October 28, 2003

Just had to share!

This has been an amazing day for good news. The first call of good news I got this moring was from my sweet grandmother in Illinois. The doctor that se sees for epilepsy is retiring and she's been having a terrible time getting someone to refer her to a new one. For the last two weeks I myself have been making calls from here on on her behalf with little progress. She called this morning to say she got a call from a counselor who has helped her in the past and is more than willing to assist her in finding a new doctor. What a relief. Later my friend Amy called to say she was going to be able to make it to the premimre of 24 tonight, she's great company, I was hoping she could make it. Then I got a call from a hospital in Va saying that they eventaully did find records that I'm trying to locate from my kidney surgery when I was 12 years-old. When I called the other day, I wasn't in their data base at all and I was beginning to worry. After that I got an email regarding some production work that was scheduled for late Oct. I thought maybe it had been cancelled since I hadn't heard back from my emails, but thankfully it's just been postponed so hopefully I 'll be making some money soon. THEN, I got the call officially offering me the aprtment I wanted in Piedmont! I hope everyone else is having a super day as well!

October 27, 2003

'Tis the Season to be Rockin'!

I saw a commercial for this album when I was housesitting for a friend and at first I thought it was a mock ad because I was watching The Comedy Channel. Nope, it's real, so let's have some fun shall we?

Your Majesty says nothing brings about Good Will towards all men and women during the holidays like the thunder of an electric guitar. Who wouldn't feel warm and fuzzy listening to 'O Holy Night' in the style of Poison or Skid Row? Click on 'multimedia' and take a listen.

from the website:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra was formed in 1996 by Paul O'Neill who immediately approached long time friends and collaborators Robert Kinkel and Jon Oliva to form the core of the writing team.
While producing and writing for a number of years with various rock groups Paul was always looking for ways to make the music have greater and greater emotional impact. He tried to write the music that was so melodic it didn't need lyrics. And lyrics that were so poetic that they didn't need music but once you put the two of them together, the sum of the parts would be greater than the whole, and you couldn't imagine them apart. Once he'd done this, he was still looking for a way to take it to even greater heights and he realized that putting the songs within the context of a story would give it a third dimension that would make that additional emotional impact possible.

Wow, that's deep man. Sounds like the writer of this nauseating bio may have been a little too close to the Humboldt County Christmas trees if you know what I mean.

Hence, he started writing not just albums, but rock operas.

Who in the hell uses HENCE anymore????

He realized then, that there was an inherent problem recording rock operas within the standard rock and roll band makeup. Rock operas by their nature need the voices to change as the characters change. Rock bands normally only have one (or if you're lucky) two great vocalists to work with, therefore limiting how far you can go. You're forced to make the music fit the band, as opposed to allowing the music to go wherever it needs to.

More likely he realized that rock operas are so 25 years ago! I love rock operas, don't get me wrong, but it's going to take a killer movement to bring the rock opera back and these pussies just 'aint it.

With Trans-Siberian Orchestra, first the music is created with no artificial limitations, and then we seek out within the classical, rock, Broadway and R & B worlds, the very best singers and musicians to bring each song to life. This also in many ways forces us to operate on a higher level. This environment has the additional benefit of causing a cross pollenization of musical ideas, creating hybrid forms of music that normally never would have occurred, such as an R&B singer doing a classical style melody and bringing gospel touches to it that causes it to glitter in ways that even the creators could not have predicted. Another very important aspect in the creation of the band, is that there could be no limits on the members; we mix all races and ages.

Any performer they brought in would force them to operate on a higher level because they are the bottom dwellers in the world of music. Cross pollenization? Hybrid? We're supposed to be talking about "emotional" music here fellas not a scientific day in the life of flowers and insects for crying out loud. And who is this person to say that an R&B singer adding gospel touches is something that wouldn't normally have occured? Has this person never heard a black man/woman sing?

The young get to mine the experience of the old musicians, while they can't help to be inspired by the enthusiasm of people just entering the business. This has created a vast constantly changing musical group that even we do not know what it is going to do next.

Once when asked what Trans-Siberian Orchestra was about, Paul O'Neill replied, "It's about creating great art. When asked to define what great art was, Paul said, "The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art. And there are three categories of art; bad art, good art and great art. Bad art will elicit no emotional response in the person that is exposed to it, i.e.; a song you hear in an elevator and it does nothing to you, a picture on a wall that gives you the same emotional response as if the wall had been blank, a movie that chews up time. Good art will make you feel an emotion that you have felt before; you see a picture of a forest and you remember the last time you went fishing with your dad, you hear a song about love and you remember the last time you were in love. Great art will make you feel an emotion you have never felt before; seeing the pieta, the world famous sculpture by Michelangelo, can cause someone to feel the pain of losing a child even if they've never had one. And when you're trying for these emotions the easiest one to trigger is anger.

