Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

February 28, 2010

8 Songs

Another meme because I think they are fun and I like to talk about music. Again, do play along if you want, as I'd like to see what songs about which other people are passionate!

Apparently the original meme called for 25 answers, but I am only going to use 8 answers. These are songs that you can listen to over and over and never get tired of. They don't have to be in any particular order. These are the songs that make you laugh, cry, think of an old friend, whatever the reason. I know it's impossible for many of us to narrow it down to 8. There are just too many songs. Instead, make a list of those 8 songs that move you personally and tell me why. What memory does the song evoke? What emotion? Where were you when you first heard it? Name 8 songs and discuss your emotional connection to the song.

Fair enough?

Let's get started!

5 O'Clock World - The Vogues
OK, first I am going to list an old song from the 60's called "5 O'clock World" by the Vogues. I first became aware of it in the 1990's when we tuned into the new season of "The Drew Carey Show". We were not at all expecting to see that the show's open had been changed to an unbelievably cool little dance number using this catchy song. I believe when it was done, Brian and I stared at the TV, open mouthed, then said, "what in the hell was that and OH MY GOD what is the name of the song???" I made it my mission to track it down that following week. It's the perfect song for an office worker; I know I can certainly relate to it. Plus it's just really, really good. After I heard it used for the show, I had a very vague memory of having heard this song a few times when I was extremely young, probably in one of my older cousins' homes, because they would have been more familiar with it being teens in the early 60's.
Ya just gotta watch it:

Midnight Moonlight - Old & In The Way
Although I don't like country music, I do love bluegrass. I'm talkin banjo pickin, washboard playin, moonshine drinkin hills music of Appalachia. In the mid-70's, Jerry Garcia (banjo/vocals), David Grisman (mandolin/vocals), Peter Rowan (guitar/vocals), Vassar Clements (fiddle) and John Kahn (upright bass) got together and formed Old & In The Way. "Midnight Moonlight" is 5 minutes of pure bluegrass fun. This is a live CD, so you can hear the audience clapping and hootin', especially as Jerry plays his smokin' banjo solo. It's freakin AWESOME. It was a real treat when the Jerry Garcia Band would play it. The Dead never did, though.
Little Willy - The Sweet
Ah yes. My very first favourite rock song. Up till I was about 7 or 8, the only music I was exposed to was what my dad listened to. My mom was not into music at all and never liked it being played in the house or the car. But dad would use his stereo out in the coop while he did the paperwork for his plumbing business, and I often hung out w/ him in there, doing crafts and whatnot. He listened to a radio station that played mostly music from the 1940's, or his albums like The Ray Conniff Singers, Bert Kaempfert and Los Indio Tabajaras.

