Monday, December 9, 2013

#ROW80 WEDNESDAY CHECK IN – UNLIKELY CHAMPIONS AND GOALS



Muhammad Ali pretty much summed up his allegiance with Everyman in his stunning statement in 1967 when he refused the draft and the U.S. Government’s edict that he go to Viet Nam and fight in a mis-begotten war. “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” I remember this because my parents, particularly my father was caught up in the nuances of this war, as he had flown B-29s in Korea and been in the infantry in World War II – at the tender age of 16 (I thought 17, but I erred); Grandmum had signed for him – and he was deeply concerned that the country was being led down the wrong path, as regards the government’s involvement in all sorts of nefarious things, such as the Tonkin Gulf Incident and was it real or just a figment of Robert MacNamara’s imagination, or another of his lies.


Of course, I had a zillion questions about all of this; my father was the most patient man I knew. And hella smart.

So, Daddy in what was a normal display of the profane mixed with the literary alliteration I was becoming accustomed to, said, “That’s it, kick ‘em in the nuts, Ali. Let Turner (Stansfield) go to the Ninth Circle of Hell and take his gibbering minion, Robert MacNamara, Prince of Lies with him!” All this of a morning, as he readied for work and I watched him shave. Or, my father would just call MacNamara a "traitorous Son of a Bitch," and then cut himself. Well, Ali from the start was a bit of a maverick and a damned fine boxer. Being a family of pugilists (See: Sir William Wallace, and skip Braveheart) we have in the main, been more than able to stand up for ourselves, save but for my own stupidity, but I’m all better now.

Ali went on to regain his license and win several championships. He paid a dear, dear price for it in the form of Parkinson’s Disease, which he has borne with his typical grace and aplomb. In 2000, Stansfield Turner, the former director of the CIA, came out in print and admitted that he committed an egregious error in suspending Ali’s license and was heartily sorry for it. He also admitted that the Tonkin Gulf Incident never happened. MacNamara went to his grave, without ever admitting he was wrong about anything. I sincerely hope that man is paying for it dearly in the afterlife; he caused so many, many wrongful deaths, as has G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft and Paul Wolfowitz.

Ali, in his customary manner, bore no ill will towards Turner. It was what it was. But it made a difference and it made people really question why we were in what amounted to wars of Imperialism, ala the 19th century. For a while, there was a slim hope that the country might grow a conscience. No worries there.

Eight years of George Bush and the Patriot Act after September 11, 2001 has put to rest any idea of anyone standing up and saying “What we need here is less spying and more trust”! Nope, spies are once more, back under the bed, Joseph P. McCarthy has once more been invoked, lists of the electronic kind are waved around, and the I, III, IV, IX, and XIV Amendments are routinely breached, Constitutional Law be damned. Again, I am willing to wager that Writ of Habeas Corpus has flown the coop as well. This is our most basic right. It is what makes us truly different than Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR. D’you remember them?


About the only difference between this country and Nazi Germany are the snappy outfits.

Habeas Corpus, in case you were out getting Twizzlers during the show,is latin “for that you have the body” not just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo when you apply “Writ” in front of it. Then it becomes a court order (writ) that requires a (presumably live) body be brought before the court. This is to prevent a legal agency from seizing a person without probable cause and holding it for an indefinite length of time. During the terrors of the Inquisition, the French Revolution, Nazi Germany, Apartheid in South Africa, Pol Pot’s regime and all throughout Russia’s tragic history, and many, many other dictatorships, the employment of “Nacht und Nabel” or “Night and Fog” as the Germans called it, saw the disappearance of people, never to be heard from again.

These things do not happen in a vacuum, ladies and gents. They happen because a citizenry allows them to happen. People like Nelson Mandela understood this, because he lived it. When he was imprisoned, there was every expectation that he would die in that cell, but a funny thing happened. People began to see that Apartheid in South Africa was hurting the country. Much of this had to do with the fact that almost every other country had trade embargoes against South Africa, but the best and brightest were leaving in droves, to practice their art, medicine, science, literary careers in other countries. I can think of no other firmly entrenched biased class system that lasted as long as Apartheid and when it ended, South Africa benefited immediately.


Mr. Mandela also struck me as someone who understood and took a lot of joy from life and in simple pleasures, much like the Dalai Lama. How many of us can say that?

Nelson Mandela’s passing was sad, but he had lived a full life. I have heard people saying he was a terrorist, but really? This is coming from people who are scared of giving up the status quo; afraid of losing the already too much that they possess. He was fighting for an oppressed people. We are not talking about jihadists who are, even by moderate Muslim standards, terrorists. Ghandi himself spent time in incarceration. Mandela was an anti-apartheid revolutionist, politician and philanthropist, who served as PRESIDENT of South Africa. That says something when a black man rises from a prison cell to be duly elected to the Presidency of the state that once put him behind bars, primarily for being black.

The work he did, as does Ali to help and succor those in need around the globe is inestimable; as humanitarians, and spokespersons, they’ve made a huge difference. Ali is also a spokesman, alongside Michael J. Fox for Parkinson’s Disease and movement disorders, of which I suffer, and he has been a part of my life since he was Cassius Marcellus Clay.


Dr. Vitali Klitschko is currently the reigning Heavyweight Champion of the world. Oh, and he does have a reason to be minus a shirt, here.

