Monday, October 31, 2005

Party Business

A very Happy Birthday to the reigning King of the Costume as far as I'm concerned: Peter Jackson, (born in 1961). If that doesn't make any sense to you, get the extended edition of any of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy movies and watch the extras. I've also seen some of the costumes and props in person at the travelling Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogy Exhibition, and they are absolutely stunning.

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Happy Halloween, and always wear goggles when using a chainsaw

You can send this e-card or others from the Humane Society website. Obviously cats are considered to be better with power tools!

It's a good idea to keep your pets in tonight, especially black cats. It's bound to improve their luck!

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Van Wilks and Austin That Was

Saturday night Van Wilks had one of his CD release parties at Threadgill's. I think it's the best Van Wilks show I've seen to date in my short 5 years of residence here. We are friends of Van's mainly because of doing a little work for him -- the postcard you see here (and some scanning for his website). Also Van is just a really nice, outgoing guy who will mingle around with the people who come to see him, so it's a hell of a lot easier to get acquainted with a person that way.

Van is a local legend from "old Austin", or Austin-that-was if you want to use the Firefly/Serenity dialect. Way back from when Stevie Ray Vaughan was up-and-coming, the days of the Armadillo World Headquarters, Eric Johnson was playing with Electromagnets and trying to get his first solo released, and ZZ Top couldn't be beat. I wasn't here then, and get all my information from others... can't speak to it personally or provide a decent timeline... but Van was a big part of it. Van is a close friend of Billy Gibbons, and Eric Johnson too. In fact, he recorded (I believe it was) three things with Eric: a rocker on Koko's Hideaway (Koko is his cat!) (sorry if that's a deep dark secret!), and two acoustic Christmas songs. His EJ connection is what brought us out to see him the first time.

He had a pretty good crowd last night, looked like a crowd of "old Austinites", but over in Europe, particularly France, Van is a bona fide Guitar God. He appears on the covers of Guitar Magazines. He headlines at Guitar Festivals. He probably can't even walk around unmolested. The music industry is so weird sometimes!

We started this beautiful weekend with a second viewing of Serenity at Alamo South Lamar, where Eli Wallach was putting in an appearance at a special spaghetti dinner viewing of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". I believe he was in town as park of the big book festival which also featured Bill Clinton, Salmon Rushdie, and lots more but good grief... isn't that enough? We didn't attend any of it. Serenity was even better the second time, probably because we've been watching a lot of the TV episodes on DVD, and the movie is better with more background.

Tonight we will finish off the weekend with Iron & Wine and Calexico at Stubb's. I am mainly interested in Calexico, the opener, but I'm getting the impression that Iron & wine is pretty hot right now.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Maria, still the Queen of South Austin

Poor Maria! Her arms are still gone, but she's showing a sense of humor with a little Halloween flavor. I wonder if this was done by the same assholes who knocked the dinosaur off of Mangia Pizza? He was patched up good, and the Mayor declared it to be Mangiasaurus Rex Day. Taco Xpress is going to be relocated a little down the street due to Walgreens wanting her spot. We once asked Maria if she was going to be able to make the new place just as funky, and she smiled and said "Even worse!" I hope they preserve as much of it as possible.

Here's the mural on the side, which is painted on siding so I hope it can be preserved. From left, that's Stephen Bruton, Charlie Sexton, Alejandro Escavedo, [sorry, can't identify the next two], and Papa Mali. Inside I noticed (for the first time today) that the walls were autographed by Dan Rather, Dennis Quaid, and maybe a bunch more. It's a great place to go on a beautiful day like today, or just about anytime. Maria's is a totally unique and wonderful place. Really good food and music too!

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Make it so.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/Sci-Fi Character Are You? Click the pic for the quiz.
Snagged from A Million Things That Bug Me.

Friday Cats in the Bags - Give Me Something Good to Eat

Henry: Is this enough bags for Trick-or-Treat?
Duncan: Can we go as cats?

- Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Watermark on Sunday - - - Friday Ark -

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Right under our noses, and boy does it stink!

Oh, I love this stuff! And to think... I live in Austin and didn't even know anything about Karl Rove's Austin lover! These links are on Pam's House Blend, and I love the titles of these posts:

Karl's concubine wants off that nasty ride and Going below Rove's belt.

I like the comment of the White House spokesman quoted from Radar Mag: "their relationship was 'the business of these two individuals who have personal lives…' "

hmmmmm... wonder if that guy had the same attitude toward President Clinton?

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Dog Gone Lampshades!

