Saturday, September 20, 2008

Meanwhile, in Monterey
Husband's new venture, Jazz Observer is now up and running and full of wonderful (trust me, I'm not just saying this because I love the man), wonderful coverage of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

It sounds like last night provided some great highlights and today's first feature -- on the layout and feel of the Festival itself -- provides a tantalizing taste of what it's like to be there. (And will make you jealous that you aren't.)

Check it out, you'll be glad you did.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sisters in Arms
Currently being read, Sisters in Arms: British Army Nurses Tell Their Story by Nicola Tyrer.

I'm a sucker for history, and I especially love history about women. Nursing in times of war has been a subject of interest to me since I first read Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth. (If you haven't read this yet, I highly recommend it.)

Anyway, the current book (I'm only on chapter 3) is already proving fascinating. It's amazing how deeply courageous the so-called "fairer sex" is under pressure. (Not to mention under bombardment.) I have nothing but admiration for these women, most of them from very privileged backgrounds, who rolled up their sleeves and did the work that had to be done under conditions of extreme hardship and danger. Some were captured by the Japanese and did their best to care for others throughout their captivity.

There's no great message here, just a vague disquiet sensation that I haven't done nearly enough with my life. I certainly haven't done enough for others. No, I'm not going to join the army or become a nurse. It's just rather inspiring to read about such courageous, selfless, heroic women.

The only inspiring thing I've done lately is....uh....oh shit, I really need to go do something inspiring, don't I?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stop the music
Pet peeve time. I hate, with a passion bordering on loathing, when good music is used for bad commercials. It's not much better when the commercial doesn't suck, either.

My latest is the 70's anthem "Get Together" (by the Youngbloods) now being used for a Luvs diaper ad. Now it's not one of the great songs of all time, but it was one of those seminal flower children songs that deserves better than to be used as a background in which a bunch of creepy, animated, diaper-wearing freakbabies frolic in a creepy, animated world. It's the kind of song that brings to mind memories of road trips, open windows blowing your hair, good friends singing along to any song they know the words to. Stopping at that stop sign at the bottom of the mountain, the scent of hot sage filling the car, and the radio cranked up.

But's now the soundtrack to a diaper ad. (And, for the record, those of us who choose not to have children do not find diaper ads cute! Everybody got that? Not cute!)

There are thousands of crappy, unemployed so-called musicians around the world, many of whom would be happy to compose something just for your product for a lot less than you'd have to pay for the rights for a classic song. So stop fucking with our good memories.

(Oh my freaking god, the ad is on now!!!) I must go lay down.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Welcome to the web, Jazz Observer
Husband has launched his new website. Jazz Observer, "A Fresh Perspective on Modern Music." Although it's up an running, the real goodies will start coming on Friday when he heads southwards for The Monterey Jazz Festival. His live blogs from the festival (run on his previous website and elsewhere on the web) are the next best thing to being there. They're so good they almost make up for having to do without him for three days.

Anyway, congratulations Husband and may Jazz Observer have a long and illustrious life. It's a true gift to Bay Area jazz fans.
I love my cat, Cipher. (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm.) Not "put in little outfits" love, just really love. She brings joy, warmth, companionship, and love into my world every day. Have a bad day? Nothing like a purring cat curled up into your lap to turn things around. Need a laugh? Throw an empty toilet paper roll at her and watch her turn into a Keystone Cops comedy.

But today I saw her at her most difficult. I was supposed to take her to the vet for her annual booster shot. Didn't happen. I'm not sure who is more traumatized, me or Cipher (OK, I do know, it's me) but it was not pretty. She absolutely refused to go into her carrier. Refused in a "I can turn my limbs into concrete pillars or Silly Putty at will" kind of way. In a "I know I said I love you but these claws gotta go somewhere and who needs skin anyway" kind of way. A "look, I can eject hair the way a porcupine can eject quills so much for your black shirt" way.

She squirmed. She scratched. She did everything but pull a switchblade on me. And then she ran under the bed where I couldn't reach her and refused to come out. I called and cancelled the appointment.

That was an hour ago and now (here's the trauma bit) refuses to come near me. She walks warily in a huge circle around where I am, shooting guilt out of those big green eyes in such a way as to do my mom proud. She won't let me get within 10 feet of her and I am now so wracked with guilt that I'm practically moping. I know she's eventually condescend to forgive me. (At least I hope she will!) But for now I have never wanted to hear that purr in my lap more.

I need a drink. Is liquor OK with an ulcer?
What makes people...?
Do kinda crazy thing? Kind admirable, but kinda crazy.

Last night the KZSU DJ before me casually mentioned that this weekend he was doing the Alcatraz swim. Yup, he's going to jump into San Francisco Bay sans wetsuit and swim either to or from (or, god forbid, both!) Alcatraz. (Can you tell that I can't be bothered to look up the details of this swim?

And my friend Finny, is currently training for a half marathon and ran 11 miles last weekend. Oh yes, and lets not forget Mama D, who has been known to run a full marathon (!).