Which brings me to another unlikely champion, Vitaly Klitcshko. This man is a twin. He and his brother, Vladimir are boxers and they hail from Ukraine. They have both held Heavy Weight titles and are world-renown. They both have made their homes in Germany and they both hold PhDs in Sports Medicine. Right now, Vitaly is in the fight he never dreamed he would fight, I am sure. The government in Kiev has decided to forego alliance with the EU and wants to throw in Ukraine’s lot with Russia, i.e. Vladimir Putin. An odd factoid, in researching this, Vitali joined the Ukrainian Parliament on December 15, 2012, my birthday and in some circles, considered the same day as Beethoven's birthday, who was another champion for the poor and downtrodden. He famously scratched out his dedication of his 3rd symphony, to Napoleon and called it the "Eroica" for "Heroic" instead. Dit-dit-dit-dah and Vee for victory during World War II. For true mankind united music, listen to the 4th movement of his 9th symphony, and the "Ode to Joy".


Vlad is 60 years old and girls, he's single. Why in the hell is every despot out of their ever-lovin' minds? And what is this thing with the bears? Is he re-enacting Nic Cage's not-to-be-missed "Wicker Man" scene in the Bear Suit? I have no words, except that this is one dangerous Mo-fo. I had a Russian Language professor once who thought Kruschev was too liberal. I just wonder what he would make of this? сукин сын!

For those of you who were out getting a giant 64-oz. Coca Cola, during the Russian History part, Putin was once head of the KGB and his management style, as President, or Monarch, or Grand Poobah, reflects that. Actually, he may be Stalin (translation: Man of Steel, or Steel) with a bit more subtlety and a lot less shirt-wearing. See, the dude-in-power, Viktor Yanukovych, in Kiev is some jackleg that Putin pretty much installed, with one of those fakey-fake elections. 

There were riots the first time general elections were held, back in 2003, over this same dude, now in power. Now, it’s looking much more serious. The leader in Parliament, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, has apparently had enough of Viktor's bff and has organized and been coordinating the opposition. With mass demonstrations of 300,000 people and more in the streets, the country’s militia are having a hard time holding things together. This isn't a Flash Mob, but a Mob that has brought its lunch, dinner and breakfast, plus some hardware and tents. They aim to stay awhile and call the neighbors. They've also brought a lot of Likes to Fight Guys, too.

So, Klitcshko is on the side of the opposition. If Ukraine is beholden solely to Russia, this keeps Ukraine within the Motherland’s sphere of influence and this is not good for Ukraine. Russia can then pay whatever she damn well pleases and there is no open market opportunity for the Ukrainians. 


You can see that without Ukraine, Russia has few warm water ports. After Edvard Shverdnadze became President of Georgia, having served as part of the USSR's apparatus, he cooled relations during the Yeltsin years. Putin does not want a repeat of that.

Ukraine, unlike Russia, is a rich country and has always been so. Stalin starved the kulaks in 1934 and their “wheat bowl” a geographically perfect arrangement of mountains between Ukraine and Russia allows for fertile fields and rich yields. Kiev is home to the oldest center of Christianity on that continent over 1000 years old. The language and culture is much different, and it lies on the Black Sea, one of the warm water ports that Russia has access to.

Klitcshko naturally wants his country to thrive and not be subject to the Russian boot. Putin is hell-bent on retaining all of the SSRs that were part of the USSR and I see this as a re-unification attempt on his part. However, the genie is out of this bottle. Vitaly Klitschko, a boxer of world renown is telling everyone in the world about the unfairness and about what it was like when he lived under the Communist boot.


Sir William died with no issue. The family line is carried through one of the two brothers and I forget which one. I just know that I belong to this family, since I heard it at my daddy's knee from about 9 months on and wore a coat that me Grandmum made for me from an old Wallace kilt. The argyle wool was a few hundred years old then, and would be great for fighting and ambush, were you in a forest fire. We also possess the standards and heralds that have been passed down from generation to generation. We weren't always the brightest bulbs on the tree. Daddy pissed off the Brits at Heathrow in 1985 and got himself locked up for 48 hours for hollering "Death to the Queen" or some such nonsense. He treated it as a grand lark. Typical Wallace.

Let me be clear. I love the Russians, their culture, their ways. I love Ukraine for the same reasons. I have reason to believe that the Wallaces did not in fact originate from Scotland. Our name in Old Welsh was "Uallace" and means “Stranger” and that we are; we are the only Clan with no affiliation or septs with other clans. We most likely are of Scythian blood and were part and parcel of the Scythian guards of Hadrian’s wall, but we always lived apart from the Scots, after the betrayal by the Bruce family. So, I suspect I’m a bit more drawn to that part of the world, because the blood calls me. But, I hate all States; the concept of freedom for all, and the human dignity that is accorded to each of us is sacred, it is not just for the entrenched powers that be. The idea of the State must survive, because the only reason the State exists, is to ensure the existence of the State, is beyond corrupt, it is evil, because it forces people to do evil things to each other to get ahead, or remain entrenched. Think about it. In the meantime, Go, Vitaly, Go!

GOALS: I did nothing; I have the flu. *hack hack* Actually, I want to tear apart "Music of the Spheres" and start REALLY plotting it out. To that end, I got myself some story boards that are erasable, flash cards to set out sections and characters and make it a teensy bit more coherent. I also have my auto-bio in the works, which is really more a batch of essays of my early life, school, music, computer work and being homeless. Most of it is hilarious. No, seriously hilarious. As Carlin says, even cancer is funny. Trust me, homeless was a laff-a-minute!
 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

#ROW80 4TH QTR SUNDAY CHECK IN – IS THAT ALL THERE IS?


