excitement catPeople keep asking me if I’m excited.

I think they expect me to be excited like if I’m going on a 10 day cruise, or a 2 week vacation to the coast.

But I am not going on a cruise or a trip to coast.  I honestly don’t think of this as a vacation.

I’m going to live in South America for three months.  I’m going to leave my home, my friends, my dog (who has been especially cute these past few days), my routines, my comforts, my support and my stability behind and toss myself into the Great Unknown.  And frankly, excitement is not the emotion that those things kindle up in me.  I’d say a bit of panic and anxiety would be more appropriate reactions, wouldn’t you?


Yeah, me neither.  I know, I’m suprised as well.  I thought I’d be waaaaay more excited at this point.  I thought I would face this adventure with my head held high and a ‘fuck you, bring it on’ attitude and jump off that cliff without a care.  After all, wasn’t it me who moved 3000 miles away on a (seeming) whim with nothing but a skateboard and a few boxes balanced on it?  Although looking back, I think I felt a bit of panic and anxiety about that trip too.  But I still did it, and never regretted it.

Make no mistake, when it comes time to leave I’ll probably LOOK like the fuckyoubringiton attitude is on top, like this is just another adventure in a lifetime of adventuring, like yo I do this all the time, no big.  But underneath it will be loads of panic and anxiety too, which the fuckyoubringiton attitude will be determinedly trying to stomp out.  I foretell limited success on the fuckyoubringiton attitude’s efforts.

The only difference between fear and excitement is your attitude about it.

Now to be fair, if I was going on a cruise or a vacation to the coast, two weeks out I may be a very teensy tiny bit excited, but not much. I usually don’t get that super OMG I’M OUTTA HERE dancing on the ceiling feeling until I’m packing, which I don’t generally do until the day or night before.  This time seems to be no different, either for excitement or for packing. (Although I do have a pile that I’ve started for ‘stuff I shouldn’t forget to bring’.  But it’s not actually *in* the suitcase, just on top of it, so it totally doesn’t count as packing. It’s more like…prefunc for the packing.  Yeah.) Therefore, the fact that I’m not feeling excitement yet is not terribly unusual for me.  Plus, all the work I’m trying to get done and all the preperations and last-minute commitments I’ve commited to have kept me focused all the more on Portland, which is kinda drowning any excitement I may be feeling.  I guess you could say I’m too busy to be excited just yet, and probably will be right up to the end – which sorta leaves room for the panic and anxiety to have a field day.

In conclusion:  Ask me if I’m excited when I’m on the plane.  I’m sure the answer will be a resounding HELL YEAH BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  But till then, I’m gonna quietly continue to freak the fuck out.



I have a list.

It’s a todo list.

It’s not full of particularly interesting or fun things.   Mostly just people to call, things to pick up, that sort of thing.  Mundane things.  Pick up milk and a loaf of bread kind of things.  Nor is it the shortest or longest list I’ve ever written.  I don’t write lists often – just for those times when I find I can’t keep all the things I need to do for specific event or occasion in my head.  You know, brain gets a bit too full, a bit too scattered, and sometimes a list helps keep it all together.

But this list…this list is different.  This list is unique, for all that it resides in the place many other lists have been before.  Because I’ve never had a list on my kitchen white board which made my heart stop a little bit every time I look at it.  Or missed a beat.  Or made my breath catch in my throat.

This list is a harbinger of events to come.  The tasks on this list are fashioned out of portent.  It heralds the impending arrival of my impending departure to a place far, far away for longer than I have been away from any place I’ve ever called home.

And sometimes, when I look at that list, it says to me “Girl, you are fucking crazy.” (Intentional withholding of exclamation mark.)  It says “This is a crazy crackbrained idea and the fact that I’ve taken it this far is pretty insane.  You’re only doing this because you talked so damn much about it that you’d look like a fool if you didn’t!”

But every once in a while, that list sits there, and is quiet, and just…pulses.  And the sound that comes off that list, the feelings that I feel when I look at that list during those moments – those are filled with possibility.  Pure kinetic potential.  Pure energy.

I am leaving.

