scrumptious monkey

so much more than an amp -- and yet, not.


First Day Jitters

I should be asleep. Really.

But I've laid down and gotten up three times already.
My mind won't unwind...

First day, new job -- and I have to be there bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6am.
for the next four days in a row.
(I just heard Rob shudder and groan. oh yeah -- Ms. "I am SO Not A Morning Person.")
Anything can be conquered in small enough increments.
It's a day at a time.

I'll feel better after the first day is over.
The training session went well... the worst part was the drive home (still took be a freeking HOUR to navigate from I-35 to Anderson. Like it isn't confusing enough in the daylight! Sheesh.

I really need to fall asleep and get some rest, it's a 6am to 2:30pm shift.

Nice Cake, huh? Simple royal icing violets, smooth base with elegant dots.
Nothing like what I'll be doing, but what the hell.
Let's have a slice...


Getting Around

My favorite computer game ever is MapQuest.

See, you enter an address you want to go to, and the address you're starting from. Directions and an actual map pop up on the screen. Then -- and here's the fun part -- you get to play out the game in real time, by actually following the directions to get to your destination.

It's exciting, ever stimulating, and has that edge of reality people crave nowadays.

Today, I got in the truck and headed out in the opposite direction of what I am somewhat familiar with -- this time down to Spicewood Springs Road, which turns into Anderson Lane East, hooking a slight right onto I-35 North.. and ending up at 6*** NI H 35.

according to MapQuest, it was a 4.98 mile trip, one direction.
Guess how lost I got.

Ok Ok I am getting better at figuring out the one way traffic web, and with practice I am slightly bolder in deciding to carefully turn around and retrace my route.

Heck, it only took me a half hour and one phone call to find what I set out to find...
and er... an hour to get back.

all that one way traffic stuff... geez.
Still, I found a lot of good things I didn't know were so close to my area.
Look for, the silver lining...
I am such a driving dweeb.


Complicated Relations

There's a joke.

Guy's away in Europe, and he leaves his beloved cat with his brother, who's sort of a cut and dried, no nonsense type. When the Guy calls home and asks how his cat is, the brother says, "It's dead." Understandably the Guy is stunned.

"You can't just tell a person something like that! Jeez, you have no tact at all, do you? Couldn't you have broken it to me in stages? What happened, how'd she die?.." The brother apologises rather absently, and tells the Guy the cat had been up on the roof, fell off and that was the end of the cat. Still shaken, the Guy reproaches his brother with, "See, you could have told me she was on the roof, and had a bad fall, and then, that there was nothing that could be done, and she was gone. Have a little sensitivity, why dontcha." Taking a deep breath and letting out a sigh, the Guy asks, "How's Mom?"

The brother says quietly, "She's up on the roof..."

It's hard to break the news of a family member's passing. There's no GOOD way to do it, and it's a bitch of a thing to get stuck being the bearer of possibly emotionally volatile news to another family member 2,000 miles away. Not only do you have to suffer the news again, you have to be braced for that person's emotional storm... or the lack of a reaction.

My Mother passed away Saturday morning in St Vincent's Hospital (Bridgeport CT). She'd been very ill; was suffering from a system wide massive infection, and had (over the months leading up to the end) lost practically all physical capacity to exist as a human being... except for lucidity. That was the one element that came and went -- she had a relatively clear visit with my younger sister Thursday night, there were family members with her on Friday... and then this morning she passed: peacefully, quietly.

Mother and I had a complicated relationship. My Mother was a complex personality. I am not a ho-hum person either.

I stopped caring about her opinion and general view of things when I was in High school. I moved out shortly afterward; then a few years later moved back in to take care of her after her first hip replacement surgery.

You know the Miranda Rights? "Anything you say can and will be used against you.." If she'd had any personal ambition other than managing her children's lives, she'd have made a ruthless prosecuting attorney.

People would have begged for the mercy of a bullet in the brain rather than endure the cold merciless prosecution of Lucille. Not that she was Evil. Noooo; she was cold, sarcastic, contrary, and delighted in the miseries of others, but she didn't take an active role in making lives miserable... Except by talking to you about things in a way engineered to make you feel as small, stupid, and insignificant as possible.

The only way to deal with someone like that is to tell them nothing, and mask your emotions. I would be pleasantly unattached to the flow of conversation when I had to be In The Presence: Fully suited up in emotional Kevlar armor when dealing with her.

