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my thoughts . my memories . my family . my projects . my fears
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Archive for October, 2008

Vote

October 29, 2008 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, Video

I promise that I’m not going to make this blog a “video-only” blog, but who doesn’t love a shitlaod of huge celebrities using their fame and talents for good:

Hockey Moms Against Sarah Palin

October 29, 2008 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, Video

I know… it’s wrong.. but…. ohmygoodness….

Dawn

October 29, 2008 By: admin Category: General, House

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The plumber was late. He was all cocky and challenging on the phone yesterday telling me he’d be here at 7:00am today, yadda, yadda, yadda… and I should just leave the basement door open. Uh-hm. Well I was up at 6:30 and waited. All I’m saying is that if you’re going to wave a flag like that – fuckin’ show up.

Nah… I’m not that pissed, but I was gettin’ ready to be. He finally showed up, not too, too late and started in right away. Has a handsome young man with him and together they are making sounds in my basement that you never really want to hear after you’ve just bought a house and aren’t at all prepared to deal with everything that comes with it. I feel like I should go into hiding, that the house is going to fall down all around me so it’s actually comforting when experienced work-folk are around, say, jumping on my weak workroom roof saying in a thick Salvadoran accent: “No! No! Eees okay!”

Right now the plumber’s handsome young man is carving up the “it needs to go anyway” piece of plywood that’s been doubling as my basement floor so he can get access to the “house trap.” Now doesn’t THAT sound ominous?

Apparently, and I must say this comes as no great surprise, the part of the main sewer pipe that keeps noxious gases from coming back up into your house is under my house rather than accessibly in the main part of the basement. That’s what caused my recent sewer rebellion and dirtied-up the plywood. A clog developed in the un-code (“this design hasn’t been used in 80 years”) trap and I had… um… a bit of an eruption. Did you have a sewage backup in your house, Alexia???? Why yes, yes, curious reader, I did. It wasn’t much but sewage is sewage, right? How did I deal with it? I’m not at liberty to say… Roto Rooter eventually came by and cleared the blockage that had built-up because the house had been empty and unused for a year and things got solid in a way you never, ever want’em to in a sewer pipe, and now the plumber is here replacing the house trap and the entire, aging, if very, very sweet cast-iron pipe and replacing it with light, airy and durable PVC.

More to come — pictures! — so stayed tuned…

Athletes

October 27, 2008 By: admin Category: Video

I’m sorry… I know this isn’t a very evolved post… but this is just adorable.

Great Quotes from Great Women

October 23, 2008 By: admin Category: Faith, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love, Not So Big

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I took an “Artist’s Way” class several years ago. A colleague in the sports dept. at Oxygen was a journalist moving into life coaching and needed a group of people to teach the class to so she could teach herself how to teach the course. As the class was free and I trusted the teacher, Nancy, completely, I happily volunteered, as did six other women from the sports dept.

The whole course changed my life by helping me to change my perspective on a lot of things. As a result, I came up with a few life philosophies that have served me well and stood the test of time. It was funny because most of the stuff we learned in the course was stuff we all already knew. We didn’t know it all because we were smart or educated or American, we knew it because it was common sense. In fact, being American and educated has it’s drawbacks when it comes to common sense, especially for women. I think that too many of us, because we have so much first world privilege/assumptions, forget that we live in a man’s world, or assume that we have to play by the rules of the man’s world because it’s just what women have done in this country for 200 years. Well, really none of the negative, “you can’t do it” stuff is true. At all. Whatever you want to do you can do it. Most of the time it’s just your fear of going against the grain that holds you back, but the opportunities are all there.

Today I rarely take “no” for an answer. In fact many times I don’t even wait for a question. When I want something there’s usually no job listing or public opportunity, I develop those things myself. I wanted to learn how to make television but I didn’t have any experience, so I chose a small production company and worked for them for free–building furniture for the new office, answering the phones, and getting coffee. I knew if the place was small enough their needs would be visible and so I could jump on every opportunity I saw.

Most of the time you’re selling yourself first. You’re selling trust. And trust = money. If you do a good job, if you’re trustworthy, you’ll make someone else’s job easier and that translates into efficiency which translates into profit. But nothing can start until you’re motivated to jump off the bridge, take a leap of faith. Letting it all go is actually easy. Again, in a first world country you have to convince yourself that you won’t die or fail.