God Father

Marlon Brando as The Godfather

My father’s favorite movie was the Godfather. I remember he made me watch it one afternoon, sitting on his bed in one of the immaculately furnished apartments he rented after my parents divorced, one of the lovebirds he used to keep perched on my shoulder as the grisly horse head scene played out before my eyes. I was 12, maybe 13, and I remember feeling like I was in a mafioso family as well, because my father was just as intimidating, just as imposing a figure to me as the Godfather in the movie. When he was angry, he would fix you with one eye, the pupil quivering in the eye socket, with such a glare that you felt riveted to the spot and couldn’t move. You just waited for whatever horrible fate he decided to assign you to be issued, for your punishment to be meted out with the coldness and impartiality of a judge, for all that his visage spoke of such anger. And yet, I was my father’s daughter – I saw in the Godfather what he loved so much about it. It was the music. I think the theme from the Godfather was probably one of my father’s favorite melodies, and I would often hear him humming it to himself as he went about his day.  And when I hear it now, I am gripped by a many-faceted melancholy: for the passing of time, for the passing of opportunity, for a misunderstood life, and for the finality of death experienced and inflicted.

Bork bork bork.

Howdy folks. I just wanted to let you know something.

Well, two things.

No, three.

Three, for real. Three.

Number one: I’ve been super busy as the lead organizer for WordCamp Portland 2010. In fact, I’m posting this from a geeky women unconference session. We did let some boys in, but they had to have either a daughter or a female dog.

Two. I’ve been trying to move this blog to a WPMU site for like, 6 months now. I haven’t made it yet. Of course, if I do it right, you won’t even notice. Wish me luck, cuz now that I”m a big fancy wordpress event organizer, I might have a few more contacts who can help me with this.

Three, and this is really the most important thing, because i’m super action excited about this: I thought of a way I want to repurpose this blog. Or not even repurpose, but add a dedicated running theme in here. Its AWESOME.

I call it: The Earworm Files.

Nummy! Right? Or actually it makes me think of that scene in The Wrath of Khan where Khan puts the nasty worm thingies in Chekhov’s ear, but whatever. The idea is that I always get these super random and sometimes obscure songs stuck in my ear. No really, WIERD AND RANDOM.

Like the theme from the Odd Couple.

Yeah, I know. I have no effin idea.

Stay tuned…


Hello my little intertribe!

Intertribe (n): the internet tribe of lovely talented fabulous people who read my blog.

I have a Very Special Treat for you today!  It’s not often that I have a guest blog post.  Actually, it’s pretty much never.  At least up until now it’s been never.  Because, you know, everyone I know already has their own blog.  You have one, don’t you?  You’d tell me about it if you did, right?  Because I want to read it!  I’m always looking for new fun blogs to read.  Hook a girl up!

Where was I?  Ah, yes.  MY VERY FIRST GUEST BLOG POST!

Now I wouldn’t have just *anyone* write  a blog post on my own very dear to my heart blog.  Oh no.  But this story was hilarious, and has a great message, and is TRUE.  It happened in my house while I was away doing work-type things in far off places, but I wish I could’ve been here to see it all go down.  So without further (verging on excessive, I know) ado, let me introduce my very own roomie, Louie, and his recounting  of this fine tale of inter-species partnership.

Author’s Note: YES I use capitol letters in some funny ways. Just imagine I am from the 1820’s.

A Man, a Cat, a Dog, a Rat.
Adventures in organic pest control.

“Lo in some cave long ago, there died a caveman who did not listen when his dog suggested they were all about to be eaten by a Giant Bear. We are NOT his descendants.”

It was Jessie that noticed first. She seemed sure that there was something interesting behind the china cabinet.

“hey!” says Jessie, “over here over here! something is interesting!” she said in fluent Dog. However, interesting for Jessie might be scraps – once stuffing – of some dearly departed stuffed toy. Plush Guts.

I glanced at the cats, especially Her Mu-Ness, Puffy the Slayer, the Murderous Muffin, Scourge and God of mice and voles and terror even unto the very squirrels.

Nothing. She said “Wuh, huh? Oh no, nothing about, not for days, the dog is daft.” Amazing what a cat can say with one open eye and a body loaded with cat comfort.

I saw nothing, the cats ears were not swiveling and the toy focused canine returned to her investigation of the underside of the china hutch.

