In This Town, You Need a Bulletproof Heart.

NaBloPoMo Day 28
1.  One of the things I've been engaged/enthralled with lately in this online disco radio station I've found.  I was very concerned about the prospect of not finding anything adequate enough to replaced the Sirius XM channel The Strobe since it went to online-only and was thus yanked off the lineup of Dish Network-carried satellite radio channels.  But already I've added about two dozen songs from this online station that I've either never heard before or hadn't really considered to be fantastic disco songs, that have ended up really capturing my attention in a good way.  There are so many superb and excellent disco songs -- just added one! -- that it's impossible for me to conceive of disco as being a deservedly maligned genre.  Perhaps all the disco critics were either bigoted homophobes with no inclination to have fun at all and the need to lose themselves in ridiculous Blue Oyster Cult-like rubbish.  *rolls eyes*

2.  In a little bit I'm going to have to temporarily halt the disco party because the 9:00 PM (local time!) news is going to be coming on really soon, on our local Fox affiliate.  Normally I don't bother with this affiliate's news, but on a Sunday night it seems necessary; first off, NBC is probably going to spill over about an hour with their Sunday NFL coverage and that will mean not really being able to predict when the local affiliate's 10:00 PM news broadcast will start, and second, I might be tempted to look at the ABC affiliate's 10:00 PM news broadcast but I know I'll find it inadequate.  I want to find out about as many car crashes, break-ins, robberies, stabbings, etc., that have happened in the last 24 hours, and I know the ABC affiliate will only touch on two or three of them, whereas the Fox affiliate will cover a metric ton's worth on top of things that are happening on a national scale.  Then -- oh, that's right, it's PBS pledge week so I won't be able to watch "As Time Goes By" at 10:30.  Insert sad face here.  So I think I'll put on an episode of "Chef at Home" that I've downloaded, then go back to the disco party.

3.  I know it's a little early for proposing New Year's Resolutions (OMG it's hard to believe the second-to-last month of 2010 is almost over!), but I think it might be useful to make one now that I have the resolve to do so.  I resolve to incorporate more high culture into my life.  I will organize my life a little better so I can have the time to do all the usual work, caregiving, living, and online stuff while also being able to spend a set time each day reading real books.  I will refamiliarize myself with the world of literature and not rely on the same old same old.  [I just added another song!]  I will also take one afternoon a month to spend some time "immersing myself in the world of art", as I stated in an earlier entry.  I will choose to allot one particular afternoon each month as McNay-Going Day and spend even just a couple of hours poring through as many works of art as I can.  I will develop a keener appreciation for art and widen my artistic fanbase, which as of now consists of a few artists (Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Chuck Close) and a couple of photographers (William Eggleston and Stephen Shore).  I wish one of you were closer so you could monitor me throughout the year and if I don't do what I'm supposed to, you'd have my permission to slap me across the back of my head a few times.  It'd be win-win -- I'd remind myself of my committment to surrounding myself more with higher culture and you'd get to relieve some stress!

NaBloPoMo Day 27

Since there are only a few days left to the month, I decided to dispense with the routine I set for myself at the beginning of NaBloPoMo for this blog.  I'm just going to be writing extemperaneously about anything that comes to mind and hopefully I'll come up with some decent entries to close out November.  I'm not sure how this might impact my ability to blog here on a regular basis -- I seem to be forsaking an awful lot of other things I typically do online -- but it might end up being that I might drop by here for a visit for a couple of times a week or so, and this exercise has given me more confidence to type out normal online journaling entries about what's been going on in my life, as well as writing about what I enjoy pop culturally.  I should try to do some more of that throughout the rest of the year, instead of aspiring for deep entries where I philosophize about whatever's been preoccupying me, whenever I'm in one of my contemplative moods.