That changed in the 3rd grade. My uncle, who owned a TV shop & repair service, gave me my very first transistor radio. It was tiny, like may 4" to 6" tall, white, AM only. 9 volt battery. Tinny speaker. Sharon & Diane were up from Long Island, visiting for February vacation. I remember this so clearly. It was snowing hard & we already had several inches. My dad drove me down the street to my aunt & uncle's house. When I went into the livingroom at my aunt's house, Sharon & Diane were sitting next to each other on the couch w/ their new yellow transistors. Uncle Dick handed me my white one. They were excited to see me and told me to tune my radio to WRKO in Boston, which is what they were listening to. My life was changed forever. "Little Willy" became my first fave song.
Sausalito Summernight - Diesel
First heard this one my sophomore year in college at St. Joe's, in Maine, in the fall of 1983. Michelle & I were doing homework in our dorm room, listening to WIGY and it came on. She exclaimed, "I LOVE this song!" and turned it up. For whatever reason, none of the Boston or Cape Cod Top 40 stations I'd listened to the entire summer had played it. Needless to say it became one of my fave songs too, and I made sure to get it on tape off the radio the next time it came on, so that we could add it to our 'party music repertoir'. Note the misspelling on the 45 sleeve. I believe Diesel was from Germany. This song is so much fun and reminds me of a really great time in my life.
Blow at High Dough - The Tragically Hip
This is the opening theme of the show "Made in Canada", about the TV and film industry. The show rain from 1998 to about 2003 or 2004 on CBC. It used to air in the early 2000's on the Bravo Channel & PBS but called, "The Industry". This is one of my fave shows in the entire world. I started watching the show since it was on right after "The Red Green Show". It is so incredibly accurate in its portrayal of the sex, drugs and backstabbing that goes on in the industry. It is also one of the funniest and most cleverly written shows I've ever seen in my life. Rick Mercer is a brilliant comedian and satirist, and Peter Keleghan is easy on the eyes. I'd never heard of The Tragically Hip till this show and I had to track down the CD cause it rocks. No idea what exactly 'blow at high dough' means, but I love listening to it, esp. when I'm on my way to, or in, Canada.
You've Got Another Thing Comin - Judas Priest
The "Screaming for Vengeance" album came out when I was at St. Joe's. Michelle & I used to party with our best friends Mark n Dave over in their townhouse. It was a very serious offense to break 'parietals', which were the college's strict rules about no inter-room visitation of guys and girls. If caught, you got kicked off campus for 10 days. It was also a rule that was broken by everyone. Me & Michelle would head over to Mark n Dave's room to drink heavily, crank tunes and dance, before heading off to the campus club, The Chalet, for more music and dancing w/ our friends. Mark was really into heavy metal and Judas Priest was one of our faves to just blast as loud as possible. It brings back awesome memories of hanging out w/ them, with other friends coming and going, Dave's neon beer sign which was the only source of light in the room. Memories of being stuffed into Mark's closet, Michelle hiding under a desk, the two of us giggling uncontrollably about how bad we need to pee, Mark n Dave trying to shush us, because the Assistant Dean was taking a stroll thru the townhouse, looking for parietals violations. We never got caught. Priest rawks. Ya gotta crank it to 11 and sing loudly!!
Magic - Pilot
My fave childhood summer was the Summer of 1975, when I was 10. "Magic" is among many, many songs from 1975 that I could listen to over and over and over again. There were very few songs that came out that year that I didn't love! Yeah it was a one hit wonder, but if you ask anyone my age about it, they'll all remember it and say it was one of their fave songs too. When I hear it now, it reminds me of that summer where everything just seemed to be right. It was the happiest summer of my life. Diane's too. She & I always wax nostalgic about the summer of 75. I think of her and Sharon a lot when I hear "Magic", and the fun we had that year building our forts & swimming in the pool. My parents & I going to the beach house at Spring Hill to see my cousins & friends of the family, who rented it during the summer. It reminds me of "Bonanza" & "Land of the Lost" and "Little House on the Prairie" both the books & show. Making crafts in the coop, listening to WRKO all day, every day. My first summer sleepover in the coop when we ate candy and listened to the radio all night, then talked till dawn. The 4th of July & the Barnstable County Fair. Being barefoot from morning to night, playing hide & seek when it got dark, donning our cowboy hats & cap guns and getting 'a game' going. Being scared to go swimming in Cape Cod Bay b/c "Jaws" was the blockbuster movie that summer. Ice cream from Twin Acres; pizza from Minerva's; Sunday night Chinese take out from Dragon Light. Big family cookouts, back when all our aunts & uncles were still alive. It was a great summer.

One Summer Dream - Electric Light Orchestra
ELO is easily one of my fave bands ever. I started getting into them in late 1977 and spent all my allowance money on their albums. Jeff Lynne's masterful use of production techniques perfectly marries driving rock & roll with strings and choirs, creating the soaring sound for which ELO is known.

"Face the Music" is definitely one of my fave LPs. Released in 1975, it contains the hits "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic". Both are good, but definitely aren't my favourite songs from that album. "One Summer Dream", the last song on side 2, is. I first got the LP in the summer of 1978. That was also the summer I discovered "The Chronicles of Narnia", and it was also unusually rainy that year. I remember playing "Face the Music", (along with ELO's "A New World Record" and "Out of the Blue") over and over, while reading the Narnia books over and over, in my room. But my nightly ritual for at least 2 years, well into my sophomore year of high school, was to put "One Summer Dream" on the turntable, shut off my lights & get into bed, and go to sleep with that song as the last thing I heard. It made for some very vivid and interestingly strange dreams, which I wrote down each morning in a notebook. I still have that notebook, and I do like reading it b/c it brings the dreams back as clearly as if I'd just had them the night before. They weren't bad dreams, they were just really surreal and really cool. There was a lot of flying, lots of pretty colours and glittery things in those dreams. They were usually set at the cranberry bog & railroad tracks across the street, and the woods behind my house, places I played & explored as much as possible.

What are your 8 songs?

February 26, 2010

It's FRIDAY!!!!!!!

Had to share this pic that Susan sent me yesterday, and which was also on the I Can Has Cheezburger site yesterday.I have been having a bit of a toothache in a lower left molar, so I have to go to the dentist tomorrow at 8 am for xrays. This tooth already has a filling in it, which was done in about 1980. Therefore, root canal or re-filling it is not an option. If I truly have a cavity or abscess, I'm going to have it pulled. I don't have the money for anything more invasive. In any event I'm hoping to get some decent pain meds. Still though, the dentist at 8 am on a Saturday is a real bummer, but I have to get it taken care of. I'm hoping they don't decide to pull it tomorrow too, b/c I won't be able to drive myself home after undergoing the nitrous oxide that is necessary to keep me from freaking out at having a tooth pulled.
Have a great weekend!

