Archive for Writing

Changing Venues

I have decided to go back to Blogger for now for a variety of reasons, most of which you can read here at www.itaintthemustard.blogspot.com.   I hope this doesn’t confuse the issue too much but for the time being it is what it is.  Please come visit or at least comment if you will about the change.

Whew!  If you read the above then you’ll have to wonder what is going on now.  The truth, I love, itaintthemustard but I do truly hate the way Blogger is set up.   Too cranky, too unreliable, too lacking in the smooth and articulate ways of wordpress.  So I think I’ll just have to make do here until I can afford an alternative.

So yes I am back.  Ignore the first paragraph, if you will.

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Weekly Tags, # 7

On one of the blogs I frequent for the discussions the talk of late has been about the power less ness of the blogoshpere.  Or rather the way the blogosphere can sap the energy from acting by just blogging about acting.  One meme that appeared was the apparent lack of cross cultural exchange, ie., that everything we see (I see) comes to us through a westernized point of view.  So like a born-rich person really can’t say that they understand poverty, we can’t really say we understand what the rest of the world is really going through.  It is a point of view that is hard to deny but doesn’t seem right nevertheless.  Take for example, this blog I found on Memorial Day.  Trace back the links from the commenters and you should see what I mean.

Right now I am listening to UBUWEB.  Kenneth Goldsmith taking me through a collection of sounds and thoughts from the years 1983 to 1993.  I may not be getting cross cultural but I am crossing time cultures.

It is enough to split your personality which may be what is going on here at the SchizoFrenetic site.  With a point of view on the marketplace but quite definitely aware of the political arena too, our careerist Zak gives me quite a bit of cross culturality too.

But this site represents my week travels best I think because the week included T and I heading up to West Hollywood to listen to Nicola Griffith and Kelley Eskridge read from their writings.  Walking the streets with people of the same sex and comfortable in themselves with themselves has to be as cross cultural as you can get in this country that still has some doubts about who we all are.

My final mention for this week is TED talks.  I was pointed to it after beginning to read Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight.  Technology, Entertainment, Design is a site that disproves the point of view that the internet doesn’t represent action by doing what it is about.  Grown out of a 1984 conference in Long Beach it now sponsors international array of speakers at the annual and sold out meeting.

The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. More than 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

In addition, TEDGlobal sponsors world wide activities, and the TED Prize offers $100,000 each to three conferees to a wish to “change the world.” 

Blogging may seem like a static exercise from where one can yell, laugh, cry, and piss and moan from the silence of your lonely room but as I hope you can see from the journeys above that ain’t the half of it.

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I caught a cold last week

Or rather I should say the cold caught me.  And I have to say that it is very seldom in my life when I can’t write – something, but this has been one of those times.  Last Wednesday about 4 AM is when it started.  I woke to go pee and felt it in the top of my mouth.  A dryness, a tightness, a difficulty to swallow.  Shit! I thought.  I should have gargled right then.  Warm water, salt stirred in, head tilted back, you know the sound, gggghhhh, and spit.  But I didn’t.  Went back to bed.  Thought, I’ll be fine.

But three hours later, no way Jose.  My head had joined forces with my tightening throat and now was stuffed with snot.  I got up to go to the kitchen to start my day.  Coffee, paper, computer.  What was I thinking, I couldn’t really tell.  That morning’s post, became an afternoon’s one, and was a fair indicator of my state of mind.  If you could read my mind that is.  About three paragraphs, ending with a self-satisfied smirk of a summary.  I couldn’t sit there without breathing any longer.

I skipped the next day.  Drugged up on NyQuil, then Dayquil, and chicken soup, I slept sitting up so I could at least breathe.  But write, no I could barely think.  Finally about 2 AM, I gave it another try.  I really enjoy the experience of making something last.  I have to admit that the things in my life count for a lot.  They act as talismans.  A shirt from ten years ago that I can pull out and wear.  My homemade dance workout shoes, two pair, which I have alternated onto the dance floor for about 10 years too.  But when I tried to write that post about frugality, it was all I could do to say two things.  Rereading only shows me that I couldn’t wait to get done.  And I was really trying.  I remember going back and forth between youtube and this blog trying to imbed a Todd Rungren video that wouldn’t take and finally giving up in sick frustration.

Then came Friday.  Yes, the Lakers were into the finals, and T and I were packing for the trip to LA but I was still one sick puppy.  Dayquil all day, I even tried alcohol, two margaritas with dinner.  Here’s how sharp my thinking was.  It’s a cold I have.  So stay warm.  Not me.  We go to the book reading after dinner and sit for two hours while the cool city breezes blew in the door and swirled around my bare legs (I was wearing shorts) and sandalled feet. 

Sick Saturday, that what I’ll have to call it.  I couldn’t drive.  Thank the gods for T.  I couldn’t think or write or even read, and you know I really have to be sick for that to happen.

So now it is a tentative Sunday.  I have only sneezed once and I have managed to write this too.  I’m going to leave you with this reference point, one I gathered from the blogger at http://www.skepticsandpolitics.blogspot.com/.  I hope to write more about it tomorrow when this cold will be going going gone.  

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Blogging, the job

I have always blogged I just didn’t know that’s what it was called.  I’ve Twittered, too.  Email, I’ve hand delivered quite a few.  For years I kept the evidence in student folders filled with  the back and forth of discovery and such.  They would write in reply to some requested assignment, I would write in reply to what I thought their work ended up being about.  No grade was as valuable as the constant dialogue that turned itself into one long thought drawn out.

