december 2004 archive

Friday, December 31, 2004

::so long, 2004::

tonight, last minute plans (sort of) are taking me to the angela louise to ring in the new year. despite the pictures & music on the site, i have hope for a not so "girls-and-guys-gone-wild" night because our friend knows the owner of the boat. in addition a) it's raining, and b) josh doesn't do dancing. still, it should be a fun time.

this week rings in a number of other events, including my new part-time status at work, which i am thrilled about. mango is doing wonderfully, by the way, and has only thrown up once in the past week. *whew* i have also been blessed with friends in town and the past 4 nights have been very busy. junior-high pal, vicki, and her josh are visiting family out here. i was able to steal them away for an evening on monday for a date: movie, dinner, coffee. lauren and joe popped down from the glorious nyc for some misadventuring in the oc circa el rincon chilango. false hopes of "the new mexico city" led us to a restaurant with a walk-up order window and abundant seating beneath a sea of fluorescence in bright orange and green plastic booths. ew. so off to mi casa we headed (thank you, erin) for bottomless chips n'salsa and cheesy refried beans. oh, yum!

so, tonight, i hope everyone is with someone they love. let them know. don't be shy. life is way too short, as recent tragedies are teaching us. this year has taught me much about pursuing my dreams, my loves, my friends, my life, my faith. the transitions don't happen overnight, but truly this year has been a lesson in heartache for so many people i know (and don't). from close personal friends to those halfway across the globe, i feel my mortality on every side of me demanding to be lived and not ignored. christmas cards didn't get written, but that doesn't mean i don't love my friends. in lieu of, i've been working on a mix cd to encapsulate 2004 in song. it's a thowback to high school nostalgia, complete with the token cirque du soleil song (i think...) and i'm preparing it for the new year. if you'd like one and i don't know you, feel free to let me know by posting in the comments. we'll see how much time i have next week before the semester starts.

as the freeway signs in oc are boasting, i hope you will "designate before you celebrate". i love you all. cheers & blessings for a happy new year from my house to yours.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

::a most wonderful time::

it's been difficult to write lately because of all the holiday gatherings and last week's misadventures with mango. i miss it terribly, but how much am i willing to bore my audience? i mean, honestly now? do you really want to hear why the prime rib got cold on christmas day? or how monty finally warmed up to josh's brother mike and sat on his lap (albeit hissing the instant mike tried to pet him)? or why my sister and i should have given my dad what he asked for (a knife sharpener) instead of what we thought he needed.

yeah, i thought so.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

::what now?!::

ok, well, mango is feeling better, a fine chunk in my pocketbook later. and how doth he repay me? well, this evening i came home from work and there were no cats. high and low i searched. under beds and in cupboards. there was a putrid smell in the air upstairs and a starbucks bag minus one handle and some persimmons spilled on the ground downstairs. threads of what must have happened began weaving themselves in my head.
i finally found both cats in our second bedroom, barricaded between the bed and the wall. the air was foul-smelling where they had been holed up and one of them had peed on the carpet. i removed the handle from the starbucks bag that still hung around mango's neck and gently removed the frightened beasts from their hiding place. monty's tall puffed out as he starred down the hall wide-eyed. even with the clues left behind, i can't quite piece together everything that happened.

sadly, both cats, in peeing on themselves or on each other, did not lend themselves to any humanly affection. into the bath and crank up the heat and hope that mango will continue his no-vomit stretch here (we've passed the 24-hour mark! yeah!). i have to say, i'll take vomit over piss any day, as far as cleanup and odor are concerned. i now have reason number eighteen to buy new flooring: our upstairs is trashed after the whole ordeal.

::progress report::

after another trip to the vet for further testing, i am ecstatic to announce that mango is in recovery! yeah! more details to follow....

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

::nervous & exhausted::

my nerves are tweaked tonight & i can hardly bring myself to make a decent dinner. so far, i've had a cookie and some trader joe's brand pita chips with artichoke parmesan dip. yumm. all this to land me here at 7:00. sheesh.

last night i discovered that mango had yacked in quite nearly a dozen different places in our house. having two cats and freaking out on the whole "which one is puking?" question led me to drag both cats to the urgent care about this same time yesterday.

the urgent care is a fascinating and infuriating place all at once. i was greeted promptly upon arrival by one of the assistants who drew from me all pertinent information. then, i handed off mango to her care without question and went to fetch monty.

now, once they had the cats behind closed doors, i waited very nearly half an hour to speak with the dvm on duty. i learned of a bull dog who had tried to eat a bee and an entire side of her face swelled up. then, there was a dog with bloody broken nail who was waiting to be seen. and, there was a woman, about 45, with wavy, blonde hair. she came in, cradling her cat in a rust-colored towel, sat down and sniffled as she filled out the paperwork. i never learned what was wrong with her precious feline, but i felt her sadness hit me like a wave as i came to understand more of what my mom must have felt before she lost her precious cat last week.

i also heard a discussion take place as an owner was checking her pet into the hospital for treatment. i shuddered at questions like "do you want us to resuscitate your cat?" and "how hard to you want us to try?" though probably worded in a slightly more fashionable sense, the words still irritated and saddened me. in essence, there were different degrees of effort which could be put forth depending on how much you were willing to spend. i was glad it wasn't my conversation. i felt very strongly about wanting mango home with me.

so, needless to say, here i am 24 hours later. mango hasn't vomitted since about 12:30 this morning, and things seem to be on the up & up. i'm so proud of the li'l trooper!

oh! and, well, monty was his usual self and they couldn't really examine him, so i ended up just taking him home. thankfully, he has been simply right as rain. whew!

Friday, December 17, 2004

::who will it be?::

the compelling *new* weight-loss drama

after much deliberation, josh & i have decided the cats need to lose some of that extra poundage. as a sacrificial act of love & support, we have also joined a gym. we love our cats, and we want them to live long and healthy lives.
beginning on december 11, we began feeding both cats science diet r/d. we will chronicle their progress below & hope you will be duly entertained and educated.

december 6 weigh in
mango: 15.6 lbs
monty: 18.8 lbs

neither cat seems very fond of the cat food. i feel bad for having to switch them so abruptly from the tasty trader joe's brand to science diet. the canned food looks a bit, er, lifeless and grey. however, subsequent can openings reassure me that's normal.
p.s. sara went to the gym. once.

december 13 weigh in
mango: 15.2 lbs
monty: 18.6 lbs

ah, small progress! josh notes that both cats seem well-adjusted to the food. however, mango often leaves canned food behind half-eaten and monty will clean up BOTH dishes. josh predicts monty will gain 4/10ths. we'll have to wait and see.

december 20 weigh in
mango: 15.4 lbs
monty: 18.8 lbs

yep, well, the weight gain thing? you know i can't really explain it...

december 28 weigh in
mango: 14.4 lbs
monty: 18 lbs

well, perhaps a little more weight than i would like to see them lose in one week, however, i've really had to limit their food intake because mango was so sick last week. i'm not able to leave dry food out for them to freely graze on because i haven't been able to work mango up to that point yet (poor guy can't seem to stomach it very well). that said, mango is quickly getting back to normal and monty is acting his usual "loner" self. ah, cats!

