Friday, September 30, 2011

T.G.I.F. - Larry Lurex

In 1972 Queen was at Trident Studios recording their first album. There they met music engineer Robin Cable. Cable wanted to experiment with the "Phil Spector Wall of Sound" recording style. He got Freddie to be the lead vocalist. Freddie brought in Roger Taylor and Brian May. They recorded two songs. Of course there are no videos for either song and I doubt Queen ever played them live. Below are the best audio versions I could find. I kind of like Going Back. Freddie sounds awfully young.

I Can Hear Music

Going Back

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting Creative - Week 22

Silly? This is serious business.
So. I lost a day. Again. I spent two days this week waiting for the plumber to show up. I suppose I could have been writing or doing something else creative. I was just too damn tired. I watched all 13 parts of Robin Williams Inside the Actor's Studio. That's about as silly as I got. That and buying some Halloween themed stamps at the dollar store. Not sure what I'm going to do with them but I have them.

My book blog, Genre Wench, is starting to get some notice. I've been getting books for review sent to me. I have to get a calendar going so that I can keep them all straight. Some of them have a deadline. I really have to get it all straight in my head. I used to be hyper-organized. That's why I was a good stage manager. SM is a job for the chronically organized. That's going to be my project for next week. Wish me luck.

This week's card:
From the Heart 
Deep down inside, beyond the reach of reason, responsibility, and rational thought, are the concerns that move you most. Your core values are what invigorate your heart – so why not let them invigorate your art? Whether you spend your Saturdays canvassing for Greenpeace, your Thanksgivings serving turkey at a homeless shelter, or a percentage of your paycheck funding cancer research, your commitments can fuel your creativity as well as the causes you believe in. Reach in and find the feeling that makes you glad to spend your holidays among strangers, then give that emotion expression in your chosen medium.

If you are one of my facebook friends, or if you read my Twitter feed, or my Google+ stream you probably already know what issues are important to me. Some of the big ones are: LGBT rights, the environment, animal welfare, and safe food.

For the past five year most of my volunteering has been with Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS). I've raised six puppies for them and was a puppy sitter for about a half dozen more. Last Sunday was the PADS graduation for 2011. One of the speakers commented that puppy raisers spend more than 100,000 hours with their puppies. That's more than I would have spent at a full time job for five years.

I feel weird if I'm not volunteering for something. I've dragged my puppies to some interesting places while I volunteered for some organization or other. I keep thinking of that saying: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I'm trying. I don't always succeed. Maybe that's another goal I should work on.

Creativity Resources:

Volunteer Canada – Most countries will have volunteer organizations for you to contact. Go forth and Google.

101 Easy Ways You Can Make the World a Little Better – Very simple things that you can do starting today.

Click to Give – Click on the button and someone else makes a donation to one of six different causes. How easy is that?

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through 52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

Hey Hamsters!

Here I am blogging from Chrome because I can't get the Blogger Dashboard to load. I'll get this week's Getting Creative as soon as I can get into my dashboard.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Repost: Me & Einstein

“I’ve got a theory…” from Once More With Feeling (The Buffy Musical) 

Just when I thought I had the whole time/relativity/geekdom thing down I made a realization. Yes, it was painful.

I had no idea that a PADS puppy would push me into the luminous stratosphere. Now I am up there! In that Venn Diagram of people who have figured out something about time, Einstein and me are right next to each other….

Maybe not…

I have finally figured out what has been has been happening for the last two years of my life. Without warning, I have stopped living in Pacific Standard Time and started living in PADS Spastic Time.

::wheels out a big chalkboard and draws very complicated and perfect diagrams::

I live about 10 blocks from a mall. Not a long walk on most days. No time at all really. However, on a hot day, with a backpack full of groceries and a spastic dog (which I just managed to type as “god”** my Freudian slip is showing again) you might as well be walking the Great Wall of China.

There are times when I can take 15 minutes to walk half a block with a willful dog.

I love these puppies dearly but, just like deep space travel, PADS Spastic Time is taking a lot out of my bones. It is no coincidence that I get very sick right after each puppy I turn in. I guess my body sees it as its chance to collapse once I don’t have another life form depending on me for potty breaks. People wonder why I never had kids.

I guess I’m just feeling it today because Moneypenny has been spastic for the past two weeks. Part of that is her being sick (with Kennel Cough) but the rest of it is all the bad habits she has picked up from her previous owners.

I’ve pretty much made the decision that I am only going to take puppies who have been through the Early Puppy Education at PADS. That’s four months of training before they go out to a raiser at age 6 months.

I may just have to sleep on this new form of time for a while before I make any decisions.