So much happens beneath the surface that I don't really bring to this blog.  I believe I've mentioned my mom's continual medical situations/dramas in brief spurts, but I left the story half complete.  Truth be told, I've spent so much time being my mom's caregiver and experiencing as much as what's happened to Mom as someone as close as a daughter/caregiver can process that it's been difficult for me to express fully what's been going on to an impartial, indifferent third party outlet, even if said "outlet" is the blank slate of the web blog.  I had my fill of visiting Mom at various hospitals and skilled nursing facilities ever since the very first medical event happened for us in 2005, and the tasks of being Mom's caregiver have taken up a good portion of my life.  I sometimes stop to think about how much my life has changed in the last five years and feel overwhelmed by it.  How am I able to manage to keep going on?  Honestly, I don't even know.

And there have been other things going on in my life.  Good things, even.  Something has happened that I once thought never possible -- I've found someone who understands me more than anyone else has ever had, who can relate to my thoughts, opinions, ideas, experiences, etc., in a way only their own personal experience could bring.  He and I are so intellectually, mentally, philosophically, and internally compatible that it's as if I'm in a dream land sometimes, considering how this could ever be, how possible this is or isn't.  I am beyond grateful to have him in my life and that he and I feel similarly toward each other.  A part of me feels that I had to go through the shit in my earlier life, the shit that has caused me a lot of anguish and pain in my past, in order to be worthy of this huge blessing in my life.  And he is a real blessing in my life, and has been there for me (as there for me as he could be) through a lot of the recent drama in my life.  I cannot imagine life now without him in it.  And I'll stop there before I completely go mushy and limp and you guys have to reach for the Pepto Bismol to prevent you from revisiting your dinner.

So thus ends my latest entry for NaBloPoMo 2010.  I haven't elaborated on my day or week thus far, nor have I expressed any thoughts or ideas in the worlds of music, television, film, or reading.  I might've revealed a few minor secrets here, and this could definitely be considered a "free for all".  Just the thought of trying to keep to a certain theme each day throughout the month has helped keep me coming back here.  Perhaps that's what's needed here on this blog; perhaps by laying out these patterns, that has reined me in enough to where I could keep on going throughout the month.

NaBloPoMo Day 26: [blank]
[insert image of someone with a comically distended stomach resting on the couch here]

Today was our big Thanksgiving feast day at home.  I spent half the day cooking, about 45 minutes eating, and the rest of the day digesting what I'd eaten.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing, brussels sprouts, gravy, yams with brown sugar and pecans, crescent rolls.  And then, much much later, the pumpkin pie.  I'm still feeling as full as I felt when I pushed myself away from the table to load the dishwasher with all the dirty dishes which had accumulated throughout the cooking day, and am also feeling very, very lethargic.

Hence the lack of anything substantive here today.  Come back tomorrow.

NaBloPoMo Day 25: Thanksgiving

Since today is the day in which we all gather around our various tables and give thanks that this country was founded so we could live the privileged lives we live as Americans, I decided to start breaking with the month-long patterns I've set up for myself on this blog and start writing about Thanksgiving.  First off, anyone who would bitch about Thanksgiving deserves to get slapped in the face and/or shipped off to a Third World country without any credit or debit cards, cell phones, laptops, or anything else aside from the clothes on their back.  I have Native American blood in me.  I'm more than well aware of how much they suffered because of the "white man".  Thing is, now is not the time to commemorate that.  Thanksgiving is a time that symbolizes peace and harmony throughout the nation, a nation that was built on the best of intentions and the highest of ideals that has also given all of us the opportunity to live lives so many billions of times more wonderful than had our ancestors stayed where they were.  Even the Native Americans; had they not crossed the Bering Strait when they did, they would've stayed in Siberia and frozen to death, or been slaughtered by any one of the marauding bands of Russian conquerors, or lived in misery through the reign of the Bolsheviks, or later through the Stalinists.  There would've been no greater Trail of Tears than the one they would've had to travel as they'd be force-marched to the gulags.

