Wednesday, October 21

The benefits of keeping an open mind

So, the Dodgers are once again breaking my heart. What do I do? I tune into Great Performances because it's featuring an episode on Gustavo Dudamel's debut performance as Music Director of the LA Phil and I can't think of a better way to stop hating LA (dem bums!).

Dudamel opens with a very modern sounding piece called City Noir. Ok, I get it, that's a pretty cool way to kick off a new job in LA, but I'm also thinking that it's sort of annoying 'cause it's a bit too modern for my taste. Keeping an open mind, I read about the commissioning of City Noir and discover the Composer was inspired by a bunch of books by some guy named Kevin Starr. I cruise on over to Amazon to read about this Starr guy. The next thing I know I'm getting totally engrossed in Starr's Dream books on California so I then make it official and add a few of his books to my wish list. Then I do the obvious and Google the guy and what do I learn? Kevin Starr was at Vroman's just last month. DAMMIT!

Oh well, better luck next time, huh?

In the end I wound up sort of liking the weird modern piece of music. I guess it goes to show that keeping an open mind can lead to interesting things.

Monday, October 19

I'm tired

I've got a terrible flu. Swine flu? Who knows. All I know is that it's wearing out it's welcome. I've slept tons, which usually helps, but still this thing hangs on.

Here are a few necessities I've used to get through it so far:
  • Rosebud Salve (for the Rudolph nose. Apply generously every night and your nose won't get so dry and irritated. If you don't have this already, get some. I use this stuff every day for dry lips and cuticles. It's amazing.)
  • Puffs Plus Kleenex
  • Excedrin (For the blazing headache)
  • Tylenol Cold (When the runny nose is out of hand)
  • Robitussin (When the cough and chest congestion sets in)
  • Listerine (To soak my toothbrush in between frequent brushings)
  • Visine (To sooth burning eyes. Come to think of it, maybe I have the plague.)
  • Cold, damp washcloth (for the forehead when the fever was approaching 103)
  • Cranberry juice mixed with 7-Up (Ginger Ale is preferable but apparently the rest of the world got hold of before I could. I've pretty much lived on this concoction for the past 4 days)
  • Coal Miner's Daughter, Smokey & The Bandit and Vampyr (I know It's a strange line up but this is what cable has had to offer during waking hours.)
  • The Hunger Games (I seem to read a book every time I'm really sick. This is what I read this time. I liked it.)
  • The most comfy bed in the world
I hope you don't get this flu but if you do I hope the above helps you through it.

Tuesday, October 13


Last Sunday I spent the day at home getting organized. Maybe it was one too many episodes of Hoarders but probably not. When my little piles of stuff start to get to me I eventually hit the wall, stop everything and clear it out. Sunday was one of those days and it was great.

This time I tried something a little different. Instead of tuning the tv to some mindless show, as I usually do, I didn't turn the tv on at all. Instead I tuned my MacBook to Pandora and listened to a couple of my stations. (BTW, if you aren't yet aware of Pandora, get to know it... pronto. It's great.) It turned out to be an incredibly tranquil day. I realized that tv adds more stress to my life than I'd known.

I've also come to understand something similar applies to my commute. I usually listen to NPR on my way in to work. It's my primary news source and I like it that way. However, lately I've been plugging in my iPod and listening to podcasts instead. It makes not only for a more peaceful commute but a more thought provoking one as well. I've long been a fan of This American Life but a new show is about to surpass it as my fave. *gasp* I've recently become a convert to The Story. It's a great little show hosted by Dick Gordon that airs around 9:00 pm around these parts. Unfortunately, I only spend a few minutes around a radio at that time of night. I flip on my bathroom radio while I wash my face and brush my teeth but it's not much time. I've therefore heard some good snippets of The Story but never more than a few minutes.

Anyway, I finally got hooked on a show and decided to subscribe to the podcast through iTunes. In a nutshell, Mr. Gordon interviews average people and talks to them about events in their lives. The Story typically has a theme and covers two stories per episode. I highly recommend it. As for where to start, I really liked Unexpected Honeymoon, Romeo and Tuyet and Facebook Friends (and Enemies). I think the website only offers a few shows at a time but you can go back several months through the iTunes podcast. You should give it a try.

I've decided a couple of my friends should write to Mr. Gordon about their experiences and get on the show. Shandon needs to write in about her new sister (a great story with an intriguing beginning) and Heidi needs to write in about the fire and the man on suicide bridge and how they are connected. I love a good story and I'm sure everyone I know has a good story worthy of The Story but those are the two I'd suggest.

Wednesday, October 7

All The Single Ladies

I have accumulated a nice collection of television DVD sets. I tend to collect those that can calm me after a rough day at work or whatever stress I may have in my life. They are part of my "comfort tv" arsenal.

I recently made an interesting discovery about my arsenal. I realized that all of my comfort tv preferences are based on shows about strong, single women.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is probably my all time favorite and Mary certainly falls into the strong, single gal category. I think I like Mary best because, through the years, you get to watch Mary grow and mature and get stronger. I think Mary was a great roll model for me in my formative years. Some people say That Girl was the first big single gal show to make it big and be a good role model but Mary will always reign Queen of the single gal nation in my heart.

As a kid I loved Nanny & The Professor but hated I Dream of Genie because she had to call the Captain "Master". *Shudder* It stills makes my skin crawl. Rhoda rocked my world but once she married Joe I preferred her sister.

