Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hope Despairs

Today I get the lab results from my blood and urine samples to see if my thyroid or something else may be causing or greatly contributing to my depression. For once I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a prescription for an anti-depressant. As much as I’ve disliked them in the past I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep my sanity if I keep spiraling downward. Maybe they’ve invented something that won’t kill my art. It’s a hell of a trade-off - selling your creativity to feel ok. Imagine Van Gogh on Prozac.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I’m finding pieces of my life popping up in the oddest places.

My latest enthusiasm is for podcasts. The metal walls and roof of our building at work make it very difficult for radio reception. Listening to baseball or basketball games on an AM station is an impossibility and weaker stations that carry jazz, classical music or NPR are barely audible. Until recently we could get a few internet radio stations on iTunes but the new firewall prevents anything from coming across. So podcasts are a lifesaver. I can get at least an hour or two of NPR via their variety of podcasts and a smattering of music and other stuff that I’ve only begun to explore.

I’m recommending three podcasts this week: LOST, RhinoCast, and Ritmo Latino. Ritmo Latino is, as its name implies, a one-hour program of strictly Latin Music. It may be flamenco, rap, cumbia, or any of a variety of salsas from the Americas, Europe, and beyond. Highly entertaining and energetic – updated weekly and I’ve just begun to listen to the February episodes. You can learn more at RitmoLatino.org

The Lost podcast that I refer to is the “official” ABC podcast, which is mostly discussion by the writers about the writing and production of the show with a few brief appearances by cast members. It doesn’t reveal any secrets, so you won’t miss anything by not listening, but I enjoy hearing about the writers’ creative process. The podcasts started just two weeks ago, and are added each Monday to the iTunes site.

RhinoCasts is, of course Rhino Record Company, notable for re-releasing so much great classic rock’n’roll music that might otherwise have been lost in obscurity. There are ten episodes currently available. The first episode focused on Lowell George, famous for his band Little Feat, and on “Weird Tales from The Ramones”, a new boxed set of Ramones music along with some great comic-book type art. My immediate conclusion was the podcasters were fanatic about their particular subject, so if you like the minutiae of music, this may be for you. I still have 9 episodes to listen to; hope they’re as good. See the Rhino Records site for more great stuff.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

orange peel

I’ve developed a penchant for the color orange and it’s creeping, ivy-like, across my walls and floors. Most of my life I never cared much for yellow or orange, but preferred instead to decorate my home with blues and purples. The house I live in now is dark, and I soon despaired at the dark paneled walls of the living area. I tried painting the wood with whites, then pinks, then ochre, and finally covered it with a medium bright yellow. Maybe I like yellow because it gives the illusion of sunshine. Now the oranges are insinuating themselves in the curtains, in the design of the carpet, in accents accompanied by red. More than the feeling of light, it feels like hopefulness.

The holiday season is here, which means I’ll have no time to enjoy it. It’s the beginning of our second-busiest time at work as we prepare catalogs for spring, easter and summer. It’s a sad and sorry situation. We have to produce a certain number of pages to meet a company-set goal but the work comes in waves; we have a few months of almost no work and then we have a few months where the work is almost insurmountable. The work in the peak period can’t be done without all hands working extra hours and/or hiring temporary personnel to help us but the net monetary gain is lost from money paid in extra wages. We have to cut back on personnel and then we have to work more hours. So the holidays are a humbug for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

freeze, suckahs!

The flamingos cursed their luck. Having finally persuaded the current homeowners by their pinkness that they should rightfully be kept not in the garage but on display for all the world to see as it trafficked by, the foursome were met with the garrulous winds of the first November freeze and found their pinkness sombered by a thin coating of ice. It had taken months to acquire their feted position but in the garage they’d had no concept of time or seasons. All their pink shrimpness was a waste. Junior stuck his head in a rock, protesting their fate.

Next September they’d eat rotten brown bananas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

sign o the time

I'm almost always surprised when I see any anti-bush displays in Dallas.

I've just discovered the Al Franken podcasts on the iTunes site. I recommend the recent episode with guest Bebe Neurith. (take THAT, conservative talkers!)

Monday, November 14, 2005


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

---Thank you, Lewis Carroll

Here’s where you can find the original “Jabberwocky.” There are some translations and parodies of the poem, too. Kudos to any translator who can convey the feeling of the original!

phoebe vs the squirrels

I helped Phoebe spy on the squirrels on Saturday and now she thinks I should be out there all the time….. We have red squirrels which seem to me to be more rodent-like than the grey squirrels I’ve seen in more northerly regions. I don’t know how smart they are, but they seem to love teasing my dog, perching on the birdbath or in the leaves, just out of reach and leaping to safety at the last moment. It drives her crazy. She’s almost cat-like in her patience but has only killed one that we know of. She spends most of her waking hours watching and waiting for them.

It’s a poor year for pecans; hardly any on the tree in our front yard (or the rest of the neighborhood) so the squirrels are extra-active in the oak trees. It’s not the bumper crop of acorns that we saw last year but there’s a good supply. We have a single oak tree in the back yard so it’s easy to watch the squirrels doing their balancing acts while they select the tastiest acorns. Often there are 3 or 4 at a single time, pillaging in all corners of the tree. They have defined trails – they’ll run along the low skinny branch over to the wood telephone pole, then up and over the electrical transformer where they scurry along the wires to the next house. Or they’ll take the higher branch which has so much sway that it gives the air of a trapeze artist in motion as the squirrel swings down several feet and leaps over to a branch extending from the neighbor’s tree.

