Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Song of the Day: "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads

I so forgot, until like two days ago, what a rocking song "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads is. The start of the song is stunningly different and good. Amaze-balls, as the kids say, at least the kids with dirty mouths.

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Isn't it time. . .

Isn't it time this country got more practical?

My latest ambient music piece. . .

It's called "Fire and Mystery." It features a short clip from the classic movie "The Little Shop Around the Corner."

Song of the Day: "Home Again" by OIngo Boingo

"Home Again" by Oingo Boingo. Because it's rad and I'm from the '80s. Check out the mad keyboard riffs!

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Chillaxing gif of the day. . .

Writing Post of the Day. . .

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Epigram of the Day: "Death" by Sarah Torribio

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Epigram of the Day: "In brief" by Sarah Torribio

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Song of the Day: "House" (Riverlight version) by Patrick Wolf

I'm not usually a fan of "unplugged" versions of rock sounds.

But this Riverlight version of "House" by Patrick Wolf, full of hushed classical instruments, is a thing of beauty.

House - Riverlight (CD2) by Patrick Wolf

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Chillaxing gif of the day

I'll be honest. The above gif isn't exactly chillaxing. It's more mesmerizing.

I feel like it's reprogramming my brain somehow. I will test my progress
tomorrow by engaging in a game of chess.

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Writing Post of the Day. . .

< < Previous Writing Post

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Song of the Day: "Where Are Ü Now?" by Justin Beiber

I know. It's not exactly cool to admit you're a Belieber. And honestly, Justin Beiber has done some punk-ass shit since he first became old enough to make his own (really bad) decisions.

However, God help me, I love his collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo, "Where Are Ü Now?"

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Chillaxing gif of the day. . .

I find this gif chillaxing.

And something about the white on black intricate lines reminds me of the artwork on the 1992 album "Unknown Pleasures."

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And my favorite song off of that album would have to be "Disorder," because the keyboard riff is unbelievable.

Writing post of the day. . .

Do you listen to music while you write? Or does music in some way inform your writing?

I generally can't listen to music while I'm writing a story for the newspaper I work for. I have done quite a bit of freelance music writing. When I'm writing about a performer or a band, I punctuate my writing spells with listening to the music, but still, I have to have silence sometimes while I cook up my words.

I can listen to music when I'm in the zone, writing  a scene in a screenplay where the rhythm and tone of the song help inform the scene. Other times, I'm not writing, just listening to music, and inspiration strikes.

I'm writing a screenplay where, among many other developments, my protagonist goes back to his hometown. He's charismatic, nervy, and nervous about being reunited with his family and friends in the hometown he fled.

All week, I've had Alkaline Trio's "I Wanna Be a Warhol" going through my mind. Suddenly, voila. I realized that whether it ends up in the movie or not, he's listening to the song as he speeds toward his hometown.

Now he's got more momentum. He's aggressive, smoking, chewing sunflower seeds and spitting them out the window. And guess what? The whole screenplay needs a touch more edge and risk. The character's dad, who I've given a personality that is mild, upstanding and somewhat disappointed in life, let me try making him an alcoholic.

I can do that with my own stories, you know, and so can you. It's kind of an "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To" scenario.

How does music affect your writing?

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Chillaxing gif of the day. . .

As we've all learned during these past difficult months, David Bowie can neither be created or destroyed. Image courtesy of

Song of the Day: "Crash" by the Primitives

Oh my goodness, I was so very enamored of the Primitives when I was in high school. Here's their lovely "Crash," which was later featured in "Dumb and Dumber."

The song still holds up really well. I'm sorry about the super-pixelated video!

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Interspecies love. . .

I am obsessed with examples of animals engaged in interspecies friendships. It is so adorable, and such a lovely symbol of the peace that's possible between us all.

 None of these are my pictures, but please feast on this extravaganza of photos of Charles the bearded dragon and Baby the cat, who have proven to be the best of friends!

Here's a little background.

According to an article in the Telegraph, the critters' owner, Cheyenne March of Pennsylvania, was nervous when she first got Charles that Baby would gobble him up.

Instead, Ms. March said the first time they saw one another, the cat rubbed against the lizard. Then the cat fell asleep and the lizard headed over "for a cuddle." It went from there.