She drove other family members with her controlling minutae: I dismissed it all as inconsequential. This she considered a challenge; and in a twisted way she respected me for not caving from her incessant emotional tortures.

She was different with each of us, fine tuned to the others weaknesses and fears; and she pushed the buttons she could find just to get reactions and watch how people jumped when she did so.

And yes, I still maintain she was not evil for doing so. She was a product of the horrible woman who raised her; and compaired to Grandma, Mom was Snow White.

Mom counted coup at family gatherings on Holidays (which were really obligatory examinations of the over view of everyone's lives; exact measurements were made based on who came, how long they stayed, how much they did...) all the while looking for chinks in the armor.

It must sound as if I hated her. I'm afraid it's worse than that -- I felt nothing for her, and even now -- I feel nothing. I'm happy to be in Austin, and I have no intention of going back to Connecticut if I can help it. And I plan to work hard at avoiding Connecticut and the Northeast just on principle.

She was my Mother: Fairly larger than life, unhappy with everything she surveyed, fearful of what other people thought of her... because she herself had nothing nice to say about anyone. She was my Mother -- and I strive every day of my life not to be like her in dealing with others.

I hope she's finally happy.


I am a tower of jello...

Today, I burst into tears when I finally got a human being on the phone after chasing my local branch office bank voice mail around for 15 minutes (including getting hung up on twice). All I wanted to know was what I needed to bring with me to open an individual checking account in Austin. I had no idea the concept and the implementation was so emotionally volatile.

It has been a day.

A friend of mine is outright furious with me and "going off" on me for having the bad form to tell him he's over-reacting. I knew I'd draw his scorn and ire, but this really seemed... well, frightening. Things have settled down a bit, but good grief I don't like the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to kick me in the behind. I had enough of living on that edge for 44 years, and I thought I could give it up, down here.

The good news is, as far as I know he doesn't have my address or phone number.

S.M. left for his trip overseas to Israel and Germany yesterday... and I miss him. I'm getting around Austin (as I need to) and taking care of myself -- but I just miss him. He's a Good Person. He's kind, encouraging, has a sense of humor, listens well, and doesn't shock at all. Best of all -- he's trustworthy, in a true blue, what-you-see-is-what-you-get presentation of personal ethics and integrity.
He is, simply "A Mensch".

I wish I was the sort of girl he's looking for, to hold up the other end of the 2 x 4.
Sadly, I don't think that's going to happen.
But I do want him to find happiness with his better half, whoever she is.

Enough feeling sorry for myself. I should get some supper, take my meds, and plan my Saturday.


Let Them Eat Cake.

No, I'm not going to give up on a bookstore job -- or a library gig, for that matter. I don't mind volunteering for the library... as soon as I find one of 'em! I can be mild mannered cake decorating Lilly by day, and Smarty-Pants-Know-It-All Librarian Lilly ... on alternating days.

I would like a bookstore gig. Maybe I should bring over some goodies for the BookPeople folks. Like a cake with the Cat in the Hat on it:

hmmm might seem too threatening. I want to get hired, not arrested.

I'm thinking about Dr Seuss because it was his birthday recently (March 2) and I used to make 3 Cat In The Hat Cakes every year (special order for a grade school teacher) to celebrate the day. I think she had a cake for the morning session, a cake for the afternoon session -- and a cake for the teacher's lounge. Now there's an educator.

On the subject of getting the gig with this grocery chain -- they have a mandatory pre-hire drug test, and criminal background search. Now... the most illegal thing I've ever done is cheat on my diet, and the only drugs in my system (at a-certain-time-of-the-month) are Excedrin or Midol.

I have nothing to hide, and I had no problem complying.
Does that make me a tool?

I'd rather be an employed tool than "worrying about what I'm going to write on my cardboard sign". hmmmm..

Speaking of EJ -- I missed his appearance as part of The Barbwire Project at the Chris Whitley tribute this past Saturday. Much as I would have liked to go -- I just crashed from Saturday 6pm to Sunday afternoon.
I was beginning to stress mightly, and I needed to recover.
I'm so dull and boring -- Stressing over the "small thing" of employment. That's not even a blink of interest on the Jerry Springer scale.

off to find the nearest branch of the Austin Public Library.
Ye, I say verily, Yeeha.


Got some Interviews today...

it's a good sign that they're willing to meet with me on a Saturday, right? lol.

I'll take it as a good sign.
I'm asking for Good Vibes sent my way -- Generally and specifically!