Actually, I don’t believe in failure as a concept. You either do something poorly or well, but attaching this heavy negative to a thing is self-destructive. If you do something badly–poor quality or late–then fix it if you can. If you can’t then spend a lot of time apologizing and begging for another chance to do better the next time. If you keep doing things badly then there’s something either physically, psychologically or mentally/neurologically at work and you should see a doctor. But you’re not a FAILURE. Fuck that. You just have natural obstacles…

Anyway, something we did in the Artist’s Way class helped me a lot: we shared our takes on the same concept. For instance, Nancy asked us to bring in quotes that spoke to us. Hearing what everyone else felt was important gave me a much wider perspective on the world, on my fellow women, and on myself. Here’s what my group came up with:

“One day can make your life. One day can ruin your life. All life is, is four or five days that change everything.” –Drew Barrymore from “Riding In Cars With Boys”

“The woman that knows something knows that she knows nothing at all.”

“I do believe it’s possible to create even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life. And that too is a deed.” —Etty Hillesum, author

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into an action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly.” —Martha Graham

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

“And I said: ‘Yes.’ And in this world of Yes live all worlds.”

“Compare and despair.”

The Martha Graham quote is my fuckin’ mantra. There is no judgment (and therefore no failure), and as humans we are obliged to reach into ourselves and deliver to the rest of us our expression of what we find beautiful and necessary. Another guru of mine, architect Sarah Susanka, says that we too often forget about beauty, don’t take it into account. On the one hand she’s talking about houses, architecture, and how beautty in a house can feed your soul every day; on the other hand she’s talking about your life. Accept beauty. See it everywhere, and you’ll feel better.

I have a friend who’s been having a rough time lately and wanted to set all this down for her. We all need a little help sometimes, and we all need each other all the time… Hope you enjoyed the diatribe. :) 

The Stripped-Down, Common Sense Genius of Michael Pollan

October 23, 2008 By: admin Category: Blogging Dinner, Body, Cooking, Food, Health, Humane Food

“Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot.” This is Michael Pollan’s best advice so far. It comes on the heels of “Stay on the perimeter of the grocery store,” which was preceded by the subtitle of his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, “Eat Food. Not to much. Mostly plants.”

I watched a 1-hour talk on YouTube (below) Pollan gave at a symposium for authors sponsored by Google. He was pimping his latest book, In Defense of Food, but spoke at length about food as a whole and why he chose to write this last book. Mostly, he said, it was because people kept approaching me saying they couldn’t finish The Omnivore’s Dilemma because they were afraid that they’d starve after reading about all the foods they couldn’t eat anymore.

I encourage everyone to carve out an hour to watch this. You’ll feel very glad that you did. Reawakening our perspectives is healthy, and, with built-in “information overload” systems  we can’t really get too much of it…

“Los manos arriba! Arriba!” “They’ve GOT them up!”

October 21, 2008 By: admin Category: "Nice Boy", Music, Video

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So, I had this great (and then not) dream the other night…

I’m working on a music video inspired by my favorite movie, “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.” It’s the first time I’ll be DIRECTING, which is to say it’s the first time I’m doing fiction. No “follow the story” type stuff this go ’round, just straight-up “I am responsible for every single element in evey single shot” type of stress. Awesome.

Anyway, as the story is set in the Wild West (why?????) and has the heavy “Butch & Sundance” influence, Paul Newman and Robert Redford have been on my mind. And, as my mind has a tendency to skip around in an “A.D.D. Bunny” kind of way, naturally I found myself dreaming about present day Robert Redford at none other than the Sundance Institute for film in Utah…

Okay, all the sickos out there who are picturing me doing fabulous things with “Bob”… you go right on picturing it…;) Girl, if any man could make me straight… whew!

Anyway, so the dream was much less exciting than what I just alluded to. In fact, it was downright humiliating. Here’s what happened… I’m sitting in an office. I’ve somehow been brought into the guts of the Sundance world because it seems someone liked the video. A lot. Great, right? I’m thinking I’m being tapped as “the next big thing,” right? Wait… So, Bob comes by. Fuckin’ BOB REDFORD. I do, if I might say, a phenomenal job of masking my “I’m not worthy” flop sweat as the God of Indy Film sidles RIGHT THE HELL UP TO ME. He smiles and says he really liked the video. I smile (then throw up… no… not really…) and tell him thanks. Then, without missing a beat, Bob tells me that “Maryanne”–a woman who has just MIRACULOUSLY appeared beside me–is going to take me somewhere to get “set up” in some way. “Set up???” I’m thinking I just won the lottery and that Bob somehow just hired me to direct his next big something! Except, no… that’s not at all what happened… So, I follow Maryanne as she winds through a series of hallways (someone quickly remind me what long, windy hallways in dreams mean). Again, I think we’re going to end up on some gorgeous indy soundstage somewhere where I will be trained on the latest wicked-cool camera, yadda yadda yadda…. but no, again, that’s not at all what happens. Instead, we end up in a makeup and hair room.

