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Monday, August 3, 2015

Neurons and Fortissimo, and Adagio... Oh, My!

Music and neurology:
Do they go together like a horse and carriage?

I was fascinated, some time last year, by the image of a man undergoing brain surgery while playing the banjo (it sounds like a House plot point... in fact, I think they did something similar with a piano keyboard and a "savant"- someone who might not be able to be trusted to tie their own shoes or to go across the street, but can play music that would make Calliope, the muse, cry in joy.)
This man is not a savant, but his music is beautiful. Last night, Youtube threw me a recommendation that made my ears perk up: (It's opera, which is on the other end of the scale, musically, but my rather eccentric music lists tend to throw folk, opera and metal at me as a matter of course.) Stephen Fry, and his cohost on QI, which I recommend for everyone, meet for opera, and to discuss music and the nervous system with a group of varying neurologists. Davies is known to PLAY the part of the childlike, charming idiot (A part also played to perfection by Fry's 30+ year colleague, Hugh Laurie prior to his American debut. It's what makes House a bit... disturbing and weird for me.) This is a definite front, despite Davies looking a lot like a sweet, curly puppy. His reaction to opera is innocent, wide eyed, and you can definitely see his reactions. What does music do to us? What does music do FOR us? I think everyone's experience is going to be different... this is really obvious, but my spine might tingle hearing "Danse Macabre", while someone else might think, "Yeah, yeah, dancing skeletons, yawn, we had to watch this in 4th grade." (I saw one version with dancers in sheer browns and greens... very beautiful. You have the motif where it's very soft and sweet, and Death's violin isn't playing a creepy dance, but accompaniment to love.)Your spine might find Metallica partnering with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra to be tingle inducing. (It IS interesting, I'll admit, but it was in the sell out stage. ) What makes you move, what makes you close your eyes in joy? Does it heal your mind and body?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Party on, Garth!

I've always had a hard time explaining things, for whatever reason. Namely, the fear that I could have a more useful, satisfying discussion about manifest destiny and the philosophy of life itself, and the secrets of the universe, with a brick wall. This is, of course, a positively dreadful way to enter a conversation: "This is going to suck." So I either get really blunt and then it's all sorts of ugly and awkward, or I start accidentally adding so many layers that after a while, I'm frustrated and feel like screaming!, and absolutely nothing gets done. Let's see if I can explain epilepsy in a way that I would use talking to friends. There is... And 30 seconds after I wondered about what in hades this ad was for, it came to me...selling Mini Coopers... an ad where two guys are crossing the desert. They're hot, sticky, sunburned, dying of thirst, and come across loud music and a festive atmosphere, and P Diddy himself. One guy wants to stay and party, the other is quite sure it's a cruel trick, even after it becomes apparent that P Diddy and his friends apparently decided that the Sahara was the perfect place for a bash. That's... Kind of what it's like on a bad day. You're crawling in the blazing hot sand, and have passed about five beautiful angels, all holding a golden thimble of the freshest, purest water, from the most beautiful artisanal well on earth. You go to them, tug on the hems of their tunics, to no avail. Some don't want to be touched, lest you spoil them. Some disappear completely, leaving mocking laughter. Some transform into strange demonic hell beasts and tell you that you're not worth anything. But you keep on. And what to your wondering, tear-swollen, sandy eyes doth appear? A group of Mini convertibles, and music, and all the water and food you could ever want... Take, eat, drink, you will be sated, a soft pillow will cradle your head. And P Diddy is there. And he's beckoning. But there's these two guys ahead of you, looking in on these same delights, and fighting over whether it's a mirage, a mean trick. somedays, you manage to crawl as fast as your bruised and abraded elbows will let you, right past them. And it is paradise, even though you're tired, so tired. Everyone is kind and lets you rest until you can party on, Garth*! On bad days, the very bad ones, the two idiots in front of you turn on you and attack you for daring to believe. How dare you? You're going to die just the same, you idiot! They were right about you! You're wrong and unnatural, and even if it was real, "they'd" know, and no one would want you around. That's... That's the best explanation I can come up with. I'm aware that it's probably as clear as mud in a champagne flute. *For younger readers, 1) Hi, kids! Do your chores. 2)Wayne's World is not in the same category as Citizen Kane, or Gone With the Wind. It's something special, and it should be watched and enjoyed by everyone, at least once. :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Freedom and Conflicted Minds

