Tuesday, August 03, 2010
politicians, zombies & other treasures
My first day off in two weeks. I head for the bookstore. I love the bookstore. The one closest to me happens to be Books-a-Million. I can't decide if I like the name or not. What I do enjoy is wandering about hoping to find a treasure. I left with a bag; although I'm not sure any of my choices could be considered treasures. Unless you count the pen with the light up Skull on it. You hit it on the counter and multi-colored lights flash for a minute. It writes and it's fun banging on every hard surface I encounter.
As I was meandering I found myself making mental notes of some of the titles. Did you know there is actually a book called "Freemasons for Dummies"? True story. And another one called "The 48 Laws of Power". You can also get "Zen Meditation Balls" (complete with chime balls and a pouch. And, while we're in the philosophy section, no library would be complete without "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
Here's another beauty: "If You Meet the Budha on the Road, Kill Him" and for some reason "Freedom from the Known" made me laugh out loud. There's probably some deep seated meaning behind my mirth and I'm fairly certain there's a book ready to explain it fully. I decided to check. I didn't find anything. I did think a book called "Questions to Cheer You Up" sounded promising. Nothing like being relentlessly grilled to elevate your mood. Then I discovered it actually said "Quotations" rather than "Questions". Not nearly as entertaining so I moved on.
Perhaps the History section would prove interesting. I found "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War". See what you miss when you go to school in a small, southern town? And who could boast being well read without "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Ohio", just one in from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series?
For you self-helpers out there, there's "The Four Hour Work Week", "How Not to Act Old: 285 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame" and "People are Idiots and I Can Prove It" although I have my doubts about how helpful this last one may be.
I originally went in looking for a book about food. In that aisle I found "Soaked, Slathered and Seasoned" and looked up to make sure I was still in the cooking section. There was "I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti", that one put a giggle in my grin until I found "Babycakes: Vegan, Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes". I didn't even get past the title on that one. To that I say Why bother? One, however, that did get my attention was "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto". My enthusiastic "RIGHT ON!" caught the attention of a nearby employee so I put the book down and looked around to see who was making all the noise.
On my way to the register I made a cursory run through the politics aisle. Now, there's some entertaining reading. I found "What in the World is Going On", "Catastrophe", "Windy City", (I expected this one to be about Washington, D.C. - it wasn't), "The Swamp", "Pay to Play", and one I ALMOST bought, "Why Women Should Rule the World". Interesting how the titles seem to mimic how I feel about politics and politicians at present.
I bought 5 books. Tonight I'll be cuddling with "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!"
And I said I didn't find any treasures.
Posted at 1:49 am by the_scribbler
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
When I first discovered online social networks, I stumbled upon LiveVideo. I had never made a video, been on any kind of social network, or been involved in any kind of community that consisted of people from all over the world. The internet opened my eyes to people, places and ideas that were previously only imagined.
For a couple of years, LiveVideo thrived with a growing community of people that came together and shared their lives and talents with each other. It really was almost magical for someone new to the experience. I learned some new skills, enjoyed amazing and creative talents of people I would soon begin to call my friends.
As all things do, online and in real life, LiveVideo changed and evolved into something that made many of us a bit sad. The functionality and atmosphere changed and many scattered in the wind. Many of us landed at Vloggerheads along with folks from other sites. We made some new friends. Some settled in nicely, fitting in and feeling quite at home. The community was a bit smaller, the focus a bit more esoteric.
Perhaps it was growing pains, but VH never felt like home to me. I always felt a little displaced. Not because the people weren't friendly and welcoming, but (I suspect), because it wasn't LiveVideo. I've always been pretty adaptable but in the case of vloggerheads I felt like being adaptable meant changing my personal purpose for being involved in a social network in the first place. It's a fun place. Many of the people are quite remarkable. It just isn't a great fit.
So, here I am. Trying out a new site that will take me months to figure out, find new blogs to read, blah, blah, blah. I found this site through my friend Shawny so I'm not here alone.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mind being alone. I have discovered however, that I need inspiration, and that has always come from the talents, camaraderie and encouragement of my friends. Without it, my split apart has the enormous responsibility to spark my imagination, spur memories, and anything else that prods my fingers to the keyboard.
I get inspiration on my own too of course. All kinds of things inspire me or coax out musings and introspections. The creek running in back our our house reminds of my grandparent's home; The holidays always inspire me and remind me of childhood and family; looking at things from behind my camera works too; clients and co-workers of course, give me fodder. Sometimes, I can just sit down at the computer and thoughts spill onto the screen.
Hopefully, I have wandered into a friendly place that is a good fit too. Time will tell I suppose. I do find it telling that my prolificacy seems to be tied to the interaction it spawns. There's probably some subconcious message there that I'd rather not know. Now, I'm off to find some blogs to read.