February 24, 2010

Quite Possibly the Best Book and Movie EVER

IMHO, anyway. (spoiler alert: plot giveaways ahead)
TKAM, or 'Mockingbird' as I prefer to call it, was required reading for my 10th grade high school English class. I fell into it completely and totally, the instant I started it. I remember we had just started it in class during the week, and over the weekend I could not put it down, reading it ever spare second I could. That Sunday afternoon, my homework was done, I was already about halfway through the book and I didn't want to get too far ahead, so I decided to see what was on TV. I turned on Channel 38 just as Mockingbird-the-movie was about to start!!! I knew Mrs. Pearson would kill me if I watched it, but I didn't care. I was already chapters ahead of the class anyway. So I settled into the beanbag chair in my room, and got ready for an incredible ride. A couple of hours later, and crying my eyes out, I grabbed the book off of my desk and killed it by bedtime. The next day when I got to English, I told Mrs. Pearson that Mockingbird had been on TV the day before, and that I watched it. She was distressed, "What?! You weren't supposed to watch it!" I waved her off and said, "Don't worry, I finished the book last night too." She just laughed and told me not to tell anyone in the class how it ends. Needless to say, I found myself participating in class discussions more than was normal for me, and bursting with impatience for my classmates to hurry up and finish so that we could talk about the end!!

For those of you who have never read the book or seen the movie, it's set in Depression-era Alabama, in the fictional town and county of Maycomb. Maycomb is based upon author Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. The story is told from the perspective of Jean Louise Finch, "Scout", who is remembering the events that took place over the course of a couple of summers when she was a child in the 30's. The book, of course, is much longer and more detailed than the movie, which had to condense, and eliminate, many of the different elements of the book. Scout lives with her older brother Jeremy, "Jem", and their father, Atticus, who is a lawyer. Their mom died when Scout was 2, and Atticus employs a black woman, Calpurnia, to help with the kids and around the house, and Cal is very much a mother figure to the kids. Atticus raises his well-mannered children in a home free of prejudice and/or hate, despite it being the deep South in those times. In fact, several of the townspeople are portrayed as being far more open minded than one would think, including the Judge, Sheriff and neighbor Miss Maudie.

Scout sets the scene, both in the book & movie, as follows:

"Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow it was hotter then. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There's no hurry, for there's nowhere to go and nothing to buy... and no money to buy it with. Although Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself... that summer, I was six years old."

There are 2 themes in the book. The first is of the children's world, their friend Dill Harris & their very overactive imaginations, and the mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, who never leaves his home, and with whom the children are obsessed. The second theme is much darker. Atticus is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man, who is being accused of having raped Mayella Ewell. The Ewells are a repugnant bunch; the lowest of the low class of white people in those times. Still, they are white, and no white jury is going to find a black man innocent, even though it is 100% clear that Tom is not guilty. Most Court appointed attorneys would provide the most basic of defenses for a black client. However, Atticus makes no secret of the fact that he will defend Tom to the fullest, which enrages Mayella's father, Bob Ewell. The children also have to put up with a lot of crap from classmates and townspeople because of Atticus' decision to take Tom's case, often being called "n***** lover". A good portion of the movie/book deals with Tom's trial, and the explosive aftermath. Both themes dovetail beautifully at the end, as Scout astutely discovers what, rather who, the Mockingbird represents.

I can honestly say that the movie is as good as the book. And the reason is that Harper Lee was on the set, and approved of the screenplay, script changes and casting. Gregory Peck reminded her so much of her father, Amasa Lee, (on whom Atticus is based) that she gave Peck her father's pocket watch. The character Dill Harris is based on Lee's childhood friend, Truman Capote. Boo was based on a reclusive neighbor of Lee's as well. And by the way, Gregory Peck was absolutely born to play this role. Peck himself stayed up all night reading the script and couldn't wait to start filming, and has said it was the highlight of his long career. He got an Oscar for it. This movie is perfectly cast. I was reading the Mockingbird trivia on IMDB and I cannot imagine what it would have been like if Rock Hudson or Jimmy Stewart had played Atticus. The children are so engaging and they played a lot of make-believe and other games, like I played with my cousins, so from that standpoint, it reminded me of my own childhood growing up in a small, rural town.