Finally a point I can agree with. The bad, the good, and the great. We can all testify we've been touched by a piece of music without words that makes us giddy or conjures nostalgia. But why, oh why, did this man have to insinuate that his band is trying to make an impact that of Michealangelo? And what scary tangent is about to come out of the last statement "And when you're trying for these emotions the easiest one to trigger is anger"?

Anyone can do it. Go into the street, throw a rock at someone, you will make them angry. The emotions of love, empathy and laughter are much harder to trigger, but since they operate on a deeper level, they bring a much greater reward.

I guess there's bound to be some underlying hostility when you're immersed in the world of heavy metal eh? I mean, that's what makes kids do bad things right?

I don't know why I chose to give these guys such a hard time, it's just too easy. Watch, this time next year I'll be singing the praises of the TSO and justice will be served.

October 21, 2003

Get Out Of Jail Free

Last week I opened a letter from the Treasury Dept. telling me that they're disputing my 2001 Federal tax return. Apparently I claimed $37,000 and my employer (ironically I'm going to start temping for the scum sucking bottom feeders this week so I won't completely bite the hand that feeds me) claimed that I made $52,000. This created a balance of $2,525 that I was to owe to Uncle Sam. Plus I had missed the cut-off date to call or mail for an appeal by a long, long time. This letter came on a day when I couldn't be more pessimistic about my financial and house hunting situation. PMS had a strangle hold on my emotions and I just knew this was punishment for something. But to my surprise when I called and spoke to Cliff, he informed me that it was the employer's error. They had changed payroll services in the middle of the year and both payroll companies reported the earnings. Cliff said it was my lucky day. Cliff has no idea how right he was!

October 19, 2003

I love BOOBAH!!
Metrosexuals Come Out

June 22, 2003

BY his own admission, 30-year-old Karru Martinson is not
what you'd call a manly man. He uses a $40 face cream,
wears Bruno Magli shoes and custom-tailored shirts. His
hair is always just so, thanks to three brands of shampoo
and the precise application of three hair grooming
products: Textureline Smoothing Serum, got2b styling glue
and Suave Rave hairspray.

Mr. Martinson likes wine bars and enjoys shopping with his
gal pals, who have come to trust his eye for color, his
knack for seeing when a bag clashes with an outfit, and his
understanding of why some women have 47 pairs of black
shoes. ("Because they can!" he said.) He said his guy
friends have long thought his consumer and grooming habits
a little . . . different. But Mr. Martinson, who lives in
Manhattan and works in finance, said he's not that

"From a personal perspective there was never any doubt what
my sexual orientation was," he said. "I'm straight as an

So it was with a mixture of relief and mild embarrassment
that Mr. Martinson was recently asked by a friend in
marketing to be part of a focus group of "metrosexuals" -
straight urban men willing, even eager, to embrace their
feminine sides.

Convinced that these open-minded young men hold the secrets
of tomorrow's consumer trends, the advertising giant Euro
RSCG, with 233 offices worldwide, wanted to better
understand their buying habits. So in a private room at the
Manhattan restaurant Eleven Madison Park recently, Mr.
Martinson answered the marketers' questions and schmoozed
with 11 like-minded straight guys who were into Diesel
jeans, interior design, yoga and Mini Coopers, and who
would never think of ordering a vodka tonic without
specifying Grey Goose or Ketel One.

Before the focus group met, Mr. Martinson said he was
suspicious that such a thing as a metrosexual existed.
Afterward, he said, "I'm fully aware that I have those

America may be on the verge of a metrosexual moment. On
July 15, Bravo will present a makeover show, "Queer Eye for
the Straight Guy," in which a team of five gay men
"transform a style-deficient and culture-deprived straight
man from drab to fab," according to the network. Condé Nast
is developing a shopping magazine for men, modeled after
Lucky, its successful women's magazine, which is largely a
text-free catalog of clothes and shoes.