And I am soooo getting a cup of coffee. Right now.
Just one. (muahahahaha... it always starts with "just one taste.")

Busy busy busy...


well, whaddya know... I've been hired.

Ok, so it's cake decorating, not retail books: but it's a 40 hour work week, at a decent starting wage. (10 bucks an hour.)
I'm so relieved, I believe I am going to try to get some sleep, now.


Job Application..

hmmmm think I could get away with being this funny?..
This is an actual job application that a 17-year-old boy submitted to McDonald's in Florida and they hired him because he was so honest and funny!

Name: Greg Bulmash.

Sex: Not yet. Still waiting for the right person.

Desired Position: Company's President or Vice President. But seriously, whatever's available. If I was in a position to be picky, I wouldn't be applying here in the first place.

Desired Salary: $185,000 a year, plus stock options and a Michael Ovitz style severance package. If that's not possible, make an offer and we can haggle.

Education: Yes.

Last position held: Target for middle management hostility.

Salary: Less than I'm worth.

Most Notable Achievement: My incredible collection of stolen pens and post-it notes.

Reason for Leaving: It sucked.

Hours Available to Work: Any.

Preferred Hours: 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Do You Have Any Special Skills? Yes, but they're better suited to a more intimate environment.

May We Contact Your Current Employer? If I had one, would I be here?

Do You Have Any Physical Conditions That Would Prohibit You From Lifting Up To 50 lbs? Of what?

Do You Have a Car? I think the more appropriate question here would be "Do you have a car that runs"?

Have You Received Any Special Awards Or Recognition? I may already be a winner of the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.

What Would You Like To Be Doing In Five Years? Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy blonde super model who thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. Actually, I'd like to be doing that now.

Do You Certify That the Above is True and Complete to the Best of Your Knowledge? Yes. Absolutely.

Sign Here: Aries.


no Internet... until now.

I'm in Austin... and it sort of struck me that it's the daily life of somebody *just living* in Mecca?
It isn't all guitar gods and nightclubs, in other words.

it's like that Zen saying:

Before Enlightenment:
chop wood, carry water.

After Enlightenment:
chop wood, carry water.

The rat race is everywhere, but you can choose where you put it aside and what you pick up when you aren't being a rat.
On your wheel. In your cube farm cage.
For which I envy you all right now.

Right now I'm filling out those online applications, and finding out where to pick up applications for places that aren't online.
I put off driving without a guide for a week... ye gods, it's a big city.

I'm an observer -- this interactive / proactive stuff is not my thing.

I'm also off line for a few days unless I can get a hook up at the library...
Still have that out-of-state license, though.


It's been over 24 hours without an Internet connection, and I have been a very good girl. I've been coping.

I just hope it gets hooked up in the morning and I don't have to get through another day WITHOUT!

I'm in my apartment, and getting adjusted to being able to talk out loud to myself all the time. I have always used "a talking cure" for myself (talking out loud and working things out) but usually, I did it when no one's around to wonder.."hmmmm maybe that's certifiable".

I'm a writer. I can create several characters to have discussions; I run dialog through my mind constantly. And it's with people who exist, whether wholly fabricated or existing in their own reality somewhere else.

Not so crazy, the idea that it could come across as certifiably cra-zee.

It's rather.. weird: I've recently begun to think of myself "As A Writer". I suppose that's a "duuuuh-UH!" thing for folks who read this blog.
There are a lot of things I'm getting from Being in Austin; this is one of them. Self-image.

I had my hair cut Thursday -- the two-tone brown ends silver roots look is gone. Now... I'm just "going blond gradually" hehehe.
I thought of dying it ketchup red or ... and where that MIGHT work to get a job at BookPeople ("I pierced my nose for you! And other places -- am I chic enough to work here yet?!" -- I was told if I sent a video tape AUDITION / mini-movie I'd have a better than average chance at getting my application looked at. Hullo, wait -- do you want to employ filmmakers, or people who love books? sheesh. Seems they have to turn away wanna-bes in droves. Narf.) I kinda like getting silver haired. I've earned it, and by yimminy -- I'm gonna enjoy it!


I had a dream I was playing cosmic bocce ball and my last ball went... ummm... really off; it held me between the dream and waking trying to track where it went.


Yes I'm back online -- I was offline for a few days. Hellish. I can get along without TV, but I need the Internet.