**There is an old joke: What do you get when you cross an agnostic with an insomniac and a dyslexic? A person who lays awake all night wonders if there really is a dog.

Reposts are posts written for previous journals or other places online that no longer exist.

Friday, September 23, 2011

T.G.I.F. - It's A Hard Life

Freddie's fashion was always a little on the wild side but the outfit he's wearing in the video for It's A Hard Life is just wrong. Shot in 1984 it might be the most expensive video made by Queen. There certainly are lots of extras. You can see Freddie's then girlfriend, Barbara Valentin, leaning over a railing and showing her cleavage. After the music video is a recent video of Freddie's mom, Jer, and his sister, Kash, on some UK morning show.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Creative - Week 21

I really wanted to get some new stuff to try this week. I even got on the bus and made the trek only to find that my favorite art supply shop had moved. I didn't know where until I saw the new location as I went by on the Skytrain today. It's not open yet. I have no idea when it will be open. I think I might have to go to another store.

This week's card:
Be Really Silly 
Sitting around alone in a darkened room for days or weeks at a time, toiling away at creations that might or might not see the light of day, forgetting to eat, sleep, or go to step aerobics classes can lead a creative person to take herself or himself a bit too seriously. Loosen up, and your creative output will reap the benefits. If your usual medium is oil on canvas, get your hands into finger paints and leave your prints on paper, the refrigerator, a mirror. If you sculpt, bring a pail and a shovel to the nearest beach. If you're into construction, build yourself a kite and spend a day in the park trying to fly it and rescuing it out of trees.

I guess this one fits in with the “laugh at yourself” and the “try something new” cards. I've been staring at this page for 10 minutes trying to think of something to say. I've got nothing. I've gotten behind on some other things that are starting to stress me out. Maybe I'll have more to say next week.

Creativity Resources

Be Silly – There must be 50 Way to Be Silly.

Creative Activities – Some fun projects to get your mojo working again.

For silly you can't top Robin Williams

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through 52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Sunday List of Dreams

I’ve just finished reading a cool book. The Sunday List of Dreams by Kris Radish. The blurb on the covers says, “One woman gets and unexpected crash course in spicing up her life….”

I do not do Chick Lit and technically this is not part of that genre because it’s mostly about an older woman. However, it has a “chick lit” feel to it if you know what I mean.

Connie is a divorced, retired nurse, empty nester who is finally selling the family home in Indiana. She finds a box of papers belonging to her estranged eldest daughter who lives in New York and works in “manufacturing.” Like any good mother, she starts to read said papers and finds out that her daughter, Jessica, owns and operates a store that sells sex toys to women. For some unexplained reason she decides to hop a plane to NYC and see this shop (Diva Designs) for herself.

Now imagine you are in your late 20s, running a successful sex shop that is about to expand and suddenly you look up and your mother (whom you have not told about your business) has just walked in the door and is currently staring at your vast selection of dildo harnesses.

As the sitcom writers say, “Hilarity ensues.”

The book is laugh out loud funny and touching in turns. It made me think back to the days in the mid 90s when I wrote a sex column that my family did not know about. Forget my mother; my sister would have had a heart attack if she knew how I made my living. Not that I was ashamed. I just wasn’t interested in sharing my life with my family. I wrote my column because I was interested in sex and because, at the time, there weren’t any other BBWs writing about sexuality.

I still believe that great sex is for every woman not just the young and slender. I still believe there is no shame in getting what you need sexually even if you have to do it for yourself. The message of Radish’s book is sex positive and shows that positive sex is available at any age. I could not agree more.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Repost: Dream A Little Dream

I had this rather bizarre dream last night. 

I was in a hotel room with Moneypenny. I was washing my face in preparation for putting on a mud mask and sinking into a hot bubble bath when there was a knock on the door. It was Bono. He wanted me to come out to the pub with him. I told him I was having a night in. He told me he was depressed that I would rather put goop on my face than go out with him. I told him that it can be restorative and that he should try it some time. 

“Okay,” he said.
“Okay what?” says I.
“I’ll try it. Where’s the goop?” says he.
“What?! Now?!” 
“Yeah. Why not.”
“Oh, no reason.”

So he plops himself down and I contemplate calling security. I must have decided that the publicity would have been too much bother. I tell him he should get changed so that he doesn’t get goop all over his nice purple shirt and leather pants (hey, it is my dream after all…)

I’m wearing a short black kimono that looks suspiciously like the one I had years ago. It has an amber dragon on the back. I give Bono the big fluffy white robe that came with the hotel room (I suspect it was The Clarence.) Once he’s properly attired I drag him into the bathroom and give him a clean washcloth and my cleanser. While he’s washing his face I down two glasses of Champagne, eat two chocolate covered strawberries, and order some more of both from room service.

