that we made all it through.

Yay autumn!

(Summary for the YouTube-less folk: I spent some time filming The Slinky One and The Puppy as they both tried to explain that The Fluffy One was twenty feet up the cherry tree and could I please stop filming them and assemble the team to help him down. He's a lumberjack and he's OK, but I wasn't after that, which is why you may notice the Vlog went up a tad late.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Freedom Overspill

If you've spent any time after the hour of midnight with me or have been reading this blog long enough, you probably aren't surprised to see Freedom Overspill by Steve Winwood on my official all-time list of songs that take me back to an exact point in my life where I'm no longer sure what the hell I was up to., but I know it was fun.

I still take out my Song Hits and giggle at the mystery of the chair, although since England Dan Seals passed away earlier this year I get a bit misty over the whole "I'm a chair kicker" thing.

That night of making comics out of photos probably foreshadowed what would still amuse me years later, but feeling like a twelve-year-old who knows she'll never play a synth as good as Steve Winwood requires some extra-strength silly to drive that kind of desolation away.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Like Peas.

One other thing I did on 09/09/09 was write the first draft of my 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge story.

Only I wrote it...with a pen. On paper. I don't write like that. Not since 1989, anyway. But I got an idea for Peas On A Pod and all I had within reach was a pen, a bit of paper...and of course blood, but that wasn't necessary this week.

I swear I pulled the name of the astronaut out of thin air

No, I'm not going to make you read that. After all, I edited it five more times before I submitted this:

That airplane flying over reminds me of a nice man I met who was supposed to become the first man to fly to Mars. He had to turn back on account of broken facilities, and was called Pete "Pees In A Pod" Carter from then on.

Me an' Jenny were like peas in a pod, 'cept we weren’t green an' we didn't grow out of the ground. Well, Jenny's in the ground now, but it wasn't like you could serve us with shrimp. I like shrimp. Shrimp's like peas 'cause you gotta pull the strings out before you eat 'em....

Yes, that was meant to be Forrest "Table Tennis Hero" Gump. I read the story in a voice that sounded nothing like Forrest Gump, but never mind that, we totally got shrimp with the "veins" still intact from the Chinese place up the street. Seriously, if I ate shrimp that would have freaked me out even more than it freaked out the people who did eat it, and they've sworn off shrimp now. Shrimp shouldn't have the same air of mystery that a box of chocolates has, although the vegetarian who lives in my head hasn't stopped laughing yet.

The digest of all ten stories can be read and heard here, and just like I eat all my peas, you should read ALL the stories before voting. Listening's even better.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flowers Are Like A Snack Bar

Who is this Sharon and why have I got all her roses?
Today would have been my Uncle Joe's 95th birthday. He was a great gardener, and I think he had a lot to do with me messing with plants. On one of his visits he brought flowers...and bags of soil and huge planters. After that year, and Nan's wicked case of poison ivy, I started taking care of the yard myself instead of relying on anyone else, and the stuff that grows there now is nice.

So nice that a huge orange spider with striped legs loves to hang from this particular Rose of Sharon, which is about a foot away from my swing, every night. Except last night, when the spider decided to make its web ON my swing frame.

I can't get a decent photo of the spider. I'm sure you're all very sad about that.

Me, I was just sad I couldn't sit on my swing without running the risk of reenacting the end of The Two Towers or beginning of Return Of The King depending on which horrifying spider-on-Hobbit action you prefer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Bumble Boogie

I was the sort of kid who would have my mother phone in requests to radio stations. Both times the songs I requested weren't played so I learned that didn't work quickly. After the Internet came along I actually did get a few requests played, but that's another story for another time...and I have to check if the restraining order allows me to talk about it. (I kid...possibly.)

For some reason I once got it into my head that Bumble Boogie by Jools Holland and His Millionaires just hadn't been on WDRE enough in the two years since they'd changed call letters. I can't say they never came through on the request because the song was one of the legendary Screamers of the Week, so I only had to wait another two years until the special Thanksgiving Shreeek-End, where (almost) all the Screamers and Shreeeks of the Week to date were played.

I taped the Shreeek-End, you know. It ran for three days straight, so I set my alarm for every 43 minutes so I could get up and flip or change the tape during the hours when everyone else with less obsessive tendencies slept. I had to go out to the basement, because that radio had the best reception and was less likely to get interference from people moving around. Zorro my cuz-dog thought it was great that I was spending so much time with him and he was the first to get an earful about how great this version of Bumble Boogie was when I finally heard it again. He slept in the basement when he visited us because he and Pookie didn't agree on some things. Like, seeing each other. *sigh* Men.

I could never play the piano like Jools Holland. That used to hurt, but being able to listen to him play makes it all better.

(Waiting around 6 years to tape a song off the radio was the equivalent of something only being 99.2% seeded, kids.)


Thursday, September 10, 2009

For The Birds

I write several of my offerings for the 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge in the shade of a tree, you know.

Having won again with the magical barrel of doom story, the next theme--On The Line--was also chosen by me. I had a reason.

Tweeting Fly Me To The Moon
They look like little music notes, don't they?

Look at them down there fiddling with their shiny things--totally not real blackberries, by the way. Harvey chipped his beak on one of those things in April and he hasn't been the same since.