So now I'm in my apartment, which is small, but wonderful. Evidently the guy who lived here previously was half wild boar and half party animal -- everything was repainted, new carpet was rolled in, new countertops were applied -- there are some ... "interesting" dents on the frige but nothing serious. All the appliances work. The one weird thing is the shower pipe was installed at 5 feet. This is wonderful for taking a shower and not washing my hair, if a little awkward for shampooing. But hey -- I bend!

I just had the first of "knocks on the door" from someone looking for the previous tenant. I was a little concerned that the sort of lifeform that would come looking for the critter who used to live here would be... um.. frightening. Fortunately -- quelle surprise! -- it looked and sounded like a college student, was very apologetic; and from the shocked expression on his face, he was thinking his Mom was suddenly in residence where one of the pack animals used to be.

The hunt for employment continues...


Bee Caves Road -- or, I'm in hell...

I do NOT like to drive. I generally prefer to leave the driving to people who LOVE to drive. They tend to have the gift of a sense of direction, which makes driving.. you know... rather FUN, I should imagine.

Bee Caves Road. This is the name of a fairly extensive road the goes through the southern part of Austin. There is also an "Old Bee Caves Road".
And, I do believe, other Bee Caves Road(s) in other towns outside of Austin.
Or, that's my perception from the black hole pocket of hell I found myself in early Yesterday afternoon.

Having managed to get myself to, and back from, Church on Sunday; I decided I could -- with directions -- go the 3/4's of a mile to the HEB in this neck of the woods and pick up an application.

I missed the turn off road, ended up at the terminus of Far West which fires you onto MoPac -- and two hours later, having driven down AND THEN AROUND Austin, got myself back to the house shaken and slightly nauseous.

during the first quarter of my adventure, mucking around the Industrial Park-ville and otherwise dusty lonesome Bee Caves Road (with the David Byrne spoken lines from "Once in a lifetime" ringing in my head) I think I nearly escaped quicksand and Rattlesnakes. Had I literally been captured by "The Bees" and entombed in their caves as food supplement for larve, I wouldn't have been surprised at all.

If it had been possible to track my movements via GPS, the folks in the front office would have saved my adventure for the year end blooper reel.

I learned some interesting things about myself today.
1. -- I have an unnatural sense of direction. I will inevitably pick THE WRONG WAY and it's only by counter-action of inclination I make any semblance of transverse correction.

2. -- I can turn my truck around in places I wouldn't want to have to swing a bicycle. Good little truck. May it continue to compensate for my erroneous ways.

3. -- No matter how bad things are, or seem to be getting -- in the midst of it all -- Life Is Sweet.

Just pack a water bottle and toilet paper....
A compass and a map will be added to the arsenal, as well.


I'm sooooo five...

found this quiz over on Blueberry's Texas Oasis blog...

It was a bit of a fretful thing: only two questions with three choices each! -- but OMG have I been nailed.

your Enneagram type is FIVE.

"I need to understand the world"

Observers have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

I have friends who would claim I'm not analytical and I'm much too emotional... however it should be noted I am much, much less accessible emotionally to acquaintances than I am to the handful of people I consider friends.

How to Get Along with Me

• Be independent, not clingy.
• Speak in a straightforward and brief manner.
• I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts.
• Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable.
• Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity.
• If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place.
• Don't come on like a bulldozer.
• Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy.
yep. reading this, all I can think of is my Val Serrie Award for "Being Impossible".
And if I'm irritated when I repeat things, it's because I know the person I'm dealing with is not able to hold things in their head due to their own demons and habits.
I hate having to waste my time with people who don't cherish and protect their brain cells, I just HATE it.

What I Like About Being a Five

• standing back and viewing life objectively
• coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects
• my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure
• not being caught up in material possessions and status
• being calm in a crisis
yes, all too true.

What's Hard About Being a Five

• being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world
• feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all
• being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be
• watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally
lol. again, all too true.

Fives as Children Often

• spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on
• have a few special friends rather than many
• are very bright and curious and do well in school
• have independent minds and often question their parents and teachers
• watch events from a detached point of view, gathering information
• assume a poker face in order not to look afraid
• are sensitive; avoid interpersonal conflict
• feel intruded upon and controlled and/or ignored and neglected
oh my. Do tell. And who was following me around with a notebook all those wretched years??

Not that parenthood is an option -- and to tell the truth, I wouldn't want a parent like me, anyway...
Fives as Parents

• are often kind, perceptive, and devoted
• are sometimes authoritarian and demanding
• may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate
• may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions
hmmm in other words -- get a cat, Lilly. *-)

Austin, Rain, and a Dictionary of Republicanisms....