And the rest -- if you're white and bitching about Thanksgiving, you are officially a spoiled, privileged white person who doesn't know how much worse things could be for everyone, including your ancestors.  All the people of European descent who came from the poorest ranks of society and who could've made something of themselves, ended up jumping on the first boat to the "New World".  Only in America can you find someone who lived on the streets as an adolescent, began working at a store, and later went on to own the whole business AND become the governor of a state, as Maine's Paul LePage has done.  And the people who are most appreciative of what America has to offer are those who are aspiring to garner for themselves a piece of that great American pie.  There is no better ringing endorsement of the American dream than to look at any one of the migrant workers who enter the U.S. illegally on a regular basis, live in a rented house with eleven other laborers, work so tha they can send at least half the money they earn back to their impoverished families back home in Latin America, and risk their lives so they can have opportunities they never would have in their home countries, the same opportunities the insufferable, upper middle class, college-going or -educated white young person with not a speck of dust underneath their pristine fingernails either doesn't recognize or takes for granted.  If you're a poorer person or a person whose more immediate family lineage includes immigrants to America, you're usually more cognizant of the blessings that America provides and are aware of how grateful to be on a day that's all about being grateful for being an American.

So.  I'm so glad to have gotten that all out.  It's been festering in my mind for months and finally I have an outlet to express what I've been thinking for that long.  Having said all that, usually a lot of people simply think of the Thanksgiving dinner when thinking of the day, and that's not a bad idea at all.  It'd make things a whole lot less complicated, and everyone enjoys Thanksgiving dinner.  Even vegans, now that there are vegan options for the day -- Tofurkey, vegan yam loaf, etc.  Whatever you're serving on the dinner table, it's guaranteed to be delicious and comforting.  I'm going to two separate family gatherings today to celebrate the day and planning on restraining myself at both, but I will enjoy myself a lot more tomorrow when I make my own Thanksgiving dinner with all the seasonal foods I grew up with -- the turkey (though that's been reduced to just a turkey breast now that it's just the two of us), cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, sauteed brussels sprouts, gravy, yams with brown sugar and pecans, cranberry sauce, rolls, and the requisite pumpkin pie.  And my favorite part, enough leftovers to last for awhile.  I already made the cornbread dressing (delicious!), the brussels sprouts have already been chopped, and the turkey breast is defrosting nicely in the fridge, so tomorrow shouldn't be too much of a problem.  My dishwasher is at the ready for the dirty dishes that will accumulate quickly throughout the day, and I'm planning a quick trip out to the store on Saturday (hopefully the Black Friday dangers will have subsided by then) for a couple of large bakery rolls to fix my first Thanksgiving sandwich a la Monica Geller.  And by the time I've gotten my fill of turkey dinners, it'll be the Christmas season and time for ham and tamales!

So happy Thanksgiving, if you're American.  Take time during the day to recognize how good you have it, living in this country.  Don't be caught up in contrarianism for contrarianism's sake.  And eat up!  Whether you have a traditional spread laid out or you're celebrating a vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving, let yourself get filled with the comforting food of today.

NaBloPoMo Day 24: Music
I wasn't brought up on the type of music most of my peers were brought up with.  I heard a lot about Michael Jackson and Madonna, but I didn't have an opinion either way on either of them.  Now, I might've had more of an opinion on Jackson if I'd connected the dots between him and the Jackson 5 I'd hear on oldies radio, but at the time I didn't really know how the two related.  I wasn't that astute when it came to modern pop culture as it applied to that time.  I immersed myself in the '60s - early '70s pop and rock I'd get to listen to on the oldies radio station my parents frequently listened to, and also absorbed a lot of '70s - '80s soft pop/rock on another station I was exposed to via my parents (Mom especially).  I think the most contemporary my musical tastes ran up until I was 12 was in 1987, when Anita Baker was red-hot in the adult contemporary circles and I almost held my breath every time I would listen to "Rapture" on the radio, so transfixed to that song was I.  At around the same time two other pop songs of the moment, "Sweet Freedom" by Michael McDonald and Lionel Richie's "Say You Say Me", were also huge hits in the same musical arena and I was about as wild about those songs as "Rapture", but they were both a couple of years old by the time they got that much airplay and attention on the particular radio station I was listening to.  Only once did I get exposed to something purely of the '80s moment -- whenever I would watch the Weather Channel and they would air the Local on the 8's segment, one of the instrumental samples they'd play was the introductory synth riff from The Eurythmics' "Here Comes the Rain" and that was my favorite song sample by far.  But for all intents and purposes, I was very much out of it as far as keeping up with the musical times went.