january 3 weigh in
mango: 14.8 lbs
monty: 18.2 lbs

well, i'm still searching for the perfect formula here, but it's obvious to me that more control & less "free feeding" is in order. both cats are healthy though, which brings me great relief. i haven't quite figured out what their target weight should be, and i did weigh them in the evening this time, so there may be some small differences. that said--mango just peed! should i weigh him again??? (there was no noticeable change. but he is headed back to the litter box again at this point. man, i just cleaned it!)

january 10 weigh in
mango: 14.6 lbs
monty: 18 lbs

so, with a little more control on their feeding, it looks as though they can be sucessful. does anyone know what the best way is to figure out how many ounces six-thenths of a pound is? i think if i multiply 0.6 x 16 (the # of pounds in an ounce) = the correct conversion. but i'm not sure. if that's right, then mango weighs 14 pounds 9 ounces. and this goes better with how they measure weight at the vet's office. let me know!

january 17 weigh in
mango: 14.8 lbs
monty: 17.8 lbs

insert thoughtful commentary here

january 25 weigh in

mango: 14.8 lbs
monty: 17.8 lbs

wow: they are actually maintaining their weight! woah! so far, monty is the biggest loser, having dropped a full pound. mango is right behind him though....

february 15 update

scheduling conflicts have resulted in my slacking off the past couple of weeks, but i will resume weigh-ins on the 18th.

february 18 weigh in

mango: 14.8 lbs
monty: 17.6 lbs

it's actually very exciting to know that my "kids" are being successful with this. poor monty actually had to go in for a dental cleaning (his first) on monday. i felt so bad leaving him with the vet: it's just so dang upsetting for him. but he did fine. one of the technicians commented on how nice it was to pet him for a change (they had to knock him out for the procedure). that was pretty funny.
mango has been his normal, weird self. he tears up and down the stairs after breakfast most of the time, and i really think that's what keeps him so slim.
at this point, i'm not sure how long to keep this going. there have been some requests (ok, will, one) to pimp "judd for american idol", so i might have to update my sidebar. still scheming on that one though....

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

::awful holiday confession #7::

um, er, i actually planned on doing one of these for each day in december, however, circumstances convinced me otherwise. so here i am in the wee hours having just completed my psych final online (twice!) and not really caring about my score but pretty darn sure i'll end up passing the class. i slacked on one of the observations, but i'm lacking the motivation to pursue any sort of retroactive credit. the online class format sucks and i'm never doing one again. in addition, post-speech class discussions with ms. jessica led to the discovery that the teacher plagiarizes her test from the publishers' website, so i cry foul. it's darned lazy if you ask me.

in other news, tomorrow is my last class. also, my previously planned schedule has flip-flopped a bit as i plan on dropping postponing japanese and anthropology in order to pursue a writing course through the uci extensions program. with all this extra time on my hands as i hope uci grants me asylum from my tedious general ed studies in the winter of 2006, i've decided to make the best of the next year. i was also considering this course, so if you have any constructive input, bring it.

it's 12:51 a.m. now. really. must. sleep....

Monday, December 06, 2004

::awful holiday confession #6::

it is so cruel.
just one more week from today and life will be normal again.

please stand by.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

::awful holiday confession #5::

we have a fake christmas tree. last year, josh & i decided, while standing in the parking lot of home depot freezing our butts off at nine o'clock at night, that enough was enough.
happily, we decked the halls on november 28. it was virtually painless and the tree came with its own lighting. imagine that!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

::awful holiday confession #4::

i actually love christmas music. even the muzak that they play at work. i get all choked up when i hear a favorite piece and it makes my day a million times better.

i'm currently listening to the chieftains: the bells of dublinicon. yummy!

Friday, December 03, 2004

::awful holiday confession #3::

today's lethal combination of sudafed and tylenol and caffeine has me flying through the workday. i do believe if we weren't as busy as we are, i'd be bald from tearing at my hair and my fingernails would be chewed down to the nubbins. i can only imagine what it's like to be on speed.

oh, how i detest winter colds & congestion!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

::music pick of the week::

the boys of rock n' roll, indeed! this album rocked my vacation, let me tell you. and then some. poignant lyrics and song writing that harkens back to the days of yore. how beautiful they have matured over the years. and now, like a fine wine, perfectly aged, oh how delicately the notes sit on my tongue. a first hint of the flavor combines bits of all that you can't leave behind with joshua tree...but continues back into the early eighties as well.

clever marketing coupled U2 with iPod and there was a point at which i thought i might never want to hear vertigo again, however, that moment of temporary insanity has passed. this album is a sign that, unlike some aging pop stars (uhhum, sting?) the fire has not gone out of their souls. U2 still writes incredible songs. original of the species is the first time i have heard them hint at the beatles with the ascending minor chords and percussive strings. one step closer has a rich, vibey, pedal steel part that just makes me melt. as i found myself out of sorts somewhat last week, sometimes you can't make it on your own provided much needed comfort. music is a wonderful way to get one's mind off of one's troubles. or homesickness.

i do hope you will enjoy it as much as i do!

::B L O G::

for a medium that has existed since the previous millenium, it sure took them long enough.

but, ah well, let's celebrate!

::awful holiday confession#2::

i cry when i watch elf. i cried last year when it was in theaters. i cried when i saw it last week (both times). it's always at the finale, when everyone is singing "santa claus is coming to town".

i really can't explain....

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

::awful holiday confession #1::

i'm actually watching nick & jessica's family christmas. yes, and i do believe i have a case of the warm fuzzies. or maybe i'm coming down with something.

in the meantime, i'm thinking:
how does ashley simpson really feel about singing with her big sis?

why do i fall for this sappy stuff? (i'm such a sucker for this time of year...)

nick lachey can sing!

i still find jessica simpson's facial expressions (while singing) nightmarish, yet, strangely facinating.

that whole tongue-stuck-to-the-pole routine was just about as ridiculous as i could stand it to be.

is it true?! oh, martha, for shame!


november 2004 archive

Sunday, November 28, 2004

::keepin' it real::

two weeks ago i held high ambitions for my college application. well, i have come to the unfortunate but wise decision to spend a little more time on my essays than i initially allowed.
this is actually a very difficult decision for me. it means a whole quarter lost, but i strongly believe it will improve my chances for admission. it is a very reluctant descision that i make. my heart aches for school right now more than ever.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

::thanks be for giving::

this bit of traveling josh and i have been doing in the desert has indeed been cathartic. even with the admissions essays riding on my back, i've been able to relax, which is strange. not that there haven't been stressful moments. i think i've successfully outlined most of my thoughts, but writing is another story.

i have missed writing here, and i appreciate how much i've been able to keep up with my friends in having access to the 'net, but it looks like i'll need a little extra time before i get back into this. the last month here at school is going to require my full attention.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

::saturday funnies::

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior." John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Thursday, November 18, 2004

::check your CAPS LOCK at the door::

in response to this comment from a previous post

first, a little courtesy goes a long way in conveying your point. please refrain from SHOUTING in the future.

second, i am a college student who did a speech on this topic based on what is being tested in eugene, oregon. i have done a fair amount of research on the topic. i'm not flying blind.