I was dreaming of rain and laundry last night. I blame Diz -- he put those Aimee Mann cliches in my head on the forum.

It's Saturday, and it rained all morning. I have been filling applications on line -- a disheartening thing, to be sure.

I suppose what I should do is go out and make a nuisance of myself until I'm either hired or arrested.

I still feel utterly lost as far as navigating the city, though.

cute email:

Have you been as confused as I have, about what exactly is being said in Washington? Now, finally, we get the help we need...
A Dictionary for Republicanisms

alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil.
[Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, CO]

bankruptcy n. A punishable crime when committed by poor people but not corporations.
[Beth Thielen, Studio City, Calif.]

"burning bush" n. A biblical allusion to the response of the President of the United States when asked a question by a journalist who has not been paid to inquire.
[Bill Moyers, New York, NY]

Cheney, Dick n. The greater of two evils.
[Jacob McCullar, Austin, Tex.]

class warfare n. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage.
[Don Zweir, Grayslake, Ill.]

climate change n. The blessed day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans.
[Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ]

compassionate conservatism n. Poignant concern for the very wealthy
(Lawrence Sandek, Twin Peaks, Calif.]

creationism n. Pseudoscience that claims George W. Bush's resemblance to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental
[Brian Sweeney, Providence, RI].

DeLay, Tom n. 1. Past tense of De Lie
[Rick Rodstrom, Los Angeles, Calif.].
2. Patronage saint
[Andrew Magni, Nonatum, Mass.].

extraordinary rendition n.! Outsourcing torture
[Milton Feldon, Laguna Woods, Calif.].

faith n. The stubborn belief that God approves of Republican moral values despite the preponderance of textual evidence to the contrary
[Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

free markets n. Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense
[Sean O'Brian, Chicago, Ill.].

girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately
[Nick Gill, Newton, Mass.].

God n. Senior presidential adviser
[Martin Richard, Belgrade, Mont.].

growth n. 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich.
2. What happens to the national debt when Republicans cut taxes on the rich
(Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

healthy forest n. No tree left behind
[Dan McWilliams, Santa Barbara, Calif.].

honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences--e.g., "Freedom is on the march"
[Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

House of Representatives n. Exclusive club; entry fee $1 million to $5 million (See Senate)
[Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

laziness n. When the poor are not working
[Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

leisure time n. When the wealthy are not working
[Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

liberal(s) n. Followers of the Antichrist
[Ann Wegher, Montello, Wisc.].

No Child Left Behind riff. 1. v. There are always jobs in the military
[Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ].
2. n. The rapture
[Samantha Hess, Cottonwood, Ariz.]
This is true because we have had recruiters mail, phone and even, believe it or not, stop by the house to see my 18 year old son. When I asked them to stop they said it was due to "The No Child Left Behind" bill passed by "W".

ownership society n. A civilization where 1 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth
[Michael Albert, Piscataway, NJ].

Patriot Act n. 1. The pre-emptive strike on American freedoms to prevent the terrorists from destroying them first.
2. The elimination of one of the reasons why they hate us
[Michael Thomas, Socorro, NM].

pro-life adj. Valuing human life up until birth
[Kevin Weaver, San Francisco, Calif.].

Senate n. Exclusive club; entry fee $10 million to $30 million
[Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

simplify v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors
[Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

staying the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same stupid thing over and over, regardless of the result
[Suzanne Smith, Ann Arbor, Mich.].

stuff happens interj. Slang. Donald Rumsfeld as master historian
[Sheila and Chalmers Johnson, San Diego, Calif.].

voter fraud n. A significant minority turnout
[Sue Bazy, Philadelphia, Pa.].

woman n. 1. Person who can be trusted to bear a child but can't be trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have the child.
2. Person who must have all decisions regarding her reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to have sex in the first place
[Denise Clay, Philadelphia, Pa.].

WA -- Anthony Burgess...

And what would you do with this diagnosis?...
It's the birthday of novelist and critic Anthony Burgess, born John Anthony Burgess Wilson in Manchester, England (1917). He had written several novels, none of which was particularly successful, when, in 1959, he began to suffer from severe headaches. He went to see a doctor and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The doctor told him he only had one year to live.

Burgess wrote five novels in that following year, the year he believed to be his last. The diagnosis turned out to be incorrect.

He's best known for his novel A Clockwork Orange (1962). It begins: "There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter."