I tried drifting away from the "oldies" when I was a preteen, first by exposing myself to the music on classic rock radio and then by getting into disco.  While I appreciated certain classic rock musical artists, disco was the genre that really stuck with me.  It also helped that the oldies radio station I was accustomed to listening to aired a disco show every Saturday night and I was able to get hooked to songs such as "I'm Ready" by Kano.  It was about that time that I would also raid my parents' old videocassette recordings and became enamored with the film Saturday Night Fever; that added to my deepening fascination and adoration of the disco era.  Then when I was easing out of preadolescence and into adolescence, I became aware of "'80s music", the pop and rock music that was hotter than hot back when I was much more interested in '60s rock and '70s pop.  Then as I progressed further into full teenaged status, I started keeping up with contemporary rock music for the first time in my life.  I spent the whole of the rest of my adolescence wrapped up in "'80s music" and the alt-rock of the '90s.  Then as soon as I graduated high school, I stopped being as invested in modern alt-rock and absorbed myself in my favorites, with occasional forays into the "quiet is the new loud" movement of the late '90s - early 2000s.  Then I transitioned over to where I am today, listening to everything I ever enjoyed before in my life while occasionally attempting to keep abreast with what's hot in indie rock and latching onto the occasional new artist or two.

But regardless of where I am in my music-listening life, I can never, ever, ever live a life without music in it.  I can't go a day without listening to music.  Just today I was listening to some Com Truise (whom I think I'd favor over Washed Out), then I listened to some relaxing, slow burn R&B from the late '70s - early '80s, then I listened to a few obscure New Wave songs, then I had a listen to an Alesha Dixon song I heard on a "Weekend Wogan" that for some reason I find awfully entertaining to listen to, and then I stopped because I wanted to watch an episode of "Chef at Home" I'd downloaded (since I've missed that show ever since Discovery gutted Discovery Home to do their stupid Green channel).  Whenever I watch TV I pay close attention to whatever music is playing in the background.  There's an oddly catchy twangy country-esque song that plays whenever a Cabot cheese commercial airs, I'm wondering if the song snippet at the very end of the latest pre-holiday Target commercial came from a Devo song, I derived a great deal of comfort from listening to the familiar "Chef at Home" theme and reminisced about how that show used to make my Saturday nights, I find something oddly charming about the little ditties composed for the Truvia commercials, and I enjoy the big brassy sound of Conan O'Brien's new in-house band.  I'm always on the lookout for good music and nothing gives me a bigger headache or heartache to consider how cheaply most people's attitudes toward music seem to be, if they're willing to listen to shit such as Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber or the ultimate shit that begat all the other fucking shit that's ruled the airwaves for more than a decade, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.  I hate seeing pay-per-view promos for brainless Hollywood dreck such as Grown Ups and Eat Pray Love, but I got enraged in a Howard-Beale-of-Network-"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore" sort of way when I saw the promos for the last American "Music" Awards and saw that all they were promoting was shit.  Pure, unadulterated, nutrition-free, soulless, cookie cutter, brainless, unoriginal, irritatingly shallow, uninspired, mass-produced SHIT.  Not a single even remotely likeable act in the bunch, nothing I felt was even remotely worthy anyone's music-listening attentions.  I had to call up Washed Out's "Belong" and "Olivia" to calm me down enough to where I wouldn't have a heart attack.  And then I was reminded of why you couldn't pay me enough to listen to regular radio.