Ms. March has a hypothesis that "Charles enjoys how warm Baby is, and that Baby likes the texture of Charles' body."

The pair are said to do everything together. "Now they share a little cat hut while they have naps and I often find them cuddling on the sofa fast asleep," the proud owner reports. "They go out for little strolls, watch birds together from the window, stare down our postman and then cuddle up for a nap—they're absolutely adorable."

Indeed. Enjoy my little photo gallery. If this story doesn't improve your day in some way, I can't help you!

My latest electronic composition. . .

It's called "Run It Up the Flagpole," and I'm quite happy with it.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

My latest electronic composition. . .

It's called "I See your Talents."

My timing is more than a bit labored, but I am really enjoying making electronic music using garageband (demo version so far) and beatlab. My latest song is free to listen to and for download, just type zero when it asks how much you want to pay.

 I plan to get better and obtain a microphone soon so that I can add some spoken word or vocals. You're never too old to finger-paint.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Epigram of the Day: "Blow Hard" by Sarah Torribio

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Hollywood rumor of the day. . .

Did you hear? They are doing a remake of Leonard Nimoy's TV program "In Search Of," which probed the mysteries of past civilizations, parapsychology, energy, magic, ghosts, alien life forms and more.

Jared Leto, pictured here in GQ, will be the host.

And if it's not true, it should be.

Chillaxing gif of the day. . .

*courtesy of Funnyfarm Media

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Song of the Day: "Love Plus One" by Haircut 100

 "Love Plus One" by Haircut 100 is arguably the happiest song ever written. And in a frivolous note, doesn't Haircut 100's lead singer Nick  Heyward have a lovely, rosy-cheeked complexton?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Song of the Day: "Home by Now" by Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club and their lovely "Home by Now."

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Chillaxing gif of the day. . .

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I feel comfortable with the word feminism. . .

especially when I hear about the places in the world where women are given so little dignity.

Female circumcision, rape, lack of education, stoning, covering to the point of smothering: the struggle is real.

I'm robbing a book title, but how can you be so hateful toward "half the sky"?

Oh yeah, and Cyndi Lauper is pretty much the best thing to happen to the world ever.

Funny meme of the day. . .

My latest electronic composition. . .

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Here's my latest electronic composition, made on GarageBand and Beatlab. I'm posting everything I make, no matter how much I second-guess myself and how much I'm on a learning curve.

My husband and I were in a band that disbanded, partially because we got too busy when we added baby number 2. But I just gotta get sonic sometime.

My stuff on Bandcamp is free to play and for download.

Sean Hannity reminds me of a Campbell's Soup kid. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

An unusual invite. . .

I'm having a ladies auxiliary meeting where we will be knitting horn-warmers for goats who live where it's painfully cold.

It's a potluck. I will be making ambrosia and my famous, mayonnaise-rich macaroni salad. Yarn provided. I expect anyone with a heart to be there. Contact me for further details.

Song of the Day: "I Wanna Be a Warhol" by Alkaline Trio

I'm spamming you with music today, but I'm on an Alkaline Trio kick and their "I Wanna Be a Warhol" is so irresistible. It's from their 2013 "My Shame is True" album. I've seen the band live and they are amazing and so are their fans.

Matt Skiba is handsome as a god and, 42-year-old mum that I am (I'm not English, I just think mum sounds so much cuter than mom), I'm not afraid to admit it.

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Song of the Day: "Stand by Me" by Florence and the Machine

Have you heard this brand-new, lovely cover of the Ben E. King classic "Stand by Me," rendered by Florence + the Machine? It's a good one.

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Etsy Shopping Find of the Day. .

We all love those snarky '50s housewives images, with subversive thoughts and words superimposed, that abound today. This funny magnet is cracking me up today.

It's from the Picard Creative shop on Etsy and costs $4.75. As these elegant ladies, who may or may not be shit-talking about an acquaintance gone bad, clarify, "It's not gossip. It's a prayer request." Indeed!

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Chillaxing gif of the day. .

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My latest musical composition. . .

It's called "Quietude" and is very slow and pensive.

