Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Tonight, while running around on Runescape, which has been a tremendous amount of fun, since the release of Runescape 3 and the EOC, or Evolution of Combat, I’ve re-discovered that part of the contemporary music landscape that was so spectacular in the early Eighties. From about 1982 to about 1988 or 1989, there was a rich variety of popular styles that were cutting edge and fun. It was an eye-opener for me, because once I began college and started playing the viola in earnest, I pretty much had turned off every other form of music, except what would be termed Classical, i.e., music written from the late 1600s to the 20th century, but for symphonies, or chamber music, or smaller groups, and also, solo work for the viola.


So, it was fun to discover and hear music from such talent as Talking Heads, U2, and The Police. Over the course of my working life, I’ve played just about every genre there is, including hip-hop, so I am fully aware and appreciative of the talent and the art form as it has developed, apart from the mainstream, and it is formidable in the way musical groups have developed tonal, harmonic, and rhythmic works that are organic and sonically pure; thus, they have pushed the envelope forward and the melding with more conventional instruments gives them the ability to express themselves with more depth.

I think I began to realize this when I first played with the Moody Blues and of course, this was a dream come true, as I had listened to “Days of Future Passed,” as a kid growing up in Los Angeles, California. When I toured with them in the summer of 1993, in between semesters of school when I discovered that my second husband really didn’t want to be married to another violist and that I needed another career, I also discovered that I was exploring for the first time a whole new realm of musical expression. “Knights in White Satin” aside, it was a bigger sonic high to rock ‘n’ roll my way through “Ride My See Saw,” orchestrated by the awesome conductor/orchestrator Larry Greene then I could ever imagine. That was a hell of a summer and I found I enjoyed road work. I would play for Larry Greene off and on for over 3 decades.

I would have more opportunities for this when I made the move from Detroit to Florida; and another dream was realized as well. I worked for IBM, puzzling through problems and mazes in what eventually became a 3rd level IT position. I was bestowed the calls with cooties; the calls Tiers 1 and 2 could not fix, either OS/2 calls, or WORDPRO or Ami Pro calls. From the earliest of times, we had odd programs like, XYWrite and the ever-present Word Perfect 5.1, a hit with legal offices everywhere, and the most complicated text-oriented word-processing program I’ve ever run across. Corel finally bought the rights to that and it disappeared into obscurity, as did WORDPRO, a Lotus product that was built off of Ami Pro, which was purchased by IBM and added to its LOTUS Suite package as an answer to Microsoft Office.  Although still around, and still superior in my humble opinion, WORDPRO jumped the shark with its contextual-driven menus and features that would be much more at home in an old-style front-end type-setting business than part of a small home-office suite. Most of the Lotus products, such as Notes bear the same foibles.

 This is better and more reliable than anything Microsoft, JAVA or GOOGLE does. I'm going back to UBUNTU and Chromium. This post is being written in Fire Fox, because dumbass Chrome wants me to login to insert a picture from my "online storage". This is not the first time this idiot program has mistaken me for someone who cared enough about my pictures to save them in "online storage" or for anyone else. The last time we went round and round, none of their stupid fixes worked and I ended up with the Kluge From Hell. It worked and I will share it for millions of dollars, because Google sure as hell doesn't know how to fix "Your Profile Could Not Be Opened. . ." but I do, and YOU, Google, YOU don't! Get your shit together and fix your crap. So there!

Well, this started out as a blast from the past about music and ended up with a comparison of old software packages, maybe appropriately enough. At least it is timely; today is the day I want to post my goals, whatever they may be for this minute only, for #ROW80 and #IWSG. I’m actually writing this in Word 2010, and am not wild about the program. I like Open Office 4.0 and think I will continue to write in that. . . Today, was “errand” day, never a joy. Public transportation is a chore and even though we have Express buses, you have to wait and there are the usual, ahem, interesting denizens of Nebraska Avenue. They were fairly chill today, as it has been ass-numbingly cold here in Tampa.

People loom in the murk of the bus like so many badly-dressed yetis; wool scarves with “Go Beavers!” tied on heads, or some other equally inane phrase. “Be An Asset, Not An Ass!” is screaming on a lime-green scarf sported by one of the meth-heads, skinny as a rail, with ill-fitting, ratty jacket, scorching-yellow hospital footie-socks and purple clogs. The guy is 6’8” and looks to weigh 125 lbs. I can’t see any eyes, because the “Be An Asset. . .” scarf is met around eye-level by a hat with a pom-pom and earflaps in some kind of dung-brown color.

We all recognize this, because we’ve all gotten this crap from the same outfitters: Metropolitan Ministries, The Hillsborough County Jail, or Homeless Recovery and it’s all been swapped back and forth a billion times. Some of it is so threadbare, as to be nearly transparent. Or, if we’re getting checks, we sport Dollar Store apparel. A step up, but it’s all the same thing. This year, it’s leopard or cheetah print. Last year it was zebra. By 2016, we should have the whole Zoo collection of Dollar Store wear and accessories to match. Since I’m approaching crazy-old-bat-shit insane cat-collector age, it’s appropriate. I can pull off the Edith Prickley collection pretty well. All I lack is the leopard/cheetah turban, matching cat-eyed glasses, and bright-red lipstick.

I could totally pull this off; with my dark glasses, which are rather retro anyway. It'll give the 'bangers another reason to cross the street when they see me coming. They already know I'm shit-house insane!

No one would bat an eye anyway, out here on Nebraska Avenue. Here is a guy with spit-curls, only he has what looks to be aluminum foil wrapped tightly to his scalp. It’s stunning, all right. “A lightning waitin’ to happen,” as Alex says. There’s my friend from FSJ, going to Gasparilla in her. . . pajamas. Why the hell not? Pink flannel with footies and teddy bears on them. That’s okay, because the same friend gave me a glamorous black wrap-around thing with a belt. I proudly wore it all over town, until someone said, “Mary, why in the hell are you wearing your bathrobe?” I looked at the someone blankly and said, “I’m. . . cold?” At least it was a step up from the hospital blanket I had been wearing about town as a “cape” which I never thought to call it such, until a bus driver helpfully pointed out that it was laying in the bus aisle, as I was getting off the bus to go to the Mental Health Clinic, seeing as how I needed some. “Hey, lady! You dropped your. . . (slight hesitation) cape.” I grabbed my blanket and flung it Zorro-style around my neck and proclaimed, “I’ll. . . Be Back!” in my best Ahnold Schwarzenegger imitation, which is pretty lousey, especially for a musician.

So, my goals are the same; keep editing “Music of the Spheres” and adding to the “B” story, which is thin. Polish all the essays from my original posts in “Homeless Chronicles in Tampa” to set for an e-book publishing and write here for #ROW80 every day (as much as possible) and for #IWSG. As lots of questions when I really start to tear into the novel, because I have not clue one as to how I’m doing. Having no inclination to subject myself to anyone I do not know in person, without a prior introduction, I will be trying to participate in writing workshops and the like. My health has been good. I feel better than I have felt in decades and I’m ready to move on. So, I’m getting’ my show on the road.
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