Anyway.  That's my relationship with music.  I know there's really good and deserving music being recorded and released today -- it's just that all of it is being released on smaller labels, aired on Sirius XM U, and well beneath the surface of what continually gets all of the mainstream attention.  (And the music bigwigs wonder why their bottom lines are bottoming out -- ha!!)  And in the past, there was plenty of high quality music being written and recorded by real people with a real interest in music.  So I choose to surround myself with that real music, music for people who actually have an interest in music.  I'll continually keep in my life the music that I grew up with, and the music I'm interested in now.  And I'll leave the shit for the lower-than-shits who keep on wasting their money on fluff that insults the integrity of music.  The end.

NaBloPoMo Day 23: Television
1.  I watch a lot of the Cooking Channel and have become a major fan of it.  There are so many wonderful programs on that channel that I think I'll list as many of them as I can right now:  "Chuck's Day Off", "Everyday Exotic", "David Rocco's Dolce Vita", "French Food Made Easy", "Food Jammers", that BBC Birmingham show about easy Indian cooking, another British show but about easy Chinese cooking, "Two Fat Ladies", Nigella Lawson's show, reruns of "Everyday Italian", and the grande dame Julia Child's own original PBS program.  There are so many wonderful avenues and opportunities for learning about cooking, being awed by food, and nourishing the cook within me here that I can almost say sayonara to the Food Network for good!  I mean, what is there that's good on the Food Network?  You've got "Mexican Made Easy", "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives", and "Good Eats".  And, well, Paula Deen and Aarti Sequiera are inoffensive to me, but seriously, the rest?  Can just go floating away in the outer edges of the Milky Way for all I care.

2.  I don't seem to watch much else that's on TV.  Occasionally I'll indulge my cheap, trashy TV enjoying self and watch an episode of "Maury".  I'll watch some episodes of truTV's "World's Dumbest..." because I'm Team Tonya Harding all the way and it's mind-boggling to me how Danny Bonaduce aged better than Leif Garrett.  I like "Forensic Files" but that's an occasional thing.  I watch "The Lawrence Welk Show" and reruns of "As Time Goes By", am saddened they switched the lead female actress in "May to December" because the first one was a hell of a lot more likeable and believable, like "Last of the Summer Wine" but am not a fanatic about it, watched an episode of "Boardwalk Empire" and "Mad Men" and loved both of those shows but have never managed to go back to either of them, and will watch the local news (but only the local NBC and ABC affiliates -- the CBS one is for people too old to chew solid foods).  I like bittorrenting British TV shows but I've realized I haven't watched anything I've downloaded in over a month.  Perhaps when NaBloPoMo blows over I can start reconnecting with those British TV shows (OMG my favorite torrent site has old episodes of "Ground Force" -- so excited!) and watch more TV again.

3.  I don't know precisely when TV became this untouchable wasteland for me, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that for ages and ages, whenever I would latch onto a show, it would get cancelled, and whenever I would drift away from watching a show because I just couldn't bother with watching any more or because my schedule prevented me from watching any more, it ended up running for ages and ages and I could never catch up.  For instance, NBC aired this irreverent show about an Episcopalian preacher and his crazy family and I loved it, even though it portrayed the Catholic priest in the show as a sort of Goodfellas type.  Five episodes in, they cancelled it.  Then there was this ABC sitcom about a gay family with a grown son and a straitlaced, super-rigid family with a grown daughter, where the son and daughter got married and they had to deal with in-law dramas.  I thought that was so entertaining!  Then they cancelled it.  Then there's "ER" and "House"; with both shows I really got into their first seasons and really wanted to continue on with them, but due to scheduling or other conflicts I simply couldn't get past their first seasons.  I don't think I need to tell you the rest.  So I've kinda given up on the idea of watching a TV show all the way through, especially if it seems like I would need to be committed to the whole run in order to get the fullest benefit from that show.  I never even bothered with "Lost" or "24" for that reason. As a contrast, I can watch the occasional episode of "NCIS" because I don't need to know anything beyond what I'm watching in that episode.  Besides, the first time I encounter a TV show I *could* stick with, I can bet you hard currency that it'll be cancelled by the end of the first season.