Posted at 3:11 am by the_scribbler
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I got a whole, real paper dollar for my fifth birthday. I was very
excited. My dad was always generous with his change and I was quite
fond of that too. You could buy a cherry or grape sucker for a nickel,
or a piece of double bubble for a penny, or even a chocolate or two for
somewhere in between. Sometimes, I would get candy cigarettes, wear my
mother's shoes around the house and play “grown up”. That particular
game led my mother to tell people that I was very pigeon toed as a
child. I explained that she was mistaken, as I was only imitating how
she walked in her high heeled shoes. This information was not received
well for some reason.
We lived in a small house with a large tree in the front yard. My dad
cut a piece of wood, drilled four holes where he could thread some
sturdy rope and spent an afternoon tossing the rope up and over a
branch to build me a swing that would become my first sanctuary. I
spent many hours on that swing, dreaming of what I would be when I grew
up, where I would live, who I would marry and what I would contribute
to the world. (a stewardess or an actress or a singer, On the beach, a
sailor prince, velcro) On that swing, all things were possible. I came
up with many ideas for making the world a better place. One that I
remember in particular was a very special glue. One that would glue my
doll's arm back on and still enable it to move so she could hug me
still and would motivate my mother to take her out the the big round
trash barrel at the end of the driveway. It didn't matter that I had
many other dolls that I loved just as much. The wounded one was the one
I loved the most. I took my baby out of the trash and with her in one
hand and her severed arm in the other, I marched back to the house with
a mission. Mom, of course, caught me at the door. “We can fix her! I
promised!” With as much patience as she could muster, mom explained
that dolly's arm, could not be glued, sewed, stapled or pinned,
shooting down every option a 5 year old could come up with. “I'll just
hold it then.” With that, I went to the bathroom, got out a box of
band-aids, and applied them as neatly as I could where her arm was
supposed to be. Rather than argue with me, she just waited, hoping at
some point I would forget the old ratty doll and move on to another one.
Every now and then, Mom would try to get rid of one toy or another that
was no longer, in her eyes, worth keeping. I would catch her, retrieve
my beloved stuffed bear with no eyes, Barbie missing a leg, clothes
long lost, or armless doll. I would always pull them out of the trash.
When she would try to convince me to let the toy go, I always said the
same thing. “I promised!”
I don't remember if it was Christmas or my birthday, or just a time my
dad came home and brought me a gift from his travels, but I got a new
stuffed bear with a large ribbon around his neck. I was delighted. He
was soft and his fur felt nice against my cheek. I hugged and squeezed
him and whispered in his ear, “ I will take care of you. I will sing to
you. I will be sweet to you. I will love you. I promise.”
At the age of five, a promise was sacred. You didn't make promises you
couldn't keep. I used the phrase “I promise” like some people use
“Thanks” or “Hello” or “I love you.” I expected the same loyalty from
others as well. If someone promised me something, there was no doubt in
my mind that it would be so. I believed what people told me. Their word
was their bond. I did not know that sometimes people did not tell the
truth. I did not know that sometimes, people would say things they
didn't mean. I did not know that sometimes, people will say things just
to get what they want. I wonder what happened. When did a promise
become a bargaining chip, a tool of coercion, a meaningless idiom?
And why? Is it a commentary on the degradation of society? Have we
become so debased that our word is no longer essential? Is it cultural?
Do only some communities or societies suffer from this lack of verbal
allegiance? Or, perhaps, it's the result of the age of technology.
Instant gratification has spoiled us into thinking waiting is
unnecessary. Possibly the fine line that exists between wants and needs
has become so blurred that it's indiscernible. Or is it something much
simpler than that? Maybe, as we become older, we use it so much that it
becomes common place. We say “I promise” like we say “thanks” or
“hello” without much thought to the meaning behind it. Whatever the
reason, saying the words “I promise” doesn't mean what it used to.
But it can. :-)
Posted at 11:06 pm by the_scribbler
Saturday, November 14, 2009
stars and uglies and the man in the moon
One of my earliest memories is laying in the front seat of the car
and watching the street lights as they passed by the window. I remember
thinking about how pretty they looked with their star burst tails
stretching out like long fingers. I imagined they tickled and touched
the stars. Even then I had a rather peculiar imagination, I suppose.
I had an interesting idea of the big dipper and the man in the moon
too. Living in Corpus Christi with plenty of open space and mild
weather, and before people were so poorly behaved, being outside after
dark was pretty normal so these discussions came up quite readily. It
has been suggested that people have always been despicable. We just
didn’t know about it until the advent of cable. I don’t think so. It
was a simpler time then. People knew their neighbors. Someone was
nearly always home. Folks rarely locked their doors and always invited
strangers having car trouble in to use the phone or have a glass of
iced tea till they could find the jumper cables. It was a much simpler
By the time I was 8 years old, we had moved to Memphis where,
because my last name started with a V, was promptly placed at a desk in
the back of the room with the students whose names started with W’s and
Y’s. I didn’t particularly like it in the back of the room. I wanted to
be close to a window. Apparently, being the new kid did not afford me
such a luxury in this city school.