Appropriately enough, I would take the title from the late, great Peggy Lee. A haunting song to me even as a 13-year old, named “Is That All There Is?” wherein she sings about “breaking out the booze and having a ball,” with a minor undercurrent in the trumpets in a far away background, almost a melancholy waltz and something Klezmer and Eastern European folk music and Russian music in general, does so well. It is an existential song, verging on nihilism, which I understood even at age 13 and took to heart for far too many years, but I'm still here, maybe minus a few parts and a couple of senses, those of the touch, taste, smell, hear, and see variety, and some would say the common sort, but I'm a clever fox, for all that, and still present, when others are not.


I have indeed finished my #NaNoWriMo challenge and guess what? It's a hot mess! Wow, who'd a thunk it? As my late mother would have said. She would be bursting her buttons right now, just for the finish, clocking in at 50,971 words in thirty days. It is a mad scramble of aliens, ghosts, gamers, musicians, scientist, fly-boys and spies. Shit I know about. The rest of it is made up. 

Some names changed along the way. Carl became Bryan at one point and Masha turned into Freebird. People died, but I resisted Dave Berry's admonition to just slap on the helpful advice of “then they all got run over by a truck” as an ending. There were no trucks, but Nic Cage also made an appearance with an important message from the Mother Ship, in his inimitable Nic Cage style; he folded up into one of those theater pop-corn boxes, after delivering his message of warning and made the protagonist prop him up in his seat, so he could watch “Wicker Man”. His great grand-uncle, Maestro Anton, will be proud.

So, as you can see, lots of editing to be done just to make something resembling coherence out of the whole mashup.


There it is, in glorious 8-bit pixels. Why? Because we're serious geeks. We all love NyanCat. 

In the meantime, hauling all of the crap out of the closet for another Christmas extravaganza, Dollar Store style! I'll be sure and take pictures. For now, I can't just sit back and rest on my laurels. Until tomorrow. There is editing to be done, viola playing to catch up on, and my 58th birthday is in two weeks. My health is excellent. I've reached the point where I can walk two miles and not be affected by my COPD until the last 1/4 mile or so and even then it's so slight, I don't notice it. Well, I do, but it's a clinical notice, as in "check that; it's better than last week". I've gained 40 pounds since my low of 79 lbs in 2010; a right Rubenesque 112 pounds, I am. I just need to get my teeth fixed from all of the heart-and-lung medication

So, the risk of sounding persistent, my ex-step-grandaughter's birthday is the same day as mine. She will be eight years old. The baby, I was not invited to be present at the birth for – a friend (woman) had treated me to a Birthday dinner, earlier that evening, knowing that Bill was shunning me – I was in the house when his daughter called, and he just. . . left. Lest he think I were drunk, or impaired, I was not; I remember EVERYTHING, as does he. No one in Bill Nunnally's family, nor in John Holley's, nor in the Blanton family ever questioned my gradual disappearance at least to my knowledge, so God knows what lies he was feeding them. I had been a presence in their lives for 10 years, and had even driven down from Charlotte, NC a day early to watch his youngest daughter in a Swim Meet, when I was still honoring viola playing commitments in Tampa, Fl. I was happy to do so. I loved that girl as if she were my own. I was being systematically shut out by my ex-husband and sequestered, which is what spousal abusers do. Dr. Shay West reminded me of that, yesterday in relating her horror story. She went through her own holocaust and was relating her anger. In answering and thinking back, I got mad all over again. Figures. At least I'm okay with the rest of the world. 

My questions remain. What did he tell them? That I was drunk and running around? That I was sick and had some communicable disease? So many questions, but here is the most important one. As much as I've trashed that man in this blog, and he knows that I have a tendency to “remember” birthdays, as I “remembered” his, and my mother's, and I will "remember" mine and the baby I never got to know, why has not a single member of his family or associates, stepped forward to defend him? Hmmm? Think about it.

Sunday check in for #ROW80 and please God, let me remember the wonderful Alex J. Cavanaugh's #IWSG, this Wednesday, the first Wednesday of every month. 




There is a lot of nap-taking as you can see, by JC's feet. I'm the restless sleeper.

Here is a new picture of Mama, our kitty rescue, that JC adopted. She just comes in and makes herself at home. Last night, while gaming with my Clan, during a God Wars run, she laid on my mouse hand and things got spastic for a while. At least I didn't die and re-spawn having lost all of my expensive armor and weaponry in Fally square. A miracle. She's another hot mess, but a dear one.

Friday, November 29, 2013

#NANOWRIMO UPDATE & T-DAY LEFTOVERS



I finished "Music of the Spheres" at 20:00 E.S.T. on Friday, November 29, 2013, with 50,971 words total and a right "hot mess" it is, too! As Andi-Roo would say, "slam shit down and get that shit on paper". Or some shit. 

  


I love the HuzzaaH!!

Seriously? I hope to never have to press a <backspace> key again. I know, dream on. T-day rocked. I cooked for my menfolk and we ate loads and loads of everything we shouldn't. Instead of turkey, I baked a chicken, with lots of dressing, mashed potatoes, my signature giblet gravy and two different kinds of green bean casserole, plus a ham. I got everything cooked and done. We ate and ate, fed Robert, the homeless guy, only one guy this year, as Kevin has passed on and I got the kitchen cleaned up and done by 8:15. 

