Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#ROW80 POST10 -WEDNESDAY Check In




The following is a re-post from my homeless days and will be part of my Indie book. Critiques, comments and questions are welcome. I don't have to ask for kindness; I've received that in boatloads, row mates.

ID FUN, AND CAN YOU BEAT A DEAD HORSE OVER AND OVER?

Here in Florida, one is supposed to have a valid ID at all times. For those of us who fled the ol' homestead in a hurry, with nothing but the clothes on our backs (which TGH promptly lost; another story, later) we can get a "referral" from Homeless Recovery of Hillsborough County to "The Shop," also known as "MHC," or Mental Health Clinic. With a referral and your smiling face, you too, can receive onw god-awful picture ID that bears no resemblance to anyone, or anything living, on this planet, or maybe even in this Solar System. We have to carry these IDs with us at all times, in the event that the Tampa Police Department decides to do a bit of sprucing up on Nebraska Avenue and starts hauling in folks for not having any type of ID. I am a proud owner of one of these things. We occasionally. . . okay, we frequently, find ourselves with little or nothing to do, no appointments to keep and no passers-by to pester, so we have to entertain ourselves.

One of the more amusing ways to pass the time is to show each other our Unity (MHC) IDs. This works best when a new batch of homeless folk have moved in and we can unveil these nightmares to our new house-mates. The people who take these pictures must have to go to a special school to learn photography to create these monstrosities. Some of these people end up working for the HARTline bus system, aka BUS WORLD and the truly gifted go work at the DMV, churning out little 3" X 5" cards of Lovecraftian horror for the State of Florida. O.M.G! These things bear visages from some kind of 4th or 8th dimension, a lá "Colour Out of Space." We glimpse things not meant to be seen by man. They can not be unseen. I am truly doomed. As Ray Milland, who, after yanking his own ocular orbs from their sockets screeched, “I can still see!”

I, too am cursed. The fact that my left eye is still occluded completely is no protection from the actinic horribleness of these things. I can only gasp "Gaaahhh!" and pass on the offending document to the next victim with a bare scorching of retinas. Enough. What follows are actual pictures. Please be warned; you do not want to view these at work; you will get fired. Do not let the kids or pets see these pictures; the pictures may emit lethal fumes. Do not view around houseplants; the plants may combust spontaneously.


Actual Pictures, erm, depictions. Likenesses. Photographs would melt the innernet.








 


So, as you can see, it's hard to pick the worst ID ever.

Another way to pass the time here, is to beat senseless some idea or better yet, some incident that is current gossip. It doesn't matter if you have witnessed it, or just heard about it, fifty-seventh hand, or not. It's kind of like that game we probably all played as children, "Telegraph." One individual makes up some saying and passes it off to the next person. Reiterate the babble enough times, until the original saying or incident is not even remotely close to what was originally said or done and doesn't even have any passing resemblance to reality. Not that it ever did to start with. This is like Prisneyland, only with girls.

It usually starts with an incident, although it doesn't have to. Two guys had an altercation out in the back yard a few weeks back. The guy playing “diplomat,” who’s pretty mild, but a good-sized man, is trying to keep the two knife-wielding combatants at arm’s length and he's not succeeding. Just as the two, brothers by the way, Bennie and Mike fly at one another, their savagely whirling knives, tiny old Joseph, who, drunk as a Lord, as per usual, sitting 3 feed away on the cement back stairs, falls over on his head; splat!

Todd is now trying to break up a knife fight, while dodging flying knives; Joseph is lying on the ground bleeding. About a foot from this, Donn and Will are nonchalantly washing out a refrigerator that had been in their room and had some of the famous FSJ bedbugs living in it. They’re hosing it out, oblivious. The fight is getting desperate. The hosing goes on.  

This is about the forty-fifth time that day, that Joseph had fallen somewhere around the property. Barbara, also oblivious to it all, is sitting next to Joseph, and, apropos of nothing, also as is her wont, she asks Todd, “What are we all doing for the Fourth of July?” in her grating, foghorn voice, that carries to Siberia. Barbara is 4’ 9” and weighs somewhere around 350 lbs. She hasn’t had a bath since 1982 and she smokes like a fiend. 