Now granted I've been sick and can't do much of anything. (Last night I returned to KZSU for the first time in nearly two months and, upon returning home, went straight to bed.) But even when/if I was healthy I would never do anything like this. I am so not physically active. Never have been. I was the archetypical kid picked last for every sport in PE. (Is it still called PE?) I grew up before girls had their own soccer teams and before everyone was encouraged to become weekend warriors. Nobody in my family played sports. (The fact that my father died of a heart attack when I was 19 might indicate that some exercise would have been a nice thing.) So I didn't grow up being encouraged to work up a sweat.

And that's carried into adulthood. I've tried various exercise kicks at various times of my life in order to not be fat. But for me it's all about vanity, not about pushing myself to achieve anything other than a smaller ass. I've never wanted to train for a marathon, compete in the Ironman Triathalon, become an Olympic anything, or even run the Bay to Breakers.

So what is it that pushes some people to push themselves while others have to force themselves to move? Is it the old nature vs. nurture question? Am I a sloth because, as a child, I lived in a family of sloths? Had I been raised by people who went bike riding on weekends and coached soccer would I now be running with Finny? Or is it because I am, by nature, a lazy slob who really, really, really hates to work out and sees nothing pleasurable or enjoyable about it except for the fact that, when I do, I don't get embarrassed running out of breath walking up two flights of stairs?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

OK, it's universal
Chicken soup is universal. It crosses cultural, ethnic, geographic, even political borders.

When you're sick, if you're lucky, people offer to bring you soup. The Lurker brought me some delicious soup with matzoh balls a few months ago, and just last night The Foreigner brought me some delicious homemade chicken noodle soup. After today's test (hereafter known as "The Procedure,") I really needed some comfort food and The Foreigner's soup was the perfect solution.

Ah, comfort food. What is there about certain foods that just make you feel better - either physically or psychologically? Sometimes, when you're feeling sick, you just need that certain something. Maybe your food is toast (there's always room for toast) or perhaps scrambled eggs. When you've had a lousy day is there anything better that homemade chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven? (Or pot stickers from your favorite Chinese place?) Logically I know that homemade chicken soup has no magical medicinal properties, yet I feel so much better having just had a bowl. Perhaps it's the extra comfort of knowing that it was made by someone I love who cares enough about me to bring me a care package. But whatever it is, I suddenly feel like a new woman.

Thanks, Ms. Foreigner, you're the best.

Monday, September 15, 2008

You gotta have faith
Tonight my book group meets to discuss Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. I haven't looked forward to a book discussion this much in ages. Why? Because Brideshead is a very important book for me. It is, in my opinion, the best book ever written about how depressing it is to be raised Catholic.

In all honesty, I think it must be the most depressing religion of them all. Its basic statement, the one told to us from when we were pups, is "Christ died for your sins." That's a serious burden to put on a small, impressionable child. I swear I grew up feeling like slime because our savior was crucified for the sole reason that I stole bubble gum from my brother. No kidding. Growing up Catholic one is washed in guilt from the first drop of Holy Water that falls onto our screaming bodies at baptism.

You fell guilty for everything. Bad thoughts. Growing breasts. Having a crush on The Monkees. Everything is sinful, everything is evil, everything is your fault. And Catholic parents know this and use it to their advantage. They don't use discipline, they use guilt. Whenever you did something bad you weren't punished so much as made to feel like shit because your parents were so disappointed in you. Disappointed is a Catholic mom's set expression. In the middle of a good fight with a sibling mom just walks by with that look .... the look...and suddently you're both silent because you feel so damned guilty for fighting and after all it was fights like that that killed Christ and I'm going to burn in hell for all eternity because I called him an idiot and I'll have to become a freakin' nun just to atone for all the evil my little 7-year old soul has done.

OK, back to the's beautifully written, full of great characters, and a great story. But for me, the bottom line is that the Marchmain family is just like mine....only richer, more British, and better looking.
Tell me a story
In one sentence. Check out One Sentence Stories, which challenges both your creativity and your brevity.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Go team! You suck!
I gotta admit, I love Fall. That clear, pale light that makes you know the sun is shining but it's not hot out. The stores getting ready for Halloween (OK, not ready for Christmas yet, thank you very much). And football.

Much to the amusement and confusion of my family, I like football. And while watching the Niners/Seahawks game today, I realized how, at times, it can be a lot more enjoyable when your team is losing.

Now eventually, miraculously, unbelievably, the Niners won. But for awhile there, they were sucking, big time. And it was such fun to just get out all my pent-up frustration by yelling at the TV. "How can that not be offsides?? They looked like the fucking Rockettes?" "Nice of you to clear a space so the runner doesn't get bunched up....can somebody please tackle him?" It's great. It gives you a harmless outlet for your anger and angst and is, strangely, more satisfying than hating the other team.

Sure it's fun to rag on their lame passing game. But when your team is screwing up, it's intensely cathartic to just scream out your superiority. (Yes, even I with my weak health and newly-discovered ulcer can run better than our Running Backs.)

Now, on to Steelers vs. Browns. No clue who to root for, as I really don't care, but I still have some leftover piss to get out.