Can everyone see this?

The lap top I'm using washes out most colors so that I have bright colors.. I've tried making resolution adjustments, and it's beyond my limited know-how. All hues of blue are either cyan or navy. *sigh* I couldn't read my own dang blog.
I just hate when that happens.

so now I'm pink. I loathe pink, but at least it's legible.



Click your Heels, Dorothy....

The question has been asked --
"How did you get from Connecticut to Austin, all-of-a-sudden-like?"

As much as I've always wanted to be in Austin I could never have done it on my own.

Explaining how it ramped up to getting onto a plane and saying goodbye to Connecticut... well, if you read through the whole blog you'll get the atmosphere of how someone could perhaps feel so disenfranchised and out of sync with their environs a change would be welcome: but the actual mechanics of moving the mountain...

One writer acquaintance said, "Of course there's a man, isn't there?"
ummm yes. and well... no.

The 20 year old neighbor kid smirked, "So you're living with S. now?"
No. I'm staying with him. You know, like a visiting cousin.

I have to blame people's lack of propriety and respect for integrity on the media slicking down a greasy trail of sex under every story, every motivation. There are people in the world who can do things from kindness.
Simple largess.

Not everyone who is better off is a greed-pig looking after his own trough and body slamming other pigs from theirs.

This happened fast. Much too fast to think about.

It started a few days before... Someone from the forum found my Aunt Aggie blog and read it -- and decided to write to me about it.
We exchanged a hail-load of emails, and I enjoyed writing to him: He's got a poetic quality to his thought forms and forced me to think in that metered form when I responded. I love poetry because in my writing of it I am able to access truths that are otherwise hidden from me. The correspondence was stretching my mental muscles in another direction; which is exhilarating -- my favorite sort of exercise: and I guess impressive to read?! lol.
A day or two after we started exchanging email, the poet said, "Hey, you have to meet my friend, he lives in Austin."
Well. "Austin" is a magic word. I like saying it, I like thinking about it.

Having said things and thought about things with the first guy that coalesced realizations in my mind, my natural scepticism about opening up to new people was on vacation. I said, "yeah, ok. introduce us."

Which was how I met S. M.

We'd literally exchanged 3 emails and spoke on the phone once, before he offered to pull me back into the world of the living.
"If you want a change, come down to Austin. I have plenty of room, and I can help you get on your feet."

"But... I don't have any money. I mean -- I have nothing."

"No problem. I'll get you a ticket. What's the closest airport to you?"
Not exactly getting whapped in the head with a magic wand, but pretty dang close.

Friends have commented on The Good Karma S. has coming his way for doing this: I was nearly a complete stranger, and there was no good reason to decide to help me; other than he could -- and I needed to be helped, if I would accept that help.

I've been in Texas a little over 3 weeks, and it's like stepping into a childhood I never had. Texas -- Austin -- is physically similar to where I'd spent my whole life -- except for palm trees and cacti in front yards that have seen little or no snow, ever. This is Winter in Central Texas: greener than New England, and warmer in every conceivable means from the winter I've always known.

photo courtesy Park Street, Antone's 1.31.06
Do I love it here?
Yes, I do.

Do I want to stay here?
without question, absolutely yes.

Can I pull it together?..

well I heard from the bookstore I interviewed with -- and she hired someone else.
I haven't had calls from other applications I've dropped off. (and I've politely checked on them. Maybe too politely? ugh. but like Harlan Ellison says, "When you need a job and hunger for one openly you never get hired because they smell desperation on you like panther sweat." Believe me -- I am acting as cool and nonchalant as my stomach acids will allow -- without actually leaping up and running out of my nose in a constant flesh eating terrified drip.)

I move into my apartment March 1st.
I have a Ford Ranger to drive myself around in for the next 6 months...
and I NEED to get a job.

Other than that -- things are better than they've been in...
well, any other time of my life. [see archives for details].


Time...and vision improvement.

Going to see EJ and Double Trouble was the highlight of the week.
Well it's the highlight of any week, isn't it?

I'm getting acid reflux straight into my sinuses over the job situation. Yeaaah, I'm trying to keep out of the bad reality (El Mundo Malo) and think happy thoughts, but I can't seem to let the bad stuff dissipate.

I've never really ever been alone.
Being alone is different for everyone. There are degrees of aloneless that do not enter into the feelings of loneliness that make people go and do things they detest with people they hate rather than have to face themselves alone.