I actually saw this happen, and thought nothing about any of it. My brain is too busy to ponder these scenarios and I don't ascribe any cosmic meaning to any of it. I am just trying to figure out if this is some kind of a pattern. Are humans really this random and bizarre? Do I belong to this? WTF? Huh? Buh? Dur? I might get depressed, or something. Anyway, this is what the curmudgeons on the front porch were discussing the next day:

Curmudgeon 1: I always knew they were up to no-good. I bet they were going to steal and sell that refrigerator.

Curmudgeon 2: Yeah, and Barbara got up and helped Joseph get up, but he fell off the porch, and then hit Morris with his cane.

Curmudgeon 3: Didn't Joseph fall off the porch earlier? Oh no; that's right he got caught pissing off the porch earlier.

Curmudgeon 1: I wasn't talking about Joseph pissing off the porch, but maybe he pissed in the refrigerator, and that's why Donn and Will were rinsing it out.

Curmudgeon 4: No, Joseph didn't piss on the porch; he got caught peeing on that tree in the back, with Bill and Walt.

(Repeat 87 times)

They all stare at the floor and nod sagely. They look wise beyond time; they are the seers of Nebraska Avenue. All they lack is a cracker barrel. But, no knives for whittling; someone might get stabbed. After the knife fight, the Tampa Police came and did a sweep, or looked under beds, or did a lights out. The world's problems solved, the incident correctly or incorrectly made indelible (for the next two minutes, or until the next rumor, verbal exchange or donnybrook occurs.) Ten minutes of this drives me inside to play Club Penguin. I can only stand so much wisdom.

Friday, January 25, 2013

#ROW80 POST 9 - E.T. PHONE HOME; REMEMBERING DADDY, WHEREIN EVERYTHING'S A TOY


Be warned. This is a re-post from my old S.I.F.O.T.S. blog and the only attempt I've ever made at satire or any type of fiction. The first time it ran, some people were frustrated and thought it overlong. The second time, it received a warmer reception. I happen to like it and hope it has stood up to the test of time.



...zzzz.....squeeeeeennnn...........blorp...snap!...crackle!....pop!.... oooweeeooooo

Captain: Scotty, get those damn elves out of the warp drive chamber! They're eating the dilithium crystals!

Scotty: I'll trrrry, Cap'n! She's givin' me all she'ssss got! I canna do verrrra much with the likes o' this!

Captain: McCoy, stand by with the stun guns.

Dr: Dammit, Jim! I'm a Doctor! Not an exo-exterminator!

*click-click* (sound of channel changing...)

(...to a lone man on screen. He has a suspicious green cast to his rhomboid-shaped face.)... Ladies and Genomes, I, Ambassador Infun Krull, want to welcome you to the SETI@Home Hemi-Demi-Semi Finals! 

That's right! The show you've all been waiting for! This match will determine  the winner of the "Most Obfuscated Batch of Data and Incomprehensible Conclusions in the Array Field" for the SETI@Home Division 3D Outer Quadrant Regionals! 

The roster includes four very competitive teams; first, the rough and tough veteran group of the "SwissNavyCurrentlyinaFjord@Home.bern.edu" team. 

Second, the legendary fighting group once feared as the "FormerlyKnownAsSovietArmySynchronizedBalalaika@Home.moscow.ru" team. 

Third, the flashy, glitzy, and snobby sophomore team of HelloKittyWeRuleTheWorld@Home.tokyo.ja" team.

And fourth, the curmudgeonly old farts from the quaint hamlet in Central Florida,  "TheOldMIBandSpooksandKnittingClubattheVillages@Home.florida.net team.

Ambassador Krull: Let's get acquainted with our competitors, shall we?
Team One, the Swiss blah blah:

Corporal Spaeckel: Booyah!

