This House is Crowded

DaGoddess @ 06:09

This house, meaning my head. My mental house is crowded. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s the sort of thing that weighs heavily on my hear for many reasons. Crowded with emotion.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Crowded House lately only partly because Intriguer is still too many days away from its US release and the tour and I’ve been a bit obsessive about listening to whatever bits and pieces I can find. Another reason I’ve been listening a lot lately is because it takes me to another place and another time and another headspace.

Thinking too much about lyrics, feeling too deeply the rhythms, losing myself in the harmonies, and suddenly I’m sitting in Georgia at Willy’s house and seeing (I think it was) either Acoustic Guitar Magazine or Vintage Guitar Magazine on the table. I’d been talking with Rob about some of my favorite guitarists and Neil Finn was on that list. Rob said if he didn’t recognize the name, the guy must not be very good. Despite me rattling off every Split Enz and Crowded House tune I could think of, Rob wasn’t convinced that this guy could have ever been known by anyone but a few aging female fans. However, sitting there, on Willy’s table, was a magazine and Finn’s name was there in print.

“Ha! See? There you go, Rob! Neil Finn.”

He shrugged and walked away. I figured it was the end of the conversation. But he surprised me. At some point over the next day or so, Rob did a little Googling and said he liked what he heard, especially a couple solo Finn tunes. It was nice to hear someone like Rob confirm what I already knew, not that it was necessary. Just nice. And it was typical of Rob. Just when you thought he would forget something, he’d surprise you.

Recently, I gave a copy of Recurring Dream to a friend. We’d been talking on the phone one evening and he mentioned someone we knew had been rather nasty to him and he was at a loss as to how to deal with the situation. And then there came the comment that more shit was coming down on him than he thought he could handle with a couple of other people. I said, “you could always say ‘I don’t pretend to know what you want, but I offer love.'” He thought that was brilliant, asked me to repeat it so he could write it down, and then I told him they weren’t my words but rather words from Neil Finn. They were also words I felt rather deeply were the sort that would stop just about anyone in their tracks. And they are. I’ve used them myself. At the very least, they cause whoever you’re talking with to ask what the hell you mean.

Sophocles once said, “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; that word is love.”

The more my friend and I talked, the more I realized how much he’d probably like the CD and so I bundled it up and handed it to him the next time we got together. He’s listened to it many times now. We listened to it together a couple nights ago as we sat and talked for hours.

It wasn’t until this morning though that it dawned on me how much Rob and my other friend are alike. They both bear emotional scars that run quite deep. The beauty and the tragedy of their lives simmer near the surface and create this tantalizing mixture of strength and vulnerability that draws people toward them. There is nothing simple about either man even though it might seem otherwise. Just as there is nothing simple about a Crowded House song…even though it might seem otherwise.

Layers upon layers of texture and meaning. Words that paint pictures of people and places that seem familiar. Melodies that haunt you. Harmonies that twist and tangle around your heart. Rhythms that build and then ease tension. Complicated simplicity. Simple complexity. Either and/or both. From the songs and from my friends themselves. You don’t mind the complexity because the sounds, the feelings are so intoxicating.

So I sit here attempting to work, but I lose myself in music that fills my heart and soul with happiness as well as sadness. I have great memories of Rob, but miss him terribly. I have another great friend who is a bright, shining light in my life, but whose deep pain is slowly surfacing as he deals with some very big things in his life. In my mind’s eye, I see their similarities and I pray for both…for Rob to be at peace and for my other friend to find some peace, but without having to die to find it.

All of these thoughts fly through my head like something from a fevered dream. Like “Pineapple Head”.

I need to have fewer things clutch at my heart this week, but they won’t. I don’t think it’s coincidence that one friend is going through hell right now when the next few days become increasingly Rob-centric. It’s been four years this week, you know, since Rob left us. Four years of missing him. Four years of growth and insight into things I didn’t understand for a very long time. Things that help me see another friend’s pain and my growing desire to do something to help, even if all I can do is listen and hold a hand, give a hug, or hand over a CD of music that…I don’t know…lets him get lost in something else for a bit. But even though I do this, I see how alike they are and it hurts more to feel that connection.