Mary Badham, who plays Scout, was nominated for an Academy Award. She was so magical in the scenes with Peck. And the scene when she, Jem & Dill go to 'rescue' Atticus from the angry mob that show up at the jailhouse to take out their own brand of justice on Tom, is riveting. Scout doesn't quite understand what is going on, other than fact that her father is being threatened by these people, because he is defending Tom Robinson. She looks over the crowd and finds a familiar face: The father of a classmate who had lunch at the Finch home one school day the year before. She calls out, "Hey Mr. Cunningham! Remember me? I'm Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one early morning. I got my daddy to come out and thank you." The angry mob of men shift uncomfortably as Scout continues, "I go to school with your boy! I go to school with Walter! He's a nice boy, tell him 'hey' for me!' Scout continues talking until she realizes that she's been talking too much. Embarrassed, she hangs her head and says, 'I sure meant no harm Mr. Cunningham'. By this point, the men are completely shamed. Mr. Cunningham finally speaks up, 'No harm taken, young lady. I'll tell Walter you said Hey." It's absolutely brilliant the way a child snapped those men out of their intent to remove Atticus by force and lynch Tom Robinson.

I found the movie poster at the antique show in Puyallup a few years ago. When I was at Universal Studios in LA in 1986, the tour tram went right by the Finch house. It was so fast that I couldn't get a photo of it, but at least I can say I saw the house! Of all the old movies that have been remade, I am so pleased that no one has dared to improve on this classic. The cinematography is top notch. The black & white adds even more of a nostaglic flavour to it, not to mention a good amount of creepiness in all the right places. I truly do not believe that I would love Mockingbird as much as I do had it been in colour.

One of the reasons I love Atticus Finch in the book, and especially as portrayed by Gregory Peck, is that he reminds me so much of my own dad. My father was a very fair, gentle-but-firm, and well-respected man in my hometown. He was level headed and always tried to do the right thing, even if it wasn't popular to do so. He possessed so many of the same qualities as Atticus. Even looked like him a bit.

Can you see the resemblance? Because I sure do. This is my dad right before the July 4th parade in 1975.

When my dad died in 2003, I was racing around the house trying to pack to get back east as soon as I could, and I needed to have a book with me. I grabbed Mockingbird out of habit, but it only occurred to me a few years later what I had done on a subconscious level. At the time I wasn't actually consciously thinking about Atticus and dad at all. I just needed a book that I loved and one that was an easy read, and Mockingbird has always been my 'go-to' book. But I definitely wasn't thinking, 'hey, I know, let's compound my grief by reading a book about my dad....'

Back in the mid-90's, I had taken some time off at the end of October...I think it was I was home on Halloween which fell on a weekday. We never got trick or treaters, so I knew I could kick back with a movie undisturbed, so I of course chose Mockingbird. Thus began a long standing tradition of watching it on Halloween. The final scene of the movie actually takes place on Halloween night and it's pretty creepy.

Of course I hunted down the soundtrack as well. The movie score, composed by Elmer Bernstein, is absolutely amazing. Bernstein manages to perfectly capture the wonder of a child's world with his delicate piano, played to sound like a music box, which then swells into the main "Mockingbird Theme", both beautiful and nostalgic, yet poignant and heartbreaking at the same time. I love it so much, and it moves me to tears every time I hear it, and since I have it on a few cassette tapes that I listen to regularly, I hear it a lot. Still chokes me up.

The score captivates from the second the movie starts all the way through to the end credits, which when accompanied by the visual of young Scout walking Boo Radley home with the adult Scout's narration, brings me to instant weeping. I have seen this movie hundreds and hundreds of times, and I cry every. single. time.

"Neighbors bring food with death... and flowers with sickness... and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a knife... and our lives. One time Atticus said... you never really knew a man until you stood in his shoes and walked around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough. The summer that had begun so long ago had ended, and another summer had taken its place. And a fall. And Boo Radley had come out. I was to think of these days many times, of Jem and Dill... and Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. And Atticus. He would be in Jem's room all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning."

See it or read it. I guarantee you won't be sorry.

February 23, 2010

A Meme from MusicWench

MusicWench did an interesting meme on her blog the other day, with new and funnier questions, so I decided to answer them too. Anyone who wants to play along can feel free to copy & paste. Some of the formatting got screwed up and I can't seem to change it.
1. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up?

I only get ONE choice? OK then, either Sarah Palin or Octomom.

2. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be?

Seriously, again with the 'one' choice?! I really hate Bruce Springsteen. Gonna have to go with Springsteen.

3. Who would you really like to just punch in the face?

Former Oakland Rayduh's quarterback Jeff Hostetler. I really can't stand that guy. I have always wanted to punch his face in.

4. What is your favorite cheese?


5. You can only have one kind of sandwich. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is at your immediate disposal. What kind will you make?

An east coast style Italian sub.

6. You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie or sports celebrity of your choice. We are talking no-strings-attached sex and it can only happen once. Who is the lucky celebrity of your choice?

I'll get in trouble with the Vincent Vixens if I don't automatically pick Vincent.....but I've had a crush on John Pyper Ferguson for many, many, MANY more years than Vincent. Plus Pyper spends a lot of time in Vancouver, so he's a lot closer than Vincent who is all the way in NYC. Pyper was also gracious enough to accept my Facebook friend request AND he personally responded to a short message I sent him.