“hey hey hey!” her eyes and face say.
Oh be still jessie be still.
*wiggle wiggle wag wag* “but but come see come see come see!”
hush, puppy.
*Yip* “I am Not Kidding”
oh alright, I’ll come look, remove the Object of Attention, peace will reign.

Except it wasn’t plush guts.

It was not a big rat as rats go, ordinary, not even old enough to have developed evil genius cunning. But a pretty professional rat just the same.

>Insert Classical symphonic scores here, Peter and the Wolf meets Night on Bald Mountain<

To get a better look I slid the china hutch a bit. The rat flipped me off and shot as though from rat-gun across the floor wall edge.

Lets clear the air a minute. I enjoyed The Secret of NIMH, Flushed Away and Ratatouille. But real rats (not the caged kind) are not cute, not funny, not “just trying to live their lives”. They do not live happily in Nature. They are devoted to eating what we have, living in our houses crapping and peeing on every thing they walk on or by. They have evolved to Live Off of Us. The bring us plague, Leptospira, Rat-Bite fever , Salmonellosis and several forms of Typhus. Fleas and intestinal parasites come with them as well. A pair of rats can produce enough offspring to fill your house in a mighty small spot of time. They are dangerous to your pets, your home and your self.  They will bite your baby and kill your chickens. Rat traps and rat poison are dangerous to use, and they have not yet come up with that better rat trap we all hear about.

>Sports announcer over the dramatic soundtrack<

“And Jessie moves to Intercept, she’s on it, No, Rat has backflipped to duck under the curtain edge. The Murderous Mu has exploded onto the field, and is in hot pursuit!”

>crowds cheer<

“Rat to the corner, pressure is on, Man to the left, Dog to the right, looks like.. NO! Rat has evaded behind the couch but that is not stopping our Miss Muffin Mu! Man and Dog are flanking the couch, Rat runs for it and slips past Jessie, narrowly missing the snap of teeth. Pressing from Jessie, troublesome shelving. Jessie looks like she wants the score for herself!”

“Yeah but Rat’s extreme maneuverability lets him scoot back to the couch, scuffling, fierce squeaking tell us that he has run into … The Power-Puff! But this Rat is not down! Spectacular Acro-Ratics – who thought that rats could fly! Rat Looks Rat-tled though, signs of intimate contact with the claws of Mu. Rat has found every spot the cats paw and dogs maw cannot reach.”

“The Man has gotten a Stick! The Man has gotten a Stick! Comments Jim?”

“Well the Man is clearly the underdog here, no offense Jessie, and a stick is a traditional tactic. He will probably use it to displace the opposition from those claw and snout proof positions. My guess is it may also be useful in the Terminal Moment. Rat is making a move! A bold attempt! Feint to the curtains, a mad dash for the china hutch! But man has beaten Rat to the Hutch and slides it out far enough for the Power team of Mu and Jessie to get right inside! the crowd (all 2 of them) is Going wild!”

“Jim, this classic grudge match was first fought about 5,000 BC. That was about the time Cats joined up. Till then, man and dog played against the rodent team without this specialized player.”

“Well times may have changed Bob, but these are tried and true plays, first developed in the early days of the game and OH Boy the break seems to be over! Looks like rat is fully cornered… MU moving up Jessie is on guard. Man and stick are closing in and..

Thats it! the 967 millionth Rat bowl is over!

>crowd of two cheering<

Our lives are covered with technology, much of it unseen and subtle, some of it overt and obvious. In spite of the recent invention of Laser mosquito killers, I feel we are far from replacing the exquisite intricacy and infinite flexibility of one of our oldest technologies, other species. In this advanced world, we would do well to remember that most of our problems are still best addressed with what millions and billions of years of biological adaptation can give us.

The three of us bonded during this adventure. When all was over and the offensive carcass removed, Miss Muffin Mu, Jessie the Bold and Your Author had the most satisfying mutual pet-rub-snuggle session. Man and Dog and Cat all in a happy pile of purring and wiggling and self congRATulations.

We humans did not get here alone. We had help. Man and Dog and Cat evolved together. In mutual support, we have come to a future where dog and cat can largely retire and enjoy being pets.
I am fine with that, they have paid their dues. Again.

Don’t read this. No, DON’T. SERIOUSLY.

Hello internets! Today I would like to codify, for posterity, the best April Fool’s tweet I’ve ever heard:

RT @CERN OH FUCK RUN   (link) 

The brilliance of this tweet may not be apparent at first glance. Let me break it down for you.