After some consideration I realized my beloved Northern Exposure discs also qualifies as a strong woman show and, yes, I own some of those discs too. Through DVD Swap I've received some Gilmore Girls discs and someone at work gave me some Golden Girls sets. All of those ladies are single, independant women who I genuinely enjoy. More recently I discovered The Vicar of Dibley which completely falls into my independent woman theme.

Then, yesterday, yet another DVD set arrived from Amazon. It's probably my ultimate guilty pleasure... I bought the entire series set of Ally McBeal. I know, I know, some people just plain hate Ally McBeal and might think I'm nuts for buying it. I wouldn't even say Ally's a favorite of mine either but I love the quirky cast of characters in the show and I do like the way our crazy little Ally sees the world. Her short skirts are admittedly ridiculous, and don't even get me started on that creepy baby hallucination, but still I manage to love the show.

I think I only watched the first few seasons of Ally then, as usual, I lost interest. I guess I always meant to catch up on Ally in syndication but it never happened. Ally McBeal never seemed to end up on Lifetime or Bravo or anywhere. My cynicism always made me think it was due to lack of necessary music rights/permissions. It turns out I was right. The show was released on DVD ages ago in the UK, but the US has strict music rights laws and most of the shows featured so much music that it was almost cost prohibitive to hammer it all out. I'm not sure how they finally did it but 7 years after the show left the air the complete series has finally been released, with all original music, in the US.

Ally McBeal is probably one of my most most genuine guilty pleasures. I'm not entirely sure why I feel that way but I do. Maybe it's the Ally backlash that hit almost immediately when the show first aired. I think many people have the same feelings for Meredith from Grey's Anatomy. For some reason I have a high tolerance of whiny television characters as long as they are surrounded by a fun and quirky cast. I suppose True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse falls into the same category. Somehow Sookie bugs me way more than Ally but she has hotter men surrounding her and that's a big plus.

I don't know why this strong single gal theme has never occurred to me until now. It doesn't apply to all of my television preferences but it seems to apply to all of the tv discs that I own. Funny huh?

Sunday, October 4

Well that's a first

I wouldn't call myself a hoarder. I do, however, like to be prepared. I really hate running out of something I need and feeling like I have to run to the grocery store or Target on the way home from work. Instead, I almost always have extras of the products I use daily. I have extra bars of soap, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, Q-tips, Kleenex... you know, stuff like that.

I recently heard of a toxic household waste drop-off location and went through all of my expired medications to safely get rid of them. I realized that I was low on Tylenol Daytime Cold medication and made a mental note to pick some up. I'm not sick at the moment so why would I need Tylenol cold pills? As I said, I like to be prepared. On an average day I'm not even a big fan of Tylenol, but when I'm achy and coming down with something, Tylenol is the only stuff that seems to help.

Around this time, every year, I make sure I have a few things in stock: Tylenol Cold medication, Puff Plus Kleenex, Halls cough drops and some Healthy Request Tomato soup. Those are the items I need on hand to get through a flu/cold. As bad as shopping after work is, it's even worse when you're feeling sick and have to stop somewhere and stand in the medication aisle with a other miserable, sniffling saps.

This evening I realized I needed to go to Target and figured I may as well stock up for this inevitable swine flu thing that everyone is so excited about. I threw my usual "cold kit" items in a cart and then something strange happened. While checking out, the checker asked to scan my ID, not my debit card, but my ID. Huh? Turns out there is apparently so much drug abuse going on out there that Target needs to scan my ID in order to complete my Tylenol Daytime Cold purchase. I'm assuming some alarms sound or something if they decide I'm buying too much cold medication. I hope it's ok with Target that I buy Tylenol Cold products every 18-24 months. I recently heard that kids at my cousin's school are no longer allowed to bring hand sanitizer to school because too many kids were drinking it for the buzz. Can you imagine?! Revolting! Apparently being an American is now so intolerable, even for our kids, that we can't be trusted to buy cold medications or Purell. I think it's safe to say we're all in for some serious swine flu. Thanks a lot junkies.(Holy crap! They come with Vicks built in them now?! Cool!)

Friday, October 2

Slamming the door on this week

What a week! I mean it. All I wanted to do this evening was forget all about work. I actually made an effort to distract my mind from wandering back to work.

First, I listened to a fascinating episode of This American Life on the way home. I chose a complex episode that explained (quite concisely) the economic crisis. It was one of those episodes that required a lot of focus and attention to keep it all straight. It was just what I needed. I highly recommend the episode: Return to the Giant Pool of Money. Good Stuff.

While driving home I looked up to see that giant moon hanging up there in the sky. It was huge! Maybe that's why this week has been so crazy? I don't know.

Anyway, the other night Mom watched some show that scared the heck outta her. I, naturally, Tivo'd the next airing of it to see for myself just how scary it was. Let's just say I've discovered a new guilty pleasure: Celebrity Ghost Stories. I know, I know... it's so embarrassing. But let me tell you something, that Ernie Hudson has one scary story. Gina Gershon's was a little freaky too. Belinda Carlisle's was pretty weak and, frankly, she was probably stoned when her "experience" happened. Sammy Hagar had a surprisingly believable story. So yeah laugh if you must, but it was entertaining, scary and helped me completely forget about this awful week.