I've always hated the phrase, "guilty pleasure". If you feel guilty, it's not all that pleasurable, is it? These are my favorite "Get off your butt and walk it off" songs for those times when I'm feeling far more cranky and cantankerous than I'd like. I'm not really a lady who snaps, "Get off my lawn!" and when I have done, it's caused more hilarity than I was happy with! I have always loved history. It's important, especially since we tend to paint over it and those whose memory should be damned,acquire a gloss that they don't deserve, while others, like Richard III, known in his own time, as a fair man who actually tried to make the law fairer, and whose courtship of his wife sounds like it should be the next great historical soap opera on the BBC- has been changed into a monster. So, anyway, imagine my delight when I realized that I could dance to it! And this pastiche of Hollaback Girl is rather catchy. While it's a lot of fun, it brings me to this- something's been bugging me for a few days, and I feel terrible for ending on a dark note. In this time of ours, where "If you are not X you are Y", "If you don't support this, you are that", and middle of the road gets you run right over, look back to the 80's, a time of promises, lies, recessions, assassination attempts, neon colors, big shoulders, and big hair. And honor your life and your freedom. Don't take it. You are a solution. It's not a zero sum game. And if you use your love of freedom to beat down others, then you are practicing what you preach against. You can change that. You are not your politics, remember. Others' choices in their beliefs are none of your business. Yours are none of theirs. But, let's end on a light note-eesh. That crap- not the rainbow flags v. confederate flags, not the Supreme Court decision- it's that... now, our government can firmly control even more peoples' private lives, if you must have my opinion- but while that is terrible, love in all forms is not. Let there be more. But don't sit there and take it. Fight. The plague on our land is more people controlling others, in holding out false freedom, and snaring people into Matrix-like traps. Quit just sitting there like a frog on a log- ribbit as loudly as you can. Use your voice. It might be all you have.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More Eclectic than an Eclectic Eel

Workout playlists:

It's a quickie search.
And you do get a lot of ideas.

Some things are must haves... Iron Man, by Black Sabbath: heck yes. But dear God, as much as I like to work off the stress and get the stress off, Harlem Shake? Harlem Shake? Hey, shake your money maker like the rent is due tomorrow, to your heart's content. But there has got to be something better.

The lists, for the most part, say the same stuff.
A little Eye of the Tiger being the largest common denominator.

Some people like rap, others metal. (Some people drink Pepsi, some people drink Coke*...)  I'm... a bit more of an eclectic eel. 

1)Ebooks: The Book on Tape workout method.
There are a few pitfalls for me here.

A: The narrator intones solemnly, "For a perfect blini..."
B: It's John Cleese reading the Screwtape Letters, which is fantastic, breathtaking, thrilling... but I just can't quite use it as sweat it out material.

2)Pharell's Happy: I hadn't heard the song until May. This past May. Don't ask how I managed to avoid this and yet quickly, and to my horror, realize that there's an extended cut of "Let It Go".
Unfortunately, I was exposed to two hours of it. That's quite enough.
3)Sorry, T-Swift. You don't do much for me. Go do you, but I need to shake you off.

I'm busily compiling and editing. My list will be rather unique: there's education- (A song about the plague set to Gwen Stephani's Hollaback Girl with the strangely catchy, "Oooh, fleas on rats" refrain.) there's loud (Smells Like Teen Spirit? I can dig it). But my feet need to move, and somehow, I feel like I'm missing a lot.
My thanks to Cake, et.al, for getting me moving and letting me sweat it out.

So... I guess... I'm doing my thing... and definitely have a way to get myself focused. Progress, progress. But I need to move and I need music that isn't the same ol/ same 'ol.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Shake it, Shake it, Shake it!

Strange advice coming from me. ^^^ ⤴️ ^^^

The Bliss Out Bottle, the calming jar, the "I need to keep my hands busy and don't have a nice alliterative name" container.

Find a bottle or jar with a sturdy, leak proof top. You can use a Mason jar, but glass is not good for children.  A full jar will also be heavier.

1) Empty bottle.
2) Remove label and left over adhesive. If you don't have goo gone, olive oil spray works- as an adhesive getteroffer, great, as cooking aid... Yech! Wipe clean and dry.
3) Fill with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of hot water (PLEASE SUPERVISE CHILDREN!!!!)
4)Add glitter glue.
5)Add tubes of glitter. The trick is a free fall and suspension, provided by the glue.
6)Fill bottle to top with hot water.
7)Superglue cap.
8)Let cool.