They think they're tweeting? They don't know the first thing about tweeting! When we sit up here on the line, we're one with the whole world, able to send out the alarm for worm sightings or where to get bread with one sound.

Well, here comes what you get for not looking up and admiring the bird over your head!

HA! I just pooped.

...I wonder if the birds in that photo will be all, "MY PHOTOS ARE ON THE INTERNET! CHECK IT OUT!"

Ah, I love Twitter. I miss Twitter. By total coincidence I haven't had time for Twitter since writing this. I'm on Twitter, you know. I'm a twit.

All the lines can be heard and read here.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

To The Nines

Today is September 9, 2009. Which doesn't look interesting at all until it goes all 09/09/09 and then if you throw in 09:09:09 for good measure it becomes an explosion of awesome so crazy I start acting twelve again.

Here are nine things I want to remember from today:

1. I pulled two Runes and they just happened to be Isa and Gebo. Why am I talking about this? LOOK AT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:

I don't question why my Runes can count in Roman numerals.

2. I got to hear just about every Beatles song ever on WFUV, including remakes by other artists and solo projects.

3. I spent the day with people and furry things I love.

4. I blipped two songs for the day. Revolution #9 by The Beatles because I like to scare people first thing in the morning, and Beethoven's 9th Symphony because I can't believe I remembered it.

5. I got to enjoy some things on television. So You Think You Can Dance is back already, President Obama kicks ass, and Melanie Oudin made this year's U.S. Open interesting.

6. I took a picture of my watch at 9:09:09PM because I'm still that hardcore.

The time is now lots of nines.

7. I gave a plant a new home and made a crack about Léon: The Professional that was totally understood.

8. I got to walk around in lovely freakin' weather.

9. I got to see the moon poking through the clouds as it hit 9:09 in the Pacific time zone.

September 9 moon.

It was a good day.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

No Juju In Skyflower, Only House For Bugs.

Rose of Sharon bloom

One of my favorite movies is Medicine Man. Maybe because I respect ants. Which is why it's always difficult for me to wipe out the colonies eating my house. Sometimes I weigh who I would rather lose the house to, and ants always come up as the ones who love the house as much as I do.

When we moved here my father pulled out all the Rose of Sharon (along with every other small plant). They were buggy, he said.

The Rose of Sharon came back to me. Pink, white, lilac, every combination, they line the fences and they'd grow to the sky if I let them, but I prune them in winter because I need to see if a raccoon is trying stop in for...whatever it is they do. Hummingbirds and butterflies visit to check out the flowers, and the ants who still live outside of the house--because ants are hardy bastards--stand on the petals looking awesome.

I like ants. Monty Python devoted an entire episode to them once.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

The world as we know it ends all the time. It's a difficult idea to grasp as a kid, especially when possible futures being suggested are wholly disturbing.

But I was lucky, I had an R.E.M. song get into my head one long dark night in 1987. It started out letting me know I wasn't the only one aware that everything was going to change, but then after we had a few years together the numbness of futility was replaced with a strange peace of mind. The world doesn't end. The world as we know it...different story. Loved ones die, seasons change, strangers become friends, disasters strike, leaders change, cars break down, hairstyles change, things decay, fears get burnt away in the light of day, ice keeps melting, trees keep growing, the whole world changes every second, but the world itself doesn't end.

I wasn't going to include It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) in the moments of misspent youth, because the journey to get from mind-numbing fear to feeling fine requires a lot of misspent youth, but the song's neat, and I needed to put this all down in writing to commemorate all the times when the world as I knew it ended.

Tomorrow I'll get out of bed and start over again.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Lead Up To Many Craigslist Listings

I've said it before and I'll say it every time I write something my peers deem worthy of voting for, I only take part in the 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge to keep my mind working, not to win.

The sappy puppet story won. All by itself. I didn't even vote for it! True enough I didn't thoroughly hate that one after reading it over and over but it's still humbling to have the other writers vote for me, because the other writers are consistently GOOD. The winner of the previous week gets to pick the topic of the next challenge, so naturally when I fired up Google reader last week and saw the next theme was A Full Set my brain went totally blank and stayed that way for several days. I will not elaborate further if exposure to UV rays were partially responsible.

The story I ended up writing was...nasty.

Call me obsessed, but my completionist mentality has served me well. I put myself through school by selling my comic book collection, my original redline Hot Wheels paid for my first real car, my house was paid for with stamps, and the early marketing for my home business was financed by scalping Star Wars figures on the Internet.

I think selling my rookie Babe Ruth card to buy identical implants and veneers for all of my girlfriends was a poor investment, though, because all I got in return was a full set of sexually transmitted diseases. Who would want that?

Scientists, perhaps. Hmm. Hey yeah, maybe this guy can get together with the broad from Hmmmmmmmmmmm! Maybe he DID. *sigh* I do enjoy the lowbrow humor a bit too much.

The full set of challengers can be read and heard here. Read, listen, enjoy, laugh, cry, get grossed out, hear the puppet give an acceptance speech that exposes me for the sock-buying charlatan that I am.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Best Time Of The Year

September brings Orion back into view and the Rose of Sharon start blooming like mad. It's been no hotter than 80°F with no humidity and at night it's near 50°F. My idea of heaven, yo.

Rose of Sharon bud - September 2009