third, i didn't go into great detail because of a lack of time (classes, homework, full-time job). at the very least, i found it difficult to pass up the opportunity to get the word out. however, i'll do my best to sum up, for your benefit. simply:
one: our gas tax is swiftly becoming obsolete, especially with the advances being made to improve the fuel efficiency of our cars. i recognize that there is a sore need to revise our current methods for funding the upkeep of our roads.

two: i am in favor of hybrid and alternate fuel source vehicles.

three: i value my privacy highly. i disagree with the notion that the public should have to submit to having gps devices mounted in their vehicles. i do not believe the government needs to know what roads i've traveled and when.

four: there is threat of an additional tax for those who would be on the roads at peak times. regarding those who, for example, work in the OC but live in riverside county because they can not afford the cost of homes nearer their workplace, this is an extremely harsh penalty. the 91 fwy carries the bulk of these cars, and the metrolink eases some of the burden.

as far as congestion is concerned, of course it is a problem. traveling in rush hour traffic can at least double the amount of time it takes to get from point a to point b. however, central london has a rather interesting way of combating that which deserves a second look. at least it is a little less invasive in comparison to the gps proposal.

five: i lack a better solution to the problem stated in #1, but i'm not willing to give up #3.
that, m. nolips & fellow readers, is where i'm coming from. hopefully that is a better explanation than, well, none at all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

::californians, be aware::

DMV Chief Backs Tax by Mile

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday appointed a new Department of Motor Vehicles director who has advocated taxing motorists for every mile they drive -- by placing tracking devices in their cars.

The idea would mean a significant overhaul of how California collects taxes to maintain its often-crumbling roads. Under the plan, the state gas tax-- now 18 cents a gallon-- would be replaced with a tax on every mile traveled by each car and truck.

The notion has not been endorsed by Schwarzenegger but is gaining acceptance among transportation and budget experts. As Californians drive increasingly more fuel-efficient cars, state officials are alarmed that the gasoline tax will not raise enough money to keep up with road needs.

. . . "You are arguing against people taking risks on technology development," said Beal, warning that some mile-tracking systems could invite fraud more than the reliable tax meters at the pump.

Any change in the state's gasoline tax would have to be approved by the Legislature.

Privacy advocates worry about the government tracking the whereabouts of every car in California. In one scenario -- currently being tested in Oregon -- tracking devices send a signal to a GPS satellite following the car, and that information would be used to calculate the tax bill. Other devices send a signal directly from the car to the pump, which calculates the tax based on the odometer reading.

Annalee Newitz, a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which monitors privacy issues, said if the device "can communicate with a satellite and then communicate back with another device on the ground, it could be used for something else. That would be my concern: How are limits placed on how this device could be used?"

Yet some transportation experts say the technology has wider implications. Officials are intrigued by the idea because California could begin taxing people for using specific roads at specific times. To keep people off freeways at peak hours, for example, per-mile fees for city streets could be pegged at a lower rate than the highway. That could prompt people to use alternative routes.

. . .The appointment of Joan Borucki, a Democrat and longtime Caltrans official, has placed an advocate for a per-mile transportation tax within the top ranks of the Schwarzenegger administration.

She included the notion in the California Performance Review, a top-to-bottom audit ordered by Schwarzenegger last year. Borucki was the leader on the transportation section and pushed the idea of an odometer-based fee at an August public meeting in Riverside.

The idea has been circulating because more Californians are driving fuel-efficient cars, the review warned. Less gasoline consumed means less money for the state's coffers from the gas tax -- even though people are driving and damaging roads just as much. "Electric vehicles, fuel-cell vehicles or other future fuels would not be taxed under" the existing per-gallon system, the report said.

The administration said Borucki was not available Monday, but she said in a statement that she wants to transform the DMV "into a customer-friendly, service-oriented unit of our government." Borucki, who was on the California Transportation Commission for two years, still needs state Senate confirmation for the $123,255-a-year job. She started at Caltrans in 1980 and worked her way up to manager of new technology and deputy district director for planning.

"She's devoted, and she's knowledgeable about the state's situation," said Elizabeth Deakin, a policy expert with the UC Transportation Center who has known her for 15 years. "She understands the state's concerns about wanting good service, and she understands technology."

In Orange and San Diego counties, some freeways are using what is called "congestion pricing" -- vehicles pay to use certain lanes at peak hours. And two similar systems are being tested in Oregon.

Around Seattle, the Puget Sound Regional Council is placing global positioning devices in 500 cars to monitor where they drive -- and then calculating a usage fee based on the roads they use and the times they drive. In Eugene, Ore., test cars are being outfitted with tracking devices that link up with special gas pumps around the area.

Currently, cars with high fuel efficiency and large trucks don't generate enough revenue from fuel taxes to pay for the burden they place on roads, said Randall Pozdena, managing director of ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm. A large truck, he said, can do as much damage on a city street as 10,000 cars, but it still pays the same amount of per-gallon gasoline tax, assuming the gas was purchased in California in the first place.

Drivers "can start allocating how much time they spend on each type of street," said Andrew Poat, a former Caltrans official who works for the city of San Diego. It could get even more detailed: Large trucks could be charged higher fees for using residential streets rather than more fortified freeways.

"It's just like water. We're trying to get water and energy meters to tell you what time of day you use energy. You use energy at peak hours on a really hot day, you pay more for that... We need to start sending those price signals to users."

Still, privacy advocates worry about "usage creep" -- like how the driver's license has evolved into official identification for nearly everyone. The information collected about mileage potentially could be subpoenaed in a court case or used to track someone without their knowledge, they fear.

. . ."While some people are concerned about civil liberties, most people are not," Deakin said. "One of the things we found from focus groups and surveys is that most people said if the government wanted to track you, they have other ways to do it."
yeah, i'd like to see some of those focus groups. i actually did a speech on this topic last week, but it was on the pilot progrem being tested in oregon. this, folks, is breaking news. and way too important to overlook!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

::in the beginning::

word count: 456

there are 3 essays. this is the last (& very necessary) open-ended essay. per UC requirements, my three essays may not exceed 1000 words. one essay must be at least 600 words, but no more than 630. the other 2 should be around 200. therefore, this puppy either needs to fatten itself up a bit or trim some fat of the edge. or a little of both.

now, seriously, how often do you get to see the birthing of someone's future education on the 'net? wish me luck. offer your best thoughts. be constructive. try not to make me cry.

* * * * *

1997 left me trembling in its wake. I met my future husband. My parents moved out of state. I, on the cusp of my twenty-first birthday, determinedly stayed on in my lifelong locale of Southern California.

My first living arrangement fell apart and I moved in what would be the first of six makeshift homes and five different roommates before settling down in San Clemente in August of 1998. Over the next three years, I worked steadily at various trades. I was Assistant Manager at a breakfast restaurant. I sought to unwind with a brief stint at a coffee shop. In 2000, I became acquainted with the banking industry, which is where I am today. A brief lunacy overcame me as I left banking for almost exactly one year when I accepted My Worst and Most Stressful Job Ever. At least it was only a year.

School, ever lingering in the back of my mind, came and went like a part-time lover. The affairs were torrid, but brief; often ending in a fit of depressed good-byes. Each time the withdrawal left me frustrated with my circumstances and wishing for more time, more energy, fewer debts. Married to independence, I always yielded to the demands which came monthly to my door. But my insatiable desire for education hovered. Watching. Willing. Waiting.