When Bono has finished washing his face, I show him the tube of avocado clay mask and tell him to put it on his face. He seems averse to getting his fingers in it and I tell him that’s half the fun. He doesn’t believe me so I put it on for him. I leave him looking at his green face in the mirror as I take care of the room service guy.

I go back into the bathroom to find him making designs in the mask with his finger. I smack his hand away and apply more goop. I tell him he had his chance to play with it and didn’t take it. He grabs the tube away from me and says, “your turn.” I sit on the vanity while Bono stands between my legs and puts green goop on my face.

I realize that Bono needs a manicure so we go out into the main room and I set everything up at the table and we drink Champagne, eat strawberries and talk about everything from music to Africa to the differences between growing up in Ireland and growing up in Canada. After the manicure, I move to his feet. We continue drinking, eating and talking while I give him a pedicure.

When I finish with his feet, we go and wash off the face goop. We just finish that when there’s a knock on the door. It’s the other members of U2 and they’ve brought pizza and Guinness.

We all settled down to eat and talk. After a while, I sat on the floor so I could give Moneypenny a tummy rub. Moneypenny gets right into her tummy rubs, moaning and wiggling with pleasure. Bono said that he was jealous of Moneypenny. I said, “What, you want to be lying on the floor wearing nothing but a collar and the fur genetics gave you?”

Larry spewed Guinness everywhere, Adam shook his head, Bono laughed and Edge said, “Now there’s an image I did not need.”

At this point, I woke up laughing.

I think I had this dream because a) I was watching Vertigo Chicago before I went to bed and b) I won a gift certificate to Absolute Spa. I’ve been trying to decide what to spend it on (besides a manicure & pedicure.) I’m now starting to lean towards a facial.

Most times when I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s because I’ve had a nightmare. I’ll take girl’s night in with Bono over anything from my psychological closet any day.

Reposts are posts written for previous journals or other places online that no longer exist.

Friday, September 16, 2011

T.G.I.F. - Barcelona

Haters can say what they like about Freddie's talent. I don't know many women with a four octave vocal range. Very few rock stars could hold their place with a singer like Montserrat Caballe. This video is from 8 October 1988 and is Freddie's last performance.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting Creative - Week 20

So another week has gone by and I have no idea where it went. We had a sudden weather change – from hot and sunny to overcast and cool – which gave me a “weather” migraine. That took up two days. I'm really not sure where the other five went. I know I didn't work on my “monkey mind” at all.

I spent some of the time looking at art forgeries this week. Some forgers spent years getting another artist's techniques right. I have to wonder what they might have created if they'd worked on their own techniques. I was looking at forgeries because I have an idea for a story but I have to do a lot more research to get it fleshed out. If I stick to my usual pattern, I'll research and research and research until I'm thoroughly sick of the topic. At that point I'll put all the research in a box and it will sit there until I decide to throw it out.

This week's card:
Raw Material 
There's a place in the world for frozen peas, salad in a bag, and even processed cheese – but who wouldn't rather bite into a fresh-hulled pea, a fresh-picked lettuce leaf, or a morsel of aged Brie? When it comes to buying what you need to stimulate and satisfy your urge to create, you can make a similar choice: buy high on the food chain (prestretched canvases, preselected watercolor sets, paint-by-numbers software programs) or treat yourself to raw materials that touch the raw nerve of your creativity. No need to consider it a luxury to walk into an art store and pick up two or three things you've never tried – just consider it your creativity staples.

I have a teensy problem with this card. I don't know how to make my own canvases. Even if I did I don't have the tools or the room for it. The idea that there is “convenience” art and that it is less than any other creative activity pisses me off. It doesn't matter what supplies you have. The art is in what you do with them. No one grinds up bugs to make paint any more. Does that mean artists of the 20th century are any less than artists of the 15th? I don't think so.

The last sentence of the card doesn't fit the theme. Buying something you haven't tried before is a good idea. It doesn't matter where in the art “food chain” they are.

Creativity Resources:

Creativity Supplies - An article about art supplies for kids which gives the art studio basics.

How to Abuse Your Art Supplies - Exactly what it sounds like.

About the image: yellow-red-blue by Wassily Kandinsky 1925.

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through 52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

World Suicide Prevention Day

When I was in my early 20s I had a friend named Gene. To be frank I don't remember that much about him except that he was cute and a good drummer. I remember staying up all night talking and listening to music. Then getting dressed to the nines to go out to breakfast.