Sergeant Neeck Furor: That's the Marines, you dolt! And not even the Marines of this here fighting Swiss Country!

Corporal Spaeckel (chastened): I forgot our motto, sir.

Sergeant Furor: That's why you're fit for this Man's Navy! Carry on, Corporal!

Ambassador Krull: Okay! Thanks! I can see you all have interesting jobs! Team Two? The Russian etceteras?

Captain Geyer: Go Stalingrad!

ж Muldrayavich (sotto voce): I believe is now Volgograd. In fact, I want to believe. The truth is out there.

Captain Geyer (casting a sidelong look at Muldrayavich): Da, Tovarisch. Volgo-, Stalin-, is same city. Truth is truth.

Ambassador Krull (beginning to sweat under his green makeup): Sweet! I didn't know you all had such varied, er, uh... opinions in Russia! It's nice to see freedom of expression! Team three? The HelloKittyHell... er, drivel team?

Tokugawa Hijiro Kitty-San: Yes! Thanks! We have many kitties in Hello Kitty Land. Our kitties are pink and bright and amorphous blobs! Our Hello Kitty AK-47s match our pink Hello Kitty laptops! Perfect for any Shopping Mall! We are one step closer to franchising the entire world with Hello Kitty! It will be Happy!

Deputy Sanjiro Hai (smoothly interrupting): ... of course, this will occur only after complete consensus from the entire planet. This should occur no later than December 21, 2012. If not, the Mayans will curse us all-

Ambassador Krull (mopping forehead; gapes at green hankie) -Well! That is certainly ambitious. But it sounds as if you all have the world's best interests at heart! Team 4? The Old Farts? Er, the Village People la la la?

Miss Honey West: Hello, be right back. Snookums needs her mousey treat and her nappy, and Fluffums just horked up a hairball. Besides, our visitor from Deneb would like its lunch and I promised Vigo I would help him surveil the spy cell from... (suddenly realizes where she is) Uh... dear Miss Skola, would you be so kind...?

Miss Mapya Skola: Oh course, Miss West. We at the Villages believe that there is a most probable certainty, a veritable surety, that even given the millions of  hits or occurrences, the chances of decoding, tabulating and massaging a hit that hints at extra terrestrial intelligent life in the universe, is so teeny weeny as to be beyond miniscule. We aren't even talking about proof of ETI. The odds for that occurrence can only be calculated in a simultaneous processor and Cray has been hogging it for three weeks for Florida Lotto, thus we have farmed out our data-mining to the entire internet. Anyway, I digress.

Ambassador Krull (visibly relaxing): No mottoes? No mission statements, Miss Skola?

Miss Skola: Of course, Ambassador, but being the rational, science-types we are, plus with our secretive natures and faint paranoia, we choose to keep that to ourselves. I am a Medical Doctor. We feel that as long as we cannot hold it, whatever it may be, smell it, see it, possibly taste it and even eat it, it may not exist, and then we shred what is left of our already tattered careers and go off and become crazy cat people.

Ambassador (looking green sans makeup; bewildered): I see... A very er, interesting, weltanschauung, zeitgeist, or uh, world view, um... crackpot paranoia? (sotto voce) no fear, the cat people are here. (More brightly now) Well! Let's get going, shall we?


...crackle..... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhheeeeeeeee.....zzzzzzzzzzz


Relentlessly cheerful music, Leroy Anderson's "Syncopated Clock" screeches along in the background for 15 minutes

*click-click* (...Clicking of channel being changed)

News Announcer Verniel Bugspit (stock footage of a Detroit Assembly line from 1940 rolls behind Bugspit): Lights were reported today over the Superstition Mountains of New Mexico. This is the fifth sighting of unexplained light displays this week and there is again speculation among the Astronomical and Scientific Communities that the announcement from the CERN commission of Bern, Switzerland, visiting Alamagordo, New Mexico has somehow spurred this activity. 