Sometime during that year, my teacher called my parents in for a
meeting. That could only mean one thing. I was in trouble. For what, I
could not imagine but fear ran through my veins and my heart was
pounding so hard I thought for sure it was going to bust right out. I
wasn’t even invited to the meeting. I was pretty sure I was going to be
grounded for some unknown offense for the rest of my life. I envisioned
dishes and trash bags piled to the ceiling and my parents scowling
because I was working hard or fast enough. Cinderella had nothin’ on
My parents came home from the meeting and oddly, didn’t say a
word. The following week, however, I was kept out of school to go to
see an optometrist. I didn’t know what that was but I was certain I was
going to get a shot. I was taken into a dark room with a very large
pair of binoculars on a swinging arm. My parents went in with me, thank
goodness. I still did not know what I was in for but it had to be
something bad. I asked if it was going to hurt. The doctor smiled and
said “no. Put your chin here and read me those letters”. “What
letters?” I asked. “Oh my! We DO have a problem!” he said. I figured
the shot was coming. He flipped some clacky hoolydoos and suddenly
before my eyes appeared the biggest letter E I had ever seen! The eye
exam continued with the doctor asking a lot of questions I couldn’t
really answer; “which is better…A or B?… 1 or 2?…A or B”? I got a
little tired of the game. Turns out I couldn’t answer the questions
because the letters didn’t look normal to me. At least, not the way I
had gotten used to seeing them.
Finally, it was over. I was given a sucker, a pat on the head and
some drops in my eyes but no shot. I kind of liked that part because I
got to wear my mom’s sunglasses home. I fancied I looked like a movie
star. A week passed and we went back to pick up the ugliest pair of
brown tortoise shell rectangular glasses I had ever seen. No way was I
going to wear those at school.
The very first thing I remember is walking like Paris Hilton. High
stepping because the sidewalk was coming at me. I couldn’t find the
curb either and decided it might be best to hang on to someone. On the
way home we stopped at the store. Walking through the store, still
holding on tight to my mother’s hand, I was amazed at what I could see!
“Oh Mommy! Look at those cute little things in the ceiling!” She was
not nearly as impressed with the sprinklers as I was for some reason.
My first day at school with my new glasses was pretty brutal.
Amongst all the pointing and laughing and jeering, I had no choice but
to wear them because the chalk board was just a large, green, blank
screen without them. I could not wait to get home and hide in my room.
I was grotesque with those stupid, ugly glasses and there was just no
way around it. Give me the trash and dishes. I deserved them.
Later that night, once the sun had dipped below the horizon, my
mom tapped on my door. Tempting me with lemonade, she led me out to the
front porch where we sat on the steps. It was a clear, warm night and
the fireflies were dancing around the yard to music only they could
hear. Turning off the porch light and with a slight nod of the head, my
mother urged me to look up. I could not believe my bespectacled eyes.
The entire sky lit up like Christmas lights. There was not one
empty space. Clusters of gleaming light spanned all the way to the
horizon and I saw stars for the first time in my life. We had to walk
out into the yard to see the moon. It was high, bright and full. And,
much to my surprise, it was round and smooth. It had always looked like
a gray dandelion to me. I could see the dark lines from the craters and
suddenly, the world made sense.
I saw the man in the moon.
Posted at 2:05 am by the_scribbler
Friday, November 13, 2009
Elvis Has Left the Building
I answer questions on allexperts.com and recently had a question about
how to achieve a haircut inspired by a 1968 Elvis. I answered the
question and suggested to the questioner not to be surprised if he was
met with some incredulity as we don't often get requests for hairstyles
from 40 years ago. It reminded me of a client I had several years ago.
was working in a small, privately owned salon and I was often the last
one to leave. One night, shortly before locking the doors, a man
dressed all in black, boots and sunglasses, (it was nearly 9:00 p.m.)
and dyed black hair, came in and asked if I had time for one more. Of
course I did. I asked his name. He quietly responded as though he were
concerned someone would hear, "Elvis". I looked up to see if he was
smirking and think I just caught him nervously looking as though he
might have to run out the back when herds of screaming girls came
running in. He wasn't smirking so as I put his name on the appointment
book, I said, "Ok, whatever you say, but you're the third one today!"
He still wasn't smirking.