Confused? So was I until Maryanne–

showed me to a chair.

The punchline: Bob wanted me to get a haircut. I shit you not. Robert Redford’s impression of me wasn’t “genius” it was “scruffy.” I was to be, literally, groomed.

As you can imagine, I woke up feeling even more unfashionable than I usually do and desperately wanting to make that appointment with the expensive Bostonian hairstylist that I’ve been putting off.

Sonofabitch…

Anyway, the really, really, really good news in all this is that Caren and I had a nice sit-down, our first official production meeting, about the video. I played her the song and she threw out some great ideas. Now it’s up to me to come up with shots for the whole goddamned thing while she finds locations.

“Who are those guys???”

Joe LaFors, out. 😉

One Hour In Defense of Discipline

October 14, 2008 By: admin Category: "Nice Boy", Food, General, Happiness, Health, Humane Food, Living, Meditation, Running, sustainability, Video, Yoga

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So many books, so little time… It’s a popular sentiment for the Western busyness-obsessed. I’ve never been one of those people who has to have every second of the day filled or I’ll go insane thinking about my life, but I do admit that reading pathologically slowly has hamstrung my success. The good news is I don’t have to let it do that any more… cuz girlfriend’s got a little thing called discipline…

For the next few projects I’ve got on my plate I need to read a lot. Thinking In Pictures and The Omnivore’s Dilemma are at the top of the list. The problem is how to choose which to begin with. As I read so slowly I won’t likely be done with one before the mojo on the project requiring ingestion of the other has come and gone! What to do!??? Well, read them both, silly. Isn’t that obvious…. ? 😉

As my reading comprehension is actually pretty good when I’m researching, I’m taking advantage of that skill by focusing on each subject for a couple of hours each day. I read for one hour then make notes for an hour. I do the same for each book. Sometimes the “notes” portion of the day is just me thinking, but that’s time well spent. Back in 9th grade Mr. Sandine (the most genius English teacher of all time) assigned Wednesday homework like this: “Think.” Cool, huh? Well, I did. And, if nothing else, such exercises taught me how to think. That coupled with my video research work has morphed over the years into an ability to quickly visualize solutions to problems. I can place myself into an imagined situation very easily and therefore be much better prepared for the real-world counterpart when it finally develops.

So, when do I do all this great reading & focusing? After breakfast, after meditation, and after my run…

I know what you’re thinking… not enough hours in the day… I know… But there are enough hours IF you get up early and STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE. Once that alarm rings telling you it’s time to do something else, you can’t procrastinate. Period. Check out this cool video of the late Randy Parse telling you how to be more efficient in your day-to-day.

I’ll see how this schedule goes and will report back here.  What I imagine I’ll discover at the beginning is that I’ll have to tweak certain times within the day such as getting up at 6:30am rather than 7:30am and allowing myself some emailing/blogging/news-reading downtime after I stretch. I’ll time myself for this first week to see how much I actually do this for, and I’ll also have to be careful about not working too late. I love making a nice dinner and sitting down to watch a movie or a show.This should be challenging…

Yes, Coffee + Yoga Makes Sense

October 13, 2008 By: admin Category: Faith, Food, Health, India, Living, Meditation, Yoga

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 I’m slowly designing my new morning. It consists of waking up earlier than seems rational, twisting my body into painful contortions-that-I-secretly-know-are-good-for-me, meditating, and doing it all with a cup of strong, steaming java on the ground beside me.

No, there’s nothing wrong with my heart doing the caffeine-race a little, tiny bit while I’m trying to be peaceful. The thinking is that I actually need to be awake while in the process of putting my mind to sleep.

Did anyone follow that? Or am I just out of my mind….??? Thanks for reading, anyone who actually did…;)

Same

October 12, 2008 By: admin Category: Family, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, Mom, Not So Big

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beat me with bamboo,

the slicing rods will stain anything we know…

bite and tear at what remains,

for everything is food in the extreme.

i pull my cap over what was and try to live in the moment… peeking through the raw present.

i have a vision of the desperate places i have never been.

those who have argued with me will fall silent.

i will, inevitably, die alone and misunderstood.

is not that the curse of what YOU have called “The true artist???”

you see not the abyss that is the rest of our torture;

you choose only what is readily available.

what have i to lose, then, eh?

only those who can understand will read between the lines and pursue me. unto death…

i welcome… i pray for…their search…