Shake ’er up, baby!
Also: a Smart Water bottle makes a pretty cool looking free weight. For biceps curls and obliques exercises. $1 at local dollar store.




















Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Three Headed Bat Baby and I

I don't like feeling...
I don't like being told what to do. (Well, maybe not ENTIRELY true, but that's between me and the coffee pot, as it were.)  Of late, I've had... A little more than a week to myself. For the month. No one's fault... I enjoyed time with friends and family. May is a month when I need to be out and not thinking. (Not stinkin' thinkin', anyway.)

 I'd like the pleasure of hating my apartment. I don't like it, but I feel oddly affectionate towards it. Sort of like when I would see News of the World on the magazine racks... God, I miss that horrid paper- with the garish 40-point headline: "Camilla Parker-Bowles gives birth to three-headed bat baby!" 
And I'd look at the terrible image and smile to myself. Maybe it was the baby's six jug ears and rather surprised expression. "You're so ugly, you're cute!" A small part of me would croon.

Where was I going? Before I decided to wax poetic on a terrible "newspaper"?

But I took on too much, in the middle of a reaction to a new dose of an AED, around Mother's Day, and with situations I know more about than I should.

I can concentrate again. Somewhat.
Here and there I have a face palm moment and have to remind myself that I promised not to face palm until I saw stars.

The walking is helping. I have to use parking lots... Thankfully, there's quite a lot of interconnected lots around here.
The dancing helps. It's not pretty, but it's effective and I don't indulge what ifs. 
And that's what it's all about, Charlie Brown.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

You, and Me, and a Mutant Named Toots

Epilepsy...
Strange moments we'll never remember in this life or the next. Strange moments we'll remember, and not fondly. Then there's those unexpected bursts of sunshine. Support from strange places. The dark, gallows humor that develops. The very silly humor that develops. At the beginning, I took the myriad doctors' appointments with seriousness. I'd never snark at a doctor- heavens no!
  Or remark, in a very serious, dramatic tone, to the EEG tech, "And now, the mummification procedure commences". I wouldn't have been ready in 2004. The snarker in 2015 who has a giggle when looking out the window during a very long wait, and spies a lit up sign at a nut factory next door, and lo and behold, it reads, "Nuts are our business."- I wouldn't have gotten it, then. I wasn't ready. I was serious. I was 21 and wanted to go outside and play and this weirdo with the fake Texas accent telling me that I couldn't marry or have children, and later, more... Well, for a little while, I took him seriously. I became depressed. I did things I shouldn't. But gained as well as I lost. I thought I was a bad, worthless, person who was hard to love. I had been injured, I hurt, and rather than helping, I was getting lectured and frightened out of my wits! And that doesn't help with episodes.

But ah, the good! The good outnumbers the bad. I learned to speak up for myself. I learned not to let others make my medical decisions for me. I learned to walk out when treated like I was less than crap. How dare I be sad, scared and frustrated? Be a good girl, we know best!

Realizing that I'm capable. That I do have a mouth on me and know how to use it. That I've survived and bumped up against things some would find too difficult. That opening my mouth and replying "Watch me!" When the dreaded words, "You can't" came along. (I might have been accidentally inspired by former PM of Canada, Pierre Trudeau. I'll be pirouetting behind a beloved figure of state next. Beth, be careful on the stairs, there's a knob at the end--- ooh!)

I felt like a mutant. As in, X-Men. 

I  asked how I thought I was a mutant,some time last year. I thought about it. It's not much.

  • Can, in a pinch, substitute as a space heater
  • It can hurt like Hades, but I have survived things people think are impossible. And I came out, snarking. 
  • I present as a mystery to friends and family. I realize now, it must not be too terribly difficult to love me, attitude problem and all.
Hair and nails grow at a tremendous rate. Not this tremendous, mind.

There's a longer list.

I sometimes have trouble feeling like a human, let alone a lady, but I work at it.
Do I have any magical words of wisdom? Ohh... Toughie. Let me steal from a friend and try, "Don't be sad, be awesome." Yep. I think that works.


From Allegorically Speaking- Thanks! :)





I made my own mutant (just for fun), and, while I think less is more when it comes down to eye makeup, I'm not indifferent to this look. I call this mutant, Toots. Pronounced like a 1940s detective flick.
She's a lady, and she's fiery. She's--- ME! And I am awesome and never allowed to forget it.
One more word of wisdom: (or phrase) You're awesome. Yeah, you. Now, go forth and do that thing.