As viewers will remember, the CERN commission declared, in a joint statement from top world scientists and religious leaders, including Vatican representatives that policies regarding suppression of any information about extra terrestrial intelligence by governments would be met with resistance. Although CERN stopped short of saying that it would employ any violence or subversion, it is widely believed that the full weight and reputation of the men and women of the commission will be influential. Even the Jesuitical PhDs are on hand to kick a few shins. 

This has given rise to the rumors that the increased activity in the skies is a sign of new attempts at contact, now that the welcome mat has come out.

Next up: the Cat Who Drove to Albuquerque. Our own Velma Bungspur has an up-to-the-minute-blow-by-blow report.

Velma: Thanks to Verniel Bugspit for that Intro. Be sure and read my Book, "the Cat Who Drove to Albuquerque" and my sequel, "The Cat Who Drove Home From Albuqueque."

*click-click* (...Clicking channel)


Ambassador Krull: This program is brought to you by U.F.O Sponges! When ordinary sponging just won't do!


 U.F.O. sponges can't be beat!
They'll help clean your satellite seat!
When you scour the rust and bust the dust, 
Your U.F.O Sponge becomes the U.F.O. bus!

(voice over) Disclaimer: Remember, only use U.F.O Sponges according to directions. Side effects include, but are not limited to: hot dog fingers, sprouting tails, horns, cloven hooves and sightings of the dead. Sponge will not allow wearer to fly. Do not immerse in water. If you experience bleeding from the gums for more than four years, be sure and call your Health Care Professional right away! U.F.O. Sponges!

Ambassador Krull: Now the moment you have all been waiting for. It's time to get this show on the road, run it up the flagpole, and jump the gun. On the signal from the official timekeepers, our intrepid teams will launch their arrays!

Timekeeper: 3... 2... 1... GO!

Swiss Sgt. Furor: Okay, we're going in. Breaker, breaker! Ricky Redshirt, you lead off; you're the obligatory dead guy. Sulu, grab your sword; whoops, wrong team. Go, go, go!!

(Computers power up) Whinnneeee. Pockata-pockata

Kitty Tokugawa: Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai!

Deputy Kitty Hai: Bonzai! Aw, somebody please tell him. Bonzai, sheesh. This isn't "What's Up Tiger Lily, moron!" Launch, launch, launch!!!!

(Computers power up): "We Are Siamese, If You Please... We Are Siamese if you don't please...."

Deputy Kitty Hai: That's the wrong theme song! I told our esteemed Social Director to change our theme song to "Cherry Blossom Time!" And what in hell is that supposed to be, our team flag? 

(Camera pans to University of SFU flag)



Village Idiot West: Come on Fluffs, Pickles, Trotsky, and Casper! Time to launchy-launchy! 

(Computers power up; four cats hork up hairballs)

Russo Balalaika Geyer: Please to launch! There Computer Tovarisch 
Muldrayavich. For the Motherland, Pushkin, and Kruschev! And save Kiev!

Russo Balalaika Muldrayavich (rolls eyes): Power CPUs now!! Nyet, nyet, nyet. Stoy, stoy, stoy!!

Swiss Sgt Furor: Is there an echo in here?

Russo Balalaika Muldrayavich: Gruschenko, please to turn on damn wall switch! Go, go, go!

(Computers power up; Much Boeing 777 engine sounds heard)

Ambassador Krull: Annndddd, they're off! Out in front is the Swiss team, followed closely by Kitty. Russo Balalaika running third. It Takes a Village is stalled; still cleaning hairballs out of power sink!


  
Swiss Sgt Furor: Right declension at 90" altazimuth working and X, Y, Z axes holding steady at 90 degrees. Van Allen belt having minimal effect on array at this point.

Swiss Corporal Spaeckle: I have to go to the potty.

Village Skola: Declension at 47.5" altazimuth varying in performance. X and Y axes at 90 degrees. Z axis at 84 degrees. Powering auxiliary to compensate. Sunspots playing hell with the stabilizers.