The gross number of withdrawals on my transcript wreaks absolute havoc on my confidence. It is such an awful misrepresentation of my abilities. Others have overcome worse obstacles. However, this was no minor hurdle. For me, this was the high jump; I am only five foot six and hardly limber enough to overcome that. Moreover, I spent many years honing in on my major. I toyed with music first, then elementary education, before settling in to focus on my writing ambitions.

It is nearly ten years since I graduated high school. Prior to meeting my future husband, I was accepted to Southern Oregon University. Planning on relocating with my parents, I deferred my enrollment for one year after high school. But sometimes the ties that bind need breaking and I am pleased with the path I have traveled these past years.

No longer shaken by lack of a home or strapped to tend to the bills on my own, I find myself excited about my education unlike anything else I've experienced previously in relation to my education. There is pride in my step as I stride into my classes at the local community college. There is a confidence so distinctly different and separate from most of those who surround me in the classroom. I am ready. I am furious for learning. I am steady. I am passionate about writing.

I am not a child any longer.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

::write rite, right? ::

below are the 3 essays required for my application for admissions. my responses are the premise for which i will write my essays. those who know me, know my blog, complete strangers, are welcome to offer your opinions via email or comments. this is only a starting block, and i'm providing some fun information as background for the reader, but i welcome the input. the clock is ticking.
Question One:
Focus: Academic Preparation
Rationale: The University seeks to enroll students who take initiative in pursuing their education (for example, developing a special interest in science, language or the performing arts; involvement in educational preparation programs including summer enrichment programs, research, or academic development programs such as EAOP, MESA, Puente, COSMOS or other similar programs.) This question seeks to understand a student's motivation and dedication to learning.
Question: What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the field developed and describe any experience you have had in the field - such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities - and what you have gained from your involvement.
literary journalism seems to be a new and forthcoming major not readily available here in southern california. Neither Chapman, CSULB or CSUF offer a comparable program in Journalism, which is unfortunate only because i am putting all of my eggs in one basket (UCI). sheesh!
my enjoyment for writing is something that has stemmed from early childhood. in third grade, it was the kats of kactus kountry. in junior high, i started a bit of fan fiction based on leroux's the phantom of the opera. in high school, it was mostly reports and research papers. since then, i find myself closely attached to this two-and-a-half-year-old blog of mine. by their own definition, literary journalism is "prose that has evolved into a distinct branch of literature, prose that adopts the aims and techniques of the finest fiction." and i say, let me show you my blog! is that asinine? or completely avant garde? or ______? i think i've got something here that i don't want to give up. i've enjoyed writing about my life here, doing the occasional music criticism, and a degree just my land me a job in this field because i know my blogging skillz aren't enough. i have no paid experience, but i derive so much personal satisfaction from this pastime to know that i want this. at 27, with a tasting of some bland career options and nearly ten years of post-high school living, i've considered a multitude of options. i've done my seeking, my soul-searching, and i've stewed over this decision for enough time to know that i am ready to commit fully to pursuing & achieving excellence in this area.

Question Two:
Focus: Potential to Contribute
Rationale: UC welcomes the contributions each student brings to the campus learning community. This question seeks to determine an applicant's academic or creative interests, and potential to contribute to the vitality of the University
Question: Tell us about a talent, experience, contribution or personal quality you will bring to the University of California.
fast approaching my thirties and desiring to apply myself to a formal education speaks volumes on my behalf. my life experience and maturity will make me a boon to the student population. i am a pianist, percussionist, a film buff, a music junkie, an ambitious son-of-a-gun. i am furious muse. i'm desperately passionate about my husband, my friends, my family, and my cats. i've traveled, unscathed, to different countries such australia, new zealand, and new york city. i've reveled in the cultures of the world by sampling various culinary cuisines at the cheesecake factory. my life experience is a preamble for my wit.
...i suddenly am at a loss here. i don't know how to handle bragging about myself (that's what this is, right?). besides, my nose i pressed against the monitor now and i have to see the fairy godmother for a quick fix. please don't ask me to explain that. think back through your disney movies, ok?
Question Three:
Focus: Open-ended
Rationale: This question seeks to give students the opportunity to share important aspects of their schooling or their lives, such as personal circumstances, family experiences and opportunities that were or were not available at their school or college, which may not have been sufficiently addressed elsewhere in the application.
Question: Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in the application?
this is where i get to explain the phenomenon known as 186 units attempted, 62 completed, and a 2.8 gpa. i'm really looking forward to that, since the whole "dropping classes streak" started after my parents moved to oregon and i was making stabs at self-sufficiency. it's tricky trying to balance work and paying the bills with school. and, i wasn't able to do it. others have been more successful than me. but, barely 21, i found myself unprepared to deal with life on my own. except for my desire to remain in the place i had lived my whole life, survival was teeth-grittingly scary. in the first year, i moved 7 times & lived with 5 different people. discombobulated and distraught, still unsure of my major but wanting that higher education, i kept trying. at the first sign of declining grades, of not getting all i could from my classes, i dropped. i didn't want to fail. finally, now, i'm married. life is stable. work is stable. and i know i'm ready to hold on and ride this out with a firm commitment.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

::saturday funnies::

rules for better writing...NOT!

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat)

6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

10. No sentence fragments.

11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.

12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

14. One should NEVER generalize.

15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

16. Don't use no double negatives.

17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

20. The passive voice is to be ignored.

21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.

22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.

23. Kill all exclamation points!!!

24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.

26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.

27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.

30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

Friday, November 12, 2004

::go go go::

it's official. the countdown has begun. i'm applying to uci for fall 2005 admissions. november 30, it's you & me. decisions are made. lives are being changed.

can i getta woot woot!?!

editor's note: i'll be living & breathing these questions for the next 10 days:
Question: What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the field developed and describe any experience you have had in the field - such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities - and what you have gained from your involvement.
Question: Tell us about a talent, experience, contribution or personal quality you will bring to the University of California.
Question: Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in the application?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

::it's circle to be square::

long i've been moping about the plague of the hire education, but only last night did it rear it's head and say to me: why are you taking speech? it's not required for transfer to uci? thank you, george, for planting the seed of doubt. i woke this morning, grabbed the latest school schedule, thumbing back to the igetc requirements, and am forced to read the ugly truth: speech is required for csu transfer ONLY.

speech, even with my recent foul-up, has been the favorite class of the semester. so, this news is devestating to me. not to mention that i'm suffering from a serious case of procrastination: my online class just absolutely blows chunks. i believe i'll pass, but i've gotten to know me really well, and this format of class-taking is hereto disallowed from the remainder of my undergraduate studies. classrooms are a must for me, i realize. i don't know what took me so long to realize this. and, perhaps i should have stuck with the "just one class" mantra that i started with, but i'm always pushing myself to the limits.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

::oh, really?::

at work, we require non-customers to provide a thumbprint when cashing a check. today, i asked a man to put his thumbprint on a check. mildly annoyed, i watched his response to my request: he pushed his thumb into the oil-based inkpad and thumbed the check half a dozen times.

"is that okay?" he queried.