I saw this post on craigslist, and I have to say... "Totally unique" does seem to be an appropriate description. Someone made lampshades out of their dead dogs' pelts. Not one, but 2 dogs. the sad part is that they must need money pretty bad (they only want $20):
Totally unique/artistic lamps - $20
I have two incredible lamps for sale, but the actual lamp shades are the star of the show. I must part with due to bills. I made them myself when my dogs died. I used their pelts to create beautiful artistic lamp shades that will bark with life in your living room, etc. One is black and white with a bit of yellowing in the white part. The other is a golden brown that yelps for pleasure in dampering the light for you. A true one of a kind!
Uhhhh... OK... I am grossed out by this. I guess I am too squeamish to consider doing something like this, but people do it all the time at the taxidermist. Here's a place you can get your pet freeze-dried as an alternate to stuffing. Check it out for some free pre-Halloween willies.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

How Paranoid Should You Be?

Click this link to look up any Driver's License!

Invention is the Mother of Necessity

One of the scariest things I've heard of lately (besides the usual threat of epidemics and terrorist attacks). I mean, what could possibly go wrong with being able to control humans with a remote control device? hmmmm? Just think of all the uses this is going to have! And who's going to be pushing the buttons?

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Time to Vote!

It's that time of year again! Time to cast your ballot in the Annual Weasel Awards on Plenty of good choices available to please just about anyone. I do object to the uncomplimentary light this casts on weasels, however. I mean, do they really deserve to be compared to Karl Rove or a Tobacco Executive?

Oh yeah, and early voting has begun in Texas, and I hope that Proposition 2, where they are trying to "save marriage" by amending the Texas Constitution, goes down in flames. The KKK is planning a pro Prop 2 rally, so that's gotta help our cause, right? I mean, are they really the people you want to be in sync with? Oh!! I hope they show up in those adorable pointy sheets! Casual Soapbox has been covering this topic very well. There is actually a glimmer of hope that this might not pass statewide... I said "a glimmer". Austin is not going for it, that's a duh... but then Austin is just a teensy bit different from the rest of the state in certain ways. Just a teensy bit.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Heresy and Absurdity - Happy Birthday Universe!

Another good sermon today by Dr. Davidson Loehr. He is one of my personal heroes, he delivers some rather radical sermons and prides himself on being a heretic. He has, in fact, published a new book called "America, Fascism and God - Sermons from a Heretical Preacher". His sermon on Fascism from last year became reasonably well-known. Our church's sermons are published online here, I've Googled that sermon and found it posted in a number of places, including Al-Jazeera! (well, it's the property of the world now, just like any other published speech.) Davidson is the pastor of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, and has just won the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin Award for best minister.

Take our Word and Wikipedia concur on the origin of the word "heretic", and Davidson has said several times that because all of us choose "to choose" rather than just "to follow", it makes all of us heretics. (EDIT: the context of "us" meaning present company, people hearing the sermon, UUs, etc.)
Middle English took this from the French hérétique, which took it from the Ecclesiastical Latin haereticus, both words meaning heretic. The original word was the Greek hairetikos "able to choose" from the verb hairesthai "to choose". Obviously, the early Church believed that people should believe only what they were told to believe rather than decide for themselves.
Anyway, in today's sermon, he mentioned that today, October 23, 2005, is the 6006th birthday of the universe. That would be according to Bishop Ussher who figured it all out in 1650 A.D., basing his calculations on his interpretation of the Bible, and many believers in Creationism or Intelligent Design or whatever they want to call it are taking it to heart.

He also mentioned a nice quote by Voltaire:
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Always something to think about...

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Rob Socia

I just did a website for an up-and-coming Austin musician named Rob Socia, check it out here. He submitted his own graphic layout that I based the site design on, so he really did a lot of the work of it right there. We got to see him last night at Momo's Club. He's an impressive singer and songwriter! A little like a kinder, gentler Steve Earle maybe... and I might add, a lot easier on the eyes than Steve Earle as you can see from the picture. Good guitar player too, and has some good people in his band too. Brian Beken from the South Austin Jug Band was "sitting in" as he put it, on mandolin, but plays on his record that will be out next year. I've got an advance copy and it's pretty darned good! All he needs is more exposure, more gigs, just to get out there and play in front of people. I think he's going to do just fine.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Brothers of the Castle in La Zona Rosa

We opted for the Austin Del Castillo show instead of San Antonio (Helotes). The Austin show was a "Help Clifford (Antone) Help Kids" benefit, which started early with a dinner, silent auction, and schmooze session. The cost of that was $250 per ticket (yikes! Too rich for me, and not a cheap date, either). La Zona Rosa was duded up to the best of its ability. It will never be truly posh, which suits me fine. The regular riff-raff fans got to go to the show for $20, music only, so we lined up waiting for our time to go in.