I wonder if they send messages to each other in little tubes.  I mean, let's make this thing earn the ~6 billion dollars it cost to build, right?

Very Large Hadron Collider. Words Capitalized For Proper Effect. Photo by Peter McCready

First of all, who is @CERN ? Why, none other than the The European Organization for Nuclear Research , who are currently in the process of running the Large Hadron Collider , or LHC. The LHC is a 100 meter particle accelerator which spans the border of France and Sweden, and which is right now smashing million and billions and trillions of atoms in an effort to gain a better understanding of the universe. They started its ‘operation phase’ a few days ago, amid (partly) joking worries  that these experiments would create a black hole that would engulf the earth. Ok. So, big huge ass particle accelerator.  Ramping up to create antimatter and black holes and Maximilian  will jump out of it and eat you. The buzz on Twitter was pretty amusing, with people mostly faking panic. Mostly.

Next, the tweet itself. “OH FUCK RUN” is pretty simple, but if you know who CERN is, and what they’ve been up to recently, combined with the muted concern around the world that …well, something VERY VERY BAD could maybe possibly happen when you start fucking with the universe and physics in a whole new way and who are these crazy physicists and what the hell do they think they’re doing, right? Despite the fact that these experiments are recreating occurences that happen all the time in the universe. They’ve just never happened on our planet, underneath the earth, in a controlled experiment by fallible humans. So, armed with all that, it’s clear that perhaps the folks at CERN are playing, quite unintentionally I’m sure, on the not-so-scientific community’s fears.

But then comes the true genius of the tweet. Because CERN tweeted no such thing. It was in fact first tweeted by a guy named @mikeysan . I suppose that CERN might be somewhat to blame. I mean, they did time all this activity at the LHC daaaaangerously close to April Fool’s Day. I mean, I do believe April Fools’ day is a well known day in Europe, considering it was first mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (which I am very fond of, incidentally!  What, you can’t speak Olde Englysh?)  Maybe next time they could postpone it a week or two.  You know, after April Fool’s day, when everyone has forgotten about pranks and practical jokes as a national pastime for 24 hours.

In conclusion, I’d like to just say one thing:  My hat is off to you, @mikeysan.  Well done.  Well, well done. 

Note: I admittedly did very light checking of facts for this article, as I’m on a shitty wireless connection in a hotel in Baltimore.  If I got any of the facts about CERN or the LHC wrong, please feel free to comment below and correct.  Thanks!

I Have Slipped The Surly Bonds of Earth…

I remember clearly the first time I ever flew in a plane. I was six years old, and my father and I were taking a trip, just the two of us, to visit his father in Istanbul. We boarded a Pan Am (remember them? Remember the Pan Am building in New York?) flight in New York. I remember feeling like this was the most amazing thing I would ever do, embarking on this adventure where I would defy reason and logic and actually fly. I felt like I was boarding a magical craft, one that would take me to places I could never in my wildest dreams imagine, and as a kid, I had me some wild dreams, let me tell you. I remember watching in amazement as all the lessons I had learned in school about flight were demonstrated to perfection. I remember feeling my heart beat louder and harder as the plane muscled its way faster and faster down the runway, and then the feel of my center dropping as we pulled away from the earth’s tenuous hold upon us and became, for the first time, truly air borne; carried by the winds.

I also remember the agony I endured as my ears struggled and failed to adjust to the pressurization and depressurization of the cabin. It is still probably one of the most painful things I’ve ever endured. (Parents, take note: if your child is screaming on a plane, it may very well be that their ears feel like someone is plunging icepicks into them. The only cure is to have them drink liquids; the act of swallowing will help their ears adjust to the pressure.) But despite that ordeal, I was completely and absolutely in love with this experience, and everything it implied. It’s no wonder that all my aspirations as I considered my future was somehow connected to flying; astronaut, astrophysicist, aerospace engineer, air force academy. My life has not lead me to those things, and I don’t regret it, but that love was always there.

And then, two things happened.

The first, we all remember: September 11th, and the two hijacked planes which tore into the World Trade Center buildings in New York. Buildings which I remember having family pictures taken at the top of, my mom pregnant with my brother, all of us smiling in wonderment at the view. Buildings whose destruction cast a pall of fear over every single flight I have taken since, where I cannot help but look at all my fellow passengers with a tinge of suspicion.