While I was cutting his hair in fine
Elvis form, he handed me a business card and asked if I often worked
alone at night. Now he was getting a bit creepy. Before I had the
chance to respond and tell him about the Transformer in the back
folding towels, he explained that in the near future, he would be
traveling with his entourage and they would need a place they could go
at night to avoid the crowds. (Darn those screaming legions of crying,
clothes ripping, pantie throwing, sweaty scarf loving girls!) Ahhh, I
see. "Well, I suppose your schedule is quite busy. If you let me know
ahead of time, I can arrange to accommodate you after closing. That
way, your entourage will all have a place to sit." He still wasn't
smirking but he did seem appreciative that I would be willing to help
him out. I'm pretty sure he was expecting me to ask for an autograph,
but if the guy can't at least laugh at my jokes, there's only so much
I'm willing to do.
I managed to finish his hair cut without
laughing out loud at how ridiculous he looked. He combed through it,
scrutinized it from every angle, shook his head, smoothed his hair
again and after a solid 5 minutes thanked me for being as good at my
job as he was at his. He gave me an invitation so a show he was doing
on a Saturday afternoon and told me to feel free to bring a guest. He
left, I swept up all three hairs that I actually cut. I wasn't able to
go because I work on Saturday afternoons and try as I might, I couldn't
give those tickets away. I never saw him (or his entourage) again.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.
Posted at 12:17 am by the_scribbler
Rainbows and Water Sprinklers
It’s funny how certain things bring
back memories. Sites, sounds, smells, words. Seemingly small things
dust off the cobwebs that cloud our brains and transport us back in
time. It happened to me today.
I heard the ice cream man.
Well, not the man, the music. I heard it in the distance, getting
gradually louder as it moved slowly up the street, most likely a couple
of blocks away. Stopping from time to time, I can imagine children with
grins spread widely across their faces waiting impatiently for their
push pops, fudgesicles, and my favorite, rainbow pops. You know, the
red, white and blue Popsicles that look like bombs. I was a flag waiver
even then. It took me back to one summer in particular.
eight years old when my folks bought a brand new, never been lived in,
3 bedroom, ranch in Memphis. My mother had wall papered the living room
with the idea that she would do the hallway too. She ran out of paper
on the far side though so she cut the paper in a large zigzag design.
It was white with pale pink and green design of some sort. Flowers
probably. And I had a canopy bed and red carpet. It was magical!
hot in the summer in Memphis and my friend, Lisa, who lived in the
identical house across the street, and I were playing in my front yard
with the sprinkler. It was one of those that waves back and forth and
makes and arc and if you stand in just the right spot you can get
rained on and see a rainbow at the same time. My mother toiled and
sweat over that yard so the grass was as thick and plush and green as
any I have ever seen. Not a weed to be found. It was soft and cool and
we liked to lay in it and watch the clouds turn into designs. We lay in
the grass for many hours that summer seeing castles, dragons,
ballerinas, and balloons dance across the sky.
distance, in spite of our squeals of delight that little girls are
known for, we heard it. The ice cream truck played a nursery rhyme I
can’t quite put my finger on now, but I remember it sounded like bells
clanking out the tune. We froze, stared at each other in astonishment,
and squealed with delight again. Without another word, we both darted
for the front doors of our respective homes. I don’t know exactly what
transpired in Lisa’s house, but in mine, my news that the ice cream man
was coming was not met with the same level of enthusiasm with which it
was delivered. After being reminded, yet again, that money does not
grow on trees, I realized that I was being denied! I didn’t know what
that phrase meant but I did know that we would not be helping the ice
cream man put any kids through college that day. I still hate both
Apparently, Lisa got more of the same behind
her front door. We met back on the curb. Sitting side by side, elbows
on the knees and chins on the fists, we sat. Destined to watch as the
ice cream man passed us slowly working his way out of the neighborhood,
onto some other where the children’s parents must love them more. The
truck got closer, the music got louder, taunting us with the occasional
stops for other, luckier kids on the street. How could life be so
unfair? To a couple of eight year olds, it was too much to bear. We sat
on the curb, staring at the small pebbles and cracks on the new black
pavement. It was soft because it was so hot and it smelled funny. As
the ice cream man passed the truck slowed a bit. We looked up to tell
him with great disappointment and embarrassment that we didn’t have any
money that day and much to our surprise, a hand appeared out the window
and several pieces of Double Bubble Bubble gum flew out the window and
landed nearly in our laps! The truck sped back up to its normal crawl
and made it’s way around the corner. My friend and I were again
squealing with delight. The ice cream man had rescued our otherwise
doomed summer afternoon. We quickly jumped up, deposited our treasures,
some in our mouths and some in our pockets, and made our way through
the cool, wet grass to the sprinkler. Giggling and dancing with
delight, we forgot in a moment the injustice from behind our front
doors and with one small token of kindness, when we stood in just the
right spot, we found our rainbow.
Posted at 12:13 am by the_scribbler
July 5th 1961 (Age 56)
Welcome to Scribblers Sanctuary.
The musings and introspections of an easily entertained girl.