There is no end to the curious new vanity products for
young men, from a Maxim-magazine-branded hair coloring
system to Axe, Unilever's all-over body deodorant for guys.
And men are going in for self-improvement strategies
traditionally associated with women. For example, the
number of plastic surgery procedures on men in the United
States has increased threefold since 1997, to 807,000,
according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic

"Their heightened sense of aesthetics is very, very
pronounced," Marian Salzman, chief strategy officer at Euro
RSCG, who organized the gathering at Eleven Madison Park,
said of metrosexuals. "They're the style makers. It doesn't
mean your average Joe American is going to copy everything
they do," she added. "But unless you study these guys you
don't know where Joe American is heading."

Paradoxically, the term metrosexual, which is now being
embraced by marketers, was coined in the mid-90's to mock
everything marketers stand for. The gay writer Mark Simpson
used the word to satirize what he saw as consumerism's toll
on traditional masculinity. Men didn't go to shopping
malls, buy glossy magazines or load up on grooming
products, Mr. Simpson argued, so consumer culture promoted
the idea of a sensitive guy - who went to malls, bought
magazines and spent freely to improve his personal

Within a few years, the term was picked up by British
advertisers and newspapers. In 2001, Britain's Channel Four
brought out a show about sensitive guys called
value="263884">"Metrosexuality." And in
recent years the European media found a metrosexual icon in
David Beckham, the English soccer star, who paints his
fingernails, braids his hair and poses for gay magazines,
all while maintaining a manly profile on the pitch. Along
with terms like "PoMosexual," `just gay enough" and
"flaming heterosexuals," the word metrosexual is now
gaining currency among American marketers who are fumbling
for a term to describe this new type of feminized man.

America has a long tradition of sensitive guys. Alan Alda,
John Lennon, even Al Gore all heard the arguments of the
feminist movement and empathized. Likewise, there's a
history of dashing men like Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart
who managed to affect a personal style with plenty of hair
goop but without compromising their virility. Even Harrison
Ford, whose favorite accessory was once a hammer, now poses
proudly wearing an earring.

But what separates the modern-day metrosexual from his
touchy-feely forebears is a care-free attitude toward the
inevitable suspicion that a man who dresses well, has good
manners, understands thread counts or has opinions on
women's fashion is gay.

"If someone's going to judge me on what kind of moisturizer
I have on my shelf, whatever," said Marc d'Avignon, 28, a
graduate student living in the East Village, who describes
himself as "horrendously addicted to Diesel jeans" and
living amid a chemistry lab's worth of Kiehl's lotions.

"It doesn't bother me at all. Call it homosexual, feminine,
hip, not hip - I don't care. I like drawing from all sorts
of sources to create my own persona."

While some metrosexuals may simply be indulging in pursuits
they had avoided for fear of being suspected as gay - like
getting a pedicure or wearing brighter colors - others
consciously appropriate tropes of gay culture the way white
suburban teenagers have long cribbed from hip-hop culture,
as a way of distinguishing themselves from the pack. Having
others question their sexuality is all part of the game.

"Wanting them to wonder and having them wonder is a
wonderful thing," said Daniel Peres, the editor in chief of
Details, a kind of metrosexual bible. "It gives you an air
of mystery: could he be? It makes you stand out."

Standing out requires staying on top of which products are
hip and which are not. Marketers refer to such
style-obsessed shoppers as prosumers, or urban influentials
- educated customers who are picky or just vain enough to
spend more money or to make an extra effort in pursuit of
their personal look. A man who wants to buy Clinique for
Men, for example, has to want the stuff so badly that he
will walk up to the women's cosmetics counter in a
department store, where Clinique for Men is sold. A man who
wants Diesel jeans has to be willing to pay $135 a pair. A
man who insists on Grey Goose has to get comfortable with
paying $14 for a martini.

"The guy who drinks Grey Goose is willing to pay extra,"
said Lee Einsidler, executive vice president of Sydney
Frank Importing, which owns Grey Goose. "He does it in all
things in his life. He doesn't buy green beans, he buys
haricots verts."

Other retailers hope to entice the man on the fence to get
in touch with his metrosexual side. Oliver Sweatman, the
chief executive of Sharps, a new line of grooming products
aimed at young urban men, said that to lure manly men to
buy his new-age shaving gels - which contain Roman
chamomile, gotu kola and green tea - the packaging is a
careful mixture of old and new imagery. The fonts recall
the masculinity of an old barber shop, but a funny picture
of a goat on the label implies, he said, something out of
the ordinary.

In an effort to out closeted metrosexuals, Ms. Salzman and
her marketing team at Euro RSCG are working at perfecting
polling methods that will identify "metrosexual markers."
One, she noted, is that metrosexuals like telling their
friends about their new finds.