Maybe some things just keep coming back at you because they’re meant to remind you of…a person, a place, a time, or of life’s fragility. I’m not sure what it is or why it is…it just is.

“I don’t pretend to know what you want, but I offer love.” Indeed.

Also, KPete has a tribute to Rob posted.


Happy Father’s Day!

DaGoddess @ 05:38

To all the fathers and father figures out there: Happy Father’s Day!

Thank you for everything you do for us kids of all ages.

Spam Sammich

DaGoddess @ 05:32

Anyone else getting spammed heavily this weekend? Thank God for Akismet because I’m getting slammed by spam in the comments section. Someone’s gone loco with hitting WP blogs!

Speaking of computing (blogging=computing in my book), here’s a question for tech-ish people: which external hard drive do you recommend? I found a 1TB Western Digital external at Walmart for $78. I don’t know Western Digital or how good it is. I only know I will NOT use Seagate. I’ve had nothing but trouble with their stuff in the past. Then there’s a Toshiba 500GB for $74. Um…I just don’t know if there’s any real difference in quality between some of these brands or what. I only know that I’ll need to do something about my storage/backup system in the relatively near future and I want to do it right. (I could even go 2TB on Western Digital for $128…)

I’m in no rush. I just thought I’d ask some of you because y’all’ve always been smart and helpful in the past.

Now I’m going to go to bed. The blues festival ended last night at 2230 and I didn’t leave there until 0400 or thereabouts. Yeah, sittin’ around chatting away, listening to good music, talking about nothing and everything. Go figure. (I should probably upload the 1848 images from the show, but I’ll do that later. I’m beat.)



DaGoddess @ 01:19

Out at Red Rock Canyon, I saw two female Gambel’s quail with so many little chicks, I couldn’t count them all.

I also saw the light do amazing things as it wrapped around the hills.

Then, oh baby! I saw three gray foxes. One was a brave little one and tried to sneak up on me (from the front). It was very curious. I did that little mouth click thing you do to get dogs and cats to pay attention and it took a few steps toward me. Then the wind started blowing very hard and it scampered back a bit to take refuge behind some steps. It continued to look at me though.

Tiny little bat-like face. Tail wasn’t bushy so I’m thinking this was a juvenile. Characteristic black stripe down the tail.

Very cool.

The photos are horrible and I don’t even care.



DaGoddess @ 09:45

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a 320GB external hard drive?

Yes, I have managed to quickly fill my external in less than a year. Granted, some of the images I’ve added to the external are also on my other external. You have to have redundancy when it comes to images. Not so much with music, but definitely when you have image files that simply must be saved.

I’ve been very good about backing up files on a regular basis. Almost too good, it would seem. I can’t believe I’ve shot so much that I’m down to my last 50GB. My next external is going to be at least 1TB or 2. The price has come down enough that it’s imperative I get something that large. AND, I really should be shooting raw files at this point. Maybe.

Once I get moved, I’ll deal with that fine kettle of fish.

Oh, and move date? Not until beginning of August. I talked to Buster and because I’m looking for a car at the moment and will deplete my savings for that purpose, I can’t afford to get a bed (uh, sort of necessary, don’t ya think?) right now. So he agreed that I should focus on the car and then save up for the bed and whatever else I need. Talked with the new roommate, My Other Brother Darryl, and he’s cool with that time frame, too.

Deadliest Catch – Quick Take

DaGoddess @ 08:59

Each episode gets us closer to the inevitable: the stroke suffered by Capt. Phil Harris and his eventual death. This week we begin that descent and it’s difficult to watch. The great crab fishing is offset by tension between Phil and his son Jake, which sits heavy on the heart. Last week, we saw Phil explaining fishing the Rock Pile to his other son Josh. To make matters worse, when the Cornelia Marie’s captain’s back pain becomes worse, when he’s feeling as if he’s going to pass out (one of the warning signs of stroke)…Phil discovers one of his sons taking his pain meds and learns the problem runs far deeper than just a few pills. Suddenly, the enormity of what’s about to come down on this family becomes tenfold.