(Grinding sound)

Deputy Kitty Hai: Color-coordinated pink right declension at -90" altazimuth powered down and put in reverse. X, Y, and Z at 3.1417. Damn! No pi for you! Muwahahahaha! Moon affecting readouts! We're going down in flames! Pink kitty flames!

(whistling sound)

Russo Balalaika Muldrayavich: All is true; true is to believe, belief makes all possible.

Russo Balalaiko Geyer: Is true, lunacy reigns in head.

Russo Balalaika Muldrayavich: You sound like fortune cookie. Why we talking like fortune cookies?

Ambassador Krull: And just like that, Russo Balalaika has pulled ahead by three little fuzzy points on array over Swiss to.... win!!!! Balalaikas win!

Swiss Sgt Furor (sotto voce): This thing is rigged.

Corporal Spaeckle: Back from potty! What'd I miss?

Kitty Tokugawa: Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai! Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai! Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai! Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai!...

(Robot innards fall out of Tokugawa)

Deputy Kitty Hai: Evil robot! No friend of Hello Kitty!

Village Nonsense West (to sleeping cats): There, there Fluffs, Trotsky, Pickles and Casper, try not to be upset, there's always next year, my dears.      

Ambassador Krull: And that's all the time we have! Be sure to tune in next week when Astropulse@Home competes in the Hemi-demi-semi finals for the title of "Best Smile in Senior High." It should be riveting! And know a word from Area 51 Chamber of Commerce:


Where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars...literally.

Blakely Dimbulb: Are you missing your home planet? Your city of birth? Well, come on down to the Chamber of Commerce. In a partnership with the good quadrupeds down at Area 51 Hangar, now you too can visit home any time you want! Yes, that's right! A new technological breakthrough will allow you to visit Alpha Centauri, Outer Mongolia or even San Francisco! We can't tell you about the secret technology, 'cause then we'd have to kill ya, but it involves the U.F.O. SpongeBus. Time travel is no problem either. Just be sure to book your trip last week and we'll do the rest! So, visit our friendly silicon-based life-forms at Chamber of Commerce today!

*click click* (sound of channel changing...)

...zzzz.....squeeeeeennnn...........blorp...snap!...crackle!....pop!.... oooweeeooooo


Captain: Sulu, McCoy, Spock, to the transporters, gentlemen.

Spock: One would suppose that these incursions into our space frequencies are from an alternate reality. That inference might lead one to believe that all things are possible.

McCoy: All I know is, it's possible, if not downright probable that my molecules will get scrambled if I get on that mix-master. 

(sound of channel changing...)

Scully: Did you see that, Mulder?

Mulder: What is your explanation for it Scully?

Scully: I've read and researched articles that describe very concrete reasons for this type of phenomenon. Maybe the transmission is a pirated signal as an elaborate joke. I  have also read about how radio waves bounce-

Mulder: -Scully?

Scully: Yes, Mulder?

Mulder: Put a sock in it.

"We now return control of your computer screen until next week... on the Outer Limits"

SETI@Home is an actual project run by Berkeley University and I do belong to the Villages team. I got the idea for this post from a friend who asked me if my team were retired CIA or did they just knit a lot. 

Obviously, this is not what we do. I do urge anyone who is interested to visit http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ and explore the website and join. I find this fascinating and it is wondrous to behold when compiling the arrays.

Reminiscence Snapshot: Happy that Daddy is seeing me off on a flight for a tour, we are on the People Mover (horizontal escalator.) I have my usual batch of luggage, Wolf and stuff. Daddy was never a whole lot of help, but he was just nigh-on perfect for his entertainment value. It also helped that he was about 6' 1" tall, had on a horrible windbreaker that he probably stole from some sleeping bum somewhere, because his previous one had finally petrified with decrepitude. The windbreaker had a 3-corner tear on one pocket. He had a pair of his dress work pants that had worn out at the knees (how does one manage that?) and had made cutoffs out of them. They were frayed around the edges. The outfit was complete with white engineer socks and penny loafers. He wore a pristine long-sleeve white work shirt under this get-up. Altogether, puzzling at best; creepy at worst, except that he was the world's biggest kid.