That's never been my problem.
In fact, I enjoy my own company too much.

I remember reading Anne Morrow Lindberg's passages on shutting out the daily noise to hear yourself think; I know Virginia Woolf's creedo of having a room of your own to write in. I genuinely embrace being alone; even as I know it's a hiding reaction, a retreat from the demands of the world..

I'm just not good at being in the flow of things. It's overwhelming and horrible. Give me a rut, huh? Predictable parameters of variables.

That's more my thing...

I feel like I'm walking a beach; with no destination, no sunrise or sunset; just an endless beach between the mother ocean and a barren shore. Part of me says, "Stop walking. there's nothing here for you -- go back and be what you are where you were."

and the Contrary perpertual adolescent inside of me says, "keep walking, at least it's exercise."

I'm walking...

••••••••• ••••••••• ••••••••• •••••••••

New glasses...

so I haven't been driving for a while. I didn't need to notice my distance vision was deteriorating at the rate of popsicles in the desert.... Well, all I needed it for was to see if the leftovers were still edible from the back of the frige.

but driving? [cough] erm, no.

Saturday I sat down with a very nice eye doctor who told me the condition of my eyes.
After I regained consciousness, she suggested I get an optiscan, just for her sake -- wanted to try to see how much hemorrhaging was going on behind my dirty windows -- cataracts, dears.

well come on people -- I've been living like a cave wight for 5 years! Y' think "Light baaad, dark gooood" is a studied habit from the Zombie handbook? Heck no -- like all good Zombies (is that an oxymoron?) things just deteriorate to help with the process.

I mean -- who's gonna be scared of a brand new cave wight?
A Revenant that still thinks it's a normal human type creature?
More likely you'll pity them...

Me and Marvin the People Personality Robot -- we need some torque. Ugh.


posted on the forum...

for those who check here more often than there....

EJ at Antone's 2.17.06 w/ Ant B and Double Trouble

I've been hopping all day doing stuff away from the computer (not to mention the show finished up just slightly before one am!) BUT for those of you too far from Austin to make it to the show last night...

got to the doors at the tail end of EJ's sound check; He, Chris, and the Unknown Drummer were playing through "World of Trouble"... it sounded g-o-o-d even through the walls.

The doors opened at 8-ish (Antone's time). EJ was scheduled to play for an hour, 9:30pm to 10:30 pm, to be followed by Double Trouble with Malford Milligan, Mike Keller, Riley Osbourn, and EJ from 11pm to 1am. I assumed (rightly so) it would be a 45 minute set with the quintet, a short break and then a 45 minute set of the first five guys joined by EJ.

Eric came out with Chris Maresh and drummer Kyle Thompson at the appointed hour, smiled kindly at the crowd and after introducing Chris and Kyle, self effacingly announced, "We're just gonna jam a bit."...

I'd love to give you the full set list for this stuff, but the titles that Eric mentioned were mostly said to the '61 fiesta red strat he was playing -- they were communicating very VERY well, lemme tell you.

Except for the Bluesy "World of Trouble" most of the hour was pure Rock-Fusion; dynamic, expansive fusion jams that were clean, FAST, jaw dropping excursions up into the stratosphere. It was GREAT. I'd gone to see Holdsworth earlier in the week, but this was sooo much... MORE. Melodic, loose, different textures, and incredibly lyrical passages I could listen to over and over.

Chris was digging IN, next to Malford (who to be honest is in a class by himself) that boy was the hardest working sweat factory on stage that night.

The new guy....

O-M-G. Remember that name, Kyle Thompson. Holy Moley. His playing is like a melodic avalanche. If he were an engine, he'd be a V8.

oh. I should probably mention -- I got a lift to the show with Paula and Rob (that would be Paula of-the-front-of-the-line fame!) and staked out the front of the stage directly in front of Chris's pedal board. In fact -- if I was any closer, I'd have had to move back to get out the way or bump heads with him as he reached to adjust a knob.

wait -- it gets better...

so there's a break, and then at 11pm-ish, up comes Malford -- raring to git rowdy. I love Malford so much, and I'm standing right in front of him and I'm sure I was glowing if not throwing a beacon like a struck-dumb silly Lighthouse.

the first Double Trouble set list:

1. Medicine Man
2. Burnin Angel (written by Riley Osbourn)
3. Say One Thing (dedicated to Doyle II)
4. Blow Wind Blow
5. Ain't No Fun To Me
6. Change Is Gonna Come
7. Talk to Your Daughter
8. Palace Of The King
9. Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky
10. Shape I'm In (Not EJ's -- this one was *classic* R&B)

I'm telling you -- catching Malford Milligan, Mike Keller, and Riley Osbourn with Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon is worth the price of admission. If Eric Johnson is my "Favorite Artist" -- this line up with Double Trouble is becoming my favorite band.