So I stick with whatever I can watch on food television and anything soothing and comforting I can watch (those soothing comforts will explain Lawrence Welk and "As Time Goes By").  It's already too far into the first season for me to attempt to catch up with "Boardwalk Empire", and forget about "Mad Men"; that train came and went long before I knew it was there.  Everything else is willing to wait for me to have an open slot in my schedule or is residing on my computer, the ultimate example of viewer control.  Ho hum.

NaBloPoMo Day 22: My Life

1.  Something I'm currently taking is making me feel really, really woozy and causing me to crave more sleep than I would crave otherwise.  I don't know precisely what medication it is but I've narrowed it down in terms of which medications aren't causing me to feel that way.  Nothing I'm taking in the morning is causing it.  Nor is the Singulair, Low-Ogestrel, or daily multivitamin I'm taking in the afternoon.  Everything else is up for suspicion.  I know that there's a small chance dicyclomine could be doing this to me, but I don't really think that's it because I've been taking that for awhile and this is something that's only been happening for the past few months.  I wonder which one it is because if so, I'd like to get my doctor to change my prescription there for something that won't make me feel quite as sleepy-headed.  I miss being able to stay up until about 2:00 in the morning chatting with my favorite person in the world, since my extreme sleepiness is robbing me of that ability.

2.  I've grown accustomed to drinking coffee in the morning, even if it's warm out.  Like this morning, it was warm enough to where I put my hair up in a tight bun and put on a short-sleeved blouse (which is such a ripoff -- it's late November, so it's supposed to be so cold I need sweaters, damn it!), but did I drink a large glass of cool water along with my morning muffin?  Nooooo.  I microwaved water and made myself a big mug of instant coffee.  I nearly drank the entire mug, too.  I think there's something to the daily routine of coffee drinking to where you start to rely upon it like a crutch, and if you skip a day it feels like you're missing out on something.  Perhaps when it comes time for summer I can get into the routine of making iced coffee; there is no way that hot coffee in the morning and 100 degree temperatures in the afternoon would mix.  Robert D. Kaplan even pointed it out in one of his books -- he was traveling through sub-Saharan Africa and talking about how, back at home in the Boston area, he would ordinarily drink a lot of coffee, but in hot climates hot coffee destabilizes the stomach, so he relied on soda while traveling through countries such as Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.  The same -- or similar -- could apply to where I live, since my town is equidistant to the equator as Kuwait City, and has only a slightly more moderate climate.

3.  I finally broke down and got an external hard drive!  My regular hard drive was crushed from the weight of all the files I had on it, particularly all the music files from when I did an iPod backup.  It was making my computer unstable and causing me all kinds of headaches with the programs I normally use.  But ever since I've transferred a lot of files over to the external hard drive, my computer's been humming quietly (thus eliminating the weird grinding noise it was making, possibly from being overloaded/overheated) and I've noticed a lot more stability on my computer.  I still had a situation to deal with concerning Firefox always crashing on me, but it seems that upgrading Java and Adobe Flash has done the trick.  When I quickly checked up on it this morning all seemed well in that world.  There is something curious about the external HD, though; I'm accustomed to seeing larger external HDs, akin to the size of some of the older external HDs.  But this external HD is the size of a small pocket notebook (the kind we all used to write down our homework assignments in) and weighs just about as much as my first cell phone.  It also contains ten times the amount of hard drive space as the last computer I had!  But at least that computer's hard drive was upgradeable.  There would've been no way in the world that my first computer from 1992 could've handled 1/100th of the hard drive space my external HD has (at 350 GB).  Yet this hard drive is so small it could fit in my regular-sized purse, along with the USB cable, my wallet, iPod, notepad, pill organizer....