Gene's parents ran the family business but he had no interest in it. His mom was afraid to be alone so either Gene or his dad was always with her. At some point Gene learned that he was adopted. He didn't take it well. He started getting drunk a lot. One night while drunk, Gene and another friend broke into a house. I believe they were so drunk that thought it was the friend's house.

Gene was arrested and sent to jail for a year. While in jail he got injured – he never told me how – and the prison gave him morphine. He came out of jail addicted to it. The rest is kind of cliched. He started using other drugs. Then he started selling. At some point he was using more than he was selling and his supplier was not happy. The last time I saw Gene he was afraid that the supplier was going to kill him.

A few months after that meeting another friend told me that Gene had put antifreeze in a glass of milk and swallowed it. He was 25.

His death made me sad but it also pissed me off.

They say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem but the problems don't seem temporary when your in the middle of them.

As most of you know, I suffer from migraines. I once read that people who get migraines are twice as likely to kill themselves. I understand that. There have been times when, in the middle of a migraine, I thought that if I died I'd never have to feel this way again. I know the migraine will go away. I also know it will come back.

This post was heading a certain direction until I stopped to look something up and found this:
Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain. Source
That took the wind out of my sails. Deep down, I've always thought that suicide was the coward's way out. The pain is over for you but just beginning for the people who love you.

There are millions of reasons to commit suicide. There are millions of reasons to live. Everyone has to find their own answers, but nobody has to look for those answers alone. There are hundreds of resources that can help.

One of my favorite is It Gets Better. Their focus is on the LGBT community but a lot of what they say relates to anyone. If that's not your cup of tea you can find other resources here.

About the image: An example of what is called Migraine Art. It is a visual representation of what a migraine feels like. I found it  here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

T.G.I.F - Who Wants To Live Forever

It's been a big Freddie week. I can't imagine him at 65. Maybe that's a good thing.

Who Wants to Live Forever was written for the film Highlander in 1986. While I like the song, I've always found it a bit creepy. And very sad. The video is gorgeous. Queen always sounds great when played by a symphony orchestra.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting Creative - Week 19

Long weekend always mess me up. Especially when I have no appointments the following week that makes me have to pay attention to the calendar. I didn't get much done in the way of clearing stuff away. I did find an  article that has a  great idea for avoiding clutter and chaos.

This week's card:
Remember the Little Engine That Could, chugging its way up the hill, huffing, "I think I can! I think I can! as it went? Sometimes you've got to be your own little engine, chanting "I know I can! I know I can!" despite all the seemingly inarguable evidence to the contrary. And while you're chanting for self-confidence, try these other mantras. Say the names of all the people you admire (including yourself) who have overcome adversity to achieve great (self-defined) success. Say the names of all the people who have achieved this success when they were your age, or older. Say the names of all people who believe in your more than you believe in yourself.
I have always hated the Little Engine That Could. To be fair, I never encountered it until after I became a cynic.  Let's face it. If I was a character from a children's book I'd be Eeyore. I've even had  a shrink ask me if I could try to be 50% less cynical. I laughed and said it sounds like a soap commercial. New. Improved. 50% less cynical. He had no sense of humor so he got quite angry. He actually lost it. Cynic 1. Shrink 0.

I've never been able to get with the whole mantra/affirmation train. My "monkey mind" gets in the way. Before I can progress, I have to find some way to turn it off. Or at least slow it down.  I think that's why I get caught up in video games online. My mind is quieter. Probably because it's not important. It's just a game.

Creativity Resources

List of Positive Affirmations - gives you some affirmations for different parts of your life.

Why You Must Love Yourself First - it's said that no one can truly love you until you love yourself.

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through 52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Freddie For A Day

Sept 5, 2011 would have been Freddie's 65th birthday. Freddie For A Day (FFAD) is an event to raise funds for the Mercury Phoenix Trust which is an AIDS charity set up in Freddie's name in 1992. If you'd like to make a donation in honor of Freddie's birthday just go to their donation page.

If you're in the mood to party, try some Freddie inspired drink suggestions from FFAD:

Mercury Rising

2 oz Stoli vodka
2 oz Orange juice
2 oz Lime juice
1 oz Simple Syrup (or substitute lime bar mix)
3 oz Mango juice.

Serve in a tall glass with ice, Garnish with mint leaves.

Killer Queen Sling

Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1 Dash Benedictine
3/4 oz Cherry Brandy
2 oz Dry gin

Combine first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Pour into a 12 ounce glass and top with seltzer. Garnish with slice of orange, a sprig of mint and a straw.