Someone kept snapping pictures of the little black car across the street, LOTS of pictures (wtf???), and it turned out to be the car of John Paul DeJoria, owner of Paul Mitchell . Think salons, shampoo, white bottles, PETA-approved, rides motorcycles with Peter Fonda when he’s in town… that guy. He finally came out and left in it. The car door raised up in the air to open, and the engine made a wonderful purring sound going down the street. A lot of the high-rollers left before the show.

While I was at the bar, I was standing near Susan Antone when she was introducing Michael Ward to someone. Today I find out that Michael Ward was in the Wallflowers, and I believe is now with Ben Harper, and is good friends with Lance Armstrong. I didn’t know who he was last night.

That’s it for sightings, it’s all about Del Castillo for me. The place was still filled up with big round tables and tablecloths, kind of like a wedding reception. A little smaller crowd than you’d normally see for DC because of the benefit, and people either not knowing about the music tickets or thinking they wouldn’t get in. The front filled up with us DC-nuts. Alex was talking about the back of the room at the schmooze tables, saying there must be glue on the seats. You'd have to tie me down to keep me from dancing to DC. I dance like Snoopy, but... heh heh...

The sound at La Zona Rosa is not designed for being stage-side, I think I’ve ranted on this before. Thursday it was not terrible, but a different mix than I’ve heard coming from the guys before, as in the brothers’ voices were actually drowning out Alex! Yes, that’s right, and probably just from where we were standing. I’m hoping that I will soak up enough lyrics to just automatically learn Spanish, but that has been going at the rate of about 10 words a year, so not great progress. Lots of smiles from the stage, absolutely wonderful to see. They did Song For Jordan and Don Nicholas which are older favorites and great to hear. Rick was even more on than usual, just an absolutely wild man on the guitar, not to discount Mark, he was awesome! Everyone in the band gives 100% percent, always, it’s very electrifying. Clifford called them Austin’s Secret or something like that, and that’s basically true right now but the more they get out there the more they will be discovered by people so it’s just a matter of time I think. Great show!! Love the new stuff. (New CD in April!!!)

I didn’t hang around afterwards. La Zona Rosa frowns on that, OK they do more than frown, they strongly encourage you to please leave. Now. That’s OK, there was a nice meet-greet in San Marcos earlier in the month. Not sure when the next DC show will be for me.
EDIT: What does La Zona Rosa mean anyway? I thought it was "The Red Zone" or "the Rose Zone", and if it's that, is it Rose the flower or a color? Also, Alex mentioned a new video shot in Santa Fe. That's very cool, a part of me will always be in Santa Fe because my mother is buried there. I know she would have loved their music.

My DC page - - -

Casual Friday Cat Blue Jeans

Ahhhhhh! Blue jeans! And a sunspot! How cozy.
Jeans! Jeans! Jeans! I need these jeans!
These aren't the jeans you're looking for. I can go about my business.

- Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Mind of Mog on Sunday - - - Friday Ark -

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Welcome Back to Texas...

... Tom Delay. He's supposed to appear in court in Austin tomorrow (Friday). Oh... they will probably not actually cuff him. Anxiously awaiting the real mug shot to show up.

heh heh. - - -

EDIT: Oh come on!! Don't try to tell me this is the mug shot!! Where was it taken? Glamour Shots?

The Way, the Truth, and the Light Bulb

Church Spends Nearly $2,300 To Change A Lightbulb

4 workers for 3 days, plus the construction of scaffolding.

Another one for Aragorn

Today is the 50th anniversary of the publishing of The Return of the King, part 3 of my favorite book series. Coincidentally, it is also the birthday of Aragorn incarnate, Viggo Mortensen!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rummy and Dummy

If this is a gag gift, it should come with a gag.
Rumsfeld Talking Doll

One of the phrases: "I believe what I said yesterday. I don't know what I said. But I know what I think. I assume that's what I said." huh?

Karl Rove not included.
Bush Action Figure

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I'm a war movie.

Well, if I'm going to be a movie, I might as well have Johnny Depp in me.

Snagged from Cats and Dogma

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Say aaaaaaaaaahhhhh....