4.  You know what would be the most kick-ass Christmas gift of all for me?  A year-long membership to the McNay Art Museum.  It's been about a month since I took a break from my world and dashed off to the McNay for three solid hours of art appreciation and I still can't forget the whole experience.  There were so many exceptional pieces of art from all the classic artists and I was overjoyed to spot an Andy Warhol and a Chuck Close in the contemporary section, but my favorite contemporary piece of art was a sculpture by Venezuelan artist Jesus Rafael Soto called Jaune et Blance Bi-face (Yellow and White Double-sided) from 1969 (thanks a billion, McNay curators!) that almost literally took my breath away.  Had I the whole day to spend there, I would've spent thirty minutes just staring at that work of art, absorbing it in my psyche and memorizing every single facet of the modernist sculpture.  The McNay is one of the best things this city's got going for it and it did me a lot of good spending time there.  If I could, I would love to go there at least once a month for a year to immerse myself in art and familiarize myself with what's there.  I don't need clothing.  I could purchase my own underwear.  I hate shoe shopping.  I don't really need anything for the kitchen and what I might need, I could purchase throughout the year on my own.  There's nothing gadget-wise I'd need.  I have a large selection of books at home that I need to get to first before purchasing more, and I already have a pretty sizeable music collection, both physical and digital.  But the gift of the McNay -- that would be just about perfect.

5.  Work has been pretty mundane this morning.  We really haven't needed to do much and I don't anticipate that changing until the afternoon.  I have a feeling tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be about the same; I'm planning on getting all my Wednesday work done in the morning so I can take off early and get things ready for our Thanksgiving dinner at home in the afternoon.  We're invited to two different places for Thanksgiving dinner on the day itself so we'll be eating elsewhere that day, and I'll be cooking the at-home dinner on Friday, when I'll also be off.  I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week.  Where did 2010 go?  And speaking of going, I must be going.  I have the rest of the morning waiting for me.

NaBloPoMo Day 21: Free for All

It's funny how times seem to change faster than I can process the changes.  It used to be that when I was smaller and a year felt like forever, the days hung for ages and yesterday felt no different from today.  But now that I'm getting older and the world appears to be progressing faster, I can't keep up with the changes that are occurring.  It feels strange for me to admit this being that I'm very technologically minded and all, but I find myself at times not being able to keep up with what's progressing as far as gadgets and electronics technology and the like.  I remember when cell phones were the size of a block of cheese and were only good for calling other phones; well, that was all we wanted them for anyway!  But now cell phones fit within the palms of your hands and can access the Internet, play music and videos, text message people, organize your life, help you take notes, and make the odd occasional phone call if you wish.

The same goes with pop culture.  In my day -- see, I'm already using "In my day"! -- teenaged girls swooned over Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell.  Seattle grunge was king and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain was considered the spokesperson for our generation.  Those of us who weren't interested in rock music turned our attentions to the world of rap, which was undergoing a massive revolution known as "gangsta rap".  The most sugary our pop got was Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, both with historical pop precedent and some considerable substance and talent.  On TV our dramas dealt with social issues of the day and our comedies were aspirational; we tuned into "Friends" because we wanted to be like those people when we grew up and were twentysomethings in the big city, and we tuned into "Seinfeld" because we wanted to learn lessons on sarcasm, snark, and witty observations of ordinary banalities.  In the world of film, we watched the typical Hollywood blockbusters and escapist cinema, but somehow the dialogue seemed wittier, the scenarios more realistic, and the characters more fully fleshed out and likeable.  Also, the Hollywood filmmaking climate was such that even high-quality films could be made in Hollywood; you didn't have to delve into the world of independent cinema for something that required thought to watch.

These days, teenagers are expected to listen to such trash, except most of them tends to rebel against that and listen to indie rock.  But the expectations are there and the music sales indicate that; with the severe downturn in overall music sales, it's clear that what most often gets pushed in the world of pop music is heavily out of sync with what most teens are interested in.  Television seems to be mostly about brainless escapism; the comedies are, for the most part, dumb, the dramas are, for the most part, incredulous, there are a fair few "reality" shows that are as far removed from reality as the most ludicrous '50s science fiction, and there seems to be a sense that television is mostly about the celebration of the ridiculous and stupid.  And films -- GOD, forget about films!  Unless you're talking about indie or foreign films, movies are a gigantic trash heap of mush-headed garbage.  It's why I haven't had an interest in watching movies in many years and why the last time I went to the movies, I saw the worst film I'd ever seen by far.

