Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mystery Photo

Two weeks ago I suffered that mother of all disasters, complete erasure of the hard disk, the story with which I will not bore the readers. In lieu of writing a philosophical story on the Buddhist Kalachakra ritual of impermanence I had been mulling over, I offer this mindless shot I captured this morning.

In the meantime, back to recreating that cyberworld on which we have come to depend. Mr. Kozsinski, you were so right in some ways.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sin and Misery

When Kelly and I moved into this condo almost 4 years ago, I let her have the biggest bedroom and told her she could paint it however she wanted. (She was having a tough time with a scumbag boyfriend and missing the old house in Mt. Pleasant.) She took me at my word and painted the room orange, red violet, and several shades of pink. It was a very happy, Kelly kind of room!

She went off to college in August and I decided to move myself into that room, with the plan of painting it a nice sedate olive green. I quickly got the closets done and our belongings switched around. It took a little while longer to move the furniture - hey, try moving a queen sized mattress set by yourself!

Then I tackled the bathroom. Oy vey - what had that child done in there? I had to replace the faucet (she didn't realize you couldn't pour drano on bathroom fixtures and not rinse it off) and stop the toilet's running. The shower looks better now but still needs some more chemicals. At least there is no longer a giant hairball blocking the drain. Painting it was a pain - did I mention I hate painting bathrooms? All that cut in work and so little maneuvering space. And painting around the toilet? Yuck. My OCD kicks into hyperdrive.

So I took off this week to paint the bedroom. I prepped it yesterday, removing and carefully storing switchplates and spackling holes. I planned to start priming last night but made the mistake of stopping by the bead store on my way back from the audiologist yesterday afternoon.

I believe certain things call to each of us. Perhaps the calling is a holdover from a past life. In my case it's probably simpler - I have the eye of a crow. If something sparkles, I'm drawn to it like a magnet. So beads call to me. They don't sit in the bag for long. Sometimes I have 'em out as soon as I'm back in the car. Do I make anything fabulous with them? Usually not. I can be happy just grouping and regrouping them in my bead box, first according to style, then by color or size. We all have our vices, I guess.

Last night I sat down to my desk to mess around with my beads and turned on the radio to listen to some rock and roll. (The two activities just seem to go together for me.) The R&R pickin's were slim so I turned on YouTube and started surfing around. My oh my, I was soon in paradise! (As my friend Cathy has noted, I'm a closet groupie in a reserved-looking outerskin.) I soon had a list of favorites. Here's one of them.

I was twelve when this was shot of Eric Burdon and the Animals performing "The House of the Rising Sun". Is it a hoot or what? Check out how they slowly walk around the set singing and playing their guitars. And how does he hit those low notes? These kids look to me now as if their voices hadn't yet changed, much less that they might have known anything about sin and misery. According to Wikipedia, they're from Newcastle upon Tyne (hey, we were there this summer!) and Eric apparently was fond of breaking eggs over naked girls. So much for innocence.

Anyway, one thing (video) led to another, and I was up past two watching YouTubes. Today I paid the piper and got one coat of primer on. And now I'm off to put the second coat on.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Best Crazy Green Ideas

OK, so being the mechanic that I am, I'm curious about a lot of things and can often be found checking out weird stuff. One example is New Scientist, which isn't really weird - unless you're someone like Rush Limbaugh, I suppose.

Go here to watch a video explaining the X-Prize Foundation's contest for the best crazy green ideas. The prize for the best idea is $25,000. Until next Sunday, you can vote here for one of the three finalists, and believe me - they're some doozies.

But wait - it gets better...if you implement the winning prize, you can win $10 million!!!

(Heads up on the Typealyzer link from Joan.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The City of New Orleans

I always loved this song. Doesn't it just make you want to call up Amtrak and book a train ride?

P.S. After watching this, I spent the day priming and repainting Kelly's Pepto Bismol pink bathroom. (It's now a nice olive green shade.) I hummed this song to myself the whole time!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mr. Obama, President-elect, Sir:

Your winning platform included talking with our "enemies" without preconditions. Could we begin with our Cuban neighbors just off our shore? Almost fifty years of economic blockade is enough! If our objective has been to squeeze Castro out of power and bring democracy and human rights to Cuba, it hasn't worked. Perhaps open trade and communication between Cuba the US would have hastened both these objectives. Instead we saw the old "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" as the Cuban government turned to Russia for support.

In 2005, a group of 15 Americans with It's Just the Kids went to Havana -- with a license from the US government -- and built four playgrounds for the Cuban children. We had to work every day in order to ensure we would not have time for sightseeing or travel into the countryside and we could not buy souvenirs other than art to make sure we weren't putting money into the Cuban economy. We saw this large sign erected by Castro on the waterfront Malecon, facing across the straits toward Florida.

Translated, it says "Senor Imperialists, we are absolutely not afraid of you!

Another translation: US policy has not worked.

If this tiny country can defiantly hold out for 50 years, imagine the outcome with Sarah Palin's suggestion that the US sanction Russia if they don't fall in line.

In 2006 as the hostile Bush administration tightened restrictions even further, the US government refused to issue a workable license for us to return to Cuba to build more playgrounds. As Patty would say, go figure! How were a bunch of playground building Americans in Cuba going to threaten US security? The huge amount of good will was not going to cost the government a penny -- Bill Hauf, a Republican, mind you, raised the money for the equipment himself. Not only that, he came back from the 2005 trip and ran for Congress. Not exactly what I'd call a bleeding heart liberal.

Mr. President-elect, consider this small step toward improving American relations with the world. Open up trade. Allow Americans free travel to Cuba as should be their right. We had a good start with the Clinton administration. After 8 years of a regressive administration, could we get back on track? We are waiting to build those playgrounds in Cuba.

Yours truly,
A left-leaning Republican in California.