I get a kick out of this site. It's called Gaping Maws, and it's nothing but critters of all types yawning or otherwise opening their mouths as wide as possible for the camera. It's just been updated this month with a whole bunch of new pics. It will either get you laughing or make you yawn. Both are infectious!

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Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.

Quotations by Author Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), US author & satirist, author of the Devil's Dictionary and An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge which became an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.

Acquaintance, n.: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.

Admiration, n.: Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.

Barometer, n.: An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.

Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen.

Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.

Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum (I think that I think, therefore I think that I am.)

In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.

Painting: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.

Politeness, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy.

Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.

The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.

There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don't know.

To be positive: To be mistaken at the top of one's voice.

Still Reelin' and Rockin'

Happy 79th Birthday to Rock and Roll legend and pioneer Chuck Berry! Is he still rocking the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Aliases, funny ones

My friend JL posted her list, and mine was kinda funny, so here goes:

1.YOUR DRAG NAME: (Name of first pet / Street you live on):
Sweet William Wagon Train

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (Name of your favorite snack food / Grandfather's first name):
Olive Arch

3. YOUR FASHION DESIGNER NAME: (First word you see on your left / Favorite restaurant):
Slide Magnolia

4. EXOTIC FOREIGNER ALIAS: (Favorite Spice / Last Foreign Vacation Spot):
Cinnamon Cancun

5. SOCIALITE ALIAS: (Silliest Childhood Nickname / Town Where You First Partied):
Polio Albuquerque
(no wonder I'm not much of a socialite)

6. ICON ALIAS: (Something Sweet Within Sight / Any Liquid in Your Kitchen):
Banana Tea

7. DETECTIVE ALIAS: (Favorite Baby Animal / Where You Went to High School):
Cub Carbondale

8. BARFLY ALIAS: (Last Snack Food You Ate / Your Favorite Alcoholic Drink):
Rice Cake Reisling

9. PORN STAR ALIAS: (Middle Name / Street Where You First Lived):
Ruth Rural Route

10. ROCK STAR ALIAS: (Favorite Candy / Last Name Of Favorite Musician):
Heath Johnson

11. SOAP OPERA ALIAS: (Name of a Saint / First word to Your Right):
Genevieve Dell
(most of the time it would be "Apple")

Kinsey and Robots

Shallow movie reviews

Robots is based on a cute premise with lots of potential, but the script and the jokes seem to be aimed at people 5 and under. Very lame dialogue, just very unfunny… with the exception of Robin Williams’ character who is always hilarious and brilliant. He’s the highlight of it but not enough to be the salvation. 1 star for his performance and 3 whoopee cushions for the movie overall.

EDIT: I see on Rotten Tomatoes that Robots was fresh... 62% I think. Bull!! I liked one reviewer's comment about them using Ewan McGregor, then making him speak with an American accent. Good point. Add 1 more whoopee cushion for that.

Also saw Kinsey on DVD. This is a pretty good one, and recommended. I would have liked more features on the DVD, especially something on the real Dr. Kinsey. Maybe a blooper reel! ;-)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

-isms and isn't 'ems

Well, I've taken 2 of those online political quizzes, and have so far been deemed to be a Libertarian and a Socialist. The tests are all in fun, so I don't think I should put too much emphasis on the results. I really don't think I'm either of these things.

I do believe that it should be in the realm of the government's responsibility to make sure that people are not starving, homeless, and without health care. Taxes should be adequate, and the rich should be taxed much more than they are. I guess my utopia would minimize the extremes of rich and poor, and most people would be middle class. Most people would be able to afford to have quality of life. This would include paid time off and would not require working several jobs or unreasonable overtime.

I believe that public schools should be equally funded and equally effective. Children cannot help being born underprivileged and should be given a better shot at improving their lot in life. If that means bussing everybody to a safe area where there are good teachers and plenty of computers and good textbooks available, then let's do that. Bus the rich kids there too. Mix everybody up. Oh yeah, and college should be affordable too. And don't EVEN think of teaching religion in a public school. If you want that, fork up your money and get into a private religion-based school... without using my tax money.

I am big on human rights, civil rights and animal rights too, but I don't think all that makes me a socialist. It does stick me way on the left though. I claim that designation. I grew up poor, struggling and underprivileged so I guess this is the effect it had on me and my attitudes. I'm just not sure if I buy into any defined ideology (especially not something embraced by Nazis). Also, I'm for gun control and support ordinances that ban smoking so that automatically rules me out as Libertarian.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Music birthdays

Happy birthday to Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, and to Austin's very own Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks! Give 'em hell, Natalie and have a ball!