My father to the left, in his usual outfit, minus windbreaker, Ma to the right. My "godfather" trolling around in the background.

I had gotten to the end of the mover and I turned, but he was still back on the conveyor belt about 30 feet behind me... Walking backwards. He looked like something out of a Warner Brothers cartoon, legs going furiously, standing in one place. Some guy who must have been late for his flight plowed into him, just as I turned around. I heard and indignant, "Sir! Please play somewhere else!" the man huffed. My sheepish Daddy came up to me. We both started at each other for a moment and then, laughed and gibbered like hyenas until the tears rolled down our faces.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#ROW80 1ST QTR POST 8 – WEDNESDAY CHECK IN, OR WHEN IS A POST NOT A POST?




I’m just leaving it at that. I always try to come up with some really snazzy title to fit the topic, or so I tell myself. I do so enjoy quality, however I enjoy laziness more, and if a great title doesn’t hit in a fit of lightning? (a fit of metaphor? ugh) then, I go with generic.

Thanks and kudos to Amy Kennedy. Until yesterday, in my confuse-a-what style, I was unaware that she was one of our ROW80 sponsors, this go round; for that she deserves a huge WOT? and her favorite brand of treat many times over, along with Alberta Ross, who is snow-bound in Hell somewhere. We must save her! Treats for her, as well as my thanks.  I must also inform Amy that I flunked Primary Numbers Class along with Ancient Times; I haven’t been around since 2nd Quarter 2012 Row80, but 3rd Quarter.

Anyway, I’ve stated this before. I have enough written material from my life and times to publish an individual e-book, or indie? Whatever the terminology may be. I haven’t been word-wrangling for very long (gee, how could anyone tell?) and everyone has been amazingly wonderful. I thought writers would be rather like (looks around and breaks into a whisper) “professional musicians.” They can be terrible to one another and breaking into different geographical markets is almost impossible, unless you’re really determined. Anyway, I’m “retired,” by disability and need to have something to do to stay out of jail.

So, I landed here! Andi-Roo at the TheWorld4Realz suggested this to me. I was writing but was totally unfocused (not that I’m really any more so, now, but I’m a better writer) and wasn’t sure where, or what to do, from where I was then. She and I have a solid connection and have understood one another from our beginning exchanges and she suggested that I hop over to this “Round of Words in 80 Days.” I did and here we are!

I’m happy to be here and thanks to all you! I’ve driven several people to distraction: Kait Nolan and Sonia G. Medeiros, to name two. Since I don’t see well at all, I miss lots of details. Like James Thurber, I just put my own “legally blind” (or bland) interpretation on it. Per James, it “only enriches the confusion.” Be warned, I love confusion and find it hilarious and if I get to be too big a pain in the ass, tell me to knock it off!

I do know that I am probably not a fiction writer, nor do I believe that I have a novel in me anywhere. Maybe I just haven’t figured out those processes yet. I wrote a stunning 1673 words in NaNoWriMo, which turned into my NaNoWriLe and now, the website is nagging me, no, they’re playing to my sense of shame, like I abandoned some baby animal or some kind of step-headed bald child. Oops, I just started thinking about the post I’m doing tomorrow for P.A.N.D.A, with my "Parkinson's Disease or non-Parkinson's Disease, THAT is the question" *eye roll.* 


Now, with extra confuse-a-what. Thursday will be like Wacky Wednesday, only Bicycle. And more Lincoln-Tigers. 

That’s http://www.parkingsonpanda.org. So, I’ma going to be busy, tomorrow but back here on Friday, right @YumaBev?


Monday, January 21, 2013

#ROW80 1ST QTR POST 7 – SUNDAY CHECK IN AND THE NFC CHAMPIONSHI-*ERK*


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 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. I got a wild hair and am completely taken with this topic today. 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. 

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 20 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 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 audience and then, stunning quiet. Nary a peep, cough, fart or rustle.