My sugar dropped to 39 at 8:45 and I had some orange juice and went to bed at 9:15. Today, I finished my novel. By way of Ernest Hemingway's instructions, that there are three things a man should do; they are: write a book, have a child and plant a tree. I've done two of the three and I have multiple "children" through the students I've taught privately, and the many, many young men I've met in SpiritZ, who I've based some of my characters on in my book. None of this is a solitary effort, nor is life. Although I am by nature a solitary creature and a contrary one. Anyway, for now, NaNoWriMo is done and won! Yippee!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

#ROW80 4TH QTR WEDNESDAY CHECK IN - NANO UPDATE & WHO'S SPYING ON WHO



First the good news; for #NaNoWriMo, I've managed to spit out 44,013 words into something that resembles a manuscript, but that I would more likely refer to as a "hot mess". If you don't believe me, here's visual proof:


I feel like I've been underground since November 1, 2013. This cannot be so, as I've typed eleventy-billion words it seems, AND I've actually played Wolf. This is going to be a mostly graphical update, because of. . . Runescape?


Wait! What? No, that's not what I meant to say at all! I wanted to tell you that all that yammering I did last summer about the NSA and FBI really, really paid off! If any of you read my ground-breaking post on how to fuc-I mean totally encrypt every day conversations on Facebook and Twitter and just waste everyone's time by running all of your stupid lolcats and chain letters that say "teh quick brown jackal jumped over the lazy capitalist" through Bing translators ten times with 10 different languages, you'd know that I am on the cutting edge of spy bullshit! Take a look at this! Apparently, I have the HOMELAND SECURITY FOLKS recruiting me for THIS: 


God knows what in the hell they want me to do, but it looks totally legit, right? I can't wait to start. I am so excited! This must have been in response to a couple of letters I sent to the FBI and the SEC when I got this:


So everyone now knows I'm on my toes and fighting for the little guy or some shit out here in cyberland. I just knew if I kept pestering these people they'd offer me a job when they saw what kind of cyber-sleuthing chops I have!


Of course, I'll have to work from home. That Imaginary Trotsky fellow-traveler probably isn't going to rate me much in the way of a very high security clearance. 

Anyway, 6,000 words from the finish line, at least for this draft of "Music of the Spheres". I like the title and I think it fitting for the subject. I sure couldn't have gotten here without my #ROW80 crew mates and everyone else in this new endeavor. What a great couple of years it's been. The Primodone is working wonders and I've put on over 40 pounds, since I first went into the homeless shelter. Who'd a thunk it? As my late Ma used to say. Thank you everyone! 



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#ROW80 -- 4TH QUARTER 2013, WEDNESDAY CHECK IN


VIOLA, SHMIOLA  NANO, SHMANO

Really a quick update just to let everyone know that no, I have not been eaten by the trolls here on Nebraskascape, or Rune Avenue, 33602, 33605, or the blue dragons, nor have I fished myself into oblivion, *ahem* like some I could mention.


The Gold Barons of Runescape

Translation. My Glorious Waste of Time is still with me, that being Runescape, and da 'hood is still a-boppin' and a-beepin' and a-screechin' outside my window as I type. I've just added to the cacophony a bit. I've put in 32k+ words for NaNoWriMo. (Honestly, I've lost count; I just type and I'm reaching the cataclysmic meeting of two main characters, so it's safe to say *fingers crossed* November 30, will see 50k words.)


I can still play some mean air viola!

The viola is another revelation, some good, some not. But that was to be expected. Everything still seems to be intact; muscle memory and whatnot and I'm playing a LOT more than I thought I would. I forgot to mention that I had MOHs surgery on my left bicep over 10 years ago, and that booger STILL aches. Getting old is not for wussies! I'm not unhappy with my progress, and I need to have my stupid bow re-haired, and yes, real horse's hair. I don't have the time and I need to call my guy who knows a guy. It's like the Mafia putting out a hit. Later. But my passage work on the "G" string sounds. . . muddy. So, something to fix, if not for myself, for my muse, Beethoven. 


"V" for Victory, or dit-dit-dit-daa, used during WW II and, the 4 opening notes of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, a bit of trivia, for trivia buffs.

Anyway. The usual chaos medically, sort of. My red blood cell count will NOT come up, in spite of extra iron, B-12 injections, yada yada. I feel good and am up to 112 lbs. So, a lovely colonoscopy is scheduled. Can't wait to drink all of that lemon-flavored crap and poop it out. I know what they're going to find. Zero, zilch, nada, bupkis. But, better safe than sorry. My doc is primo and knows what's up. I have this thing called "malnutrition" from the lovely childhood thing "failure to thrive". Just so long as we do this AFTER NaNo and Thanksgiving. Giving thanks for just walkin' around. I missed the Pink pumpkins this year! Damn!


These were the Pink pumpkins. You can see how bad my tremors were last year this time, by the blurriness of the picture. LOTS to be grateful for!

Have a happy rest of the week #ROW80 Crew. See you on Sunday! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

#ROW80 – 4TH QTR 2013 – SUNDAY CHECK IN



Sometimes I wonder about this whole writing thing. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year and unlike last year, I'm doing well. I have over 30,000 words or 30k as we used to say in the computer biz. I'm enjoying it and I believe that I have a pretty intriguing story to tell and that I will be able to find a publisher, or, what is more likely, with more hard work and or, doing possibly my least favorite thing in the whole world, “social networking,” (gah!) will be able to do it on the cheap. I will have done something many people will have not been able to do, but wish they could do. So, that being the case, why am I so just, I even hate to say it, but not excited, yet? Will that happen?