But now I am in a different venue.  The only one with an assignment is me.  Write I tell myself.  Everyday.  Read, digest the news, find out what others are saying, and write to them, (it’s called leaving a comment).  Well, I have done my part. I do write just about every day.  I even have a schedule and a routine.  I get up around 5:30, take a pee, rinse my face, squint into my somewhat sleep-deprived eyes, put filtered water into the pot to boil, coffee grounds into the filter on top of my favorite 40 oz cup, and read something while I wait.  Then coffee in hand, I make my way back to my friendly little office to . . .

I get the Problogger newsletter, you know.  I don’t know if it’s just me or what but every time I find myself intensely interested in a topic, serendipitously so are others.  And two days ago I signed up for Yaro Starack’s Blog Tips Newsletter.  I even got my first edition yesterday.  His advice, “Don’t pick the wrong blog topic” got me to thinking alright.  What the hell am I doing wrong?  I write about the world we live in from my viewpoint and by trying to explain to myself what the information means.  I write about what interests me and have fun making the words state clearly what I am seeing.  But Yaro says quite pointedly that three months is the window I want to check for success.  Well, it’s been 9 months.  5 readers, 25 or so newsletters subscribers and that’s it.  One meaningful dialog.  But no consistent visitors to drive the discussions.  Ha, what discussions.  They are all with myself.  Yet, after rereading my about page, I find that I am doing what I set out to do.  My blog is about figuring out how an economy, our economy works.  I find that if I can keep my sense of humor then the really scarey stuff can be at least laughed off.

So, anyway, here I sit.  It’s another Sunday morning.  A while ago I heard the LA Times hit my front porch.  The temp is already at 75 degrees.  And for now, I have nothing left to say.  I think I’ll go to the pool.

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Went out dancing

last night with my swing dance buddies and as usual it was time well spent.  The music was live blues and swing by a group called Buick Wilson.  Smooth lead guitar, strong bass work, great salty-voiced vocals, and the best part – two one hour sets of nothing but swing, East Coast, West Coast, and One Step with an occasional slow dance to cool us all down.  It’s a tradition that’s been going on here in the North of San Diego county for 35 years and counting.  It started out as a Friday night Happy Hour back in the 80’s, low cost drinks no cover no minimum.  Then the club, the world reknown, Bellyup Tavern, added a Wednesday edition.  I can’t tell you how easy that made the work week.  It was like having two weekends a week.  Great for your conditioning too.  Since dancers don’t drink too much and serious ones like my crowd try to dance every dance, you can’t help but burn off the lbs and develop real staying power.

As I said it has been going on for a long, long time through many different variations.  Now we pay $5 at the door and the drinks are regular priced except from the well.  But they put out pitchers of water and glasses of  ice at a pour your own spot on the bar so it is still by far the cheapest date in town.  Not that my crowd is really into the dating thing.  It’s more of a meeting place for old friends and new faces but the focus is on the dancing first and the meeting mostly second.  We also get to share the news about where else the bands we like are currently playing, like The Coyote Grill up in Carlsbad or Tio Leos down in Old Town San Diego or the Elks in Encinitas.  I guess you could say we have by happenstance formed a real community that shares concerns: how can we support a band we like or what else can we do to convince the club owners to keep using live bands.  The thing is that it is all rather unplanned.  The original BUT owned by Dave Hodges was a neighborhood bar with a small dance floor and no stage.  We went there to try out the stuff we learned in our dance classes and found out that it was a comfortable place to be.  Then as times changed, ownership too, we changed into a group concerned that we not lose this valuable experience to the vagaries of time and money.  Whenever it was needed somehow the word got spread and the dancers as we’ve come to be known in the community at large were there.

So as I said, I went out dancing with my swing dance buddies last night and it was still great.

 

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No habits

Okay, here’s the truth.  I seem to find it easy to get up early and get on the computer to write.  It has become a habit of sorts.  Somewhere around 5 in the morning my inner alarm clock starts chiming.  My eyes blink open and I lean my pillowed head forward.  Yes, the red illuminated face of my clock tells me it’s that time again.

Down the hallway to the kitchen I go trying to move quietly so as to not wake T.  Fill the pot with enough water for a 48 oz cup, filter in the one cup strainer, rinse the cup, place the strainer on the cup, wait with book or newspaper while the water begins to steam, pour the water through, sweeten with unrefined sugar (one and a partial soup spoons), add milk (whole) and start the day by walking back to my office and cueing the computer.

Now that’s a habit.  I even get grumpy if I sleep in and somehow forget to do the coffee part.  I remember how for a brief period back in the 80’s the medical advice was all about cutting out the caffeine but somehow the coffee lobby managed to scuttle that ship before it sailed very far.  Now we have Starbucks on every corner unless the economy makes them cutback in which case the awful coffee they make might disappear just like all the other fads like hoola hoops and yoyos.  I like my coffee way better anyway.

So now I’m at the computer and I almost make it to my blog and the write a post button but not quite.  This is another habit I have of looking around at what happening in the blogosphere before I write my own post for the day.  Mostly I can make my self override this habit by just clicking my way to my blog without stopping.  Log in, select blog, select write a post, and then voila’ I’m ready to ramble.

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