Over on the Northwestern, Jake Anderson is struggling with the news that his father has gone missing and has remained missing. What Sig doesn’t tell him is that his father’s truck was found but there were no signs of Jake’s dad.

The episode started with the rescue of a fisherman who was having a heart attack on another boat. That was the good news. For the rest of the hour, things only got bleaker as I mentioned only a few sentences ago.

Deadliest Catch has never been short on drama. Death has always been a possibility. But it’s heartbreaking to watch the snowball grow and pick up speed.

I was hoping to find After The Catch online somewhere, but I’ve yet to locate the first episode (finding this week’s episode of DC was difficult as well). Apparently the brief mention of Phil and some footage of Johnathan Hillstrand and Phil riding their motorcycles together was all it took to send Johnathan away from the table with tears in his eyes. It’s a brotherhood; one that grows smaller each year with fewer boats fishing, the loss of lives, and to watch as it happens is heart wrenching.

I don’t know if I can watch next week. I just don’t. As a nurse, I dealt with death all the time. I lost patients who meant the world to me. I was with them night after night, watching their recovery and their decline. I sat with families and held hands. I listened to stories. Yes, it got to me. Yes, I often went home and cried because most of my patients had extended hospital stays and we became very close. It was difficult to say goodbye. But I did it. For some reason, right now, watching this happen to someone who has always been so vital and vibrant…it becomes too much. It hits too close to home. Phil always sort of reminded me of my dad. And I just can’t quite go there in my head or heart these days, even though I know that time will come for my family sooner than we’d like. So, yeah…I’m not sure if I can do this and it makes me feel very strange. I know, however, that the discomfort I feel is nothing compared to the grief the Harris family and their friends have experienced.

For my friends who are also fans of the show, are you able to watch? And did you manage to TiVO After The Catch for me?


The Answer to the Amazing Barfing Cat

DaGoddess @ 00:01

If you remember my story about PJ hacking up all over my stuff, you’ll understand why this Bissell ProHeat 2X Select Pet Deep Cleaner giveaway post is now appearing here.

You see, the cat (whom I love dearly) is a puker. He throws up all over the place and no matter how much you scrub at the carpet, it looks like hell. Buster and I have discussed “pet vacuums” and such in the past, and I’m thinking if I can win this thing, maybe I won’t have to move for a while longer. lol Yeah, that’s how I roll, folks. I hate moving.

Anyhow, get your buns over to What’s That Smell and enter to win. And if you do, can I borrow the vacuum?


My Own Private Concert Hall

DaGoddess @ 18:39

Buster is auditioning guitarists/singers this evening. I have a front row seat of sorts.

Y’see, I’ve been sleeping all day. This sinus thing is kicking my ass. It’s the lingering little cough and post-nasal drip that’s making me feel horrible. The rattly brain syndrome is gone (thank God!) and I’m not photophobic the way I was yesterday, so things are progressing. I just want to feel good again. I have things to do!

Until then, though, I have music in the living room and am enjoying. Well, as much as one can enjoy Elvis singing SRV. That’s what it sounds like to my ears. The guitar…some really interesting notes. There was something kind of cool going on.

Only bad thing, I don’t think a single one of the guys down there brought me any lemonade, pretzels, or Chinese food. Bastards.

PROMPTuesday #111 – Summertime Blues

DaGoddess @ 10:11

Deb was off telling spooky stories at summer camp while I was off doing…hmm, I dunno know what. All I know is that the only summer camp I got to attend was usually something related to Girl Scouts. And it was either camping for a few days up at Cuyamaca or day camp at Lake Poway. I’m gonna have to dig deep to deal with this week’s Prompt, so bear with me.