7. You have the opportunity to sleep with the music celebrity of your choice. Who do you pick?

It used to be Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead, but the Bobby of 25 years ago. There aren't any current musicians that I'd sleep with now.

8. Now that you’ve slept with two different people in a row, you seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk. Holy shit, a hundred bucks! How are you gonna spend it?

Probably something to eat because I'm ravenously hungry from all the sex. Or spend it on beads.

9. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. Seriously. I am dying to see the Canadian Maritimes and beachcomb on Grand Manan Island.

10. Upon arrival to the aforementioned location, you get off the plane and discover another hundred-dollar bill. Shit! Now that you are in the new location, what are you gonna do?

Buy a piece of local artwork, either a picture or beadwork or some other locally made craft.

11. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. It is…?

I don't drink because I seem to be allergic to alcohol. I wouldn't mind a lifetime supply of Jone's Pure Cane Sugar Green Apple Soda.

12. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there?

Who in the Sam Hill is Rufus? (who in the Sam Hill, is Sam Hill?) A time traveling phone booth? Um, OK I think that's called a TARDIS. But I digress.... Any time in the past? Well I would love to have been at the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in January, 1967. Or the summer of 75.

13. You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place?

No annoying your neighbors with barking dogs, screaming children, loud engines or loud music.

14. You have been given the opportunity to create the half-hour TV show of your own design. What is it called and what’s the premise?

MusicWench and I are on the same page with her answer: "
...Good News and feature uplifting, happy news stories instead of the horrible stuff we're faced with everyday. NO POLITICS. No kidding. lol Me, political junkie is tired of the negative ragging on each other and screaming. Even the liberals are screaming and it's making me nuts."


15. What is your favorite curse word?

What the Fuck. Fuck you, you fuckin' fuck. Get the fuck outta my way. Fucking-A. Are you fucking kidding me??? Also Jesus Fucking Christ. That's another fave.

16.One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren’t really doing anything, they’re just standing around your bed. What do you do?

Lose all bladder control and try to scream but nothing comes out then die of a heart attack.

17. Your house is on fire, holy shit! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the item?

I don't want to answer this b/c this has been an all consuming fear of mine since a series of traumatic fires in my hometown when I was 7 and I can't talk about it. Maybe someday I'll blog about it; it help make me confront it.

18. The Angel of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it.

I'd give away all my stuff to my friends to make them happy. Scott, I don't know if you read my blog or not, but YES YOU STILL GET THE WACKY PACK COLLECTION.

19. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be?

Telekinesis. I desperately want to throw slow-moving cars in front of me off the road. I fantasize about it during my commute every day, especially when I'm behind a Volvo, Subaru or the trifecta from hell: A mini van with disabled plates and the driver is on the phone.

20. You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?

Set II of the Grateful Dead on October 30, 1991, Oakland Coliseum: Eyes of the World into the best Estimated Prophet I have ever heard in my life.

21. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

Geez there are so, so many of them. I can't possibly pick just one.

22. You got kicked out of the country for being a time-traveling heathen who sleeps with celebrities and has super-powers. But check out this cool shit… you can move to anywhere else in the world! Bitchin’! What country are you going to live in now?

Oh god that's a no brainer: British Columbia, Canada. Preferably on Vancouver Island in a custom built log home.

23. This question still counts, even for those of you who are under age. Check it out. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be?

Wow. Couldn't care less. I don't drink and I don't like bars.

24. Hopefully you didn’t mention this in the super-powers question…. If you did, then we’ll just expand on that. Check it out… Suddenly, you have gained the ability to FLOAT!!! Whose house are you going to float to first, and be like “Dude, check it out…I can FLOAT!”?

What an utterly bizarre question. But honestly, I think I would be too busy taking aerial photographs to bother floating to someone's house to tell them I can float, unless I happen to be floating past their house when I'm taking pictures.

25. The constant absorption of magical moonbeams mixed with the radioactive vegetables you consumed earlier has given you the ability to resurrect the dead famous-person of your choice. So which celebrity will you bring back to life?

Jerry Garcia. Then I'd send him in for quadruple bypass surgery, then to long term rehab so he could quit the smack for good.

26. The Celestial Gates of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn’t think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person, etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back?

My dad for sure.