There are a lot of dead squirrels in the streets. Some of them may have fallen from their wires or branches but the majority have probably been hit by cars. During their seasons of high activity you can see squirrels darting back and forth across streets, playing “tag” with other squirrels, chasing off intruders, pursuing the opposite sex. They have a peculiar habit of running into the street and if a car is coming they freeze for a moment, act as if they will keep running, and then pivot and run back the way they came. As someone who’s nearly killed several squirrels, I can tell you this is a driving challenge. There’s hardly any way to avoid hitting the squirrel unless you can stop immediately. Hard to do that unless you’re on a residential street with no traffic.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

what's in YOUR wallet?

Depression brings out the psychic in me…..

I’ve been thinking about the Tarot off and on since I discovered that “Rueda d’la Fortuna” card with the white bear on it and wondered what it had to do with “LOST.” I finally found my old dusty Universal Waite deck and am becoming reacquainted with its metaphoric imagery. What I call “iconography” (or the use of images) was one of my favorite aspects of cultural anthropology. It was so amazing to find that the ancient Paracas civilization on the Pacific coast of Peru used many of the same symbols as the ancient Egyptians. Unless you believe in Atlantis, you might conclude that there’s some kind of universal human interpretation of magical forces.

And reading cards might turn out to be a good party trick, eh?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Here comes another winter...

Of long shadows and high hopes
Here comes another winter
Waitin' for utopia
Waitin' for hell to freeze over

Let the poor drink the milk while the rich eat the honey
Let the bums count their blessings while they count the money

So many people can't express what's on their minds
Nobody knows them, nobody ever will
Until their backs are broken, their dreams are stolen
And they can't get what they want, then they're gonna get angry!
Well it ain't written in the papers but its written on the walls
The way this country is divided to fall
So the cranes are moving on the skyline
Trying to knock down this town
But the stains on the heartland can never be removed
from this country that's sick, sad and confused

The ammunition's being passed and the Lord's been praised
But the wars on the televisions will never be explained
All the bankers gettin' sweaty beneath their white collars
As the pound in our pocket turns into a dollar

--from “Heartland” by Matt Johnson, 1986

Some things never change

info on The The

Friday, November 11, 2005

names & numbers

I’ve been making up little things to do to help get me through my recent bout of depression. I used to carry my camera with me everywhere but suddenly or gradually, I don’t remember, I stopped taking pictures. So now I’m picking it up again a little at a time. Baby steps. Since I don’t have much enthusiasm or creativity right now, I just started shooting what was in front of me, and I’m amassing a collection of address numbers painted on the curbs in my neighborhood. This photo is a one-of-a-kind color combination (so far).

Another idea I had was to list all the nicknames used by Sawyer on “LOST”. I’ve been giggling at them since the day he called Sayid “Mohammed”. Being lazy, or cheap, or clever, I circumvented the necessity of spending money on the Season One DVD and found my project in progress at several LOST chat sites. So I filtered through the discussions and came up with a composite list. I don’t attest to its accuracy or completeness. I also added a few references and links.

The Mighty Huntress
Boar Expert
The Belle of the Ball
Naval Gazing no-fun mopey type

Dr. Quinn – Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman
Dr. Do-Right
Saint Jack

Captain Falafel

Mike (he’s the only one who calls him Mike)

Short Stack
Short Round – Indiana Jones & Temple of Doom
Opie - The Andy Griffith Show
Tattoo – Fantasy Island - “de plane, de plane”
(some argued it wasn’t Tattoo but instead was Gazoo – the little green genie from The Flintstones)

Mr. Miyagi – the Karate Kid
Bruce – Bruce Lee
Sulu – Star Trek
Kato – Green Hornet


Stay-Puft - marshmallow man from Ghostbusters
Pork Pie

Pregnant Girl
Missy Claire


Reject from VH1 has-beens
Limey little runt
Has been pop star
MTV has-been

Baby Huey – comic book duck

Han and Chewy - Star Wars


Mr. Ed – the talking horse

Rambina - Rambo
Ponce de Leon – fruitless exploration to find the fountain of youth

What he calls the “bad guys”
ETHAN -Jungle Boy
PIGGY – the boar
GUY ON BOAT that took Walt - Bluebeard
AUSSIE COP – Croc Hunter

Thursday, November 10, 2005

off key

in the
of day

Take this
learn to play

All your life
waiting for this moment led astray

(apologies to the Beatles)


a broken life led astray; that's how my depression makes me feel. It had been dogging me for a few years but I kept it at bay with a large stick and my camera. When I wasn't looking, when I laid down my arms, it crept in and wrapped around my heart. Now just getting out of bed is a difficulty. Almost the only interaction that doesn't feel forced is with my dog. I'm so glad she came to live here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Maybe my sense of humor is re-growing itself. I couldn't suppress what almost turned out to be a giggle at the "yes-no-yes-no" juxtapositioning of signs outside my local polling place. Dallas is run by a city manager and for several years the current mayor has lobbied for a "strong mayor" form of government to replace the city manager form. This was the second time in six months there's been a proposition on the ballot. Last time it was soundly defeated. This time there are two predictions by political analysts: it will either be soundly defeated or will win by a hairsbreadth. I know I was debating the issue even as I signed in at the polling place. It wasn't til I got my pen on the ballot that the decision was made.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

three piece band

A day late, but here are three of my little esquelitos celebrating Dia de los Muertos.

I’ve been told this Mexican Holiday demonstrates that the Mexican culture is much more accepting of death as a normal part of the life cycle. Anglo Americans tend to want death out of the picture, sanitized with an embalmed and made-up corpse reposing in an expensive silk-lined mahogany casket. Our Puritanical forbears, now present as conservative Christians, have converted the once scary rituals of Hallow’een into a cute and festive cakewalk at the local elementary school.