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hmmm... I thought I was a Democrat.

Another political quiz. Results are different from the last one I took, but oddly they both placed me right near Mahatma Ghandi. That one said I was somewhat Libertarian and that's not very true (although some of my best friends have been Libertarians). Oh well, it's hard to nail the -isms down I suppose. I found this one through Where the Dolphins Play.

You are a
Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(13% permissive)

You are best described as a:

You exhibit a very well-developed
sense of Right and Wrong
and believe in economic fairness.

Friday Cat Birthday Belly

This is silly Duncan. It's his 10th birthday! I got him from the no-kill shelter where I volunteered. They had rescued him, his littermates and mom from an animal pound in another part of the state, and he was the last remaining unadopted guy in his group when I took him home.

He purrs so loud you think he's going to break his purrbox, with plenty of drool to go with it. He's a big round boy and at 16 pounds resembles a furry bowling ball. We are always working on that girth but without much success. He's named after Duncan Gibbons, a film and video director who burned to death saving his cat.

Duncan Donuts here is showing you his best cute position. He's a terrible flirt! Looks like the nipples are the cleanest part.

- Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Where the Dolphin's play on Sunday - - - Friday Ark -

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wonder Bitch

OK, I can't stop. THIS is the funniest one of all! Here it is.

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Where's he from? Dogoba??

Oh boy!! It's that time of year again. Plenty of time to shop for your pet costumes. Oddly enough, the link goes to a page for cat costumes. This is a pretty funny looking cat. In fact, all the models seem to be dogs. Maybe they are from the "dog side of the force". heh heh. sorry...

Alright, now it's a contest. Look at the one from this page.


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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Um... I'm for the other team.

It's tough being a Cardinal fan in Texas, especially if they are doing well and there's something to cheer about and nobody to cheer with (except my husband, the other lonely Cardinal fan in Texas). Last year was painful, especially it seemed like everyone on earth went gung-ho for the Sox, even here. It was very lonely, alienating and embarrassing. I am not a sports fan, not really. I travelled too much growing up to have a "home team" and my mother (who raised me mostly alone) was very anti-sports. I lived in St. Louis for about 10 years or so before the first stirrings of Cardinal Fever (Catch It!!) began. Baseball was more important in that town than anything else, except maybe Anhueser-Busch products (and the Baseball team was one of those then, they owned the team, and there was Auggie Busch and singing the Busch marching song during 7th inning stretch). Jack Buck (RIP) was very dear to me, and Mike Shannon is too. I sure miss hearing him (well, both of them actually) doing the games. Those new-fangled guys have no personality. borrrrrrriiing.

And Tony La Russa, I gotta love him! He's an animal advocate and a vegetarian. He's the head of the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), a no-kill shelter which he started after a stray cat wandered onto the field in San Francisco in 1990, and TLR learned that there was a need for a real shelter. I love the radio interview (by J.C. Corcoran) where he asked him to list the names of his 10 cats. He got stumped and only named 9, then got frustrated with himself because he couldn't think of the name of that 10th cat!

Anyway the Cards are headed into the playoffs against (sheesh!!) the Astros, so I will be keeping my head down and holding my *cards* close to the vest. Someday... maybe in ten years or so... I will become a fan of one of the local teams (and just for the record, Houston is not local to Austin in my mind. Kansas City and Chicago are reasonably close to St. Louis, although not by Texas standards, and believe me they are not local to St. Louis. With Chicago there's a fun-loving rivalry, but the Royals shall be damned for eternity).

Good grief, I hate sports. It's only a game, right? This year I think I will stay in the closet until it's all over, but if the cards win the Series, I will be decked out in red!

I don't miss St. Louis and would never want to move back there, but I will say this: pssssst, Go Cards.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Best. Thread. Ever.

Now closed, this thread goes for 50 pages, 2042 posts between Oct 2002 and Feb 2004, and is a brilliant and hilarious creative patchwork quilt of offerings:

From the Straight Dope
If Lord of the Rings had Been Written by Someone Else!?

And do check out Fingolfin's movie, post #23. Humphrey Bogart as Frodo, with Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Peter Lorre, Godzilla and more!

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Huh? What'd you say, God? ...I'm a what?