27. What’s your theme song?

Estimated Prophet by the Dead. The first time I heard it was late 1987 and I heard the studio version on WZLX radio in Boston. I was just getting into the Dead, and I was already focused on moving to San Francisco. My family didn't believe that I would go and dismissed my constant talk of 'when I move to SF...'. The people at work didn't believe I'd ever quit such a high paying, union job at Channel 56. I would voice my desire to live in the Bay Area and be met with patronizing head-nodding. Estimated inspired me and really lit a fire under me to make it work. Guess I showed them. The album version is great, but when they do it live, and they really jam it out, holy shit it will blow you away. Especially the verse that starts, 'you've all been asleep you would not believe me!' when Bobby is really belting it out and the band is just so loud and hitting the crescendo. These are the lyrics:

My time coming, any day, don't worry 'bout me, no
Been so long I felt this way, ain't in no hurry, no
Rainbows end down that highway where ocean breezes blow
My time coming, voices saying, they tell me where to go

Don't worry bout me, no no, don't worry bout me, no
And I'm in no hurry, no no no, I know where to go.

California, preaching on the burning shore
California, I'll be knocking on the golden door
Like an angel, standing in a shaft of light
Rising up to paradise, I know I'm gonna shine

My time coming, anyday, don't worry 'bout me, no
It's gonna be just like they say, them voices tell me so
Seems so long I felt this way and time sure passin' slow
Still I know I lead the way, they tell me where I go

Don't worry bout me, no no, don't worry bout me, no
And I'm in no hurry, no no no, I know where to go

California, a prophet on the burning shore
California, I'll be knocking on the golden door
Like an angel, standing in a shaft of light
Rising up to paradise, I know I'm gonna shine

You've all been asleep,
You would not believe me!
Them voices telling me,
You will soon receive me!
We're standing on the beach,
The sea will part before me
(Fire wheel burning in the air)
And you will follow me,
And we will ride to glory
(Way up the middle of the air)

And I'll call down thunder
And speak the same !
And my word fills the sky with flame!
And might and glory gonna be my name, MY NAME!
And men gonna light my way!!

[insert insanely hot, 5 minute, face-shredding jam here]

My time coming, anyday, don't worry bout me, no
It's gonna be just like they say, them voices tell me so
Seems so long I felt this way and time sure passin slow
My time coming, anyday, don't worry about me, no ...

Can you see why "Estimated Prophet" inspired me to move to California?

February 21, 2010

So, How's the Weather?

Well it's clear enough here to see the ever-elusive, snow capped, craggy peaks of the Olympic Mountains to the west! (click to make bigger)
These pics were taken from the side of Highway 410 in Bonney Lake, from the Arco gas station parking lot. The Olympics are pretty far away from where I live, and usually obscured by clouds, haze or bad air. I also must point out the water tower, on the bottom right of this photo. This tower went up a few years ago and it was a blight on the landscape. It was built on the line between Bonney Lake and Sumner, and both cities were pointing fingers at each other for it. A compromise was reached when they decided to paint it a very pale shade of blue, with dark and light green evergreen trees, to try and blend it into the sky and trees as you reach that part of the highway.

Stupid power line ruining my shot of Mt. Olympus.
I drove up into a neighborhood with really nice homes, and managed to find one spot between 2 homes where I could get a shot of this part of the range. Tacoma is on the left, about 3/4 of the way down. Tacoma's about 18 miles west of where I live. I will be on the extreme western edge of the Olympics, where they finally fade into the sea, when I go to Kalaloch next month.

February 18, 2010

I'm Official!!

I received my Certificate of Formation of Tahoma Beadworks, LLC from the Secretary of State! (click on it to see it bigger) I'm so excited!! Now no one else can use this name (although "Tahoma Beads" would be allowed). I filled out the Master Business License application and paid the fee to Bonney Lake for the license, which hasn't arrived yet. Now I have major motivation to try and open an Etsy store because lemme tell ya, the fees weren't cheap, so, at the very least, I have to make back the cost of the fees. I'm going to have to learn about taking out Washington State sales tax (are you sitting down? It's 8.7% in Pierce County; it's over 9% in King County) and doing tax returns, but fortunately I have a trustworthy CPA.

Also, do check out my dancing bear ankle tattoo here!! A big THANK YOU to Mike for including me in his galary and for the plug for my blog!!!! :D After seeing it so close up, I realize that it needs to be reinked, el big-o time-o. When it was brand new in the 90's, it really popped. I knew I wanted a blue dancing bear back in the 80's before I even moved away from the Cape. The problem was, I couldn't decide on a good place for it. Now, I'm the kind of person who makes instant decisions about major life changes, like quitting a high-paying job to move to San Francisco, and quitting a high-paying job to move to Washington. Yet it took from 1988 to 1995 for me to finally commit to having the ink on my right ankle. And by that time, it was too late because I had it done in June, 1995, and Jerry Garcia died in August, 1995, so I never got to take my bear for a dance at a show. We had planned on attending, and had mailordered tickets for, the Shoreline shows in September when Jerry died. Oh cruel irony. It's like an O. Henry story. So I had my boss take the picture when I was at work. I really wish I'd shaved my legs/ankles prior to the photo, but oh well.

February 15, 2010

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!!

Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

I can't believe that it's been 20 years since this photo of Holly & me was taken on Fat Tuesday (although in 1990, I believe it fell on February 27). She and her hubby were still living on the east coast, and they flew out to visit Brian & me in San Francisco, for the Grateful Dead's Mardi Gras shows at Oakland Coliseum.

We had our faces painted inside the coliseum, before the show started. *sigh* my natural hair colour.
Her hubby had his face done like a skull.

The Dead opened the show with "Let The Good Times Roll" and wove their way magically through Set 1, as only they could do. They played lots of my faves that night: Feel Like a Stranger, Sugaree, Mississippi Half Step and Bird Song.

Right before the Dead's 2nd set started, there was a huge parade down on the floor with lots of balloons and a giant dancing skeleton. They opened Set 2 with 2 Cajun faves, "Iko Iko" and "Man Smart/Women Smarter" and closed Set 2 with Throwing Stones into Not Fade Away. That was a fun, fun night. Long too.

A couple of years ago I found some super cheap black fabric bags. This one didn't really start out to be an homage to Mardi Gras, but after I sewed the pearl-and-coin chain necklace to the top edge, and added the cabochon with beads in the center, I realized that it would work well to hold all my Mardi Gras beads.

I bought some beads and sewed them around the edges and made fringe.

I was stoked to find those mask beads, which I sewed to the back of the bag.
That's a purple plastic cabochon, around which I used gold beads to peyote stitch it onto the bag. Once it was secure, I started making the bead embroidered rings. It was after I used the gold, purple and green beads that the Mardi Gras theme kind of gelled.

My booty.

Maybe someday I will actually get to the real celebration in New Orleans!

February 14, 2010

Grab Bag

There's something so irresistible about a Grab Bag. That plain wrapped package, containing who knows what, has tantalized me since I was a kid. I always had to get one, at every Barnstable County Fair, at that engraving kiosk in the middle of the Cape Cod Mall, at every craft fair. The thing about the grab bag, is that 9 times out of 10, it contains crap. Total garbage, and usually broken, cheap costume jewelry. Still, I keep buying them, in the hope that just once, I will open it up and find treasure.

Well I've finally found one that is reliably awesome. It's called The Boss' Bead Bag, from Fire Mountain Gems, in Oregon. One pound of miscellaneous beads and findings, for about $7.00. You really can't beat that deal.

Again, it comes in a plain brown wrapper, and sealed with a sticker, concealing the unknown treasures within. (I thought of doing this blog post after I tore into it, so I had to try and stick it shut for photo purposes).
The anticipation reaches a crescendo.... My heart is racing......WHAT WILL BE INSIDE???
I reach in and pull out a large ziplock bag, bursting at the seams.
I pour the beads out on the table. Oooo, there's some good stuff in here....the possibilities are endless!
Beautiful filigree findings I can use in jewelry and paper crafts.
A respectable selection of natural stone and unique glass beads.
Ya gotta love the doo dads.
And finally, a tiny strand of Christmas lights!
So many project ideas, so little time.

February 11, 2010

Vancouver Welcomes the World!

I love the winter games, and this year, they are taking place in our backyard, Vancouver, BC. Unfortunately, due to our warm & dry El Nino winter, there is no snow at Cypress Mountain where the snowboarding & free style events are taking place. The City of Vancouver has been trucking in snow in order to coat the mountain! There seems to be enough snow at Whistler Blackcomb for the major ski events. The good folks at Mt. Baker, near the Canadian border, are standing by, ready to import additional snow, in case it's needed!!

The symbol of the Vancouver Olympics is an Inuit 'inukshuk'. Technically, it's really an 'innunguaq', which is the stone cairn in the shape of a person. An inukshuk is just a stone cairn. The symbol means friendship and goodwill.

In a very generous gesture by BC Premier Gordon Campbell, he directed the Olympic Torch to swing into Washington at the Peace Arch in Blaine, which straddles the border between our countries, and then back up to Vancouver.

As a tribute to our neighbors to the north, I present a slide show of the photos I shot on my trip to Vancouver in 2006.


February 8, 2010

As If.

Brian turns 50 on Wed. We really didn't have any plans b/c the financial scene is so unstable. But he is still looking forward to it, and has been kind of joking around how he's 50 and I can't tell him what to do anymore, blah blah blah. It's all in good fun; I mean we wouldn't have made it over 20 years w/o being able to joke like this.

I've given him a great deal of leeway on his visits to the bar this week. I understand. It's a milestone. So he & I were just on the phone, he said he was on his way home as soon as he finished his beer and then snickered, "....and when I get there, dinner better be on the table".

So I obliged him.

February 7, 2010


Saw this in the Spillsbury catalog, which sells mostly jigsaw puzzles.