I don’t know that I recall enough about any camp experience beyond these few things: there was the time we had a bat in our cabin while we Girl Scouts were up in the mountains somewhere. It caused great distress for a goodly number of campers and some ended up sleeping outside, which I thought was more dangerous than sharing a cabin with a bat who probably just wanted to be as far away from screaming 12 year old girls as possible. There was also the time at day camp when I only really wanted to be part of the color guard. In fact, I wanted it so badly that I’d talk other girls out of it so I could do it more than once. Which I did.

“Girl Scouts, attention.”

“Color guard advance.”

“Color Guard, post the colors.”

“Color guard, honor your flag.”

“Please join us in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.”

Yes, I got to be the caller more than once, too. But mostly I wanted to be one of the girls folding the flag. That was a big honor in my book. Making that perfect rectangle and then folding the flag into its perfect triangle, tucking in the end just so. It meant the world to me. I’m still unabashedly patriotic and tear up when I see the flag flying. I was born that way, I think.


“Color guard, honor your flag.”

“Color guard, retire the colors.”

“Color guard, dismissed.”

“Girl Scouts dismissed.”

Two-fer Tuesday

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Some days are Diamond, some days are stone. Today’s a Diamond day. Neil, that is. One of the few artists in my parents’ record collection that I could listen to all day. Well, not so much always back then (I had to protest, it was my sworn duty as a difficult child!), but as I matured I appreciated Neil Diamond more and more. By the time I was a teenager, I would eagerly anticipate any of the following choices: Diamond, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, or David Soul. Anything was better than non-stop Chuck Mangione (my apologies to all of Arlen) or Herb Alpert.

Anyway, now that I’m more than a teenager, I’ve developed an almost unhealthy love for Neil Diamond and this means you get to be a part of my twisted little world.

Did you know the following song was the inspiration for the Romantics’ “What I Like About You”? It was. Indeed. Did you also know that Neil Diamond is still not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame? True story.

Bonus video. And quick aside: I’m a die hard Monkees fan. Yes, I am. Now you know.


His Violet Nature

DaGoddess @ 01:20

I want violet flavored candies. Desperately. I’m going to find them if it’s the last thing I do this week. And considering how I feel, that just may be the case.

Everyone else around me has been sniffling and coughing and blowing their noses non-stop for weeks. It’s taken me this long to succumb to sinusy nastiness. I was doing okay until last night the night before when I went in the hot tub. The chemicals Buster had added earlier in the day didn’t smell strong, but the bubbles created a fine mist and I sat there inhaling it all. After a couple minutes of coughing and sputtering, I had to get out. The damage, however, was done. I awoke with the cough still present and the nose running even more. I’ve been taking my decongestant and praying for relief.

And that’s when the thought of violet candy came to me. Kind of like Les Anis de Flavigny Violet Flavored Hard Candy but without the little anise seed in the middle. They were more like those candy buttons but in rough form and shaped like pellets (such a pleasant image, eh?). My friend had given me some the other night and I was immediately reminded of days spent with my grandmother, trying to learn to crochet and when that failed, picking up macrame like it was some super power. Cinnamon and violets and lemon and all sorts of other wonderful scents and flavors remind me of that time. My friend Max reminded me of that and I started craving more of these candies.

Funny thing about Max. We’ve been friends for several months and we just started hanging out more recently. He’s delightfully sweet and charming and very holistic. I’ve noticed that whenever my back hurts, if I sit next to him, I feel better. Not pain-free, but better. There’s only one other person in my life like that — Little Dude. So, of course, we’ve talked about LD and how he and Max are very similar in so many ways. Not that this is why I hang around him, but it’s certainly a wonderful reminder of my son.

Anyhow, a couple days ago, Max offered to give me a massage. I immediately said yes (he used to work a local resort in the spa). Off we went…to the middle of nowhere. He hauled his table out to a beautiful clearing and I then received one of the most relaxing and therapeutic massages I’ve ever had. Maybe the wine helped with the relaxation part, but I honestly think it was more his technique and the setting. It sounds so very weird to go outside to do this, but it was awesome! As he was working on my back, I couldn’t help but think of the violet candy he’d shared a few days before and I realized that this is exactly what he reminds me of: violets. The gentle scent, the lovely taste, the pleasing hues, and even their delicate appearance…if you saw him, you’d understand what I mean. He completely exudes this violetness. It’s his violet nature.