The fermata 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 all 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 truly deranged idiots and jokers, are puffing up like horses around rattle snakes, we’re both holding our breaths, because HolyMotherOfGod, I’mSoGonnaLaugh… I see his viola scroll start to shake out of the corner of my eye and just then? As I start to go eeeeeeeeeee? As the air is leaking out?

Mercifully, the Conductor gives the downbeat and off we go. To this day, I do not remember what on God’s Green Earth we were playing, probably Rachmaninoff. I’ve been ambushed by him a number of times. Him and his G. P.s. Well, that was a digression.

This all changed when we started playing in open-air theaters and stadiums.


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, micced 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 was going to be 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 more orchestral stuff, but 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’s 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. 

Mozart gets right up to an idea and then backs away. Beethoven takes it in his teeth and ragdolls it. I love that. I also love the fact that he doesn’t bore the violists to death in his orchestral and other ensemble writing. Mozart is 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.

I’ve enjoyed my rock ‘n’ roll violist career, which has also veered off into blues, metal and a bit of rap, 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 what 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, looking at that stupid bunch of loud-ass people? My ass is on the line, here. My ass... is my ass too wide? 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, TV! Gack! Did my Aunt in Outer Slobovia see me? I hope I don’t get fired. Geez, does my head hurt. Can I go home?”

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, 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 playoff events as more come your way. I hope you are okay. You totally made my day!


Friday, January 18, 2013

#ROW80 1ST QTR POST 6 – ETUDES, SCALES AND EXERCISES



I have to buckle down. Now that I have the mechanical stuff (although I know not how to use it, see below) pretty well in place, I need to quit stalling. I’ve gained enough in physical strength and I believe my mental attitude is pretty solid, for the time being. I just can’t overtax myself (read, if I feel like being lazy, I will, or playing Runescape, I will, or fiddling with my camcorder, I will, etc.)


My first video ever. Sam Elliott is played by JC 

My biggest problem right now is my own laziness or my lack of concentration. One of the things I find myself doing and it drive me nuts is my brain is just all over the place in terms of being able to focus for more than 5 minutes. Take that there sentence. Horrible and I’m not even going to fix it! Live with it, because as soon as I try to type really fast, the tremors start. This is where the typing hate comes in. But I don’t want to be forgotten, because who in the hell is going to read the e-book of a person they forgot about 9 months ago?

I mean, if I’m not doing stupid stuff and in your face every damn day with my idiocies, are you going to want to shell out .99 or 1.99 or 3.99 for a poorly formatted, typo-filled e-book of my mishaps and faux pas from the musical and computer worlds? Are you going to want to read about my many spectacular misadventures in orchestra pits and computer server rooms? How about all of the many happy hours I spent living in the homeless shelter and joy-filled times and philosophical conundrums that challenged us all? Don’t you want to take a gander at those scintillating discussions? Neither do I; actually that was some pretty funny shit.

The point is, without me adhering to some type of schedule, it ain’t gonna happen. The e-book Fairy is not scheduled to trip on by here, anytime soon, so I think I’m going to have to actually sit down here and do something, that actually resembles something like, work. This means going back to the beginning, just as I did as a kid and applying some semblance of discipline, even if it’s just for a short period of time, say ½ hour stretches, but at regular intervals.

Yes, it’s that bad. Anyway, JC is on the mend after performing a half-gainer trying to run to the bus on Wednesday. He’s fine, but the pavement took a beating. The bus actually, HARTline, stayed and waited, while the Tampa Fire-Rescue checked him out and made sure nothing was broken and there was no concussion. He called me as he was ON THE GROUND! I could hear people hollering in the background when he called, so naturally, I ran into the bathroom door-sill trying to get my clothes on. What is that? Synchronicity twice removed? Bravo to Hartline and Tampa Fire-Rescue!