The second, less well remembered but happening just two months, was also plane crash, also in New York, also in 2001. With all the insanity still swirling around 9/11, as soon as it was confirmed that the cause of the crash was not related to terrorists, poeple soon forgot about it and returned to mourning and speculation around the 9/11 crash. Eventually the cause was determined to be “excessive rudder inputs to counteract wake turbulence”. Basically, what this means is that a jet took off and caused a huge amount of turbulence in the air. The jet immediately following the first one takes off, flies into that turbulence, and apparently due to the pilot’s overreaction it caused the entire tail section to shear off. However, at first the news claimed that it was due to that wake turbulence and not the pilot’s reaction to it that caused the accident.

So I have two pieces of information in my brain after that. One, terrorists are everywhere and are trying to kill us using the aircraft we take for granted. Anyone can be a terrorist. Anyone. Two, simple turbulence during takeoff can sometimes be so violent that it can shear off a plane’s tail section, which is downright impossible to recover from.

Plane taking off at sunsetErgo, my love of flying has been subsumed by a complete fear of flying. It did not stop me from flying, but the joy, the wonder, the feeling of being really ALIVE that I so enjoyed was completely and forever gone. Or so I thought.

Yesterday, I took a flight. I’ve taken a bunch of flights since September 11th, 2001. But this one was different. Sure, the terrorists and wind shear and turbulence were all still in my head. But this flight? This flight, to a place that is not at all special, for reasons not at all interesting or exciting – this flight was different.  This time, the fear and suspicions faded into the background, and once again I enjoy the rush and the rumble of the engines as we tear down the runway and leap up into the blue.

I think next year I will take flying lessons.

In Defense Of Dating, Part Two

Could this be an arm around my waist?
Well surely the hand contains a knife…
-Morrissey, “I’m Ok By Myself”

A disturbing trend has revealed itself to me, my dear faithful internets.  I’ve been trotting along my merry way, dating here and dating there.  Gathering ye rosebuds as I may, so to speak.  Now me, I have a pretty regular pattern when navigating murky dating waters: Relationship ends.  I enter period of celibate mourning.  I feel better after a variable amount of time and commence dating, ready to find the next serious relationship.  I’m not saying it’s the best, or the most effective, or even the pattern I would choose were I able.  But it’s what works for me, and that’s pretty much that.  Every relationship I’ve had has been better, healthier than the last, and I have learned valuable lessons with each one.  Binge dating, one night stands, empty sex just have never appealed to me.  Well, not *really*.  I have my moments, I mean GOD.  I’m only human. But anyway…

This time around, there is a term that has cropped up again and again, not just in my experiences, but those of my friends as well.  I had not personally encountered this term in the past, but now it seems to be pervasive:  This thing called “emotionally unavailable”.

Now this might surprise you but
I find I’m ok by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your morality
To save me
No no no no no

My reaction to this term has always been negative.  Consider the premise upon which I function:  That a person’s natural inclination, emotional entropy, if you will, is to find that one person that completes them.  It might be for a few years, or forever.  It is generally not possible for someone to connect this deeply with more than one person at a time; they can come close, but there is the desire to have that one partner, that one companion who is above all others.  A soul mate, for lack of a better term.  The urge to create connections, to bond, is stronger than all others.

This might disturb you but
I find I’m ok by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your benevolence
To make sense
No no no no

Based on that premise, I concluded that the only reasons someone could have for claiming this state of emotional unavailability are twofold; either they are unwilling to be truthful about the real reason they don’t want to connect (“She’s just not that into you”) or they have succumbed to the fear of being hurt, and are unwilling to face that fear – a cop out, in my view.  But I had never truly investigated that stance outside my own admittedly flawed brain, and decided to start asking around.  Determine if perhaps there were other reasons, or if the reasons I had were valid.  Time for some investigative blogging!  I was surprised, somewhat, by what I discovered.

After all these years
I find I’m ok by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your homespun philosophy
No no no no

What I found during my highly unscientific in-depth investigation is that while those reasons are quite valid, there is a different way to view the second one, and a third one I had not considered.