Or, is it because, I still have my heart in a sheet of music or in an orchestra some where, playing and singing along with all of the great harmonies that God intended us to give voice to, sounds that are at once angelic and in the next instance brutally harsh and cold? Were I still able to drive and not reliant on someone else for transportation, I believe I would be playing in just about any orchestra that would have me, especially now, that I have my tremors under control. Pig-headed and stubborn to a fault I am; I should be grateful as I had two very successful careers and both were doing things that I loved. Not everyone can say that.


This apparently ended up in a garage sale or jumble sale, or garbage heap. I couldn't tell. I had my hacker vision on.

I do love to create and writing is another way of creating. I do not denigrate the art of writing, because it is so exceedingly difficult to write beautiful prose and to write it meaningfully. It is hard to write stories for entertainment and in different genres, as I am finding out. I am such a newbie, or n00b, as my gamer pals call me at this, although I did win awards for writing in university, but that is so very different than this. This is about writing something that people actually want to read and are willing to pay for, I guess. Although, people do buy and read some execrable crap, witness the publication of Paris Hilton's biography, “Paris Hilton: A Biography,” by someone I never heard of, for 35.00 19.25. I know people must buy it and read it, but who? Maybe the deeper question is, why? Why would anyone care about this no-talent mediocrity? Because she's rich? Or is it because her sex tape ended up on the Internet? How salacious are we as a society that we pander to this?


Maybe that's one reason I write. I enjoy holding a mirror up, so we can see ourselves as we are, not as we think we are. Because there is so much self-righteousness in this world and so much wrong done, in the name of right. I really like to write for fun and just write silly articles about my life. But I, as so many others around me here, have had to deal with judgments against them that were perceptions based on personal agendas, preconceived notions of how we all should behave and just plain meanness against the weak and poor. If there is no one to stand up for these souls, they are lost. Once they are lost, then, as the German Protestant Reverend Martin Niemöller, who eventually emerged as a public spokesman against Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years lf the Third Reich in concentration camps, said so famously, after his release:

 “First the came for the Socialists, but I did not speak out—because I was not a Socialist.
Then, they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak out—because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then, they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then, they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.


 Martin Niemöller, postwar
The thing about being in among the "writing crowd” if you will, is I get to have a seat at the table here and rub elbows with all of you. I may never sell or publish a book or an article, but I'm having a wonderful time and I have all of you to thank for this, my "seat" at the table. For the #ROW80 crew and all of the other people I've been led to and met, I want to thank you all. Because of you, I will finish NaNoWriMo this year. Maybe, next year, I'll be able to say I've published a book! If not, I'll still have had a ball at #ROW80! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

#ROW80 SUNDAY CHECK IN – SATURDAY NIGHT ON NEBRASKA AVENUE, 33605, 33602, 33604



I've been so busy lately, what with #NaNoWriMo and once again, doctors, that it seems ages since I've written a new post for #ROW80. Oh, I've had an inspiration here or there, but writing prompts have been overlooked. Until tonight, and I cannot for the life of my understand why I haven't written about this before. Before I get into all that, I want to talk about my “goals.” I've written 18,811 words for #NaNoWriMo as of Saturday, November 9. So, yay about that. My outline and 3 events and 30 whatsis have been a tremendous help. Anyway, back to Sa-tur-day nights on the Avenue of Nebraska!


It's sort of like this, only without the slide, order and apparent polite behavior seen here. Other than that, Cross of Mercy, neon lights, huddled confusion. Yeah, it looks like one of Nebraska Avenue's more celebrated Saturday evenings.

Maybe, it's because in a way, it's always Saturday night on Nebraska Avenue, even on Sunday morning. Jimmy Buffet's line about “it's a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning” doesn't apply here. There are no lines. Nope, no sir, no sirree bob, no how and no way.

As my good, good pal Andi-Roo, over at The World 4 Realz says about Twitter, mostly I think, but mentions Facebook, so none of those babies get their widdle feewings hurt, in one of my favorite posts, Cotton Swab Causes Emergency Room Visit and the Fourth of July, “We turned to Twitter and Facebook, that ever-present crowd of parties and advice.” With Nebraska Avenue and “ever-present” and “parties” (loosely defined – a party of one or two is quite common behind the dumpsters and bushes, here) and “advice” – questionable, as I had a roommate in the homeless shelter, who upon discovering that I had not one, but two computers stashed under my bunk, wanted to know why I wasn't on the internet. 


The "Make-Believe" help desk. I think I worked for this dolt at IBM. I jumped ship and went to Verizon, just before the mutiny.

I explained that I had no external antenna, so that I could “steal” someone else's internet (a popular pastime around here, and not just bandwidth.) Said roommate told me she was a computer “expert” and I could just download the wifi device. I kept a straight face and ran to tell my friends who had more than 2 working brain cells about my latest conversation with the newest representative from the Planet Mongo. My good friend Matt, another homie from Choate and Boston University (how the hell do people with such stunning backgrounds become homeless?) said to me, “Great, let's download dinner and save time!” So, the term “expert” around here is used with much abandon and means whatever the hell the “expert” wants it to mean.


. . . Is A Glorious Waste of Time

It's like those idiots who play video games (Runescape) for 5 minutes, decide they now know everything there is to know about the game (Runescape) and can level up to 99 in 15 minutes. They then proceed to write the most meaningless guide to _________ (fish to 99, cook to 99, mine to 99, etc. It's like a job, only with better benefits, and lots more color, too.) Here, from mithos23132, is his guide, called, fittingly, "How to Write Very Bad Guides," from the Tip.it forums and it is hilarious. He so hits the nail on the head. The irony here is, as I was hunting up this guide, I ran across one of the the last posters, who doesn't get it. He's just furious about this horrible guide. 