"uh, not really...." i peevishly retorted.

try number two was much more productive.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

:: saturday funnies::

i thought for a while about the implications of leaving my readers with an image as disturbing as this. i thought maybe that wouldn't be wise considering my next post won't be for another 3-4 days. i thought perhaps new visitors wouldn't return because they prefer not to subject themselves to this brand of potty humor. but, alas, i couldn't pass it up. it's cute & disturbing all at once.

no, it's not monty, thankyouverymuch.

Friday, November 05, 2004


i don't know that i've ever been this relieved that it's friday. or so incredibly freaked out. i have 24hrs to complete a homework asignment that i've known about since the beginning of october. this ain't no episode of 24. jack bauer is not going to come to my rescue and pull the gun out of my mouth. the gun, carefully wielded by Homework, will remain in place until successfully vanquished by my deft knowledge of developmental psychology, keen observation skillz, and swiftly typing fingers.

happy friday to me!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

::uh, duh::

a florida resisdent provides some comic relief.

think about it, folks. i mean, convert lions to Chrisitanity? josh's mom had this wonderful insight:
What's the point in having the lion become a Christian? So he will PRAY "Thank you God for this food you provided?"

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

::in it::

i've started, so, if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll understand. here an excerpt from the barely 300 words i've thrown on paper for the NaNoWriMo challenge. no jokes, please. this is tough!
no other excerpts will be posted for copyright concerns. you can never be too careful as i see it. and, some publishers want first dibs on your work. blogging, as it were, is becoming a veritable publishing medium--yeah for that! i still ask you: will you pay me to entertain you? ah, just buy yourself some music c/o iTunes then. the college bookstore will thank you personally! i promise!
Staring at the red lights in front of her, Emily's mind wandered. "Traffic on The Bridge isn't usually this heavy this time of night," she mused. The Bridge. Oh, that gorgeous hunk of twisting metal that hung there with open arms, ready to greet wearisome travelers and wandering gypsies. Emily was neither, and The Bridge was no stranger to her ways. The radio hummed indiscriminately in the background as her Corolla idled wearily. Exhaling heavily, her thin hand fumbled unconsciously through the glove compartment. Shifting into park, Emily turned her attention to the search, which turned up a lone pack of Dunhills, matches, a cell phone charger, and the odd bits of paper. Glancing up at the parked cars around her, she noticed several other drivers had become preoccupied with the contents of their cars and the local scenery. "Only in my town," she thought, shaking her head. No one bothered to find the reason for the hold up.

Turning once more to the open glove box before her, Emily sifted through the crumpled paper and found one that got her attention. Heart skipping, she uncovered an envelope in the mess with her name on it. The writing was eerily familiar, and the flap of the envelope was loosely tucked inside itself. Opening the flap, she unfolded a piece of notebook paper which was folded the exact number of times necessary for it to fit perfectly and neatly in its enclosure. Hands trembling slightly, Emily unfolded the letter and instantly recognized the artsy scribbling of Lorne, her husband. Instantly, her face wrinkled up in anguish and tears burned her eyes. Lorne had been dead for three years.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

::post voting commentary::

this is an audio post - click to play

::get yer vote on!::

i'm off to vote. get into jeans, grab my voter guide, a good book, and my trainers. lucky me--i can walk to my local polling place.

i'll be in line long enough, but i'll humor you with my current playlist of songs containing the word "freedom" from the iTunes library:
Freedom Road: Blind Boys of Alabama
Freedom for My People: U2
Freedom: Paul McCartney
Cry Freedom: Dave Matthews Band
i think i have a small library. and, sadly, dave matthews isn't actually available on iTunes. i think dave needs a little push, don't you? join the 21st century, man!

and you: have you voted? go vote!

Monday, November 01, 2004


for the budding writer within all of us, why don't you join in the fray?! i, of course, don't have enough to do. prediction: lots of weekends locked up with the computer. hey, man, it's not going to kill me to try!

50,000 words, you & me have a date. november. i've got the chips if you've got the salsa! yup!


october 2004 archive

Sunday, October 31, 2004


Saturday, October 30, 2004

::saturday funnies::

are you ready???

::my pal, mango::

a brief note about my cat mango. i am up this early for 2 reasons. one: i'm going in for some bloodwork because of all this and i needed to fast. i want to go in right when they open so that i can get it out of the way. two: i woke up and couldn't get to back to sleep. not with mango laying on my stomach.

mango. how do i describe his purring? have you ever experienced a 50-ton semi idlying in front of your house? that is how loud mango purrs. what's even funnier is, we moved the computer desk into the spare bedroom out of our hallway niche, and now mango has tons of room to lounge as i work. he is watching me type. and, he is also watching me sift through digital photos of himself and pawing at the screen. the only downside here is that is not a petite cat and he is laying in such a way as to creat a 45-degree angle with the monitor and my keyboard. worse than an earthquake on the san andreas fault, i am now typing at a less than perpendicular angle. it's enough to give one a headache (although mine has little to do with that).

i now understand that when i go to the computer (he's pawing at the screen again...he's been following the cursor as i move the mouse around) i will have this guy to compete with.

ah, but i do enjoy his company.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

::testing, testing 1,2,3...::

today, the 'muse is proud & excited to announce a new edge for music reviews! iTunes provided the green light this morning to participate in their affiliate program. what this means to me is that i am beginning to take this site to the next level in my music reviews by linking directly to certain songs/artists for your sampling pleasure. it also means that, if you like said artist or song enough to buy it, iTunes kicks some "spare change" my way. this, i am happy to say, shall be spent wisely and may even aid in my pursuit to hire education.

if you shop iTunes on a regular basis anyway, do stop by and click on the link in my menu bar. you will be taken to your iTunes storefront and any shopping done in the next 24hrs kicks me back a little token of your gratitude for reading the 'muse or just being my friend. and, i thank you. while i don't anticipate a huge response here (but surprise me, please!) i do look forward to exploring as much music as i can get my ears on.

for my first mini-review, i am proud to say i went to high school with the lovely & talented lead singer of trespassers william, who were recently signed on nettwerk productions' label. having seen this band grow from coffee shop gigs to touring europe, i can truly say "i knew them when..." and am terribly proud. i hope you will enjoy exploring the mp3's on their website as well as the samples on iTunes.

Trespassers William

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

::pick of the week::

i can honestly say, there is never enough time to review all the music i've got on my plate, but i'll try to highlight some of the most recent victories i've been gnawing on. enjoy, and do let me know any of your latest & greatest.

travis: 12 memories

this is a band that has happily matured oodles & oodles since the invisible band. i hear a few more beatles-esque chord changes (noted in quicksand with the percussive piano chords...i think it reminds me of eleanor rigby, actually). of course love will come through totally rocks my vote because it's from the one & only garden state. beautiful swirling melodies and repetitive/minimalist choruses which i absolutely love. do give it a whirl on ye itunes pretty please. you will be pleasantly surprised!

here is where i contemplate a rating system. no ideas. guess i'll just leave that for when i am not sure if you'll like something as well as i do. oh, well, that's not a very successful notion now, is it? it's just an opinion, so do as you will. yup. if you don't take interest in exploring music, you might as well skip these once-a-week-ish posts.

ummm...there are more albums to discuss, but i think scrubs is on, and i'm out of class early tonight, so i'll give some props to mr. zach braff. ciao!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