A short word on the first one:  If you’re just using someone for the sex, or to fill time, then say so.  To do otherwise is to lead someone on, and that is never ok in the world of the human heart.  That’s all I think I need to say about that.

We have all been hurt, except for all those perfect couples of which there are OH SO VERY MANY, and perhaps some yogis sitting on a mountain in Tibet.  And I’m sure there’s been squabbles over yak milk there, too.  But I’m talking about being heartbroken – that pain is hard to risk again.  I seem to be somewhat risk immune to it, but whatever.  Not everyone is so lucky, I guess.  So saying you’re emotionally unavailable could be construed as a way of keeping the definitions vague, thereby saving us from having to make a choice.  Which is not a bad thing; sometimes we need to scope out the situation for a while.  But in this case, I maintain that the use of the term is misleading.  Instead, let’s perhaps say that ‘I’m keeping my options open’, or ‘I’m not ready to commit to anything’.  Emotionally unavailable gives the impression of being inflexible.

This might make you flop in your bed
I’m ok by myself
And I don’t need you
And I never have
I never have
No no no no no

The third reason I found were those people who have not yet recovered from that heartbreak.  The ones who are still damaged, who are going through repairs.  They cannot even contemplate any sort of emotional connection.  The difference, and probably the reason I did not consider it, is that when I am in that state I turn into a hermit.  You don’t see me.  I don’t go out.  I sit in my house and heal, I do things for myself, I hug my pets.  I do not, however, eat pints of ice cream – I’m more likely to grill up a steak.  Gotta watch that waistli…um…yeah.  I may go out and see friends occasionally, but I’d much prefer they visit me.  And I do not date anyone, see anyone, sleep with anyone.  I couldn’t comprehend the thought of someone else touching me, or me being at all interested in touching anyone else, which saves me from having to explain that at that moment, I am emotionally unavailable.  Other people embark upon a game of conquest, sleeping with everyone who catches their eye and is willing, but refusing to apply or entertain any meaning to it.  These people heal however they may, but they most certainly have no business trying to enter into another serious relationship until the damage has been healed.  They then use the term to explain the situation, which is probably its most correct usage.

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is how to love and be loved in return.
-Eden Ahbez, “Nature Boy” (1948)

I guess in closing, what I’m discovering is that the term “emotionally unavailable” has become a blanket term for a host of different things, and in the case of close interpersonal relationships, I suggest that a more descriptive term of the actual situation be employed, if possible – realizing that the line between the second and third reasons are very cloudy at best.  I also think that it is not something you are, it is something you become.  It is a reaction to an external input, and as it goes against the initial premise, it is not something to be content with indefinitely.  Much as I use Morrissey’s song as an effective tool at maintaining emotional distance, it is a temporary state – behind the walls, underneath the facade, my truth is the line from Eden Ahbez.  Of course, my initial premise may be wrong, or just my own; but I find that emotionally, we are so very much alike in so many different ways.  More love, more commitment, more honesty, more passion.  These are the things I seek and treasure, and hope for everyone.

Speaking of Inspiration

I’m so effin busy, this post has been half written since back during the Xanadu Days.  But I finally finished it.  Enjoy!

What inspires you?

I’ve had my head full of Muses and heavenly Inspiration for the past few weeks, you see. And of course the moment anything stirs that messy glorious soup wherein my creative juices smolder and bubble, percolate and stew, my first thoughts turn to music. Yes, there’s this writing thing. And the photography thing. And now this whole producing thing…but music is the first thing I think of.

I know. I realize that I am writing about music. Hush up and read on.

A while back I wrote about some of my favorite songs. Now, with all this talk of inspiration, I thought I’d share with you all some of the musicians who inspire me as a musician.

I started my musical career as a classical guitarist at the age of 6, so that’s where I’ll start. Probably one of the most amazing classical guitarist I’d ever seen was Andres Segovia.  I used to watch him and try to copy all the mannerisms and fingering that he would do on the few occasions I was lucky enough to see him on television.  I couldn’t find any videos of him playing these two songs I practiced endlessly back then, so here’s a few talented performers doing their own rendition: Malaguena and Aranjeuz Mon Amour .  I’d never say I ever got it down as good as these guys, but I rocked it in my own right.