Lulz. "Way to miss the point." Pwn3d

So, what does this have to do with Saturday night? Why, not a damned thing! It just amused me and I had started out with all the fun we have here on Nebraska Avenue, 33605, 33602, 33604 and I'm always kind of random like that and digress anyway. Andi's ever-present party is a happening thing, but on Saturday nights, it takes on that extra-special meaning. If the Saturday also happens to fall on the day after SSI checks are distributed, well, good times, good times! It's a combination party-riot-search-and-rescue kinda night.


It's about this disco-y and bright, with the neighbors and their disco ball in the living room. Is this a new thing? Am I missing out here? 

Throw in some apocalyptic meltdown music, kind of a Bulgarian hip-hop rap-off, a little hostage situation bull-horn shouting and drive by broken woofers. Probably hooked up to 18 12-volt batteries. Why the hell not 20 or 22 batteries? Can't they hear ya already in Moscow? I happened to look outside one night, and saw in the upstairs apartment to my right, a disco inferno happening complete with disco ball and fire, it looks like inside the apartment. Dude in doorway has tin foil wrapped up in his hair like yo' momma used to do spit curls. He's a-boppin' to the sound and movin' to the beat. Tha's just a lightnin' waitin' to happen! Won't have to pay no electric this month. And it's just nothin' but a thang, chicken wang. On the Avenue, Nebraska Avenue, 33602, 33605, 33604. 


This was supposed to be my Sunday Check in, but I figured I'd try to do a little soft-shoe and put some seltzer down my pants for y'all! Happy Nano-ing and #ROW80ing!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

AFL PLAYOFFS ERK* - REPOST FROM LAST YEAR'S "FALL DOWN AND BE EMBARRASSED IN FRONT OF ELEVENTY-BILLION PEOPLE GUY!"




I'm totally cheating here; today for the first time since I started with the seizures, psychotic break and tremors, which is about 18 months, I played my viola, and surprise of surprises, I sounded damn good (for about 3 minutes; I have my work cut out for me!) So, that right there is an achievement. My goal for writing still stands, although I have edited nothing, but I'm so over the moon about being able to play. I'm cheating because of NaNoWriMo. Q'uel horrores! Or somethiing...


I wonder if these are free-range violas, because the price has really skyrocketed!

Q: Have you heard about the latest form of urban violence?
A: Drive-by viola solos.

So, here's a little number I cobbled up during the American Football season last year as we headed into our playoff season. Enjoy!



First off, goals, schmoals. AS OF LAST NIGHT, I HAD 10087 WORDS FOR NANO!!!!!!!!!!!! (To quote Andi-Roo, my benchmate in this furball, "there was a great tossing of glitter! "Huzzah!) 

Anyway, I got a wild hair and am completely taken with this topic today last year. My low impulse inhibition just took over. Oh well. I'm off the streets and non-violent. Such is life.

This is not your typical Sunday check in post. Nope, first off, it's Monday and second off, here in the good ol’ U S of A, it is Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday and President Obama's 2nd Inaugural Celebration! So, what better way for me to celebrate, than to write about yesterday's NFC Championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers that featured guys running over guys and plowing into unaware guys on the side-lines. That’s right, “UNAWARE” guys on the side lines, during one of two games that will decide which of two teams are going to the Hyper Bowl, er, uh I mean, Super Bowl LXVII (is that 47 or 67? I failed Roman Numerals in Ancient Times class.)


Sing Along: "I see I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV,   XVI, XVII, XVII Wheels"

Anyway, dude got clipped below the knees and fell as if pole-axed, backward onto that hard surface and landed backwards, head-first, with a bounce or two and was thankfully unhurt. Apparently, he works at the Atlanta Falcons field and this was their first ever(!) playoff event, and really, he can’t be faulted for that part of it. The poor guy had his back turned to the action and was most likely, looking at and marveling at the crowd and all of their noise, hoo ha, folderol and mostly, NOISE. And boy, howdy, there was a bunch of it, being as how, my Google says, the Georgia Dome can shovel 71,250 people into permanent seats. 

courtesy of hollandbobolland via YouTube. Plesae visit and "like."

This is the kind of noise that Guy Who Fell Down experienced for the FIRST TIME!

The first time I ever faced a crowd like that was when I played for the Moody Blues. I was in my mid-30s and had been playing viola professionally for about 15 years, by this time. My performing experience went from symphony-polite-coughing and maybe a standing ovation, or two. Occasionally, the 
standing ovations were prolonged.


Stunning, wonderous. I love Mozzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..... *snore*

Once, during a Grand Pause, or a fermata, where the orchestra came to a screeching, abrupt halt after a fortississimo passage and it was deathly quiet, I had the great good fortune to hear a bellowed “I FRY MINE IN LARD…” from the back of the Hall and then, a stunned quiet, from both the orchestra and the audience. As one, we all swelled up like toads or horses being saddled, as not one soul in that huge hall wanted to be the first to laugh.