BBC TWO, October 17, Click title for more info.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Lions and tigers and honey bears

Nice weather has finally arrived! In a little over a week, the temperature went from the 100s down to 60s-80s. Perfect! On Sunday, we went out to the Austin Zoo. It's not so much a zoo as a "rescue ranch" of sorts, so it's not one of those pretty, touristy, corporate-looking places. They are limited in what kind of critters they will accept there, a lot are turned down for various reasons. A lot of the animals are exotic pets that didn't quite work out. Well, duh, people! Did you really think that Bengal Tiger was going to be OK chained in your backyard? One of the Bengals was purchased at a truck stop!! (a truck stop?!!) The other was rescued from a roadside zoo, so both native Texans. Here I am getting deer spit on my hand. Very tame animals and I am giving him approved feed. I can see why people would want to keep those honey bears (kinkajous), what a cute little pooh-bear, about the size of a cat. (...still not a good pet... and there are a million animals waiting at the shelter for good homes before people start carting home families of bears)

Several of the animals were rescued from what they called a "religious circus". Now what the hell is that? Trying to recreate Noah's Ark, are we? What a stupid idea at the expense of some creature who are more deserving of a nice life that the people who thought that one up. Here's a cougar that came from that place. He's chattering at a fox in a nearby cage. Here's a link with more info on some of the specifics, including some dirt on places like "Noah's Land" and other places where animals are cruelly kept, along with some mention of the Austin Zoo and other rescue ops.

The turtles are all from pet rescues. They are HUGE! This guy was determined to get out, but of course it's not possible. Fascinating looking guys. There are lots and lots of parrots, and we got a good strong "HELLO" out of one of them. A couple of people bred dogs with wolves (jeebus cripes!! what are these people thinking?), and the results are now kept at the zoo. Those guys were actually available for adoption with a long list of qualifications needed for the new parents, hopefully being childfree will be one of them.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Friday, October 07, 2005

The fiddle and drum

It was a great music week! Last Sunday my husband and I went to separate events. He couldn't bear to miss the free Sheryl Crow/Lance Armstrong bash down at Auditorium Shores, and I can't say that I blame him but I couldn't bear to miss Del Castillo in San Marcos. They were road-weary and sleep-deprived but put on a fantastic show! They've never once held back, slacked off or done anything mediocre in all the shows I've seen. They also love to see their regular fans show up and they tell us so, I even get the feeling that they'd miss seeing our faces if we didn't show up locally. Sure wish I could learn Spanish, and my apologies to all in shouting distance of me at the show for some of the nonsense I'm singing! la la la la la la....!!!

Thursday night we went to see Alasdair Fraser at the Cactus Café. I had heard the name before but was really not familiar with him. His website displays these quotes:
". . . the expressive gamut from deep Celtic melancholy to joyful jig, his fiddle imitations of the bagpipe almost unbelievable, the whole rendered with a humble sincerity, flawless virtuosity and just about the sweetest sound since Fritz Kreisler." -L.A. TIMES

"Alasdair Fraser is recognized throughout the world as one of the finest fiddle players Scotland has ever produced. [His] name is synonymous with the vibrant cultural renaissance which is transforming the Scottish musical scene." -SCOTS Magazine

"One of Scotland's most valued tradition-bearers." - BBC Radio Scotland really... how could I resist? He is touring with a wonderful cello player named Natalie Haas (who sat at our table while she was giving him the stage, but that is one of the benefits of sitting close in a living room like the Cactus), so it was just the two of them. They played beautifully, and demonstrated many various regional styles of fiddling that I am too novice to able to distinguish. To me it's like telling the difference between regional southern accents, it takes familiarity. So many of the old folks songs have been passed around from country to country, called a hundred different names and have many sets of different lyrics, but still have the same tales to tell: they are songs about pretty maidens who fall in love with handsome young men who usually end up as a sailor or in the infantry... usually being killed in some bloody awful hand-to-hand war over god, king and country... swords, knives, muskets, rifles, pipes, drums. Fundamentally nothing changes.

I was raised in the military. Fighter jets flying over the house and the sonic boom were normal events. Armed Forces Day was one of my favorite holidays. We'd get to see the Thunderbirds fly, get to touch and explore the military planes, the cockpits and cargo bays. There were parades, fireworks, swords, knives, muskets, rifles, pipes, and drums. My Dad was always in a uniform. Always. All of that stuff is part of me. I am patriotic. I love America, and the military part of it is just part of my background and makeup. But... the part of me that thinks, the part that grew into an adult, that reasons and makes moral decisions HATES war, hates all weapons, especially guns, hates the killing of people or animals. We hang a flag on the house every day and take it in every evening. We also have an anti-war sign in the window. The flag ritual is a way of assuring ourselves that being patriotic and loving the good things about this country does not mean that we are right-wing fascist, imperialist, corporate-loving, bigoted, one-dimensional, intolerant lock-stepping bastards. There has always been war as long as there have been humans. War should be avoided at all costs, but will still happen. War is something worse than all the hells you can imagine and should not be started without a damned good reason.