Anyway, enough mumbling about this topic for now.  I have to press "submit" before midnight, don't I?  I'll continue with this at a later date.

NaBloPoMo Day 20: (Forget About) Reading
(Note:  Everything I put in this entry is unedited stream of consciousness writing.  So I apologize if it doesn't make much sense as a result.)

It's funny how I'm already starting off by saying, "You know what?  Forget about this reading business," because not long ago, my nose was always stuck in a book and I was a huge proponent of reading as much as possible.  With some of the money I made from my Crappy Call Center Job (i.e. the money remaining after getting school books, gas, food for lunch, and paying for my own car insurance and incidentals, and the money I didn't devote to buying CDs) I built my own little library at home with a lot of the books I'd always wanted to own but never really could, since I grew up with parents who never really set foot in a book store and the only time I really had any access to books while growing up was when I would be able to finagle some time away from my regimented life and get to spend some time in a library.  Whenever I was in a library I felt like I was in heaven because I was surrounded by all these books, but at the same time it was a little hellish because I knew I couldn't have them all, so I definitely indulged myself in childhood fantasy whenever I would hit up a Barnes & Noble or Half Price Books and buy myself the books the child version of me would've enjoyed with the adult version of my tastes.

Anyway, my life is such now that I just really can't invest much time in reading.  I'll read here and there, but only with enough time to invest in reading magazines.  And I know I'm repeating myself here but it would be absolutely lovely if I could have the time in my life to devote to reading.  Until then, I guess I'm going to have to rely on the occasional magazine article or two and the reading I would normally do online, which isn't really quality reading but... well.  I really wish I had the luxury of living alone because then all I'd have to do is just do the things I need to do for myself and invest the rest of the time in fun pursuits such as going somewhere where I can settle in with some coffee drink and read for hours.  I really regret that my life isn't like that and resent that others have that luxury of time but don't engage in those pursuits or aren't aware of how fortunate they are to have that luxury.

So -- where do I go from here?  I used to adore reading.  High school and college English classes made me abhor reading fiction for a long time, but I still kept on being interested in reading, and I regained an interest in fiction after several years.  I would love to read more.  There's a great big world out there of worthy fiction and nonfiction that I would love to engage in.  I'm sick of having the only reading I do be the little bits of magazine reading I'm able to fit into my early morning schedule or as I'm waiting in the waiting room of any one of the endless stream of doctor's offices I have to be in as I accompany my mom to any one of her long list of specialist doctor's appointments.  I've already tried fitting book reading into that schedule but I notice that I have so many interruptions when attempting that that all I'm able to do is just get about 8 pages into a book and then... that's it.  I take it home with me, put it down, and never pick it up again.  I really wish I could spend all that time I normally spend in going to doctor's appointments, running errands, and the like, in just spending some time sitting down and reading.  If I did that, I would eat less.  If I did that, I wouldn't obsess over food and cooking as much as I do now.  If I did that, I would feel a lot less stressed out and would probably not rely so much on napping.  If I did that, I could have my dreams again.  I wish I could have that.  But I don't.  So I have to say goodbye to quality reading and just spend my time doing as much magazine reading as possible, and hopefully the books will still be there by the time I'm able to get back to real book reading.

Re: The "Flatbush" theme

Watch from 5:54 to 6:55 in the video.  This is the "Flatbush" theme I mentioned on Wednesday's NaBloPoMo entry, written by "It Only Takes a Minute"'s own Dennis Lambert.  And if Lambert knew anything about anything, he'd release a single version of this theme and sell it on iTunes.

Speaking of "It Only Takes a Minute"...



Dennis Lambert, you are a hero.  BTW, the original Tavares version of this song is the only acceptable one around.  Accept no substitutes!


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