Mr. Martinson, the Bruno Magli-wearing metrosexual, agreed.
"I'm not in marketing," he said, "But when you take a step
back, and say, `Hey, I e-mailed my friends about a great
vodka or a great Off Broadway show,' in essence I am a
marketer and I'm doing it for free."

Most metrosexuals, though, see their approach to life as
serving their own interests in the most important marketing
contest of all: the battle for babes. Their pitch to women:
you're getting the best of both worlds.

Some women seem to buy it. Alycia Oaklander, a 29-year-old
fashion publicist from Manhattan, fell for John Kilpatrick,
a Washington Redskins season ticket holder who loves
Budweiser and grilling hot dogs, in part because of his
passion for shopping and women's fashion shows. On their
first dates, Mr. Kilpatrick brought Champagne, cooked
elaborate meals and talked the talk about Ms. Oaklander's
shoes. They were married yesterday.

"He loves sports and all the guy stuff," Ms. Oaklander
said. "But on the other hand he loves to cook and he loves
design. It balances out."

The proliferation of metrosexuals is even having an impact
in gay circles. Peter Paige, a gay actor who plays the
character Emmett on the Showtime series "Queer as Folk,"
frequently complains in interviews that he's having a
harder time than ever telling straight men from gays.

"They're all low-slung jeans and working out with six packs
and more hair product than I've ever used in my life, and
they smell better than your mother on Easter," he said. Mr.
Paige said there was at least one significant difference
between hitting on metrosexuals and their less evolved
predecessors. "Before, you used to get punched," he said.
"Now it's all, `Gee thanks, I'm straight but I'm really
flattered.' "

October 13, 2003

There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright.........

Sunday afternoon my honey was driving me through Glenview so that I could jot down phone numbers of apartments for rent when we heard a rumbling from the back of the car. We had blown a tire, so D called Geico at about 3:15 and they asuured us that someone would be out within 45 minutes. I decided to make good use of the time by calling and inquiring about a few apartments I'd noted earlier. At 4:15 D called again and they told us that they would page the driver and the driver would get back to us within 10 minutes. At 4:30 D called back and they informed us that the driver was new and had gotten lost, she was now in Berkeley instead of Oakland. For the next hour D called about every 15 minutes to let them know that we STILL had not been taken care of and they kept telling him that someone would be contacting him shortly although no one ever did. We tried to pass the time with a smile by playing word association games, watching and giggling as at least six 'scavengers' drove into the posh neighborhood and rifled through the discarded house goods left on the curb, and walking up and down the block. By 5:30 we couldn't muster anymore silver lining. I had to pee really bad, the sun was going down and it was getting chilly, we were hungry, we started to bug each other, I voiced my frustration that we couldn't take care of the tire ourselves in the first place, D voiced the explanation that the jack that came with the car is too flimsy and the necessary jack is too heavy for him to lug around in the rust lined trunk......and then Geico told us that they were going to dispatch another towing company and they assured us AGAIN that someone would be with us within 45 minutes. We found out that their dispatch offices are in Texas and Georgia, and it's from there that they contact local towing companies, all the way in California, and try to navigate them to where help is needed. At 6:45 our savior made his way up the hill to the rescue. It took Fernando of Chevron towing in Oakland approximately 6 minutes to have us repaired and ready to head home. We left laughing and shook it off because at least it was a gorgeous sunny day, it was a very well kept neighborhood, and it was quality time together. Awwwww.

October 08, 2003

MY favorite part are the "six FREE birth announcements'.

Dear soon to be seriously concerned and completely freaked out friends and family:
Please join me in celebrating the arrival of my exorbitantly deranged purchase as an attempt to fill the void in my pathetic mid-west housewife life. Yes, little Emily is just one of Fed-Ex's little miracles, and thanks to the generosity of the Ashton-Drake Galleries, if Emily doesn't make me the envy of all my backwoods neighbors, if I find that staying in and dusting Emily cuts into my Bingo Hall time, or for any other asinine reason, I have 365 days to return her for a full 100% refund, INCLUDING SHIPPING!

All my best,
Call Me Crazy

Thanks a million for the fodder Pacifica Mama!

October 03, 2003

You can tell a lot about someone by what they carry in their pockets, handbag, or backpack. What does it say when your boyfriend withdrawls from his computer bag a white satin bra, a sealed plastic disposable speculum, and a paperback copy of Inga Muscio's CUNT?