::hire education::

i've spent recent days examining the potentials of nearby universities and rapidly came to grips with impending debt. i think i'm ok with it, and certainly financial aid will be a must, but it's overwhelming. my "greenhorn writer" state of affairs, coupled with a poor transcript (186 units attempted v. 62 completed, 2.8 gpa) makes me cringe at the prospective applications for admission i will be submitting. can i just interview, puh-leeze???

that said, i'm hoping that there is an essay requirement so that i might convince prospective schools to accept me for who i am right now, (*creative light bulb* persuasive speech for class! ummm...can i change my mind? must email the professor.) baggage and all. current forecasts predict entry in fall 2005/spring 2006. the later is more reliable, especially considering the need for good grades to show up on my transcript, as well as consistency on my part.

current prospective schools include UCI, Chapman University, and Cal State Long Beach, in order of preference. this is currently graded on a scale determined by website accessibility. Chapman is my big ticket school. i've wanted to go there since 7th grade, a time when it was still called "Chapman College". it costs twice as much six times as much as UCI. so far, their website has not impressed me. it has not provided ample information on their programs for english majors. UCI, on the other hand, actually offers a literary journalism major, with which i am highly impressed. what about CSULB you ask? well, i haven't gotten that far. we'll have to wait and see.

that said, well, it's going to take a lot of organization to get my ducks in a row. and, with about 3 solid semesters at the local j.c. i hope my application is dressed to impress and my wallet is thickly lined with financial aid. blogger scholarship, anyone?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

::saturday funnies::

Burying the Goldfish

Little Lisa was in the garden filling up a hole in the dirt, when her neighbor peered over the fence. Interested in what the cheeky-faced youngster was up to, he politely asked, "What are you doing there, Lisa?"

"My goldfish died," replied Lisa tearfully without looking up, "and I've just buried him."

The neighbor was very concerned. "That's an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn't it?"

Lisa patted down the last heap of dirt then replied,
"That's because he's inside your cat!"

Thursday, October 21, 2004

::don't bother me!::

this is an audio post - click to play

copyright 2004 furiousmuse.com
use with permission ok

Sunday, October 17, 2004

::domo arigato, shomei::

our ab-fab sushi restaurant, Shomei Sushi, changed ownership and last night was our final chance to bid a fond farewell to the owner & chef we have come to know so well in the past 10 months.

Kim & Hiro are household names these days as josh & i have been fortunate enough to visit them at least once a week since that fateful saturday in january we first stepped foot inside their restaurant. we have experienced the comfort of their warm hospitality and our taste buds have savored the wonderful plates of delectable sushi put before us time after time. last night was truly bittersweet.

due to being doubly obligated that night, the first half of the evening was spent at the alpine village celebrating teri's birthday and doing the obligatory chicken dance (or two). after giving amy a ride home, i managed to misguide myself onto the northbound 405. this was not fully realized until i saw a familiar and gaudy restaurant sign blazing bright red letters which read "ROYAL BUFFET", soon to be followed by the giant freeway sign which read:

...only it was nighttime and slightly drizzly. all delays aside, i finally arrived at my beloved Shomei Sushi a little bit before 10:30.

by the time i arrived, the party had dwindled to a handful of people. familiar faces greeted me at the door & i was ushered in to the post-party party. here, i faced the kareoke machine & sang the beatles' "norweigen wood" & consumed more even more food. Hiro whipped up some seared hamachi (yellowtail) for me, and later treated josh & i to a melt-in-your-mouth plate of hamachi sashimi. i learned that josh had kareoked for the first time in the seven years we've known each other and I MISSED IT for which i promise to eek out an encore sometime in the near future.

casual conversations drifted on for about an hour or so, and the time to say goodbye quickly approached. we took our cheery polaroids off of the black board which housed so many smiling faces of satisfied shomei patrons, accepted the parting gift of a set of six beer glasses, offered our thanks, and bid our lovely friends adieu.

we will miss you, Kim and Hiro. best wishes for the future. i hope our paths cross again.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

::saturday funnies::

For those of you who are not "fortunate" enough to live in Southern California, and for those who do, study real hard.

This is a new exam. Since driving conditions (and culture) are unique in Southern California, you may not have realized that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has now issued a special application and driver's test solely for the Southern California area.


Name: _____________________________

Stage Name: _________________________

Agent: _____________________________

Attorney: ___________________________

Therapist's Name: _____________________

Sex: ( ) Male ( ) Female

Please list brand of cell phone: ___________.

If you don't own a cell phone, please explain why you don't:
(Use extra pages, if necessary)

Please check hair color:
Females: [ ] Blonde [ ] Platinum Blonde
Teenagers: [ ] Red [ ] Orange [ ] Green [ ] Purple [ ] Blue [ ] Other

Please check activities you perform while driving: (Check all that apply)
[ ] Eating
[ ] Drinking Starbucks coffee
[ ] Applying make-up
[ ] Shaving (male or female)
[x] Talking on the phone (already checked for your convenience)
[ ] Lifting weights
[ ] Slapping kids in the back-seat
[ ] Applying cellulite treatment to thighs
[ ] Tanning
[ ] Snorting cocaine
[ ] Watching TV
[ ] Reading Variety
[ ] Surfing the net via laptop
[ ] Discharging firearms / reloading

Please indicate how many times, while driving, you expect to:
[ ] a) Shoot at other drivers ___
[ ] b) Be shot at ___

If you are the victim of a carjacking, you should immediately:
[ ] a) Call the police to report the crime.
[ ] b) Call Channel 9 News to report the crime, then watch your car on the news in a high-speed chase.
[ ] c) Call your attorney and discuss lawsuit against cellular phone company for your 911 call not going through.
[ ] d) Call your therapist.

In the event of an earthquake, you should :
[ ] a) Stop your car.
[ ] b) Keep driving and hope for the best.
[ ] c) Immediately use your cell phone to call all loved ones.
[ ] d) Pull out your video camera and obtain footage for Channel 9.

In the instance of rain, you should:
[ ] a) Never drive over 5 MPH.
[ ] b) Drive twice as fast as usual.
[ ] c) You're not sure what "rain" is.

Please indicate your current number of therapy sessions per week: ____

Are you presently taking any of the following medications?
[ ] a) Prozac
[ ] b) Zovirax
[ ] c) Lithium
[ ] d) Zanax
[ ] e) Valium
[ ] f) Zoloft
[ ] g) All of the above
[ ] h) None of the above*
* If none, please explain: __________________.

Length of daily commute:
[ ] a) Less than 1 hour*
[ ] b) 1 hour
[ ] c) 2 hours
[ ] d) 3 hours
[ ] e) 4 hours or more
* If less than 1 hour, please explain: ____________________.

When stopped by police, you should:
[ ] a) Pull over and have your driver's license and insurance form ready.
[ ] b) Try to outrun them by driving the wrong way on the 405 freeway.
[ ] c) Have your video camera ready and provoke them to attack, thus ensuring yourself of a hefty lawsuit profit.

When you see a woman driver with her arm extended out the window, it means:
[ ] a) Her turn-signals are broken.
[ ] b) She is giving an indication she intends to change lanes.
[ ] c) She is drying her nails.