Listening to "The Civil War" Soundtrack and getting teary over Sullivan Ballou (and the love letter he wrote knowing that he was unlikely to survive the coming battle, and didn't) and Lorena. Alasdair also played that one but his version had something to do with sailors and wives.

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Friday Cat Bean Bagism

I dreamed I was afloat on a sea of beans.

- Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Ginasrantings - - - Friday Ark -

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Milky Sea Monster destroys Lake Travis

The phenomenon of the Milky Sea has been photographed. A vast area of the ocean glows! It’s very mysterious, and scientists don’t really know what is causing it but think it’s shiny bacteria. Hmmmm. Probably correct... hmmmm, could be... might be... it IS!!! It’s a SEA MONSTER!!! Look at the shape of it!

Well, OK, it’s probably just bacteria, but sea monsters have been a common mythical beast, although none as big as Delaware like Milky there, but the one in the new NBC show "Surface" is pretty danged big, but more like the size of a football field… or two. Also, it lights up (like Milky) and shocks its prey for easy feeding. Scary. In the first regular episode (following the 2 hour debut), our very own near and dear Lake Travis bears the brunt of the monstrous destruction that is sure to continue around the globe.

I’m enjoying watching this show before it probably tanks ::sorry::. It’s got some rather common themes: man becomes crazed after encounter, boring wife can’t handle his new obsession, gets thrown in with beautiful scientist with same obsession. Yes, that’s the scientist in the picture. I’ve worked with lots of scientists over the years; nuclear physicists, rocket scientists, and geologists mostly. Cool people. Almost none of them look like this, they are too busy doing research, reading, and writing to cultivate the great hair and "bod for sin". Most tend to let appearances go a bit, and belong to the "socks with sandals" crowd... not that there’s anything wrong with that. Socks with sandals is very cozy and practical. Also, it takes awhile to get a PhD. Most people are pushing 30 by the time they get there. Well, I guess nobody wants realism here. The next element is the pair of teenaged boys who are raising one of the little buggers in the bathtub, and he sure is a cutie (meaning the little sea monster dude, who is named Nimrod). Something tells me he’s going to be a very bad pet.

For a complete spoiler-filled blow-by-blow rundown of the show so far, go here.

I award it 4 cheese balls. - -

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ohhhhh, the pain....

I have been kind of down lately, it's just a bunch of things that add up. Whiny little things like that annoying 5 lbs. I can't lose (just enough so that NOTHING fits me), not being paid what I'm worth... I know, get out the violins. My worst problem seems to be these recurring headaches. They are tension/trigger point headaches rather than migraines, so being less common I seem to not be able to find out as much about them. About a year ago I got tired of hurting all the time and went to a headache clinic.

Now most of the doctors I've seen for various things seem to have an agenda. First of all, they will interpret your problems according to their specialty... if they are a surgeon, you probably need surgery. A tad oversimplified, yes, I admit it.

Anyway, I have had a few panic attacks in my life. Xanax helps if I take it with enough time before I hit basket case to get calm. I keep an antique bottle of it around for those rare and special occasions and hoard it like diamonds. That's because it's hard for me to get it. I'm not seeing a doctor specifically for that so I have to beg my family practitioner to prescribe it for me... "see doc, I only take a half a pill when I absolutely need it, and by the way, sometimes it's the only thing that helps with these awful tension headaches.", so the doctor (begrudgingly, I can tell) writes me out a prescription for 30 pills, no refills. So yes, back to the headaches. Sometimes a Xanax is the only thing that helps them after the ice pack and ibuprophen don't. Very tricky, nothing works all the time.

Bringing me back to the headache clinic: on the positive side, the doctor determines that I have occipital neuralgia and gives me a nerve block, which is worse than it sounds. [grin] It really fixed me for a while, it was amazing! Then he put me in “therapy” which was absolutely ridiculous. Rubber band stretching exercises, stuff like that – plus the “nerve stimulator” they sent me home with brought my headache back with a vengeance. And according to his methods (and this may be insurance related, which is weird because my insurance pays for a chiropractor to massage me), I am not allowed to receive massage unless I stretch these rubber bands. Grrrrrrr. Also, he will not help me out with getting my Xanax filled. Instead he tells me to cut way down on the OTC pain killers and prescribes Imitrex. Now, Imitrex is some powerful stuff with a warning label of side effects that mentions the word “death” prominently. It is for migraines, and sometimes cluster headaches (which is not what I have, mine are of the tension variety), and should not be taken by people at risk for heart attack. I have no risk factors except that everybody in my family had heart attacks… so I not so crazy about this drug. I actually took it once, it made me very dizzy (to where I had to stay in bed) and left me with a hangover but it did help with the headache. Ugh!