The Grand Pause fortunately, is one of those musical devices that has no metered time, so as the Conductor stared us all down, daring us to laugh, and we played “one potato, two potato, three potato, four…” Concert master and Principal Second Violin and Principal Viola and Principal Cello all sitting there, giving one another, the hairy eyeball, becoming rather like “High Noon,” and I and my stand partner who are on the 2nd stand, not daring to look at one another, because we are cut ups, idiots and jokers, are puffing up like horses around rattle snakes, we’re both holding our breaths, because HolyMotherOfGod. . . I’mJustSoGonnaLaugh. . . I see his viola scroll start to shake out of the corner of my eye and my eyes start to water and my nose starts to tickle, am I gonna sneeze? And just then. . . As I start to go eeeeeeeeeee? As the air is leaking out?

The Conductor gives the downbeat and off we go, probably in a swift Presto to get to the end of this bitch, so we can all exit stage Left, Right and Center at a dead run. To this day, I do not remember what on God’s Green Earth we were playing, but it was probably Rachmaninoff. I’ve been ambushed by him a number of times. 

Him, and his Grande Pauses. Well, that was a digression.



Okay, I haven't faced Wembley and I'm sure I don't want to; actually, I probably do. We rocked it at 1-800-ASK-GARY Field. A name like that for a Venue just drips class. I can't wait until Kotex, or Fleet Enema buys a sponsorship and demands to have it named after their company.

In the summer of 1992, the Moody Blues were in a resurgence and instead of having a summer off, we had a tour around the Midwest for a few weeks. We had an afternoon rehearsal with their conductor who told us the basics, miced us up and off we went. We had a full orchestra, and plexiglass partitions between each section. I felt like we were in cattle pens. That night, the orchestra was in place, when the Blues with Justin Hayward took the stage.

There were 10,000 people in the audience. Up to that point, I had never played with that many people in an audience. When that audience roared and that sound hit the stage, the orchestra, who for the most part had not experienced that before, was pretty well aware that this night and this concert were going to be hella different. But first, we had to get over the shock of all of those people yelling. If we had been zebras, we’d have been dead ones. We all just froze for about 2 beats and then our training kicked in and off we went.

It was an exhilarating experience I’ve always loved the Moody Blues for their more orchestral stuff, dating back to 1967 and 1968. The conductor, Larry Greene is also their arranger, and he had gone back and arranged some of their harder rock stuff like “Ride My Seesaw” for strings and that was a blast to play as well. I’ve found that I like music with a harder edge to it. I’m sure it’s one of the reasons I don’t like Mozart and I revere Beethoven, and he would have been down with all of this. Mozart gets right up to an idea and then backs away. He never really releases that full passion that lies underneath his tepid ideas, and maybe that is why; you can't push passion into a tepid idea. The idea itself has to be passionate.

Beethoven takes a musical idea in his teeth and just ragdolls it. He wrings every inch of emotion and pathos and exhilaration from it, until you're exhausted by just listening to it. I love that and I love playing Beethoven; he is so worth it. I also love the fact that he doesn’t bore the violists to death in his orchestral and other ensemble writing. Mozart is too precious, hard to play and there’s damn little reward for all of that work; he’s insipid. Oops, lemme get back to our sideline guy.


My personal muse, from birth. We share the same birthday, some say, just not the same year.

I’ve enjoyed my rock ‘n’ roll violist career, which has also veered off into blues, metal, blue-grass, country, pop, motown and a bit of rap and hip-hop, believe it or not. But, back to our poor dude, man. Did I feel for him. Guy stood up; I was so relieved, he fell hard. As he was turning around, the Fox Team, (Terry, Howie, Michael, Jimmy and Whoever) were helpfully pointing out that this was the Falcon’s first playoff Event ever. The guy who had been knocked over was wearing a jacket that said “Event Team” on it.

As the man turned and looked at the camera you could tell he was thinking, “Oh dear, can I move to Saturn? Maybe to Pluto. Pluto isn’t far enough away… My wife is going to divorce me. What was I thinking? My grandkids are going to be talking about this and wanting to hear this story, forevah!. This is going to be on AFV, isn’t it? Geez, on National TV, no, INTERNATIONAL! Gack! Did my Aunt in Outer Slobovia see me? I hope I don’t get fired. I would have been better off shitting my pants, or throwing up. At least farting, maybe. You can't smell that over the air. I'm so dead”

Relax, guy, if I hear you got in trouble over this, I’m writing a letter. I’ve done so much stupid stuff in front of the public, it’s not funny. I’ve fallen off stages, fallen out of chairs. Fallen off risers. I very gracefully draped myself across 3 people once, along with my viola and bow, held up over my head and rolled like a barrel down to the floor, protecting my baby, my viola, my honey, my Wolf. How I managed that, I will never know. I’ve taken bows wearing Taco Bell on formal, black velvet unknowingly, after playing a triumphant Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. To make matters worse, my stand partner’s fly was open during the whole performance. I don’t think Beethoven would have minded.

The point is, a roaring crowd is pretty impressive; I was awed by it when I was on the “receiving” end of it the first time. It does take some getting used to. So, Guy Who Was Knocked Down and Was Embarrassed, don’t be. I hope you get a chance to get used to it as more Falcons playoff games come your way. I hope you are okay. You made my day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

HOMELESS CHRONICLES IN TAMPA - FUN WITH SETI@HOME, SUNDAY CHECK IN #ROW80 #NANOWRIMO 2 DAYS IN


SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.

Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise (from celestial sources and the receiver's electronics) and man-made signals such as TV stations, radar, and satellites. Modern radio SETI projects analyze the data digitally. More computing power enables searches to cover greater frequency ranges with more sensitivity. Radio SETI, therefore, has an insatiable appetite for computing power.