Which part of your car will wear out first?
[ ] a) The wiper blades
[ ] b) The seat belts
[ ] c) The horn

Automatic door locks are good for:
[ ] a) Security
[ ] b) Convenience
[ ] c) Messing with the heads of people trying to get in.

The "bright" setting on your headlights is for:
[ ] a) Dark, poorly lit roads
[ ] b) Flashing to get the car ahead to move out of the way
[ ] c) Revenge

If you are over the age of 75, you do not have to complete this test, you are entitled to drive even if you cannot see, hear, or move.

Friday, October 15, 2004

::faith, by nathan cistone::

This reflection was written by Nathan Cistone for the October 3, 2004 Worship Service of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco.
Nathan died in a car crash earlier in the week before the service. Susan Anthony, Toby Meyer, and Brian Ferguson read Nathan's words for him.

I'm angry that God has been hijacked. I'm angry that something so beautiful and inspirational has been perverted into a tool to discriminate, judge, and persecute. I love God, and I use that term freely. However, I hate that when someone says "God" to me, I instantly get a knot in my stomach and my defenses raise way up because I don't know what context it's coming from. I consider myself a very spiritual person, and God plays a huge role in my life. I went through a phase where I felt like I needed to use a different term because most people's interpretation of God was just too limiting. However, I've decided that I will use the term God over and over and over again when I talk about my Faith because (a) I'm stubborn, and (b) I refuse to let the religious fanatics continue to use God as an excuse to justify their fears and insecurities.

I experience God through people, through nature, through meditation, and through prayer. I feel connected to God every single instance in time because to me, God is life. I see miracles happen daily and have had one too many prayers answered to deny the existence of something so much more awesome than all life itself. But we as humans have this incredible skill of overcomplicating things, and no one is more guilty of that than me. In that department, I think I'm Public Enemy #1.

But despite all the controversy and awkwardness, I choose to live a life of Faith. Faith is not the absence of rational thought and life experience as some people preach it to be. To me, Faith is simply the internal belief that something greater than me believes in my potential and wants me to reach it. There is no right or wrong answer to how Faith should be expressed. However, to me a life without some sort of Faith, be it in a higher power, in people, in science, or in yourself, feels so dark and meaningless.

I'm a transgendered, cross-eyed, dork, but God still loves me. And the reason I know that is because my prayers have consistently been answered. I wouldn't literally be the man standing before you that I am if that wasn't true. And as I've said before, my prayers have never been answered how I wanted or expected, and never on my timeline, but when and how they were supposed to. So I choose to be the proof that God does not discriminate nor judge. God merely teaches and guides in my life--but only because I learn from the people I respect, and I'm humble enough to learn from my enemies and the people who do not understand me. I am the first to admit that I am completely ignorant of pretty much all religious texts. The more I know, the more I realize I don't know. But I don't have to be an expert in all the ways that God has worked in people's lives since the dawn of time to know in my heart that God exists, and in many more ways than I know of.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a war going on right here in this country--it's a Faith war. I know that I cannot fight what I do not understand. But I also know that evil triumphs when good men and women do nothing, and I will not be deterred from a life of Faith just because people fear my differences and I'm considered a social misfit. There are people out there who have experienced the awesomeness of God, but who have been misguided because they are and only know people who are socially "normal" and have never had a reason to question their religious teachings. Well, I've experienced the awesomeness of God too and my life is and will continue to be the proof that God doesn't discriminate, judge, or persecute--people do. My life will be proof that God is abundant--not because I preach or believe a specific dogma, but because I am grateful for the gift of life and I respect it. Now, I'm far from perfect and I'm no more special than any person in this room--that's a fact. I just know that there have been times in my life when I completely rejected Faith, and times when I've been full of Faith, and every single time I've been full of Faith, I've won.
sometimes, it's better to share other's thoughts and refrain from blog-related contemplation. that said, talk amongst yourselves....

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

::pick of the week::

The first notes of Leon Fleisher's Two Hands are extraordinary in so many ways. The solo piano music itself is deeply moving--a warm and gentle touch playing the familiar and soothing notes of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." And the very fact that this gifted pianist's two hands are working in concert is itself uplifting. Four more than 35 years, Fleisher's right hand suffered from dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary contractions and can be painful. His search for treatment was not successful. Then recently, as the National Institutes of Health, a doctor began treating his hand with injections of botox (yes, Hollywood's anti-wrinkle med). The 76-year-old is now performing and recording with both hands, his music imbued with the deep emotions of a man too long separated from his true love.
--Marc Silver, U.S. News & World Report
leon fleisher is a name which has been tucked away in my head for many years thanks to linda govel (my piano teacher). not until reading this article, so carelessly tossed into the lunchroom with the newspaper, better homes & gardens back issues, and the latest job openings, did i realized i had not actually heard m. fleisher perform. thanks to the wonderful conveniences of this modern age, up popped itunes and i had the album at my fingertips within a couple of minutes from the safe harbor of my own home, at my computer, in my pjs.

i am amazed. classical musicians can leave me breathless, or they can earn my fiery wrath. those truly passionate for their art always convey that love, while others may convey plain perfection (if we are so lucky). first and foremost above the technical abilities, in my book, is love. the recording in question is of excellent caliber, the production quality putting one right in the midst of a personal concert to enjoy in the comfort of the home. or the car. or at the computer, as i am experiencing it now.

m. fleisher is not only a lover of his music, he is a master of execution. each note properly expressed, every subtlety defined, every appoggiatura perfectly accented. debussey's "clair de lune" caught me in its grasp so effortlessly that i think i forgot to breathe as the notes wafted through the air. that piece, in particular, seems to be one which all pianists like to include on at least one recording. itunes alone returns a list of 144 songs when i queery that single title, and i'm certain amazon would double that (ok, actually, amazon leaves my imagination in the dust at 499 results, but search queries aren't perfect & there are bound to be a few duplicates there. aside from that, i do believe you get it). point being, few could convey in their entire being what m. fleisher can express with, well, his left hand alone.

mind you, this is not an ability i believe to be limited to classical musicians. no, not in the least.

Monday, October 11, 2004

::happy trails::

if i haven't mentioned it before, i absolutely adore traveling. not necessarily the process of getting from a to b, but the actual point of enjoying my destination. this weekend has been wonderful, but as the holiday-ing (it's columbus day, a bank holiday) draws to a close, i'm definitely sad to see it go.

i've got big plans in the upcoming months: san francisco, arizona, and maybe next year we'll go to australia again. i've got a bug about it since i recently rediscovered my passport. yup.

as you may be able to discern from this none-too-thrilling post, i am very relaxed and sadly counting down the hours (two more to go...) before the homeward journey begins. *sigh*

Sunday, October 10, 2004

::oh, oregon!::

it's mighty pretty up here, and the fresh air induces 10 hour hibernation spells at night. i'm thoroughly enjoying the retreat @ my parent's gorgeous home which is sporting fresh landscaping these days. apart from the uber-creepy-former-horse-traders (aka New 'Noying Neighbors, or NNN for short), this area is nothing short of being God's country in my mind. (more on the neighbors later. or not. i wouldn't be mentioning names as i've learned that lesson the hard way!)

there's not a whole lot to do as form of entertainment, which often worries mom & dad in their desire to play the perfect host to their daughter who's finally come around from those squirrely late-teen years. me, on the other hand, i'm eating it up! there's always more than enough to do in the OC, so you won't find me complaining about a few days of r&r; or forced relaxation.

that said, it's back to the lazy day for me. i think i'll make some brownies....