Sometimes I DIY

I am creating a dock and an ocean of glass and painted rocks in the backyard. The dock is on painted tires and bounces. It's made from a little boardwalk--I've got several of them--someone left near the dumpster at my workplace. 

The rocks I have either painted with nail polish or acrylic paint, with glitter poured over it or a coat of glitter nail polish. 

I plan to add lots of sand as well as some seashells. I still need to sand and weather-proof the dock, hopefully with a really thick resin that will make the dock comfortable on bare feet.  

I will keep y'all updated as the project continues. It's all part of a new effort on my part to become a maker and do things in the real world. 

Writing takes a lot of patience. So while I'm waiting on myself to finish big writing projects and waiting on the world to change, I'm engaged in home improvement projects that will hopefully make my back-yard into a low-cost wonderland for my kids. 

Song of the Day: "A Little Respect" by Erasure

Today's song of the day is simply one of the most delightful pop songs of all time. It's "A Little Respect" by Erasure.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Writing post of the day. . .

My God. How many times did Mark Twain get it right?

To read his wit and wisdom is to grow in your own mentality and world view. He makes you smarter. He encourages you to think, and write, harder.

And then, in this blogging world, where you're supposed to get out your thoughts like the word songs—blegh, blahg—almost like puking, how do you choose your battles.

What part of your communication demands that every word choice be examined. I'm part way there in my journalism career. I need to step that up further.

I"m probably the closest to feeling like that with my screenplays.  am trying to carve a piece of the world, using specific characters to denote general human experience.

Oh yeah, and if I can get people to laugh and to be excited about the next scene, I'll be happy too.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Song of the Day: "Wide Open" by Chemical Brothers with Beck

I didn't know the Chemical Brothers were capable of creating such a warm, calm and wistful sound. But then again, "Wide Open" is a collaboration with Beck. And it's a very good, vulnerable rock song.

And who the hell expected the Roxy Music-like surge of saxophone at the end? It gets kind of '80s lush.

Some of these collaborations lately—Where Are Ü Now?" with Diplo, Skrillex and Justin Bieber, which I like despite Bieber's rumored douche-baggery, and "Lean On" by Major Lazer & DJ Snake Ft. MØ —are really cool. They have a lot of inherent possibilities in manner of The Postal Service.

Writing post of the Day. . .

Anton Chekhov was right. The more imagery—don't forget any of the senses—the better, and strive to make your details as specific as possible. She's not driving a car. She's driving a beat-up Suburu.

Chillaxing gif of the day. . .

Oh, for a rainstorm, says me, a resident of drought-dried southern California.

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Song of the Day: "Candles" by Daughter

I know, I've posted it before. But "Candles" by Daughter has a lovely melancholy. The lyrics: "I'm scared I'll be teared apart by a wolf by familiar name on a birthday card. . ." Vocalist Elena Tonra has great vocal purity. Kind of a mix of Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays crossed with Mazzy Star.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

My latest electronic song. . .

My journey to become a veritable Moby of an electronic music composer continues. This song, available for free listen and download (just type zero under amount) on Bandcamp, is called "Fragile."

I made it using GarageBand and Beatlab.

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Song of the Day: "Higher" by Nice as Fuck with Jenny Lewis

Holy bouncing basslines! It's "Higher" by Nice as Fuck, with the inimitable Jenny Lewis.

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Etsy Shopping Find of the Day. . .

I am so covetous of this Sunrise Shell Necklace from the Maimoda Jewelry shop on Etsy. It's hand-wrapped with 14 K gold filled wire suspended from a delicate gold-filled cable chain, according to the description.

I feel like with this rare sunrise-colored beauty around my neck I would be filled with the power of the sunrise and supported by the spirits of island ancestors. I may even remember some of the Hawaiian and Tahitian dancing I engaged in as a teen.

Also it's very cute. $45 but lovely enough I might have to spring for it.

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Why are we here?

Truth. One more truth: It's often an uncomfortable process.

Chillaxing gif of the day. . .


Gratuitous cat pic of the day. . .

Song of the Day: "Palest Pearl" by Pure Bathing Culture

This morning, I can't get "Palest Pearl" by Pure Bathing Culture out of my mind. Thusly, it's my song of the day.

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Writing quote of the Day. . .