Previous radio SETI projects have used special-purpose supercomputers, located at the telescope, to do the bulk of the data analysis. In 1995, David Gedye proposed doing radio SETI using a virtual supercomputer composed of large numbers of Internet-connected computers, and he organized the SETI@home project to explore this idea. SETI@home was originally launched in May 1999.



FUN WITH SETI


I've been keeping abreast with my writing for NaNoWriMo. Which reminds me: Q: What is this? (besides a really bad joke, and an even worse drawing):



A: 2 Men Walking A Breast. I could riff on this, with "2 Men Walking a Brest," although how you'd walk a whole European city is beyond me, or "2 Men Walking a Beast," but living where I do I see this every day. "2 Men Walking a Beast," either of the 4-legged or the 2-legged variety a-lenty, so this is not a novel enough thing to disregard around here. This is Nebraska Ave., 33605, 33602, after all. So too are "2 Men Walking a Beat;" the law enforcement kind, or the hip-hop kind to be found here pretty regularly.

THIS IS THE CHECK IN PART. I WROTE ACTUAL WORDS AND SENTENCES, COHERENTLY, AND FORMED PARAGRAPHS, TOO! Anyway, I am 4,432 words into this year's NaNoWrimo for 2013, as of day 2 and today looms, No biggie. I have my outline, beat sheet, the next segment plotted in my head (sort of) and all of that happy-crappy. Once again, poor #ROW80 has taken a hit, once AGAIN (remember the A-to-Z blogging challenge last spring?) and I owe her so much. Without #ROW80, none of this would be happening. I'm going to be checking in for Alex J. Cavanaugh's #IWSG this Wednesday (why do we not pronounce that Wed-nes-day? Just askin') In spite of the fact that I have spent the week feeling great, I have the WORST ABSCESSED TOOTH EVER. My left front central incisor is so badly inflamed, the infection had pushed up into my nasal cavity and has warped the roof of my mouth. Penicillin has stopped that pain. No pain pills, 'cause I'm on so many other things, I'd probably go on some weird acid trip, and I have an exceedingly high threshold to pain. Now the pain is gone, so it won't ruin the fun of my eating everything in site, whilst I write. Yay! Thank you, rotten oranges or whatever you are, dear penicillin!


I go through all of my SETI stats about twice a year; once in late spring and once in the autumn. Usually, I just print out my certifications to see how I'm doing. I stay off of the forums, because there is an über-bitch, who in the disguise of a helpful admin, delivers scathing lectures to the innocent lambs who want to know why their uploads failed. I'm a fairly adept practitioner of the Dark Arts, so I don't need any help, but I sure feel sorry for the poor unweaned, who start their posts with, "I just received a message that said Upload Failed..." The few times I read these threads, UB blasted back with something related to the user's fallibility as a computer user, insulted the user's children and also mentioned that the user's pets were ugly. Yikes! No help to be had there.

Anyway, after I printed my stats, which show I've process astronomical amounts of data received from the Arecebo Telescope in an attempt to find E. T.s. . . wait, what? Never mind. Which would make sense in the astronomical department, because it is after all, the universe we're scoping out. What a hash of sentences there. So, I printed my stats and then for grins, I went to the website that shows where my team fits in with all of the other teams. 


This is my team, highlighted in green. There are 64 members of my team, but only 10 of us are active. I guess the rest are out on missions. The standing joke is that everyone was once CIA, or DOD; some kind of spook for some alphabet agency or another. They're probably doing piece-work for the NSA. NASA is only 5 slots ahead of us. I love the randomness of "Get off my lawn!" This whole project is full of stuff like this. 

Even with all of their brain power, we're still ahead of UC Berkely, UC Davis and BooYah! This Man's USMC! Our team consists of people with cats who puke on keyboards, but can do some mean hacking and cyber-spying, so I was a natural fit.

Number 69 is Marquette University, one of my mom's alma maters and I like that University of Florida is number 52. Keep it up! Go Florida. Maybe we'll win the Inter-species Regionals this year!


The number one spot is held by Team USA *yawns* but I was thrilled to see that the U. S. Air Force is number three, behind the U. S. Navy (boo.) GAY USA is number 5, which is great, because the universe is not only about radio frequencies, it is about transmitting in the Ultraviolet all the way to the Infrared. So, we've got rainbows covered. SQUEE!


An explanation of how radio frequencies and the color spectrum fit can be found here.

Team number 4's team name is some kind of random code. Way to go. My next team name is going to be "dice = std::bind ( dist]" and then everyone will think I'm some kind of either great genius, or crackpot. Except for "Get off my lawn." That team will totally get it. O How I Hate Ohio State is at the 21 spot. I don't really hate 'em. it's just what Michiganders say. It's a knee-jerk reaction. Oh, and "The Pirate Float" at number 16, is going great guns. I bet they say, "Aargh! I'm a pirate!" a lot at String Theory and GUT (Grand Unified Theory) conferences. 



Rounding out the top 100, of over 500 teams, are University of Michigan and Michigan State (not shown,) and EMU in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I love the "Master Strategy Group." This is vague and sinister, yet kinda creepy. More spooks? To be a good spook, you have to have a great cover, like the Villages. The crazy cat people get overlooked every damned time, but you never know what we're gonna do. Number 94 are the University of Florida GATORS. I can damn-guarantee you that if they were number 94 in FOOTBALL, they would be rioting up in Gainesville. At number 95, we have "ShallowThought." What a great name for a team.