He switches me from rubber bands to biofeedback. I expected biofeedback to be an hour session where I am hooked up to some monitoring machines taking my readings while I try to change them. A small fraction of the sessions were that way, but mostly they were spent chatting with the therapist. What I got out of the sessions was the knowledge that I have trigger points – spots on my neck that when aggravated by pressure, tension, bad posture and a whole load of things, will give me a really unpleasant set of symptoms to go with the raging headache. Like tinnitus, earache, sinusitis, raised temps in the head area, stuff like that. I have been getting these once or twice a week again, and don’t really want to go back to the Rubber Band man (for several months of… WHAT???... lots of money leaving my bank is what), that’s a known road. Trigger points are one of those things with a million remedies, and pushing hard on the hurty spots looks like my best bet for now.

Listening to women today: Gillian Welch and Patricia Vonne. Skinny women who can still wear their clothes. ....big Marvin the Robot siiiiiighhhh.....

Monday, October 03, 2005

Slaves being replaced by robots

Qatar to use robots as camel jockeys.
The purpose of creating these robots is to ride the camels in the races. Yes, that's a robot in the picture. My first thought is "why the clothing?", and then "why the crash helmet?" Maybe they are there to help fool the camel along with the Arabic jockey perfume they spray on the bots.

It's a step in the right direction, the robots replace young slave boys (there are 40,000 of them, some as young as 4), enslaved for this very purpose. The camel races are a part of their culture that they won't give up. Now if someone would just come up with a robotic camel it might solve the whole inhumane and cruel problem. Better yet, turn it over to George Lucas and let him do it all up in CG, but pleeease.... no Gungans, Meeesah Lucas!!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Serenity Now!

I really think that you should brush up on a few episodes of the TV show, Firefly, before taking on Serenity. It's not that you need the background to appreciate what's happening, it's just that there is some closure on certain things and others resolved that may not mean very much to you otherwise. I'm not about to give it away. I hate it when people do that. Anyway, you can catch it on Friday early evening on the Sci-Fi channel, or rent the DVDs if you can find them on the shelves. Good luck with that right now.

I actually ordered the TV episodes on DVD. That's a first for me, although I do have an official ep of MST3K (Catalina Caper) on VHS. There are extra un-aired episodes on the set, so those and this movie are all the Firefly we will have for awhile. [deep sigh]

It's got a few similarities to Gunsmoke: Mal and Inara have this Matt Dillon/Miss Kitty unrequited thing going on. Jayne could be Festus. Dr. Simon and Shepherd could be composited into Doc. Chester? Maybe Wash.

The Alamo Drafthouse also aired a short on how to curse in Mandarin. The instructer got very tickled explaining how to say something about a big stinky fart. I think we all must have felt like we were 9 years old again for that! haha. Well, giggling is infectious, after all. Of course the Alamo's Mondo Tees have some cool designs for the series/movie. And I found out through reading AICN that the special roadshow viewing (with a couple of stars in attendance) was held at the "The Alamo" movie set out in the Dripping Springs area.

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World Vegetarian Day

Today, October 1, is World Vegetarian Day (click the title bar), and I understand it's also "Eat Spinach Month". We've been veggie for some time. It was a gradual process, first eliminating this... then that. We are not vegan, we are lacto-ova veg and don't wear animals. I greatly admire veganism. It's a bit harder to do. You wouldn't believe how many things have dairy, egg, honey, or other non-plant ingredients. We tried it for about a week, and managed it, but gave in. [sigh] I have really cut down on dairy and eggs though, we drink soy drink instead of milk, and I don't eat eggs as a main or side dish anymore. Scrambled tofu actually tastes much better than nasty eggs after you get used to it. Getting used to different tastes is the ticket, and we've never really wanted to go back. We also still eat honey, even though it's bee spit. Think about THAT one. Yuck. but honey is good stuff.

We celebrated World Vegetarian Day by going to the re-opening of Boggy Creek Farm. The old-timey Celtic/Renaissance flavored band Mundi, who played on the back porch of the farmhouse. Bought some fresh organic veggies, and plan to spend the rest of day cocooned.

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