The next instrument I turned my eye to was the bass.  In all honesty, I switched to the bass because it was 1. in high demand, especially for a girl and 2. I didn’t have to concentrate and think quite as much as I did playing classical guitar.  It allowed me to do something while playing that I never got to do, and that was just groove.  Go with the flow.  Feel the music, and improvise.  Classical guitar has tons of improviation potential, if you are very very awesome.  Otherwise it sounds like crap.  Bass, on the other hand, is far more forgiving, at least for me.  My inspiration for the bass is the inimitiable Gordon Sumner, heretofore referred to by his more commonly known name, Sting.  His bass lines for The Police were simple, elegant, playful, and not overly showy.  Solid, as my friend Mike aka @drnormal would say.  I once read an article he did for Bass Player magazine back in 2000, where they asked him about the importance of space when playing the bass. He responded:
“For me, the sound is only half of music – the space between the notes is also vitally important. I gave a speech at Berklee College of Music a couple years ago and talked about silence. As musicians, all we do is create a frame for silence, because silence is the perfect music.”
That concept really resounded for me.  Suffice to say, there’s a heck of a lot of Police in my bass practice repertoire.
I have lots of other instruments I dabble casually in; included in that list is the saxaphone, the drums, in particular the bodhran, and various flutey bits.  None of those are instruments I’d consider myself  particulary inspired by any one performer, so my last entry has nothing to do with an instrument, except perhaps voice – truly a marvelous instrument in its own right, to be sure.  Despite the jabs I most certainly will receive from friends and readers about writing a single music-related blog post without mentioning Sarah McLachlan, I’ve got to include her.  She’s freaking brilliant, talented in a hundred different ways, and uses her powers to create amazingly good for people everywhere. and female musicians in particular.  Sarah McLachlan is truly an amazing artist, and her inspiration to me is what you can do with music.  She’s proved you can change the world with it, between her philanthropic work and the Lilith Fair (you did hear it’s coming back this year, right?  Check the website I linked right there!)  I mean seriously, can you possibly watch that damn ASPCA commercial without bawling?  I can’t.  So unfair.
I was originally going to end with Sarah there, but it occurred to me that there was one other musician who truly inspires me with her absolute dedication to her own flavor of the craft, her  unrepentant refusal to conform, and her unique lyric patterns which constantly fascinate me.  Tori Amos will never fit into any predetermined box or genre, slamming out anger, pain, love and betrayal from a straddled piano bench.  A musical prodigy at age 5, she was asked to leave the music conservatory she was studying at when only 11.  Even then, she refused to be put into a musical box, and has pioneered ever since.

Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant, there is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks. – Johann Gottfried Von Herder

Teh Slows – I Haz Them.

Halloo internets!!  I have a new theme, whattya think?

Yeah.  I know.

It’s slow.

S    L    O    O    O    O    O   W.

I can’t even say slow slow enough to fully capture just how slow my blog loads now.

No fears tho!  Thanks to the fabulous Jason Grigsby and his talk  from last year’s WordCamp Portland ,  “Speed Up WordPress: Make Readers Happy and Your Site Green”, I have this handy little tool on my FireFox called YSlow .  And I’ll be using it to optimize my blog so the SLOW WILL BE NO MO.

Just as soon as I have time.  I mean, you see how long it took me just to install a couple new themes to play around with? 


Still.  Here’s a short little list of all the plates I have spinning merrily:

And that’s just my projects.  I still go to martial arts class, I still work on the Eternal Project, I date people, I try to keep my dog well exercised and happy because she’s the bestest dog on the planet, I am trying to build a couple of DJ sets to shop around, and I still love to write using blogs for my various writing outlets (this here personal one, OurPDX, and now the WordCamp Portland blog is gonna need some loves from me.)

Oh yeah, and work. 

So, busy.

I could use some help with that stuff, you know.  If you’re not doing anything.  Stuff like:

  • Recommending great local bands who’d like to play the 30 Hour Day 2 Variety Show on July 3rd
  • Volunteering for some core responsibilities for WordCamp Portland
  • Mow my front yard

Ok I was kidding about the yard one.

Mostly kidding.

Also, just so you know – lolcats  might be taking over my brain.  If my posts start to become a bit gibberishy-make that more gibberishy than usual-please send a couple dogs, or cat exterminator, to save me and my dog from the lolcats.