I find it interesting that it’s a man who has such a presence, but then again, why not? How lucky am I to have such a friend?

Last night, when I was feeling my worst (achy and sniffly), he called. He just knew. And we ended up talking for a very long time, laughing and sharing ghost stories, family stories, and just talking about all the interesting things in life. (Kind of like my friend CJ and I, except CJ and I talk for four or five hours at a time.) During the course of the conversation, I noticed I felt a little better. I told him he was now charged with getting me well and he said he’d make sure that happened.

Sometimes I wonder about all the amazing people who appear in my life. I don’t know how I get so lucky. I know I get my fair share of idiots, but there are so many more who are just lovely people and I feel so honored to know them. I wish I could gather all of you together in one place and just have a great big BBQ, tell stories, sing songs, and laugh until our sides hurt. Of course, I’d serve charming little violet candies to everyone after dinner because everyone should have something sweet and delicate in their lives.


Isn’t it Romantic?

DaGoddess @ 14:27

Mrs. Who and I started emailing about romantic gestures and I thought, hmmm, perhaps I should blog this. So, here it is: the single most romantic moment in my life.

I was kind of seeing this guy (it wasn’t very serious as we were both seeing other people) and one night I was out, supposedly meeting someone for a blind date. The blind date guy didn’t show and I was debating whether or to just go home or stay at this place and have a drink or maybe even have something to eat. The host at the restaurant was entertaining me with jokes and such, trying to get me to stay. A lightbulb suddenly appeared above my head and I thought, “I’ll call ‘Trace Michael.’*” So I called him and it turned out he was headed home and was basically about to drive past where I was. Instead of going home, he came over to the restaurant and we went in for a drink and to exchange date disaster stories.

After a drink or two, we went from “eh, what a night” territory to “this is so much fun” and were laughing and just enjoying each other’s company. We always had fun together, but this mutual rescuing from a bad night made it even better. We walked out to our vehicles, which were conveniently parked next to each other — me with my purple Saturn, he with his big white Ford pickup and kept talking and talking and talking. I ended up putting on the stereo and was a little embarrassed to find John Denver in the CD player. I went to change it and he said, “no! I love John Denver!” and then he grabbed me and spun me around, pulled me close, and we danced in the parking lot for the length of the CD and again at least a time or two more. People would drive up, look at us, park, go into the restuarant, people were coming out of the restaurant to watch us, and it didn’t matter. We were dancing and enjoying the night.

At some point, we realized how long we’d been dancing and where we were and just started giggling. He’d pulled me closer and I giggled into his chest, while he leaned down and giggled so that his breath warmed the top of my head. We held each other for a few minutes as we tried to regain our composure, we pull away just enough to look at each other, and start laughing all over again. We just couldn’t seem to let go, though.

Finally, we noticed we were the only two cars left in the lot and checked the time. It was late and he had to work in the morning. Reluctantly we stepped back and looked at each other, smiling. A few wonderful kisses, a spin, and a dip, and he had me in my car. He danced back to his and off we went. At the light, where our paths diverged, we waved and blew kisses goodbye.

The night hadn’t started off so great, but it ended perfectly. And dancing in a parking lot to John Denver? Or to anyone… who does that these days? Nobody, really. It was a sweet, romantic moment. Very likely the most romantic gesture of all.

We remained friends for years. Mostly, we’d email and send occasional letters after he was stationed in the Gulf. Twice we had a chance to get together again and it was just as sweet and joyful as could be. We lost touch back in 2003 and I’ve kind of always wondered what happened to him. Ah, well… that door closed and another opened, but that’s a story for another time.