Saturday, October 09, 2004

::saturday funnies::

Rules for Stray Cats

1. Stray cats will not be fed.

2. Stray cats will not be fed anything, except dry cat food.

3. Stray cats will not be fed anything, except dry cat food moistened with a little milk.

4. Stray cats will not be fed anything, except dry cat food moistened with warm milk, yummy treats and leftover fish scraps.

5. Stray cats will not be encouraged to make this house their permanent residence.

6. Stray cats will not be petted, played with, picked up and cuddled unnecessarily.

7. Stray cats that are petted, played with, picked up and cuddled will absolutely not be given a name.

8. Stray cats with or without a name, will not be allowed inside the house at any time.

9. Stray cats will not be allowed inside the house, except at certain times.

10. Stray cats will not be allowed inside the house, except on days ending in "y".

11. Stray cats allowed inside, will not be permitted to jump up on or sharpen their claws on the furniture.

12. Stray cats will not be permitted to, jump up on or sharpen claws on the really good furniture.

13. Stray cats will be permitted on all furniture, but must sharpen
claws on new .99 sisal-rope cat-scratching post with three perches.

14. Stray cats will answer the call of nature outdoors in the sand.

15. Stray cats will answer the call of nature in the three-piece,
high-impact plastic tray filled with Fresh'n'Sweet kitty litter.

16. Stray cats will answer the call of nature in the hooded litter pan, with a three-panel privacy screen and plenty of head room.

17. Stray cats will sleep outside.

18. Stray cats will sleep in the garage.

19. Stray cats will sleep in the house.

20. Stray cats will sleep in a cardboard box lined with an old blanket.

21. Stray cats will sleep in the special Kitty-Komfort-Bed with
non-allergenic lambs wool pillow.

22. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed.

23. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed, except at the foot.

24. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed under the

25. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed under the covers, except at the foot.

26. Stray cats will not play on the desk.

27. Stray cats will not play on the desk, near the computer.

28. Stray cats are forbidden to walk on the computer keyboard on the desk, when the human is asdfjjhhkl;ljfd.;oier'puyykmm4hb USING IT.

thanks to sara in az for this timely email! woo hoo!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

::"debt free by 28"::

i went to nathan cistone's funeral today. or, as it was aptly called, a celebration of nathan's life. this will be the second service i've attended within a three month period. i sit here wondering when it's going to sink in. not only the finality of death, but its untimeliness. death is never late, most would tend to agree. instead, it robs us of loved ones way too soon. before we have a chance to act. to change. to experience. to live differently than we are now. if you knew you were going to die, what would you change about your life? wake up! you are already dying, so don't wait another minute!

while it's eerie to write this dissertation on what i'm going through, i find it helpful & certainly appreciate the chance to unload on the Reader, friend or stranger alike. i thank you for humoring me.

what's hitting me like a ton of bricks, apart from the grief i'm experiencing & the sadness i'm surrounded by as friends mourn the passing of a truly inspired & motivated individual, is that whole "we were the same age" phenomena. this is truly something i didn't expect to experience until, say, my forties or fifties. not that i would be expecting death at that time, however, it certainly seems more likely than now, when i'm only 27.

i feel pressed to act. when josh lost his good friend rick about 7 years ago (shortly after we met), he vowed to record more music. he has. i'm wondering if i can be so motivated to act upon the fears and the desires which lie deep in my heart. i want to write more. i want to complain less. i want to love my friends more. i want to make my life more meaningful. i suppose that might sound superficial, however, it started off as "i want to feel as though my life is more meaningful." --which is different, you see.

nathan was hugely motivated, hence the titling of this post. his aunt shared a beautiful & touching recollection of how she & nate's brother were sorting through his things in his efficiency up in the bay area. all throughout his home were inspirational/motivational quotes (that being one of them), pictures of his friends & family, and the bare essentials for living. he was involved with his community & his church. he wasn't afraid to be himself: how often do we live our lives in fear of what other's think? nathan was fearless. he had some struggles, but he overcame them and was so giving.

i'm so thankful to have known him.
in memorium scholarship fund
music was very important to nathan. he learned to play the violin, cello, saxophone, trombone, tuba, piano, and trumpet (many self-taught). his life was enriched beyond the elementary grades through music; for example, teaching him discipline. because of his love for music, the family has decided to set up a scholarship fund to focus on elementary school children whose families might not be able to afford to rent or purchase musical instruments.

please make checks payable to:
SVEF - The Cistone Family Music Fund

mailing address is:
The Cistone Family Music Fund
Saddleback Valley Educational Foundation
25631 Peter A. Hartman Way
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

::music of the week, etc.::

she's a little bit country...and a little bit adult contemporary, based on what i can divine from the itunes samples i've been browsing. however, she's got a pleasant voice and she sings in key. who knew? minnie driver is an actress and a singer!

the songs seem to lean in sarah mclachlan's direction, but sarah's got much more musician in her veins than minnie from what i can see. not much more detail to go on here. the thirty-second snippets didn't grab me enough to beg a second go and so i'd rather chalk this one up to those countless forgettable albums out there. i'm way too picky to give someone another chance unless i have previously experienced their brilliant musicianship. (should i apologize here, ms. driver? it's just not my schtick, i suppose. i'm not saying you're awful!)

changing gears, well, i have to give props to enid for nagging me about an upcoming concert at the coach house featuring gavin degraw. i finally dragged my fingers over the keyboard to do some research & i must say, the streaming music on his site, in combination with a wonderfully clean design, has me hugely intrigued! the music has a lot of soul, great rockin' rhythms (a solid rock n' roll drummer who's no dummy, that's for certain), and an overall attention-getting flare.

so, have i mentioned enid before? i believe i have, she is my sister music-phile who happened to sit next to me in speech class from day one and we now torture our hubbies with "where is she?" worries as we chat & lollygag after class. ok, that's an exaggeration. it's wonderful though: she is so excited about music! i wasn't really expecting to meet someone who intrigued me as much, but such are the benefits of attending night classes: more grown-ups. woot!

p.s. enid, if you're reading this, it appears the concert is sold out @ the coach house & @ the house of blues. can i please hide in your purse that day???

Sunday, October 03, 2004

::vegas, baby::

oh so excited about the latest & greatest from cirque du soleil. cirque's website is certainly one of the most beautiful sites i have seen recently: rich in color & oh so vibey.



josh:   so;, how can i help you get your homework done? how can i make sure you are doing what you're supposed to be doing?

me:     well;, first i need to be fed and bathed...

josh:   what; are you, now, 80???


well, after must procrastinating and a strong affection for green, i give you this: ta da! new and, er,...let's just stick with new. avoiding all clich&eacutes.; now with more fiber. helping to lower your cholesterol more than a bowl of cheerios.

comments? questions?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

::saturday funnies::

i failed to bring home work's latest & greatest in terms of dress code for everyone to laugh at this weekend. However, there is one line in particular that sticks out in my head:
Appropriate undergarments must be worn at all times.
yessir, will there be a daily inspection as well? Everyone is asking!