"Large or small or inbetweener, nothing beats a Cleaner Weener!"
The text says:

"Solves that age old bathing dilemma and adds a 'hole' new dimension of PLEASURE and fun into your shower or bath."

"Good 'clean fun' for couples too!"

"Just a few quick 'strokes' of the Weener Kleener will clean and sanitize most appendages. Additional cleaning may be desired but is not necessary."

And my personal fave:

"If the Weener Kleener ever becomes stuck, soak area with COLD water."

Just for the record, the hole's way too small for Brian. He would want you all to know that. lol

February 5, 2010


You really know you need a life when the highlight of your week is when the copy machine hit 1 million copies. The blessed event happened today at approximately 9:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time. Debby was running copies of pleading paper and paused at 999,999 so that Steve and I could shoot photos...
....1 more copy......and.....

TA DA!!!!
I mused out loud how super cool it would be if the copier suddenly burst open, shooting confetti and balloons out the top with noise maker sounds. Steve and Debby seemed a little creeped out by that scenario.

*sigh* I need a life.

February 3, 2010

Gotta, Gotta, Get Away!

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream. Wandering by lone sea breakers, and sitting by desolate streams. World losers and world forsakers, for whom the pale moon gleams. Yet we are movers and the shakers of the world forever it seems." Arthur O'Shaunessy
I have been jonesing to go to the coast for quite some time now. It's hard for me to be so far inland, having grown up just a couple of miles from Cape Cod Bay. I remember being able to hear the crashing surf all the way at my parents house, after Nor'easters or blizzards. The Atlantic Ocean was just a short drive east, as was Nantucket Sound.
Even when we lived in California we weren't that far from the water. I've always said that I could never live in a land-locked state. One of my only reservations about moving to Washington was when I saw how far away from the coast we would be living. I resisted moving here at first, but then finally caved when Brian dangled the "But-we'll-be-so-close-to-Canada" carrot in front of me.
Bonney Lake isn't far from Puget Sound, but it's not the same as being near the ocean. There are not that many decent beaches on the Sound, and I've been woefully disappointed in the few that I have visited. We don't have the money to take any extended weekend trips to Long Beach (SE Washington) or Cannon Beach/Seaside (Oregon).
I haven't been anywhere in well over a year; coming up on two years this spring. Not being able to travel is killing me. Not being able to beachcomb is killing me even more.
Since I desperately need to get away, by myself, but don't have much money, I'm going to do a marathon drive for an overnighter to Kalaloch Lodge, on the Washington Coast. Kalaloch is pronounced "Claylock". It's spendy, because it's one of only 2 places to stay on that part of the Olympic Peninsula; the other being Lake Quinault Lodge. It's about a 4 hour trip out there from my house. My plan is to leave at the crack o'dawn on Friday, March 19. That should put me on the coast by mid to late morning. I plan to spend the day hanging out, beachcombing and will probably go check out the teeny, tiny town of Queets. Check-in time isn't till 4 pm so I'll have a lot of time to kill!

Here's a picture of the Lodge that I found on line. I'm staying in their cheapest room, meaning, no ocean view, no TV, nothing. Which is fine w/ me because all I need when I travel is a bed and bathroom.
"Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is not silent." H. P. Lovecraft

This is the beach at Kalaloch. I'm so incredibly anally retentive that I actually looked up the tide tables for the month of March, in order to ensure that I would be there for low tide.

Saturday, March 20, is going to be my marathon day. My actual goal of this trip is to see & beachcomb at Ruby Beach, which is another 10 or more miles north of Kalaloch. If you go back and look at the map above, Ruby Beach is located where the Highway bends back inland, north of the red arrow which marks Kalaloch.
Low tide that morning is at 10:30, so after I spend some time at Ruby Beach, I will start the unbelievably long haul back to Bonney Lake. I figure I'll get home around 4:00 pm, if I'm lucky.

Isn't it beautiful and mystical? Back in 2002, we drove past it on our way to see another very cool beach that's much farther north, but we didn't stop here. The beaches are littered with many logs that wash up during storms. You have to be really mindful of the surf because you never know when another log is going to be tossed on shore.

We're in an El Nino weather pattern this winter, which means it's been warmer and drier than normal years. Going to the coast in March can be a real crap shoot. But weather be damned. I don't care if it's howling and and the surf is crashing. I have got to get away. Storm watching is a big past time here in Washington, and I'm not going to let a little wind and rain deter me from my photography and long as I don't get my leg or foot pinned in the log jam, I should be fine on my own.
"But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean." H. P. Lovecraft

I cannot wait.

February 1, 2010

Red Sky At Morning, Sailors Take Warning

Another stunning sunrise in the Pacific Northwest. (The outline of lights is on TAPCO Credit Union, next door to my office)

The old adage I used as the post title is true: It was pouring rain by the end of the day.