* This guy was a cross between Trace Adkins and John Michael Montgomery? Yeah. He was. Tall. Blond. Really good looking. Drool!


Not Funny “Ha Ha” Funny

DaGoddess @ 11:11

Wanna know what’s funny? I’m getting ready to move to a new place up the street and I discover that the brain trust who screwed things up when I was moving out of my apartment last year has screwed things up even more.

I’ve officially been sued because the aforementioned brainiac didn’t take me off the lease like she was supposed to and now the former roommate (herein referred to as TFM) is being evicted…so it all falls back on me. I just got off the phone with the manager, who is even denser than she was before. Even though she’d told me she’d put TFM on the lease after we’d moved in, she hadn’t. When I moved I told her she could apply the deposit to future rent if needed or give it to TFM. I didn’t care. I just needed to leave. She failed to tell me that there were other things I needed to do in order to make that happen or that TFM really wasn’t on the lease at all. Amazing, isn’t it? And yes, she’s still the on-site manager.

Finally, I got the number for the company that owns the apartments and talked to someone there. This gal was slightly more helpful and I hope things are straightened out or that I get to talk to the right people in order to straighten it all out.

And, you know, I gotta wonder…this on-site manager…she’s had my phone number this entire time and she couldn’t fucking call to tell me there were loose ends to tie up? She lets it all go to the point where I’m now receiving letters in the mail telling me I’ve been sued? Un-fucking-believable.

Huh. No wonder I couldn’t sleep last night. I’m one big ball of anger. (Well, I wasn’t last night before I went to bed, but I guess this was weighing heavily on my mind even though I thought it wasn’t.)

John Wooden, RIP

DaGoddess @ 00:01

Because John Wooden‘s legacy is one of great personal achievement, not just sports achievement, I’m posting this in his honor.

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Make each day your masterpiece.
  3. Help others.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially, the Bible.
  5. Make friendship a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings everyday.

They don’t make ’em like Wooden anymore. Or perhaps WE can…if we take the time to teach our children these seven points of living. And if we imbue in them a sense of personal responsibility and if we teach them that they can achieve their dreams if they’re willing to work hard, recognize opportunity, and if we show them in our own actions that anything is possible following such a path.

John Wooden, affectionately known as Coach, led UCLA to record wins that are still unmatched in the world of basketball. Throughout his long life, he shared the values and life lessons he passed to his players, emphasizing success that’s about much more than winning.

John Wooden October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010


That’s Cool

DaGoddess @ 04:26

About ten days ago (give or take a day) I got an email from one of my favorite music writer friends. We’ve been helping each other with writing/interviews/talent wrangling for several years. He’s been touting this very talented kid from New Mexico for the last year or two and the kid is good. Anyhow, he sends me an email almost two weeks ago and says this young man is going to be playing a one night only gig nearby…and on the bill with this guy is, among others, a young man from San Diego I interviewed a couple years ago. I thought, “that’s cool.” So I went. And I ended up photographing the show alongside one of my photography heroes. Not only that, but I got to talk with him after and, yes, I think I stammered and fell all over myself when he gave me a couple hugs.

All that blah blah blah and yet, that’s not the coolest part. I get an email from the one much-touted young guitarist asking if he can use one of MY photos for some PR. He has one of the THE GREATEST ROCK N ROLL PHOTOGRAPHERS in the world shooting him and he wants my shot? WTF? How does this happen? Apparently I’m the only person who got the shot he liked. Which blows my mind. It was a fleeting moment. I happened to be right there when no one else was. Overshooting. And I got it. I got the shot. Now he wants it.

Excuse me while I pretend to be all nonchalant about this.

Yeah, not working.

And yes, I’ve agreed. And…I don’t know if I can even string the words together to make sense of all this. Okay, so if all goes well, not only will my photo be a part of this up-and-comer’s press kit, but…with a little luck…it’ll be seen by all the right people. Keep your fingers crossed for me, would you please?

And that’s pretty much all I got going on right now. I’m just a gutter kid with eyes fixed firmly on the stars.

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