The pavement lost... my poor baby

Anyway, we’re good, but my house looks like hell. I’m trying not to care, but my hard-wired self is a sleeping dragon. Eventually, it will lumber up out of the gloom, sulfurous breath heating up, before singeing my brain and sending me on a tear around the house. Cthulhu will certainly join in the fun. I do have to clean by tomorrow, though. I love my neighbors. We’re having one of our porch parties. The theme is Mexican. Someone mentioned watching the movie, “Simon Bitch;” I’m still laughing.


confuse-a-what 1


confuse-a-what 2


confuse-a-what 3

Directions: Watch all 3 in order; How stupid is this? LOL

Okay, so after “fiddling with my camcorder,” I can see that it’s probably really a great notion that I don’t drive, don’t operate anything with more than 2 moving parts or any type of heavy equipment, do any surgery, or juggle knives, chainsaws or flaming things. The fact that I am still able to play my viola has more to do the fact that I have literally a “mental” map of my bow arm and my left fingers in my head as to how they “frame” themselves with bow, strings and on my fingerboard; (hint: the digits get much closer together the higher the register, and yes, Wolf is unique at 15 7/8” length) this says more about the harmony between my brain and sense of touch and very little about my sense of sight. All you doubting Thomases can just go look at all that fine videography up above if you don’t believe me. All I was trying to do was take a still picture. I wasn't playing Cecil B. Demille, fer cripes sake! My new Jazz DV152 Camcorder is awesome; I'm hilarious.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

#ROW80 WEDNESDAY CHECK IN – FRIENDSHIP


Wha? I been looking all over for this file?

I am such a squirrel. I found some posts tucked away in a WINDOWS system folder. For those playing along at home, I don’t use any of my system folders normally. And so forth. Anyway, during some of my derangement, I must have thought that was a swell place to hide things or something, so I found some pretty hilarious posts there. I’m actually rather peeved that I had not put them where they should have been all along. Who knows what treasures will be found, hmm?

Anyway, I am glad I found these posts; they will be part of a book I hope to publish as an e-book later this year, as I have enough material to do so, but today I wanted to reflect on something that has a rather broad meaning and really, I don’t think we can ever say enough about it. I’m talking about ‘friendship.’

When we make a friend, or establish a friend, or a friendship, we do so at so many different levels and I believe that there are times in all of our lives, when our definition of the word ‘friend’ may change, it may broaden, and take on a deeper meaning, as we grow and experience new things, meet new people and learn more. Conversely, as we discern and gain a broader understanding of situations, we also are able to put ourselves in other peoples’ places and see things through their eyes.


There, there... I sorry you haz no fur...

We see that they are us! I have friends from all over the world. I once had a woman who played viola and sat next to me in the symphony. She was from Kiev and her name was Rita. She spoke not a word of English, well, a ‘Yes’ and my Russian was ‘Nyet’ for a while; we drew strange hieroglyphs in our music margins and laughed a lot.


 We're playing backwards... A hee hee! I know!

But, I visited this page on Facebook, called Muslims for America a while back, I was feeling bad. The Muslims in the United States don’t have the best of publicity. I’m sorry, but this is not true, nor is it fair. Muslims and the Islamic community are great people. Like anybody else, we are talking about the Glittering Generalities. When everybody gets all worked up about it, it’s just plain wrong. I don’t like what the IRA do; plain and simple. I have lived in Dearborn, Michigan, within their rank and file and I know that the families are families. The people are kind, gracious and generous. Steve and his wife, Shira had a deli on Michigan Avenue and Oakwood. Awesome food and wonderful people.

I’ve met some of the people from the FB page and they have been very nice. Ya Rab in particular is just a sweetheart. She is very educated and is Egyptian. She’s answered my gazillion questions and asked me so many as well. The others I’ve met are as curious as she is; today she made me laugh with a video of a very poorly sung but superbly engineered song! I’m ashamed to say her written language is incomprehensible, although beautiful. Ya is a delightful woman and a wonderful friend; a friend for life. She made this for me and I think it is so beautiful and she spent so much time on it. It is my name. In Arabic; I want to share it with you; I am proud of this. It is priceless. From my heart, Sahla, thank you. Inshallah.