This speaks to me. I am so private and emotional about my memories, I avoid memoir like the plague. Or bury it in little poems.

Will I ever tell more of my story? Perhaps. I already have a potential title: "Long story short."

Musings on the Internet. . .

Not a week goes by that I don't look up a synonym on an online thesaurus or read up on something via Wikipedia.

Not a day goes by that I don't look up some information or the spelling of a name for a story.

And not a day goes by that I don't refresh my story-addled brain with a peek at Facebook or a song on Youtube or some Pinterest activity or a game of Candy Crush.

I email obituaries to Courier clients and stories to my editor. I'm thankful to be a journalist in the Internet age, even though the advent of online news has made the sale of newspapers and magazines—and thus the making of a living—a tricky thing for writers.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Epigram of the Day: "Is it fall yet?" by Sarah Torribio

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My latest electronic song. . .

I made a song today, after writing a couple stories and helping to get out the community newspaper I work for. I'm gonna keep going with this composing thing until I have reached a level of bad-assery.

This particular composition, made with a combination of GarageBand and Beatlab, is called "He Said." I believe I have borrowed an old photo of Gary Cooper for the track cover.

It's free to listen to, and free for download. Just put zero under your payment options.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Song of the Day: "Door" by Nice as Fuck (ft. Jenny Lewis)

Oh man, I'm loving "Door" by Nice as Fuck, a band featuring the inimitable Jenny Lewis. Why are women rocking so terribly hard nowadays?

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Americans aren't stupid (despite all appearances). . .

*This post was written a year ago. But it still stands!

I've been thinking a little bit about the prevailing conception that Americans are stupid.

Not long ago, I was considering how many really brilliant friends I have—people whose ideas and pursuits and priorities and philosophies I can learn from.

It's not about degrees or the number of syllables you use. And now I'm watching, in advance of writing an article, a screener copy of "The End of the Tour," which is about late famed American writer David Foster Wallace, who said brilliant things like "The truth will set you free. But not before it's done with you."

Yes, we could all of us probably bone up on geography or history or address some areas where we should know more. But everyone who figures out how to get by, let alone thrive, has acquired some smarts.

There's nothing wrong with occasionally putting our brains on autopilot while watching a reality show. Let's not buy into the "Americans are stupid" trope, though.

Because while a little self-deprecation is vital for a sense of humor, self-loathing is pointless. Because with everything that faces us, we can't afford to be stupid. And because we've got Mark Twain, damn it, who said things like "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."

The Twain factor alone should give us a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to public perception of the American intellect, for at least a couple more centuries.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My latest electronic composition. . .

I made a new song on Beatlab, called "jet Fuel Veins," and uploaded it onto BandCamp. It's been a while.

This electronic offering may not be brilliant but I took my time and MADE something musical. That's so important to me, as a writer and a human being. It's free to listen to and for download, just type 0 under payment.

 < < Previous composition

Chillaxing gif of the day. . .

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Epigram of the Day: "My own most ardent critic" by Sarah Torribio

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>> next epigram

I've been thinking about writing a lot lately, because I'm doubling my output. It's a money thing, partially. But there's also the adrenaline that comes with looming deadlines, followed by the relief of meeting them in the nick of time.

 Writing on deadline is chasing the dragon, but the crazy thing is you have to invent your own dragon, and invent a new one every day. Okay, I just wrote that because it sounds good. I'm not sure the metaphor applies.

 But I get stressed, and it's like tectonic pressure in my brain. I relieve it by allowing little pieces of creativity to emerge. Often, they are epigrams.

 An epigram is something that says a lot in a very few words. It's poetry, but poetry on the fly. Edna and Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wild wrote them. Morrissey's lyrics are full of epigrams.

Mine are usually two to eight lines with some kind of rhyme scheme. I'll get an idea and then, while I'm doing something like gardening, my mind starts working on it like a puzzle.

I try to say something that is true or authentic in a way that is pleasing. It's also, to steal from a Missing Person's song, a game of mental hopscotch.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Parenting Moment of the Day. . .

After Alex, 7 1/2, put on a music video for me.

Me: What kind of music are we listening to?
Alex: It's dubstep/trap.

Who is this kid? I didn't know what a slash was until I was at least 11.