Mike Keller is just -- superb. He looks like a 15 year old kid, and he plays like a 60 year old blues pro. He just shuts his eyes and the music flows out of his will.

Riley O is a consummate, commanding pro. I'd say that goes for all of them, but Mr. Osbourn comes across as the combat Unit "Sarge" if that makes any sense.

And Malford... what can you say about someone with the ability to raise his voice and channel every soul in the room...
I'll tell you -- everyone's concept of Heaven is highly personal: as to what might merit entry into it: I don't want to open up a theosophical brouhaha; but I'm pretty sure I get points towards passing through the pearly gates because I've been in the same room with M.M. and he made me feel better 'n half way there already -- if I see a few more gigs; I'm positive I will learn the whole route.

And the Double Trouble fellas themselves?...
They don't miss SRV a quarter of what he must miss them, I do believe.

so the band took a break, and I turned my back to the stage and sat on it; Paula's dear mate Rob brought me back a water (thank you Rob) and I sat and chatted with the folks around me... and realized I was sort of hemmed into sitting there. hmmmm....

Guys -- I'm a Big Person. I stand 5'10", and let's just say I DO NOT disappear when I turn sideways. The ladies standing directly in front of me as I sat on the stage were 5'6" tops. I was roughly 5'6" sitting.
so I sat there for the following set, with EJ and Double Trouble et all.

yeaaaah, 18 days in Austin and my considerable behind is sitting on the stage about four feet from Eric Johnson's Cowboy boots and red 335.
and it was cool. Not so much as a dirty look from security, crew, or a band member -- and the audience pressing against the stage seemed happy I'd gotten shorter, lol.
Double Trouble with friends and special guest EJ set list:

1. E Shuffle (an instrumental leading into)
2. How Many More Times
3. All Your Love I Miss Loving (EJ penned)
4. Once A Part of Me
5. For You Blue (also EJ penned, but I could be wrong)
6. Crossroads
7. Spanish Castle Magic
• encore •
Dontcha Know

this set list was scrawled on the back of the first Double Trouble set list: and the tape used to affix the first list to the floor was facing up -- so that Malford got it stuck to his shoe accidentally (and oblivious) -- and between Tommy Shannon gesturing, and ME grabbing it and smoothing it into place where it wouldn't be picked up by a passing shoe, the set list was around to be referred to by the performers.
hey -- I live to serve. =)

The first time I saw Eric "sit in" with Double Trouble was terrific, make no mistake: but you know -- this was better. Not just from my strategic viewing point: this time Mike "got dragged up" into sharing lead work on nearly every piece with EJ (the first time he'd more or less stuck to a solid rhythm-second guitar filling)
Yes -- this Mike Keller guy -- he's THAT GOOD he can go toe-to-toe trading riffs with E, the two of them grinning at each other for the sheer joy of making music together *At This Level*.

What a Night, What a Show.
Thank you Gentlemen!

from the Big Kid with the (Transcended) Happy Face staring up...


Mostly Harmless... sure...

EJ at Antone's tonight...

Ok. As I was drifting off to sleep last night my alpha floating mind fixed on a ridiculous, Through-The-Looking-Glass Fantasy.

What's to stop me from getting into my pickup truck, driving down to Antone's, walking up to Eric and the guys and saying, "Hi I'm from the forum; can I watch you all load in and do the sound check, and write about it for the forum? You can read it over and have final editing say before I post it. I know I'm curious as heck, and I bet the forum folks would find it interesting, too."

well actually my own inhibitions, for one. Because I'm really so great at just walking on up to people and insinuating myself into their situation -- and, oh yeah -- EXPRESSLY to write about it.

and of course -- there's 15 minutes of Eric's time confounded by having to politely say what amounts to, "Are you out of your mind, Lady?! okay -- who had the 3:30 Friday afternoon slot in the betting pool on when we'd have to scrap this nutcase into a box and ship her back to Connecticut?..."

Sure would be cool, though.
Not the outright rejection, I'm not a masochist and I don't REALLY look for painful situations to squirm in -- but taking notes; writing down my observations...

THAT would be cool.