Freddie Flamingoes

1/2 oz Apricot brandy
1 1/2 oz Gin
Juice of 1/2 of a Limes
1 tsp Grenadine syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Freddie For A Day

It's Monday and a holiday so here's an extra Monday Muppets video for you:


Friday, September 2, 2011

T.G.I.F. - All About Freddie

Bono and some other musicians talk about Freddie's antics backstage at Live Aid.

Elton John talks about the kind of person Freddie was.

Axl and Slash (Guns & Roses) talked about Freddie when they were doing the tribute concert.

Unknown documentary talking about Freddie's death.

Torchwood: It's a Miracle I'm Still Watching


I've been watching Torchwood: Miracle Day. I feel like I should get a medal for that sacrifice of an hour of time each week. To tell you the truth for the past two weeks I've had to negotiate with myself to get me to sit down and watch. I tell myself that I'll slog through another episode so that I can watch an episode of Alphas as a reward. Not that Alphas is a perfect show. It's just a lot easier to watch than the monotony that is Miracle Day. These two shows have something in common. They both have African American men who complain about having to work with amateurs. Was there a memo?

First of all, brilliant idea. Nobody dies and the world goes to Hades. There's a mystery to solve. Torchwood is involved. On paper it seems really good. Too bad the episodes are hit and miss. Minutes of brilliance in hours of boredom. Too bad so many things do not make sense.

Here come those spoilers....

1. Jack is no longer immortal. I take it to mean that he is no longer a fixed point in space and time. Or however they explained it in Series One. Thousands of years go by and Jack is still alive. No matter how hard he tries to die. Then, BAM, a little piece of alien technology changes everything. Not only for Jack but for the whole human race. I guess I can suspend my disbelief for a while. They had better be some KICK ASS aliens. And not no boring old Daleks either.

2. Things that happen are conveniently forgotten when they need to be. In the first episodes someone tries to kill Gwen and Jack. Someone implicates Ester and Rex in treason so the CIA are looking for them. Later Ester uses her own name to enter a Category One camp and no one comes looking for her. Yet when Rex wants the CIA to find him they turn up in a jiffy.

Gwen travels back to Wales under an assumed name. It's reasonable to assume that when she returns to the US she is using the same name. She is "on the run" from the CIA with the rest of the gang after all. So why, when Gwen Cooper is paged to the white courtesy phone, does she run and answer it? It's the bad guys. They're holding her family hostage. They want Jack. They know about the special contact lenses why don't they know what name she's travelling under?

3. Speaking of those contact lenses. It turns out that the bad guys holding Gwen's family are not THE bad guys. They're just henchmen of the granddaughter of one of Jack's old lovers. He's been watching Jack for decades. It still doesn't explain how he knew about the contact lenses.

4. The granddaughter. The whole forcing Gwen to bring Jack to her by kidnapping her family seems like a make work project for guest star Nana Visitor. When Jack hears it's Antonio (or whatever his name is - too lazy to go check at the moment) he wants to see him. All Nana would have had to do was pick up a phone. Jack would have come running. To me there is no bigger sin than wasting good actors on stupid, and ultimately useless, story lines. Yeah, we learn about "The Families" and Jack finds the alien tech behind the miracle but it's just tacked on at the end of an extended foreplay session.

There were a couple of other logical problems that I meant to write down. I may edit this later if they come back to me or if I find others.

The whole Phicorp/Danes story line is part creepy, part unbelievable and part boring. Why would any company want a man like Danes for a spokesperson? What's the point? There had better a be a really good reason and it better show up soon. I get that they're trying to do a little allegory on the US medicare problem. Drug companies (and those who invest in them) make their money on sick people. There's no money in wellness. If no one ever gets "well" after they get sick it's like Christmas, New Year's and Halloween all rolled into one for drug companies.

That brings me to another quibble I have about the show. Something unforgivable. They've made sex BORING. I don't care if it's hetero, homo or alien, the sex should not be boring. Five minutes into the Antonio flashback I wanted to scream, "Yeah they have sex. Move along. Nothing to see here." Rex's homophobia and Jack's rubbing it in his face (so to speak) got old after the first couple of times.

The last thing I want to mention is continuity. Take a look at the scene with Ester and Rex after they get out of the Category One camp. Watch the makeup under Ester's crying eyes. Just sayin'.

There are just a few episodes left. I'm hoping that they get better. I'm hoping that it all turns out to be really cool. I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blade Runner Documentary

I stumbled upon a couple of documentaries recently. One on the film Blade Runner and another on Philip K. Dick the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which, of course, is the book the movie is based on.  I haven't seen Blade Runner or read the book in years. I think I need to get at it. I do love me some noir. Here's the Blade Runner doc all in one place for your viewing pleasure.

The P.K. Dick Documentary

Buy Blade Runner (Two-Disc Final Cut)